What an interesting, if puzzling, time this is to be alive. The end of the century and the millennium have been anticipated and prognosticated and prophesied for ages, really. Within Christianity—and, perhaps, other religions—it has been seen as a time of reckoning, a day of judgment. The Ageless Wisdom given to us in the books Alice Bailey wrote with the Tibetan put enormous significance on this period. For, not only is it an inauguration of a new age—the Age of Aquarius—and of a new ray energy—the Seventh Ray of Order and Ritual, next year will also be an occasion for the release of the Shamballa force—the energy of the divine Will.
Added to this is our own little human-created dilemma of the Y2K problem, and it’s clear that there is a certain amount of fear or, at least, anxiety associated with the dawning of a new century and a new millennium. Yet, above all else, we should see it as an opportunity—a moment when the inpouring spiritual energies and the receptive questioning of humanity can combine to effect a real shift in human consciousness if the "world knowers"—the New Group of World Servers—respond appropriately and abundantly.
Sometimes, it seems as if esotericists view the Shamballa force with a mixture of dread and awe. But, the only reason for dread would be too selfish and self-centered an approach to this energy. It’s true that the Shamballa force, the energy of divine Will, can be destructive, but only if the vessel or channel through which it flows is inadequate or impure. There is safety in numbers when dealing with the Shamballa energy. "Use all the forces which may flow into the group in service," the Tibetan said. "The force flowing in may prove too strong for the individual disciple to handle alone, but the force is shared by the group if there is complete group at-one-ment."
It’s an indication of how little we understand about the Shamballa force, and the nature of the will, that it’s often seen as coercive, overpowering and destructive—and it can be all of that and more, if we are considering individual separativeness, isolation and selfishness. Energy, as we know, is impersonal. Its impact depends upon the quality of the receiving mechanism. The Shamballa force can be used (or misused) as a regimenting, standardizing force, but its higher expression is unifying and synthetic. The two key words to the right use of the Shamballa energy, we’re told, are group use and understanding.
The two great handicaps to its right use are its misdirection to selfish purposes and what the Tibetan calls "the blocking, hindering, muddled opposition of the well-meaning people of the world who talk vaguely and beautifully about love, but refuse to consider the techniques of the will of God in operation." He’s referring to the negative, passive attitude of well-meaning people who confuse an inert acceptance of evil with true right human relations; who believe that destruction could never be wielded for purposes of a greater good. They don’t understand, he says, that "fiery goodwill and the conscious focused use of the Shamballa force can counter fire with fire."
How often do we think of "fiery goodwill?" Yet, it is a powerful force to behold when it’s rightly wielded. It destroys a cleavage without destroying the spirit. It reveals a path out of an apparent impasse by drawing upon the power of synthesis, which places two (or more) conflicting viewpoints within the context of a still greater whole.
The key to understanding the will, and the reason that its right use is group use, is that the secret of the will lies in the "recognition of the unconquerable nature of goodness and the inevitability of the ultimate triumph of good." The power of divinity and the force which mobilizes the Plan, is synthesis—wholeness—which expresses as the good of the whole. That which is life-enhancing and oriented to the future is good because the essence of the universe is love. This recognition is what probably led Einstein to declare that he had concluded, "the universe is a friendly place."
Why, then, are so many people taking Prozac and St. John’s Wort and Kava-Kava? Why is there so much anxiety and depression today? We’re all aware of it and many of us may be personally familiar with these symptoms and remedies. Maybe it’s the increasing stimulation of the energies pouring in, a stimulation which will continue to increase before leveling off in about 2025. Maybe it’s to do with the realization that change is coming, and the old and familiar is falling away. But, it’s a remarkable phenomenon, and it may be the cause of the growing tendency of people to turn inward—not necessarily in the spiritual sense, but in the tendency to be less involved in or concerned about community interests and social obligations. And, it may lie behind the intense materialism of this society, which creates a kind of cocoon of comfort and distraction that anesthetizes the spirit to what really matters.
This is worrying. Ken Wilbur defined the problem very well in a recent book. He wrote that spirituality "... is revolutionary. It does not legitimate the world, it breaks the world; it does not console the world, it renders it undone." This will be the effect of the Shamballa force upon those unprepared vessels—those personalities still locked in materialism and self-interest and turning a deaf ear to the cry of humanity.
Right here we find the choice being presented to us by the coming impact: to be active on behalf of humanity, or to hide in our self-created bunker and try to ride out the storm. Both choices are an expression of human will, and the intent of the release of Shamballa force is to stimulate free will. The Tibetan made an interesting comment in regard to the first release of Shamballa force earlier in this century. He said the result was good in that it led to the development of the great world ideologies—Fascism, Democracy and Communism. All these were expressions of human desire for betterment, even if misguided. Human beings must be allowed to learn by exercising their will and their capacity to choose.
The extent to which human free will is developing may lie behind the recognition frequently made that there are no strong leaders today. I don’t think that’s true, but there are fewer dictators—tyrants—who are the distorted expression of selfish leadership. Today, we have more the force of mass consciousness, mass desire and mass will. The tyranny of a poorly-informed public opinion is just as unenlightened and just as selfish as that of a dictator. Group interests can be selfish if they are "tribal" and separative, and we see this effect more and more, perhaps in reaction to the growing impulse of wholeness.
When we consider the Christ’s reaction in the garden of Gethsemane to the divine Will, we can perhaps understand humanity’s reluctance to open to the inpouring energies of synthesis and wholeness which are expressions of the Will of God. For Christ was overwhelmed by the realization of the chasm that existed between his own sanctified will and the Will of the Father. The Tibetan says that in that realization, "He lost his all." No wonder, then, that the steady pulse of the energy of will is causing the reaction of the little wills of men to rise up and stake out their territory. How else will human beings learn to express the will if not by beginning where they are, in terms of consciousness, and by witnessing the effects of that expression? Human free will is divinely ordained, and it is based on God’s infinite capacity to trust humanity to learn, through trial and error, and come to its senses. Those who are somewhat further ahead—the world’s disciples—can help by educating humanity on the values of sacrifice, unselfishness, the good of the whole, freedom and simplicity. These are a few of the values that seem, to me, to express the force of Shamballa and, familiar as they are, I’d like us to take a few minutes to consider them.
Recently, a statement by the Tibetan jumped out at me. He wrote, "Too many disciples are receptive to the words of the Masters and are less receptive to the ideas upon which They found Their work." Probably, each of us interprets that statement differently; but, to me, it means that it’s not enough to try to cognize the Teaching or to understand it mentally; it must be lived. Words give form to spiritual concepts, but the ideas—the true intuitive recognitions which express the Plan and which are, therefore, always oriented to the future—can be lost in groping with the meaning of the words used to express those ideas. The mind can sometimes be content with a little knowledge, when the real point is the transformation of life—one’s own and the world’s.
One idea that can transform the world, and which is being impelled by the Shamballa force, is that of liberty. The French and American Revolutions first anchored this aspiration in human consciousness, but we are still seeking its meaning. And, most of humanity still pursues it in terms of the self, rather than the whole. True spiritual freedom or liberty is closely tied in with an understanding of law and obedience. The coming impulse of Shamballa and the inpouring energy of the Seventh Ray of Order and Ritual will foster a deeper awareness of the laws that govern earthly life. We’re told that the energies of Libra will dominate at the close of the century, and, perhaps, this can be seen in the increasing attention being given to reforming our system of laws and the international approach to crime and to international consensus on settling legal disputes through the World Court, for example.
For too long, freedom and liberty have been viewed simply in terms of individual rights, rather than in the context of group responsibilities. We speak constantly of "entitlements," but very little of obligations and, in the absence of commonly shared assumptions about morals and ethics, we sense that something important has been lost, even though the rigid, constricting force of socially-imposed standards of behavior isn’t true morality. Perhaps this present era of "no standards at all" is simply an interim phase, a clearing away prior to a future and higher sense of morality, responsibility and obligation to the group welfare.
The Tibetan said, "…free will involves a basic understanding of the lines of world cleavage; it concerns right choice and consequent correct action for the group and is determined by that which is right for the whole." How wonderful if free will could be exercised according to the parameter of what is right for the whole.
The Tibetan also said that one who strives to express the will aspect must work under set rules and "brood upon the law and its workings." On first thought, it might seem that following "set rules" would inhibit the will; yet, in fact, it is those very rules—spiritual rules—that foster the spiritual will, mold it, guide and develop it. "Disciple" and "discipline" are both from the same root. That may be why the Ageless Wisdom is full of laws and rules. We have the fourteen Rules for Applicants, fourteen more Rules for Disciples and Initiates, the twelve Rules for Magic, the seven Laws of Group Work, the three Cosmic Laws and their many subsidiary laws; the list goes on and on.
There’s a point to all this, and it lies in the sacred act of obedience. In this highly individualistic, freedom-loving society, the word "obedience" makes people’s hair stand on end; yet, it’s an expression of wisdom and humility that every disciple must learn. The humility of obedience is suggested in the Tibetan’s definition of occult obedience as "the ability to work with energies in relation to the Plan, even if only a tiny part of that Plan is known." It’s all too human to say, "I will serve and consecrate myself when I know more;" but, in fact, the disciple knows because he works, not the other way around.
Both faith and humility must be summoned from our deepest reserves to serve such a great endeavor as the Plan, but we can do so when we hold unwaveringly in mind that our little "mite" of effort is placed within the great stream of life, which is hierarchical. This is the wisdom of obedience to the Plan—the realization that, by the great chain of Hierarchy, all life develops and evolves. Through the sharing of energies and the interaction of positive and negative, active and receptive, polarities, units of life are quickened and stimulated. It should fill us with gratitude when our limited ideas are displaced by the impact of greater ideas and greater minds.
Still another definition of obedience is that "obedience signifies freedom, spiritual freedom, within a world of natural law." Always, the measure is the good of the whole. "Free will concerns right choice and correct action for the group and is determined by that which is right for the whole," the Tibetan said. The inpouring energy of the Seventh Ray and the incoming Age of Aquarius, together with the release of Shamballa force in 2000, may foster a new recognition that the highest purpose of law is as the agent of group good. Now, we have an excess of laws, a codifying of behavior by a vast system of legalities that sometimes bypasses justice. It’s a time that Lao-tzu (Lao-tse)forecast, for he said, "When the Tao was lost, then there was morality, legality, knowledge and great pretense." Legislation has been largely negative, but it must become the custodian of a positive righteousness.
It’s interesting to ponder on the Tibetan’s call, in Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, for "a united world group given to unanimous and simultaneous meditation upon preparing the world ... for the jurisdiction of the Christ." The task, he said, "is, through meditation, to establish the knowledge of and the functioning of those laws and principles which will control the coming era, the new civilization and the future world culture. Until the foundation for the coming ‘jurisdiction’ is at least laid, the Christ cannot reappear." And, he urged that the New Group of World Servers meditate upon the laws and rules of spiritual living as given in his books, for, in following these laws and living by them, the disciple can gain an understanding of spiritual law and of the divine Plan and Purpose. "The secret of all success on the physical plane lies in right understanding of law and order," he said. And, "the secret of regulation lies in non-resistance." Again, we come back to obedience and acquiescence as fundamental agents of the will. Coercion imposed by an external agent, and a "clenched-teeth" determination imposed from within, are both the antithesis of the spiritual will, which is a power unleashed by right tension.
"Only he who knows the secret of being naught but a channel, and who abides still within the secret place, can pass through the present crisis without undue shattering and pain," the Tibetan said. "Stimulation ... leads to pain ... and must be guarded against ... not in the sense of shutting oneself off from stimulating force but receiving that force, passing it through one’s being, and only absorbing as much of it as one can carry." Those words from Letters on Occult Meditation are an excellent guideline for facing the incoming Shamballa force.
We need to remember that this force must be received and distributed by the world group of disciples and servers acting as a buffer for humanity, or perhaps as a conductor, to use a word from electricity. And, electricity teaches that the best conductors are those which offer no resistance. Again, "the secret of regulation lies in non-resistance." What causes resistance? Fear, self-centeredness, desire for the separated self, and complexity in thought and living, maybe a few causes. Perhaps reflecting on the need for simplicity would be a good way to conclude this talk. "The simplicity of the soul opens the way into Shamballa," we’re told. "Simplicity and unity are related; simplicity is one-pointedness of outlook, free from glamour and the intricacies of the thoughtform-making mind; simplicity is clarity of purpose and steadfastness in intention and in effort, untrammeled by questioning and devious introspection; simplicity leads to simple loving, asking nothing in return; simplicity leads to silence—not silence as an escape mechanism, but as an ‘occult retention of speech.’ "
Intuitively, we probably realize the truth of that statement, but how many esotericists-in-training live by it? We are given such a mass of teaching to assimilate, and we are trying to do so in the midst of an extremely complicated world made more so by the incredible tide of information that inundates us through the television, radio, print media and the internet. We know so much that we’re beginning to realize we don’t know much of anything—and that’s the first step to wisdom.
But, as disciples-in-training, we need to cultivate a greater simplicity in our lives and in our thinking if we are to cooperate with the inpouring Shamballa force. Its energies manifest as destruction, purification and organization, all three of which foster simplicity and are hindered by complexity. Not by depth, but by complexity. Think of the greatest Teachers, the Christ and the Buddha; their message was the embodiment of clarity and simplicity. Think of the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, to name just two modern examples of spiritual living. Their messages are simple and come down to love, kindness, forgiveness, humility and service.
The mind diverts itself searching for complexity instead of depth. But, simplicity is the foundation of creation, we’re told, "the blueprint which ‘substands’ the outer structure of living, of loving and of service... . This loving simplicity—free from complicated thinking, from mystery and from selfish introspection—" will keep us unified as a group and oriented to humanity, so that we can be a pure and untroubled channel for the tide of livingness that the Shamballa force will bring.
To some folks, myths are quaint and fanciful stories about the past, and so they are. However, they are more than that, too; they are records of the past, and they contain at their hearts a germ of the truth. Seen in this light, the myths of Hercules, for example, become the records of the tests of a world Disciple. We have all, I am sure, spent many hours pondering over the kernels of truth which lie at the hearts of myths such as Prometheus and Siegfried and Beowulf. And, we have all read or heard of a myth or fairy tale in which an elixir of some sort plays a very important role.
This elixir, you recall, is usually some magic life essence or potion or, perhaps, a magical force contained in a touchstone, a sword like Excaliber, or a shield such as the one Britomart used. But, regardless of its form, the elixir will generally cure all ills, protect one from all dangers, turn base metal into gold or confer eternal youth on the drinker of one draught.
There are dozens of ancient and modern tales about the existence of such a wonderful elixir, and there are documented records of intelligent and practical men who have gone in search of the elixir. Ponce de Leon, for example, sloshed around in the Florida Everglades looking for the Fountain of Youth. And, in the 1600 and 1700s, untold numbers of good, intelligent men and women spent years and years in the alchemical search for the elixir which would turn metal into gold.
Some folks chuckle about the sloshings of Ponce and the experiments of the alchemists, but there is a grain of truth to the elixir myth. There is, as a matter of fact, an elixir. And, as the ancient myths suggest, it will heal all ills, turn base metal into gold, and create life more abundantly than our finest dreams. The elixir is also inexhaustible. In fact, using it increases its power to work wonders.
The reason we have not found it is because we have been looking in the wrong places. We have been looking in the swamps, in the far country, in the miry halls of maya, out there, in the world of forms and glamours, instead of within, instead of in the Fiery Heart where it abides and from which it flows. So, it is no wonder we have not noticed it or found it ... even after we were told almost two thousand years ago exactly what it was. Peace on Earth? Goodwill to men.
Yes, GOODWILL. The elixir is goodwill—simply that. Goodwill is the long sought for touchstone. It is the touchstone which will transform the world, literally transform the world.
I know that goodwill is considered to be passe, an old shoe, a cliche. It has in the past forty or fifty years been talked into oblivion. But, even so, few people seem to know that goodwill really is the elixir, that it is the touchstone that actually will transform the world. That the world has not been transformed into a planet of peace after two thousand or so years indicates that we probably don’t really understand the true nature of goodwill, that we have not used goodwill, that it is not goodwill which permeates the network of relations which we have created and which encloses humanity in its web.
There have been, however, some startling examples of the use of and the transforming power of goodwill over the past fifty years. One thinks of the world healing work of Eleanor Roosevelt, George C. Marshall, Dag Harnmarskjold, Mahatma Gandhi, Buckminster Fuller. In fact, I am certain that a close analysis of the energy used in successful bridging, healing or building effort will reveal a deep, strong and steady stream of the energy of goodwill.
If the power of goodwill can transform the world, perhaps it would be worthwhile to examine it once more. It has only been lately that I have begun to see that goodwill is much, much more than the expression of an emotional attitude of warmth and friendliness, although that emotional quality usually does accompany the power of goodwill. I think that if one is working from a true base of goodwill in whatever situation, be it with one’s six-year-old daughter or one’s business associate or as a negotiator in some world-sensitive position, one will feel and generate affection, warmth, a sense of camaraderie and fellowship. And, the expressed ideas or solutions to the really tough human problems with which one may be working will be clothed in those feelings, colored and made attractive by that affection, by that warmth and fellowship. This is the proper and skillful use of one’s emotional equipment. But, those feelings are not the goodwill. They are one effect of goodwill.
Just as these feelings are not the goodwill, neither are the ideas or solutions which they clothe goodwill. Goodwill is the power, the impetus, the tireless, persistent force which demands that the good be done, and relentlessly ferrets out the workable compromise. Goodwill is that inexhaustible drive that does not balk at seemingly insurmountable odds. It is the unremitting pressure of the Father’s Will for harmony and balance to manifest on the physical plane. It is that force of being which sees every impediment as the birth of a possibility.
The magic of goodwill lies partly in the atmosphere which is created by a person who is motivated by it. Buckminster Fuller once said that the possibility of a good life for any man depends upon the possibility of realizing it for all men. That is a remarkably clear statement of the kind of thinking goodwill generates. When persons who see life in this way sit down to discuss a problem, the very force which moves their minds and hearts creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and concern, an atmosphere in which the microbes of fear, hate, suspicion and separation cannot breed, the only atmosphere in which human communion is possible. Goodwill works through a process of inclusion. It always seeks the common ground of the parts and endeavors to weld them into a new, more meaningful and fulfilling, a truer and more glorious whole.
In such a synergistic atmosphere, a tremendous amount of new energy is released. And, in addition, all of that energy which, in the usual competitive situation goes into the creation and protection of one’s selfish, hidden agenda, plus all of the energy which one expends trying to discover the opponent’s selfish, hidden agenda becomes available in the cooperative search for the good solution. The searchers know that this good, this inclusive solution does exist, and that it can be found, and that it will heal even the oldest, most grievous wound between the concerned parties, be they father and child, husband and wife, Arab and Jew, Protestant and Catholic or nation and nation.
Goodwill is the light which the server throws before himself as he moves through his day, through his series of relations. Before it is ever made, every contact is already bathed in the power of this urgent determination for the good to characterize it. Goodwill is magnanimity, the power of a great mind and a courageous heart.
Goodwill seems always to be characterized by a nonseparative conception of reality. And, this is where the rest of its magic lies. It is with the realization of the unity of life and the interdependent nature of all living things that the power of goodwill begins to flow through a server and affect his environment. The man and woman of goodwill always work from harmonic premises. They know that cooperation is the mode of creation, that harmony and rhythm characterize all of life and that competition is simply an aberration of the separative mind. Knowing this, they persist and persist until the workable, cooperative solution, which is there, is found. It is this unquenchable persistence in the search for harmony, balance, justice or peace which is the power of goodwill. Into the search for the greater good which exists for all men and, therefore, for any man, the server will place all that he is or has of an exclusive or separative nature. It is clear to me that Martin Luther King did this, that Eleanor Roosevelt, Gandhi, and Hammarskjold did this, that Margaret Mead, William 0. Douglas, Buckminster Fuller and Mother Teresa did this, and that people like Ralph Nader and Jesse Jackson are doing it. Goodwill is absolutely inclusive. It concerns itself not with the struggle for existence, but with the conquest of possibilities.
I know that all of the above is just words, words which attempt to put an essential concept of human progress into a fresh light—but still just words. And, unless each of us—or enough of us—can use goodwill in our daily lives, use this incredible elixir to transform our own environments, the words won’t make any difference. We have, at this particular festival, a rare opportunity to avail ourselves of an inexhaustible supply of goodwill and, whether we have opened ourselves to the Will, which is even now flowing through our small globe, will be very clear in a few years because goodwill among men is the physical plane expression of the Will-to-Good.