The Challenge of Sacrificial Living

“Today two qualities are “tincturing” the ideal of the coming civilization for which all disciples are working: Freedom and spiritual security”, Alice Bailey wrote. Yet, insecurity might be a much more apt description of the present times. The gains made by science and technology over the past hundred years or so have demonstrated the power of the human mind to conquer ignorance and to assure humanity’s place in a vast and complex universe—or so we thought. This may indeed be true if we measure the quality of life in terms of material and intellectual gains; but when we examine the present state of human relations from the standpoint of social and moral values, there is less reason for optimism.

Political structures and religious institutions have not kept up with the progress made by science and technology. It’s as if one part of the human mind—the analytical intelligence—has advanced beyond the reason and intuition of the higher mind which must provide anchorage for the creations of the human intellect. The gains of the past one or two centuries which have been accomplished by human minds have, perhaps, been overestimated in the sense that we have concluded that reason and rationality can solve all problems.

We want to believe that humanity is, at its core, good. We aspire to live up to spiritual values such as unselfishness, sharing, forgiveness, and—among the best of us—sacrifice for the greater good. How, then, do we explain the fact that some of our fellow citizens harbor attitudes that are separative, suspicious of differences, even hateful towards others who don’t seem to live by the same standards? Understanding the hunger for spiritual security may hold some insight, for it’s been found that when the basic needs such as food, housing, or livelihood are threatened (in real or imaginary ways), even people of goodwill and essential kindness nevertheless can demonstrate resistance to sharing or making accommodations for others. In situations of tension or anxiety, which are so prevalent today, when social structures are undergoing change and so many familiar values seem to be fading away, it can be much more difficult to expect people to make the necessary adjustments.

Perhaps we remain, still, much more influenced by emotional, even primal, considerations than we had realized. The powers of the mind have not been sufficient to shore up the stresses caused by the waning influence of traditional religious and family values and the growing disparity caused by economic inequality. Technological and educational advances are not sufficient to overcome the pull of self-centered or materialistic values. Many of the shared communal values have given way to the increasing isolation made possible by technology, and there is a growing sense humanity is unmoored, cast adrift from old ways of living while the new age opportunities remain only faintly visible on the horizon.

There was ample forewarning of the present age given in mid-twentieth century classic novels such as 1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, and Dr. Strangelove, to name a few. It’s increasingly apparent to all thoughtful people that we need a more spiritual view of human potential to accompany the knowledge given by technology and science—one in which the social and spiritual structures suitable to the current times are more highly regarded. Freedom, when combined with community, and spiritual security, when tied to a psychological understanding of human hopes and fears, are both necessary if the transition into the coming age is going to provide the liberation we all hope for. In the writings of Alice Bailey there is a discussion of a great spiritual law called the Law of Sacrifice—a law which leads to joy, liberation, and alignment with the divine Plan. More thoughts on this law will follow.



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