Excerpts from SEQL Annual Reports 2006-2018
When the forces of change meet the fears of the unknown, there is a clash of intentions and the potential for conflict. We can see it happening globally as well as within nations and within communities, and we can see it happening within our own minds. To resolve the crises that are inevitable when the security of the familiar is challenged by the uncertainty of the new, we need to find the common ground of human purpose and human unity, and to work from the perspective of the Whole. To do that successfully means learning to infuse our service to others with the energies of love, wisdom and compassion, the energies that will bring us together as a New World Community. That is what we are learning to do in all our educational programs.
To be even more effective in our service, we are also learning, through our cooperative study processes and our Group Service Meditation, to create a more cohesive group and thereby an amplified group energy which we can each bring to our everyday lives and to the world in general.
The movement toward a coming together of our world has gathered strength in these past few years and is manifesting in all sectors of society as a gathering wave of inclusiveness. At the same time, seemingly in opposition, there is a rising sound of assertive voices and actions devoted to the defense of exclusive social, commercial, political, national and religious ideologies that were formulated in the past. Both streams of endeavour are animated by the cyclic pattern of energies, one currently strengthening in influence and another withdrawing, as part of our planet’s unfoldment. The firming energy of Will is giving backbone to whichever stream our human response may follow. To bring the streams together in harmony is the challenge of our time, and we take it as the Society’s challenge.
In this period of transition, our world has a compelling need for intelligent action, infused with a compassion born of love and wisdom, to transcend the difficulties that inevitably arise as we absorb the new influence and reshape the structures of the past. In our Society we seek to enable the transition by our work to make evident the oneness of Life and to take that perspective as the basis for right human relations. We touch that evidence of oneness from the place of soul awareness and we embody it from the place of group awareness. When we embody it, our thoughts, words and actions express oneness. That is our path of service toward a New World Community. We define that path in the Society’s principle: Live Soul, Act Group, Reveal Oneness.
The strengthening of the group energy substance has been at the centre of our work this year. Through our cooperative studies, our Group Service Meditation and our efforts to practice consciously the qualities of soul in our everyday lives, we are building a strong and steadily growing unit of group service.
The theme of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, “One World, One Dream,” and the words of the theme song “The torch of friendship burns forever,” speak to the growing awareness around the globe of the fact of the oneness of humanity. The dream is not new. It was voiced four hundred years ago in John Donne’s meditation, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” Perhaps today the dream of One World is becoming a reality. More and more we see what has been an abstract notion of One Human Family now being expressed concretely in the growth of global interdependence in economic, political, humanitarian and technological matters. It is being expressed more often in the political choices people are making in many countries and in the personal choices and actions people are making in their everyday lives.
The path to One World has not been smooth and there are still many obstacles before us – old grievances, separative interpretations of political, social and religious dogma, rising fears of uncharted waters, and very real, practical difficulties in implementing change. These obstacles need to be handled with intelligence and compassion. They need to be seen as valuable challenges that draw forth from us the expression of our highest and finest qualities as we discover our way toward living fully our natural human condition of oneness. In the Society’s educational programs, we seek to contribute to the manifestation of One World, One Dream – a New World Community – by learning to bring forth those healing qualities which are the evidence of soul awareness, embodied as group awareness.
In the midst of the chaos and suffering from the several natural disasters we witnessed in 2009, the underlying human instinct of Oneness shone brightly, perhaps more brightly and firmly than ever before. The immediate humanitarian response of countless individuals, NGOs and nations was a sharing of skills, equipment, financial resources and most particularly of love and compassion on a massive scale. It was strangers helping strangers in need in distant lands, erasing the concept of “stranger.” It was truly a scene of loving thy neighbour as thyself – as being thyself. It was a sign that more and more of us now realize we are One World, One Humanity, and in our actions we are revealing the fact of One Life.
In these humanitarian actions and in the clear evidence we are recognizing our economic, environmental, political, health and technological interdependence, we can see a New World Community taking shape, a world of right relationships among individuals and communities and nations. To manifest that world fully, we will have to discover new ways of living and transform our old ways, align with new forces of progress and allow old forces of resistance to wither and die. It is clear we are becoming sensitive to the forces of progress, those subtle impulses encouraging us to move forward, and slowly and steadily we are responding. We are coming together in our thoughts, we are working together, we are serving together – individuals relinquishing their self-interests in an outgiving of our selves.
Our work in SEQL is to learn to see ourselves and the world around us and in us as One and to be in service of One accordingly. We seek to bring forth those creative world-healing qualities which are theevidence of soul awareness, strengthened by group awareness. Our theme is: Live Soul, Act Group, Reveal One.
Twenty-five hundred years ago, Socrates said, “I am neither an Athenian nor a Greek. I am a citizen of the world.” Twenty-five years ago, a Saudi astronaut, Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud, said of his time as a crew member on the Space Shuttle Discovery, “The first day or so we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day we were aware of only one Earth.” That was a typical astronaut realization and it is a realization increasingly present in the mental field of earthbound humanity. Our world view and our One Humanity view have been expanding from the time of our first migrations out of the Rift Valley. With developments in transportation and electronic communications, we have become increasingly aware of our world citizenship. And with the expansion of our consciousness, we are becoming more inclusive in our caring for those in need, whether in our own communities or in distant lands. We are beginning to love our neighbours as being ourselves. We are starting to live the fact of our One Humanity.
Our consciousness expands as we become less self-concerned, less absorbed by our desires. It expands as we turn our thoughts away from materialism and begin to face a new reality, our reality, the life we are, the life behind the form rather than the form we thought we were. That consciousness seeps into our thinking and into our actions gradually and often without explicit awareness, but as it does so it starts to shape how we live. Our work in SEQL is to see our world citizenship as Socrates did, to see our One World as the astronauts do, and to become explicitly aware of the power for service to humanity that is inherent in our expanding consciousness. By our meditations and studying together in our SEQL programs, we have developed a cohesive group energy that amplifies that power and strengthens our ability to express in service, in our everyday lives, our reality – the all-encompassing healing love of the one life behind the form. Hence our SEQL theme: Live Soul, Act Group, Reveal One.
The 2011 uprisings against perceived political and economic oppression in North Africa, the Middle East, Russia, China and in the cities of the West are evidence of a breaking through, on a world-wide scale, of humanity’s deep inner urge for freedom. These events, which gathered broad international support, are also evidence that our lives are woven together as one fabric. They show that humanity, as a unit, is moving forward, conditioned by an underlying matrix of dynamic purposeful energies which, we may realize, are playing through and changing all aspects of Life on Earth, through all forms, from atoms to Avatars.
Our forward movement is not always even and easy. One crisis can lead to another and in the disruption and change there can be uncertainty, confusion and fear when our established goals and norms are threatened. But it is through these uprooting crises and our work to seek their resolution that our human condition unfolds continuously. As we find our way through our challenges we learn to align with the unified conditioning energies of Life. It is how the old order changes and the new finds the light.
Our work in SEQL is to learn to align with the purposeful energies that are moving humanity forward, to find that centre line of purpose in our everyday actions, and to encourage others to learn with us. Our programs support our alignment by helping us, experientially, to become aware of the unity of soul, the esoteric cohesion of group and the eternal One Life. As our awareness strengthens, we learn to live the energy of One Life and to serve by expressing it in our daily activities. We learn to embody, ever more fully, the SEQL theme: Live Soul; Act Group; Reveal One.
Our human curiosity and enquiry have taken us to the exploration of distant space and the depths of the oceans, and they are taking us toward an exploration of the inner fundamentals – the vast sub-atomic world and the complex ocean of energies of the universe in which we live. That curiosity leading to enquiry seems to be inherent in the human condition. We live in the energy of a constant urge to know and to move forward, an urge for progress and betterment. As we live that underlying urge, an apparent evolutionary force, we inevitably come to enquiry about the life that underlies space and sub-atomic particles. And we come to a need to know the life that underlies the human form – the life we are, the life beyond the human form.
In our SEQL educational programs, our focus is on developing the intuitive capacity to know experientially and to know more precisely the energies of that underlying Life, their qualities and their functions, to discriminate among them and integrate them consciously into our daily actions. By so doing, we are learning to know ourselves at a fundamental level of reality and to see the world around us with clearer eyes and a greater realization of the universality of humanity’s experience. Our capacity for intuitive action has been enhanced in quality and strengthened significantly by our learning to act as a group energy field and to follow our SEQL theme: Live Soul, Act Group, Reveal One. Over the years we have raised the quality of our connections and our service to those around us, to humanity and to the One Life of the planet. Our progress has been evident since our society’s simple beginnings.
These are times of change that are unlike earlier times of change. It is a time of a major transition – or more truly, a time of transformation from an inward-looking, self-concerned view of life to a more expansive, out-giving view. We are gradually shifting from individual consciousness to universal consciousness. This shift has been expressed in the thoughts and actions of diverse world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Pope Francis and Bill Gates. It is also being expressed by millions of people around the globe through their work with international aid organizations as well as in their daily lives as they care for their neighbours. There is a determined movement on this planet toward a greater sense of unity, a growing recognition that we are one human family, politically and economically interdependent and compassionately intermingled.
Inevitably, the forces of change encounter resistance from those who, for many reasons, cling to the old order. They can bring strong defensive reactions when the new order challenges a narrow tribal or group identification or a rigid sense of personal rights or some long-held political, religious or social belief. The uncertainty of the new is often grounds for its denial. At the same time, some of the determined forces evoking change are, in a seeming perverse way, the same forces that infuse strength into the resistance. The result is the deep polarization that brings the turmoil we see manifesting in our world in many different ways. However, if we step back from the dark and appreciate the growing expanse of the purifying light infusing this planet and inspiring the workers for unity, and if we can see the human family progressing stage by stage over time, we can view the current harsh friction of change as a healing crisis that will reveal the issues needing attention and eventually lead us to wholeness.
Our work in SEQL is to align with and express that purifying light as well as we are able in our everyday lives, each of us acting with the amplified strength of the cohesive group energy.
It is generally recognized that how we live is the result of our thoughts and our thoughts are generally derived from our experience and our values. In a group or in a society, similar thoughts have a similar energy and these energies come together as an amplified energy, creating a strong group thoughtform, a focused opinion, that influences how we live. Today’s social media and news networks extend our points of experience to every part of the globe and make possible the creation of thoughtforms with widespread influence.
Often it is the sensational and the dramatic that fill the headlines and get our attention, obscuring the full reality of our world. As a result, many of us hold a strong thoughtform of a world in dire straits, a bewildering world of chaos and fear. There is, however, another thoughtform that is starting to emerge more firmly in the consciousness and thus in the actions of humanity, a thoughtform that is based on the reality of our world’s forward progress rather than on the worrisome world described in news headlines. It is the thoughtform of a new world of enlightenment, order and compassion to replace bewilderment, chaos and fear.
Since humans first took their place on this planet, we have continually re-created our thought patterns, continually freed ourselves from outmoded, crystallized mental structures. But there has been an acceleration in the re-creation of our thinking since 1945. We can see the emerging thoughtform in the change from perpetually warring states to the United Nations and the European Union, in the change from dictatorship to democracy in nearly all of Latin America and in the huge expansion of international aid programs and other institutions of international cooperation. We see the new thoughtform influencing the workers behind the marked reduction in childhood mortality and global poverty, the rise in literacy, the eradication of several fatal diseases. The challenges we still have to deal with are significant but if we look beyond the headlines, we can see the evidence that the energies of the negative thoughtform of despair are being dispersed and replaced by the finer, more positive, uplifting energies of the thoughtform of progress, of a realization we are One humanity.
Our work in SEQL opens new avenues of intuition that lead us to align with higher purpose, to vitalize and express the thoughts that clothe that purpose and contribute to the emerging finer world thoughtform. In our studies together, we develop a group energy that amplifies our contribution.
World events seem to be unfolding in crisis after crisis – ethnic and religious wars, millions of refugees, extreme economic and social inequalities, severe environmental degradation, epidemics, lingering nuclear threats, political ineptitude. The problems seem pervasive – what happens 10,000 miles away comes alive locally in our newspapers and on television and mobile devices. The world is now our neighbourhood. Through cable news and social media, events are dissected, elaborated, dramatized, politicized and personalized. It is usually bad news that gets this attention, generating a pessimistic view of our global state of health, even when Gallup Polls show most people in the Western world feel good about their own circumstances. On the other hand, the shared awareness of world problems is helping us to face the crises and come together for mutual assistance through many economic, social, technological and philanthropic enterprises. The theme song of the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, Together We Are One, expresses the central values of our New World Community and reaffirms an optimistic approach to our challenges. The lyrics speak of sharing through good and bad times, standing with hope, playing our part. This is a song to our interdependence, to our ability to work through problems, to our growing sense of unity.
Another theme of unity is being sounded by the many groups that are creating cohesive world healing actions on the subjective or energy planes. Their work follows the premise that energy follows thought and form follows energy – that is, our actions coalesce in and around – are magnetically drawn to – the energy patterns created by strong focused thought. These hundreds of groups follow a procedure to blend and thus amplify the strength of their members’ coherent thoughts and energies across time and space as a focused healing action for humanity’s suffering. There is an increasing body of scientific research supporting the premise that underlies this work which is encouraging more groups to act with stronger serving convictions.
The building of a cohesive group action to bring a finer aspect of Life to humanity is the central purpose of SEQL.
The Times They Are A-Changin’ were Bob Dylan’s words in the 1970s when the world-wide student revolution was challenging the old order and opening minds to new thoughts, new values, new norms of behaviour. The 2016 Nobel Prize winner in Literature could be singing those words again today as the world faces another revolution – a revolution of identity that reverberates round the globe. The question is whether we see ourselves as narrow tribal nationalists, as exclusive religious isolationists, or are we citizens of the world, of one community, One Humanity. Our human history is a story of cycles of change. When a new energy impulses humanity, it stimulate new thoughts about how we relate. The new way meets resistance from the old order which often leads to chaos, a kind of healing crisis, before the old ways break down and the new order becomes the norm – until the next new wave. That is how we have progressed, slowly and irregularly, toward a finer and finer world order. Lincoln wrote in 1862: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise – with the occasion.” The challenge is to minimize the inevitable pain of change. As Dylan wrote, “For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled.” When the old order can no longer handle the forces of change, we have to attend fully to help people shift to the new order.
We see one of our tasks in SEQL is to help the shift to the New World Community. We recognize that many people are devoted to old ideals that have proven satisfactory in the past; they need sensitive words to reveal the positive possibilities of the new ideals and help in integrating them into their lives. By living Field, becoming one energy field with those around us, we can come in contact with the finest, most encompassing ideals our consciousness can touch, as well as the thoughts and words to manifest those ideals in practical, everyday terms. This is our learning and an emerging group action, a natural consequence of our training in meditation, group awareness and service.
For centuries, philosophers and religious leaders have spoken about the oneness of humanity, the wholeness of humanity. “One human family” has become a common phrase and today it is expressed by the many international cooperative agreements on trade, security and foreign aid, and by the millions of person to person connections enabled by the expanded means of global communications. But there is an increasing awareness that the human family is but an element of one universal life, an awareness once expressed by the Delphi Oracle proclaiming, “Know thyself and thou shalt know the universe,” an awareness now being strengthened by science. Einstein said that everything is energy and a human being is a part of the whole called the Universe, and now research is shining light on those words. For example, studies at the Institute of HeartMath have demonstrated that a person’s electromagnetic field can be detected and can have an effect on another person at a distance. A large number of well-controlled studies have shown how small coherent groups using Transcendental Meditation can have a positive effect on the quality of life of the surrounding community. Research by the Global Consciousness Project at Princeton University, an international multidisciplinary collaboration of scientists and engineers, has shown that collective attention can create order in the world and that subtle interactions link us with each other and the Earth. Thus, science is beginning to give substance to the many spiritual perspectives that tell us humanity is part of One Universal Life.
Our work in SEQL aligns with the One Universal Life perspective. We are exploring, even more deeply than before, the energies of Life which are the causes behind our individual and collective behaviours. We are learning to be more sensitive to these energies, to interpret them more precisely and to express them more fully and more clearly in service of a more unified world. We regularly practice the SEQL Group Service Meditation in order to strengthen the coherence of the group and the quality and depth of the group action of bringing a healing to the energy field of humanity.
It was in the Fall of 1998 that SEQL offered its first course, a ten-weekend program for a class of eight students. Over the next twenty years the curriculum evolved and expanded to help increasing numbers of course members meet the challenges inherent in the rapidly changing world community.
Underlying the changing world is a pattern of strengthening Life energies that support the expansion of the consciousness of humanity, infusing every aspect of our lives and urging us in new directions. One effect has been to bring a stronger unity of purpose to groups that seek change on issues of inequality and human rights, and to the countless individuals and groups that give loving care to those in need at home and around the world, acts that identify with the fact we are one humanity. But the changes have also been disruptive and confusing to some who, fearing their old familiar ways of living, their beliefs and their values are under threat, have formed like-minded groups to reinforce their traditional political, religious or cultural identity and sense of belonging.
The urge to belong and to align with a particular identity is a reflection of a fundamental reality – that evolutionary human urge to know and express one’s self, an urge that is behind all our striving for self-improvement. But it is a distorted reflection of an inner urge to know and express our true identity – soul – that element of spirit infusing a human form; that reality behind the reflection. It is an urge that is calling to us ever more brightly.
Our twenty years of learning in our SEQL courses has, from the beginning, always been directed toward raising awareness of the fact of our true identity as soul, developing our awareness of our esoteric group service and revealing by our actions the fact of the One Life. To achieve that direction, our curriculum has expanded from our 1998 beginnings to several courses and now forty to fifty students each year, many of whom return year after year. Over the years our esoteric group cohesion has become steadily stronger and we are now an effective serving unit.