What Effect does Service have upon the Mind, the Emotions and the Etheric Body?
It must be remembered that it is through its effects that the scientist of the future will begin to deduce the effectual existence of an inner cause, of an inner reality, or of a self or soul. We have seen that service is not simply an activity of some person or group doing something with good intention for another person or group. Service itself is definitely the result of a tremendous inner happening, and when that result is brought about, it will be found to have produced a number of creative secondary causes. These are, primarily, a change in the lower consciousness, a tendency to turn away from the things of the personal self to the larger issues of the group, a reorientation which is real and expressive and a power to change conditions (through creative activity) which is the demonstration of something dynamically new. As this inner event stabilizes into an equilibrized inner condition, the demonstration of the above changes becomes more regular and less spasmodic and the effects of the new forces flowing into the personality, to be later used creatively, will be seen in all three bodies. Thus the true server comes into possession of his instruments for service, and thenceforth creative work in accordance with the Plan can go forward on all three planes. Thus has God, in His wisdom, chosen to limit Himself, and the work of evolution proceeds solely through the medium of His chosen builders and under the direction – on this planet – of those men whose lives are being transformed through soul contact and creative service, and who constitute the planetary Hierarchy.
When alignment has been effected, when the at-one-ment has been more constantly made, and when the antahkarana (the bridge connecting the higher and the lower) is in definite process of construction, the true nature of service, as practiced by any individual, begins to emerge. The first effect of the inflowing force of the soul, which is the major factor leading to demonstrated service, is to integrate the personality, and to bring all the three lower aspects of the man into one serving whole. This is a difficult and elementary stage from the angle of the student in the Hall of Wisdom. The man becomes aware of his power and capacity, and, having pledged himself to service, he begins furiously to serve; he creates this, that and the other channel for the expression of the force which is driving him; he tears down and destroys just as fast as he creates. He temporarily becomes a serious problem to the other servers with whom he may be associated, for he sees no vision but his own, and the aura of criticism which surrounds him and the strenuous push of the assertive force within him produces the stumbling of the “little ones” and there has to be constant repair work undertaken (on his behalf) by older, more experienced disciples. He becomes the victim, for the time, of his own aspiration to serve, and of the force which is flowing through him. This stage will in some cases fan into flame the latent seeds of ambition. This ambition is, in the last analysis, only the personality urge towards betterment, and in its right place and time is a divine asset, but it has to be rooted out when the personality becomes the instrument of the soul. In other cases, the server will come into a wider and more loving vision, and, taking his eyes off his own accomplishment, will go to work in silent unison with the groups of all true servers. He will submerge his personality tendencies, his ideas and his ambitions in the greater good of the whole, and self will be lost to sight. Perhaps no better suggestion can be made to the man or woman who seeks to function as a true server than to ask them to repeat daily, with their whole hearts and minds behind the words, the dedication at the conclusion of the Esoteric Catechism, which is included at the end of Initiation, Human and Solar. I would remind such servers that if they revolt or are dismayed by the ideas embodied in the words, that is perhaps an indication of how much they need the impression of this life objective upon their consciousness. That pledge runs as follows:
“I play my part with stern resolve; with earnest aspiration; I look above, I help below; I dream not, nor I rest; I toil; I serve; I reap; I pray; I am the Cross; I am the Way; I tread upon the work I do, I mount upon my slain self; I kill desire, and I strive, forgetting all reward. I forego peace; I forfeit rest, and, in the stress of pain, I lose myself and find Myself and enter into peace. To all this I solemnly pledge myself, invoking my Higher Self.”
As the work of learning to serve proceeds and the inner contact becomes more sure, the next thing which will occur will be a deepening of the life of meditation, and a more frequent illumining of the mind by the light of the soul. Thereby the Plan is revealed. This will not be the shedding of that light upon the plans of the server either for his own life or upon his chosen field of service. This must be clearly grasped. That might only indicate (if it seems to occur) the mental agility of the server to find means for the justification of his own ambition. It will be the recognition, in the mind, of the Plan of God for the world at the particular time in which the server is existing, and the part that he may play in furthering the ends of those who are responsible for the carrying forward of that Plan. He then becomes willing to be a tiny part of a greater Whole, and this attitude never varies, even when the disciple has become a Master of the Wisdom. He is then in contact with a still vaster concept of the Plan and His humility and His sense of proportion remain unchanged.
An integrated, intelligent personality is adequate to deal with the working out of the server’s part in the active work of the world, provided his vision is not blurred by personal ambition nor his activity such that it degenerates into a sense of rush and a display of busy feverishness. It takes the soul itself to reveal to the poised and peaceful mind the next step to be taken in the work of world evolution, through the importation of ideas. Such is the Plan for humanity.
As the force pours through the personality and gives to the server this necessary vision and the sense of power which will enable him to cooperate, it finds its way into the emotional or astral body. Here again the effect will be dual, owing to the condition of the server’s astral body and his inner orientation. It may enhance the glamor and deepen the illusion, swinging the server into the psychic illusory effects there to be found. When this happens, he will emerge upon the physical plane glamored by the idea, for instance, of his amazing personal contacts, whereas he has only contacted some group thought-form of the Great Ones. He will be under the illusion that he is a chosen vessel or mouthpiece for the Hierarchy, when the truth is that he is deceived by the many voices, because the Voice of the Silence has been dimmed by the clamor of the astral plane; he will be deluded by the idea that there is no other way but his way. Such an illusion and deception is common among teachers and workers everywhere today, because so many are definitely making a contact with their souls, and are being swept then into the desire for service; they are not yet free, however, from ambition, and their orientation is still basically towards personality expression, and not to the merging of themselves in the Group of World Servers. If however they can avoid glamor, and can discriminate between the Real and the unreal, then the inflowing force will flood their lives with effective unselfish love and with devotion to the Plan, to those whom the Plan serves, and to Those Who serve the Plan. Note the sequence of these attitudes, and govern yourselves accordingly. There will then be no room for self-interest, self-assertiveness, or selfish ambition. All that is considered is the need and the driving necessity to take the next immediate step to meet that need as it demonstrates before the server’s eyes.
With the heart and mind then functioning together (either in selfish coalition for the presentation of an active personality, or in dedicated selflessness and the attitude which is oriented towards soul guidance) the force, flowing through the server will galvanize his etheric body into activity. Then, automatically, the physical body will respond. There is, consequently, a great need for the server to pause upon the astral plane, and there, in a holy and controlled silence, wait, before permitting the force to pour through into the centers in the etheric body. This point of silence is one of the mysteries of spiritual unfoldment. Once the force or energy of the soul – preserved in its purity, or tainted and sidetracked on its way through into physical manifestation – has reached the etheric body, there is nothing more to be done by the average disciple. The result, when it reaches that point, is inevitable and effective. The inner thought and the desire life determine the activity which will be expressed physically. When the force comes through in purity, it brings the centers above the diaphragm steadily into activity; when it comes through, tainted by personality trends, it uses primarily the solar plexus, and then sweeps into manifestation all the astral illusions, the grandiose delusions and the glamors of egoistic phenomena, using the word “egoistic” in its usual worldly, psychological connotation. This can easily be seen today among the leaders of various groups.