Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand
– Baurch Spinoza

In this Issue –

Forgive and Forget – 3 Views
Starting a New Chapter
Autumn Equinox
Book Ordering and Contact

Opening our minds to the fundamental laws of Nature inspires the deepest comfort and satisfaction. Those ultimate questions: “who am I?”, “where do I come from?” , “after death – what?” And “why the terrible suffering and evil?” find answers implicit in the ageless wisdom we now call Theosophy.

The grand vision of an endless future of lives with opportunity to restore the equilibrium of harmony and develop our potential gives us powerful motivation to strive beyond the confines of our petty selves; with the gift of willpower we can choose to become the nobler, bigger-hearted human of our birthright – ye are gods (John 10:34). Trying to live in our magnanimous nature begets tolerance and patience towards our brothers also struggling and stumbling up their respective paths – some still unsure of the journey’s purpose and unaware of further horizons. The big-hearted will always lend them a hand.

Sympathy and kindness to others is our natural tendency. People instinctively reach out to one another with concern and care. Inspiring examples of altruism are beyond counting – every human innately bears the hallmark of our common divine parentage. This is what H. P. Blavatsky meant by reintroducing the ancient and universal concept of Oneness.

Our interconnectedness with all life embraces both perpetrator and victim. Paradoxically each is part of the equation – the whole. Unfortunately, our human tendency towards separatism fosters division so we have become used to seeing the hurt and indignation on the one hand and the righteous and wrathful vengeance of the perpetrator on the other. The victim in turn often takes on the role of perpetrator and so the cycle of violence continues. Forgiveness from one of the protagonists would seem to be the only solution. Understanding that blindness of conscience and ignorance often underlies wrong-doing and revenge, would make it easier to implement Christ’s words: Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

– Renée Hall

Forgiving and Forgetting – An Antidote to Attachment

Presentation given to the London Blavatsky Branch, Saturday 27th September 2003, Forum on “A Theosophical Interpretation of Forgiving and Forgetting”.

An exploration of Forgiving and Forgetting soon reveals the problem of attachment. It is difficult to anchor this word attachment without putting it alongside the law of karma – the endless chain of cause and effect. Sin and punishment also seem relevant too – possibly the flip-side to the coin of forgiving and forgetting; do we hold that punishment is justice? H. P. Blavatsky, in The Key to Theosophy says: “Justice consists in doing no injury to any living being; but justice commands us also never to allow injury to be done to the many, or even to one innocent person, by allowing the guilty one to go unchecked.” Blavatsky’s words are sweet, like a mother checking her child. All produces karma for ourselves and others.

In Light on the Path, pp.87 Mabel Collins illustrates karma as “a rope which stretches from the infinite to the infinite…This rope is formed of innumerable fine threads, which, lying closely together, form its thickness…This rope passing as it does through all places suffers strange accidents. Very often a thread is caught and becomes attached, or perhaps is only violently pulled away from its even way. Then for a great time it is disordered, and it disorders the whole. Sometimes one is stained with dirt or with color, and not only does the stain run on further than the spot of contact, but it discolors others of the threads. And remember that the threads are living – are like electric wires, more are like quivering nerves. How far then must they stain, the drag awry, be communicated!” Surely, I would suggest, until we lose attachment.

Some examples citing attachment in Theosophical source literature are helpful. G de Purucker in Fountain-Source of Occultism, p.51 refers to the first of the Buddhist Four Noble Truths: “the cause of suffering and heartache in our lives arises from attachment”. A Yoga principle explains attachment as “the most powerful weapon of Maya”. The Occult Glossary explains this Sanskrit word maya as coming from ma, “to effect, to form, and hence, to limit.” The nearest we have in English is to mete as in to “mete out punishment”.

There’s a sense here of what happens when we do not forgive. There’s a sense of being bound, not being able to live to one’s full potential, a sense of revenge and karmic weaving. So how do we let go of the injury, incident, or accident? Through personal experiences we may argue that it is easier to forgive, but the memory will not allow the forgetting. Memory is the glue, the attachment. A tool for letting go can perhaps be found in memory, which is the glue, the attachment. Perhaps then, the solution to becoming unattached from injuries done to us lies with us forgiving and forgetting.

I think then, when looking at forgiving and forgetting, the reason for not being able to release ourselves and others, and keeping the “drag in the wire” from infinity to infinity is because we are attached and keep ourselves there, in the groove like a stuck record. How do we get into the next groove and continue the music and harmony ? G. De Purucker in Fountain-Source of Occultism suggests that “the greatest rule of discipline is to learn to forgive and to love.”

– Mary Kapp

Forgive AND Forget or Forgive OR Forget?

Presentation given to the London Blavatsky Branch, Saturday 27th September 2003, Forum on “A Theosophical Interpretation of Forgiving and Forgetting”.

Is it possible to forgive AND forget within one lifetime? Is it only possible to forgive OR forget in one lifetime? Perhaps these questions have no definitive answers, but they do spur us on to try to understand why we may be drawn into conflict with others and how and why to resolve it.

H. P. Blavatsky discusses memory in The Key to Theosophy and outlines interesting distinctions between the different types: recollection – conscious remembering which is sometimes easy, sometimes brought about by “pain and endeavour,” which is “brain remembering”; remembrance – an unconscious remembering with an object recurring (seemingly) spontaneously within the mind, also “brain remembering.” Reminiscence however, is the “memory of the soul”, our perception that we have lived before and will live again, that some experiences are familiar, that there is more to life beyond the material world. Everything we experience in life is recorded in our inner nature, in our spiritual memory, that which is available to us from life to life.

Our previous lives’ memories are lost to us when we pick up the thread in our latest life, and yet we each have the accumulated tendencies of all our lives – the good and the bad. If we forgive in one life, there is an increased tendency to forgive in the next. A knock-on effect of forgiving is that it takes care of many the things which cloud our vision and understanding and hinder our intuition – it breaks the cycles of hate, revenge and bearing grudges, and lessens the tendencies for these negative personality traits to manifest in our future lives reducing suffering for us and others around us.

Memory is driven by compassion and karma and provides us with reasons and motives to act. An unconscious memory could be called a tendency, a conscious memory could just be enough to make us choose not to follow the same circular path. In the end it’s down to choice – freewill. Forgiving can be difficult, but the reward is a freer mind and conscience, and the possible opening up of the opportunity to help redeem the perpetrator. There are those who say they can’t forgive. I say at least entertain the idea in your head for a while. Try to imagine what life would be like without having to constantly bear the burden of a grudge. Is justice being done by you bearing a grudge that no-one in the world knows about? The cycle must be broken, and will be. This is a long-known fact, as testified to in the Bhagavad-Gita:

“With thy heart place all thy works on me [Krishna/Christos/the inner voice of understanding, conscience and intuition], prefer me to all else, exercise mental devotion continually, and think constantly of me. By so doing thou shalt by my divine favour surmount every difficulty which surroundeth thee; but if from pride thou wilt not listen to my words, thou shalt undoubtedly be lost. And if, indulging self-confidence thou sayest “I will not fight,” such a determination will prove itself vain, for the principles of thy nature will impel thee to engage. Being bound to all past karma to thy natural duties, thou, O son of Kunti, wilt involuntarily do from necessity that which in thy folly thou wouldst not do”

– Harry Young

Starting a New Chapter

The loss of a loved one is traumatic but hopefully comfort can be got from the knowledge that although the body and personality has gone, the essence of your loved one is indestructible. I came to the conclusion years ago that nature is never wasteful and my recent connection with Theosophy has both strengthened and developed these and other thoughts. Being conscious that we are governed by the laws of nature – the never-ending cycle of rest and activity, helps to understand that an ending of life is by no means the finale but a continuation of life’s natural pattern.

To bring oneself back to an awareness that life around us continues and that we are a part of it is essential. How do we start to pick up the threads again? Try to maintain the old disciplines and standards; the daily routine of small chores and duties anchor one to normality and help to restore balance. At first friends will be supportive, but not forever. Allow their kindness and sympathy to help in the healing process. Making an effort to embark on new interests and strengthen old ones also helps to deflect grief. There are lots of opportunities out there. Local charities would certainly appreciate your help. Delivering Meals on Wheels or helping out at the local hospice are two which come to mind. If you are musically inclined there may be classes about opera or organized visits to concerts. Outdoors could offer bird-watching or a rambling club if one is active. All these things enjoin people and who knows who one may meet.

It may help to imagine life as a book; a chapter ends, the page is turned and a new chapter begins. This may sound very glib and easy but I have been there and I know it works, sometimes in wonderful and unexpected ways. Making the effort produces great rewards; don’t forget that new chapter. Of course it is only natural that there will be times of reflection, old memories jogged by some event or scene. But do try to look beyond yourself; self-forgetfulness undoubtedly offers the best remedy.

– Richard P. Walker

Autumnal Equinox Greetings from TCC in Pasadena

“There is no death of anyone, but only in appearance, even as there is no birth of any, save only in seeming. The change from being to becoming seems to be birth, and the change from becoming to being seems to be death, but in reality no one is ever born, nor does one ever die. It is simply a being visible and then invisible; the former through the density of matter, and the latter because of the subtlety of being – being which is ever the same, its only change being motion and rest. For being has this necessary peculiarity, that its change is brought about by nothing external to itself; but whole becomes parts and parts become whole in the oneness of all…

But why has this false notion, or birth and death, remained so long without refutation? Some think that what has happened through them, they have themselves brought about. They are ignorant that the individual is brought to birth through parents, not by parents just as a thing produced through earth is not produced from it. The change which comes to the individual is nothing that is caused by his visible surroundings, but rather a change in the one thing which is very individual.”

– Apollonius of Tyana, 1st Century Philosopher and Reformer