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The Triumph of Quiet Persistence

By Steve Nation
November 2006

At these monthly meditations for world service we are working with an evolutionary perspective of consciousness … training ourselves to see life and all events as the substance or ground of experience through which a differently oriented humanity is in process of being born.

Currently the orientation of consciousness tends to be conditioned by the memories, instincts and emotions of all that makes us human. The way in which we see, what we see, our vision is framed within a body of what mountain climber and writer Elaine Brook calls 'a faηade of habitual perceptions' and a 'projection of selected memories'(In Search of Shambahla, 1996, p. 128).

In her sensitively told tale of life and adventures in the Himalayas Elaine Brook writes of how guiding a blind friend on an expedition to Everest made her realise that her view of the mountains and what was going on around her was ignoring much of what was there. Having to describe to her friend what she was observing made her see how much she was blocking out from her vision. It made her look towards the edges of her perceptions. Now, she writes, I was seeing everything afresh, and suddenly there were dozens of new details that had previously gone unnoticed.

Gently woven into her stories of treks and of Nepali and Tibetan friends is an account of the legendary land of Shambahla with its mystic Hidden Valleys. The experience with her blind friend helped her to realise that the way we observe the world depends very much on our perspective.

I began to realise that the change in perception needed to see Shambhala or a Hidden Valley is not just at the exalted level of the Great Yogic Practitioners of legends and guidebooks. It is a gradual process of unfolding, starting from now. It is as if we perceive the world in a series of layers, one on top of the other, and suddenly a certain experience or moment of clarity will render the top layer transparent so that we can see beyond it to the next one - and so on through a continuous process. The mistake lies not in being unable to see all the layers straight away, but in thinking that the one we have reached is all there is - something that is fixed and unchanging to which we can cling. (pp. 128-129)

The full moon service meditations are very much working with this spirit - recognising that even though we may not always be able to see into the inwardness of multiple layers of life and events, they are nevertheless always present. And so now, as we prepare to meditate, we can remind ourselves of this incredible richness of the Real and the True … remembering that we do so as part of a community of mind and heart … as a group recollection, re-entering a group thought-form that has been built over generations and is being developed and refined through our participation.

From the perspective of these monthly meditations the entire field of human consciousness is in a hot-house of transition, re-orientation and transformation. The whole field is moving into an initiatory, revelatory experience. This is happening through time and in time - for as human beings we are sensitive to the timeless, yet we live within (and our work is within) the world of time and of space. A whole new character of synthesis and universality is seeping into the pores of our consciousness of time and space and as a result our view of what it means to be a human being is changing.

So let's take a moment to align with the field of human thinking which is influenced by a sense of synthesis and of universality … grappling with this new sense … trying to understand it … and struggling to live in accord with the changed world view it brings. Let us take our vantage point, as a group, as if we were on a mountain-top, looking out upon this field of human awareness - seeing it held in the light … sending love to the whole field and to all the myriad units of life caught up in the dynamics of transformation and transition.

In the centre of all Love I stand.
From that centre I, the soul, will outward move.
From that centre I, the one who serves, will work.
May the love of the divine Self be shed abroad, in my heart, through my group, and throughout the world.

We look out from the mountain top today in the light of the constellation Scorpio, where the stars are said to suggest the figure of a scorpion, and where one star in particular, the Dog Star, Sirius, shines into our lives. This suggests that when we view the evolutionary birthing of the newly oriented humanity we look for signs of the crisis of the battlefield and the sting of the scorpion. In our meditation, the seed thought we will be using is: Warrior I am and from the battlefield I emerge triumphant.

Thoughts are things - they can be arrows that harm just as easily as arrows that penetrate the truth. Right now, at a time when there is a great deal of thinking going on about warfare, the warrior, spiritual perceptions of the jihad and the crusade, we need to be especially rigorous and clear in our thinking. There is no glory in violence. Warfare represents conflict which has not been resolved through dialogue, negotiation and mediation. Warfare releases all sorts of unredeemed passions of violence into society - especially the warfare we see today which feeds off tribal, sectarian, ethnic and religious sentiments. It allows an atmosphere of fear, hysteria, mob rule and lawlessness to poison community life.

The battlefield of Scorpio speaks of a phase in the evolution of consciousness, preparing for and preceding initiation; a stage of difficulty, testing and challenge for individuals and societies. The scorpion brings the sting of life and throws us into a battlefield where we are challenged to bring our highest visions into human expression. Problems come when our visions are coloured by selfishness, separateness and materialism so that we apply the warrior energy to the fulfilment of distorted, limited visions - and there is something of this in the present world situation.

Those who have the evolutionary vision of universality and synthesis are the ones who are called to use the opportunities of the Scorpion sting to prepare for the Great Turning of consciousness towards Aquarius, towards wholeness and towards cultures of peace, non-violence and right relations. This, ultimately, is the only antidote to the dangers of the warrior whose response to Scorpio is distorted by the eyes of the separated self. The challenge of a world where stories of terror and a war against terror dominate our television screens is to tread the path of the warrior of goodness, beauty and truth. In other words to 'Be the Change' and to be courageous, proactive and dynamic agents for goodwill.

Interesting that when writing about the warrior mentality, the language of the popular sentiments of war seep in. They come from the unconscious memory of thoughtforms which have, through centuries of human incarnation, conditioned our thinking and understanding. So the language (and the thinking) just 'pops up', there it is without our knowing where it came from.

The real work of treading the path of Scorpio as suggested in the seedthought, Warrior I am and from the battle I emerge triumphant, is I suspect not so bombastic - more about quiet persistence.

It is said that before entering through the door of initiation we human beings are faced with a series of tests which reach right into the hidden sides of our nature. Initiation is about transformation of the substance of our humanity - transformation, not repression, rejection or denial. It is about bringing the soul qualities of light, love and purpose (aspects of our nature that we have tended to repress for aeons of lives) - into the substance of our mental, emotional and physical/energetic lives. Scorpio helps this process by providing the circumstances of testing; throwing up situations and crises that help us to see where change is possible and that evoke the needed discipline and truly co-creative approaches to the forces of instinct and memory in the personality.

We cannot honestly be bombastic when the areas of trial and testing are spelled out for us. They reach right into the depths of our humanity. Prior to initiation we have to prove to ourselves that we are free from addiction to appetites in the fields of sex, the desire for physical comfort, and for money. Our desires are tested, ensuring that our thinking and action is free from fear, free from hatred and free from personal, self-centred ambition. And the critical mind is tested until it can demonstrate a freedom from pride, separation and mental cruelty.

This is what the spiritual path is about. We see with increasing clarity the illusory, fanciful nature of the memories and instincts that are a part of our humanness. To be free from fear or pride means that we see the illusion and fancy for what it is. We see in a way that empowers us rather than debilitates us with a sense of inadequacy or hopelessness. We can do this because we are able to call on the Soul, the Angel of the Presence - an aspect of our Self - to free us from the grip of these ancient memories. The Soul gives us all the resources we need to face the tests Scorpio puts before us. It will involve love of who we truly are; respect for ourselves; faith in the knowledge that the path to freedom from appetites, desires and the mind that separates is real and has been trodden by men and women, just like us, throughout the ages; and above all the recognition that in stepping on this path it is the difficulties that actually make the path real and a true opportunity for growth.

The way to work with the Soul in meeting the challenges of the path is always a way of discrimination, detachment, dispassion - adopting the stance of the wise, loving, strong observer. Meditation helps us in this. Study of a teaching that has the power to awaken a higher vision helps us in this. Acting on the impulse to actively serve and spread love in our surroundings - true detached love rather than the love that binds - helps us in this.

The wisdom teachings speak of an archetypal battle in Scorpio between the pairs of opposites. It is important not to over-dramatise the smaller challenges and tests that are always part of any life. These lesser crises are best seen as stepping stones, waking us up and leading us ultimately (perhaps in this life, perhaps in a life to come) into an initiatory environment.

The archetypal battle that the Hercules legend reminds us of is a more concentrated affair. This happens when we have a life in which all the previously hidden appetites, desires and separative thoughts come out into the open and seem to take over the personality. They come with the power of ancient memories and they come at a time when we have an equally potent sense of the presence of the Soul. It is then that the personality is said to be living right on the threshold of initiation. The potency of such a time comes because the lighted presence of the soul stands face to face with this embodiment of that which is to be redeemed. The personality does not have the power of redemption - yet it does have the power to invoke the soul, the angel of transformation and to hand over power to the soul. It is the Angel of the Presence - a higher aspect of ourselves - who is the agent of redemption.

We naturally think of this battlefield experience in terms of struggle and strife - yet from the souls vantage point the view is different. From Alice Bailey's Esoteric Astrology:

The keynote of Scorpio is ...Triumph. This is its major expression on the physical plane. As a result of struggle and of victory, the whole divine man - not yet perfectly expressing himself if I might word the situation thus - is anchored upon the physical plane with such accuracy and clarity that there is no escape from the environing conclusions of the disciple's family, friends and group that he is a disciple. (p. 208)

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