At this point in the evolution of humanity, accepting disciples are called upon to live the dual life--a life of active participation in world affairs and a life of intense mental and spiritual preoccupation.  We participate “in the world,” but we know that we are not “of the world.”  As the "Affirmation of the Disciple" states, "we tread this way the ways of men, and know the ways of God".

Refining this dual process and cultivating it to the point where it becomes as second nature as our physical breathing is really what rendering service is all about.  Service:  It is such a popular concept today.  Did you know that altogether, in 2012, 64.5 million adult Americans volunteered, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service?  And that these Americans volunteered nearly 7.9 billion hours?   

Worldwide, civil society organizations (CSOs) exist in virtually every country, providing benefits and services  to many sectors of society.  CSOs include business forums, faith-based associations, labor unions, local community groups, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), philanthropic foundations and think tanks. 

At the United Nations the importance of working with and through non-governmental NGOs was recognized as early as 1946 when the Department of Public Information was first established. Today, the Department of Public Information as well as the Economic and Social Council and most of all the UN Specialized Agencies and Offices work with NGOs, for whom they provide accreditation.

On every hand we see evidence of individuals and groups who are serving a cause.  Of course, anytime we read a newspaper or turn on our evening news, we realize not only that much more service is needed, but we realize too how much more enlightened and effective that service needs to be.  As esotericists at the heart of the New Group of World Servers, we know that it is our great opportunity, responsibility, and joy to help provide the energies that can lead to that more enlightened and effective service. 

If anyone has searched the concept "service" in the books authored by Alice A. Bailey, one can appreciate the fact that rendering true service entails much more than going out and "doing good works".  Reference upon reference indicates the complexity and depth of this concept.

 We all, I think, realize how desirable it is to serve but we don't always realize how very difficult spiritual service essentially is.  True service requires exceedingly hard work because it necessitates a loving and deliberate effort, conscious wisdom and the ability to work without attachment.  These qualities, as we know, are not easy of attainment.  Yet, until the disciple has reached that stage of advancement upon the Path of Light wherein these qualities are attained, what passes for service  is a mixture of good intention, mixed motives and oftentimes a fanaticism or personality one-pointedness that insists that "all should serve as I do, and in the arena which I designate as the most important". 

Often times, as the Tibetan Master warns, the one who serves does so because he or she is made so uncomfortable by distressing conditions that the server helps in order to relieve his or her own misery, failing then to release or relieve the sufferers because of one's myopic concerns with oneself.

Also, we are warned that if the energy of the soul becomes sidetracked or tainted by personality trends on its way out into physical manifestation, rather than bringing the centres above the diaphragm steadily into activity (as should be the case) it activates primarily the solar plexus centre, sweeping into manifestation all the astral illusions, the grandiose delusions, and the glamours of ambition and egoistic phenomena,which can be seen among the leaders of various existing groups.  Their work is built on what the Hindu teachers call a "sense of I-ness" which of course, needs to be eliminated before true service can be rendered.

Being aware, to some degree, about what true service is not, and knowing that we need to be thoughtful about rendering service, and to develop an ever-increasing subtlety of discrimination about what constitutes true service, what can then be said in a general way about service that might prove helpful? 

Very succinctly said, service is that scientific process which calls forth all soul powers into full expression on the physical plane.  Service is a life demonstration.  It is a soul urge or instinct, and it is the outstanding characteristic of the soul, just as desire is the outstanding characteristic of the personality.  Since in its true sense, it is the demonstration or reflection of one's individual relationship to one's soul, it cannot be taught or imposed from without.  It is rather, part of a continuing dialogue, if you will, going on between the personality and the soul--an ever-changing equation of sorts which can lead to many changes in the outer form of service as the soul presence waxes larger in one's life.  The form of service one chooses to render can therefore be very particular and unique, and possibly misunderstood, for no one other than one's own soul or Master knows the purposes for which one has incarnated. 

Service is and will continue to become an ever more significant and valued  way of life--eventually for the whole of humanity.  The Science of Service is one of the three great sciences which are coming to the fore, facilitating humanity’s progress into the new Age of Aquarius.  Along with the Science of Meditation and the Science of the Antahkarana, the Science of Service will lead humanity from the unreal to the real and from aspiration to realisation.  The reason for this is that true service is a manifestation of the Principle of Liberation and as such, it is a major releasing factor and one which cannot be escaped.  Along with death, service constitutes the two aspects of this Principle of Liberation.  Both death and service liberate or release the imprisoned soul consciousness.  There is no escape because this Science of Service is based on the Cosmic Law of Service under which the constellation of Aquarius is imposing certain energies and impulses upon our earth.  As we know, Aquarius is the true server, its keynote being, "Water of Life am I poured forth for thirsty men."

This Law of Service was expressed for the first time fully by the Christ 2000 years ago, that great forerunner and current World Teacher in this evolving Age of Aquarius.  Over the last 2000 years, the Piscean age slowly prepared the way for the divine expression of service, which, we are told, will be the glory of the coming centuries.  Today, we have a world which is steadily coming to the realisation that "no person liveth unto oneself" and that only as the love which Christ demonstrated and about which so much has been written and spoken, finds its outlet in service can we begin to measure up to our capacity.  As large numbers of spiritually focused individuals and groups wield true service, so can the human family enter upon its destined planetary and cosmic work of acting as a bridge between the world of spirit and the world of material forms -- lifting the subhuman kingdoms into heaven and bringing heaven to earth unto the physical plane. (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 358)  That which has been abstract and ideal can then be realized on the concrete physical plane.

We are of course referring to  the imposition of the higher soul rhythm upon worldly affairs and the physical plane life of the personality.   Because of heartfelt experiences, esotericists know that there is always a necessary period of pain and suffering that precedes the absorption of this higher energy into the daily life, which, once accomplished, will result in a more effective form of service.  The old ideas, rhythms and habits must be released in order that the channels may be widened and purified in order to contain the new energy.  Is it not this purifying, cleansing process being performed on a planetary scale, and in all areas of life, that we witness in all local/global events?  Is it not the light, the love, and the will-to-good evoked by the New Group of World Servers that is continually throwing light on the darkest recesses of the center humanity so that once and for all, the door where evil dwells can be sealed?

Developing skill-in-action through service necessarily involves an understanding and appreciation of the physical plane world and, lest there is any question as to the importance of developing skill-in-action in the three worlds of the personality, allow me to refer to a few passages from one of our wise and illuminated teachers. 

Over and over and in a variety of ways, the Tibetan Master tells us that it is humanity which determines its own fate by the power of its integrated action.  In The Externalization of the Hierarchy (p.243), he says,

“This new world will not come as an answer to prayer or by the passive wishful thinking and expectation of the peace-loving idealist and mystical visionary...It will come when the mystic and the man of vision awakens to the need of the hour and comes down from the world of dreams, of theories, and of words into the hard arena of daily public life.  He must be willing to fight for that which he desires and knows to be good and true and right, and must stand firm against those who seek to distort the vision and arrest its appearance." 

In the second volume of Discipleship in the New Age, p. 185 he writes: 

"Esoteric knowledge is not intended to drive your spiritual life into greater and increasing subjectivity; the goal is not a more inward life and a training which will make you a true introspective and consequently a pure mystic.  Exactly the reverse is intended; all that the disciple essentially is upon the inner planes has to become objective; thus, his spiritual livingness becomes an everyday affair."

And to make sure we get the point, he spells it out further for us in the same book: 

"One of the tragedies today of the esoteric world is the vast amount of facts in the possession of esoteric students, and the piling up of knowledge anent the Hierarchy and its personnel.  Often this knowledge and this aspiration obliterate the need of their fellowmen.  This constitutes one of the problems with which the Hierarchy is faced."  (p. 25)

With great conciseness, the Agni Yoga wisdom echoes this same thought:

 “All must be accomplished upon the earthly plane. Therein is the chief reason for the existence of the Brotherhood here.” (Leaves of Morya's Garden II, Illumination, II:I:8)

We know the sequence:  first there is the soul-illumined thought or idea, then the desire or emotional registering of the thought, and finally the physical plane activity.  Unfortunately, what usually happens (as we know from our own hard experiences) is that most goodwill, prayer and invocation becomes either "frozen" on the mental plane or remains in "easy focus in the wish life of the aspirant."  Perhaps we can find encouragement to overcome these impasses if we keep in mind the promise that when a particular number of dedicated disciples—-that significant snowflake causing number—can coordinate and integrate their service on all three levels and function as integrated, soul-infused personalities, this will then result in the finish of the dominance of matter for all time.  The gross and heavy vibrations of matter and materialistic interests will no longer rule on our planet. 

As we consider the power and hold that matter and materialism have over us today, it is important to remember that one of the two major hindrances which is keeping the Masters of the Wisdom and the Christ from our midst is "the inertia of the average spiritually-minded man."  The other hindrance is "the lack of money for the work of preparation."  And both of these hindrances are based on the dominance of the matter principle in our lives.  Inertia, or tamas as it is called in the Eastern philosophy, is the slowest, the densest and the lowest aspect of material substance.  This aspect must be transmuted into its higher quality of activity--into rajasic quality, later still to be superseded by the highest quality of rhythm or sattva. 

It is here interesting to note that one of the results of initiation which marks expansion into a heightened consciousness is a changed composition of the physical matter of which the body is created.  The density of the body is gradually decreased with each initiation as it is replaced with the higher more mobile frequency of light atoms, also referred to as “atomic matter”: 

“The four initiations, prior to that of the adept, mark respectively the attainment of certain proportions of atomic matter in the bodies—for instance, at the first initiation one-fourth atomic matter, at the second one-half atomic matter, at the third three-quarters atomic matter, and so on to the completion.  Since buddhi is the unifying principle (or the welder of all), at the fifth initiation the adept lets the lower vehicles go, and stands in his buddhic sheath.  He creates thence his body of manifestation.”  (Initiation Human and Solar, pp. 16-17) 

 Unlike the Atlantean aspirant, whose objective was the attainment of peace, the Aryan disciple seeks realization--the achievement made possible as one exercises the "kingly science" of raja yoga.  The atoms of the body move on a higher frequency when imbued with the quality of rajas.  Thus, one can never be static, can never rest, and must constantly adjust to new conditions.  It is for this reason that we say in the Mantram of Fire:  "Naught in me seeks the way of peace; naught in me yearns for earth."

At this point of time in the evolution of the solar system, we are faced with many challenges through which we can practice and perfect rajasic quality and which will eventually work out as skill-in-action.  We know that the Plan as it is held in the mind of the Hierarchy includes (in a not too distant future) the externalization of the Ashrams and eventually the externalization of the Mysteries.  We know, too, that the Masters plan to walk among humanity as they did in the times of Atlantis, however, this time on a much higher turn of the spiral and with the intelligent cooperation and wise, understanding assistance of humanity.  But, before that can come to pass, much must be accomplished both by the disciples of the world and by humanity. 

Just as John the Baptist preceded the Christ 2000 years ago, teaching that “the kingdom is at hand,” so too must the New Group of World Servers prepare the way.  The general plan of action for the resolution of global problems has been spelled out for us: 

*We need the establishment of a world unity which will produce right human relations—interracial, interethnic, intercultural hatreds and prejudices must go and the rule of cooperation—of love-wisdom, must hold sway in all world affairs. 

*We need a sound system of world politics--governments who have the welfare of their citizens foremost in their minds, governments who recognize, fully understand, and implement their responsibilities to those they govern; governments who understand that to lead is to discern the heart and will of those whom they govern and to then have the skill to bring out the best in their people.

*We need a united spiritual effort—including an acceptance and understanding of the Soul nature at the heart of each human being and a recognition of the radiant Hierarchy of Light and Love and Wisdom—Those Who have eternally sought to lead humanity into ever more lighted and inclusive states of life and consciousness.

 *We need a new system of economics which will bring an end to all dysfunctional competition and the primacy of greed, ending the present uneven distribution of the necessities of life.  The principle of sharing must replace the practice of entitlement, gluttony and greed.

Beginnings in all these areas have been made and some progress is evident.  The New Group of World Servers are making their presence felt and the "army of goodwill” is in place.  However, it is obvious that more is needed.

In order to more fully contribute to this ongoing work, all spiritual workers must be willing to convert weaknesses into strengths, striving to bring the soul principle more fully into the daily life.   Spiritual workers must be willing, to externalize their inner spiritual life and demand the will-to-victory on behalf of the Plan of Light and Love and Power.   Spiritual Workers must be willing to do their utmost to insure the substitution of the ancient law of evil sharing with the ancient law of the dominating good.  And, they must be willing to apply, in the daily life, the new age qualities of love, dynamism, and joy -- reassured that to the degree that they do, the result will be skill-in-action.

Let us briefly look at these qualities. 

Just as there is a discipline of pain and sorrow, so there is a discipline of joy and achievement.  Joy refers not to happiness, which is the reaction to personal circumstances.  It refers rather to that joyous confidence in the spiritual law and in those Guiding Lights and Teachers who ever hold out the vision of the eternal possibilities.  Joy and resurrection are an integral part of each other for joy releases the energy of the inner life and reaches others in a most essential and vital way.

Dynamism, of course, is another name for the will-to-good, power, or livingness.  Of this quality, the Tibetan Master says "once the world disciples have invoked and evoked the inflow of this higher dynamic energy,” then the goodwill which is now latent and unexpressed in the general public will flower forth.  “Nothing can arrest the eventual progress of this will-to-good and its planned activity any more than a bud which has started to unfold its petals in the light of the sun and subject to the proper stimulation can revert again to the condition of a tightly closed bud,” existing as potential but unexpressed.  (The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p. 153)

With regard to the third quality of love, let us remember that "The One from Whom all things proceed and to Whom all things return" is a 2nd Ray Being of Love-Wisdom.  Our Solar Logos continually bathes everything in our universe with this 2nd ray quality of love-wisdom—and eventually, all will awaken, respond and resonate with the cosmic current.

A passage from the book, Hierarchy, extols the virtue of, and the necessity of this quality, while reminding us that what is often called love, actually is not: 

"It is correctly pointed out that love is a leading and creative principle.  It means that love must be conscious, striving, self-denying...And if love is marked by self-enfeeblement, disintegration and service to self, it will not be the highest concept of humanity, which extols the concept of achievement.  The heart filled to the brim with love will be active, valiant and will expand to its capacity.  Such a heart may pray without words and may bathe in Bliss.  How greatly in need is humanity of the realization of the fire of love!" (Par. 280)

Finally, with regard to love, let us remember that the first of the three knowledge petals of humanity's egoic lotus were unfolded during Lemurian times, bringing light to the physical plane consciousness of humanity.  The second petal was unfolded during Atlantean times -- bringing light to the astral plane.  And, in our Aryan race, the third petal opened and brought the light of mental knowledge to humanity.  Thus, the energy of intelligence became a powerful, ruling factor in our lives.  Today, our task is to vitalize humanity with the energy of love and to unfold the love petals of the human egoic lotus.  Through the activity and fruition of the energy of love we will then experience cooperation, loving understanding, and love of the whole.

There is much more that can be studied and understood about developing skill-in -action as a necessary aspect of the science of service; however, for now, let us culminate our thinking on this theme by taking to heart a plea made by the Tibetan Master in the second volume of Esoteric Psychology:

“It is your time for which Christ and humanity are calling.  It is your activity and skill in reaching those you can reach for which we make demand.  It is your money that is needed to enable us (the Hierarchy) to reach the interested public.  It is your meditation and intense inner cooperation which will construct that channel through which the spirit of peace can work and the forces of Light enter.  The Hierarchy waits.  It has done all that is possible from the angle of Its opportunity.  The Christ stands in patient silence, attentive to the effort that will make His work materialise on earth and enable Him to consummate the effort He made 2000 years ago in Palestine.  The Buddha hovers over the planet, ready to play His part if the opportunity is offered to Him by mankind.  I beg you to note what I here have said.  Everything now depends upon the right action of the men and women of goodwill.” (pp. 750-751)

The reassuring strength of Master Morya complements this plea.  He advises:

“We may be asked what conditions are required for Us to be able to help people better: of course, the answer is in action.  We can say to those who ask for help, ‘Act!’ for then it is easier for Us to help. Even a small unsuccessful action is better than no action, since We can then add Our energy to the energy shown by you.”  He continues, “….We and Our Brothers ask you to act.  Development of consciousness is needed, and refinement of the Primal Energy is needed, otherwise the veils of Maya will prevent all access.”  (Supermundane I, par. 73)

Thank you.

* Revised and Updated from an Address first given at the New York City Arcane School Conference on Sunday, April 28, 1991 by Ida Urso, Ph.D.