How necessary it is that one learns
to feel the heart not as one’s own,
but as something
that belongs to the entire world.
Heart (from the Agni Yoga series)
Yes, there is chaos, terror, war, inhumanity, and climate change
but underneath it all there is love.
Will Taegle, The Wisdom School
The Soul of Humanity as World Savior
The Soul Within the Form
In the battle between good and evil that is raging on our planet, the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. This battle, unlike those of the past, has no parallel or opposing armies. The hope of victory for the forces of good lies in the accumulating light of the human soul. Given the escalating chaos of these times, such hope may seem futile to many. But the birth of spiritual love within awakening humanity has become an undeniable fact. Gruesome headlines proliferate but so do acts of loving kindness—glimmers of the soul that will triumph in the Aquarian age. That is the outcome long foreseen by the Great Ones who predicted what is now transpiring—things that would not have been believed even a short while ago.
As violence wreaks havoc with the old order, the understanding grows that victory can no longer be won by brute force—the premise of human warfare from the time of the ancient pharaohs to the Mongol warriors and on into the present. Though armies are currently poised to use weapons of mass annihilation, there are also signs that we are slowly learning, as a race, that destructive force breeds ever greater spasms of carnage—physical, emotional and mental. The hope of breaking this deadly cycle lies within the soul that comes to see, upon awakening, that ‘the other’ is part of one human family dwelling within a single, indivisible, living planetary organism.
Tides of change sweeping through all spheres of life are fostering an unprecedented awareness of the true nature of ourselves, our species, and our Earth. Science has confirmed that billions of apparently separate human beings—and plant and animal lives—are interconnected by invisible strands of energy through an ocean of energies. In the wisdom teachings, humanity is seen as an aggregate of souls clothed in an almost infinite diversity of forms created of the same immortal essence—the incarnating spark of light that Plato called “a divinity.” With growing numbers of us awakening to these realizations, the only question is whether the dawning light of the soul will spread abroad rapidly and deliberately enough to avoid cataclysmic levels of destruction.
A clue to our fate may lie in the shifting realm of self-identity. Our passage into the Aquarian age has been accompanied by an upheaval in identity in many parts of the world, as aspects of the human self unchanged since time immemorial suddenly came into question. Beginning en masse in the last century with the movement to equalize gender roles, this upheaval has spread to the very definition of male and female. The liberation of western women from traditional roles as wives, mothers and homemakers evolved into a movement to equalize all identity choices, including gender itself.
The sea-change in self-definition was reflected in an analysis of word searches in 2015. On the basis of “user lookups,” Dictionary.com selected “identity” as its Word of the Year as it reflected the most prominent theme of the year, described as “the expanding and increasingly fluid nature of conversations about gender and sexuality.” Also noted—in regard to fluidity of self-definition—was racial identity, another category once believed to have been fixed at birth, in most instances, for the span of a lifetime.
Not long ago it was considered radical for someone to adopt a religion other than the one acquired at birth, or to move into a different caste, cultural milieu, or socio-economic bracket if it meant leaving behind one’s natal family.1 That is still the case in much of the world. The idea of a change involving the most intimate and determinative aspect of the human form, the gender of one’s body, would have been unthinkable in times past and it surely remains so for most human beings. The fact that it is becoming more socially accepted is so radical as to be revelatory.
In the acceptance of the physical transformation of individuals from one gender to another, we are witnessing a growing human capacity to differentiate consciousness from form, and a parallel realization that inner aspects of personal identity are more essential than the body in which they dwell. Recent films and stories about gender changes highlight the fact that the essential nature of the individual remains unchanged, and that loved ones remain loved ones. The same is true in cases of soldiers returning from war with faces and bodies disfigured beyond recognition. Loved ones are often willing to stand by their side in spite of drastic changes in appearance and capacity.
Until now, it was a tenet of esoteric teachings that fundamental shifts in external identity such as gender and race only occurred between lifetimes. In these teachings it is understood that the soul takes on different personas from one incarnation (or series of incarnations) to another. In the working out of karma through the laws of cause and effect, the incarnating ‘jiva’ changes gender, race, culture, religion, nationality, class and other elements of personal identity in order to grow through expanded life experience. Given the current changes occurring to core aspects of the persona within one lifetime, we might suspect that this phenomenon is part of a Grand Design for accelerated learning.
We know from the Ageless Wisdom that in the coming age the Soul will gain prominence in human living. It was predicted that soul identity would supersede external aspects of identity and there are signs that this shift has already begun. With the thinning of the veil between inner and outer realities, many people are attuning to subtler dimensions of consciousness—both to invisible kingdoms of Earth, and to the soul behind the transitory mask of the human persona. With little fanfare, we’ve grown accustomed to hearing wisdom flow from the mouths of young children,2 many of whom become innovators and trailblazers. And increasingly, as mentioned earlier, we are recognizing the inner beauty of people whose outer forms are impaired.
Last Christmastime, a video circulated of a performer who appeared on Australia’s “X Factor.”3 For the first few seconds of the video, one sees only the handsome face of a young man with a radiant smile. It then appears that he is hobbling onto the stage and that his shirt sleeves are dangling; he has no arms. The radiant countenance remains as Emmanuel Kelly describes his background—an orphan found with his brother in a shoebox during a war in Baghdad, rescued by nuns from an orphanage run by Mother Theresa’s Sisters, adopted by an Australian humanitarian aid worker with a huge heart.4 Cheers erupt from the audience as Emmanuel sings the anthem of our times, “Imagine.” Tears fall from the eyes of judges as they invite him to return.
The Soul Embodied
In the modern wisdom teachings the soul is defined as consciousness itself. It is the Christ consciousness or Buddha nature—a degree of awareness that transcends the ordinary level of perception belonging to the concrete mind and physical senses. Before the soul awakens, we sense it, often dimly, as the voice of conscience. Esoterically, it is the divine and immortal entity that gives rise to an individualized persona for a lifetime of learning.
The most extraordinary fact of the dawning new age is that for the first time since a divine spark of mind was implanted in the highest representatives of the animal kingdom at the birth of the human kingdom, 21 million years ago, we are waking up to this higher aspect of ourselves collectively. With Aquarian energies pouring into our planetary life many of us are realizing, at the same time, that we are essentially spiritual beings.
According to the Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul, this collective realization is as consequential to our evolution as was the birth of the human kingdom millions of years ago. This is the true significance of the term “new age,” which first appeared in the teachings of this Master of Wisdom. He foresaw that as the Aquarian Age unfolds, so will the capacity of awakened human beings to demonstrate their innate, divine potentials. As the plan of evolution unfolds, advanced souls will enter the Kingdom of Souls and will co-create, in cooperation with higher Beings in the spiritual kingdom, a new world worthy of the epithet “Heaven on Earth.”
But even now there is light radiating from untold numbers of advanced souls on our planet, making it possible to shift the balance of forces. In response to the growing threats to our survival, people who are awake have been appearing like wildflowers after a drenching rain. Arising in all spheres of life, they embody the light of the soul that gives rise to illumined thinking, the love of the soul that inspires compassionate understanding, and the urge of the soul to serve the common good. Among the many evolved young people—the ‘new kids’ known by different names—these qualities are especially conspicuous.
It takes lifetimes for this efflorescence of evolution to appear in the world; for the alchemical work of the soul to burn away illusory barriers and reveal the oneness of life within all forms—the factual basis of human brotherhood. But eventually the pilgrim on the Path finds the way home to the Kingdom of Souls—the center of planetary life where the Great Ones dwell and where love flows unconditionally. From this center, the bud of spiritual essence within the human form—closed and dormant for eons—is nurtured into full flowering by Those who have trod this path before us. The once tiny spark of divinity, fanned by the fires of divine wisdom and love, becomes a radiant light to the world.
Last September, an embodiment of such radiance stood on the world stage for six days and nights. Under the relentless glare of the media, Pope Francis, the official head of a global religious body plagued by scandal and corruption, declaring himself a sinner, generated the magnetism of spiritual love with a force that stirred the souls of people of all persuasions in all corners of the world. His presence stoked the fire of the human spirit through every interaction, at every event, however great or small. It was like a wave of love rolling through the rancorous realms of human living, unifying all in its wake, if only for a brief while.
On the second day of the pope's visit to the U.S., a reporter milling about the massive crowds awaiting a glimpse of him in Washington, D.C., commented, “Everybody’s talking about love—not politics, not religion, but love.”5 Another reporter observed that people just wanted to be near him saying, “There’s a euphoria over something that is just plain good.”6 On the evening news, yet another remarked, “This normally bitterly divided city came together as one.”7 By the end of that second day he had been dubbed “our pope” and “the people’s pope.”
Francis I radiated the kind of inclusive love that marks enlightened souls: a love that warms all that it touches like the sun. As Albert Schweitzer observed: “The sun shines its light on everyone and everything equally.” With cameras following the pope virtually everywhere, capturing every gesture and facial expression, the warmth of his smile appeared unchanged whether he was addressing the powerful elite or the homeless and imprisoned; bishops of the church or masses of parishioners; whether his listeners were Catholics, Muslims or Jews. The love of his soul appeared to flow forth equally to all.
Reacting to the pope’s speech to a joint session of the United States Congress, delivered in a political climate described by one commentator as “never more toxic,” a senator from one major political party exclaimed, “He spoke to everybody. He speaks to our common humanity. If the whole world listened, the world would be such a different place.”8 A representative from the opposition party, interviewed separately, similarly observed, “He talked about universal truth. He called on our common humanity.”9 A journalist remarked, “He’s a warrior against exclusion.”10
It is the soul that perceives, when the mind “falls into” the heart, that we are one humanity. The higher mind sees unity while its counterpart for living in the world of dense form, the concrete mind, sees that which separates and divides. The vision of the common good evoked by Pope Francis—to the exuberant response of individual souls attuned to his frequency even if mired in an atmosphere of extreme cynicism—is the bedrock of the coming age. Our capacity to create the new civilization and culture prophesied in the modern wisdom teachings depends upon our collectively embodying the reality that we are intrinsically related to one another, and to every form of life within our planetary home.
Acting as a Soul
Visibly elated by the pope’s address to the Congress, a candidate for president asked rhetorically, in conversation with a reporter, “Why are we worshipping money and ignoring people living on the streets?”11 Many such questions arise in the wake of that fleetingly hopeful moment: How long will the powers-that-be continue financing the machinery of death instead of the architecture of life? How much misery will it take to see that greed produces isolation, despair and climates that destroy life? How far will we have to travel down the path of destruction before awakening collectively to the light of the soul?
To frame the question from the soul’s vantage point we might ask: How long will it be before we act decisively on the realization that we are sisters and brothers living on a small planet where most of us are suffering acutely and all of us are threatened by violence in some form? Answers are increasingly arising from the domain of the soul, emerging through the ranks of people in every country who feel impelled to right the wrongs, to heal the wounds, to shine a light in the darkness, and to throw the weight of their consciousness behind the Good, the True and the Beautiful—those channels for the inflow of divinity to our world.
Untold millions of people are rallying in support of the forces of light on our planet, aided by exquisitely ingenious advances in technology that enable us to form and strengthen networks of solidarity that transcend the bounds of time and space. New linkages are creating new neural pathways in the global brain, new channels for the light to flow. A progressive thinker remarked in 2014 that the global brain was developing a global heart.12 By 2015 there were many signs that the soul of humanity was becoming anchored in our planetary life. Spirit is rapidly pulsing through electronic networks, linking hubs within the greater wheel of Earth’s evolving life, joining together those who are laying the foundations of the new world.
Last October, a unique instance of global networking occurred on the eve of the public airing of “Belief,” a landmark television miniseries on religion and spirituality produced by Oprah Winfrey.13 During a conference call to launch the series, in which 800 people took part, Oprah explained her intent: “to create interfaith understanding by opening minds and expanding the heart space” and to “correct mistaken beliefs” of the kind that can lead to violence. The people on the call included representatives of every major faith, many of whom had their own global networks, all of whom were supporters of Oprah’s mission “to tell stories that reflect the human spirit”—stories that expose the uniqueness of each faith and the commonalities of all, highlighting the reality that “the thread of love is the same.”
The impact of “Belief” could be heard in the responses it inspired among participants in the call who had previewed the series. The head of the National Council of Churches14 said it had deepened his realization that “we’re all part of one great web of creation” and inspired him to create more interfaith dialogues—between Christians and Buddhists, Christians and Hindus. A Muslim representing the Center for Global Peace Building15 saw the series as a tool for building long-term relationships between groups and said “It heals us… It move us from human survival to human flourishing.” A Baptist bishop16 observed, “Beyond the misery and hurt there is a heartbeat that is catching on.”
Referring to the spiritual triumphs of the souls whose stories were featured in “Belief,” a Sikh leader17 remarked that the series enables viewers to “admire each other as sons and daughters of God.” Through this percolating awareness of being part of one human family comprised of different faiths or streams of belief (and no belief), the light of Aquarius is sparking fresh opportunities for healing. If we observe this extended family as we would any other, it is conspicuous that one of its branches is currently suffering more than others. As in any family, when the wounds of one member are ignored, there is ultimately a price to be paid by all. Again, the hope of healing lies with the soul—in the light that reveals, upon awakening, that “the shadow” projected onto others is largely of one’s own creation.
Muslims constitute nearly a quarter of the human population and are the fastest-growing religious group. Of the 1.7 billion Muslims in the world, a tiny handful are perpetrators of violence. Yet virtually all are victims of unremitting verbal and psychological abuse at the hands of non-Muslims. Many also suffer physical brutality, the deprivation of civil liberties and human rights, with growing numbers being killed or forced to flee from their own lands. In the western media, where there is an effective blackout on history, there is confusion between cause and effect. Last century’s colonization of Muslim lands and this century’s invasions are ignored, while its people are dehumanized and vilified. With the world turning a deaf ear to truth and justice, there is growing talk of World War III as a religious war.
In response to the urgent need for a voice of reason, inspired initiatives have sprung up. One is the Charter for Compassion—a global network spawned by the document of the same name,18 which has been adopted by towns, cities and school systems around the world.19 In a conference call announcing a campaign to combat violent anti-Muslim sentiment,20 a leader with a long history of involvement in the U.S. civil rights movement21 stated, “It takes courage to speak out against evil… It’s not so much a matter of winning and losing, but claiming for yourself in your own heart the path of justice… We must make a commitment to our brothers and sisters in faith.” A leader in the interfaith movement asserted, “The goal for all of us is to liberate America from hate, fear and anger.”22
A new publication was announced during that call: Islamophobia Guidebook. In addition to practical information, it is an extraordinary compendium of writings on the universality of the human spirit from sources as diverse as Leo Tolstoy, Pope Francis, and George Lucas. The first section, “Compassion: A Religion for All,” begins with points to consider in the battle against Islamophobia, the first of which is recognizing Islam as the new “other.” It states: “The hate is the same hatred of white supremacists against people of color, of Anti-Semitism, of the Tutsis toward the Hutus, of Native Americans by the early American settlers… ’Otherizing’ divides and harms humanity rather than uniting in compassion, love for one’s fellow humans.”
Reason to Hope
If there is a locus of hope for a peaceful future, it is surely the collective soul of humanity, whose illumination grows with every individual who awakens and comes to see herself or himself as a cell in the body of a greater life. After millions of years of evolution we−members of the fourth kingdom in nature whose higher intelligence is pivotal to our future−are beginning to withdraw from the chrysalis stage in which we’ve been encased for eons while developing the wings to fly. Moving beyond form identity, the soul takes flight into higher dimensions, enabled to observe life from an altitude at which larger wholes come into view.
It is well known that many astronauts who view Earth from outer space return as mystics, having witnessed the awesome tapestry of our intricately interwoven planetary life. When forest fires or volcanoes erupt they observe great plumes of smoke migrating around the globe, oblivious to national boundaries, regardless of where they began. Likewise, the awakened soul perceives suffering wherever it exists, irrespective of its origins, and seeks to heal it. In the fire of the soul’s inclusive love, barriers dissolve and compassion grows.
"Path to Shambhala" by Nicholas Roerich
By attuning to a higher vibrational frequency, the soul gradually removes itself from ‘the mortal coil’ that traps it in matter and the realm of blind causation, sensing the new world that seeks to be born from within. The first imprints of this world are already discernible in the pages of journals and websites magnetized by beauty and truth, in music that unseals the heart and makes the spirit soar, in stories of spiritual love that fly through cyberspace and appear on the evening news. Increasingly we are sensing the intricate, interweaving streams of spiritual energy that exist in subtler realms and which, it is hinted in esoteric sources, will color the “new earth” of the coming age.
Before that time comes, however, humanity must extricate itself from the hypnotic beat of the drums of war—from the “eye for an eye” paradigm of the era now ending. The most effective means at our disposal is the soul's realization that our karmic footprints become the lessons of future lifetimes—a realization that impels us to heal separations and enables us to re-create our lives from the substance of love. Though it said that a world civilization informed by loving wisdom lies in our future, the price of its manifestation is high. To give it birth, we're required to delve into the painful places of the past in need of transmutation and redemption. “Man lives by the incarnation of God in himself,” Alice Bailey wrote. “By passing through the gate of the new birth, he can redeem the flesh in which that divinity is encased, and can then help in the redemption of the world.”23
As for our collective redemption, there is a message in the term “carbon footprints”—the impact of humanity on the self-regulating mechanisms that allowed us to dwell in a relatively comfortable climate for eons of time until the industrial age. In recent centuries, what changed is the mindset that led “modern people” to move out of clans, families, and interdependent societies and into isolated cells. Futile attempts to fill the inner void of isolation by accumulating material things has caused a deepening or worsening of our carbon footprints. And now, on the edge of the precipice of climatic destruction, evolutionary pressures are compelling us to reach out to one another—from a higher point in awareness—and to reach up for guidance from Beings on a higher plane.
To reach these Beings of Light and secure their guidance, we are called to adhere to age-old principles that direct the pilgrim on the Path. The way of self-discipline and self-purification is the way trod by all the Great Ones who dwell in the Kingdom of Souls, where they formulate the divine plan for Earth’s evolution and guide the steps of every soul awakening to the higher path. Finding ourselves in groups of kindred souls, we begin to perceive, together, the majesty of the divine plan. Events are shaking us out of old perceptions and forcing us to see ourselves as the soul does—as part of a human family living on a small planet. Hope lies in the growing determination of family members to live and act as souls.
by Nancy Seifer, co-author of When the Soul Awakens
and co-founder of whenthesoulawakens.org
1 For a light-hearted contemporary exploration of breaking cultural ties, see the film "Meet the Patels."
3 The episode that circulated on the web in December 2015 actually appeared in 2011.
4 Moira Kelly, Emmanuel's adoptive mother, has won numerous awards for humanitarian service to Australia and the international community.
5 Carol Costello, CNN, 9.23.15
6 Christiane Amanpour, CNN, 9.23.15
7 Ann Thompson, NBC-TV, 9.23.15
8 U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont to Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC, 9.24.15
9 Michael McCaul, U.S. Representative from Texas, 9.24.15
10 Mike Barnicle, MSNBC, 9.24.15
11 Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate, in conversation with Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC, 9.24.15
12 William Bloom, a British educator and author in the field of holistic studies
13 This series is highly recommended for stories that make the spirit soar as well as visual magnificence.
14 Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches
15 Najeeba Syeed-Miller, a leader in peace-buiding and professor of interreligious studies
16 Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr., New Psalmist Baptist Church
17 Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education
18 The Charter for Compassion was the inspiration of Karen Armstrong, British scholar and author of numerous ground-breaking books in the field of comparative religion.
19 The Charter, of Compassion, translated into over 30 languages, has spawned a global movement.
20 Over 400 people took part in this call on December 18, 2015.
21 Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, former head of the American office of the World Council of Churches and former General Secretary of the National Council of Churches
22 Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair of the Board, Parliament of the World's Religions, 2010-15
23 Bailey, Alice A., From Bethlehem to Calvary, 55.