Again, I had a post I originally wanted to write, and was not able to do it. I continued reading and meditating, and this is the result.
I have a number of friends who feel almost as though we are being bombed verbally. Dion Fortune and her group of adepts were being bombed physically. While the bombs coming at us are not the type that rip the roofs off of buildings, the effect on the psyche is similar. In her letter of September 8, 1940, Ms Fortune wrote, “There is only one way to keep quiet and serene under bombardment – to be prepared to lay down your life for your country if necessary. Once that eventuality is accepted , one abrogates one’s civilian mentality, and the passivity and helplessness that go with it. Regard the warning wail of the siren as an ‘alert’ not as a ‘retreat’, unless specifically ordered to get out of the way. Carry on as near normal as you can without running undue risks.” I feel like this works for the kind of bombardment we are experiencing in the US today.
As I write this, we see that the current occupant of the White House has fired his defense secretary and we are awaiting his firing of the FBI director and the CIA director, replacing them with those more willing to do his bidding. We see him and his surrogates challenging the results of the election and insulting those doing the arduous and patriotic work of counting the ballots and ensuring that all votes are counted and counted fairly. We find him arguing against the findings of the independent press. These behaviors are not partisan issues, they are the antithesis of the founding of this country. We also observe him addressing the people with lies and misinformation. Perhaps the worst offense is the assault on truth.
What is it about the assault on truth that is so dangerous? Recall those three values: liberty, equality and the rule of law. None of them exist except in the acceptance and enforcement of the social contract. The foundation of the social contract is trust. The one requirement for trust is the ability to accept what we are hearing from one another is honest. Truth, then, is the fiber from which the social contract is weaved. If we cannot assume that what is being said is true, how can we evaluate testimony under oath? And if we cannot evaluate testimony, how can we be sure that the rule of law is being administered equally and fairly? How can we exercise our freedom if we cannot trust that our actions will not be arbitrarily interfered with by someone else with an agenda? Because it is only the social contract that allows us to go about our lives with the basic assumption that we will not be the victim of some random act of violence by some unknown individual. That assumption is based on the understanding that we have laws in this country that apply to all persons and will be enforced equally regardless of the economic or social standing of both the perpetrator and the victim. That enforcement is predicated on the presupposition that in a courtroom, there will be witnesses who will testify to the best of their ability the truth. This has not always been the practice in this country but it has been the ideal.
With truth under attack from the highest office in the country, it is easy to see how justice is also at risk. If truth no longer matters, what is to prevent those with greatest power to invent accusations against those they see as a threat, present it without proof as evidence of wrongdoing, and lock them up. In such a society, innocence is no defense against prosecution or persecution. In the early days of the Third Reich, Hitler dealt with opposition by simply arresting his opponents and making them disappear.
It is reasonable to ask how such an assault on truth could be occurring in this country? Ms Fortune makes an interesting observation. “It will be noted that Hitler has always undermined a country through its own citizens, not through German-born agents…” The same has happened here. Propaganda has been flowing into this country for three decades, using our own trusted officials to pass it in. It comes in the form of talking points that get repeated over and over until the population begins to believe it. They have used careful messaging to make it believable and shamed those who tried to show its falseness. Through careful messaging, there has been a concerted effort to divide us as a nation, one group against another. This division has now entered our national group soul and group mind. It is this we must undo, heal and repair.
So as I go into my meditations this week, I see our round table in the rotunda. I see the great souls who have gone before us and showed us what we could be. I hear the voice of John Lewis and Elijah Cummings beseeching us to find our better selves and usher in an era of true equality and liberty through the rule of law, underpinned by truth and righteousness. I think about all of us, rural, urban, and suburban. I see us all, wealthy and poor, coming to a common table and enjoying the fruits of the land. I imagine us speaking together of who we are, what we wish to be, and how do we get there. I ponder the words of Ms. Fortune: “The nations that have been subjugated were not beaten in the field, they fell to treachery and internal corruption; to lack of morale and lack of the will to victory. The key to their fall may be found in the words: “he who would save his life shall lose it, and he who will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Those who prefer security to freedom have lost both.” May we once again turn away from lies and toward truth. May we once again reject corruption and embrace righteousness. May we be prepared to take the risk of reaching out to each other, and relish the freedom that brings.
I am almost two weeks late in publishing this post. When the replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg was announced, I had so many things I wanted to say, so many things that seemed important. But I was blocked from typing them. It wasn’t a typical writer’s block, or lack of desire to write. It wasn’t being busy. It was that whenever I sat down to type what I was thinking I couldn’t do it. It was the kind of blockage that I had to admit that what I wanted to say wasn’t what I should say. I had to regroup. And so I did. I continued reading The Magical Battle of Britain. I continued to meditate and try to connect with the inner planes. And I found my answers in time to post before All Hallows Eve and All Souls Day. The timing is important.
We are counseled that when we do this work we should attempt to not be partisan. “Our work is a work of healing and no hate must come of it.” The more I look at the partisan divisions and anger in our country, I can see how we will not be able to address our group consciousness unless we can first heal the group. As I look at the state of things in this country today, I try to consider how to not be partisan. And then I found words in my reading: “It is not well to pass by on the other side when thieves are beating honest men.” I realized that it is not partisan to be angry at bad behavior. The evil actions we are seeing from our current administration are not themselves party actions, they are the actions of immoral people who happen to have concentrated themselves in a party and to have convinced those not in power that their actions are in fact acceptable. Then I realized that these people have been operating to influence the national group soul and the group mind for several decades. It is that influence that needs to be counteracted, not the true policies of a political party. As a final nudge as to the direction to take, I came across these words: “To achieve this peace there must be strength and integrity in the souls of the nations; there must be willingness to sacrifice individual national interests for the good of the whole, the strong remembering that they are in a better position to make sacrifices than the weak; but there must also be a readiness to unsheath and use the sword of justice when it is needed.”
Thus it becomes the duty to define the good of the whole and try to act on our national group mind thoughts that will lead us in that direction. What is the good of the whole? As said before, equality, liberty, and the rule of law. What does equality mean? Certainly it means that if something is necessary for life, all in the society should have access to it. This would mean food, shelter, education, health care. It should also mean that all should have an equal voice in the governance of the society. In other words, equal access to the polls. What does liberty mean? It means the freedom to, in the words of Paul the Apostle, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” In other words, use your own conscience to determine what you believe and how you express that belief. It means the freedom to move about the country and the world as you are able and choose (and within your financial ability). It means the freedom to live where you choose, marry who you choose, think as you choose. And what is meant by rule of law? It means that the law will be applied with an even hand regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, sexual identification, orientation, or preference, economic status and so on. The equal application of law begins with law enforcement in the streets and ends in the courtroom. These are things that our nation as a whole has not been doing in spite of all our fancy words and boastings to the contrary.
This brings me to the meditation for the next few days. I see in meditation the rotunda in the Capital. I visualize a large round table in the middle of the rotunda. At this table are seated the truly great souls that are part of our fabric. I even see some great souls who were did not live on this soil but whose lives exert influence on those who do live here. I listen quietly and let them talk.
On All Souls Eve, I particularly look to those great souls who passed in the last year (I will extend that a month to include Elijah Cummings) and the work they put forward in promoting the good of the whole. I look to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her efforts on behalf of women’s equality, the rights of the less powerful, the rights of those who are not white males. I look to Congressmen John Lewis and Elijah Cummings and their long battles for civil rights not only for Black Americans, but Americans of all colors and ethnic backgrounds, as well as women and LGBTQ. I look to their understanding that when any group’s rights are curtailed all of our rights are at risk. On All Souls Eve, I think of their work and listen for words of encouragement and advice.
On All Souls Day, I am also listening to great souls from earlier days. I listen for Dr. Martin Luther King, for Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, Senator Daniel Inouye, Harriet Tubman, Frances Perkins, Susan B Anthony, President Abraham Lincoln. Possibly I listen for President John Adams, his wife Abigail, and his cousin Samuel. I try to attune my energy to theirs.
At the end of each meditation, I ask them to guide our people. I ask them to speak to our group consciousness about what is truly meant by democracy and what our people must stand for. I ask them to whisper to our group soul the value of taking care of one another as well as taking care of ourselves. I also ask them to counsel me in patience and understanding, that the condition of our nation is the result of many decades of national hypocrisy, of sweeping our prejudices under the rug, and that this will not be cured in one election, nor will it be cured easily. Once again, I remind myself of the counsel of Dion Fortune: “Never attempt to deal with specific problems or to direct the course of affairs on the physical plane. Bring through spiritual force and leave it to that force to work its own way.”
To prepare this meditation, I contemplate how to invite archetypes to the round table. As mentioned earlier, I am not comfortable with including the founding fathers. They wrote and spoke such high sounding words that should certainly be admired. Their speeches and letters about liberty, equality, and the rule of law were inspiring. However, their actions did not line up with their words. While Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry both spoke of the evils of the institution of slavery, they were not sufficiently offended by that institution to free their own slaves. And George Washington was sufficiently comfortable with the notion of ownership of human beings that he made his set of dentures from the teeth of his slaves. These are not people who we can turn to in fashioning a new nation based on the values they preached.
To determine the values that should form our group mind and group soul, I look to Abraham Lincoln as well as our founding documents. From them I find that as a nation our soul is built on equality, liberty, and the rule of law. “Our fathers brought forth onto this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Here is where the contradiction with our founding fathers lies: there can be no liberty without the rule of law. And there can be no true rule of law without equality. For as soon as inequality is introduced, application of the law becomes erratic and capricious. When the law becomes capricious, there is no liberty, for those under the law are subjected to the whims of those who apply the law. This has been the experience of women and people of color since the founding of this country. This is the source of the divide today.
Almost all of our founding fathers were men with a sense of entitlement. They felt entitled to take land that belonged to others, and to force on those who had owned the land their own cultural norms. They felt entitled to own women as chattel. They felt entitled to own other human beings and treat them as livestock. While there are certain things human beings are entitled to – food, shelter, the ability to earn a living, the ability to access health care – no man is entitled to the aforementioned. The entitlement of taking land, owning humans and treating them as livestock became the basis of the original sins that have plagued our nation for its entire existence – greed, bigotry and misogyny. This disqualifies them from the round table (I except Samuel Adams, and most likely John Adams, as I see no indication that they shared in these entitlements.)
So first I look for suitable egregores. The first one I find is the statue of liberty, who we call Lady Liberty. We look at the poem on her base:
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This is a call to liberty, to equality, and to rule of law. Lady Liberty is the first egregore I am calling forth. On this I will meditate over the coming week. As I do so, I will also meditate on inviting the appropriate sacred kings and archetypes to unite our national group soul.
So how is this meditation to occur? I draw heavily from the process of Dion Fortune, but it needs to be modified for our own time and group. She describes seven stages in a fifteen minute meditation.
Stage 1: The meditator is to sit in a quiet room, with the current message in hand and in mind. She asks her meditator to face London, obviously I am asking to face Washington DC. Breathe deeply, with no strain, sitting in a balanced posture.
Stage 2: Begin to think about the work of the week. Think only of the spiritual aspects, let go of the practical for now. Avoid distractions.
Stage 3: Place in your mind a visual representation of the work for the week. This week, for example, would be the Statue of Liberty. In weeks to come, it will include such sacred kings as Abraham Lincoln, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Martin Luther King, and so on. Visualize until you feel the representation, and are able to listen to it. Do this for a very short time, only a few minutes.
Stage 4: Dedicate your work and yourself to the All-good, in the service of the One life, relying on the Cosmic Law to adapt your energy to healing.
Stage 5: Think of yourself as a part of the Group-soul the nation; your life a part of its life, and its life the basis of yours. Invoking the Name of your God or higher power, open your mind as a channel for the work of the Masters of Wisdom.
Stage 6: Return to your visualization of the topic of the week, and meditate on it.
Stage 7: At the end, say, “It is finished.” See in your mind curtains drawn in front of your visualization, meeting in the middle. Rise from your seat, stamp your foot firmly on the ground and return to normal. Do not think of this again until you return the next day.
It is important to leave thoughts of the work after the meditation. One of the goals of the energies tearing apart our nation is to create fear and mental chaos in our national Group mind and Group soul. We must not allow that to happen in us. Try to do your meditation at the same time every day, to develop a habit energy about it. Please let us know how things progress and insights you have.
As mentioned in the previous post, I began studying Dion Fortune’s mind works in fighting the armies expected to be invading from Germany. One of her first orders of business was the definition of the British group mind and group soul. Here I will address our American group soul and group mind. The group soul is our sense of participation in a larger being, to which we are attached and which has a hand in our thoughts and actions. It is the understanding that we are all parts of a greater whole. The group mind is the common cumulative experience of our national history.
(At this point, I should point out that I am not including the true owners of our land, the Native Americans. There is a reason for this. The European settlers appropriated the land, massacred their people, and decimated their cultures. I am reluctant, then, to appropriate their respected ancestors for these purposes without explicit permission. If it is ever granted, I will add Native American Sacred Kings and Egregores. Meanwhile, being one of the guilty European descendants, I do not wish to add to the list of offenses.)
Ms. Fortune began her mind work with a meditation on the spiritual influences that are part of the British group mind and group soul. I began to ponder which elements of the American story I could use. Most of the history of the United States’ experience from European settlement to today is recorded history and the people are known to have actually lived. I began to think of those people we learn about in school and talk about in big speeches and rallies. As I did so, I came to a sad realization: many, many of our historical giants are men who brought to this country the very things that are now tearing it apart. She was calling on sacred kings and egregores from Britain, which would not be appropriate for us, but I saw that we would need to identify our own, and we need a new set.
In order to select national sacred kings and egregores, we need to know what these things are. I had read about sacred kings before. The most common understanding is that they are people who sacrifice themselves (martyrdom) for their people and land. Under this definition we would have people like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, and I would certainly agree with both. However, a more subtle definition includes people who sacrifice their lives working until they day they die on the best interests of their people and land. Under this definition, John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg qualify.
I had not heard of an egregore. I looked it up, and here is what I found: an Egregore is defined as a kind of group mind which is created when people consciously come together for a common purpose (Gaetan Delaforge, Gnosis Magazine 1987). In other words, when a group of people with common interests pray and meditate collectively towards an objective, an energy of protection and blessing, an egregore, is sent forth, not unlike a circle of light that shields and safeguards the purpose of the those praying or meditating. If you look at it in terms of psychology, it is a personality that develops among groups independent of any of its members, a group energy. It is an energy that develops over a period of time as a result of focus. It might be referred to as a “vibe.”
As I meditated on our country and where we are headed, I realized that those most often recognized as our sacred kings were unworthy of the honor. If we truly believe that our country is created on freedom, liberty and equality, several of our revered founding fathers did not model those values, and in fact modeled quite the contrary. While we might admire certain qualities of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the fact that they owned slaves disqualifies them from the highest regard, that of sacred king. What is worse is the number of people who regard men as sacred kings who took up arms against the country in an attempt to prevent equality, that is the likes of Robert E Lee and Jefferson Davis.
I also realized we need to recreate (or create) our egregores. The ones we have now smack of entitlement, bigotry, misogyny, religious intolerance, and smug superiority. Too many of our monuments and heroes are glorifying war – and our nation has enjoyed far too few years when we were not in arms. There are the false notions of the self made man and rugged individualism, neither of which are valid or supportable, both of which cause us to lack empathy and fracture community.
For this week, I ask that we meditate on our sacred kings and egregores. What would we like to have as our egregores? Who are our rightful sacred kings? This is a time when we need to decide what is the soul of our nation and where we need to go from where we are today.
Before I begin, I must stress in the strongest possible terms that I am no more an accomplished meditator than I am a doctor. If I could do as well as I can talk, I could do much more with my life than I am doing. I am not a “human complete,” rather, I am a “human becoming.”
I began my study of meditation decades ago when I read Dion Fortune’s book Training and Work of an Initiate. In that book she explains that there are two types of meditation, which she ascribes as the difference between Eastern and Western cultures. She says that Eastern cultures try to reach the soul up to the heavens, whereas Western cultures try to bring the heavens to Earth. As I look at the behaviors of these cultures (in a less blended form than perhaps we have now), I see her point. Anyway, to accomplish the cultural goals, which are expressed person by person, the Eastern approach is passive, uniting ones self with the “oversoul,” the Western approach is active, pulling the beauty of the ‘oversoul” to enrich the individual. Subtle difference, but it manifests strongly in the meditative approach. You can see the stark differences when you look at the Deepak Chopra approach (Eastern) vs Franz Bardon’s approach as discussed in Initiation into Hermetics.
Today I discuss the passive approach, as I find it is easier to get started in that one. Over time, migrating to the active approach may be useful, especially to activists who want to see change on Earth.
There are several books out about Eastern meditation practices, and although I tend to lean toward Chopra’s books (and his methods are discussed in several of his publications, so I don’t call one out here) because he communicates his information in words and phrases that the Western mind grasps easily. I summarize his words here with my own thoughts intermingled.
All meditation literature I have found talks about how our minds have a chatterbox constantly yammering in our heads. The first goal of meditation is to not necessarily silence that chatterbox, but to make it shut up unless it has something worthwhile to say. Once the chatterbox is controlled, it can be used for great effect in your life.
Find a quiet place where you can be alone. While the literature suggests that you can do this sitting or lying down, most suggest sitting if only to avoid falling asleep. I also find that sitting gives a better circuit for the energies to pass through. I find that this is best done in the morning, with a different exercise (to be discussed later) as I go to sleep. Wear comfortable clothing, loose fitting, that will not be a distraction or an irritant. I recommend a notebook where you will write your impressions and observations when your session ends – it is a great learning tool and way to monitor your progress.
To begin, set a timer for 5 minutes. It is not reasonable to expect your mind to start training at 30 minutes just as it is not reasonable to expect your body to begin workouts by running a marathon. Sit quietly and watch your thoughts go by. Do not engage them, just release them like bubbles in a lake. To aid your mind, you can keep it busy with a meaningless phrase, such as “so-hum,” with so on the intake and hum on the outtake. You can also watch your breath.
Your chatterbox will start telling you all these things you have to do, all the offenses you experienced the day before, how your mother is coming for Christmas and doggone it the cat is in your potted plants again. Don’t engage these thoughts, just let them float away. Over time, you will notice these thoughts coming slower and slower. Then you find a way to keep yourself in what Chopra calls “the gap.” This is the space between thoughts. This is where you have what he calls “pure potentiality,” that is nothing is already created there so it is open to creation. The goal is to eventually go the entire session in “the gap,” that is, no thoughts bubbling up for the entire session.
Increase the time as you are successful, until you can do 30 minutes. Once you are able to do that, you can take a specific goal or thought into your session and it will begin to penetrate who you are. Some use a mantra, such as “Be still and know that I am god,” or “Peace and calm.” You pick the mantra based on your goals, beliefs and personality.
At night, your thoughts as you drift into sleep are giving instructions to your subconscious. Therefore you must be careful what those thoughts are. Your subconscious does not differentiate between what you want and like and what you don’t want and like. So if you are going to sleep worrying about debt, your subconscious takes that as instruction to increase debt. If you go to sleep worrying about how you are going to get everything done that you need to do, your subconscious will make your schedule more harried and you less efficient to meet that instruction. If you go to sleep thinking about how blessed you are, your subconscious will go out and find more ways to add to your blessings (and you will begin to be able to recognize more of the blessings you have – a good practice for peace of mind.) If you have a goal, visualize that you have attained that goal. Do not tell your subconscious how to get there, just where you want to be. Visualize it until it becomes plastic. Be advised, that as you get more accomplished in this, things begin to change in your life. I am always amazed at how fast those changes occur, and more than once it was almost too fast for me to grasp.
There is much, much more to passive meditation that meditators more experienced than I am can share. But this is a good starting point, and just following these steps should result in more peace and control.