The Longest Stride of Soul, Man Ever Took
Articles By Eileen Noakes
From Mind Body and Spirit (Edited by Peter and Bets Parker Albright)

Who can doubt that the world is undergoing some major upheaval, with war, strikes, oppression and murder so common as to be commonplace? And yet, there is an unreasonable exhilaration, of feeling of preparation for a great leap forward. We seem to be aware of a great inner energy shaping events. I want to suggest the paradox that, despite the turmoil, on the one hand "not a grain of sand is out of place" and "the everlasting arms are underneath"; yet, on the other, our efforts, individual and collective, are essential to the mergence from this crises of the kind of world we dream of for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

There is a Divine Plan which underlines the manifested world, but it can only emerge as its various aspects find centres of reception in us. No astute political formulas, no clever economic juggling, will provide the answer, for it lies within us. Many people long only for a return to stability, order, security and personal comfort, but this will no longer do. A new world is being unveiled, and much new energy is pouring into the planet, but, the blueprint exists, the building is our task. It is wise to cooperate with the forces of change, so that we shall not be swept away along and possible submerged by the tidal wave of irresistible energy. We are here at this time for a purpose. We have elected to incarnate at what must be one of the most dramatic and challenging periods in the history of the planet, and we must not miss the opportunity to play our destined part.

This might be called a crisis of consciousness. Richard Bucke postulates the theory of a gradual evolution of consciousness, punctuated by periodic giant leaps, such as those which characterised the birth of simple and self-consciousness. We are now, he believes, engaged in another giant leap  into Cosmic Consciousness.

The coming civilisation, we are assured, carries the promise of beauty, love, creativity and brotherhood beyond our wildest imaginings, but we need to stand firm, strongly centred between the Earthly Mother and the Heavenly Father. We are the mediators between the inner and outer worlds, and it is our task to anchor these energies and express them in form, both by constructive thinking and planning on every level  community, national, worldwide  and, as Alice Bailey says in Rays and Initiations, by " demonstrating in our environment the qualities which will establish right human relations, and show on a small scale the behaviour which will some day characterise enlightened humanity".

The Aquarian Age is the age of the group impulse, of the stimulation of cooperation and group endeavour in the place of competition and personal ambition. Yet, we need to recognise that the negative application of this energy could lead to totalitarianism and the crushing of individuality. In response to this impulse, many groups have began to form, both on inner levels and on outer levels and on outer physical levels. Many feel an urgent need to express this impulse in a creative, constructive life-style which will vibrate in tune with the higher energies and will bring healing to humanity and the planet, for wholeness is to be found not in the curing of symptoms, but in the practice of holistic living.

A group of people, working and meditating together can generate power which is greater than the sum total of their individual energy. This might take the form of a return to village life, but a return on a higher turn of the spiral, with a conscious feeling of community, and a commitment to the expression of the spiritual on every level and on every activity. So much of the responsibility for ushering in the New Age is ours, and we need to provide efficient vehicles for the work that has to be done. We are sparks of Divine life, individualising through souls which inhabit a threefold personality, the physical/etheric body, the astral or emotional body, and the mental body; all these levels need to be active, developed, and aligned for the task ahead.

First of all, the physical body merits our care and respect, both as a gift from the Earthly Mother and as the Temple of the Spirit. The Ageless Wisdom and the Essence suggest that it is possible for higher knowledge and guidance to be transmitted through a course physical body, and we are given clear and practical advice for its refinement.

We have a fundamental need to be in touch with the rhythms and cycles of nature. One way of answering this need is to be in close touch with the soil by growing our own vegtables organically, and being relatively self-sufficient. This puts us more in charge of our own lives, provides us with living, unadulterated food supply, and makes a contribution to the food supply. Diet is an important factor in our well- being, and many people are beginning to accept that the healthiest diet consists largely of fruit and raw vegetables  living food.

The Essenes, whose practice of community living could hardly be improved upon, ate simple meals of uncooked food only twice a day. They also demonstrated that understanding natural laws and living in harmony with nature forces enabled them to produce sufficient food for their needs and a surplus for distribution to the poor in only four hours a day, leaving ample time for other creative activities. We could revolutionise our consumption of food and fuel if we adopted this practise. Shortages are created, at least partly, by our artificial demands, and our demands for artificiality. These would be less need for healing from other sources if simplicity were implicit in our life-styles, in a rhythm of good constructive work, alternating with relaxation and mental and spiritual stimulation, in an atmosphere of caring and concerning; the study and application of total physical relaxation; the exploration of the inner world of myth and symbol, and the acceptance of responsibility for our own lives. We also need the opportunity to develop creative skills and talents, and to express ourselves through drama and dance.

I don't believe that the true cause of inflation and the proliferation of strikes is material need, I feel that people are really trying to express the frustration of uncreative work, lack of involvement, and unbalanced, stultified life-styles; but nobody is public life seems to challenge the underlying assumption that an ever-spiralling standard of living is a life-enhancing goal. Certainly, basic needs must be met before the higher satisfactions can be enjoyed, but they are not in themselves a source of fulfilment.

A large proportion of ill health has its origin in the astral or emotional body. A free flow of energy is vital from the astral body to the endocrine glands, and thence to the organs of the body, but many blockages are caused by the destructive emotions, especially by suppressed emotion and rejection of pain. Our emotional health depends on taking responsibility for our own lives, and accepting every situation, every contract, every relationship, as expressly designed by the soul to stimulate growth and the removal the removal of blockages. Every rejected experience is pushed down into the subconscious, creating a vacuum into which is sucked an exact reflection of that energy. The outer world reflects with uncanny accuracy our inner projections, and there is no one we can, or have any right to, change, except ourselves. All is God, and we are surrounded by the moving through those aspects of God that we have drawn to ourselves, like magnets creating a pattern with iron filings. It is not easy to see the Face of God in the plight of staving children, homeless refugees and oppressed peoples except by recognising that, on a different level of truth and reality, these sufferings have both dignity and meaning, and cease to be. Just beyond our vision, the world is shining with love, and if we see this truth and hold firmly to it, we shall help to dissolve the veils that enshroud us in the world of form and matter. This is not at all the same as saying that we should view these things with complacency, or fail to everything we can to alleviate distress.

In our search for the key to the good life, we keep coming back to the word Love, which seems to be the glue of the Universe, a reflection in quantum physics of the particle "charm" which holds everything together. If we live in love, we live in harmony; if we hate, we harm everything we touch, but mostly ourselves. Our emotions do not evaporate without trace; they coalesce with other similar emotions to form clouds of anger, hatred, or joy, which we both expand and attract to us, so that a mood of irritation can quickly and unaccountably escalate into uncontrollable rage. On the other hand, love is equally infectious, so that to "love one's neighbour as oneself" was the best psychology and the most practical advice ever given. It is so often mistaken as an injunction to be pious or inoffensive, but in fact, to love is sheer magic, a dynamic force that is which is totally irresistible, and which can transform any situation. It packs tremendous power, not in an abstract way, or on some far-distant level, but here and now literally. Projecting love is as real as watering plants with fertilizer, and much more potent, because the effect is often instantaneous.

Practicing love means practicing "harmlessness", which, although it requires that our thoughts, words and deeds be harmless, it is not negative or mere abstention from evil, but a very positive application of goodwill. It may require firmness and the ability to say no, but it will be compassionate and uncritical, though not necessarily lacking in discrimination. It will not be sentimental, and it will not be weak for the sake of popularity or peace. The practice of love is an excellent method of clearing clogged channels so that higher energies can flow in. Blockages in the emotional body can be compared to cholesterol in the arteries of the physical body, and many techniques have been developed to help us "clear the channels".
To touch briefly on a few:

1. The use of physical relaxation to help break the pattern of response to anger or fear by  the ancient "flight  or fight" mechanism.

2. The use of the " evening review", which is a survey of the days actions and reactions last thing at night, from the angle of an objective observer, apportioning neither praise or blame, but simply noting  dispassionately. It is thought this acts as a clearing process and frees our dreams for more creative work.

3. The use of the creative imagination
a. By making the morning resolve  tuning into the days program and seeing it directed by ones higher self.
b. By contacting ones inner guide, using such methods as transpersonal psychology, guided daydreams, or meditations.

We so often believe ourselves to be alone. Never for one moment is this true. It is an illusion contained in our descent into matter, but we are now on the evolutionary arc, and the veil between the visible and the invisible is beginning to dissolve. "The Elder Brothers of the race who have guided humanity through the long centuries are now preparing people for the next great step. This step will bring in a continuity of consciousness which will do away with the fear of death, and link the physical and the astral planes in such close relationship that they will in reality constitute one plane".

It takes a long time for a development in consciousness to be attained by the whole human race. Some people are still moving from simple to self-consciousness, but gradually idealistic man is emerging, the world server, detached from personal interests, cooperative, unpossesive, wishing to understand the plan of creation, and to serve God.

This is what lies ahead of us, just a blink away. But again, here is the paradox. Yes, it is coming, we're experiencing the birth pangs of a New Age with a higher consciousness, but it is our responsibility to usher it in, through our meditations and the quality of our loving.

Having developed the intellect, we then need to silence it to develop this higher from of knowing, using the creative imagination to build the Rainbow Bridge firstly between the little self and the soul, and then between the soul and the spirit, where guidance and inspiration are to be found, which then need to be translated into action in a practical and efficient way.

We will even eventually discover that, after we have made this "longest stride of Soul", the New Age will come, not as a result of reaching upward or straining outward, but of seeing what was there all the time!

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