Journey of a Lifetime: A Group Story is an account of the journey of a group through more than thirty years’ work. From February 2018 a chapter is being posted each month. Here is this month’s chapter. Please Note: Copies of the book are available from Sydney Goodwill.
CHAPTER THREE Unfolding Group Development
First Phase of the Group
Initially three friends, who had met earlier in the course of group work, meditated together over a period of twelve months. They had the impression that a group would form around the energy focus being established and that it was not their task to collect or choose members to fill a group. All three recognized a close inner that worked out into the capacity to function as one in the outer side of the work.
The triangle started in an interesting way. One of the three had an impression that it would be useful to work together with the other two in this formation. During a meditation this member linked up with the triangle, took up position in the etheric and ‘glancing up’ saw a network of triangles spreading in all directions and said, “We’re part of a network that surrounds the planet. As we work let’s be aware of this fact.” The word ‘etheric’ was not yet in the group vocabulary but they knew they were focused in the subtle dimension and that this was the energy counterpart of the physical world. Some time later they came upon a series of books within which this aspect of the work was presented.
It was about three years prior to this that two members of this triangle had first met at another’s group meeting. One had arrived early and the other was the last to join the group and stood quietly in the doorway. They were both immediately aware of merging completely with one another. The former described the experience:
“As soon as she appeared in the doorway I found myself expanding out beyond my body and at the same time completely merging with her. There was no space between us. Our being filled the room and extended out and out beyond the house, continuing outwards into space and into the universe itself. I had never before experienced anything like this. It was astonishing and it was beautiful. Some time later we spoke briefly by phone and discovered we had both entered into this identical being. We were not in touch again during these three years until the work of the triangle commenced.”
After the triangle had meditated for twelve months the Group spontaneously came together in response to the focused energy. One of the triangle had agreed to spend a day in an experiment in meditation with a co-worker. Within that week each member of the newly emerging Group made contact with this triangle member. As a result the first meeting took place and this Group subsequently worked together for many years. This coming together may seem coincidental but just what are the mechanics behind such a happening?
In the year’s meditation the triangle had responded to the sound of the group work that was in emergence, and in turn was sounding forth the note. There was a response from those whose inner being resonated with the note and whose destiny led them to work within this particular group service. The members appeared together simultaneously within the group form right onto the physical plane. The first phase of the Group’s life had begun.
The principle of sound in operation is demonstrated in the process described above. We see this principle on a greater scale as the world work comes into being and the new truths and spiritual realization for any opening cycle begin to sound within the greater inner group. The assembled group on the inner plane, in deep mediation, focuses the sound as it goes through its every cadence, variation, nuance, rising and falling, making its statement; it is virtually impossible to describe in words. Those workers whose own note most exactly resembles the emerging sound find themselves with a task to fulfil within the work of the new day. There is no arbitrary choice in the selection of workers. And so it is with the formation of the physical plane groups as outer expressions of the inner group.
By sound the worlds were made. It is the creative principle. Everything is manifested by sound and diversifies increasingly outward through the planes. People become confused because they are focused out in the planes of diversification and do not apprehend the source. If we can work from the source, a clarifying light is thrown into and onto the world of expression enabling a truer representation reality.
Of course the same principle applies when we think of working with our focus within the inner group and from there out into group service for humanity. We are afforded a clarity of vision and creative capacity that demonstrates into the outer field of our work.
Whether aware of it or not the individual also creates by sound. We are all known by our sound. Our sound goes forth. It heralds and reveals us all the time and to the world around us. It is not what we are heard to say but what we are that sounds. Those who do not focus their lives from the inner planes are never aware of just how clearly they are heard by those who do.
We learn to discern all things by their sound and not alone by their outer appearance. Those books that contain the Teaching for the New Era are only understood in their essence by those workers who truly know. This is not a statement of intellectual capacity. A principle is involved – an inner principle. Whatever we are inwardly and know are sounds or coincides with that which is contained within the Teaching. It has a releasing effect. An energy effect. It is an entirely different matter from studying, however useful that may be. It has the effect of releasing into our hands certain energies for service, and throws light upon that service.
Another example is found in the realm of past experience. We often find the needs of our service calling forth developed capacities and knowledge from past times – which return to our hands – again for service, flowing forth as distilled essence. The needs of the outer service coincide with the inner sound and the flow takes place.
At one time while experiencing such a movement of energies it happened that the details of a related lifetime appeared to the inner sight of one of the Group members. There was a necessity in the work for an intensification of energy along a particular line. In the focusing upon this necessity he became aware of standing beside a teacher in a colonnaded porch of an ancient Greek temple. The teacher was wearing a long gown and he was wearing one just below the knees, belted at the waist with a cord.
The temple stood high above a horseshoe-shaped bay, overlooking the sea. The ground, sloping down to the water, was covered in the greenest grass through which protruded occasional brown rocks and a scattering of red poppies. Looking down into the crystal clear water one could see patches of sand and rocks, through to the floor of the bay. He was aware that he was speaking fluent Greek with the teacher who called him by name.
That which was required for the work at hand had already been touched upon in that past time and now returned to his hands. These spontaneous experiences can be most revealing and instructive yet are by no means essential in the releasing of previously realized capacities and knowledge. They are an incidental side effect. Usually the energy flows without associated phenomena.
Active Work Under Pressure
In the early stage of the meditative process of the focusing triangle we were at times aware of the work which was to express through the newly forming Group as it responded to the emerging sound. One aspect of the work we became aware of was phrased in these words: “You are one of the ones chosen to do active work under pressure which creates a focal point of great tension on the earth plane. Remember that all real work is done on the mental plane, which is creation in thought. Do not confuse ‘the work’ with its manifestation in time or with the orthodox mind’s interpretation of ‘doing’ and its definition of the word ’active’.
Such a group would need to be very closely integrated. When the whole Group came together certain basic requirements became obvious. It was imperative that personalities did not enter into the field of work but only souls. Therefore relationships within the Group had to be beyond the personal, with the focus on a united service to humanity.
There is also a necessity to eliminate the desire to use the group for one’s own development or liberation. The purpose is service to humanity without the need for personal recognition. The group must be a reflection of the inner group: integrated and coordinated, freely contributing various qualities and talents and incorporating the varying levels of awareness, allowing contacts from the higher level of inspiration right through to the practical application. The members must also take the responsibility to maintain a protective silence around the group work.
A Test on the Threshold
It was about four months into the Group’s life that the Darjeeling experience discussed in Chapter Two took place. All in the Group understood that this symbolic experience signified and recognized the Group’s readiness to embrace and implement this new work. The Darjeeling experience spoke to the Group and not to the individual. The Group had come a long way within this time. They recalled an episode at the time of the Group’s first meeting. It was actually in the nature of a test had everyone but realised it.
The Group met at one member’s home. The night before the first meeting there was a heavy rain and windstorm and her favourite tree some fifteen feet tall, came crashing to the ground. The next morning, with the assistance of some ropes and a few pairs of willing hands, the tree was replanted in its place. During this operation a local gardener came by and shook his head saying, “Not a chance. You can’t replant a tree of that size let alone one of the variety!” Then one by one the group members arrived, all making similar pronouncement.
What to do? Standing beside the tree she took a firm hold upon its trunk and knowing that the life within herself and the life within the tree was one and the same, stated the intention to ‘glorify the Father’ with their respective expressions of the One Life, within each kingdom. It was the autumn season but the tree continued to grow vigorously and within the following days put on a mantle of spring leaf. When one stands within the power of knowing it matters not whether the whole world may doubt or declare opposition. Such knowing is invincible.
What exactly was the test?
The tree stood outside the front door. So on the threshold of the Group each one met the test, whether to respond to the usual way of the world in resigned acquiescence or to act within the Life aspect and wield the power of knowing. We all meet tests along the Way. Much is learned through apparent failure if we recognize what it is telling us and allow it to lead us to knowing. Viewed in the greater scheme of things this story may seem a relatively minor incident taking place within the outer world of form but it is nonetheless illustrative of the power of knowing.
We are not here speaking of ‘knowing something’ but rather of that state we simple call knowing. It is a direct awareness independent of reasoning, logical processes of the analytical mind, and of time or sequence. Direct knowing is beyond the function of the intuition but instantly precipitates that intuition. Any resultant revelation can be given out in a chosen format to advance the thinking of humanity. The format is not the truth itself but only an instrument.
There is a distinction between creating something yourself and tuning into something that is a part of Life’s own expression. Direct knowledge just is so – it is beyond us and yet a part of us. We are not separate from it. This awareness can be achieved by the recognition of that process which has been termed ‘identification’. If you are identified with something there is no space between. Why? Because you are one with that. You are that.
This principle is not something with which we are unfamiliar. We observe its lower correspondence operating as we identify in the world of the not-self and proceed to ‘be that’! We identify with the spiritual self and we move beyond those lesser identifications. These words sound as though we believe we are going someplace. But just as we understand that Shamballa is not a place but a state or consciousness, so should we understand our movement is in realisation. We are ‘beings of consciousness’ who elect to take form in the process of evolution.
You may see how we move from one ring-pass-not or circumscribed area to another – confining ourselves within an ‘area of consciousness’. We are confined only by what we can apprehend at any moment in time. We are not moving from one form to another; we are moving from one realization to another. In terms of the being we are, the forms are irrelevant except as a means of expression of one realization after another. How can we identify these forms as our own being?
So where are we? No wonder time and space are the great illusions! They are the great illusions when we are identified with them but they are our workplace when we are not.
In the past people have become stuck on the form. We cannot continue like this if we would embrace the purity of the next phase of the Teaching. In the elucidation of the next phase we not only accept the challenge of outlining the teaching for the time, but the challenge of finding ways to prevent its imprisonment within its form. People tend to relate any new Teaching to past acceptances, and distortion enters immediately. The difficulty is compounded because the new is not yet visible on the outer place of living. It is clearly discernible on the inner plane.
Identification refers to the new way of working. An illustration that springs to mind is contained in a discussion that took place when working with a group of young people. These young people had been seeking truth for some time. In their search they had joined with various groups’ activities and some of them had taken courses in esoteric training. At a meeting quite a distance from their own suburb they had spoken with a co-worker visiting from interstate and expressed a wish to find a group in their own locality. He said, ”I know someone in your area,” and referred them to the author.
As these things seem to happen, three of these young people arrived at the author’s door one Saturday morning, one after the other and all unannounced. After some discussion they asked if they could all meet together regularly with the author. And so another group appeared and met weekly for some years. The core members remained and many others came and went over those years. The group door was always open.
One evening this group was discussing the idea of the greater whole that the young people were calling ‘an image of totality’ which led into a discussion about group work (transcribed).
Author: “What is the meaning of Totality as we use it here? It is a whole distinct from anything that could possibly be considered separate yet it contains all things within itself. It is that subjective reality that underlies and yet encompasses all manifestation. Our challenge in the New Era is to leave behind our mistaken belief in separateness, a belief that we are ’outside of’ and need to ‘enter into’. ‘Outside of’ what – ‘enter into’ what – when we are inevitably encompassed, and at all times, by that Great Totality?”
Danielle: “But the subjective reality always appears to me as ‘a subtext’ – or secondary – to the physical world we live in and which dominates our awareness.”
Author: “In fact the reverse is so. It is actually all one and if the truth is known, the outer world is ‘a subtext’ – or secondary – to the inner reality.”
Sam: “So how do we achieve this realisation? By what means?”
Author: “There is no technique or method such as we may have constructed in the past to direct our steps a little further upon the Way. Perhaps the only technique or conscious process available to us may be called ‘transference’, a reversal of our viewpoint from partial or sequential movement to a concentrated focal point of identification with the Whole making available to our conscious usage all the is contained therein.
“As products of the past we have extensions of thought scattered all over the place. We feel a need to relate this with that, get from here to over there, and we focus on the space between and see separation. Our need is to gather our focus of attention into a point of tension while at the same time extending our awareness in acknowledgement of that greater Whole and the inevitability of our residence within it.
“Our perception of life shifts dramatically with this transference of viewpoint. Let us consider. Within the Great Totality are contained all beings, all other selves (now seen as one), all knowledge, all faculties, capacities, powers, the sum total of past, present, future – our true home. We no longer relate to the personality and its small life span as our true being but become aware of the entire life cycle of the incarnating entity (ourselves) cycling in and out of time and place, moving inexorably towards that divine completion of being. And we know ourselves as directors of this present incarnation or particular day in the long life cycle of that being that we essentially, and actually, are. The outer life is illuminated, reactions cease.
“As we enter this new phase of human growth in consciousness we are challenged to find words to define and interpret the new state of being. We endeavour to press words into service that have previously conveyed ideas of past followed a process of spiritual unfoldment whereas we now face a new process wherein perception and interpretation are simultaneous. We are identified with that which we have contacted.
The crux of the matter is understanding what identification is. It has no reference to a way or a means – it is straight, direct immediate. And it relates us to all that is. ‘Identifying with’ suggests the act of identifying but it is not approached by steps or stages but only by a process of transference and this is where we are using the term Totality. This takes place within our awareness of the greater Whole, and everything resides within it.”
Sam: “Do you mean I should take a quantum leap?”
Author: “No. Identification is a new term as we attempt to define this next phase in consciousness and yet the understanding of its process is contained within the very term itself.”
Robbie: “Can you expand on that?”
Author: “In the new group work we are now entering, the entire focus is held in the capacity to work from the inner plane out. Groups are developed which function consciously from the inner plane so that they know who and what they are in reality and do not fall prey to typical personality glamours. Their work precipitates into the outer field of expression.”
Jane: “But isn’t the outer group itself a precipitation of the inner group? Knowing this, does the outer group really need to focus its life back within the inner group?”
Author: “It is a matter of consciousness. We are developing the capacity to work in full conscious awareness from within the subjective reality thus eliminating the risk of distortions and misunderstanding which can arise when our focus is closed in by the actualities of the outer life.
“Generally speaking, this same process of precipitation can be seen in the descent of truth. As soon as one is identified with any information or revelation, it precipitates but will still necessitate a format adequate to meet the immediate need.
“Working from the inner plane we have a clear and expanded picture of the scheme of group work. It is at this point that there is oneness of identity that manifests outward in a myriad of group expressions that serve the overall purpose of the work on the outer stage of life and we know it is impossible for separativeness or cleavage to exist between co-workers. This way of working is an advance on the earlier process of alignment wherein the outer group was required to keep en rapport with the inner group, even though it may have been recognized that it was all one great active group.”
Kate: “So you’re saying that if we can stand consciously on the inner plane this same unity will express naturally onto the outer plane?”
Author: “When the essential unity of the group work is understood on the outer plane, a friendly and cooperative interaction is engendered. Each group proceeds with its own work, unhindered by any urge to increase numbers, or to influence, or to draw people from the work of one group into another.”
Kate: “But we haven’t experienced that. There are a lot of problems in group life.”
Author: “Okay, let’s address some of these problems we all may have experienced in one way or another in group work today.”
Pat: “When I felt it was time to leave one group I found it difficult because they didn’t support y decision to leave even though I knew it was time to move on.”
Author: “It must be understood that it is the responsibility of no one to hold any individual within any group when they may wish to place their service elsewhere, or leave for any other purpose, or to insinuate that they are moving on to a lesser purpose and ‘neglecting their Ashramic service’. Who says? It is the soul’s prerogative to guide the personality to where it fits, not someone else’s choice. Where is freedom otherwise? Where freedom operates you may be sure a person will be drawn to and remain with the group with which they belong without coercion or comment.”
Pat: “And I guess it doesn’t help matters if we allow ourselves to be influenced like that. We’re then only reinforcing the old ways.”
Jane: “That’s true for individuals in a group but we have experienced this between groups when another group saw our work only in terms of its value to them.”
Author: “We also may need to correct a distorted idea of intergroup work and its expression. We are in a transitional time and many workers are products of past methods. Their vision is influenced by what seems good and right to them which leads them to prescribe, or impose, from their own assessment of external requirements. What is needed is an understanding of the integrity and cooperation distinctive of the inner group of workers, carried into outer expression.
“An apparent failure of others to ‘come to the party’ as desired by an individual or group is often seen as cleavage but cleavage exists only in the mind. So that which the would avoid is cultivated in the mind and given substance although they may not be aware that in this focus they themselves are the perpetrators of group misunderstanding.”
Jane: “So how do we maintain harmony between groups?”
Author: “True harmony is not something that needs to be maintained. It is the natural expression of integrity and freedom. But when emphasis is placed on maintaining or establishing harmony this can lead to compromise. Compromise cannot be allowed in group work. It is truth that is compromised when, in group situations which require clarity of sight and a ruthless honesty, there is an ‘adjustment of truth’ in the mistaken belief that the maintenance of a so-called harmony is more important than the clear vision that requires action to correct such distortion and so permit free interaction in the work. With such compromise we have lost the principle of soul and substituted a lesser way.”
Danielle: “But it seems so important for the sake of the work that groups remain harmonious at all cost.”
Author: “Urgently required today is the realisation that all groups share a common purpose inspired from their irrefutable inner unity or oneness and manifesting outward in each one’s own specific or specialized group activity. If it is of value to the work, groups may come together for a time to cooperate in some common or extended program and freely return to their own space when such work is completed. If the new vision has not been understood there is a rick of ‘tying groups together’ and frustrating freedom.”
Kate: “Does loyalty feature in this?”
Author: “There is a distinction between an illumined loyalty and that which imposes its demands in the personal world of expression. Here is where a mistake is often made in group work because if one identifies primarily with the externalized expression of the groups then the underlying unity may be overlooked and loyalty seen as a requirement between the outer group forms. There is then a risk of imposition masquerading as loyalty. Loyalty to what or to whom?
“The fact is the outer group is itself only an instrument of inner group intention. It must not be allowed to become tyrannical any more than any other form we use for expression. If we see this happening then it is obvious that the group focus has narrowed into the outer world of expression whereas when consciously identified within the greater inner group the outer statement reflects the inner reality. Try it!”
From the earliest stages of the unfolding Group development it was clear that a new vision was emerging and new thinkers were searching it out. This new vision concerns recognition of and identification with the greater Whole and the realisation that group life is an integral part of that greater Whole. With this understanding we experience a freedom from form and a freedom to work through form with planned purpose.