Compass Autumn/Winter Newsletter 2007 No.7
Pat Powell, chairman of the W.Q. Judge Branch since 1991, welcomed everyone present and particularly thanked those who had travelled long distances e.g. Belgium, Exeter, London and Norwich. The new Friends Meeting House in School Lane proved an ideal venue. It was modern, spacious and serenely quiet. Low round tables provided alternative spaces for the formal and informal discussion over a sandwich lunch break. A computer screen was available to peruse copies of The Mahatma Letters; the originals are housed in the British Library.
Following Pat’s introduction, the National Secretary paid a warm tribute and thanks to the editors and all the staff responsible for the production of Sunrise magazine which after 56 years ended this autumn. Back issues are still available and hundreds of the excellent articles may be found on the website.
Two keynote talks gave rise to thoughtful discussions with everyone participating.
The physical heart does for the physical body what the spiritual heart does for the inner being. It gives and sustains the life force.
In the Mystery Schools we have the ‘Heart Doctrine, as opposed to the ‘Eye Doctrine’. Simply put the Eye Doctrine is about head learning, the public or open part of the teachings. The Heart Doctrine refers to that which is hidden. The Heart is the esoteric and the Eye is the Exoteric. For Heart read Soul.
The Eye Doctrine is no more than the vehicle or vehicles used to explain the solutions of the enigma of being. Allegory and myth.
The message was, is …that we cannot understand the mysteries of life just by what enters our ears if we have not developed the heart doctrine within us. Through beginning to understand ourselves we exercise that part in us which is the only way through which we can truly understand the mystery of being. Our Hearts.
Throughout the ages it was intended to keep hidden this mystery, not for selfish reasons, but because it was reasoned that humanity should evolve organically, naturally. As evolution took place, the hidden part would be, over a period of time, made visible. This would not just be in a physical sense but also spiritually. Not that spirituality would be added to humanity, because we are that in essence, but that it would unfold from within us, through evolution. With evolution it is the combined and overall effect which is desired.
Intellect, raw, without the softening of the heart is a dangerous thing. Heart without the disciplining of the intellect can be just as dangerous. It needs to be a symbiotic relationship. To be brave but not foolish.
Teachings, ideas, concepts, should be no more than tools to be used to dispel confusion. Each religious or philosophical framework has its own exoteric model, but they all share one, the only one, Heart Doctrine.
To be brave but not foolish. Do we know the difference?
There is no one answer fits all circumstances scenario. We each tread an individual path. Your way may not be my way. My way may not be your way. We each have to find that way which makes our journey meaningful. It may be Theosophy, it may not be. The only true test, as I see it, is, does it make me, as an individual, grow. Not grow in the material sense. Not, am I richer, more powerful, better looking, more intelligent? and so on. Not any of these, or any other personal add-ons. Rather, does it allow me, the real me, to become more open. And if we become more of our real selves, then we become less of our un-real selves.
James Long, one of the former Leaders of this Society, said in one of his tours in the 1950’s that the exoteric should become the esoteric and the esoteric should become the exoteric. This is a strange but powerful statement. The heart of humanity is ready for the giving out of deep spiritual mysteries, because humanity has reached a point in its evolution where it can deal with them. It is ready to deal with them. It ‘calls them forth’ to quote HPB. The esoteric is shared, in its real nature, with everything. What about the exoteric becoming esoteric? We make best use of that which we have available, rather than trying to use something which has yet to become a part of us in the real sense. Do what comes naturally. That is true occultism. Doing what we can, with what we have, when we can. The real us, not the idiosyncratic us. James Long while touring Europe in 1951 stopped at Liverpool to attend a meeting, such as this today. At this meeting he commented:
“… the esoteric has been given to us that we might make it a part of our lives, that we, as Theosophists, having all the esoteric teachings available in meeting the inner problems of daily life, might make the effort to look at them, analyse them, and try to solve them with the esoteric or inner keys…”….. He continues…”what are these esoteric keys – but altruism, giving something from our hearts, not merely meddle. Let us give from our hearts – to be alert to the possibility of what the soul of the person who we would help – the position, time, circumstance – asks for. A thought, an impulse, an action. Not necessarily to make him a member of the Society, but to help make their life a little brighter, their road a little clearer.
To illuminate rather than to blind. The ways of doing this, if and when it arises, will be known to us. It could be said that by doing this, or rather, through doing this, we have another illustration of the operation and importance of the heart. Giving out, circulating,
coming back, refreshing, and on again. A circulation of spirit.
James Long again …”everyone we meet sets up a connection between them and us. To give something or to receive something…”
Notwithstanding an unpredictable personality, someone we know too well, our heart releases its understanding of the unity of all things. Our intellect, as it develops, needs to try to understand the deeper mysteries in life. If our intellect needs it, our heart yearns for it. For the heart understands that this yearning is no more than a recognition of a Law proclaiming itself. The unity of all things.
The intellect will have to grapple with the concepts of Karma and Reincarnation to enable it to fit itself to the stirrings of the Soul, and these two Laws, and if only we could apply these laws to everything, they would illuminate greatly the mysteries of Life, the inner connections of all events.
Is humanity more subtly joined to its fellows by more than the ties of family, community, nation and race? Indeed it is. We are complex in nature, each of us exhibiting, to some degree, that which has developed in us in a natural way. Endless psychic points of connection, constantly firing from us and to us. All of us revolving on the wheel of rebirth, influenced by karma, shaped by the state of openness of our hearts. Pride, passion, selfishness, in many guises, will be persistent in their attempt to retain dominance, but none will stay the opening of the heart.
The trial will appear endless. Let’s use an example. We are put amongst a crowd with whom we think we have nothing in common, we may feel resentment, superiority, irritation, boredom and so on. We are confronted with an arrogance, our own, brought with us from the past. Why do we feel irritation, superiority, frustration. Old recurring habits of condemnation. What karma are we creating by closing the heart. The experience is presented to us so that we may understand, more deeply; to loosen the grip on the heart. Each reaction to a situation produces its own psychic swirl. That we don’t see it, or feel it, immediately, does not mean it isn’t there, and through these connections we are shaping the destiny of the human race.
By carelessly closing our hearts we fashion moulds of separateness in thought and action and may attempt to portray them as righteous ways. An Open Heart is not gained without effort. Some don’t now how to develop it. Some are afraid to develop it. We need to meet the world as it is and not to wait for the world we desire. The latter will grow out of the former. When we are extolled to ‘Work Out’ to keep our body in good shape we should also ‘Work In’. To bring out the ‘human’ in human being.
Don’t wait for the lightning bolt, or the teacher. We don’t need some personal revelation to open the heart. Just look above the head of the personality. See beyond what our eyes tell us. Feel what our heart feels. There will be times when we find this really difficult, because we may feel that although we do it, others don’t, and we are hurt by their reactions. But this cycle we are in may not be one where the truth will be sought by the crowds.
So we do the best we can, remember, brave but not foolish, like the bow of the ship, breaking through the water, making a way for others who, not necessarily less equipped than ourselves, but who feel things, see things differently, whose heart is more closed, that they may follow, as we are following in the wake of those whose hearts are more open than ours. Those for whom the true understanding of Karma, Reincarnation, Evolution is still novel. According to the development of self realisation, that knowledge of things will be shown.
Open heartedness in us brings open heartedness for all. It makes us a child with a child, a scholar with the learned, and a brave person with the warriors. All things to all men, because no one is cast out of our hearts. Others may be mystified by it, because to them, it comes from another world. But they know it, they feel it is different and they feel the resonance with it, because that other world is something they recognise deep in their hearts. The feeling of divine compassion strengthens the will and brings certainty to our discrimination. It is not the privilege of the few but the destiny of us all; we will have really reached into the ‘Heart’ of things; we will have an ‘Open Heart’.
– Pat Powell
According to it Founder H. P. Blavatsky, The Theosophical Society is a part of the oldest organisation known to Man. Put another way, this spiritual movement has been in existence since before the prehistory of modern science.
The history of man on this planet and the emergence of great men of superior intellect, spiritual insight and wisdom is easy to find in Theosophical literature. In every age these great souls have worked to bring an awareness of the reality of other realities; spiritual, mental, emotional and psychic, and to help ease the suffering of all beings. From this effort, great religions and many smaller movements were formed. Time and human failings always erodes the initial spiritual impulse and yet new forms and expressions continue to appear in every part of the world, in every age, and always the spiritual message is the same: “to revive in the consciousness of man a recognition of his divine potential and to restate the spiritual values embedded in the sacred traditions of antiquity.” – Expanding Horizons.
In 1875 H. P. Blavatsky tacitly made a bold statement to the world when she formed the TS with other like minds; that the Theosophical Society is the latest expression of this ancient, natural fountain of knowledge and ethical teaching, and she spent the last 16 years of her life demonstrating how and why. From the outset, the Society’s main Objectives were resolute, and although the wording changed over time, the idea and ideal of Brotherhood stood at the top of the list, as it still does today: “to demonstrate that the oneness of all life is a fact in nature and to form a nucleus of a universal brotherhood.”
The objectives of The Theosophical Society today as stated in its Constitution are:
* to diffuse among men a knowledge of the laws inherent in the universe;
* to promulgate the knowledge of the essential unity of all that is,
* to demonstrate that this unity is fundamental in nature;
* to form an active brotherhood among men;
* to study ancient and modern religion, science, and philosophy;
* to investigate the powers innate in man.
How exactly does a person “diffuse among men a knowledge of the laws inherent in the universe”? Where to start? Especially if we don’t know what these laws are, yet intuit that they do indeed exist. Blavatsky’s opinion on the important role of Member of the Theosophical Society was that “No Theosophist has the right to remain idle on the excuse that he knows too little to teach.” In writing to an American members’ convention in 1888 she says:
“…the essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonising of the divine with the human in man, the adjustment of his godlike qualities and aspirations, and their sway over terrestrial or animal passions in him. Kindness, absence of every ill feeling or selfishness, charity, good will to all beings, and perfect justice to others as to oneself, are its chief features. He who teaches Theosophy preaches the gospel of goodwill; and the converse of this is true also – he who preaches the gospel of goodwill, teaches Theosophy.”
And in an article entitled Why the Vahan?:
“Theosophy leads to action – enforced action, instead of mere intention and talk. To merit the honourable title of Theosophist one must be an altruist above all, one ever ready to help equally foe or friend, to act rather that to speak, and to urge others to action while never losing an opportunity to work himself.”
”Nature gives up her innermost secrets and imparts true wisdom only to him who seeks truth for its own sake and who craves for knowledge in order to confer benefits on others, not on his own unimportant personality.”
But perhaps she sums up what it is to be a Theosophist more poetically and succinctly in The Voice of the Silence: “Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer’s eye.” In these few words are the powerful yet subtle reasons why every human being can understand “knowledge of the laws inherent in the universe.” Everything is connected. Everything co-operates. Altruism and compassion can be practised by anyone.
This illuminates the reasoning behind another of the Society’s Objectives: to form a nucleus of a universal brotherhood. A nucleus. But why, if a person is already an independent thinker, has a burning curiosity of the mysteries of life, and has already made the inner pledge to aspire to all that is truthful, should he or she join the Theosophical Society? There are no special favours for members. There is no guarantee of “enlightenment”. The Theosophical Society provides a sense of unity of purpose and strength to its members. Rather than evangelising to gain adherents, the TS Pasadena succeeds in remaining a strong nucleus that stays true to its original principles thereby avoiding HPB’s teachings from becoming diluted or distorted.
“A member has no obligation to the Society, but primarily to themselves. No member is asked or expected to believe in reincarnation or karma or any other esoteric concept. The primary requisite for Fellowship in the Theosophical Society is an acceptance of the principle of universal brotherhood. No dogma or creed is binding upon members, who may belong to any religious faith or to none. The Society promotes independent thought and encourages its members to rely on their own inner perceptions and strength while trying to make compassion a living force in their daily lives.” (from the TS Introductory leaflet)
One final thought. If people had not continued to join the Theosophical Society throughout the last 132 years and work in their daily lives to uphold the ideals of a universal brotherhood, to help keep the study of religions, sciences and philosophies alive, and share with like-minded companions the spirit of co-operation, we would not be sitting here today.
– Harry Young
“It is an occult law […] that no man can rise superior to his individual failings, without lifting, be it ever so little, the whole body of which he is an integral part. In the same way, no one can sin, nor suffer the effects of sin, alone. In reality, there is no such thing as “Separateness”; and the nearest approach to that selfish state, which the laws of life permit, is in the intent or motive”.
From Theosophical Correspondence Courses
A study of the various religions and philosophies, past and present, reveals that they are for the most part based upon certain universal principles. There is an ancient wisdom running through them all like a golden thread. This is more than a mere assertion, as the increasing researches into comparative religion, mythology, and symbology amply testify. It is logical that there should be this common body of thought behind the apparent diversity. These expressions, after all, are attempts to describe how our universe, sun, and planet came into being — also what man’s role is and has been in this genesis. And since the cosmos has a structure, a history, and origin, and operates according to basic laws, sincere attempts to explain these mysteries will contain much fundamentally identic material.
. . . If divine Intelligences pervaded the cosmos in ancient times, it is hard to believe they have ceased doing so today. If the heavenly bodies, the forces of nature, and the processes of life were actually infused with godlike agencies in archaic Greece and Rome, India, Egypt, China, and the Americas, when did they cease being so ? The fault, if we may call it that, the limitation, lies not in the world’s sacred writings, but in ourselves. If we ever hope to perceive the one wisdom-teaching within the words, phrases, and stories that have come down to us, we will have to open our natures to other equally valid explanations than those popular today. We shall have to acknowledge that in all cultures and times have appeared men and women of transcendent vision. Such a step will not require us to invalidate or cast aside any facts supplied to us by scientific research. To ensoul humanity and the glorious universe in no way denies the circulation of the blood or the obliquity of the ecliptic!
. . . When one grasps the essential principles of the wisdom- teaching that has existed throughout the ages, the multiplicity of religions and philosophies blend together into a marvelous tapestry of meaning.
– Sent by Nancy Coker from TS Pasadena H.Q.
Excerpted from the article Truth Will Never Die by John P. Van Mater, from Sunrise Magazine, December 1978
Sunflowers – what a lovely gift! I put them in a vase of water but noticed that one drooped over with its petals closed – a picture of misery and dejection. A possible cure occurred to me. The sill in my kitchen caught the morning sun. Next day to my delight the stem of the poorly sun flower had straightened up and the following morning its petals had opened – a miracle! Such is the power and beneficence of the sun.
In these dark winter days our sun is scarce and fleeting – depression is prevalent. Indeed, mindsets frequently resemble the poorly sunflower. But there has ever been a wonderful remedy at hand. Our melancholy human selves can be strengthened and uplifted by our own inner radiance. Our very essence is an invincible, constant and protective power and wellspring of intuition, courage, compassion and protection. From ancient times names like Krishna, Atman, Higher Self have been given to this special and fundamental part of man.
Unfortunately, inclement weather caused by the murky habits of our personality can black out this radiance which otherwise streams down through our various levels of consciousness to the denser atmosphere of our ordinary human selves.
So best open that curtain before the going gets rough or a crisis arises. Make a daily habit of inviting in your sunshine.
– Renée Hall
Mystics of all the ages have united in teaching this fact of the existence and ever-present power of an individual inner god in each human being, as the first principle or primordial energy governing the progress of man out of material life into the spiritual. Indeed, the doctrine is so perfectly universal, and is so consistent with everything that man knows when he reflects over the matter of his own spiritual and intellectual nature, that it is small wonder that this doctrine should have acquired foremost place in human religious and philosophical consciousness. Indeed, it may be called the very foundation-stone on which were builded the great systems of religious and philosophical thinking of the past; and rightly so, because this doctrine is founded on nature herself.
The inner god in man, man’s own inner, essential divinity, is the root of him, whence flow forth in inspiring streams into the psychological apparatus of his constitution all the inspirations of genius, all the urgings to betterment. All powers, all faculties, all characteristics of individuality, which blossom through evolution into individual manifestation, are the fruitage of the working in man’s constitution of those life-giving and inspiring streams of spiritual energy. The radiant light which streams forth from that immortal centre or core of our inmost being, which is our inner god, lightens the pathway of each one of us; and it is from this light that we obtain ideal conceptions. It is by this radiant light in our hearts that we can guide our feet towards an ever larger fulfilling in daily life of the beautiful conceptions which we as mere human beings dimly or clearly perceive, as the case may be. The divine fire which moves through universal Nature is the source of the individualized divine fire coming from man’s inner god.
The modern Christians of a mystical bent of mind call the inner god the Christ Immanent, the immanent Christos; in Buddhism it is called the living Buddha within; in Brahmanism it is spoken of as the Brahma in his Brahmapura or Brahma-city, which is the inner constitution.
Hence, call it by what name you please, the reflective and mystical mind intuitively realises that there works through him a divine flame, a divine life, a divine light, and that this by whatever name we may call it, is himself, his essential SELF.
The early Christians knew that the Christ mystery was not unique, something that had never occurred before, but was in very truth the culmination for their time of one of the most wondrous experiences possible to man. They understood that when Jesus became Christ he had successfully opened the pathway between the sun in his heart and the sun in the universe, and that the rays of the real Sun, which is a divinity, shone fully upon him: Jesus became as a sun god, in truth a”Son of the Sun.”
This expression contains a profound mystical truth. It was and is used for the noblest among those whose natures have become so pure that they reflect clearly the light of the sun. In the ancient world the sun was called the Father of all, including the planets, our earth, and human beings. It was also believed that animating the sun we see in the sky is a great and shining divinity. The Romans called it Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun; the Greeks honoured it as Apollo; the Phrygians as Attis (Atys). The Egyptians had their Osiris and Horus.
In the ancient world the peoples around the Mediterranean Basin held in reverence the Mystery-truth that when a man had completely conquered the base tendencies of his nature, the sun god within him had risen. We recall a verse from an old hymn by John of Damascus (675-749) which is still in use in both the Anglican and Greek Orthodox service:
And from three days’ sleep in death
‘Tis the spring of souls today:
Christ hath burst His prison,
And from three days’ sleep in death
As a sun hath risen.
Sun god of Christendom, Christ-Jesus illumined for his time the Way that had been hallowed by a long line of saviors before him.