THAT all humans possess an immortal soul is a common belief of humanity, but to this Theosophy adds we do not just ‘have’ souls, but each of us is a soul.
Further that we are an indivisible and indissoluble part of the consciousness of great nature which is also, by degrees, both conscious and intelligent.
And flowering into an Adept like Jesus or Buddha and manifesting those soul powers, is perfectly possible to all human beings.
The driving power behind such development is what the ancients called the “Father which is in secret” (Matthew ch. vi. v. 6) in its esoteric meaning, and is not an extra-cosmic god.
“That ‘Father’ is in man himself,” Mme. Blavatsky wrote in the Key to Theosophy, unrestricted by age, social status or gender.
Our inner spiritual self “is the only God we can have cognizance of,” and she asks: “how can this be otherwise? — Grant us our postulate that God is a universally diffused, infinite principle, and how can man alone escape from being soaked through by, and in, the Deity?”
“We call our ‘Father in heaven’ that deific essence of which we are cognizant within us, in our heart and spiritual consciousness, and which has nothing to do with the anthropomorphic conception we may form of it in our physical brain or its fancy:”
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of (the absolute) God dwelleth in you?” Yet, let no man anthropomorphize that essence in us. Let no Theosophist, if he would hold to divine, not human truth, say that this ‘God in secret’ listens to, or is distinct from, either finite man or the infinite essence — for all are one.”
“Prayer is a petition,” Mme. Blavatsky writes. “It is a mystery rather; an occult process by which finite and conditioned thoughts and desires, unable to be assimilated by the absolute spirit which is unconditioned, are translated into spiritual wills and the will; such process being called ‘spiritual transmutation.'”
I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When stars go out each night
When shadows fill our day
Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Needs to find a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe.
The intensity of our ardent aspirations changes prayer into the ‘philosopher’s stone,’ says Blavatsky, “or that which transmutes lead into pure gold. The only homogeneous essence, our ‘will-prayer’ becomes the active or creative force, producing effects according to our desire.
Higher spiritual powers occupy and use the physical body and brain “by means of the entrance of Mind, the lowest of the three,” Theosophical teacher W. Q. Judge writes in the Ocean of Theosophy: “The other two shine upon it from above, constituting the God in Heaven.”
In this view evolution is neither blind nor random. Man and nature are not “mere collections of atoms fortuitously thrown together.”
“Down to the smallest atom all is soul and spirit ever evolving under the rule of law,” Theosophy explains, “which is inherent in the whole. And just as the ancients taught, so does Theosophy:
…the course of evolution is the drama of the soul, and nature exists for no other purpose than the soul’s experience.”
Art and animation, in this video, combine with spiritual instruction as old as time. Soul awakening doesn’t have to occur in some hidden monastery near the roof of the world. “The Soul stands alone,” declares the narrator. “The wise traveler becomes the Sage, only holding on to what is permanent. The Sage never claims to have a soul — the traveler is the Soul, the Soul is the traveler.”
But even such a limited flowering of mind (‘Manas’ in Sanskrit), even that much is not fully evidenced in the growing child until the age of seven, Blavatsky maintains in The Key to Theosophy (Section 9) — at which time he or she
“…becomes a morally responsible being capable of generating Karma.”
“Human beings in general are not yet fully conscious, and reincarnations are needed to at last complete the incarnation of the whole trinity in the body,” says Judge. “When that has been accomplished the race will have become as gods, and the godlike trinity being in full possession the entire mass of matter will be perfected and raised up for the next step.”
“The real meaning of ‘the word made flesh,'” says Judge, “was so grand a thing in the case of any single person, such as Jesus or Buddha, as to be looked upon as a divine incarnation. And out of this, too, comes the idea of the crucifixion,
“…for Manas is thus crucified for the purpose of raising up the thief to paradise.”
Forcibly thrust into new lives on earth by our own hands, bound indissolubly with tendencies and potentials from our own past lives, we are reborn possessed with a unique character. A character molded from many life lessons interblended with derived talents and potentials.
Lives of Learning
In 1980, Brian Weiss, head of the psychiatry department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, began treating Catherine, a 27-year-old woman plagued by anxiety, depression and phobias.
When Weiss turned to hypnosis to help Catherine remember repressed childhood traumas, what emerged were the patient’s descriptions of a dozen or so of her hitherto unknown 86 past lives. Catherine’s anxieties and phobias soon disappeared, says Weiss, and she was able to end therapy.
What Must Be
The pages of our personal karmic history are the underlying drivers that steer our reincarnations. The inheritance from ourselves, coupled with Reincarnation, are the ‘twin doctrines’ of Responsibility and Hope described in Theosophy — one of Hinduism’s primary wisdom jewels.
“Karma gives the eternal law of action, and Reincarnation furnishes the boundless field for its display,” writes W. Q. Judge in his article The Synthesis of Occult Science. Without Karma and Reincarnation evolution is but a fragment,” Judge writes, “a process whose beginnings are unknown, and whose outcome cannot be discerned — a glimpse of what might be; a hope of what should be.
Reincarnation or re-embodiment is an inherent law of nature, but for most of us at the average stage of human development, “the complete trinity of Spirit, Soul and Mind” does not yet manifest fully, according to this teaching.
“In the light of Karma and Reincarnation, evolution becomes the logic of what must be.”
“This was symbolized in the old Jewish teaching about the ‘Heavenly Man’ who stands with his head in heaven and his feet in hell, Judge explains: “The Spirit and Soul are yet in heaven, and the feet, Mind, walk in hell, which is the body and physical life.”
“The links in the chain of being are all filled in, and the circles of reason and of life are complete.”
Importantly, Judge comments, Theosophy, or the ‘Wisdom Religion’, “is gradually building toward the future realization of Universal Brotherhood, and the higher evolution of man.”
Children seem to ‘get it’ better than adults. Unfortunately not everyone can grasp the “complete synthesis of the evolution that these doctrines form so important a part,” Judge writes.
But instead of being the “victims of change and ‘selfish genes,'” the theosophical scholar David Pratt writes, “the twin doctrines of reincarnation and karma
“…place the responsibility for our lives firmly upon our own shoulders.”
Thousands of people are drawn by the logic of these doctrines, W. Q. Judge wrote, and are trying “to weave them into the fabric of their lives, and apply them as a basis of conduct.”
With a karmically rooted worldview, our fate is not arbitrarily caused by “some fickle God,” Pratt says, but rather
“… we have made ourselves what we are, and it is up to us to use our free will wisely, in order to help others and change ourselves for the better.”
Just as Buddha taught, the nature of our thoughts and actions color our future lives, as well the states of consciousness we experience between those lives, or the state of consciousness called “Devachan” in Tibetan — our after-death dream state.
“Fear kills the will and stays all action,” The Voice of the Silence warns the disciple. If lacking in the Shila virtue — [Shila: the key of Harmony in word and act, the key that counterbalances the cause and the effect, and leaves no further room for Karmic action]:
“The pilgrim trips, and Karmic pebbles bruise his feet along the rocky path.”
The cause of our painful and pleasant karmic luggage, can be understood in the Buddha’s teaching that all the varieties of personality and character are the result of the formative power of ‘thoughts.’
In the Dhammapada The Buddha teaches: “all that we are is founded on our thoughts and formed of our thoughts.”
And, we do a lot
In this Mahayana Buddhist tradition, the Voice of the Silence teaches that “the Mind is the great slayer of the Real,” adding: “let the Disciple slay the Slayer.” National ethics expert Russell Gough, in Character Is Destiny, restates the age-old formula that character is ultimately determined by our thinking. Says Gough:
“Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
An inescapable truth remains at the heart of the old scriptures, the simple yet powerful mantra of sowing and reaping.
The quality of a life is not determined by “the happenstance of genetics or by the influence of environment,” writes award winning author Shelby Steele.
In his review of Gough’s book, Steele opines: “it is not measured in material possessions or in the trappings of youth — it is not dependent on personality or social acclaim.”
On the contrary, the intrinsic value of the lives we lead reflects the strength of a single trait: our personal character.”
Pictured above is the actress Marlee Matlin as Amanda, the protagonist and heroine of What the BLEEP Do We Know, here attempting to come to terms with her depression, agonizing over her lack of self esteem.
Knots of the Heart
William Q. Judge
“The more the mind dwells on any course of conduct, whether with pleasure or pain, the less chance is there for it to become detached from such action. A person can have no attachment for a thing he does not think about, therefore:
“The first step must be to fix the
thought on the highest ideal.”
“The manas [Sk] (mind) is the knot of the heart,” Judge wrote, and “when that is untied from any object, in other words when the mind loses its interest in any object, there will no longer be a link between the Karma connected with that object and the individual.”
It is the attitude of the mind which draws the Karmic cords tightly round the soul. It imprisons the aspirations and binds them with chains of difficulty and obstruction.
“Thou must have mastered all the mental changes in thy Self,” The Voice of the Silence advices the disciple…
“… and slain the army of the thought sensations that, subtle and insidious, creep unasked within the Soul’s bright shrine.”
It is desire that causes the past Karma to take form and shape and build the house of clay. It must be through non-attachment that the soul will burst through the walls of pain, it will be only through a change of mind that the Karmic burden will be lifted.
In his rendering of The Yoga Aphorisms of the Sage Patanjali, W. Q. Judge conveys the Sage’s views on the relationship between Yoga and thought:
“Concentration, or Yoga, is the hindering of the modifications of the thinking principle.”
“In other words, the want of concentration of thought is due to the fact that the mind — here called ‘the thinking principle’ — is subject to constant modifications, by reason of its being diffused over a multiplicity of subjects.”
“So ‘concentration’ is equivalent to the correction of a tendency to diffuseness, and to the obtaining of what the Hindus call ‘one-pointedness.'”
The power of concentration is, Judge confirms: “to apply the mind, at any moment, to the consideration of a single point of thought, to the exclusion of all else.”
“Upon this Aphorism [the want of concentration] — the method of the system hinges,” writes W. Q. Judge:
“The reason for the absence of concentration at any time is, that the mind is modified by every subject and object that comes before it — it is, as it were, transformed into that subject or object.”
The brain should not be confused with the mind, Judge also says, it is merely “an instrument for the mind.” We have to use another power — our spiritual will, a soul power — to subdue the mind, and make it a servant of the heart.
“The mind, therefore, is not the supreme or highest power—it is only a function, an instrument with which the soul works, senses and experiences.”