Category Archives: Reincarnation & Karma

Thoughts are Things: Placebo vs Nocebo

© Lois Greenfield

THE uplifting adage “attitude is altitude” aptly pinpoints how the power of positive thought and intention affects every aspect of our lives.

“For decades, scientists have tried to test the power of prayer and positive thinking, with mixed results,” writes NPR National Desk religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty about a study on the science of spirituality.

“Now some scientists,” she writes, “are fording new, and controversial territory.” In an area of esoteric inquiry which is sometimes called Mental Alchemy and/or Metaphysics, a lot of thinkers over the ages have stated the idea in various ways.

The conviction that the thoughts one thinks are the great determiners of the content of one’s life, inspires  many to forge on despite difficult life circumstances.

Ancient wisdom traditions maintain that thoughts are actual things, and that one’s thoughts are the result of an unalterable universal law called “Cause and Effect,” and will manifest themselves at some point in one’s life.

“Cause and Effect”

“Remembering thoughts are things — have tenacity, coherence, and life, — that they are real entities — the rest will become plain.”

[The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, Letter No. 9]

The law of Cause and Effect can also be described as a law that says, “For every action, there is a reaction.”  Since thoughts are actual things, and since thoughts are also actions, it means that the thoughts will invariably cause a reaction that will result in the manifestation of those thoughts.

“Magnetic Threads”

“No act is performed without a thought at its root either at the time of performance or as leading to it. These thoughts are lodged in that part of man which we have called Manas — the mind — and there remain as subtle but powerful links with magnetic threads that enmesh the solar system.” 

[William Q. Judge, The Ocean of Theosophy, Chapter 11 – “Karma”]

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Seeing the Future – Riding the Waves of Karma

Fortune Teller

THE proverbial phrase “time and tide wait for no man” is usually attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer, known as the Father of English literature. 

Chaucer’s genius at understanding human nature made him the great poet he was, yet not even he would claim to read “the grand clock of the Universe,” as a sort of deific time-keeper.

That grand time keeper “points to another hour,” William Q. Judge provocatively wrote (A Year on the Path): “and now Man must seize the key in his hands and himself — as a whole — open the gate. 

“Let us then together enter upon another year, fearing nothing, assured of strength in the Union of Brotherhood. For how can we fear death, or life, or any horror or evil, at any place or time, when we well know that even death itself is a part of the dream which we are weaving before our eyes.”

And even recognizing the orderly process of seasons on Earth, most wouldn’t accept that any universal time-keeper like Karma exists. Yet

we observe them daily in our lives — the seasons, tides of the ocean, the biological clocks in our bodies.

Thus it can be argued we do own a piece of the larger puzzle — in the sequential events of our personal lives. By diligent self-reflection, meditation and intuition, we ought to be able to see glimpses of their purpose, and gradually arrange the pieces into a meaningful picture.

Karmic Waves

Such digging may be as close as we can get to knowing and managing our personal Karma, if not the World’s destiny. Esoteric Theosophical philosophy teaches that Past, Present and Future represent a “compound” time.

Indeed, Buddha’s dying words reportedly were: “all compounds are perishable,” (i.e. but temporary illusions.)

Thus we ought to “seize” every stray event in our lives, and attempt to extract their true meaning as Judge wrote “Man must seize the key in his hands and himself — as a whole — open the gate.”  

The great Sage Patanjali in his Aphorisms declared “A great and most subtle knowledge springs from the discrimination that follows upon concentration of the mind performed with regard to the relation between moments and their order.” (The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali)

Patanjali-Yoga

Patanjali

On this Mr. Judge commented:

“Patanjali speaks of ultimate divisions of time which cannot be further divided, and of the order in which they precede and succeed each other. It is asserted that a perception of these minute periods can be acquired, and the result will be that he who discriminates thus goes on to greater and wider perception of principles in nature which are so recondite that modern philosophy does not even know of their existence.”

“Karma is not subject to time, and therefore he who knows what is the ultimate division of time in this Universe knows Karma.” (6)

Aphorisms on Karma
by William Q. Judge

prayer-wheel

Wheels of Destiny

In the realm of “noumena” (or the primary causal plane) H. P. Blavatsky wrote that these three aspects of time have no separate reality, and according to Mahayana Buddhism she wrote:

“The Past time is the Present time, as also the Future, which, though it has not come into existence, still is.”

(The Secret Doctrine Vol. 1:43)

“The second assertion of the Secret Doctrine,” Blavatsky explained, “is the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature.

“An alternation such as that of Day and Night, Life and Death, Sleeping and Waking, is a fact so common, so perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to comprehend that in it we see one of the absolutely fundamental laws of the universe.”

The Secret Doctrine: Three Fundamentals

Past, Present and Future

One of Mme. Blavatsky’s Teachers (Mahatma K.H.) wrote: “I feel even irritated at having to use these three clumsy words — past, present and future!” Adding they are:

“Miserable concepts of the objective phases of the Subjective Whole, they are about as ill adapted for the purpose as an axe for fine carving.” 

(Letter 8, The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett)

Karmic Agent?

“Time is only an illusion produced by the succession of our states of consciousness as we travel through eternal duration, and it does not exist where no consciousness exists in which the illusion can be produced; but “lies asleep.”

(H. P. Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine 1:37)

Seeing the Future

To the uninitiated concepts of duration and time Blavatsky points out, “are all derived from our sensations according to the laws of Association.” And because they are “inextricably bound up with the relativity of human knowledge” they are superficial and only temporal tools.

Because rationalist views ignore psychic experience, they must eventually fall away in the face of thousands of reported cases such as the near-death experience. Today precognition is validated by new experimental research data in parapsychology.

Movie: Minority Report – (Precog)

Announcing the publication of a controversial work by Cornell researcher Daryl Bem in a 2003 article published in The New York Times, Dr. Bem purports to have demonstrated precognition in a series of experiments. Bem studied over 1000 people and looked for proof that future events affected past behavior, or retro causation.

His research was analyzed using standard statistical techniques. Using standard measures, Bem’s research indeed finds a causal link between future events and past behavior (or thoughts?)

Buddha

“Esoterically, thought is more responsible and punishable than act. But exoterically it is the reverse. Therefore, in ordinary human law, an assault is more severely punished than the thought or intention, i.e., the threat, whereas Karmically it is the contrary.”  – (H. P. Blavatsky, Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge)

“But why should this be the case? It is because ‘thought is the real plane of action’ – as William Q. Judge and Robert Crosbie have often said – and that our physical and bodily actions are simply the eventual outworking on the physical plane of the real action, which has already been formed and formulated on the mental plane.”  – (Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK)

Down the Rabbit Hole

Clocks are useful for getting to meetings on time. Otherwise, time in this sense, being only the “panoramic succession of our [ordinary] states of consciousness,” is therefore reductionist—and has only materialistic value.

Ground-level experience reveals only the outer edge of the rabbit hole, and keeps us blind to the mysteries hidden beneath — the experience which leads us to the sum-total of existence. The frontier consciousness sciences emerging today offer an exciting prospect.

In this new mind country, as the Red Queen told Alice:

“You must run fast just to
stay in one place.”

The eye-popping series of progressive awakenings experienced by Alice, surely led her and her readers to a greater appreciation of the mysterious and paradoxical.

“Stagnation and death is the future of all that vegetates without a change,” H. P. Blavatsky maintained in The Secret Doctrine.  Like couch-potatoes, standard-model science sits on a railway platform waiting for a train that, for them, will never come.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

“I’m late for a very important date.” 1865 edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Charles Dodgson (alias Lewis Carroll), published by MacMillan and Co. Drawn by John Tenniel.

“Presentiment”

Senior scientist Dean Radin, of The Institute for Noetic Sciences (IONS), is a rigorous scientific explorer who boldly goes where the establishment won’t, methodically measuring the ‘immeasurable’. In this clip he explains his ongoing experiments showing evidence of “presentiment” or precognition. With every thought we think, whether it is with the intent of a future objective action or not, Theosophy says — we are emitting Karmic energy and setting causes in motion which, like all causes, will eventually have to have their due corresponding effect.

“Presentiment,” a term used by Dr. Dean Radin of IONS fame, is a feeling that something strange or unusual is about to happen. Radin got the idea “to monitor a person’s skin conductance before, during, and after viewing emotional and calm pictures, and then see if the autonomic nervous system responded appropriately before the picture appeared.”

Forest for the Trees

Objective time and reality always appear in a linear frame, and as the legendary punster of the Yankee’s baseball team, Yogi Berra, once quipped:

“I knew I was going to take the wrong train,
so I left early.”

🙂 !

Berra sensed there was more than meets the eye when he made that playful pun at the phenomenon of precognition!

Yogi Berra

The Mind’s Eye

The author and diarist Anais Nin famously remarked:

“We don’t see things as they are,
we see things as we are.”

Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin

If what “we are” is determined solely by our five senses, then we see only what’s inside a sealed box.

For John Muir stuffy boxes were anathema, he believed instead that

“The clearest way to the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

(Sierra Club biography of John Muir)

The “Compound time” cannot be separated from the future which is an essential part of the mystery “wilderness” within us. The illusion occurs in separation, and then we are unable see the greater forest for the trees, though they are one.

A Flower in a Crannied Wall

The poet/artist William Blake saw “a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower,” that most of us would probably have passed unnoticed. (Auguries of Innocence)

But even such sublime ethics “must give room to still further absolute perfection,” Blavatsky wrote in The Secret Doctrine, “to a higher standard of excellence — just as a perfect flower must cease to be a perfect flower and die, in order to grow into a perfect fruit.”

“All instruction is but a finger pointing to the moon, and those whose gaze is fixed upon the pointer will never see beyond. Even let him catch sight of the moon, and still he cannot see its beauty.” – Osho

On Separatelessness

Albert Einstein’s main objection to quantum mechanics, as accepted then, was that it provided no reasonable explanation of the world, and in some sense denied what many believed it means to truly exist. While walking with his biographer physicist Abraham Pais, Pais reported Einstein in frustration asked “whether I really believed that the moon exists only when I look at it.”

Einstein also complained in a letter to friend and fellow physicist, Max Born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics:

“You believe in the God that plays dice, and I in complete law and order in a world which objectively exists, and which I, in a wildly speculative way, am trying to capture.” 

Uncertainty Principle

Einstein’s complicated genius included, nevertheless, a universal and compassionate thinker, who said: “A human being is a part of the whole called by us ‘the universe,’ a part limited in time and space.”

Small Slice of the Universe

And he wrote of a human being “that experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical illusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us,” he wrote, “restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us.”

“Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

The Mind’s Eye

Non-Duality

Universal unity or non-duality is a popular topic of discussion today. There is a website devoted to it (nonduality.com), and a blog and even a conference October 21-25: titled Science And Non-Duality.

It’s the same concept that engaged Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine. Everything is alive and conscious in “Esoteric philosophy,” she wrote, and “life we look upon as ‘the one form of existence, manifesting in what is called matter—or, as in man, what, incorrectly separating them, we name Spirit, Soul and Matter.”

One Form of Existence

Further: “Matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of soul on this plane of existence,

and soul is the vehicle on a higher plane for the manifestation of spirit, and these three are a trinity synthesized by Life, which pervades them all.”

“The idea of universal life is one of those ancient conceptions which are returning to the human mind in this century, as a consequence of its liberation from anthropomorphic theology.”

Seeing the Future

The  mysterious science of “dowsing.” How does the unconscious know the answer to what you’re seeking?

The Paradoxical “I”

If we “are all one being” according to The Secret Doctrine. Yet our conscious mind often fails to recognize it.  We may solve the problem of duality, paradoxically, by first focusing our full attention on the “I” the center of the “I am I” consciousness, at every moment our attention permits.

Once the illusion separateness or limitation becomes obvious, it falls away, and then we begin to appreciate the ‘not-I’ — and by this practice, paradoxically, we are gradually compelled to attend to the greater wholeness within which the smaller ‘I’ exists. As Lao-Tze put it: “The Tao that can be expressed in words is not the eternal Tao.”

Fortune Teller

“Consciousness is defined as that, whatever that is, which is aware of these very words right here, right now. …

“The student who practices self inquiry keeps his attention focused onto the source of the I-thoughts and I-feelings, whenever they arise.”

“Once enlightenment has taken place, the process of self inquiry continues effortlessly. The attention spontaneously reverts to the source at the end of each thought and feeling and there is no need to focus the attention any longer.”

“Sum-Totals”

by H. P. Blavatsky

The Secret Doctrine

“TIME is only an illusion produced by the succession of our states of consciousness as we travel through eternal duration, and it does not exist where no consciousness exists in which the illusion can be produced — but ‘lies asleep.’

“The present is only a mathematical line which divides that part of eternal duration which we call the future, from that part which we call the past.

“Nothing on earth has real duration, for nothing remains without change—or the same—for the billionth part of a second.”

“And the sensation we have of the actuality of the division of ‘time’ known as the present, comes from the blurring of that momentary glimpse, or succession of glimpses, of things that our senses give us, as those things pass from the region of ideals which we call the future, to the region of memories that we name the past.

Seeing Through the Illusion of Time

“In the same way we experience a sensation of duration in the case of the instantaneous electric spark, by reason of the blurred and continuing impression on the retina. The real person or thing does not consist solely of what is seen at any particular moment, but is composed of the sum of all its various and changing conditions from its appearance in the material form to its disappearance from the earth.

“It is these ‘sum-totals’ that exist from eternity in the ‘future,’ and pass by degrees through matter, to exist for eternity in the ‘past.’

“No one could say that a bar of metal dropped into the sea came into existence as it left the air, and ceased to exist as it entered the water, and that the bar itself consisted only of that cross-section thereof which at any given moment coincided with the mathematical plane that separates, and, at the same time, joins, the atmosphere and the ocean.”

Touching the Future and Past

“Even so of persons and things, which, dropping out of the to-be into the has-been, out of the future into the past—[they]

present momentarily to our senses a cross-section, as it were, of their total selves,

as they pass through time and space (as matter) on their way from one eternity to another: and these two constitute that ‘duration‘ in which alone anything has true existence, were our senses but able to cognize it there.”

One With Nature

ζ

 

Our Hidden Karma and The Royal Talisman

“Adamo Eva”, Masaccio Masolino

BECAUSE all organisms are related through similarities in DNA sequences, the whole of nature could be really one family.

New insights of epigenetics have lead to a revolutionary view of human biology. Theosophy concurs with many of these new findings.

“The failures of science and its arbitrary assumptions,” Blavatsky says in The Secret Doctrine (2:670), “are far greater on the whole than any ‘extravagant’ esoteric doctrine.”

The traditional geneticist’s view of evolution “is from the animal,” she reminds us, and “mind in its various phases” is viewed, erroneously, as completely separate from matter.

Theosophy holds that mind is the mystical glue insuring that the identical genes that were in our ancestor’s bodies, what Blavatsky calls The Life Atoms —”are transmitted through their descendants for generation after generation…

…so that we are literally ‘flesh of the flesh’ of the primeval creature who has developed into man in the later period.

“Occultism teaches that the life-atoms [DNA] of our (Prana) life-principle are never entirely lost when a man dies.” And Blavatsky explains how: “The atoms [in the genes?] impregnated with the life-principle (an independent, eternal, conscious factor) — are partially transmitted from father to son by heredity…“They are partially drawn once more together,” she says, “and become the animating principle of the new body in every new reincarnation…”

The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2, p.656

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“Our Destiny is Written in the Stars”

Destiny of Stars

ASTROLOGY is unscientific superstition most modern scientists believe. Yet, true philosophy seeks “rather to solve than to deny” says Theosophy.

“It is an axiom of the philosophic student,” Blavatsky affirmed, “that truth generally lies between the extremes.” This is what the ancients meant by Astrology she insisted.

“Mention the word ‘astrology’ and skeptics go into an epileptic fit,” natural health researcher Mike Adams says.

“The idea that someone’s personality could be imprinted at birth according to the position of the sun, moon and planets,” Adams notes, “has long been derided as ‘quackery’ by the so-called ‘scientific’ community which resists any notion based on holistic connections between individuals and the cosmos.

“According to the conventional view, your genes and your parenting determine your personality, and the position of planet Earth at the time of your birth has nothing to do with it.”

Our Genes

As H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine 1:272, put it:

modern science believes not in the ‘soul of things,’ and hence will reject the whole system of ancient cosmogony.

“Seasonal Biology”

“Then again, conventional scientists don’t believe the position of the moon has anything to do with life on Earth, either,” Adams writes. “They dismiss the wisdom that farmers have known for ages — that planting seeds or transplanting living plants in harmony with the moon cycles results in higher crop yields. Even the seeds inside humans are strongly influenced by the moon, as menstruation cycles and moon cycles are closely synchronized (28 days, roughly).”

And recently, scientific studies showing planetary imprinting called “seasonal biology” have confirmed the underlying principle of astrology. The scientific study shows that planetary positions do, surprisingly, influence our biological clocks. Why not our psychological and mental states as well?

Biological Imprinting

Occult Influences

“The ancients always considered the ‘ambient’ – or entire heaven – at birth,” Blavatsky colleague William Q. Judge wrote in Astrological Influences, “as being that which affected man.”

New Age Guru, H. P. Blavatsky, referred often to astrology in her Theosophical writings, as in the following lines from “The Theosophist” in Blavatsky Collected Writings compiled by Boris de Zircoff.

Although a study of the science of astronomy may enable us “to determine what the course of events will be,” she maintained, but adds a but if common sense: 

the clock indicates, it does not
influence the time.

Discovery

Thus, she says, “though the planets may have no hand in changing the destiny of man, still their position may indicate what that destiny is likely to be.”

And a distant traveler has often to put right his clock, so that it may indicate correctly the time of the place he visits.

Ω

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Karma and Reincarnation: The Logic of What Must Be

childs-candle-lights

Soul Light

REINCARNATION is “one of the most important issues faced by philosophy, religion and science that have very significant implications to the understanding of human life,” says the Reincarnation Research website.

Theosophy agrees. “Reincarnation used to be a subject confined to religion. Since the 20th century, however, the inquiry has moved into the field of science.

This comes about “as a result of ground-breaking researches about people, particularly children, whose memories of previous lives have been validated by independent investigations,” the site reports.

“Many of these cases involved birthmarks or physical characteristics at birth that matched the manner of death of the claimed previous life. Some of them also could speak an unlearned language but which corresponded to the language learned in the claimed previous life.

“The concept of reincarnation, however, goes against the mainstream doctrines of a number of major religions. This has created conflicts and has led to raging debates on the pros and cons of reincarnation.”

butterflygirl

Butterfly Girl

H. P. Blavatsky and her Adept Teachers, Founders  of the modern Theosophical Movement, were fully committed to the  prime directive of introducing Western civilization to the the twin Eastern doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma.

The importance of their directive can be seen in H. P. Blavatsky’s Letter 3 to the 4th Annual American Convention in April, 1890, where she declared:

We are outwardly creatures of but a day; within we are eternal. Learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, and teach, practice, promulgate that system of life and thought which alone can save the coming races. 

(H. P. Blavatsky, April 27-28, 1890)

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The Dance of Shiva, the Soul Traveler

The Dance of Shiva

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

Eye of Siva is the Third Eye, physically the pineal gland in the brain, which when awakened into activity becomes the organ of the inner spiritual vision.

The pineal gland was in former ages an active physical exterior organ before the double eye system was developed.

The Third Eye was then the faculty both of physical vision and of interior illumination.

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 Dharma of the ‘Heart’ is the embodiment of Bodhi, [True, divine Wisdom], the Permanent and Everlasting.”

“The Lamp burns bright when wick and oil are clean. To make them clean a cleaner is required. The flame feels not the process of the cleaning. ‘The branches of a tree are shaken by the wind; the trunk remains unmoved.'”

(The Voice of the Silence, Fragment II)

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 oneness of ALL, the inter-connectedness of life.

Crocodile and the Plover Bird

But, acquiring insight requires not just wishful thinking, but a commitment to action of the Krishna-Arjuna kind. “He who remains inert, restraining the senses and organs,” Krishna warns, “…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, is to be esteemed. Do thou perform the proper actions: action is superior to inaction.”

(Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. 3)

Shantala Shivalingappa

“Progressive Awakenings”

“Whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in,” H. P. Blavatsky points out in The Secret Doctrine (1:40),

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

“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 details on Siva and the Third Eye from The Secret Doctrine, and you can also save the .pdf file to your computer.

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.

Monkey Mind

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A Mother’s Love, The Law of Life

Mother and Child

WHENEVER there is separateness and selfishness, Theosophy teaches, there will always be suffering.

This is why we need to continually try to practice Divine Compassion, “the law of laws,” as urged in The Voice of the Silence, and all that implies about our daily actions.

“Compassion is no attribute, it is the LAW of LAWS — eternal Harmony —

“… a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things — the law of love eternal.”

(The Voice of the Silence)

A feeling of true, universal compassion and caring for others can never dissolve into either separateness or selfish pride. Says the Voice of the Silence of The Buddha: “The esoteric school teaches that Gautama Buddha with several of his Arhats is such a Nirmânakâya, higher than whom, on account of the great renunciation and sacrifice to mankind there is none known.”

Dalai Lama xlv

According to the H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, “compassion is something really worthwhile.”

It is not just a religious or spiritual subject, not a matter of ideology. It is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

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