Meta. In Luke 10:38-42 Martha and Mary represent the outer and the inner phases, respectively, of the soul's activity in welcoming the inner spiritual teacher. The soul, established in love, is always quick to discern the presence of true thoughts, and it welcomes the spiritual man, or teacher, who brings Truth. It is also in a receptive attitude toward understanding,
Martha represents the outer activity of the soul that is receiving the higher self; Mary represents the inner or soul receptivity. Martha desires to show her love by service; Mary shows hers by learning at Jesus' feet.
Both of these activities are necessary, but we should take heed that in our desire to serve we do not forget our times of communion with our indwelling Lord. We should not set greater value on active service than on quiet, loving receptivity to the Spirit of truth within us.
Mary at Jesus' feet represents the soul as learning the lessons of life from the higher self. When the learning of these lessons is given first place in consciousness, the activity or service that follows becomes simple and easy. But when Martha, the serving quality, is given precedence, anxiety and irritation result because there is a seeming separation from the Source of love and poise, and a lack is sensed in consciousness. Truly, "to obey is better than sacrifice." Understanding of Truth must precede all real and effective service.
It is Martha who satisfies the needs of the outer man and who wants the most assistance in carrying on her share of the work. She is most insistent in demanding that her duties be given first place. But the spiritual consciousness, Mary, "hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her," while Martha is "anxious and troubled about many things."
Martha can lighten her work and make it easy by doing all things "as unto the Lord," that is, by putting spiritual understanding and power into everything that she does, thus working out efficiency and ease in all the activities of the home.