Can we all just sit quietly together for a few moments, visualising the field of energy created by all the deep thinkers and the concerned and compassionate minds, in and out of incarnation, whose ponderings are focussed around that all embracing theme of building a culture of peace and right relations in the world.
Identify with this planetary group - be at one with it.
And now look beyond the field of human thought and compassion to the powerhouse of lighted, loving energy which watches over it, guides it and leads it to wisdom. Look to the Plan and the radiant lights of Hierarchy that stand as guardians of the Plan.
Affirmation of a Disciple
I am a point of light within a greater Light.
I am a strand of loving energy within the stream of Love divine.
I am a point of sacrificial Fire, focussed within the fiery Will of God.
And thus I stand.
I am a way by which men may achieve.
I am a source of strength, enabling them to stand.
I am a beam of light, shining upon their way.
And thus I stand.
And standing thus, revolve
And tread this way the ways of men,
And know the ways of God.
And thus I stand.
In our Scorpio meditation we will be directing our attention to the seemingly endless round of tests and trials that confront the disciple. The discipleship path leads us to face those tests as the soul: the healer, redeemer, liberator and warrior.
What is this discipleship path that involves such rigorous testing and draws forth all the qualities of the archetypal warrior within us? The dictionary will tell us that the disciple is someone who follows a particular leader of thought or a great artist. But for many who are experiencing the pull of the spiritual quest in these latter years of the twentieth century this definition will not suffice. "To thine own self be true" is the call. The disciple today is treading the inherently organic, undogmatic and outerly free path which commands obedience not to any external guru or teacher but to the inner ruler.
And what does the inner ruler demand of the disciple? The task set by the soul is quite simple. It is to serve; to serve humanity; to co-operate with the tide of evolution; and to do this as part of a group - to be absorbed in a group endeavour.
In the technical sense of the Alice Bailey teachings the discipleship path follows the probationary path. As probationers we sense the divine within and have the challenge of learning to work with the astral body so as not to be controlled by the desires, the preoccupations and dreams of our emotional life. During the probationary path we build character and are concerned with the purification of the personal self. To a great extent on the probationary path it is right and proper that we should be absorbed in our personal lives - resolving emotional problems and learning to purify desire.
The path of the probationer leads, after several lives, onto the discipleship path. Here the focus changes. The purpose of our work is no longer to purify the personality. The goal now is to use the mind as the medium through which the soul can express its purpose and vision. This does not mean that we automatically bring with us a perfectly pure emotional and physical vehicle - we only need to study the lives of some of the greatest world servers to see that this is often not the case. The point is that for the disciple, the major orientation and purpose in life is inspired by the soul and as the soul is allowed to take control of the personality, the problems - the obstacles to service thrown up by the personality - begin to lessen their hold.
There are an enormous number of people whose spirituality is leading them onto the discipleship path in this period in the evolution of consciousness. This is why philosophy, ideas and movements are so preoccupied with holism and interdependence, and it is why so many people feel an inner pressure to do something to manifest these principles in their lives and in society as a whole.
The urge to satisfy desire is perhaps the strongest tendency of the personality. And when the sceptics tell us "you cannot change human nature" I suspect it is this instinctual force of desire that they are referring to. Well of course human nature can be transformed - but it cannot be transformed without a tension, without a dynamic struggle. The elemental forces of the personality cannot be submerged by discipline, suppression or wishful thinking. They have a habit of surfacing where we least expect them.
So when, through a series of lives, the individual begins to identify with the purpose and life of the soul, the personality, fights back and the individual is repeatedly challenged to find a way of transmuting and redeeming ancient habits of thought and desire. Each time the soul is challenged, through a life crisis, the individual gains experience. Each time a little more is learnt of the way of the disciple: discrimination, dispassion and detachment.
It is said that, in Scorpio, the elemental forces of the personality rise up to face the disciple in three fundamental aspects of his or her life: physical, emotional and mental. Each of these three aspects of the battle have three distinct phases - testing three areas of the disciple's ability not to be swamped by the elemental forces of human nature. So there are nine archetypal tests - nine phases to the battle. And so it is, that in Scorpio, the legendary disciple Hercules confronts a nine-headed hydra.
On the physical plane the intention and will of the disciple is tested against the appetites for sex, for physical comfort and for money. On the astral plane the disciple must confront those three elements of glamour that are so much a part of the human experience: ambition, hatred and fear. And in the lower, critical mind there is a need to face intrinsic tendencies to pride, separativeness and cruelty.
There is so much for all of us to learn as we reflect on these nine archetypal tests. For in a sense, although specific individuals are facing specific tests at different times of their lives, the discipleship group as a whole represents the disciple consciousness within humanity. And as such we share a collective responsibility to address all nine tests. The discipleship group is engaged in a concentrated struggle to achieve the great goals of our time: health for all; the elimination of poverty; protection and care for children; the legal guarantee of human rights and freedom in all parts of the world . . . and so on. The struggle to achieve these goals is a reflection of humanity's battle with the nine tests.
The new world order that people of goodwill dream of requires that governments and peoples have established sufficient detachment from ancient appetites, glamours and mental attitudes to be able to organise national and international economic, educational and political structures that will be accepted by the people and will guarantee basic rights and expect basic responsibilities from all. The tests are not simply personal - they are a universal experience. Thus there is a link between the pride, hatred, cruelty, fear and separativeness that manifests in so many of the conflicts in the world and our own lesser battles. At a more pervasive level there is a link between our own appetites for money and physical comfort and the presence of poverty in the world. Before there can be right economic relations there must be a willingness to sacrifice excessive wealth, or the desire for excessive wealth, and to give sacrificially in service - we cannot expect of governments, or large companies what we are not willing or able to do ourselves.
In discussing these nine tests we need to remember that the soul's journey encompasses many incarnations and that there comes a time, for the individual and for humanity as a whole, when the testing assumes a wider significance than it might otherwise have. There is a level of instinctual memory that stretches back through time - through lives - and through collective racial and religious experience. It is said that when soul contact has been established with sufficient strength, and when there is an opportunity for initiation to be taken, the recesses of distant memory come to life and the disciple can be confronted with experiences which are "the sum total of all instinctual tendencies, of all inherited glamours and all phases of wrong mental attitude, the unconquered residue and (excessively potent) ancient liabilities" of the past. When this happens the battle assumes a more profound significance as the Dweller on the Threshold and the Angel of the Presence stand face to face.
This talk about tests and trials may seem from the angle of the personality to be depressing and offer us little hope of grace, liberation or tranquillity. Yet, as the key words for our meditation tell us, Warrior I am and from the battle I emerge triumphant, this is far from the truth. We should remember that the disciple chooses a life and an environment that will make trials and tests unavoidable - that this is how we learn detachment and discrimination. Without these tests it is doubtful that we would ever build within ourselves the ability to serve as the soul wishes - with abundant intelligent love.
I was struck by the phrase used in Esoteric Astrology to describe the key words for Scorpio. The key words express the impulse of the soul as it enters a life under the influence of a particular sign. For most signs Esoteric Astrology introduces these words with rather matter of fact language. But in Scorpio we learn that the soul of the disciple enters incarnation under this sign with joy: The soul "chants or sings the words 'Warrior I am and from the battle I emerge triumphant"'.
The emphasis, from this vantage point is not the battle itself - it is the triumph of the warrior, the redeeming soul. To quote from 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."
I want to conclude with a quotation from a brief essay titled The Shambhala Warriors by the American Buddhist writer, Joanna Macy. The essay is about a prophecy that emerged in Tibetan Buddhism over twelve centuries ago. Joanna Macy relates how her Tibetan friends in India, in particular Choegyal Rinpoche, recounted the prophecy to her in 1980, telling her that the signs of the Shambhala Warriors could be seen in the world.
The story tells of a time when all life on Earth is in danger, divided between two great powers, each bearing weapons "of unfathomable destructive power". At such a time the kingdom of Shambhala begins to emerge. "It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala warriors". The warriors' task is to dismantle the weapons of the two great powers, and they can do this because they know that the weapons are "mind-made".
Made by the human mind, they can be unmade by the human mind. The Shambhala warriors know the dangers that threaten life on Earth are not visited upon us by any extraterrestrial powers, satanic deities, or preordained evil fate. They arise from our own decisions, our own lifestyles, and our own relationships.
So in this time, the Shamhhala warriors go into training. When Choegyal said this, I asked 'How do they train?' They train, he said, in the use of two weapons. 'What weapons?' I asked, and he held up his hands in the way the Lamas hold the ritual objects of bell and dorje in the lama dance.
The weapons are compassion and insight. Both are necessary, he said. You have to have compassion because it gives you the juice, the power, the passion to move. When you open to the pain of the world you move, you act. But that weapon by itself is not enough. It can burn you Out, so you need the other - you need insight into the radical interdependence of all phenomena. With that wisdom you know that it is not a battle between good guys and bad guys, but that the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart. With insight into our profound interrelatedness, you know that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern. By itself, that insight may appear too cool, too conceptual, to sustain you and keep you moving, so you need the heat of the compassion. Together, within each Shambhala warrior and among the warriors themselves, these two can sustain us as agents of wholesome change. They are gifts for us to claim now in the healing of our world.
The goal of all the tests in Scorpio is, in Alice Bailey's words, to establish "right relations with the soul and also with the environment". We could also say, could we not, that the tests of Scorpio anchor the insights of the soul so firmly and clearly in the mind that the disciple is able to act in the world with compassion. And that this is the path that humanity is now upon: interdependence is becoming such a living presence on the plane of mind that we can be assured that, in time, compassion will break out in all the structures of our global relationships. The path of the warrior is, ultimately, a triumphant path.