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The United Nations and the Temple of Humanity
by Steve Nation

A talk given at the 2005 Seven Ray Institute/University of the Seven Rays Conference. Steve Nation is founder of "Intuition in Service" and "UN Days and Years"

Read the transcript below or listen to it here!

We’re a family of people here who come from a certain esoteric tradition.  When you are in an esoteric tradition it’s difficult sometimes because it is easy to feel that there exists a certain group of people who “know.”  And of course it is always our family who knows and the other families don’t really know—they might know a lot but they who don’t know as much as we.  But, after all, we’re all only human beings.  It is so beautiful to hear about this global family of human beings--the joy and beauty of human beings.

I want us to start with a little quiet work together about the temple.  So could you just stand quietly.  Close your eyes. Just remember the beautiful work we’ve done in this room. Think about how you are standing and just imagine that you are standing in a way that your soul would be happy with, in that you would be reflecting a body that is at ease within itself, its whole being--that is poised, comfortable, but alert. And imagine that together we have passed through some sort of a door, as indeed we did when we came into this room.  We find ourselves together within the body of a temple which is, in fact, where we are.  But just imagine that this is not this room, but a vast temple and adjust our inner vision, to sense and feel something of its beauty, quality, note and sound. In this temple we can truly sense the divine presence. Keeping your eyes closed, sense the others standing next to you, behind you, in front of you. And around you imagine that there are many, many more of these others, folks like us, other human beings, and imagine you are standing within the temple of humanity--with a vast group of these social prophets, hundreds of thousands, millions of people from all parts of the world who are in process of finding their whole life’s meaning and sense of purpose, in helping to make this a more loving, more just and integrated, whole world. Just think of the accumulation of human creativity and purposeful activity present in this temple with us.

Now make another leap in the imagination.  We are meeting here in Phoenix and can we visualize the temple filled with the population of this city.  Phoenix has 1.3 million people.  Imagine the Phoenix family--the babies that are yet to be born, the tiny little ones.  Lannie and I had the most beautiful experience this morning in Starbucks of a wee little one who totally transformed the whole of the atmosphere.  This was part of the Phoneix family.   Think of all the little ones, the teens and the young people, the adults, singles, couples and parents, and all of the elders of the community and imagine that the people of Phoenix are standing with us here in this sacred environment.  

As we stand with this family we might notice that there are many bystanders who are in fact oblivious to the work that we are all doing within this Phoenix family--those who don’t see the beauty, or the plan and who are in fact going about the business of life upon the periphery of this temple.  What we have to remind ourselves of is that there are so many creative builders here with us in the Phoenix family who are taking an active role in the often messy process of learning to create more intrinsically beautiful, loving and respectful relationships--through family, neighborhood and workplace; through business, politics , community affairs, education, arts, and all the myriad activities that we human beings do. Just remember what an honor it is to stand together with the Phoenix family in this temple.

And now extend the image again, exponentially and within a vast leap of the imagination consider that we stand with all of the peoples of the world--elderly, young, adults, babies, and those that are yet to be born, and all those generations that have gone before us.  Together we stand with our feet firmly on the floor of the temple, centered and at ease with our humanness, open to the divine within us, and within this temple. Just imagine this whole human family, pausing for a moment of silence, rather like in the same sense that we did after the Tsunami, sharing a sense of the awesomeness and beauty of the work in which we are engaged--the awesomeness of our unity as a human family and of our essential divinity, of simply what it is to be a human being. 

The Temple of Humanity, filled to overflowing with hundreds of millions of human beings, watched over by the community of human beings who are no longer in incarnation, and by the great Ones who watch and guard, and by all those other kingdoms that are such a mystery to us in our humanness.  And we must also include the other kingdoms, those other kingdoms that we share so much with—the animals, the plants, and the minerals.

And now imagine that the peoples of the world move back, there’s a ritualistic movement they stand around the walls of the temple.  Visualize them forming a vast circle. And in the midst of this great gathering of the world’s people, within the great temple, picture another smaller temple, right at the center of the gathering, and imagine that this smaller temple takes a form through what we have all seen on television—it is the form of the General Assembly of the United Nations.  Try to visualize this space, try to feel it and imagine it as a temple. Those who have been to the space will know that there is something remarkable architecturally; it is a very moving and a beautiful space. And remember that the ritualists standing in the inner temple of the General Assembly represent all of the nations of the world.  Think for a moment not of governments, but about nations.  Part of our memory is that we are part of nations, and those nations are very real for us, they are part of our experience. Each nation has its own particular history, its own story, its own heroes, and its own unique process of soul and personality integration. So each participant in this ritual, each nation, embodies the human community in the midst of transition. And now notice that together with these symbolic representations of the nations, there are other ritualists also standing, moving quietly in the inner sanctum, through the halls of the General Assembly. For standing side by side with the representatives of the nations of the world, are representatives of countless serving groups, representatives of the group of social prophets, each working in its own way at the nitty gritty process of purposefully incarnating a more just and unified world. And think of those service groups that are most close to our hearts, that we feel most closely identified with, see those groups right there in the midst of the General Assembly.  See the representatives of the groups we know and of those we do not know, with the representative of nations and governments standing within the sacred space of the UN in a temple.  So silently we stand in the temple--feeling, sensing humanity, hearing the breath, the one breath of the human family, and the light and the presence of the Avatar of the Synthesis and the Christ. And to conclude, for those of us who know it, say together the Mantram of the New Group of World Servers:

May the Power of the One Life pour through the group of all true servers.

May the Love of the One Soul characterize the lives of all who seek to aid the Great Ones

May we fulfill our part, in the One work, through self-forgetfulness, harmlessness and right speech. 

Thank you so much for asking me to speak. It was a delight to be asked but I’ve never before had the opportunity to speak upon this title—The United Nations and the building of the Temple of Humanity.  I come from an esoteric and Masonic background and since my teens I’ve always been fascinated by the United Nations, not so much from the angle of outer events and what we read in the newspapers, but rather from what it represents in the emergence of a new civilization and how these governments and legislative chambers can actually live in the heart. Some of my most profound experiences in Freemasonry happened when I would sense the walls of the Masonic temple dissolving and feel as if I was witnessing and taking part in a ceremony within the General Assembly of the United Nations.  These experiences have always stayed with me and have been deeply reinforced upon occasions when I have been fortunate enough to visit the U.N. centers in Geneva, New York or Nairobi—to stand in the awesome space of the General Assembly or to sit in the U.N. meditation room at the U.N. headquarters in New York and feel the presence of the Avatar of Synthesis . It’s such a privilege to visit New York; don’t visit that city without taking the U.N. tour. The minute you are through the security, you will feel immediately that you are no longer on U.S. soil.   This is virtually the only place on Earth where it is humanity’s building and every little cell in your body will feel that.  You are lucky to live in a country where this building exists. The meditation room in New York is open between 9:00 – to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.  It is in the public foyer. It’s a service to go there.  Visit the U.N. because it is fun and a wonderful place to be, but also think of it as a service. And whenever you go there, align with all of your coworkers from wherever you are in the world and feel their presence there with you.  That room is like the holy of holies, the most sacred place in some of the most ancient temples.  And just as in some of the Egyptian temples, there in the U.N. meditation room the dominant, powerful image is of this huge, wonderful block of iron ore.  This rock was brought from Sweden by Dag Hammarskjold.  He was a mystic and a visionary who took such care in the quarrying of the stone.  It was so heavy and difficult to ship to New York and the design of the building had to be changed and a whole new foundation built to accommodate the weight of that stone.   When you go into the room you feel its presence. I always felt that because it is a diagonal shape it is incredibly Masonic because it is composed of squares. But when you look at it you see that although it has been shaped by human beings, it has been left with a certain organic structure.  Some of the squares are slightly flowing, slightly rounded and it’s a very beautiful piece of the heart of the earth.  

I like to think of the headquarters of the United Nations as a temple that holds magnificent works of art. When you think of it all, the countries of the world have gifted works of art to the U.N., like an offering to the temple.  It is rather nice to find offerings from your own country within the U.N.  These experiences in U.N. buildings suggest to me that the dramas playing themselves out in the halls of the United Nations and in all the special agencies such as UNICEF and UNESCO, tell the story of the human community learning how to incarnate higher and deeper principles of sharing and synthesis into the world of human affairs. It’s the story of our apprenticeship as a human family in the arts of white magic and it involves every single one of us, all us common folk.

All the discussions, the muscular conversation, the debates and negotiations--everything that happens in the those centers are essentially about the process of bringing the principles and the vision of the UN Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights (the Aquarian human perception of the Plan), into the shrine of human living. And to me this is what history is now about. It is this whole past, in our present, moving into the future. It is a process that is full of conflict and tension and we needn’t be afraid of conflict and tension, we’re human beings. It is a process of one step forward, two steps back, and lots of little dances to the side.  It’s similar to all the little twists and turns that occur in the process of bringing wholeness and integrity into our personal lives. It’s always a process of unfinished business, always work in progress.

Another way of looking at the U.N. and the building of the temple is to think about U.N. conferences and the negotiations of treaties, like the Kyoto protocol of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change or the U.N. Criminal Court.  These sound like boring legal structures but they are in our newspapers non-stop and they are critical to the global conversation that engages all people of concern. So we should think of these conferences and negotiations as rituals because, in a sense, this is what they are. In many of the official negotiations, states, nations and peoples’ groups are simply reflecting a position; they are acting out a role. So they are rituals reflecting humanity’s process of responding to and giving incarnation to the new found quite mysterious and not fully understood sense that we have as human beings of synthesis and freedom. Now I don’t need to remind a group of esotericists that this view of UN activity as ritual involves the recognition that what’s happening at a deep, unspoken level at these conferences is the invocation and evocation of energies. Inevitably conflicts, irritations, and tensions arise, or are brought to the surface, when visionary energies are brought into relation with the deeply embedded human tendencies—tendencies that we all know so well--apathy, concerns about national prestige and, of course, the fear of governments and peoples that they will lose control of their own destiny.

The rituals of the peoples of the world,  negotiating on global issues, is thoroughly infused with questions of power and with the archetypal and instinctual ancient habit of separateness.  And in the U.N. all these things are worked out.  The beauty is that we can watch them with a great deal of detachment. The U.N. is not something substantial, some organization—it is rather a space (not the only space, but surely the primary space) through which this ritual of incarnating synthesis is taking place. And each of us as human beings need to take ownership of that space and to feel that it is our space. It needs our understanding, our support, and our love.  And we need to see that as concerned human beings we are involved.  It is the central space where our evolution as a species is emerging. 

And finally, in developing this temple and ritual image, I want to quote from a rather surprising source, not D.K., or the Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge, or some other great esoteric thinker. In fact, I’d like to quote someone who right now is being held within the consciousness of millions of people--Pope John Paul II during this amazing media coverage of his transition.  Whatever our views of his role might be, it is a remarkable thing that he chose to play out his death on the world stage, and to do so consciously and to stand as an example to people that death need not be feared. What a remarkable thing for an elderly person to do.

In 1979, when he was a much younger Pope, in the midst of doing remarkable pieces of work and speaking to huge masses of people, I remember watching him on television.  During his Irish visit, in particular, I was struck by the fact that powerful energies were flowing so beautifully through this human being who, in many respects, represented many things with which we don’t closely associate. Whenever we think this way, we need a shock to remind us of how silly we are when we divide things up.

Also in 1979, during a visit to the U.N., John Paul II spoke to the U.N. staff and to the headquarters workers there, and he called them the carvers of the stones.  And as we listen to his words, we might think not just of those people who work at U.N. headquarters but of all of us who are laboring today at the work of building a world of justice and peace and to see that the U.N. stands as one of the key points of focus. It is, in itself, a living stone; it’s our living stone in the building work. So this is what John Paul said, “The builders of the pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, of the temples in Asia, of the cathedrals in Europe, were not only the architects who laid out the designs or those who provided financing but also, and in no small way, they were the carvers of the stones, many of whom never had the satisfaction of contemplating in its entirety the beauty of the masterpiece that their hands helped create. And yet, they were producing a work of art that would be the object of admiration for generations to come. You are in so many ways, the carvers of the stones. Even a lifetime of dedicated service will not always enable you to see the finished monument of universal peace, of fraternal collaboration, and of harmony between peoples. Sometimes you will catch a glimpse of it in a particularly successful achievement, in a problem solved, in the smile of a happy and healthy child, in a conflict avoided, in a reconciliation of minds and hearts achieved. More often you will experience only the monotony of your daily labors or the frustration of bureaucratic entanglements. But know that your work is great and that history will judge your achievements with favor.”  I think that is the most beautiful quote.

So now I want to explore the theme of the U.N. and the building of the temple of humanity in two sections: some key quotations from the Alice Bailey books and a brief exploration of the question of how we as esotericists can become more proactive in our involvement with and support of the U.N.  In the later years of the Tibetan’s communications with Alice Bailey, during the Second World War and up until the final communication in 1949, there was a strong and clear support of the United Nations and its role in the forging of a world based upon human principles and right human relations.  And I just want to focus on three simple quotations.  First, from Problems of Humanity, “The United Nations, through its assemblies and committees, must be supported. There is as yet no other organization to which human beings can hopefully look; therefore, we must support the United Nations.  But at the same time, let this group of world leaders knows what is needed.”

Secondly, “The task of disciples and initiates is to perceive the Plan (the focus of divine will in any historical period), and to see that the plan becomes a factual expression upon the physical plane and part of the recognized consciousness of humanity as a whole.  Evidence of the growth of the human intellect, along the needed receptive lines, can be seen in the planning of the various nations and in the efforts of the U.N. to formulate that which will eventuate in peace, security and right human relations.”

Now we’ve learned so much as a human kingdom about this idea of the Plan and if you look at the history of the U.N. what we’ll see is a movement from this old idea of Plan in terms of ideology (these huge, great wonderful goals but very much living in abstract circles), to the current plan.  Just look at the life and vitality of the U.N. now. Go to the website and explore the Millennium Development Goals.  Read about them and see how creative, so human, this U.N. body is.  The U.N. is tackling the task of eradicating poverty by dividing it down into achievable, doable, practical goals with time scales, with auditing built in to monitor it so that we human beings can say, “Look here governments, we’re not doing enough, we’re behind schedule this year.”  It’s a terrifically exciting development within human creativity and think of that in relation to what Alice Bailey had to say about the Plan.

The third quote says, “As a result of Christ’s spiritual fusion with the will of God, the Avatar of Synthesis has become for the time being his close associate.   This is an event of supreme and planetary importance.  Owing to the stupendous task confronting the Christ , the Avatar of Synthesis will fortify him and he the Christ will be buttressed by this silent avatar who, to speak symbolically, will keep his eye upon him, his hand beneath him and his heart in unison with his. In cooperation with the Christ the Avatar of Synthesis works to produce atonement, unification and a fusion and to generate the spiritual will within humanity.  His potency is active within three fields:  within the Spiritual Hierarchy, within the General Assembly (though not within the Security Council)--there in the Assembly of the United Nations He is generating a slowly growing will to unity,  and thirdly within the masses of people everywhere, fostering the urge to a general betterment.”  And I believe that when you go to the U.N. and take the tour, if you have the opportunity to go into the General Assembly building (it is usually quiet and silent when you are there on the tour), you can know that this is the house, the only house, where the Avatar of Synthesis has a physical presence.

Finally I want to just look at this question as to how we can help?  To me, in recent years, I’ve come to the view that the discipleship path is centered on this question, it’s so simple, how can we help? How can I help?  In all the beauty and potency of the work of building the temple of humanity, what characterizes the disciple’s path is the will to join with others in creating the new, and to do so in alignment with an intuitive impression of the Plan and those aspects of the future that live within us with the detachment, wisdom, and potency of the soul.

In the last one minute I just want to tell you about one small project that is related to this.  There are many groups working with prayer and meditation and there are many ways in which you can channel this and use it to support the process of fusion that is occurring at the U.N.  One particular project that I am involved with is the U.N. Days and Years meditation initiative which is simply a vision.  It is the idea that we imagine many, many groups from all faiths--who know the power of prayer and meditation--coming together in a practical way and using the rhythm of the U.N. calendar to ameliorate global conditions by the year 2015.  The U.N. calendar is related to events like World AIDS Day, World Human Rights Day, World Day for the Eradication of Poverty and, on a broader scale, this is The International Year of Micro Credit.  Just think that during this year there will be thousands of people whose lives will be transformed and whose creativity will be released from economic deprivation by micro credit loans. What a magnificent achievement this is that humanity has brought this vision of money into this field of micro credit as an international year. Meditators therefore can take that year, and can just lift it up in our thoughts and hold it in the light. 

It is also The Year of Physics; now think what that means about the evolution of human consciousness that this central body, this thing that we think of as only the Security Council, has voted unanimously to declare 2005 The World Year of Physics.  Much of the push of that is to say that in our schools around the world we need to be giving more attention to physics. Use meditation, encourage your church groups, temples, and mosques to become sensitive to this rhythm, by stimulating the days and bringing them into your meditation.  Then we ask that you visualize that by 2015 there will be millions of groups of faith helping to make these days and years alive.  Think how much that will contribute to the clarification of the mental atmosphere of the planet.