Tag Archives: duty

Compassion Absolute, or Sin of Separateness?

TIME and tide wait for no man according to Geoffrey Chaucer, nor do such supreme powers submit to the dictates of  modern despots, gods or saviors.

The Laws of Karma rule always. No one is so all-powerful they can stop the march of time or turn back the ocean waves, as King Canute unsuccessfully tried.

Yet what he learned from the experience is that the best each of us can do is attempt to discover and live in harmony with nature’s immutable laws.

Shakespeare dramatized karma as a force that ebbs and flows cyclically, and that one must go with the flow. As Brutus notoriously exclaims in Julius Caesar:

“There’s a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”

Procrastinating wastes precious moments allowing beneficial waves or tides to begin to recede. If a moral or environmental opportunity is neglected, individuals and humanity as a whole may suffer dire consequences.

“All the passing shows of life, whether fraught with disaster or full of fame and glory, are teachers; he who neglects them, neglects opportunities which seldom the gods repeat,” W. Q. Judge wrote in his Essay on Chapter 2 of  the Bhagavad-Gita“And the only way to learn from them is through the heart’s resignation;

“for when we become in heart completely poor, we at once are the treasurers and disbursers of enormous riches. Krishna then insists on the scrupulous performance of natural duty.”

Ancient Atlantis, our former habitat, was destroyed by natural and human caused climate change thousands of years before its time, and we are heading down a very similar, dangerous path — the result of a pervasive collective selfishness. Just as Walt Kelly’s Pogo warned, as he stared at a trash filled swamp on Earth Day 1970:

“We have met the enemy,
and he is us.”

Atlantis

Sickness occurs when “a group of individual cells refuse to cooperate, and wherein is set up discordant action, using less or claiming more than their due share of food or energy,” wrote W. Q. Judge in The Synthesis of Occult Science, concluding:

“Disease is nothing more or less than ‘the sin of separateness.'”

So long as there is separateness and selfishness, Theosophy says, there will be suffering. And this is why we need to practice Divine Compassion, “the law of laws” as described in The Voice of the Silence.

“Compassion is something really worthwhile. It is not just a religious or spiritual subject, not a matter of ideology,” says the Dalai Lama: “It is not a luxury. It is a necessity.”

“It is an absolute fact that without good works the spirit of brotherhood would die in the world—and this can never be,” Blavatsky wrote in her article Let Every Man Prove His Own Work:

“Therefore is the double activity of learning and doing most necessary; we have to do good, and we have to do it rightly, with knowledge.”

The proverb about time and tide illustrates the complex interplay between fate and free will in human life. It has karmic beauty as well, suggesting that while we do not have total control over our lives, we do have a responsibility to take what few measures we can to live ethically and honorably.

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Lessons from the Light: The Golden Rule

Lessons-from-lightSOUL memory according to Theosophy is referred to as reminiscence, and it is this memory that assures every human being, whether they know it or not, of their having lived before, and having to live again.

To fully grasp the idea, we first have to study the complex relationship between the human and transcendental aspects of mind (represented physiologically by the brain’s left and right hemispheres.)

The differences were experienced directly by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor PhD, described in her book “My Stroke of Insight.” Our recent post Dance of the Hemispheres is about her experience, and which she describes in dramatic detail at a TED Talk. 

These consciousnesses are termed first “the spiritual, or those which belong to the imperishable Ego,” (Key to Theosophy, Section 8, On Individuality and Personality). Second, are the intellectual/rational states

which inhabit the ever-changing bodies, or the series of personalities of that Ego.” 

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The higher mind fully knows and remembers all its lives, Blavatsky insisted, “as well as you remember what you have done yesterday. The real Ego has not forgotten them, and the personal never experienced them. “Shall the new boots on the feet of a boy who is flogged for stealing apples, be punished for that which they know nothing?” Blavatsky asks.

oceanmeditate

That which is called “the divine man,” is the “real Individuality,” who like the elegant elephant, never forgets.  But its vehicle the personality has no access to that history as it corresponds to “a new suit of clothes.” There are however, importantly, “modes of communication between the Spiritual and human consciousness or memory.”

Evidence for such modes lies in powers of intuition, conscience, premonitions, & etc. and, most powerfully, from recent research into the so-called NDE or Near Death Experience. But such states “have never been recognised by your scientific modern psychologists,” Blavatsky wrote. That may be changing today.

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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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Everyday One

redwood-forestONENESS is most likely both an experience and a state, probably something that you cannot reach if you are afraid of it. It has to be embraced and welcomed in order to be attained.

Embracing compassion and practicing altruism are, no doubt, ways of attaining individual and global oneness. This was discussed in a previous post The Caring Spirit.

The ancients recognized the reality of spiritual being, knowing that an ever-expanding consciousness and an ever-growing understanding of existence is all that truly matters in our eternal evolutionary journey through the fields of infinitude. All the achievements of civilization depend upon it.

A Lived Reality

The underlying spiritual energies pervading any system cannot be known with physical instruments, but only by delving into the depths of our own minds and consciousness, and this requires many lives of self-purification and self-conquest. Awareness of this one Reality is critical to our future survival and of the Earth, our Mother Home.

Sufi teacher Lynn Barron wants to know: What does oneness really look like? Not as a theory, but as a lived reality in everyday life?

Be-ness

Higher states of being have their origin in a corresponding universal mind or consciousness. This is the “one absolute Reality” spoken of in The Secret Doctrine, “which antecedes all manifested, conditioned, being.”

Scientists using only materialistic methods are in no position to deny out of hand the possibility of such higher states of consciousness.

This Reality is described by H. P. Blavatsky as an “Infinite and Eternal Cause—the rootless root of ‘all that was, is, or ever shall be.'” It is not a personal god, she says, “it is ‘Be-ness’ rather than Being.”

nature3

Duty is that which is due to Humanity, to our fellow-men, neighbours, family, and especially that which we owe to all those who are poorer and more helpless than we are ourselves, she wrote:-

“This is a debt which, if left unpaid during life, leaves us spiritually insolvent and moral bankrupts in our next incarnation. Theosophy is the quintessence of duty.”

What Would it Look Like?

What if the world embodied our highest potential? What would it look like? As the structures of modern society crumble, is it enough to respond with the same tired solutions? Or are we being called to question a set of unexamined assumptions that form the very basis of our civilization?

This 25-minute retrospective asks us to reflect on the state of the world and ourselves, and to listen more closely to what is being asked of us at this time of unprecedented global transformation.

Compassion Speaks

Now bend thy head and listen well, O Bodhisattva — Compassion speaks and saith: “Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?”           –The Voice of the Silence

compassion4

Mary Evelyn Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Senior Scholar at Yale University where she has appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies.

“We are participants in a process that will always be larger than our imagination or our best sciences can fully explain.”

Power Over Nature

Is It Too Late?

Dean Radin, Ph.D., is a researcher and author in the field of parapsychology. His professional career has focused on experimentally exploring far reaches of human consciousness, primarily phenomena like intuition, gut feelings and psi phenomena.

He is Senior Scientist at The Institute of Noetic Sciences, in Petaluma, California, and on the Adjunct Faculty at Sonoma State University.

ions

IONS

Dean’s research has been featured in numerous magazines and he has appeared on several radio and television programs. He is the author of Entangled Minds and The Conscious Universe.

Dean believes that humankind will be able to change its behavior rapidly enough to avoid its total destruction, because necessity will drive us to do it. And he suggests that something like a global mind could be pulling us or forcing us to make the changes needed.

Love Is Indiscriminate

Adyashanti began teaching in 1996 at the request of his Zen teacher, with whom he had been studying for fourteen years.

The author of Emptiness Dancing,The Impact of Awakening, and My Secret is Silence, Adyashanti offers spontaneous and direct nondual teachings that have been compared to those of the early Zen masters and Advaita Vedanta sages.

Adyashanti describes the inclusiveness of love and how actions motivated by love have the power to unite and to change consciousness.

Human Solidarity

by H. P. Blavatsky

The Key to Theosophy

In the present state of society, especially in so-called civilized countries, we are continually brought face to face with the fact that large numbers of people are suffering from misery, poverty and disease. Their physical condition is wretched, and their mental and spiritual faculties are often almost dormant.

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“On the other hand, many persons at the opposite end of the social scale are leading lives of careless indifference, material luxury, and selfish indulgence. Neither of these forms of existence is mere chance.”

Both are the effects of the conditions which surround those who are subject to them, and the neglect of social duty on the one side is most closely connected with the stunted and arrested development on the other.

brothersister

In sociology, as in all branches of true science, the law of universal causation holds good. But this causation necessarily implies, as its logical outcome, that human solidarity on which Theosophy so strongly insists.

“If the action of one reacts on the lives of all, and this is the true scientific idea, then it is only by all men becoming brothers and all women sisters, and by all practising in their daily lives true brotherhood and true sisterhood, that the real human solidarity, which lies at the root of the elevation of the race, can ever be attained.”   – H. P. B.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu, a traditional African philosophy, recognizes how we are inextricably bound in each other’s humanity. Translated as, “I am because you are,” Ubuntu describes a sense of unity between people through which we each discover our own strengths and virtues. Featuring healer Credo Mutwa, GreenHouse Project director Dorah Lebelo, and former Deputy Minister of Health Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, this glimpse of South Africa shows compassion as a way of life.

It is this action and interaction, this true brotherhood and sisterhood, in which each shall live for all and all for each, which is one of the fundamental Theosophical principles that every Theosophist should be bound, not only to teach, but to carry out in his or her individual life.

The Deific Essence

“Our DEITY is neither in a paradise, nor in a particular tree, building, or mountain,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote — “it is everywhere, in every atom of the visible as of the invisible Cosmos, in, over, and around every invisible atom and divisible molecule.”

“IT is the mysterious power of evolution and involution, the omnipresent, omnipotent, and even omniscient creative potentiality.”

universe

“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.”

“Universal Unity and Causation; Human Solidarity; the Law of Karma; Re-incarnation. These are the four links of the golden chain which should bind humanity into one family, one universal Brotherhood.”

Necessity is a Mother

Laboratory scientist Dean Radin believes that humankind will be able to change its behavior rapidly enough to avoid its total destruction, because necessity will drive us to do it. And he suggests that something like a global mind could be pulling us or forcing us to make the changes needed.

The Caring Spirit

FOLLOWING H. P. Blavatsky’s death in 1891, an editorial was published in the New York Daily Tribune (founded by Horace Greeley) noting:

“Madame Blavatsky held that the regeneration of mankind must be based upon the development of altruism.

“In this she was at one with the greatest thinkers, not alone of the present day, but of all time,” the Editorial acknowledged.

“And, it is becoming more and more apparent, at one with the strongest spiritual tendencies of the age.

“This alone would entitle her teachings to the candid and serious consideration of all who respect the influences that make for righteousness.”

Some of  the clearest statements of Blavatsky’s ethical views, are in The Key to Theosophy with the keynote that “altruism is an integral part of self-development.” Continue reading

Over Troubled Waters

polarbearWE emphasized in a recent post how important our thoughts are, and how compassion can lead to far-reaching, practical results.

When the Inner Ruler, our immortal Self, is actively engaged no achievement is beyond our reach. Yet, an elevated state of consciousness is only the first step.

Krishna required of his disciple Arjuna (who is everyman), that he be a “man of action,” not merely a right thinking one.

An Earth Day Message

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Yoga,” Krishna taught, “is skill in the performance of actions.” This seems very different from the image of a yogi sitting cross-legged, hardly breathing, with eyes closed.

Carlyle

Carlyle

Krishna’s teaching is exemplified in the high inspiration of Carlyle:

“The end of man is an action and not a thought, though it were the noblest.”

The Global Oneness Project

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A Law of Service

Practically speaking, what are these “actions” we should take? What exactly are we doing for ‘others?’ It would seem they should be not just efforts to achieve personal self-enlightenment, but to perform service. “Self-knowledge is of loving deeds the child,” according to The Voice of the Silence.

Enlightenment and loving service to others, by this account, are bound together in an endless, spiritual feedback. “Compassion is no attribute,” says the Voice again, “It is the LAW of LAWS.” Teacher Annie Leonard took practical action to help herself, and the entire planet with what has become a national campaign titled “The Story of Stuff.”

The Story of Stuff, with Annie Leonard

What’s Good for Others

Judge

Judge

This is the road less traveled, the “small old path” spoken of by all true Masters.  Those who seek this path unselfishly, have “many duties to perform,” says W. Q. Judge:

“His duty to mankind, his family – nature – himself and his creator—but duty here means something very different from that which is conveyed by the time and lip-worn word, Duty. Our comprehension of the term is generally based upon society’s or man’s selfish interpretation. It is quite generally thought that duty means the performance of a series of acts which others think I ought to perform, whereas, it more truly means the performance of actions by me which I know are good for others, or the wisest at the moment.” (Am I My Brother’s Keeper?)

As important as good intentions are, hell is famously paved with them. A great theosophical Master was adamant in his assertion that “motives are vapours, as attenuated as the atmospheric moisture.”  And like steam fed into an engine, “the practical value of good motives is best seen when they take the form of deeds.”

The Universe – A Living System

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Higher Calling

Julia Butterfly Hill

Julia Butterfly Hill

“Among many ideas brought forward through the theosophical movement,” says William Q. Judge, “there are three which should never be lost sight of.”  In Judge’s first idea we recognize what is meant in the repeated phrase of Blavatsky, “theosophy pure and simple.”

“The first idea is, that there is a great Cause — in the sense of an enterprise — called the Cause of Sublime Perfection and Human Brotherhood.

This rests upon the essential unity of the whole human family, and is a possibility because sublimity in perfectness and actual realization of brotherhood on every plane of being are one and the same thing.”

Practical Theosophy, in this broader sense, Blavatsky writes, ” is not one Science, but 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…”

Vanishing Glaciers

Tom Gaylord’s glacier photos tell a story, in pictures, about Alaska’s beautiful but dwindling glaciers. The rapid retreat of glaciers throughout the world is an undeniable observation, and that human activities are the major reason for this is a scientific fact.

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When we elevate our inner thought life, this naturally leads to a focus on service to others, not for oneself alone. H. P. Blavatsky defined this highest duty as that which is owed to all men:

Blavatsky

Blavatsky

Duty is that which is due to Humanity, to our fellow-men, neighbours, family, and especially that which we owe to all those who are poorer and more helpless than we are ourselves.

This is a debt which, if left unpaid during life, leaves us spiritually insolvent and moral bankrupts in our next incarnation. Theosophy is the quintessence of duty.” (The Key to Theosophy, p. 229)

Three Areas of Oneness

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Whether you are moved to selfless service through the precepts of Krishna, Buddha or Jesus, or any other great teacher, makes no difference.  These teachings are universal, and what is more, not confined solely to the human kingdom.

“Brotherhood,” Theosophy teaches, “is a fact in nature.” And if humankind is inseparable from the whole of nature, as the ancients teach, our duty towards other kingdoms is self-evident.

Thoreau

Thoreau

“One thing is certain – that we had best be doing something in good earnest henceforth forever—that’s an indispensable philosophy.”

-Thoreau

From our last post:

“It is this action and interaction, this true brotherhood and sisterhood, in which each shall live for all and all for each, which is one of the fundamental Theosophical principles that every Theosophist should be bound, not only to teach, but to carry out in his or her individual life.”

H. P. Blavatsky

Jataka Tales

The Jataka Tales are short stories depicting reincarnations of the Buddha, in various animal forms. A fascinating, and soul-instructive journey — but that will appear as a separate article.

However, one Tale in particular is related to today’s post:

The Monkey Bridge

Jataka Tales

Jataka Tales

The Global Oneness Project is exploring how the radically simple notion of interconnectedness can be lived in our increasingly complex world. Since 2006, we’ve been traveling the globe gathering stories from creative and courageous people who base their lives and work on the understanding that we bear great responsibility for each other and our shared world.

An Ongoing Revelation

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Related posts:

Thoughts That Count

Not An Island

bridgeA Bridge Over Troubled Water

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When you’re weary, feelin’ small,
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all.
I’m on your side oh, when times get rough and friends just can’t be found.
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down.

When you’re down and out, when you’re on the street,
When evening falls so hard I will comfort you.
I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes and pain is all around.
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down.