Harmonizing the Actions of Nations: How Can We Help?
World Invocation Day, the Festival of Goodwill, the Festival of Humanity:
Dear Friends, I would like to begin my talk by recounting a short Greek myth about Ariadne and the Golden Thread. Some of you may be familiar with this myth.
Ariadne gave a ball of golden thread to Theseus to be unwound as he traveled through the tortuously winding paths of the gloomy labyrinth of Crete into which he had been sent by the King, ostensibly as a sacrifice, but in reality to slay the Minotaur which dwelt at its centre.
It was only by means of this gleaming, golden thread held firmly throughout his terrifying journey that Theseus was able to return safely out of the dark and tangled maze—after slaying the Minotaur.
In this myth, the King is that highest point of spirituality within each one of us, the Spirit or Monad;
Myths, as we know, are the first elements of recorded history through which truth might be glimpsed. Plato, for example, used myth (mûthos) to help advance dialogue aimed at picturing realities such as the soul that could not be grasped by either the senses or the intellect.
Related to this myth is the fact that in the sacred texts of India, we are introduced to the concept of the Upanishads, which teach about the nature of the inner world. These ancient Sanskrit writings were written as far back as 1400 BC. They present in metaphor the nature of the inner spiritual human being, concluding that in both the universe-at-large, and in the individual human being there is a ground of pure Being that lies outside of time and daily experience.
One translation and description of Upanishad, is the "esoteric doctrine," "which destroys ignorance and thus produces liberation of the spirit, through the knowledge of the supreme though hidden truth."1
This same concept is also expressed in the Biblical statement: "You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free." (John 8:32)
As we avail ourselves of the sacred teachings that have been given for the benefit of humanity's evolution—over time and throughout all cultures—and as we strive to understand and implement these teachings into our daily lives, so we are able to destroy and loosen the ignorance that oppresses the spirit and defines our planet as a planet of suffering and travail.
What does an understanding of the Upanishads and the myth of Ariadne's Golden Thread have to do with the theme of our Seminar?
I think you have recognized the experience of Theseus as the experience of each one of us as we seek to understand and make our way through this world of suffering, pain and illusion.
World Invocation Day
And, this Festival of Humanity and World Invocation Day—why is it such an auspicious day to be considering our Seminar theme and what is this Festival's relationship to Ariadne's golden thread?
Also known as the Festival of Goodwill, and the Festival of the Christ, this Festival of Humanity and World Invocation Day provides the greatest release of love in the annual cycle.
Fixed annually in relation to the Gemini Solar Festival, which usually occurs in June, it is described in the Ageless Wisdom as a time when each of us can more clearly discern and understand the path that leads from death to Immortality; from darkness to Light; and, from the unreal to the Real.
It is a time when the connecting bridge between the various dimensions of consciousness is more accessible than at any other time of the year.
Through our understanding, our aspiration and our striving and by holding firmly to the Golden Thread, available to each one of us, we have the opportunity more so than at any other time of the year to bring alignment and integration to the inner King, Ariadne and Theseus, and as a result, we are able to more fully dedicate ourselves to the expression of right human relations, and thus, uplift the quality of life on our planet.
Since 1952 World Invocation Day has been observed as a global day of spiritual healing. Throughout the planet in groups large and small, people have been meeting in meditation, discussion and prayer, just as we are doing here today, to focus and reflect on the spiritual nature pulsating within each human being.
Recognized is the fact that humanity is One because of its common divine nature—the divine Promethean spark within each human being that is connected to and a part of the One Divine Universal Source of all.
It is this recognition, which eventually will prove much greater and more powerful than the differences and disparities which to date have been the source of warring conflict upon our planet.
As a spiritual center within the planet, humanity has the opportunity to fulfill its mission to bridge between the world of spirit and the world of material forms.
The date of this Festival is fixed annually in relation to the Gemini Solar Festival, or the full moon of June—the full moon being an easily visible indication that the energies of the sun in the astrological sign of Gemini are at their peak and most readily available on our planet.
All of the 12 Solar Festivals are actually a five-day event—two days prior to the exact time of the full moon, the day of the full moon and two days after the full moon, which this year occurred yesterday on June 18th.
There are three keynotes that distinguish this Festival of Goodwill. These are Love, Resurrection and Contact. Today is the keynote of Contact.
Humanity's task, ultimately, is to become aware of the unimpeded relationship existing among all centers and states of being, or dimensions of consciousness and then relate "that which is above and that which is below," or that which is inward (esoteric) to that which is outward (exoteric)—a form of inbreathing and out-breathing, of receiving and giving.
"Humanity," as one Teacher of the Wisdom indicates, "has never really lived up to the teaching given to it." Spiritual impression, whether conveyed by the Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Hermes, Vysa or any of humanity's Spiritual Teachers has not yet been expressed as it was hoped.
Because human beings do not live up to what they already know; they fail to make practical their information and they short-circuit the light2 that is available.
The field of modern Psychology has given us a conceptual understanding of the reason for this. They refer to the unredeemed substance or darker aspects of the personal self—the Theseus and Minotaur aspect of each one of us—referring to this substance as the "shadow nature."
By its very name, we understand that the shadow is not of the light. It is described as difficult to apprehend; dangerous, disorderly, and forever hiding, as if the light of consciousness would steal its very life, as indeed it would.
We see the shadow mostly indirectly, in the distasteful traits and actions that we notice in others or project onto others. The shadow is more readily recognized out there—away from us, where it is safer to observe it. Robert Louis Stevenson's famous tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a stark and extreme example of the shadow nature at work.3
However, it has long been prophesied and we see evidence all around us that, as we move into the astrological and astronomical Age of Aquarius, humanity, the third planetary center, is preparing to awaken and make a major leap in consciousness.
Individuals and groups are actively and wholeheartedly striving to electrify and strengthen the communicating bridge of light linking humanity with higher states of consciousness.
In the symbolism of the East, because of this mindful contact with higher states of consciousness, "the Bridge of Sighs" is slowly being replaced by the radiant Rainbow Bridge of light.
As more individuals become involved and engaged in this striving, so the unhappy psychological acquiescence to sorrow and pain, that has been and is so evident on our planet will—eventually—be swept away by the clear light of love—and Joy will be the new keynote, replacing the Piscean keynote of pain.
Hopes for the United Nations as a Centre for the Harmonizing of Nations
How does the observance of this Festival of Humanity and World Invocation Day impact the work of the United Nations?
Interestingly, a New York Times editorial of August, 2005 assessed the UN in this way: There is plenty to complain about at the United Nations, but real work happens there, and it requires the services of men and women who know how to wring agreement out of a group of wildly different and extremely self-interested representatives. (August 2, 2005)
Almost as if in response to this assessment, a couple weeks ago, on June 4th, in accepting his election as President of the 63rd General Assembly, H.E. Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann said the following:
"I firmly believe in the revitalizing power of love, and that an alternative and better world that each and every one of us yearns for is possible." Everyone, he further stated, must change their ways and accept the only truth that is absolutely indispensable—that all humans are meant to be sisters and brothers. In order to come out of the quagmire in which the world has found itself, people must become less selfish and make the transition from the logic of "I and mine" to that of "we and ours."4
He is not alone within this great institution that we call the hope of humanity. This too was and is the vision of many in the past and in the present who support the United Nations, and who seek to help it realize the objectives for which it was founded.
It was Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, who said that there would be no peace without a spiritual renaissance on our planet.
It was also Dag Hammarskjöld who poignantnly and correctly wrote that
"Technological development has altered the basis for diplomatic action. Just as the diplomat of today must rule out war as an instrument of policy, so he must recognize that in the new state of interdependence between nations, war anywhere becomes the concern of all.
"The intricate web of relationships, which now exist…[makes us] parties to an action practically at the very moment it is undertaken. The nerve signals from a wound are felt at once through the body of mankind."5
It was also Dag Hammarskjöld who is responsible for the renovation of the UN Meditation Room, about which you will find brochures on the literature table. Therein he is quoted about what motivated his life and work. He wrote:
"The explanation of how a man should live a life of active social service in full harmony with himself as a member of the community of the spirit, I found in the writings of those great medieval mystics for whom 'self-surrender' had been the way to self-realization, and who, in 'singleness of mind' and 'inwardness', had found the strength to say 'yes' to every demand which the needs of their neighbours made them face, and to say 'yes' also to every fate that life had in store for them, when they followed the call of duty, as they understood it.
" 'Love'" he continues, "that much misused and misinterpreted word, for them meant simply an overflowing of strength with which they felt themselves filled when living in true self-oblivion. And this love found natural expression in an unhesitant fulfillment of duty, and in an unreserved acceptance of life—whatever it brought them personally of toil and suffering or of happiness. I know their discoveries about the laws of inner life and of action have not lost their significance."6
In an article in the online edition of the UN Chronicle, former Secretary-General Kofi Annan paid tribute to Dag Hammarskjöld. He wrote:
"It will not surprise you to hear that Dag Hammarskjöld is a figure of great importance to me — as he must be for any Secretary-General. His life and his death, his words and his action, have done more to shape public expectations of the office, and indeed of the Organization, than those of any other man or woman in its history."7
"The United Nations", said Mr. Annan, " is an embodiment of the will of humankind to defeat violence with the power of reason and to achieve some betterment of the human condition."8
This thought is echoed within the book, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, wherein a Tibetan Master of the Wisdom has said that:
"When the United Nations has emerged into factual and actual power, the welfare of the world will then be assured. What is that welfare but love in action? What are right human relations but love among men, groups and nations? What is international cooperation but love on a world scale? "9
The United Nations, referred to by some as part of a Cosmic Plan, represents the way of love and the way of reason as articulated in its Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If functioning as intended, the United Nations would allow humanity to move out from under the ancient controls of aggression, hatred and selfishness, which have so long held sway on our planet.
It is only as the United Nations can demonstrate the potency of the spiritual values which it is called upon to implement that humanity can begin to move out of the cycle of karma yoga and into the cycles of raja and agni yoga wherein the mind and the heart can be "impressed from on high" and illumined by the light of the soul.
Only then will humanity be able to bring about the desired changes and produce the conditions for which we all strive and work.
What Can Be the Role of the Individual in Bringing Harmony Out of Conflict and in Helping to Harmonize the Actions of Nations?
We are at a pivotal and critical turning point in the history of our planet. For the first time ever, a quantum leap into higher states of consciousness is possible for millions on our planet.
And just as in the personal life when major transformative changes are preceded by points of crisis, so now we experience continuous and horrendous planetary crises.
The conflict on every hand is a result of the habitual focus on the three conflict-ridden lower planes of consciousness—the physical, emotional and the concrete mental—and the exclusion of the inclusive, transformative levels of the higher planes of consciousness.
The Ageless Wisdom refers to the Apostolic Succession of Knowers and to the Hierarchy of Love-Wisdom and other Exalted Beings who are ever present on our planet, quietly but powerfully radiating thoughts and energies, which are as electromagnetic frequencies energizing the Good, the True and the Beautiful.
Standing at the central point of this Hierarchy of Love-Wisdom is the Magnetic Point, the Nucleus, the Heart of Love-Wisdom—the Teacher of a particular world cycle.
Known by different names according to the worldview of those who are aware of this Presence, the loving radiatory energies of this Planetary Teacher increasingly influence our planetary experience.
All which cannot blend and harmonize with the energies of this "Sun of Righteousness," struggles mightily, warring to retain its dominance within its limited sphere, outside the circle of Planetary and Solar Love.
For as we know from our personal experience, any new spiritual energy is first met with the last ditch efforts of the opposing forces (the "shadow" or Minotaur aspect) which, resisting integration, would oppose the new energies.
The Ageless Wisdom tells us that the focus of this Planetary Teacher is on the livingness of the love nature in every human being.
When fully awakened, this spiritual energy will knit and bind together all men and women of goodwill throughout the world, irrespective of all divisions such as ethnicity, religion or nationality.
It will stimulate the group spirit and group consciousness, being as it is an attractive force binding all together for the Common Good.
How Can We More Adequately Prepare To Be Of Service At This Time Of Immense Spiritual Opportunity And Need?
In a recent New York Times article on the passing away of the diplomat and scholar, Harlan Cleveland, who was a former president of the University of Hawaii and an American ambassador to NATO, as well as a supporter of strengthening the United Nations, Mr. Cleveland was quoted as having said,
"When I was very young, I learned something I hope is true, that if I wiggled my little finger it would affect the farthest star."10
This thought is borne out by the following from a Master of the Wisdom in the book Heart (par. 246), published by the Agni Yoga Society of New York:
"If you describe a circle in the air with a stick, it will return to its primary position already altered and full of new sediments."
What we each think and do, counts. It matters, far more than we realize.
Many of you may be aware of the existence and work of the Elders—a group of public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists and human rights advocates, including, for example, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson. The group of 12, all of whom are now private citizens, sees itself as representing the concerns of humanity.
One from within the circle, Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, has said, "Don't think small; think big because the world is ready for BIG Changes."11
Many are the individuals who have come before us and struggled with the same issues about which we here deliberate today. Along with the many who I have already mentioned, there is one more such person to whom I would like to refer in closing.
In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt recited a prayer before the representatives of 26 nations that met in Washington D.C. at that time. This group of nations, who referred to themselves as the United Nations, pledged themselves to uphold the principles of the Atlantic Charter.
I would like to read a few excerpts from The Prayer, which is addressed "To God of the Free" and which can also be found on the literature table:
"Our earth," said President Roosevelt, "is but a small star in the great universe. Yet of it we can make, if we choose, a planet unvexed by war, untroubled by hunger or fear, undivided by senseless distinctions of race, color or theory."
The prayer goes on: "Grant us the wisdom and the vision to comprehend the greatness of man's spirit that suffers and endures so hugely for a goal beyond his own brief span. ….Yet most of all grant us brotherhood…—a brotherhood not of words but of acts and deeds. We are all of us children of earth—grant us that simple knowledge."
I think this serves as another good reminder of the great vortex of energy, the points of Light which are part of a Greater Light and the many strands of Loving energy which are part of the Rainbow Bridge of Light to which we are seeking to contribute today and from which we seek our inspiration and spiritual sustenance.
Because the United Nations is made up of representatives from 192 governments and governments are a reflection of their people, harmonizing the actions of the Nations of the world—in the end—is about each one of us developing a planetary consciousness.
This is the goal of humanity's evolutionary journey and this is its spiritual destiny.
May we all work more intentionally and purposefully so that this destiny may be realized sooner rather than later!
1 The Theosophical Glossary, H.P. Blavatsky, The Theosophy Company, L.A., 1973.
2 Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 48
3 Meeting the Shadow, Jeremiah Abrams and Connie Zweig, Editors. G.P. Putman's Sons Publishers, New York City, ©1999.
4 General Assembly GA/10714, 4 June 2008; Press Conference by President-Elect of 63rd General Assembly.
5 New Diplomatic Techniques in a New World, a speech before the Foreign Policy Association, 21 October 1953.
6 Dag Hammarskjöld's personal credo as stated on Edward R. Murrow's program, "This I Believe."
7 Issue 4 2001, http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2001/issue4/0104p44.html.
8 Secretary General Kofi Annan, Report to the General Assembly 56th Session, 2001.
9 Alice A. Bailey, © 1985 Lucis Trust, p. 603.
10 The New York Times, June 13, 2008: Harlan Cleveland, Diplomat and Scholar, Dies at 90 by Dennis Hevesi.
11 On the website of The Elders: http://theelders.org/.
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