Tag Archives: Gnostics

Taming the Beast: Choosing the Mind We Want

“Avatar”

WHEN acting through the physical filter of our human brains and bodies, our minds clearly manifest a complex double nature — and this is a critical and pivotal tenet of Theosophical psychology.

Mind’s higher aspect gravitates toward its home spirit-self, while the tendency of its astral and physical projection on this plane is an almost irresistible attraction to materialism and desires.

Broadly considered, what is called higher mind in Theosophy is a soul faculty, our intuitional power source — it is the “god” in man. This is Plato’s teaching about ‘Nous.’ In her remarkable article Psychic and Noetic Action, H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

“Occult physiology and psychology postulate within mortal man an immortal entity, ‘divine Mind,’ or Nous, whose pale and too often distorted reflection is that which we call ‘Mind’ and intellect in men.”

Vulcan Mind Meld 🙂

“No physiologist, not even the cleverest, will ever be able to solve the mystery of the human mind, in its highest spiritual manifestation. Nor will they be able to understand the duality of the psychic and the noetic — or even to comprehend the intricacies of the former on the purely material plane.”

– H. P. Blavatsky,Psychic and Noetic Action

“Concerning the nous that is the source of understanding of individuals, Plato argued that relying on sense perception can never lead to true knowledge, only opinion. Plato’s more philosophical characters argue that nous must somehow perceive truth directly.” [Wikipedia]

“The soul is the Perceiver is assuredly vision itself pure and simple, unmodified, and looks directly upon ideas.”

Plato from Raphael’s The School of Athens

“These two we distinguish as the Higher Manas (Mind or Ego), and the Kama-Manas, i.e., the rational, but earthly or physical intellect of man, encased in, and bound by matter.” 

– H. P. Blavatsky,Psychic and Noetic Action

Harvard trained brain scientist, Jill Bolte Taylor, following her life-altering stroke, had a direct knowing of this powerful duality; what is known in Theosophy as our ‘personal’ and ‘impersonal’ selves.

The enigma is dramatized by Dr. Taylor in her New York Times bestselling book “My Stroke of Insight.” As a brain researcher Dr. Taylor’s focus is neuroanatomical, i.e. the brain’s left and right hemispheres. Below is an excerpt from the TED Talk about the details of her experience:

The Psychic and Noetic

“The all-conscious SELF, that which reincarnates periodically, [is] verily the WORD made flesh, and is always the same! Its reflected “Double,” changing with every new incarnation and personality, is conscious but for a life-period. The Lower Self manifesting through our organic system, acting on this plane of illusion, imagines itself the Ego Sum, and thus falls into the ‘heresy of separateness’.

“The former, we term INDIVIDUALITY, the latter PERSONALITY. From the first proceeds all the noetic element, from the second, the psychic, i.e., ‘terrestrial wisdom’ at best, as it is influenced by all the chaotic stimuli of the human or rather animal passions of the living body.

Jill Bolte Taylor

“The seat of memory is everywhere throughout the human body. To locate it in the brain is to limit and dwarf the Universal Mind and its countless Rays (the Manasaputra) which inform every rational mortal. Materialists sniff contemptuously at the mention of ‘Universal Mind’ and the Higher noetic souls of men.”

“The assumption that the mind is a real being, which can be acted upon by the brain, and which can act on the body through the brain, is the only one compatible with all the facts of experience.” — George T. Ladd, in the Elements of Physiological Psychology.

– H. P. Blavatsky, Psychic and Noetic Action

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Christos Rising

 

EASTER week is always Christianity’s “Jesus week,” and usually finds the secular media waging its annual knee-jerk assault on Christian beliefs.

Neither the media nor Christianity seem to know anything about the real Jesus, so we decided to enter the fray as truth-seekers, backed by ancient mystical teachings.

An old cover of Newsweek features “The Decline and Fall of Christian America, ” and is subtitled “The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become.”

So popular was the article, that runner-up news magazine, bloggers noted, was forced to disable comments on the Jon Meacham lead article.

Meachams’s controversial theme, The End of Christian America, received over 5,000 comments at the time, bloggers reported, “making the site wobbly.”

Continue reading

Murder for God 2

FEW honest and sincere believers have the faintest conception of the history surrounding the early beginnings of the Church.

Almost everyone is familiar with what is recorded in the New Testament concerning the differences of opinion that arose between Peter and Paul. But how many are aware of the fact that this split continued to grow?

For several centuries after the time of Jesus the best and most prominent of the Church Fathers were irreconcilably divided among themselves on issues of basic doctrine.

In order to retain power and authority, the dominant sectarians inaugurated a custom never before known in the recorded annals of religious history — the custom of anathema.

These Churchmen were too narrow and dogmatic in belief to allow room for natural divergences of opinion, which alone could have made of Christianity a vital and healthy organism. The result was a course of action diametrically opposed to the principle of tolerance reflected in the life of their declared inspiration, Jesus of Nazareth.

Having no faith in their capacity to win the adherence of thinking minds, the Church Fathers used anathema for the purpose of “persuading” those who could not be converted — and of silencing those not to be persuaded.

For the millennium “beginning with Buddha and Pythagoras at one end and the Neo-Platonists and Gnostics at the other, is the only focus left in History,” says Mme. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine — (see Holy Heretics) —

“… wherein converge for the last time the bright rays of light streaming from the æons of time gone by, unobscured by the hand of bigotry and fanaticism.” Continue reading

Murder for God 1

Rachel Weisz as Hypatia

THE fourth century was the turning point in the history of the Western world, the period in which Christianity took the form of a strong political organization.

Throttling the old religions, sciences and philosophies, “the Church” arose as a temporal power upon their remains.

At the same time, admiring crowds began gathering at the door of the academy where the learned and unfortunate Hypatia taught.

Hypatia, expounding the doctrines of the divine Plato and Plotinus, thereby impeded the progress of Christian proselytism.

She successfully dissipated the mists of the religious “mysteries” invented by the Christian Fathers, and was therefore considered dangerous.

H. P. Blavatsky writes in Isis Unveiled:

“This alone would have been sufficient to imperil both herself and her followers.”

The city of Alexandria is interesting to the Theosophical student, for there, just fifteen hundred years ago, existed the last great Theosophical School in history — the School which was begun by Ammonius Saccas, (called theodidaktos, or “god-taught”), and ended with the death of Hypatia. Continue reading

Healing the Beast

WHEN acting through human brains and bodies, our minds reveal a complex dual nature — a pivotal tenet of Theosophical psychology.

Mind’s higher aspect gravitates toward spirit, while the natural tendency of its physical reflection is attraction to form and desire.

Broadly considered, what is called higher mind is a soul faculty, our intuitional power source according to Theosophy — it is the “god” in man.

The alter-ego, our personal self, epitomized by the gut and brain consciousness, seems to be a conflicted mix of god and demagogue.

This enigma is dramatized by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor in her New York Times bestseller “My Stroke of Insight.” As a brain researcher Dr. Taylor’s focus is of course anatomical, the left and right hemispheres. (See Love and Fury) Continue reading

Holy Heretics

crocus_snow1IN ANY age, when doctrine becomes dogma, and when fanaticism compels lip service to exclusive group beliefs, the ideas of Theosophy seem buried and forgotten.

We discover, however, that this is never entirely the case.

The insurgencies of dogma and prejudice are like the frozen snows which hide the promise of spring. But seeds survive beneath the snow — and even during the darkest centuries of Western history, there was heat and warmth enough under the surface to allow some of these seeds to germinate.

In a sense, then, the history of the relationship between “heretics” and the “renaissance” is the history of every age.

jung_alchemy

“We do not mean to take upon ourselves to defend the sects which inundated Europe at the eleventh century,” Helena Blavatsky wrote in Isis Unveiled (p. 326), “and which brought to light the most wonderful creeds. We limit our defense….

“…to those Christian sects whose theories were usually grouped under the generic name of Gnosticism. The Gnostics [who] appeared immediately after the alleged crucifixion, and lasted till they were nearly exterminated under the rigorous execution of the Constantinian law.”

Gnostic Mystery Schools
(overview)

“Had not the Christians burdened themselves with the Revelations of a little nation, and accepted the Jehovah of Moses, the Gnostic ideas would never have been termed heresies,” Blavatsky wrote.

“Once relieved of their dogmatic exaggerations the world would have had a religious system based on pure Platonic philosophy, and surely something would then have been gained.” – (Isis Unveiled, p. 155.)

Gnostic gospels of Nag Hamadi

Gnostic gospels of Nag Hamadi

The Lost Gnosis

(Prof. Elaine Pagels)

The Turning-Point

THE days of Constantine were the last turning-point in history, the period of the Supreme struggle that ended in the Western world throttling the old religions in favor of the new one, built on their bodies.

“This period, beginning with Buddha and Pythagoras at the one end and the Neo-Platonists and Gnostics at the other, is the only focus left in History wherein converge for the last time the bright rays of light streaming from the æons of time gone by, unobscured by the hand of bigotry and fanaticism.” (Secret Doctrine I, Introductory)

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The Suppression

THE history of the Albigenses may be said to be written in blood. At first the church was content to condemn their errors at various councils (1165, 1176, 1178, 1179), but as their practical opposition to Rome became stronger, more decided measures were taken. Innocent III had scarcely ascended the papal throne when he sent legates to Toulouse (1198) to endeavor to suppress the sect.

Under the Roman Empire

The bloody war of extermination which followed has scarcely a parallel in history. As town after town was taken, the inhabitants were put to the sword ecclesiastics who were in the army especially distinguished themselves by a bloodthirsty ferocity. without distinction of age or sex, and the numerous

Inquisition4

The establishment of an Inquisition at Languedoc in 1229 accelerated the exterminating process, and a few years later, according to some historians, the sect was all but extinct. (Britannica, 9th Ed., “Albigenses”)

The Inquisition

NOT only were all Christians made to feel that it was their highest duty to aid in the exterminations of heretics, but they were taught that they must denounce them to the authorities, regardless of all consideration, human or divine. No tie of kindred served as an excuse for concealing heresy.

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The son must denounce the father, and the husband was guilty if he did not deliver his wife to a frightful death.

Every human bond was severed by the guilt of heresy — children were taught to desert their parents, and even the sacrament of matrimony could not unite an orthodox wife to a misbelieving husband.

No pledge was to remain unbroken. (Britannica, 11th Ed., “Heresy”)

One Mother-Trunk

GnosticSoul

“We can assert, with entire plausibility, that there is not one of all these sects — Kabalism, Judaism, and our present Christianity included,” writes H. P. Blavatsky (Isis Unveiled 2:123):

“— but sprung from the two main branches of that one mother-trunk, the once universal religion, which antedated the Vedic ages — we speak of that prehistoric Buddhism which later merged into Brahmanism.”

Cracking the Gnostic Code

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Gnosis means spiritual knowledge while Gnosticism was an ancient pre-Christian form of esoteric wisdom. The speaker, John Algeo, refers to Gnostic texts translated by the 19th century Theosophist G. R. S. Mead, Mme. Blavatsky’s Secretary — and shows how the Gnostics coded their wisdom.

This is an hour-long video lecture. You may wish to make a note of the elapsed minutes, and return to this valuable information several times, by sliding the bottom bar to the right.

 

blavatsky

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky ….

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“The world is not prepared yet to understand

… the philosophy of Occult Science – let them assure themselves first of all that there are beings in an invisible world … and that there are hidden powers in man …” (HPB Letters)

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“Races of men differ in spiritual ‘gifts

… as in color, stature, or any other external quality — among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship.” (Isis Unveiled)

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Psychism, with all its allurements and all its dangers

… is necessarily developing among you, and you must beware lest the Psychic outruns the [mental] and spiritual development. Psychic capacities held perfectly under control, checked and directed by the [mind] principle, are valuable aids in development. But these capacities running riot, controlling instead of being controlled, using instead of being used, lead the student into the most dangerous delusions and the certainty of moral destruction.”
(To the American Conventions)

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“The acquisition of the highest knowledge and power

… require not only many years of the severest study …. and an audacity bent by no peril, but also as many years of retreat in comparative solitude, and association with but students pursuing the same object, in a locality where nature itself preserves like the neophyte an absolute and unbroken stillness, if not silence!” –  (H. P. Blavatsky)

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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.

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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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