Our work is centred on the idea that we are a group of thinkers - a group that is able, together, to think with concentration, focus, imagination. We can forget ourselves, our problems, our life circumstances in this. Even if we are relatively new to active, creative thinking, one of the values of group work is that we can easily imagine that there will be others in the group who are more skilled, experienced, wise and concentrated in this work than we are. So there is a lighted pool of thought and we can imagine just stepping into it.
Imagine a field of lighted, purposeful thought. Just imagine a group where each participant wants, more than anything else, to use time together in meditation to be of use in the general uplift and transformation of consciousness. This is the opportunity we have in coming together around the full moon.
But the group is much much broader than even the group of people using this web site. In inner work the realms of time and space fall away. Think of all the other groups of meditators all over the world, sitting at this time for world service. Imagine that the group of those we know is part of this lighted field of mind and heart. Think of all the wonderfully trained and skilled minds that are a part of this global group. Imagine its qualities - the shared energies of mind of human beings in incarnation - centred, poised, purposeful, joyful.
Sit for a moment within the field of thought of the global meditating group. And now look inwards and upwards -to the super realms of consciousness of the Great Ones on the inner side of life. Every religion, every spiritual and mythical tradition from every culture in the world has always recognised the presence of Lighted Beings. Can we sense the presence of the Christ - of the mind that is in Christ; of the Buddhas, the Saints, Sheikhs, and the masters of all the traditions? Can we sense something of the angelic realms? And beyond, can we extend our gaze upwards to the centre of peaceful silent will, the Fathers House, known in Tibetan Buddhist circles as Shamballa? Sense the stream of energies flowing from the higher realms - sense the infinite breadth of wisdom and compassion - the illumination, the peace and, above all, the radiance.
It is within this inner environment of thought that we will be meditating. Our task as part of a global network of meditators is to invoke the radiance of the Great One's on behalf of the entire human family. To visualise that radiance flowing out into every initiative that seeks to bring higher principles into expression; flowing out into all those human spaces where love is being brought to life; strengthening and nourishing everything being done to eradicate poverty, to provide for the peaceful resolution of disputes, to empower human rights and responsibilities and to make our world progressively more just, unified and whole.
The Scorpio energies have much to tell us about the nature of the spiritual path. When we think of the Scorpion, there is one thing our mind focuses on: the sting. And traditionally when we think of Scorpio in astrological terms this sting makes us think about difficult, painful, challenging, testing lives. Scorpio is not an easy ride. It brings with it crisis.
So how is this reflected in the spiritual life? What can be seen as difficult and painful from the vantage point of the personality appears quite differently when seen in the light of our highest Self, the inner Christ. As we mature spiritually, through life after life, we begin increasingly to look at our circumstances, our environment, and our whole being from this higher vantage point of the True Self - of the Soul on its own plane. Our focus shifts from being the one who is immersed in the experience of the personal self to the one who is the observer of the personal self. If the spiritual path is about anything, it is about this shift in identity - it is fundamental.
To cease to be identified with the personality does not mean a rejection of the personal; it is not to hate the form as if it were sinful - but it is about the long process of becoming identified, in mind and heart, with Soul and, as Soul, learning to work lovingly, understandingly and in a disciplined way in the world of time and space to bring light, love and power into the world. This is simply the process of the maturing of the human psyche - a process that the soul directs with great care and attention over many, many lifetimes. And in this process of maturing, Scorpio has a most benign and wondrous role to play.
The sting of life brings with it tests, experienced by the personality as crises. But what are tests all about? In any environment they are to test our mettle - to see how deep our learning has been - to see if we can actually apply what we know theoretically - to see if we truly understand, and can apply what we think we know. And as a result of the tests we get to know where we are - what we still have to learn, where we need to put our focus. Everything is revealed in a good test - it shines a light into all those areas we would rather remain instinctive, hidden and unconscious.
The soul's task is first of all, through a cycle of lives, to build up a reservoir of personal experience - to be fully immersed in the world of time and space - fully exercised in the realms of physicality, emotion, and mind.
Why would the soul sacrifice its lighted nature to immerse itself into the limitations of the separated self? In one sense this is a mystery - a mystery that we will understand far better when our present incarnation is over and we return to the state of pure Soul, prior to our next incarnation. But down the ages there have been teachings to guide our reflections on the nature of soul. And the teaching that rings true to me on this question is that the keynote of the soul - its defining characteristic - is as a unit of service - a point of individualised consciousness wholly preoccupied with the task of serving the divine Plan. The Plan concerns the transformation of every level of consciousness so that it reflects, in an appropriate way, the qualities of the divine. We are part, a little cog in the wheel, a tiny part of this vast, cosmological process, destined to make of the Earth a sacred planet.
So the souls task in incarnation is first to build a reservoir of personal experience, of immersion in the world of the self, and then to engineer a turning point. The incarnated centre of awareness, the separated self, becomes aware that it has a higher nature, an inner self - a turning point that may take several lives to fully achieve. The turning process involves periods of struggle and conflict - and this is where the Scorpio energies do their work. It initiates crisis as a tool for evolutionary growth.
Because we are so conditioned by time and space, we always need to remind ourselves that the path is not linear; that the Scorpio influenced crises leading to reorientation will be spread over several lives, and will involve different levels of intensity, perhaps, sometimes culminating in a life of intense crisis and challenge.
It is said that the Scorpion brings as its gift three tests to check on the personality's readiness to reorient itself to the life of the soul; to show that it is ready for initiation and to demonstrate that it has at least a modicum of sensitivity to the divine Plan. Each test is said to have three stages, implying that we pass through the Scorpio influence nine times as we grow into a cycle of lives where we are learning about discipleship.
The three tests concern the three levels of personality: physical, emotional, mind. They force us to face the unconscious, unredeemed, instinctive aspects of our personal lives so that these can be transformed, transmuted and rendered harmless. On the physical plane, the tests are all about the appetites that are inherent in our animal nature. They concern the appetites for sex, for physical comfort and for money; and they face the fact that these appetites can be unacknowledged driving forces in our life - addictive and liable to interrupt our higher intentions. The Scorpion will challenge the individual to learn discrimination: recognising that the ancient appetites cannot be repressed. They are to be rightly managed in the light of our higher goals and aspirations.
On the emotional plane it is the realm of desire that the Scorpion stings us with. The three stages of the test force us to confront fear, hatred and ambition / the desire for power. The challenge is to learn dispassion. The key to all of the tests is that they cannot be addressed at their own level. Emotional issues cannot be addressed at the level of the emotions - they need to be raised up to the mind where they can be thought through and their effects on self and others be observed with equanimity.
On the level of mind the tests concern the critical mind: pride, separateness and mental cruelty. These tests challenge us to develop what might be called the detached loving mind - that aspect of mind, blended with heart, where we can see with understanding and with a broad, inclusive perspective. Intuitional knowledge, the knowledge of the heart, or of what can be thought of as the 'heart in the head', can dispel these brittle taints of mind as we begin to see life and all events in relation to divine purpose.
In essence the whole point about getting stung by these appetites, desires and illusory ideas is to bring illumination right down into time and space. The crises eventually force us to find the way whereby we can let soul light pour into and through every aspect of our being. From the soul's vantage point the Scorpio experience is one of going into battle, using the military mind to plan with care and discipline. And, because the soul sees everything whole, outside of time and space, there is the knowledge that triumph is assured. This is why the soul is said to chant, to sing with joy, the keynote of Scorpio, which we will be using in our meditation: "Warrior am I, and from the battle I emerge triumphant".
Scorpio is a wonderful sign for us to consider the emergence of the new culture and civilisation. It is as if, in our time, history is providing us with all the tests and challenges we need to collectively build healthy community, on a global scale. All the big issues we confront today, climate change, security, human rights, global co-operation, interdependence, relations with the animal kingdom and the plant kingdom: they are all soul-sized issues. They bring the sting of life, wake us up, challenge us individually and collectively to move beyond the comfort zone and take responsibility for giving incarnation to a measure of the good the beautiful and the true. The issues force us to be involved - to begin to find our life meaning and purpose in relation to evolutionary processes. And that is why the sting of life is so healthy and good.
Ultimately the sting challenges each of us to be creative thinkers, intuitively sensitive to the purposes and perspective of the Christ within. It helps us to clean up our act, bring the shadow into the light of day so that, with detachment, dispassion and power we can bring the higher light right into mental, emotional and physical substance of our lives.