We are familiar with the statement that a main objective of the Hierarchy is to raise human consciousness and that this means to expand human consciousness, well understood as greater awareness of spiritual realities. This includes progress from individual consciousness to group consciousness and for this purpose group meditation is a chief aid.
Therefore the increasing practice of group meditation is important and the fact that group meditation is increasing particularly in the western world is heartening.
The service activity called Triangles is group meditation by the smallest possible group, i.e. three people, for a specific purpose: namely to create, expand and perfect a worldwide network of light and goodwill. The Triangles work is showing growth and its potency is increasingly recognised. The quality of the lives of the participants in terms of spiritual values is the foundation on which its effectiveness rests.
This is also true of all larger groups meditating for spiritual purposes. The creation and perfecting of these larger groups is also direct cooperation with Hierarchy.
The Hierarchy, at this worldwide crisis point of expanding human consciousness, is focusing its combined potency in sustained action in flooding humanity with the energy of goodwill. The Hierarchy can make more goodwill available and can direct its flow to humanity, but how much into humanity depends upon our receptivity. This requires our focused and sustained attention to goodwill action and is most greatly aided by right group meditation practice well sustained.
The Triangles work and all group meditation is a most effective aid to hierarchical action and to the work of the Christ. It is fundamental and of tremendous power and usefulness as we enter the new age. Triangles work is carried forward daily. This gives it sustained, rhythmic life. Other group meditation work is generally carried on weekly or monthly. But the establishing of regular, rhythmic action is essential.
We have then to basic factors in group meditation action:
1. The quality of the lives lived by the group members;
2. The potency of rhythmic regularity.
The second requirement is readily appreciated. The first is less understood, less recognised and often somewhat ignored.
A third necessity is for group integration. Without this the usefulness is at best the sum total of the individual qualities. With group integration the value of the work is much greater. This takes time, is a matter of growth and is essentially subjective. The acceptance by all the members of the group of a common purpose, if held steady, will produce group integration unless blocked by individual criticisms, ambitions for leadership, wavering allegiance to the goal and feebleness of character. Authoritarian, dominating leadership makes real subjective potency impossible.
Leadership is important in all group action and should emerge naturally and without planned effort if real spiritual work is to be achieved. Its foundation is also the spiritual quality of the life of the leader, plus his grasp of deep spiritual essentials, plus his ability to practise that mind control necessary to occult meditation. It requires a life characterised by selflessness, harmlessness and right speech. It needs that sort of personality which is easily forgotten by others when engaged in group action, just as the individual in the group best serves as he most completely forgets himself while contributing his quota to group effectiveness.
Small groups can have a very specific objective and real consecration to the task undertaken. In such groups harmony can more easily be maintained and integration can be more rapid. However, they must not be separative in attitude nor affected by group pride or the subtle poison of special destiny and superiority, nor by the notion that the Hierarchy is watching them "with bated breath". Such groups often stabilise on a rhythm of weekly meetings. This is good if the members are positioned to keep it up, but regularity is more important than frequency. Silence before and after the meeting is a great help. Social gatherings by members are not helpful, however enjoyable. Such gatherings tend to increase personal relations which have to be transcended in group work. Impersonality among the members should increase as time goes on. Impersonality increases true group love, but need not be rigid or fanatical. Increasingly, group members recognise each other and think of each other as souls and forget about each other as persons.
It is almost impossible to do new age type occult group meditation work with strongly Piscean fanatical people. Also, it is not wise to attempt group meditation with people who have not yet achieved at least some degree of effective individual meditation.
Secrecy is not needed for group work in meditation. There is nothing secret in group meditation techniques. There is no occasion for secrecy about the fact that a group exists or who is in it or what the chosen specific purpose is. Today, all secret groups and secret meetings are suspect. Nevertheless, reticence about the group by its members is useful and helps to cut down the useless escape of group energy. Silence is golden.
The length of the actual meditation should be determined by how long the group, as a group, can sustain a dynamic force. The work should always be dynamic and a strongly held focus is more fruitful than half an hour or more lukewarm attention with less mental control.
The actual group meditation is not an occasion for teaching the group members. That should be provided at other times, not by speeches or short lectures but by group discussion, thus helping to produce group integration.
All this is a very high standard of group relationship, impossible as yet for some people. Certainly group members should not expect perfection from other members, remembering that criticism within a group destroys the group and does not help the one criticised. With most of us it is a matter of a critical attitude more than of critical speech.
There is another type of group meditation work which can be effective and which is increasingly appearing. Such meetings are most usefully held once a month at the time of the full moon. Calling them full noon meetings is not particularly helpful. They are better simply called meditation meetings. Such meetings should be open to the public and by personal invitation and can include a short talk by a good, well-informed speaker. The main feature, however, should be the closing group meditation, which may last about 20 minutes or so according to the growing ability of the group to hold its mental focus. Newspaper notices can be useful if limited to date, place and hour, with no "come on" verbiage. The best method of attendance growth is by word of mouth by those attending. This type of group work should not be judged in terms of the size of the meetings. Better work is done if attendance growth is rather slow. This type of meditation meeting is helped by not being identified with any special "ism" or cult nor by usual propaganda action. For example, the Arcane School holds such meeting but not under the name of the School. The Arcane School is not hidden nor is it displayed. The group meditation meetings are not held for the purpose of teaching esotericism to the public. That is appropriate for other type meetings. Esoteric work should always be completely free. What will be wise action at one time and place with available cooperators may be unfortunate in certain respects elsewhere.
Some esotericists think that meditation is superior to prayer. For some it is, but not for all. Speaking generally, meditation involves mind control and prayer involves emotional energy. Prayer is of two kinds:
1. For personal relief or to get personal physical benefits, and2. In worship of God.
Meditation is also of two kinds:
1. Mystical, a high stage of emotional control and faith, and
2. Occult, based on the mental faculty in man, requiring the use of the will and convictions about the fact of the human soul. Occult meditation negates dependence on authorities, must be reasonable, but transcends logic and requires proficiency in self-control and persistent practice.
The human family being about two-thirds illiterate, it will be sane time yet before prayer will have lost its usefulness. Indeed, D.K. has said that the Great Invocation when used by the masses, as is its destiny, will become a world prayer. The Aryan period of evolution is occupied with building and perfecting mental bodies for man to think with.
Keen appreciation of the value of occult meditation does no violence to our needed humility. There can be much pride in knowledge, but humility characterises wisdom. Now we generally use our minds to register knowledge. We need to use our minds to gain wisdom.
Praise is not due a senior student in school for doing well what is new to the junior grade, but old to him. In the school of life, most seniors are senior largely because they, when juniors, failed in this and that and are therefore repeating. A few, exemplified by the Christ and the Buddha, pressed on with little or no failure and so outstripped the rest of us. Therefore we can wisely learn from them.
When a student was asked what she did in meditation, she replied "I sit down and get real quiet, shut my eyes, open my mouth and wait for something to happen". She had transcended asking God for things, but the standard meditation technique for the mystic is to begin by emptying the mind of all thought. This is a negative way of mind control and unless the motive and the life lived by the meditator are pure, can be dangerous, even leading to obsessions. It can also lead to emotional ecstasy and selfless sacrifice.
Occult meditation is never negative but requires a conscious control of thought. It includes a seed thought upon which the meditator concentrates his attention and so induces thought about it. He still uses his highly developed desire power because he desires to so meditate, having accepted the conviction that it is valuable. The recognised value and the desire to gain that value, plus repetition of wilful concentration, induces thought related to the chosen seed idea. The spiritual ideals inherent in esoteric meditation produce changes in the personality and even if not known and worked for, result in selflessness, harmlessness and right speech. How much better to know what one is doing and why.
It is obvious therefore that knowing more definitely how to think will help us. It is possible to build in creative thought and to speed up our mental control if we learn more about what thought is and how to initiate it.
A great many books have been written about thought and its development and uses but perhaps as good as anything is the teaching about the constitution of man clearly expressed and available to all. The value here lies in knowledge of the soul and of the mental body, plus the goal of the use of the mind by the soul. We start with the personality controlling the mind, and end with the soul controlling the personality through the mind because we as soul-infused persons have chosen to achieve soul control. This choice is an epoch-making event in the life and can be dramatic and quite amazing to our friends. Without the influence of the soul, occult meditation can lead to slavery to the enhanced potency of the lower mind, for the ancient statement is true that "the mind is the slayer of the real". Influenced by the soul the mind is the revealer of the real.
In occult meditation we are dealing with three energies, the energy of the soul, the energy inherent in the matter we have built into our mental body, and the accumulated characteristic energy quality of many lives. Realising these three factors is a wise and a first step in achieving a conscious condition of a soul-infused personality. What we know about we can control, aided by the use of the will.
The first stage in the use of the will is the personal establishment of a fixed, definite and persistent purpose. As an effect, we achieve the use of the will power of our own souls. First we accept the idea, then we idealise the idea, and then we put it into practice. This experience is analogous, on a higher turn of the spiral, to the old style religious conversion induced by evangelists largely using emotional energy.
The brain is the instrument we use to register thought. It does not originate thought. Thought is the result of modifications in the substance of the mental body. If our brains register these changes, they become real to us; otherwise not. If we force our brains to react to thought impacts it is like improving a radio set. This we can do by forcing ourselves to pay attention to our own thought impulses. These emerge because we have a mental body, just as emotional impulses emerge because we have an emotional body, in which case we are thereby characterised by emotional considerations.
That we have a physical body is obvious to our five senses. That we have a mental body is not. But we can become conscious of it and control it as we can our physical body, by paying attention to it and using it for right purposes. Intention, plus attention and wise use, are three requisites for improving, potentising and controlling mental substance and therefore our own mental bodies. Also, we can pour love energy into our mental bodies, which is most important for all for its health, sensitivity and growth. But this we well know should not be done because it is our body, a motive which automatically distorts the quality of true love, but because resulting thought is more useful to others and hastens the control by the soul. Nations also have souls.
The focused intent of a high grade integrated person can directly affect mental substance; the intent of a soul-infused personality much more so and the direct impact of the soul most powerfully of all. We can think on any level we are conscious of.
- From the book Running God's Plan by Foster Bailey