Monthly Archives: February 2012

Altered State

THEOSOPHY isn’t in the world solely for the spiritual benefit of its member groups. It aims to reach far more than helping a few individuals.

The Theosophical Society’s most important aim, William Q. Judge head of the American Section wrote (Letters, p. 71), is to “change the buddhi and manas [Sk.] of the human race,” – i.e, its heart and mind.

But there are powerful, unavoidable barriers to inner change, all of our own making. They are our physical senses, habits, emotions, thought sensations, embedded worldviews. They compete for our time and attention, keeping us glued to the outer surface of an ever-whirling wheel.

It’s a puzzle for the brain mind, because like an iceberg, the bulk of our nature lies below the surface, and only the tip is visible — just as an actor’s outer image, her costume, makeup, tone of voice, etc., sets our opinion of her.

But, in spiritual terms, the merry-go-round of personality is a trap.

The word personality itself derives from “persona,” a Latin word meaning “mask,” the appearance we present to the world — a marketing device also used by artists and musicians. Persona is also a the Jungian psychological term. 

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Thoughts are Things

EMBARRASSMENT can be, well, embarrassing — especially if you tend to blush in public. We recognize in this, in ourselves and others, a real yet scientifically inexplicable effect.

Even a hint of a reprove by another, or admiring glance, likewise causes our skin to redden— or it might signal our getting caught sneaking a candy from a store display.

But it begs a real question of how does an invisible, seemingly intangible, subjective activity as a thought or feeling, manifest into a physical system, and affect that system biologically and visibly?

How can this happen? How is it possible for an immaterial thought or feeling produce a visible, physical effect?

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Science cannot answer. “Sow a thought, reap an act” is a familiar occult mantra and begs an explanation, what is the mysterious mechanism of how thought energy can speak to the nervous system, and just as quickly cause a visible response in the physical body?

“It’s well known that the human body depends upon homeostasis,” writes Deepak Chopra, and asks: Memories and Emotions: All in The Mind or the Brain? And answers: “it is the ability to keep very complex systems in balance and to return to a state of balance when it is disturbed—

 “Yet words [or images] cause us to deliberately go out of balance,” says Chopra, “and there’s no physical mechanism to explain it.”

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Invisible Hand

GOD concepts are in mainstream science’s opinion unscientific because they have no way to explain or measure the idea of deity.

In the debate on intelligent design, the Christian evangelist Randal Rauser properly complains about modern scientific methods.

Science shuns any concepts not based on established models. Intelligent design, Rauser says, can only be recognized as a valid ‘scientific’ explanation “if bound by the laws of physics.”

On this basis, he says, “if God is any part of the proposal, it is by definition unscientific,” —and all claims of legitimacy or illegitimacy of Intelligent Design or God must be disregarded, because science has an inherent bias.

“If therefore we don’t know the hidden or as yet undiscovered laws of science, then we don’t know whether an explanation conforms to them or not.

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Theosophists agree. Any honest analysis of the controversy by science should acknowledge merely that the concepts do not conform to the “laws of physics as presently understood,” or the laws “as they ultimately are”—not dismissed out of hand.

Mme. Blavatsky insisted that science was intentionally limited, because unwilling to follow the evidence wherever it leads—a  standard science admits, but does not follow.

She cited as an example the periodic table, purported to be a complete and accurate account of all chemical elements.

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Dance of Shiva

SELF-DEVELOPMENT is defined by the degree to which one is able to activate their inner, or ‘all-seeing’ intuitive eye.

Our ability to reawaken the dormant spiritual ‘third eye’ ancient Eastern Adepts say, is the measure of our spiritual development.

But this would be impossible without the assistance of Shiva to remove our personal illusions.

The deeper we are able to penetrate our inner, permanent Self, and peer unobstructed into the heart of Nature, the more we become aware of the inter-connectedness of life.

But, acquiring this insight requires not only wishful thinking, but a commitment to action of the Krishna-Arjuna kind. “He who remains inert, restraining the senses and organs,” Krishna taught in Bhagavad-Gita (Ch. 3), “…yet pondering with his heart upon objects of sense, is called a false pietist of bewildered soul.”

“But he who having subdued all his passions performeth with his active faculties all the duties of life, unconcerned as to their result,” he told Arjuna, “is to be esteemed. Do thou perform the proper actions: action is superior to inaction.”

“Whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in,” Blavatsky wrote in The Secret Doctrine (1:40),

“…both we and the things belonging to that plane are, for the time being, our only realities.”

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“As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages through which we have passed, we mistook shadows for realities — and the upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings.”

Click on the Lotus above for more detailed info on Siva and the Third Eye, and you can save to your computer (.pdf)

However, each furthering wake-up has its own corresponding illusion cautioned the teacher, “the idea that now, at last, we have reached ‘reality’ —

“…but only when we have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from delusions.”

Mme. Blavatsky also noted in The Secret Doctrine (2:475), that: “stagnation and death is the future of all that vegetates without a change.” This has many layers of meaning, not the least of which is the importance of achieving control over thoughts and feelings, noticeable most when we try to quiet the chattering ‘monkey mind,’ especially during meditation.

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Heart is All

LOVE in its most unselfish form was described by H. P. Blavatsky as the “absence of every ill-feeling , selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings.”

The alchemy of such enlightened ethics unleashes the power of an stoppable universal force.

“The powers and forces of spirit,” Blavatsky wrote, “lend themselves only to the perfectly pure in heart — and this is DIVINE MAGIC.”

Kamadeva, a Sanskrit word, is defined in The Theosophical Glossary as “the first conscious, all-embracing desire for universal good, love, and the first feeling of infinite compassion and mercy for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness. Only later did kama become the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane.”

“Desire first arose in It, which was the primal germ of mind,” (Secret Doctrine 2:176) — “and which sages, searching with their intellect, discovered to be the bond which connects Entity with Non-Entity.” 

That power arose,” Blavatsky said, “in the consciousness of the creative One Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the Absolute.” It was also she who in the article Love with an Object, passionately declared:

“Love can exist without form, but no form can exist without Love.”

Devotion arose out of a feeling she wrote, “and became the first and foremost motor in man’s nature — for it is the only one which is natural in our heart, which is innate in us.”

In her first Letter to a Theosophical Convention in 1888, she wrote: “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.”

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Love after Death

EVOLUTION as defined in the occultism of Theosophy, is a triple-faceted scheme — a blend of spirit, mind, and matter.

They are, Blavatsky wrote, “inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point.”

True and lasting self-knowledge is acquired gradually and lovingly — and painfully unawares at first — through a long, yet finite series of reincarnations in human form.

The key to spiritual development lies in recognizing the unity and continuity of life, Theosophy says — and that for the soul, there is really no such thing as death. We are first and foremost spiritual beings, and humanity is our field of experience.

But what happens to our human self after death? Does everything important, our consciousness and love, die with the body? Blavatsky, writing in The Key to Theosophy, assures her students that love and spirit are immortal. And further, that:

“Death comes to our spiritual selves ever as a deliverer and friend.”

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Stepping Stones

Photo: barrywheeler.net

DEDICATED repetition is the foundation of all accomplishment in true art, science, and even spiritual development.

Yet success may entail much more than just ‘practice, practice’ to get to Carnegie Hall, as the saying goes.

Sweat, talent and technical skill are of course required. But the intuitive musician has a growing sense of  how a composition ought to be performed.

Because, through an inner  transformation, she can embrace the intent of the composer, and transform the music into an exhilarating inspiration of her own.

The accomplished performer is not tied to notes on paper, becoming what is called ‘free of the keyboard.’ That shift signals an musician who not only has the required technical mastery, but is also ready to shape a performance in her own inspired way.

Yet in large orchestras, the conductor communicates directions to musicians during a performance, becoming the authoritative guide, interpreter, and dedicated amanuensis of the composer.

Not unlike the Buddha following his enlightenment, an orchestra conductor, or music instructor, has transformed herself into a guru to the searchers, coaxing them through their envelope of inexperience, to ever increasing emancipation.

They say that when a student is ready, the teacher will appear. Spiritual knowledge and development does require commitment and dedication to an ideal, but on a grander scale. The stakes are higher than any one art or science.

“Practical Theosophy is not one Science,” Blavatsky explained, “but it embraces every science in life, moral and physical. It may, in short, be justly regarded as the universal ‘coach,’ — a tutor of world-wide knowledge and experience.”

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