(This article appeared on November 2 2018 on the forum of the Living Discipleship Initiative. For more information on this group experiment, please contact us.)
Envision the group as a cauldron for Ashramic love,
a vessel for keeping it warm enough
that its contents may seep into the hearts of many others,
gently opening the closed petals of the heart.
(Group guidance from June 2018)
Love is a Substance
I liked the above passage when I first read it, and it sticks with me. It conveys to me a perfect image of the continuity of love, and our role in it, as a group.
Love is the basic building material of this universe. It is a substance, coming from higher levels of reality, flowing into and continuously building the manifested world. On the way, there are knots and obstacles, as our world is not yet perfect. We are sharply aware of these obstacles at this moment of dire planetary crisis, when love is most needed.
The task of our group experiment is to help release impediments to the flow of love between the spiritual world and humanity, and to create an energetic bridge between the kingdoms. In a previous essay, I described my process of ‘thinking things through’ in order to build a safe mental footing for this bridge. The present essay is an attempt to ‘feel things through’ the bridge-building process, through the lens of love. I will start with a few interwoven passages from our group guidance, from January and February 2017, to set the tone.
“As you are discovering through this group experience, the time for spiritual study alone is over. This is a time for application of the accumulated light of wisdom to human need. You are becoming aware of the dire need of the world for love, and you are learning how to transform yourselves into radiant vessels of love. This has importance beyond your present imagining.”
“Concerning Our work with you, the threads are tied to the reality of the Soul and its capacity to radiate love. Spiritual love is the single element that is able to bind the 4th and 5th kingdoms. [It} is a force emanating from subtler realms and encountered through finer senses. This is a dimension of love known only to the fully awakened soul. It is the Soul’s love—Christ’s love in expression—that must underlie the new world. It is the magnetism of this love that triggers the electro-magnetic pulse that lifts the veil between our kingdoms and allows the higher energies to become ‘externalized.’”
The Human Heart
To ‘transform ourselves into radiant vessels of love’ is a process with various phases, which I want to trace in this essay. Our capacity to register, contain and radiate love grows in both quantity and quality.
Let our baseline be the simple human heart. We know from the Tibetan Master that the human heart is basically sound. It’s the layers of painful past experiences which obstruct the free flow of our natural love. It takes facing these painful experiences and working them through to release the flow. The more pain we carry, the more courage we need to do so. Love for many of us means to dare to trust that this time we will not be hurt.
Once we humans manage the basic trust to allow love to flow in our hearts, the next task consists in efforts to express this love and to refrain from hurting others. In the words of the Mantram of Unification: “I seek to love not hate; I seek to serve and not exact due service; I seek to heal, not hurt.
Through our life lessons we learn to cultivate the qualities of the human heart: love and devotion to our families and close associates, and goodwill and loving kindness and tolerance for a growing circle of relationships.
This effort, when sustained, calls forth a first tenuous response from the soul. This marks a turning point, where a new quality of love becomes available to us: soul love or spiritual love. This new quality of love is not easily comprehensible and producible by the personality at first. It takes the recurring outer experience of beauty, goodness, and truth, to help us register and desire this higher love, and then the prolonged effort to generate it by ourselves, through meditation.
“Soul love is not merely a higher ‘grade’ of love, it is an entirely different quality from the love of the personality. When peering through the lens of the soul at the question of love, what emerges is a ‘substance’ of an entirely different nature. To be sure, like the love of the persona, it is focused energetically in the heart, for it is in the heart where the journey of the soul begins. [But] it is only through the seeker’s determination to ‘take the Kingdom by storm’ that a committed disciple is born and the love of which We speak bursts its banks from within the 5th Kingdom and pours into the awareness of the disciple as a living force.” (February 2018)
The more our experience of soul love grows, the less are we dependent on personality love. Our human love becomes increasingly unconditional and service-oriented, and the higher love becomes the focus of our striving. Subtle antennas seem to grow in our heart, making it sensitive to finer nuances and higher levels of love. The abstract concept of the kingdom of souls starts to be experienced as an actual feel-able reality. Relationships beyond the scope of the present incarnation begin to dawn upon us—our relationships as souls. We become aware of our co-workers of old and take up our life purpose and service function together with them.
The process of the individual opening to soul love is a necessary prerequisite to what is now, at the threshold of the Age of Aquarius, the new frontier: group consciousness, based on the practice of soul love.
“It is not groups per se that are vital to human evolution in the Aquarian Age but groups infused with this love of the Soul. It is no longer sufficient to know the fact that groups are vital to the coming age. It is conscious, intelligent, embodied love within groups that will transform human living and transmit soul awareness into the new civilization.” (January 2018).
The Tibetan Master’s experiment to form such a group, during the beginning of last century, failed because of lack of love among the group members. What is already very difficult for an individual proved to be insurmountable for a group at that time, even under the guidance of a Master of Wisdom. Perhaps the attention of the disciples still needed to be more on mental polarisation and detachment, and the absorption of the theoretical knowledge—ever a mandatory prerequisite.
“Consider, for example, what it has required—in terms of both study and experience—for you to comprehend the reality of spiritual love. It is what makes Our communion with you possible. All that you have learned from books until now, all your years and lifetimes of study, has been preparatory. It is the fire of love that will carry you into the next stage on the Path and will make it possible to close the gap between our two kingdoms. The capacity to love and to demonstrate the will-to-love are the most fundamental requirements for entering the Kingdom of Souls.” (January 2018)
On this threshold we spiritual groups still stand today. Anyone who has attempted such work can attest to the fierceness of the ‘fires of group work’. At the beginning of our group experiment we indeed had fiery patches, and serious group crises. I personally went through phases of frustration, of not feeling seen, of doubts about the way things developed in the group. Of ‘swallowing frogs’ as you say in Hebrew.
We learnt a lot about when it is right to share something and when not; which personal sharing is helpful for the group process and which is rather burdening it; we learnt to sense the readiness of the group field for a new idea; when to insist on an insight, because it comes from a higher place, and when to release our own knowing, even if deemed of vital importance in our own experience.
We learnt to help each other over the rough spots, and to trust in each other’s love and integrity. We made a strong commitment to keep love in the forefront of our awareness. Our group guidance reminds us of it constantly and we nurture the group love also through regularly sharing quotes such as this one:
“…seek to hold each other unwaveringly in the light of love. You have no idea of the potency of such an effort or of its power to release each other and to lift the group to an exceedingly high place. By the pure light of love for one another you can draw nearer to me and to the teachers on the subjective side of life and arrive more rapidly at that Gate which opens on the lighted Way.” (Discipleship in the New Age, Vol I, p.10)
I think the fact that we kept our group life sheltered from outer influences for the first two years was helpful in creating our ‘group cauldron’. Also, the fact that we don’t know so much about each other’s personal lives proves to be helpful rather than hindering. It seems that now we have reached an equilibrium, a maturity, a group unity on which we can safely stand. In a recent guidance it is poetically stated: “You have woven out of your distinctive personas a splendid garment to be worn by the group Self. This garment is a reflection of the love flowing among you in your mutual consecration to the Plan.” (October 2018)
I like the metaphor of a garment woven out of our distinctive personas. The persona is the ground on which we stand, our anchor in the world, our instrument through which we work. It is very solid, but somehow it becomes less distinctly noticed. Yes, in the group context it can be likened to a collection of threads woven into the greater group garment. We have American and European and Australian threads, feminine and masculine threads, all the Ray colors, introvert and extrovert threads, and so on.
While we remain solid, distinct individuals with outer ‘garments,’ this aspect somehow retreats into the background, and a more fluid and impersonal quality among us engrosses our attention, a soul friendship, an intimacy of a spiritual kind, a higher and freer form of love.
“You have gravitated toward, and begun to embody, the designation ‘sisters and brothers.’ To live the highest truth of this designation is to reveal—first to yourselves and then to others—the nature and soul quality of the Aquarian Age. These words of familiarity imply the closest relations among human beings, yet among you these relations are predicated upon the intimacy of spiritual recognition.” (October 2018)
We could say we are trying out ashramic relations in our ‘miniature ashram,’ our ashramic adjunct. Imitation creates resonance. I am sure that the fact that for the most part we communicate via email saves us from much ‘personality rub.’ In the process of writing emails one can weed out the coarser threads which in daily physical encounters are more difficult to manage.
“By meeting one another as souls, you are generating a reservoir of higher love that can be drawn upon in your lives and in your fields of service. Love, no longer personal, becomes planetary in its implications, as it is nothing less than this love of the soul that will heal the current planetary sickness. What remains now is discovering the applications of soul love as a group in service to humanity and to the Plan—the portion of the Plan that We are fine-tuning in concert with you.” (February 2018)
In our Living Discipleship group experiment we have both the simple warmth of the human heart and the additional ‘layer’ of soul love, which is less ‘gluey,’ more cool. It has a mental component to it. The interaction with our higher human coworkers exposes us to yet a finer quality of love—buddhic love, or ashramic love. It has the addition of a purpose component. The following quote from our group guidance from April 2018 illustrates this:
“What drives Us forward is Love—spiritual love of an intensity as yet unimaginable to you. This love has a similar effect to that of the life-giving force of an unimpeded flow of sunshine upon the human and lesser kingdoms. In the 5th Kingdom, Love is that life-giving force. It activates in Us the desire to carry out the will of the Master in fulfillment of the Plan. Our lives are centered around opportunities to further the Plan; Our motivation is the pure love of the Christ and His intention to make manifest the Kingdom of God on Earth.”
Our group guidance comes from a 1st Ray Ashram, yet is expressive of much 2nd Ray quality, due to its specific bridge-building purpose. Each new guidance message provides us with a new ‘dose’ of ashramic love-purpose. Each such ‘dose’ requires a step by us as a group. The relationship with the Ashram is one of reciprocity:
“When a certain openness and fullness of the heart is arrived at, there comes a downpour of spiritual love from Those within the planetary heart center … The opening of the heart of the individual comes first; the ‘acknowledgment’ then follows from Our ranks. You will become familiar with this dynamic increasingly as the petals of the group heart continue to extend themselves toward Us.” (June 2017)
We have to make the first step, as individuals and as a group, and then our spiritual coworkers can reciprocate. The dawning reality of reciprocity holds so much hope, fills us with joy and spurs us on. It sounds reasonably easy in theory. However, in practice each such step must be wrought out in the cauldron of our hearts and minds, and sometimes it’s far from easy. Here is an instance from April 2018, of a lack of readiness from our side:
“The reason why some of you have been unable to perceive Us clearly as yet is an insufficiency of the aspect of Love that engenders a steady state of trust. Trust cannot exist apart from the flow of love. Love is the flame that lights and sustains the fire of trust. Without this sustenance, fear erupts and distorts and ultimately extinguishes the flow of love. Thus, it is that We have been unable to approach closer until now. In the wake of your Aries Full Moon meeting, We have found a firmer footing for Our pathway of ‘descent’ into your midst. There is a steadier flow of love that We can add unto, helping to sustain it to the point where trust becomes a stable flame and evocative potency for our reciprocal approach. Always remember that with every step you take closer to Us, We take many more steps closer to you.”
I have grappled with my fears of falling into glamor for many years, and have remained on a kind of aloof plateau, considering the possibilities, at times dipping into the bliss of communion, but then retreating again to an observer mode. Daring to give a chance to love from on high seems to repeat on a higher turn of the spiral the daring to give our human love a chance.
How many times have we asked, over our many lifetimes, for help from God and not really received a perceivable answer? How many times have we felt abandoned, not loved, forgotten by those who promised to take care of us? How often have we fallen prey to illusions? It’s a deep cellular memory. Only direct experience perceived by the physical senses can replace that. Those who have it, by grace, by a near-death experience, by a full-blown visitation, are forever changed, because they know, cellularly. Those of us who don’t have a cellularly convincing experience need to make a steady effort of daring and trusting and opening. We need the propping of many ‘little miracles.’ And as we pay attention to them,
“things once deemed super-natural begin to occur in the life that make the disciple aware that Higher Forces are intervening for the good. Conditions arise seemingly ‘out of the blue’ that are unique opportunities for spiritual development. This awareness ebbs and flows, waxing through added ‘incontrovertible evidence’ and then waning as doubt recurs, as the limited concrete mind overpowers the intuitive grasp of Reality.” (February 2018)
On the mystical path down the ages, we dealt with these obstacles of fear and doubt quite bluntly by forcibly tearing them out, in order to fully believe and surrender and unite with the beloved. For the modern-day disciple, the work is more complex. We must bring both heart and mental equipment to the conscious bridge-building work. The ‘evidence’ must be weighed against the concrete common-sense mind. Trust must be earned by repeated experiment, by an exhausting listening to both the believing and yearning heart and the skeptical mind. Through the reasoning process, mental discernment becomes finer. Through the repeated decision and effort to create space in ourselves, to hold the inner cauldron in which the unseen can make itself felt and seen, we develop an inner stamina and will that bring us into resonance with the higher world.
“[Eventually] the disciple arrives at a point of equilibrium regarding inner realization. That spiritual Beings are extending Themselves to guide and protect the individual becomes an inescapable fact. Incidents of synchronicities and related phenomena grow to the point of becoming undeniable. Doubt recedes and as gratitude increases, in response to this realization, the stream of love between the kingdoms grows steadier. The love of the individual is intensified by the growing acceptance of loving Energies extending into the life of the disciple from behind the veil. The heart expands. A conscious relationship is forged, even though details remain vague. The force of love, registered in the mind as loving guidance in one form or another, convinces of the Higher Reality.” (February 2018)
I have found that the constant attempt to stretch the heart into openness to on high has an effect similar to training a muscle in the gym. The use of the imagination plays a very important part here. By imagining and feeling something, we make it more real, we bring it into our world. It’s creating with our hearts. It takes a certain will, a discipline. On good days it works, and on bad days it’s more difficult, similar to other areas of endeavor. We can capitalise on each synchronicity, each little miracle—lending it livingness through our imagination and feeling-response. Savoring it, being grateful for it, visualising the magic of it, visualising our coworkers in the subtle world interacting thus with us.
I also try to use our group guidance in this way: each time I read a new guidance letter with yet another prompting to open to Their love, I have the choice to just take in mentally the information, or to let my heart respond. Whenever I manage to willingly and gratefully let the words pull me into greater openness, they lift me onto a higher vibration of the heart. This stretches me into resonance with our Elders. Here are a few favorite gems, with which to try it out:
“Our bond of fellowship with you strengthens in this hour of dire circumstance and release to higher ground… Worry not about every jot and tittle, concern yourselves more with the cast of your heart. Bring your heart to the threshold of Our Abode and We will fill it with bliss.” (September 2017)
“Hasten your steps to the mountaintop where you may dwell with Us through the worst of times. When they are over, your true work will begin… Woven through the fabric of Letters to you… is this simple call: to engage with Us through love, to demonstrate the will to love one another, to tend the human soul with love.” (February 2018)
“We are your brothers, distinguished solely by Our place in the evolutionary chain of ascent. Our nature becomes known to all who earnestly tread the path of return to Spirit—through the light and the love of the Soul. This love, as you are discovering, is the ‘passport’ into Our realm and into the ranks of those who will together establish the new civilization of Earth.” (July 2018)
The great challenge is to maintain this higher vibration of the heart, to stabilise it, to actually live on this level of soul love. The more we succeed, the more we are aware of the presence, closeness, relationship and cooperation with our Elders.
The Will to Love
After two years of intense training, we have now begun to share something of it. The following quotes from our guidance express aspects of the task ahead:
“We would ask you to reflect on your role as bearers of the love of the soul that flows from the divine Source of all Love. Envision the light you are transmitting as a current of electricity; envision the wire conducting the electricity as insulated by Ashramic Love. You are that wire, that conductor of the force of Love, to an increasingly desperate humanity.” (October 2017)
“It is the capacity to love—as Souls—that will call forth into manifestation the coming Avatar of Love. Through the collective expression of the soul’s will to love, something that has never before existed on the Earth will become possible. This is the force that will transform the world soul by soul, group by group, nation by nation.” (February 2018)
So, it’s the quality of the will to love—the love of the soul ready for action. Fiery love. Not a sweet sentiment, nor a passionate idealistic flare, but a long-sustained, unvarying pressure of love. The sustained fire of an all-inclusive heart is a specific, redeeming energy. To apply this steady pressure requires an inner stand, a certain alignment held over time.
I experience the will to love as a synthesis of first and second ray energy. I have identified a specific location in my body where I can hold this synthesis. It is what the Tibetan calls the point between the shoulder blades. It is the place of convergence of the verticalness and centredness of the spine, with the inclusive radiance of the heart. There I sense love which is deep and steady, impersonal and transpersonal, tempered by the will. The will to love.
To stand in the will to love as a group means for us to hold a comprehensive group alignment so that we can act as a relay station or distribution point for ashramic love: keeping our vertical alignment to the Ashram and at the same time opening outward horizontally now, through including in our meditative awareness widening circles of fellow pilgrims on the path, rippling-out the ashramic vibration. Writing our essays and sending them out rhythmically as a group feels to me like a pulsing-out of ashramic love. At least it is our approximation to it. We hope it spurs the flow.
I am curious how our experiment will develop from here. The most important aspect of this work, for me, is our willingness to open up to a genuine experience. Livingness. Our name—Living Discipleship—is a very good expression. It connotes a living relationship with our higher human coworkers, in order to learn soul love and to share this soul love, this urgent medicine, with humanity in crisis, so we humans on Earth will make the shift to the next level.
November 2, 2018