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 FIVE The View From in Here
Within the Group life there was one technique and one technique only – to see everything from the inner plane out. W never left that position in observation, and in promotion of the work. In fact we understood that we had accepted the responsibility to develop this new group way of working for the future.
We realised that this approach was consistent with the Aquarian influence and with the incoming Will aspect. From the air of Aquarius the direction is from above downwards – from the ’heavens to the earth’ (from the inner to the outer). The Will aspect also works from above downwards, bending form to its purpose.
It became progressively evident how this ‘technique’ dramatically transformed our view of life. Basically, we were acknowledging that we were working from the realm of soul and not that of personality. From the elevated viewpoint we found a freedom to work not know in the personal sphere.
While we worked within the soul cycle, it was always understood that the monadic life was implied into the work of the future. This recognition was central to our Group life focus.
In fact, at a particular moment in the Group’s life the following illustrative incident occurred. One of the group members brought a white Camellia to the group meeting. It was the first bloom from a bush in her garden and it was not yet open. We placed it in a small vase in the centre of the Group. Just as we were about to start the meeting, one of the members picked up the flower and it immediately began to unfold its petals. We passed it from hand to hand around the Group and its unfolding movement continued steadily – in appearance resembling time-lapse photography – until each member had touched it. The petals had folded back to its stem revealing its centre. The Group received an impression to refer to a certain page in a particular book which presented the teaching of the unfolding of the three rows of petals of the Egoic Lotus until the jewel or the fire at the centre is revealed.
An Experiment in Meditation
Quite early in the Group’s life a meditation was developed to give the members actual practical experience of this way of working, and as a group, while at the same time moving beyond attachment to the personality focus. Using music that sounded the Group keynote, the Group was led to acknowledgment of what had been known theoretically but not actually – that it was the soul directing the life. This music was both illustrative and representative of the soul in charge, expressing itself and showing its wide-ranging capacities, demonstrating the extent of its outreach and influence into the outer world.
The following has been excerpted from the group journal of the time and was worded to share with one of the groups with whom we were in constant contact, interacting in our experiments in meditation and group work:
In groups for beginners in meditation emphasis is placed on purity of motive and selflessness. In more advanced groups the keynote is Service and the members understand the necessity for submergence of personality demands and removal of emphasis on development of the individual consciousness to a focus on the greater or wider purpose. In some individuals this recognition brings its own peculiar problems. There are those who feel that to work in any way at development of their own consciousness is spiritually selfish but at the same time recognise that the greater the development, the greater the ability to serve. They are confronted by a dilemma. Here is duality in the consciousness of the student. A certain procedure or technique is used to resolve the apparent difficulty. The student is counselled to recognise that he is the soul, his true self, to visualise the soul on its own plane, know that he is that, and look out upon the world of service through the eyes of the soul. It is then seen that for the spiritual man to serve in the outer world he must work through his outer instrument and it must therefore be perfected or will constitute a hindrance to complete soul expression. It is also realised that from this point of view development is rather a matter of discarding individual hindrances than gaining anything for the separated self.
Music may be used in a group meditation in connection with the recognition mentioned above. We found the use of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for violin and orchestra in D Major produces the desired results in consciousness. It is written for the string which we identify with harmony, the heart centre, soul or group consciousness. The minor keys relate to the spiritual realms and the major make the realisation manifest on earth or in brain awareness. The music is interpreted to convey certain meanings to the group members and during the playing of the music in the meditation session, the aim is to ‘tune in’ to the music itself and also to mentally recognise the meaning attributed to each passage and endeavor to bring about this realisation in consciousness. The vibration, harmony, melody, rhythm and beauty of the music greatly assist the raising of consciousness. The consciously-acknowledge meaning in the minds of the participants aids them in making the transition from theory to actuality.
The interpretation of any particular piece may differ from group to group or individual to individual, but this is our interpretation of the Concerto as it is used to develop the technique of identification with the soul. The music is interpreted from the viewpoint of the soul expressing through its instrument rather than the personality seeking to know spirit.
The first movement expresses the yearning of soul to express through its instrument, the personality (physical, astral and mental forms) in the outer world. This is followed by an increasing domination by the soul of its instrument, its expressed intention, then comes the solo passage for violin wherein all ’other voices’ cease while the soul expresses itself, its individuality, versatility, scope and beauty before again joining with the other instruments in triumphal or victorious expression. It is also noted that the ‘yearning theme’ turns to realisation or recognition only to repeat itself at later points in the Concerto. This illustrates the process of recapitulation that is undergone during spiritual development, on different turns of the upward spiral (or the initiatory process).
The second and third movements
The soul stands in the centre of power – poised, calm, controlled. The ‘mystery’ theme is heard: the Mysteries are revealed to the spiritual man as a result of his own effort. Then follows a demonstration of that power under his complete control and direction, and his expression of understood and definite purpose.
The human race, and groups included, have the habit of viewing life back to front – from the outer and obvious instead of from the inner and real. This meditation obviates this error by reversing the direction of viewing.
Standing on the soul level we look outward into the field of work on the outer plane. This requires us to look through the instrument the soul must use and into the field of service. Thus the soul assesses its instrument. What the soul sees is different from what the personality sees. The soul already has its own intention and capacities.
What hindrances are there in those personal vehicles that need to be dropped because they stand in the way? It is amazing how many thoughtforms are no longer supportable. The group member, identifying as the soul, recognises the hindrances and faces the necessity to drop them to allow the soul to use its instrument. At the same time potentialities on the brink of expression in the equipment are recognised and need to be released into use. Claims of not being able to do something are no longer valid with this point of view. It is an old trap in identifying with the personality that we have to work on the personality equipment to train it for service, when in fact it is the very demand that service itself makes that draws forth the needed energies and capacities into our hands.
The vaster soul sphere of life contains within its bounds the smaller sphere of the personal world and shines its light throughout the whole. Personal relationships no longer loom unduly large but are met with wisdom; a larger picture is seen; issues are no longer viewed in isolation but in context within a greater whole.
Those things previously considered as difficulties are offset by this viewpoint and many concepts and working processes change markedly and yet simplify. The unity of purpose of the group is seen clearly and the group begins to work as a single entity and with increasing freedom while incorporating within itself a wide diversity of qualities offered by each of the group members.
At every moment and in every circumstance the Group developed the habit of seeing every aspect of life from this elevation – from above downward.
The Second Phase of the Group
The Group actually did create a focal point (as spoken of in Chapter Three) by its deeply subjective focus throughout the years. It came to the point where it was recognised that an outer form was necessary through which service could be offered to the world at large. At this time another related group was established for the express purpose of reaching the public. Since the first Group had not developed such a required outer structure and the second needed more workers, the two groups combined, and the subjective energy continued to flow through the focal point informing and enlivening the outer field of service. And thus the Group entered its second phase of service.
One point worth mentioning here is that just as the original triangle members merged within the larger Group in the first phase of the work, and no longer saw it as desirable or necessary to continue meeting separately as a triangle (recognising this could create a separative state in the Group), so in the second phase it was no longer required for the first Group to continue its own meetings but to merge with the second group in its operation. The subjective relationship continued untouched.
It must be understood that when any form of a group has served its purpose we must let it go. Some members have a difficulty in releasing a long held and often cherished form at the risk of holding back the next phase of the work. Just as in medical practice we may see heroic attempts to keep a physical body alive when the informing life has departed, so we must refrain from exaggerated group life support in favour of the Law of Abstraction. It is this law which operates to free us from physical forms and emotional or mental attachments.
In the second phase we applied ourselves to public outreach as a group while the esoteric focus continued behind the scenes. We became available for public enquiry through an office established in the city, through newsletters and other publications, public meetings, and seminars. Throughout these years there was a growing response, with many people choosing to work with the Group.
At this time we were also interacting with other groups within their seminars and conferences, nationally and internationally. It was a time when many groups were sharing the nature of their work with one another and also making a platform available that newcomers might discover areas of service to which they responded or a new direction for their lives.
Following an international conference held in our city our local groups decided to join together in monthly discussion and meditation meetings. There was such an understanding among these groups of people that meetings flowed in a harmonious demonstration of true group activity. In a subtle sense, we were also aware that our sound inevitably went forth, carrying the note of harmonious interaction.
As each group’s own work deepened and extended, and their focus was intensified upon their specific task, we no longer continued to meet together on a regular basis, but maintained contact and occasional interaction within the work. This is still ongoing. There was a recognition of a freedom to experience and express together without any demands or requirements placed upon anyone. There was a subsequent recognition that the interaction we all shared had deepened and strengthened our inner realisation. Our coming together in loving understanding and cooperation led to the energising of each group with its obvious value to the work of all concerned.
In retrospect, it was clear that we had created a bond that was unshakeable no matter what circumstances might occur. We noted that, when each group’s specific task was calling for their undivided and intensified attention, the joint group form or structure was no longer needed. We must understand that we cannot forever be in the preliminary formative stages where together we are finding the value of intensifying energy, but we must move on and use it in service. We found a similar sequence of events occurring in connection with the work with international groups.
Once again we recognise the principle of letting go of any form which has served its purpose while yet we know that we can never lose one another. This understanding leads us to the awareness of the life aspect of a group and the loving spiritual relationship within it.