Children have got to be the best Meditators on the planet, sometimes obsessively so. Parents know. After a fresh snowfall, kids must repeatedly be called in for supper, often long after dark. Despite frozen fingers and icy noses — sleds, snowballs, igloos and coal-eyed snowmen are just too engrossing— they can’t stop.
“Wordsworth applies memories of his early childhood to his adult philosophy of life,” says Wikipedia:
“According to the author’s prose introduction, ‘Intimations of Immortality’ was inspired in part by Platonic philosophy. Plato taught pre-existence, meaning that the soul dwelled in an ideal alternate state prior to its present occupation of the body, and the soul will return to that ideal previous state after the body’s death. The immortality the title refers to is the immortality of the soul, which Wordsworth maintains is felt or intimated during early childhood.”
(Wordsworth’s lines also inspired Gerald Finzi’s delightful Intimations of Immortality; Grande Fantasia & Toccata.)
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy, [...]
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day. [...]
We come “not in entire forgetfulness,” Theosophy concurs. But in a materialistic media, one-life believing West, we are cut off from what memories we might otherwise recall. Recollections are smothered by ambitious parents eager to discipline and conform, and by our institutionalized educational, religious and scientific systems. Sadly, any intimations of immortality we might have, are intimidated out of us from the cradle.
Reincarnation, The Story of a Scottish Child
The important “Second” of the Three Fundamental Propositions of Theosophy, gives the foundation teaching of these cyclic re-incarnations:
“The Eternity of the Pilgrim” is like a wink of the Eye of Self-Existence (Book of Dzyan.) …“Pilgrim” is the appellation given to our Monad (the two in one) during its cycle of incarnations. It is the only immortal and eternal principle in us, being an indivisible part of the integral whole — the Universal Spirit, from which it emanates, and into which it is absorbed at the end of the cycle…when it is said to emanate from the one spirit …”
That immortal Pilgrim, HPB says, “can neither die nor lose its compound self-consciousness in Eternity, nor the recollection of its previous incarnations in which the two — i.e., the spiritual and the human soul — had been closely linked together. But it is not so in the case of a materialist, whose human soul not only receives nothing from the divine soul, but even refuses to recognise its existence.”
The cyclic movements of our Pilgrim Soul is described further by H. P. Blavatsky in Section 9 of her Key to Theosophy:
“The spiritual Ego of man moves in eternity like a pendulum between the hours of birth and death. But if these hours, marking the periods of life terrestrial and life spiritual, are limited in their duration, [...] the spiritual pilgrim is eternal.”
Cameron’s Past Life
Theosophy On Education
“A proper and sane system of education,” she argues compellingly, “should produce the most vigorous and liberal mind, strictly trained in logical and accurate thought, and not in blind faith. How can you ever expect good results, while you pervert the reasoning faculty of your children by bidding them believe in the miracles of the Bible on Sunday, while for the six other days of the week you teach them that such things are scientifically impossible?”
Helena Blavatsky continues her insightful analysis:
“Children should above all be taught self-reliance, love for all men, altruism, mutual charity, and more than anything else, to think and reason for themselves. We would reduce the purely mechanical work of the memory to an absolute minimum, and devote the time to the development and training of the inner senses, faculties and latent capacities.”
“We would endeavour to deal with each child as a unit, and to educate it so as to produce the most harmonious and equal unfoldment of its powers, in order that its special aptitudes should find their full natural development. We should aim at creating free men and women, free intellectually, free morally, unprejudiced in all respects, and above all things, unselfish. And we believe that much if not all of this could be obtained by proper and truly theosophical education.”
Cameron’s Past Life – 2
Cameron’s Past Life – 3
If Blavatsky were observing society today, she undoubtedly would be addressing the Medication Madness that has overtaken children in our society. Psychotropics (hallucinogens), she warned in Practical Occultism, “are like the Lhamayin (evil spirits), who fasten upon the unwary, they devour the understanding.”
In Isis Unveiled 2-589, she notes: “the psychical effects of even these few [opium and hashish]upon the human system are regarded as evidences of a temporary mental disorder.”
There are numerous cost-effective, alternative therapeutic modalities, that are proven effective and safer than psychotropic medications. Two of these are Neurofeedback–Brainmapping, and EFT—Emotional Freedom Technique.
Reincarnation And Karma
Continuing our discussion of reincarnation and karma in the light of Theosophy, we turn next to the writings of William Quan Judge’s Synthesis of Occult Science. These doctrines provide, Judge says, “a solid foundation for ethics” and human spiritual evolution— “because they are the very key-notes of the higher evolution of man.”
“Without Karma and Reincarnation, evolution is but a fragment; a process whose beginnings are unknown, and whose outcome cannot be discerned; a glimpse of what might be; a hope of what should be. But in the light of Karma and Reincarnation evolution becomes the logic of what must be. The links in the chain of being are all filled in, and the circles of reason and of life are complete.
“Karma gives the eternal law of action, and Reincarnation furnishes the boundless field for its display. Thousands of persons can understand these two principles, apply them as a basis of conduct, and weave them into the fabric of their lives, who may not be able to grasp the complete synthesis of that endless evolution of which these doctrines form so important a part. In thus affording … a perfect basis for ethics and an unerring guide in life, Theosophy is building toward the future realization of the Universal Brotherhood and the higher evolution of man.
“The time must presently come when the really advanced thinkers of the age will be compelled to lay by their indifference, and their scorn and conceit, and follow the lines of philosophical investigation laid down in the Secret Doctrine. Very few seem yet to have realized how ample are these resources, because it involves a process of thought almost unknown to the present age of empiricism and induction. It is a revelation from archaic ages, indestructible and eternal, yet capable of being obscured and lost; capable of being, again and again reborn, or like man himself — reincarnated.”
The theories of child development originated by Italian educator Maria Montessori are an example in miniature of these stages. Her educational materials are tailored to childhood’s developmental needs.
Elizabeth G. Hainstock, in her book The Essential Montessori: An Introduction to the Woman, the Writings, the Method, and the Movement, wrote “From the moment the child enters the classroom, each step in his education is seen as a progressive building block, ultimately forming the whole person, in the emergence from childhood to adult. All focus is on the needs of the child.”
A Sensitive Presence
“One distinguishing feature of Montessori at the preschool age is that children direct their own learning,” (Wikipedia.) And in The Montessori Method, Maria Montessori, online edition, we find: “The role of a teacher is to introduce children to materials, and then remain a ‘silent presence‘ in the classroom.” Here we recognize the Secret Doctrine imperative, “self-induced and self-devised efforts.”
Montessori observed that children have “sensitive periods” of a few months or weeks, when they are “ready” to learn certain skills or knowledge such as walking, talking, reading, counting, and various levels of social interaction. These skills are learned effortlessly and joyfully at the “right period,” but difficult and frustrating at other times. It was observed that children have an “absorbent mind” from birth to around age 6, and within this sensitive period have “limitless motivation to achieve competence within their environment and to perfect skills and understandings.”
“I am awake,” Buddha replied, when asked what made him different from others. The mind transforming from its chrysalis, then further expanding its wings during our teenage years — this is often a painful transition. Getting convinced of the fact of many lifetimes, the immortality of the soul, and gaining an understanding of the laws of karma— these empowering concepts would certainly give our children a leg up when they need it most. The “key to all our successes,” Mme. Blavatsky told her students:
“…is in our recognition of the fact of the Higher Self—colourless, cosmopolitan, unsectarian, sexless, unworldly, altruistic … neither race, nor creed, neither colour, nor old antipathies are irremovable obstacles to the spread of the idea of altruism and human brotherhood, Utopian dream as it may have been considered by theorists who view man as a mere physical problem, ignoring the inner, greater, higher self.”
“Auguries of Innocence”
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
HPB wrote something akin to Blake in Dialogues Between The Two Editors:
“Why is it that one person sees poetry in a cabbage or a pig with her little ones, while another will perceive in the loftiest things only their lowest and most material aspect, will laugh at the “music of the spheres,” and ridicule the most sublime conceptions and philosophies?
“This difference depends simply on the innate power of the mind to think on the higher or on the lower plane, with the astral … or with the physical brain. Great intellectual powers are often no proof of, but are impediments to spiritual and right conceptions; witness most of the great men of science. We must rather pity than blame them.”
We are reminded too, by HPB, that: “altruism is an integral part of self-development,” (The Key to Theosophy.) This is the reason why we must grow compassionately — into a living spiritual and social maturity.
Transitions at any point in life are stressful, and are always critical moments for humanity. We are witnessing a spiritual shift in this century, but it comes with difficult karma. As Jesus said: “Except ye become as little children ye shall in no wise enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Or, as the Voice of The Silence puts it:
“The rose must re-become the bud born of its parent stem, before the parasite has eaten through its heart and drunk its life-sap. The golden tree puts forth its jewel-buds before its trunk is withered by the storm. The pupil must regain the child-state he has lost ere the first sound can fall upon his ear.”