Festival of Leo Talk
The text which follows was an address given by a member of the Headquarters staff of Lucis Trust at one of our public meetings. The purpose of these brief talks is to prepare and seed the group mind for the real work to be done--group meditation. This talk can be used by individuals and groups who wish to cooperate with this service.
The Paradox of the Path
Good evening friends.
Welcome to our group meditation in the sign of Leo.Tonight we are going to reflect on the paradox of the path.As we move forward on the path many paradoxes emerge as our essential duality is recognized and experienced.We ourselves are a living paradox until such time as the reality of our true identity is known.
Before we explore the paradox of the Path, it’s useful to have in mind some of the powerful influences which are open to us in Leo. The first ray of the will to rule, as well as the fifth ray of the will to illumine, emanate from this constellation. Together the two could be said to demonstrate a “rule of light”, a power that pours through the Sun, ruling Leo in three aspects – exoterically, esoterically and hierarchically. This triple relation of the Sun to Leo is unique in our solar system. The outer influence of the physical sun brings self-consciousness, then comes group-consciousness in response to the light pouring from the heart of the sun. Finally, there is the hierarchical influence from the central spiritual sun.These lights indicate those major shifts of identity and the development of that true Self-consciousness which find expression in this sign. It’s encouraging that the work of the group of mystics who respond to the energy emanating from the heart of the sun is growing, no doubt because ‘the heart of the solar Logos’ beats now in closer rhythm with the earth than has previously been the case.
Above all, Leo is a sign of individuality. It is descriptive of a life that is self-directed with a definite plan.Its spiritual potential is a state of highly developed perception and integration as opposed to its earliest manifestation when the will to dominate reigns and desire rules.In contrast the developed energies of Leo redirect personality forces and provide a vehicle that can act as an agent of the divine Plan.
The sign of Leo is particularly significant in today’s world as it encompasses both the selfish desire of the integrated person focused in their “I am” consciousness on the one hand, and the illumining power of the advanced, controlled Leo subject responsive to the influence of the heart of the Sun on the other. Added to this, the influence of Leo and Sirius together have an important part to play in promoting sensitivity to a wider, subtler field of relationships.Sirius, the great star, conveys the principle of freedom, an aspect of Cosmic Love which permeates the universal field of mind.
At this point let us pause and bear in mind these powerful influences which are helping to shape world events, and then say together the Affirmation of the Disciple:
I am a point of light within a greater Light
I am a way by which men may achieve
And standing thus revolve
I am That and That am I.Leo’s keynote for the disciple reveals the level of identity attained as a result of the evolution of consciousness and freedom from lesser controls, such as glamour and illusion. Clarity or confusion will emerge depending on where we stand in relation to these varying degrees of identity and perspective. This explains the apparent paradoxes which exist in esoteric teachings.A paradox is a statement that seems to contradict itself but which may nonetheless be true and is used to reveal deeper truths. An illustrative example is the Zen koan, Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand?
A commentary by Victor Hori explains that a monk first thinks a kōan is an inert object upon which to focus his attention; after a long period of consecutive repetition, he realizes the kōan is also a dynamic activity - the very activity of seeking an answer to the kōan. The kōan is both the concept being sought and the seeking itself. In a kōan, the seeker sees the self not directly but under the guise of the kōan ... When one “makes real" this identity, then two hands become one. The practitioner becomes the kōan that he or she is striving to understand. Perhaps we could say it is a process of harmonising the notes of the lower and higher self,the sound of one hand.
The common theme of the koan is the inquiry and introspection of dualistic conceptualisation. Each koan epitomises the polarities of consciousness that act like a wall to the insight. The student is challenged to transcend the polarity the koan represents and demonstrate or show that transcendence to the Zen teacher.Western meditation is concerned with creative, bridging thinking to access the truth of identity. However, it too has to transcend the logic and complexity of the lower mind by penetrating the form or seed thought to become sensitive to underlying spiritual principles and universal truths, revealing meanings and purpose from a higher soul perspective.
One twentieth century chemist, physicist and philosopher, Rene Schwaller, considered this reasoning from the point of view of revolutionary changes taking place in science. When considering the strange, unpredictable and ever-changing world of sub-atomic particles, he agreed with Einstein about the existence of a universal Order. However, Schwaller also appreciated that complementarity and uncertainty demand our minds to stretch beyond the "either/or" literality of logic, to an understanding of how we can hold mutually exclusive ideas together – the basic idea behind a Zen koan. The result, Schwaller believed, can be an illogical but illuminating insight.
This "simultaneity of opposite states" played a great part in Schwaller's understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphics. It characterizes what he calls symbolique, a way of holding together the object of sense perception and the content of inner knowing, in a creative polarity. When the Egyptians saw the hieroglyph of a bird, they knew it was a sign for the individual creature, but they also knew it was a symbol of the "cosmic function" that the creature exemplified – flight – as well as all the myriad characteristics associated with it. Hieroglyphics did not merely designate; they evoked. As he wrote in Symbol and the Symbolic (40), "the observation of a simultaneity of mutually contradictory states . . . demonstrates the existence of two forms of intelligence".
Our rational, scientific intelligence is of the mind and the senses. The other form of intelligence, whose most total expression Schwaller eventually located in the civilization of ancient Egypt, is of "the heart." This search for the "intelligence of the heart" became Schwaller's life work. He believed the appearance of the new physics indicated humanity was moving toward a massive shift in awareness, and he related this shift to the precession of the equinoxes and the coming Age of Aquarius. But he also believed that science alone couldn't provide the deepest insights into the true character of the world. For this, he argued, a new kind of consciousness is necessary.1
Each disciple expresses this inclusive consciousness but he faces the paradox, that the more he progresses on the Path, the less he really knows; and the more he enters the light, the greater the darkness he experiences as he comes up against the Dweller on the Threshold, the sum total of all illusion, glamour and maya.We can see this reflected in humanity’s evolution and in current world events.The struggle to impose order on chaotic conditions using the tried techniques of logic is coming up against the need to unfold an international heart, a new consciousness.Rapid change has led to the unfolding of the mental principle and, as the world mind seeks solutions to seemingly intractable global problems, it evokes the soul of humanity.Paradoxically it is the collective soul of humanity that is stirring consciousness and shaking up all departments of human living so that we can move beyond the entrenched forces which currently hold us captive.Perhaps we haven’t yet quite grasped the degree of revolutionary change still required to rebuild the world on sounder lines.The unsustainable march of capitalism, with its interest accumulation and debt, could be considered the koan of economics with its dependence on growth; and it's been disturbing yet at the same time fascinating to observe the Greek crisis with its ever growing and insurmountable debt causing so much suffering to its people. At the same time, this crisis is a forerunner to what will inevitably unfold for others unless the intelligence of the heart is active and consciousness further perfected.
Today we have the paradoxical situation where countless individuals and groups are seeking solutions to problems, giving money in aid, freely sharing creations and information.Nations are sharing resources with those in need leading to success such as seen recently in Ethiopia which has wisely used development aid to regenerate its country. Conversely, because of vested interests and without a viable alternative, economics continues to drive politics and society instead of society driving economics.
Looking at this paradox within the context of the European Union, Leo’s influence of the will to illumine and to control is present in numerous member states.Leo is the personality ruler of France and of the city of Berlin, the soul ruler of Italy and, as witnessed by the many statues of its symbol, the lion, of the city of London.As we move into the Age of Aquarius, the polar opposite to Leo, hopefully we will see a shift to policies that demonstrate the courage of heart for such approaches are automatically universal in their considerations of the real needs of individual nations.The group sharing and unifying vision of the European Union are now being tested in application. Policies based on flexibility, imagination, soul creativity and the circulatory flow of heart are needed.
In safeguarding the happiness and prosperity of its people any man-made political system has its limits. No political system, no matter how ideal it appears, can bring about peace and happiness as long as that system is governed by glamour, hatred and greed. As Buddhists know, no matter what system is adopted, certain universal factors are at play; the effects of good and bad karma, the lack of real satisfaction or everlasting happiness in a world characterized by impermanence. Nowhere in that seemingly endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth, is there real freedom.Freedom itself is a paradox.While there is free will, freedom itself has limits and is constrained within planetary law. The breaking of that law brings consequences. Although guaranteed human rights are an important condition for a happy society, it should always be borne in mind that freedom cannot be found in any system but only in minds which can be free. People have to free themselves from the chains of ignorance and desire. Freedom in the truest sense is only possible when the mind is trained to expand mental potential and achieve the ultimate aim of enlightenment.
Now the goal is to move into a greater degree of freedom through the influence of the soul emanating from the heart of the sun; for humanity to align itself with the spiritual Hierarchy through a developing group consciousness. We recall the paradox that the initiate is an initiate before he undergoes initiation, a reflection very much in line with the fact that the disciple “knows because he serves, and not serves because he knows”.These paradoxes can be considered in relation to planetary crises and are beautifully reflected in the approach of the disciple to the Great Ashram to partake in its Great Service and the recognition that fiery aspiration is not sufficient.It is vital for the disciple to bring something more to it.The pull of the heart draws the aspiring disciple back into the world to serve, something which becomes of more significance to him than solely moving forward on the path.He learns that the freedom of the ashram will be his when he understands the meaning of the paradoxical statement “Go out the door and leave the Ashram as it was and as you are; seek for another entrance; find what you seek by leaving it behind, move forward through the art ofmoving back”.
“Moving forward through the art of moving back”. This is a fascinating instruction.It appears to epitomise, to a certain extent, humanity’s experience as it moves collectively to a new consciousness.Despite the growth in group understanding, humanity is having to confront aspects of the Dweller it has created – to find alternatives to materialism, to dismantle wrong thinking. Dealing with their effects could lead us to believe that little progress is being made but, with a few definite shifts away from the prevailing separative thinking to a greater sense of the value of the individual and the fact of the One humanity, the race might suddenly find itself liberated from some of its persistent problems.Perfection isn’t required, but a degree of freedom from materialism, jingoism and separatism is essential.Thinking in a non-linear way for solutions, responding to a culture of spiritual freedom, may see humanity move to higher ground in a way that is not, at first, apparent.
In connection with this, there is a beautiful statement on the principle of spiritual freedom and its paradoxical nature in The Rays and the Initiations by Alice Bailey. It reads:
“It is the principle of freedom which enables Sanat Kumara to dwell on the Earth and yet stand free from all contacts, except with Those Who have trodden the Path of Liberation and now stand free upon the cosmic physical plane; it is that which enables the initiate to achieve a state of "isolated unity"; it is that which lies behind the Spirit of Death and forms the motivating power of that great releasing Agency; it is that which provides a "pathway of power" between our Hierarchy and the distant sun, Sirius, and gives the incentive towards the "culture of freedom" or of liberation which motivates the work of the Masters of the Wisdom; it is that which produced the ferment and the vortex of conflict in far distant ages and which has been recognised in the present through the results of the Law of Evolution in every kingdom in nature; this is that which "substands" or lies under or behind all progress.This mysteriously "exerted influence," this "pulling away" from form (as we might simply call it), emanates from Sirius and for it we have no name; it is the law of which the three cosmic laws—the Laws of Synthesis, of Attraction and of Economy—are only aspects.None of these three subsidiary laws imposes any rule or limitation upon the Lord of the World.The Law of Freedom, however, does impose certain restrictions, if one can use such a paradoxical phrase.It is responsible for His being known as the "Great Sacrifice," for (under the control of this law) He created our planetary life and all that is within and upon it, in order to learn to wield this law with full understanding, in full consciousness, and yet at the same time to bring release to the myriad forms of His creation.”2
As for us in our work tonight, we can bear in mind our creative task to align the mind and brain to function as one with the soul, the thinker in the kingdom of the soul.In so doing, we are being called upon to disengage from the frictional fires of life in matter where we endlessly revolve, achieving little.Together we can pass into the stream of solar fire that purifies as it spirals us forward towards soul fusion where the paradox of the path is finally resolved in the blazing light of unification. So let us now meditate with others around the world using the paradoxical keynote for the disciple in Leo I am That and That am I.
Full Moon Festival in Leo –
1 Rene Schwaller de Lubicz and the Intelligence of the Heart, Gary Lachman, Quest 89 January-February 2000.
2 The Rays and the Initiations, p417