Tag Archives: ethics

‘Dying To Be Me’: The Near-Death Experience of Anita Moorjani

near-death-experience

Immortal Individuality

THE New Age Movement heralded by Theosophy in the late 19th century is gradually bearing practical influence here in the 21st.

Theosophical ideas and ethics are literally life-changing to those who contact its influence, directly or indirectly.

Helena Blavatsky, the Movement’s inspired original spokesperson wrote an inspiring Letter to the Third American Convention, noting that “Theosophy is indeed the life, the indwelling spirit which makes every true reform a vital reality.”

Theosophy is Universal Brotherhood, the very foundation as well as the keystone of all movements toward the amelioration of our condition.

“The Ethics of Theosophy are more important than any divulgement of psychic laws and facts. The latter relate wholly to the material and evanescent part of the septenary man, but the Ethics sink into and take hold of the real man — the reincarnating Ego.

“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.”

Rassouli-Joyriders

Rassouli, “Joyriders”

What might be the practical value of these ancient doctrines today? Perhaps the primary importance lies in the assertion of our duality, i.e. the co-existence of awakened material (or psychic) and spiritual (noetic) entities in us. H. P. Blavatsky wrote: “We [assert] the existence of a higher or permanent Ego in us.”

In the thoughts of [this Ego] or the immortal ‘Individuality,’ the pictures and visions of the Past and Future are as the Present.

Further, she wrote, (in stenographically preserved dialogues with her students), “nor are his thoughts like ours, subjective pictures in our cerebration, but living acts and deeds, present actualities. … they are realities.”

Salvador Dali, ‘Melting Watch’

Quantum leap hardly begins to adequately measure the inner life of spiritual beings having a human experience, a transcendence that advanced adepts directly understand, because they live it consciously.

Spiritual states of consciousness, quantum states, altered time and space were often hinted at in the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and her Adept Teachers, but few direct examples were offered. The illusion of time and descriptions of elevated states of consciousness were the most powerful and interesting of these.

Such are confirmed now when near-death, out of body and psychic experiences are finally being acknowledged and studied.

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Healed by Unconditional Love, a Near Death Experience

near-death-experience

Wings of the Soul

THE new age movement heralded most recently by Theosophy in the late 19th century is at last bearing meaningful fruit here in the 21st.

 “Theosophy is indeed the life, the indwelling spirit which makes every true reform a vital reality,” wrote H. P. Blavatsky the movement’s inspired original spokesperson.

“The Ethics of Theosophy are more important than any divulgement of psychic laws and facts. The latter relate wholly to the material and evanescent part of the septenary man, but the Ethics sink into and take hold of the real man — the reincarnating Ego.

“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.

“Theosophy is Universal Brotherhood, the very foundation as well as the keystone of all movements toward the amelioration of our condition.”

“Fear kills the will and stays all action,” she declared in The Voice of the Silence. And, 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.”

H. P. Blavatsky to the American Conventions

Rassouli-Joyriders

Rassouli, “Joyriders”

What might be the practical value of these ancient doctrines today? Perhaps the primary importance lies in the assertion of our duality, i.e. the co-existance of awakened material (or psychic) and spiritual (noetic) entities in humans.

“‘We [assert] the existence of a higher or permanent Ego in us. In the thoughts of [this Ego] or the immortal ‘Individuality,’ the pictures and visions of the Past and Future are as the Present.”

Further, she asserts, (in stenographically preserved dialogues with her students): “nor are his thoughts like ours, subjective pictures in our cerebration, but living acts and deeds, present actualities. … they are realities.”

Continue reading

Karma: The Law of Empathy and Ethical Causation

Harold Copping, “The Widows Mite”

EVER mounting research reveals that you cannot separate your health from your emotions, explains Dr. Joseph Mercola, a prominent alternative medicine advocate.

“Numerous studies support the idea that having an upbeat and positive perspective,” he says, “can translate into living a longer healthier life.” This view aligns exactly with that of Theosophy.

Manifesting positive emotions and happiness “is perhaps one of the greatest gifts you have been given as a human being,” Mercola writes, “but to some extent, being happy is a choice you need to make.”

“Much like choosing to exercise or eat right. Happiness comes from within — it’s not meted out by circumstance alone.”

The Sanskrit word Karma has many meanings, and has a special aspect for almost every one of its manifestations according to Theosophy. As a synonym of sin, an action for the attainment of personal selfish desire, “it cannot fail to be hurtful” to almost everyone. 

altruism

Yet karma is also “the law of ethical causation,” Theosophical Pioneer William Q. Judge wrote. The effect of an act produced egotistically, against the great law of harmony, as opposed to that initiated by altruism instead of selfishness, cannot fail to be destructive.

In reality the condition is not inevitable. “No one has a right to say that he can do nothing for others, on any pretext whatever,” Theosophical pioneer H. P. Blavatsky explains in her Key to Theosophy. The poor widow in the Synoptic Gospels gives everything she had, she points out, while others give only a small portion of their own wealth: “A cup of cold water given in time to a thirsty wayfarer

“is a nobler duty and more worth than a dozen dinners given away, out of season, to men who can afford to pay for them.”

drinkofwater

Cold Water

Following Mme. Blavatsky’s death in 1891, an editorial published in the New York Daily Tribune (founded by Horace Greeley) said of her life and work: “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.”

Continue reading

Near-Death Experience: How to Live Without Fear

near-death-experienceTHE new age movement heralded by Theosophy in the late 19th century, is at last bearing meaningful fruit here in the 21st.

 “Theosophy is indeed the life, the indwelling spirit which makes every true reform a vital reality,” wrote H. P. Blavatsky the movement’s inspired original spokesperson.

“Theosophy is Universal Brotherhood, the very foundation as well as the keystone of all movements toward the amelioration of our condition.”

“Fear kills the will and stays all action,” she declares in The Voice of the Silence. And, 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 Ethics of Theosophy are more important than any divulgement of psychic laws and facts,” she wrote. “The Ethics sink into and take hold of the real man — the reincarnating Ego. We are outwardly creatures of but a day; within we are eternal.”

Concluding; “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.”

Rassouli-Joyriders

Rassouli, “Joyriders”

What might be the practical value of these ancient doctrines today? Perhaps the primary importance lies in the assertion of our duality, i.e. the co-existance of awakened material (or psychic) and spiritual (noetic) entities in humans.

“‘We [assert] the existence of a higher or permanent Ego in us. In the thoughts of [this Ego] or the immortal ‘Individuality,’ the pictures and visions of the Past and Future are as the Present.”

Further she asserts, (in stenographically preserved dialogues with her students): “nor are his thoughts like ours, subjective pictures in our cerebration, but living acts and deeds, present actualities. … they are realities.”

Continue reading

Scientism is the New Religion

clairvoyante_madamepsychosisANCIENT teachings can be shown to be more scientific despite the attacks of sectarianism, or materialism miscalled Science.

In reality both our modern science and religion are responsible for numerous illogical theories offered to the world.

The masses, blindly accepting everything that emanates from either as the final truth, is taught to scoff at anything brought forward from spiritual or ancient occult sources.

Authorities in religion and science often err, and their too frequent sophism and dicta incorrect. They are the enemies of intuition and the experience of the ancients, and assume that Truth is the exclusive property of their dogmatic world views.

Theosophy consistently contrasts “the laboriously acquired knowledge of the senses with the intuitive omniscience of the Spiritual divine Soul.”

science-and-religion
As Hermes believed so does Theosophy, says H. P. Blavatsky, that “knowledge differs from sense which is only of the physical world—”but Knowledge is the end of sense which is only the illusion of our physical brain and its intellect.” In her article Is Theosophy a Religion Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

“Practical Theosophy is not one Science, but embraces every science in life, moral and physical.” 

It is clear that modern science “believes not in the ‘soul of things,” Blavatsky notes in The Secret Doctrine (1:269).

“Science will be driven out of their position, not by spiritual, theosophical, or any other physical or even mental phenomena,” she says, “but simply by the enormous gaps and chasms that open daily — and will still be opening before them.”

“One discovery follows the other,” she predicted, “until they are finally knocked off their feet by the ninth wave of simple common sense. If science is too ahead of its time it “must bide its time until the minds of men are ripe for its reception. Every science, every creed has had its martyrs.”

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The Church of Scientism

ANCIENT teachings can be shown to be more scientific despite the attacks of sectarianism, or materialism miscalled Science.

In reality science and religion are responsible for numerous illogical theories offered to the world.

The general public, blindly accepting everything that emanates from these two accepted authorities as a proven fact, is taught to scoff at anything brought forward from spiritual or ancient occult sources.

But even great authorities, especially modern science, may often err, and their too frequent sophism of scientific dicta may be incorrect. They are against intuition and the experience of the ages, and assume that Truth is the property of their exclusive isolated world.

Theosophy consistently contrasts “the laboriously acquired knowledge of the senses with the intuitive omniscience of the Spiritual divine Soul.”

As Hermes believed so does Theosophy, says H. P. Blavatsky, that “knowledge differs from sense which is only of the physical world—”but Knowledge is the end of sense which is only the illusion of our physical brain and its intellect.” In “Is Theosophy a Religion” she wrote:

“Practical Theosophy is not one Science, but embraces every science in life, moral and physical.” 

Continue reading

Free Hugs

HuggingKidsWE were inspired to update our last post after reading Helena Blavatsky’s words about true kindness — described as the “absence of every ill-feeling , selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings.”

The alchemy of these happiness charged ethics is easily seen when the power of goodwill is the primary ingredient in our everyday mix of feelings, thoughts and deeds.

Blavatsky writes:

“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.”

reading_in_temple

And, concerning our motives, her spiritual Master wrote:

“The practical value of good motives is best seen when they take the form of deeds…”

In this age of social disconnectivity and lack of human contact, the effect of the “Free Hugs campaign” became phenomenal:

(WATCH THE SHORT VIDEO)

Your Health is At Risk

Hugs make us and others happy. Conversely, research shows that unhappy people:

♥ Have a greater risk of heart disease, strokes, hypertension, infections, and Type 2 diabetes.
Release more of the stress hormone cortisol.
Have a higher heart rate and may be at higher risk for heart attacks.
Are 65% more likely to get a cold.
Are less likely to find a spouse.
Live nine years fewer than their happy counterparts.

So… when you are happy, it’s always a win-win. You are likely to live longer — and you are more emotionally and physically healthy, creative, energetic, compassionate, and successful!

See related post:  Happy is Healthy

Happy_For_No_Reason

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Happy is Healthy

The Caring Spirit

Thoughts That Count



Ethical Alchemy

spiritawakenedTHE perennial philosophy assures us that compassion is far from a gushy sentimentalism, or an intellectual idea.

More than a gut feeling, it is rather a universal, non-sectarian, non-dual energy — the primal oneness undertone of Life.

The Voice of the Silence declares it to be foundational heart energy, “the LAW of LAWS.”

We already share, as humanity, the core values of caring for others less fortunate. Rooting for the underdog comes naturally to us.

But, the prefix ‘com’ (with: together: jointly) raises com-passion to a level far above the acquisitive passion of the selfish and greedy — and the evil desire that dries up the Earth’s human and natural resources for individual and corporate profiteering.

chainsaw1

New Voices

“There is an urgent need for a new focus,” the global coalition Charter for Compassion seeks to remind the world — and to bring together “voices from all cultures and religions.”

The realization of universal brotherhood was championed by H. P. Blavatsky throughout her life, and is the First Object of the Theosophical Society. (Thoughts That Count)

There is, Blavatsky notes:

“A great psychic and spiritual change now taking place in the realm of the human soul.”

rootsofcompassion

Free Hugs Campaign

“Sometimes, a hug is all what we need,” says The Free Hugs Campaign. “Free hugs is a real life controversial story of Juan Mann, A man whose sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives.”

In this age of social disconnectivity and lack of human contact, the effects of the Free Hugs campaign became phenomenal.

freehug

Concerning our motives, in Letter 7, Helena Blavatsky’s Master wrote:

“The practical value of good motives is best seen when they take the form of deeds…”

“As this symbol of human hope spread across the city, police and officials ordered the Free Hugs campaign BANNED. What we then witness is the true spirit of humanity come together in what can only be described as awe inspiring:”

“KINDNESS, absence of every ill feeling or selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings, and perfect justice to others as to oneself, are its chief features. 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.” – H. P. Blavatsky

blavatsky

Mme. Helena Blavatsky

Confucius and Plato, belonged psychically, mentally and spiritually to the higher planes of evolution,” Blavatsky maintained, and “Gautama Buddha —Wisdom incarnate — was still higher and greater.”

She saw that the seeds of a future Spiritual Evolution lay imprisoned alive in the heart of humanity. That growth was temporarily stifled in the Twentieth Century with the rise of wars, industrial greed, social strife, bigotry, crime and prejudice.

An indigenous materialism, strongly encamped in fundamentalist science and religion, still weaves a dark cloud that hovers precipitously over any Movement promoting change. Self-interest protects the status quo.

Dark_Clouds

The Golden Rule

Now, despite it all, social reformer Karen Armstrong sees evidence of a vitalizing “ethical alchemy” on the rise.

The Charter for Compassion speaks to the Ideal in straight-forward, practical terms, as did H. P. Blavatsky, who wrote “… the essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonizing of the divine with the human in man, the adjustment of his god-like qualities and aspirations, and their sway over the terrestrial or animal passions in him.”

dalaitutu

The Charter brings together the voices of people from all religions. “It seeks to remind the world that while all faiths are not the same,” but “they all share the core principle of compassion, and the Golden Rule.”

“The Charter seeks to change the conversation around religion, and will be a clarion call to the world.”

karenarmstrong

Karen Armstrong

Weeks from the Charter for Compassion launch, Karen Armstrong looks at religion’s role in the 21st century: “Will its dogmas divide us? Or will it unite us for common good?” She reviews the catalysts that can drive the world’s faiths to rediscover the Golden Rule. Join the world at charterforcompassion.com to write the Charter for Compassion.

Spiritual Rights of Man

“Whoever feels his heart beating in unison with the great heart of humanity, whoever feels his interests at one with those who are poorer and less fortunate than himself,” Blavatsky wrote in The New Cycle

“Whoever, man or woman, is ever ready to lend a helping hand to those who suffer, whoever is fully conscious of the real meaning of ‘Egoism,’ is a Theosophist by birth and by right.”

mothertheresa

The sea change in humanity that Blavatsky foresaw “is quite remarkable” she said. It is a call to spiritual awakening which may be realized, finally, in our own Century. “Verily the Spirit in man,” she declared in her own time,

“so long hidden out of public sight has at last awakened. It now asserts itself and is loudly re-demanding its unrecognized yet ever legitimate rights. It refuses to be any longer trampled under the brutal foot of Materialism, speculated upon by the Churches.”

Peter Russell: The Global Brain

(Excerpt)

In words that are sorely needed today, she continues:

“Take advantage of, and profit by, the ‘tidal wave’ which is now happily overpowering half of Humanity,” she said, and “speak to the awakening Spirit of Humanity, to the human Spirit and the Spirit in man, these three in One and the One in All.”

Her soaring prose, however, bore a cautionary footnote. “But woe to the XXth century,” she warned, “if the now reigning school of thought prevails, for Spirit would once more be made captive and silenced till the end of the now coming age.”

THE-BEHEADING

The Twentieth Century indeed found humanity held hostage—by two world wars and threats of war, and by suffering, disease, poverty — culminating today in a reign of terror, remembered only in the Medieval Dark Ages of burnings and beheadings.

Activating deep yearnings of the Soul for peace and harmony, is all that can save us from extinction.

Attitudes and Limitations

The tidal wave of deeper souls,
Into our inmost being rolls,
And lifts us unawares,
Out of all meaner cares.

LONGFELLOW

joy

“To a large extent, the way we think determines who we are and what happens to us.”

“We cannot harbor poisonous thoughts without their effects visibly showing in our lives. If we dwell on our inadequacy and ineffectiveness, for example, circumstances will prove us correct because we will invite self-defeating events to us.

“On the other hand, replacing destructive thoughts with hope-filled, optimistic ones brings peaceful and confidence-producing circumstances to us. We will radiate competence and joy.”

Story of Compassion: Samia Shoaib, Pakistan

“We would be wise, therefore, to take the advice of twentieth century author Orison Swett Marden:

‘Stoutly determine not to harbor anything in the mind which you do not wish to become real in your life. Shun poisoned thoughts, ideas which depress and make you unhappy, as instinctively as you avoid physical danger of any find – replace all these with cheerful, hopeful, optimistic thoughts.

‘Today I will make it a habit to continually replace pessimistic thoughts with optimistic ones. I will dwell on what is uplifting so that I may increase my courage and confidence as well as better my circumstances.’

[Above are excerpts from the book The Reflecting Pond, by Liane Cordes]

The Reflecting Pond is a collection of meditations that takes one subject at a time and covers it in depth. Whether we have a concern about self-acceptance, fear, friendship, or love, there is a chapter full of understanding thoughts. Used as an extra dose of support on specific issues, this book will help us think through day-to-day living problems.

reflectingpond

Insights and Similarities

“The second objective of the Theosophical Society is the study of the world’s religions, philosophies, and sciences,” writes David Pratt. And, “Blavatsky played a pioneering role in introducing the west to the sacred traditions of the east”:-

“She also provided insights into the deeper meaning of myth, allegory, and symbolism. When stripped of their later dogmatic accretions, the world’s religions are found to have more similarities than differences: they recognize that our essential self is fundamentally identical with the Universal Self…

“They advocate the golden rule of universal love; and they speak of enlightened teachers Krishna, Buddha, Christ, etc. who have appeared on earth at different times and restated some of the fundamental spiritual values.”

The Gnostic Code

Excerpt from a talk by John Algeo of The Theosophical Society explaining how religion became a hindrance to humanity’s spiritual evolution instead of a healing force.

The Tidal Wave

by H. P. Blavatsky

(Excerpts)

TODAY, the Spirit in man has returned like King Lear, from seeming insanity to its senses – and, raising its voice, it now speaks in those authoritative tones to which the men of old have listened in reverential silence through incalculable ages, until deafened by the din and roar of civilization and culture, they could hear it no longer. . . .

earth_space

Look around you and behold! Think of what you see and hear, and draw therefrom your conclusions.

The age of crass materialism, of Soul insanity and blindness, is swiftly passing away.

A death struggle between Mysticism and Materialism is no longer at hand, but is already raging. And the party which will win the day at this supreme hour will become the master of the situation and of the future – i.e., it will become the autocrat and sole disposer of the millions of men already born and to be born, up to the latter end of the XXth century.

And facing the hitherto domineering flood which is still steadily carrying off into unknown abysses the fragments from the wreck of the dethroned, cast down Human Spirit, they now command:

“So far hast thou come – but thou shalt go no further!”

realitytunnel3

Amid all this external discord and disorganisation of social harmony; amid confusion and the weak and cowardly hesitations of the masses, tied down to the narrow frames of routine, propriety and cant – amid that late dead calm of public thought that had exiled from literature every reference to Soul and Spirit and their divine working during the whole of the middle period of our century – we hear a sound arising.

Like a clear, definite, far-reaching note of promise, the voice of the great human Soul proclaims, in no longer timid tones, the rise and almost the resurrection of the human Spirit in the masses.

It is now awakening in the foremost representatives of thought and learning – it speaks in the lowest as in the highest, and stimulates them all to action. The renovated, life-giving Spirit in man is boldly freeing itself from the dark fetters of the hitherto all-capturing animal life and matter.

Declan Galbraith: “Tell Me Why”

Declan was born on December 19, 1991 in ENGLAND, of Scottish AND Irish origin. More about him and his songs, can be found on his official website: http://www.declan-galbraith.co.uk/

The New Cycle

by H. P. Blavatsky

(Excerpts)

WHOEVER feels his heart beating in unison with the great heart of humanity,

WHOEVER feels his interests at one with those who are poorer and less fortunate than himself –

WHOEVER, man or woman, is ever ready to lend a helping hand to those who suffer,

WHOEVER is fully conscious of the real meaning of “Egoism,” is a Theosophist by birth and by right.

If it is objected that in it the atheist rubs elbows with the deist, and the materialist with the idealist, we answer: “What of it?”

What matters the passing form if the goal pursued is the same Eternal Essence, whether that Essence appear to human perception under the guise of a Substance, of an immaterial Breath, or of a No-thing!

Let us admit the PRESENCE, whether called Personal God or Universal Substance, and let us admit a cause, since we all see effects.

spiritual_wellbeing

In the final analysis, the greatest of materialists, as well as the most transcendental of philosophers, admits the omnipresence of an impalpable Proteus, omnipotent in its ubiquity throughout all kingdoms of nature, including man – a Proteus indivisible in its essence, without form and yet manifesting itself in all forms—

Which is here, there, everywhere and nowhere, which is the All and the Nothing, which is all things and always One, Universal Essence which binds, limits and contains everything, and which everything contains.

Not only humanity– even though consisting of thousands of races – but all that lives and vegetates, all that in one word is, is made up of the same essence and substance, is animated by the same spirit, and that, therefore, there is solidarity throughout nature, on the physical as well as on the moral plane.

HopkinsonRevOlives

We have already said in the Theosophist:

“Born in the United States of America, the Theosophical Society was constituted on the model of its mother country. The latter, as we know, omits the name of God from its constitution, lest, said the Fathers of the Republic, this word someday afford the pretext for a State religion – for they wanted to grant absolute equality in its laws to all religions so that all would support the State and all in their turn would be protected.”

The Theosophical Society was established on this beautiful model.

GreatSeal-Reverse

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Our Green Horizon

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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

A Right Christmas

pinetree21

Dreaming Of A Right Christmas

“Children of Light, as ye go forth into the world,
seek to render gentle service to all that lives.”
– Egyptian Papyrus of Ani

I’m mostly a vegetarian, for ethical reasons, and have a growing passion for “the soul of things.” Reverence for life is something everyone understands, within reasonable limits.

I reluctantly “kill” a few carrots, tomatoes and salad greens every day. But I never was a Grinch about Christmas. Though I did oppose the roast turkey.

A friend reminds me that “Native Americans had reverence and gratitude as they sacrificed a deer for their food and clothing…it’s a matter of consciousness and attitude in what you do.”

“As long as we are imprisoned in this octave,” she says, “things will die to sustain us….look at the big picture.”

INTENTION

“It is the motive, and the motive alone,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote in Practical Occultism,which makes any exercise of power become black, malignant, or white, beneficent Magic.” Lynn McTaggart thinks our intentions can change the world.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

MINDFULNESS

Maybe I’m a little weird. After all, even Buddhist monks have a bowl of rice every day. And, yes, “Hitler was a vegetarian.” The justification for my oddity is, at the very least, I am thinking about what I do! (My friend said, “Buddhists call that ‘mindfulness.'”)

This is how, Blavatsky admits, she understood the teaching of her Masters: “every plant without an exception feels and has a consciousness of its own.”

And, it is a axiom of The Secret Doctrine, that:

Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. (1:274)

“When we try to pick out anything by itself,” wrote John Muir, America’s most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist, “we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

Plastic didn’t seem very hitched. And I was increasingly uncomfortable with “factory farmed” Christmas trees. What then should I do?

WHEN IN ROME

Living in the country, I could decorate, like any good Pagan, some sacred evergreen growing nearby. Here in the city, one can buy a potted evergreen. We did once, a few years back.

But it was even more painful to watch a live tree, isolated from its forest companions, die a slow death inside a stuffy apartment. With nowhere to replant it outdoors, it just didn’t feel right.

Growing up with strong feelings for the sacredness of life, and with much of my early childhood spent out-of-doors, it was natural to be an advocate for Nature. Now, in desperation, two days before Christmas, I faced an agonizing decision.

EVERYTHING GOT WRONG

Bundled against the bitter New York City wind and icy sidewalks, at a corner where a recently bailed-out-bank ironically thrived, the deed was done. I killed a tree that day.

“It was just cut,” a woman representing a local Boy Scout Troop injected, as I admired one in particular. A six-foot spruce from nearby Pennsylvania. Indeed, the needles were firm and fragrant, its tapering trunk and welcoming branches a work of art.

Then, amidst the blare of car horns, the little tree lay unflinching as it received a swift and indifferent Coup de grâce from an eager 12-year old Scout. A “fresh cut” was sawed from the base of its sap-stained stump. I paid cash.

At that moment, Oppenheimer’s knee-jerk quote from the Bhagavad-Gita, uttered at the first atomic test in New Mexico in 1945, overtook my violated conscience: “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

RECONCILIATION

The Bhagavad-Gita is preeminently an ethical treatise. It inculcates teachings applicable to daily life, suited not only to the time in which it was written, but for all time. So it was consoling to recall a quite different passage from the Gita, where Krishna, the Higher Self, counsels his favorite disciple:

I accept and enjoy the offerings of the humble soul who in his worship with a pure heart offereth a leaf, a flower, or fruit, or water unto me. Whatever thou doest…whatever thou eatest, whatever thou sacrificest, whatever thou givest, whatever mortification thou performest, commit each unto me. Thus thou shalt be delivered from the good and evil experiences which are the bonds of action; and thy heart being joined to renunciation and to the practice of action, thou shalt come to me.

Holding these words daily in our heart, we are reborn every moment. Like the Teacher, we can become a Master of all seasons. Another of Blavatsky’s Masters in a similar vein, as quoted by her (see- Altruism in The Secret Doctrine):

He who does not practice altruism; he who is not prepared to share his last morsel with a weaker or poorer than himself; he who neglects to help his brother man, of whatever race, nation, or creed, whenever and wherever he meets suffering, and who turns a deaf ear to the cry of human misery; he who hears an innocent person slandered, whether a brother Theosophist or not, and does not undertake his defense as he would undertake his own — is no Theosophist.

FRAGRANCE OF THE GOOD

A question posed to a disciple in The Voice of the Silence: “Hast thou attuned thy being to Humanity’s great pain, 0 candidate for light?,” reminded me of a New York Times Op-Ed piece (N. Y. Times (12/22/08), “Hard Times, a Helping hand.”)

Writing about the Great Depression’s mysterious benefactor “B. Virdot,” contributor Ted Gup says: “He sought no credit for acts of conscience. He saw them as the debt we owe one another and ourselves.”

The Times article is a must read, worthy of The Laws of Manu (Manava-Dharma-Sastra), and a modern lesson which could have been taken straight out of the 2500 year old injunctions of The Buddha, embodied in “The Dhammapada,” (Ch. 4, 11-16.):

“[T]he fragrance of the good wafts even against the wind. The fragrance of the good man pervades all his ways. … From a heap of rubbish on the roadside, a lily blooms, fragrant and pleasing; from a mass of blinded mortals arises the disciple of the truly Wise One…”

NON-SEPARATENESS

“[S]piritual perfection and spiritual knowledge can only be reached on the spiritual plane,” Blavatsky writes in Theosophy Queries: Answer to a Letter. Achieved, she adds, “…only in that state in which all sense of separateness, all selfishness, all feeling of personal interest and desire, has been merged in the wider consciousness of the unity of Mankind.”

Universal ethics were pointed to by her at every opportunity, against whatever the odds or snickering of her critics. We quote in full:

Now it is a fundamental doctrine of Theosophy that the “separateness” which we feel between ourselves and the world of living beings around us is an illusion, not a reality. In very deed and truth, all men are one, not in a feeling of sentimental gush and hysterical enthusiasm, but in sober earnest. As all Eastern philosophy teaches, there is but ONE SELF in all the infinite Universe, and what we men call “self” is but the illusionary reflection of the ONE SELF in the heaving waters of earth.

True Occultism is the destruction of the false idea of Self, and therefore true spiritual perfection and knowledge are nothing else but the complete identification of our finite “selves” with the Great All. It follows, therefore, that no spiritual progress at all is possible except by and through the bulk of Humanity. It is only when the whole of Humanity has attained happiness that the individual can hope to become permanently happy — for the individual is an inseparable part of the Whole.

SPIRITUAL PERFECTION

Hence there is no contradiction whatever between the altruistic maxims of Theosophy and its injunction to kill out all desire for material things, to strive after spiritual perfection. For spiritual perfection and spiritual knowledge can only be reached on the spiritual plane; in other words, only in that state in which all sense of separateness, all selfishness, all feeling of personal interest and desire, has been merged in the wider consciousness of the unity of Mankind.

This shows also that no blind submission to the commands of another can be demanded, or would be of any use. Each individual must learn for himself, through trial and suffering, to discriminate what is beneficial to Humanity; and in proportion as he develops spiritually, i.e., conquers all selfishness, his mind will open to receive the guidance of the Divine Monad within him, his Higher Self, for which there is neither Past nor Future, but only an eternal NOW.

(From Blavatsky Collected Writings 11:104-6)

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