Thoughtline  October 1998

1-The Merciful Heart and the Light at the Center of Dark
2-Sydney Goodwill Newsletter reprint
3-Group Meditation Seed Thought for Libra (Sept 23 - Oct 23) 1998
4-Lessons from Geese

The Merciful Heart
and the Light at the Center of the Dark

As we gather tonight, let us be aware of the influence of the impulsing energies of Virgo. Those energies are about nurturing the form or the matter aspect, and the consciousness of the indwelling God. This nurturing energy is characterized by sacrificial service. These energies are symbolized by the image of the Virgin Mother gestating the potential or latent Christ within the virginal darkness, in the cave of her womb.

Influenced by these energies … as I prepared to speak to you this evening, there surfaced in my mind some old thoughts about caves and digging.

Actually, when we were kids, we all had this idea about digging, and it came just magically from "somewhere"; we all knew that, if we dug deep enough into the ground, we would eventually get through to China on the other side. When I laughingly shared this childhood fantasy with my Chinese business friend, he said that he and his childhood friends had the mirror image of the same idea … that if they dug deep enough … Eureka! There would be America on the other side!

Dig deep enough and there is light and sky on the other side. We had virtually a 1000 percent conviction that this was a "do-able" deed. Now logically, I suppose, this idea did have some basis in world geography. I’m sure that in some class, we were told that China was on the other side of America, but, I am certain we knew of this years before we took geography classes. We knew it when we were just "little kids."

Prompted by curiosity as I prepared this talk, I looked up "earth" in my 1983 edition of the World Book Dictionary, first copy written in 1951. It said:

Earth the planet on which we live; the globe. The earth is the fifth largest planet in the solar system, and is the third in distance from the sun. China is on the other side of the earth. The earth is a large ball of mineral matter, some 8000 miles in diameter, the depressions on which are filled with water.

Now, I’m sure the Chinese dictionary must say something slightly different.

Anyway, I especially remember having these thoughts about "China and the sky on the other side" as I dug dozens of underground forts every summer with my neighborhood friends. We dug long deep tunnels into the cool ground and covered them over using scrap lumber retrieved from the local construction sites for roofs. I’d even dreamed about it at night, having that "ah-ha!" moment when I broke through to see sky on the other side. Delightful hours we spent crafting these homemade forts that gave us refuge from the heat and also seconded as our personal "bomb shelters." We’d dig them by hand, or with sticks and small boards or hand shovels—whatever was around. We were children of the early 50’s and some of our friends’ parents had purchased real bomb shelters from those door-to-door bomb shelter salesmen, to put in their own back yards. My parents were probably too practical and too poor to get one. But this added level of feeling "safe from bombs" mixed in with the usual cowboy and Indian adventure fantasies that we played out within our forts.

But the point was digging. Together with my friends, penetrating into the earth, into the dark cool density of the ground, we experienced that delightful mindlessness of total absorption into our pastime. Opening up passageways, we could move around in the underground, in a world of our own making, using whatever we had at hand to brace the walls and ceilings of these underground fortresses.

It was all innocent summer fun until, one summer, disaster struck in our little neighborhood in Warwick, Rhode Island. The news of it even appeared in the state newspaper. There was a cave in—not ours—but, a group kids from across the creek had made an extensive system of tunnels, some going very deeply into the ground. One of the boys was trapped deep down, as the dirt from the walls and layers of floors and ceilings buried him. He died before they could dig him out.

The tragedy shocked our community; our parents didn’t know him but the story had a chilling effect on our digging, because our parents feared for our safety and because we knew we had had our own close calls with the dirt falling in on us. We stopped going so deep and no longer used dirt on the roofs; we switched off to just shallow dirt walls and uncovered wood scrap roofs. The experience brought us into the heart of some early childhood darkness and realities. It caused us to reflect on the effect of our actions, because this boy had died as he carried on one of our favorite childhood activities.

I’d actually forgotten about this until I started to write this talk and began focusing on my experiences with digging and caves—as I was thinking of Virgo.

As I freshly reflect on those events of 40 years ago, this story seems to be a foreshadowing of my future work and the work of all of us that have adopted an intentional spiritual practice. Three archetypal ideas or themes seem to fall out of this childhood memory that are actually metaphors for our work as world servers, and which are especially germane at this time of influence by the Virgo energies:

  1. The Journey through Matter into the Light.
  2. The role of Darkness and Death in the Cave Experience.
  3. Proportionality as a Divine Quality.

I will talk of the last first, because it seems the least obvious to me and the other two ideas have been spoken to so often.

Proportionality as a Divine Quality

Proportionality comes from the words proportional and proportion, defined as:

  1. Relative magnitude, number or degree, as existing between parts, a part and a whole, or different things.
  2. Fitness and harmony; symmetry.
  3. A proportionate share or proper share;

As a verb:
1. To adjust properly as to relative magnitude, amount or degree.
2. To form with a harmonious relation of parts.


As young children, harboring that wonderful, almost magical attitude that "all things are possible, in this best of all possible worlds," and this happily but temporarily untempered by experience, we could readily imagine digging all the way through to the other side—ALL THE WAY TO CHINA.

We had not yet developed a sense of our size in physical terms as it compared in magnitude to the size of the planetary globe that we lived on. That sense of proportionality, or even the ability to hold such an abstract idea about relative size, was not developed. We were so small—the normal size of 6-year-olds—maybe four feet tall and, by contrast, the distance through the earth, had we even known, was 8000 miles. That’s 42,240,000 feet, or over 10 million times our four-foot statures. Of course, we didn’t know; this was outside our experience.

This ability to hold individual experience against a wider understanding of life is one way to think of proportionality. It is one of the components of wisdom and is a quality of the soul-infused personality.

Every time we do our preparatory alignments for meditation, finding ourselves as a point of light within a greater light, we push into a sense of the divine proportion and the awesome beauty of our place in the implicate order of Life.

I am sure that we have all had this experience of awe as we "sensed into" the Divine Order, at some time in our lives, but I think that more often we feel burdened by our responsibilities.

Sometimes it seems like we have to dig our way out of the avalanche of emergencies and needs of the people around us, like family and clients or customers, and even strangers.

For the last 17 years, as a single mother raising 2 children and running my own business, then piling on community work that "called me" as I responded to the pull of world service, I have often had feelings that it was all just too much that had piled on.

I’ve noticed that the sense of overwhelm seems to be the companion of many sensitive people who have the capacity to perceive and respond to the need of others. Out of mercy to the hardship of others, we volunteer to give more of ourselves. Out of compassion to others and their suffering, we step up and say, "Yes, I will give." There is always someone less fortunate! So many of us, for years, have recited the noontime recollection reminding us about the NEED: "I know, Oh Lord of Life and Love, about the need. Touch my heart anew with love that I too may love and give." A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Vol. II, 736.

I remember hearing Guru Ravi Shankar (not the musician) asked by someone from his audience: Why is there suffering in the world? He said, "Suffering exists to draw the compassion out of the others."

While I am not convinced that that is the reason there is suffering or the purpose of suffering, it certainly is one of the effects of suffering; it does draw the compassion, the caring and attention out of us toward one another. Suffering actually seems to foster and develop interdependencies along the line of love. We can think of organizations that exist in the world, like the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, the United Nations Relief Programs, Mother Teresa’s organization … all large organized efforts to express compassion to those who are suffering, by doing something to serve their needs.

It seems that as our sensitivity to pain and suffering increases the need to eliminate sentiment also increases. This is because sentiment clouds our judgment. We become, with greater sensitivity, increasingly able to register the difficulty of others, and there is a certain pain in this. That pain is derived from completely natural human empathy; we are sensing the pain of the other. It must be one of God’s tricks to get us into service, because the antidote for this kind of pain seems to come only in taking action to curb the suffering of those less fortunate. This can happen on many different levels, not just physical acts.

At first, the ongoing experience of "helping" or, more accurately, "trying to help" and doing it so, so badly at times, starts the process of lifting the veil of sentiment. Eventually, we begin to develop skill, with the distant goal of mastering how to really be of aid to another. I remember going through a very humiliating time when most of my attempts to help others seemed to just worsen their situation. That period passed (hopefully not to return) and what came in its stead was some understanding that it is vital to see very clearly as to what the next step is in the spiritual life as well as the other aspects of the person that you are working with.

That old proverb about how the road to hell is paved with good intentions has significant underlying truth to it. We all know the jokes about the "helpful" mother-in-laws. True compassion seeks to facilitate the next appropriate step in the evolution of the consciousness of the person we are trying to help. How far we are from that, sometimes.

Have you noticed how when we get in one of those "rare moods" of feeling sorry for ourselves, because of our current "rotten" (OOPS! I mean "temporarily challenging") lot in life, that, before we know it, a phone call or a radio news item, or some other media intrudes into our self-pitying reverie with some graphic portrayal of someone’s—or many someone’s’—far greater difficulty than our own? What happens? The size of one’s own trouble seems dwarfed by the enormity of the others’.

This is really a good example of divine perspective or proportionality coming in through the back door. By shifting one’s attention off of the personal self and seeing the plight of another in worse circumstances, it puts one’s own troubles into a wider context. This larger context or divine perspective is one of the things that we access in daily meditation. Meditation is a front door approach to Divine Proportion. To keep and hold a balanced perspective, it seems necessary to meditate daily. I have found it to be one of the more useful tools for disarming that sense of being buried or overwhelmed by the temporary difficulties that have shown up in my life.

"Spiritual adulthood" vs. the simple-minded approach that all is black or white

In these days of spin doctors for just about every area of life, not just politics, a sense of proportionality allows us to see that there is a continuum of the shadings of the truth; even when "so-called truths" are presented as "the truth" by the presenter, the intent to deceive is important for us to discern. However, partial truths and shadings of truths, or coloration of truths, are dependent on or relative to the place on the spiritual evolutionary path of the presenter. It is not a case of just simple black and white. Just as when we meditate there is an evolution of revelations—each layer of untruth or illusion peeling away as the proverbial onion, revealing more of the truth to be seen by the seeker, with each new "approach"—the revealed truths initiate a process gradiently and progressively resetting and adjusting our sense of proportionality.

My sense is that those individuals with true wisdom have a highly developed sense of divine proportion. We ask ourselves, "Where is mine on the spectrum?" Do I look at my neighbor or the world in proportion to just my personal experience, or in proportion to the historical record of humankind … or in proportion to "God’s" viewpoint, taking into account the fullness of creation, of time and the multitudes of life forms and "not forms" or energies and the full spectrum of not just local space, but galaxies? I suspect that, for many of us, our sense of proportionality is very inconsistent. It is for me.

I believe that it is a sign of spiritual maturity when a person can—at will—adjust his or her perspective or the framework of reference that creates that sense of proportion. It is a developed ability to be able to move intentionally from a self-centered narrow view to a larger, inclusive view.

Prayer for many people has the effect of doing this, as when they pray and lift up all of their problems to God. It has that effect of allowing the worshipper to sense that larger frame of reference that is their concept of God. The energy flows from the small and particular to the large and the mighty.

Gratitude also acts to establish a sense of divine proportion. Again going from within to without, appreciation and gratitude create a heartfelt expansion into something greater than the individual self.

The Quality of Mercy

The whole concept of mercy links very directly into proportionality.

Mercy is that act that comes out of the decision to see. To see into the heart of the situation from the heart. To see the light within the dark.

For as we say in the Rules of the Road: "Each must know the villainy of each and still love on."

No one said this better than Shakespeare in his play The Merchant of Venice. In the scene where Portia, the wise woman in the play, dressed up as a male, traveling justice of the court, beseeched old Shylock, the "lender," to listen to his higher conscience, and go fairly on Antonio the Merchant, for his crime of indebtedness, she said:

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force
of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then
show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

As Portia says here, Mercy "is mightiest in the mightiest." Don’t we all innately yearn for strong leaders with the golden hearts of Mercy to "season their justice?"

The administration of right justice, is right action, at the right time, based in love, which will facilitate the next step in evolution of the consciousness of the governed.

Mercy coming out of that sense of the potential expression of the whole—that is, proportionality—can best inform justice.

Morya in the Agni Yoga Series book Brotherhood, makes a succinct link between mercy and having a wide perceptive. He says, "Mercy is not an easy concept, and only the very farsighted can scrutinize the effects of it … for the farsighted it is as an arrow into the target."

Mercy takes courage, the courage born of detachment … of being able to see clearly without sentiment the course of action that is required by the situation in front of you, and responding rightly to it—doing the right thing out of a comprehensive understanding that could also be called COMPASSION.

Buddhists prize this quality of compassion, and the Dalai Lama is said to epitomize it.

Mercy and compassion come out of that sense of proportion—of finding the light within the dark, of achieving and holding the double vision of the light worker. With proportionality the disciple sees with clear eyes his fellow man, both the fault—those evolving edges—and the "golden potential" that spark of the Christ gestating within and still covered by the dark.

Darkness and Death in the Cave Experience

Evil has sometimes been defined as "an old goodness that has been carried on too long." A good idea or form that has been allowed to persist after it has outlived is appropriateness and usefulness can be very destructive. The digging story of my childhood illustrated darkness and death as a result of a good thing carried on too long to an extreme, culminating in a bad result—the death of the neighbor boy.

One could say that fragmented thinking is this form of evil. I am thinking of the materialistic, mechanized point of view that grew, in part, out of the influence of Isaac Newton beginning in 1687 with the publication of his gravitational theory in Principia. This spurred science on, bellowing the message: The world follows rules and these rules are fundamentally mathematical and humans can figure them out. It has served us to dissect and break up the world into little pieces—"manageable proportions"—to examine it and gain great understanding as to the parts. As a result, great strides in science and world knowledge were made.

Much of humanity, taking this approach to the extreme—by no longer being able to see the whole, buried in the fragments—has become destructive purely out of ignorance. This unwholesome way of viewing, and the thinking it now generates, is reflected in the global ecological crisis. Here, again, is where the need for proportionality comes in. Science is approaching this from a different angle with a new era of cross-discipline work that is emerging, creating an integration of previously compartmentalized areas of study.

In my lifetime, over the last 50 years, there has been a gradual move away from the Newtonian materialistic view of life; call it Scientific Empiricism, call it "what you see is what you get" science. For something to be true it had be empirically measured and weighed and have mass or material.

This scientific materialism is in the process of being enlightened with hard scientific inquiry into the energies behind the forms and the nature of consciousness. Unified field theories abound, along with the deepening of quantum mechanics in physics and penetration into Chaos Theory, all showing indications of high levels of implicate order. In biology the hypothesis of morphogenetic fields, those "energy blueprints" that are the formative causation behind the forms, and the living earth or Gaia theory, have been working and gathering validatory evidence for over twenty years. All of these ideas and theories involve discussion about energy and light and the implicate or divine order and intelligence behind or within the forms. Science itself could be our greatest positive influence as its viewpoints widen and evolve along a path toward divine proportion.

The Journey through Matter into the Light

My childhood digging story was also a metaphor for the archetypal "Journey through Matter into the Light;" represented by this urge we had as children to penetrate into the Earth to get to the light and sky on the other side; this impulse is reflected in esoteric traditions and many of the myths of diverse cultures around the world, who see us as ancient light beings making a sojourn into matter.

We have buried ourselves, becoming identified and apparently fused with the physical forms, many of us believing that we are indeed only our bodies, covering over our spiritual roots and being. I’ve often played with this idea of how we have turned ourselves "inside out," about how we are not physical beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a physical experience.

We talk about how humanity as a whole is on the return leg of a journey that took us into the darkness, of being deeply embedded into matter of the physical world, and how we are now on our way home.

We make our way by digging … digging into life and embracing its substance. I see us with lighted miner’s helmets, focusing the illumination and love of our attention, transmuting, transforming the very substance of which we are made.

Djwhal Khul emphasizes the fact that it is through "the medium of humanity that a consummation of ‘light’ effectiveness will be produced which will make possible the expression of the whole." It is through wholeness that we go home, and by embracing our disparate parts that we come to wholeness. To really know; I am That, That I am.

Our spiritual insights achieved at the lighted heights of meditation or prayer need to be applied in the darker valleys of experience. It is our job as disciples to bring light to darkness. Just as it was part of the divine plan to make the descent into matter, it is our position as cells within the Body of God to participate actively in the transmutation (transformation) redemption of that substance. Light is uplifted and redeemed matter.

In the Secret Doctrine is a clear statement of the whole message of the impact of the Virgo energies:

Matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of soul on this turn of the spiral, and soul is the vehicle on a higher turn of the spiral for the manifestation of spirit, and in these three are a trinity synthesised by Life that pervades them all.

DK says about the activity of Virgo:

Know that you yourself have said the first word as soul, descending into the womb of time and space in a far distant time. The time has now come when you can, if you choose, proclaim your identity with both divine aspects, matter and spirit and mother and the child ….

Then, the voice of Virgo herself: "I am the mother and the child. I, God, I, matter am."

As we do our meditation work tonight, we are creating a pathway of light for the descent of the Christ to Earth. This energy flows into the Divine lighted center of Earth itself, radiating and uplifting the substance of Earth. This is the Virgo influence—The Christ Imminent within us … within the planet.

Carol Houst

Virgo, 1998

The following is reprinted from the Sydney Goodwill Newsletter, September 1998.

How easy it often seems to become lost in the external life, in the world of illusion. Immersed as we are in the world of forms it is easy to succumb to the idea that forms are important for their own sake—as though they were an end in themselves for us to serve. How much of our daily attention is focussed on acquiring forms, identifying with forms, promoting forms, appeasing forms? And all the while we are creating more forms—physical forms; ideas and ideologies; agreed structures and regulations by which we organise and form into societies—reinforcing them with our constant attention through which we energise them like a continuous flow of electricity and power.

And much of this energy is spent on maintaining what is often a substitute for reality rather than an expression of it. The difference can be hidden very subtly within the rationalisation we apply to our relationship with form life. It is possible to convince ourselves that we are expressing reality when, in truth, we may be subject to the illusion which separative motives create.

In reality forms are the medium of expression of purpose and are therefore integrally related to it. They are essential to purposeful manifestation. Each form is created for a purpose. It is only when we lose sight of their real purpose that we ourselves become lost and cease to become effective wielders of the will that expresses purpose. When we consider any form—be it personality, an artistic creation, a political system—do we immediately have a sense of the purpose for which it was created or are we immersed in the action and reaction that it produces in the world of effects?

Let us imagine, and therefore create, how the world is when we "Let purpose guide the little wills of men"—when our individual wills are aligned with divinity rather than creating painful obstructions. What power will then flow into the co-ordination of our interdependent world! What life will flow spontaneously, instantaneously and unimpeded into the form world along the direction of our synthetic intent! Then we can really begin to explore what it is to be part of a sacred planet within the larger scheme.

Already we can see the enlivening effect of this purposeful force sweeping through the world. The outer, public opinion is beginning to reflect (however dimly) the inner, synthetic light of the soul as it links the outer world with its initiating source, with its source of life, with Life itself. In this way Life through the quality of soul makes appearance in form and the circle is complete.

The interdependence of the world is clearly expressing. Each nation’s economy (or life force) is integrally connected with all others’ and where a nation still attempts to live through exploitation and imposition it is called to account and the interdependent flow is curtailed until a more life supporting relationship can be established. This is exacted down to the individual units as human rights are implemented and the new initiative to establish human responsibilities takes effect—initially through accountability and eventually through response to the soul of humanity.

Throughout all aspects of our global life the right of free will is emerging into its true expression. Imposition for the promotion of individual purpose without concern for others (or even at their expense) no longer succeeds as the common purpose of all people clarifies in our hearts and minds. The Japanese and Indonesian economic and subsequent political crises are among the many demonstrations in the world as is the conflict of issues between our Australian political parties.

As the world mind clears of separative tendencies we will see the results as described by the Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul, when writing to a disciple: "True love will then take the place of emotion, and compassion will be substituted for pity; understanding will take the place of apprehension of suffering. Disciples are apt to think that the injunction to identify themselves with other people must involve complete identification with all their experiences, moods and reactions. It does not. It should not. It involves identification (through the intuition) with underlying soul purpose and a consequent ability to interpret and explain the present."

With our creative capacity in the world we create according to our purpose. The initiating source is obvious in our creations—whether it be personal motive or divine inspiration. The Tibetan tells us that: "There are two modes of creative work: One mode is that which is implemented through seventh ray potency. This builds and creates within matter and within the periphery of the three worlds … The other mode is that of the second ray, which is applied from without the three worlds and from soul levels; it works through radiation, magnetic appeal and coherent energy." He explains that between the two types of energy "there is a close creative reaction or impulsive interplay."

In the book, Emissary of Light, the author, James F. Twyman, recounts the discovery of his role in the world "by existing outside the world and within it at the same time." His mentor explains:

There is literally a door that is always in front of you. You need to learn to sense and actually see the door, then put your attention on it. The more attention you give it the more energy you will receive from it. And then it will pull you through it, all of you. It will pull you to the fourth dimension, a dimension beyond time and space, what you might call the causal level of existence. It is here that you will truly experience Divine Light, the source of creation. And then you will step back, back to the physical universe, and yet you will bring something of the fourth dimension back with you. This is what you will share … an Emissary always comes back. They are the link between the two worlds, the world of illusion and the real world…

… You must step through the Door to Eternity, the door that leads away from time. This is the step that all other lessons have led to. It begins with the release of fear, then sees past the illusion of separation. Once you have allowed Divine Light to build within you and permeate your being, only then are you ready to see the Door. All it takes is a shift in perception to see it."

We are "in the world but not of the world." Our identity and identification lies with Spirit itself expressing through the soul into form. The working out of Spirit’s purpose in the world must be through our agency as we realise unitedly that "I and the Father are One."

Judy Norman

Group Seed Thought for Libra
Sept 22 - Oct 23, 1998

I know, Oh Lord of Life and Love, about the need.
Touch my heart anew with love that I too may love and give.

A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume II, p 736

This is the daily meditation seed thought for our Los angeles group's meditation work during the solar month of Libra 1998. If you are not otherwise coordinating your meditation with others using a common seed thought and would like to dos so, we invite you to join us.

Some key characteristics of the current sign—Libra
Kind of Energy: Interlude between
Function: Necessitates choice
Interplay of Opposites: Impulsing Energy (indicated by Sun’s position at full moon—Libra): The pause to weigh, choose, decide
Effect upon Force Field (indicated by Moon’s position at full moon—Aries): Benefits the next beginning
Rays & Rulers


Exoteric Ruler


Esoteric Ruler


Hierarchical Ruler









Some key characteristics of the sign—Scorpio
Kind of Energy: Testing
Function: Purifies by fire
Interplay of Opposites: Impulsing Energy (indicated by Sun’s position at full moon—Scorpio): Purificatory tests
Effect upon Force Field (indicated by Moon’s position at full moon—Taurus): Release light via speech
Rays & Rulers


Exoteric Ruler


Esoteric Ruler


Hierarchical Ruler










( ) veiled planet



Lessons from Geese

Transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network, based on the work of Milton Olson.

By flying in "V" formation, the flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help, and give our help to others.

  • Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
  • Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.

    Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement the production is greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

    Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.