Tag Archives: service

Death Makes Life Possible

TRUTH and fiction are like oil and water: they will never mix.

We must probe for truth often by plunging beneath the slippery surface of illusion to the life-saving waters below.

Trying to understand the life of Buddha, or any advanced Adept, we confront a mystery — since they do walk the Earth with the rest of us.

We must dig beneath this mystery of  immortality, which is not unlike the puzzle of our own existence in many ways.

Like every human being, Gautama was an incarnation of pure spirit, H. P. Blavatsky wrote, yet he had to experience and learn in a human body, “and to be initiated into the world’s secrets like any other mortal.”

After his enlightenment, she says, “He emerged from His secret recess in the Himâlayas, and preached for the first time in the grove of Benares. The same with Jesus: from the age of twelve to thirty years, when He is found preaching the sermon on the Mount — yet nothing is positively said or known of Him.”

Later, an active aspect of his subtle body with all his hard-won wisdom intact and fully awakened, was attached to the soul of Samkarâchârya, says Blavatsky, “the greatest Vedântic teacher of India.”

But what of ourselves, the great masses of uninitiated humanity? Do we also survive as spirits and gain rebirth in a new human form again, however unenlightened our life might be?

Such is the teaching confirmed by ancient adepts. Knowledge of and a life lived by the tenets of Karma and Reincarnation are critical to our survival, and the future of the planet, Theosophy maintains.

“We are outwardly creatures of but a day — within we are eternal,” Blavatsky wrote:  “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.”

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Silence of Love

THE famous meditation of John Donne, “never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee,” highlights two Theosophical principles:

First, the affirmation that there is no isolation, that nature and all mankind are interconnected — and second, karmic responsibility.

“It’s one thing to fashion a particular work of art, sculpture, painting, a worthy accomplishment,” Thoreau once wrote, “but much greater is the creation of one’s life.”

A compassionate activist tree-sitter Julia Butterfly Hill, took action as taught in The Voice of the Silence, and is surely a living example of Theosophy pure and simple. Julia willingly sacrificed her comfort and well-being, as the Voice counsels, to “help Nature and work on with her.”

“…to exemplify the highest potential imagined, it is the highest of loving artistic accomplishments,” Thoreau believed.


“The divine oneness of life, the just and unerring operations of karma, and our cyclic rebirths here on earth,” Ingrid Van Mater writes in Reflections on the Voice of the Silence, “form the broad canvas on which aspects of human conflicts and possibilities are presented.” 

One of the primary keynotes of the Voice, Van Mater notes, is the “illusion stemming from the ‘heresy of separateness,’ and the discipline and exercise of the paramitas or virtues required of a genuine adept or teacher. These include charity, harmony in word and act, patience, fortitude, and indifference to pleasure and pain.”

“She doesn’t follow any organized religion but says she believes very strongly in the spirituality of the universe.”

Redwoods and Rododendrons

It must have been some inner, instinctual sense of harmony that roused Julia, as she climbed up those ropes into Luna, a 20-story Redwood, to begin her precarious encampment as a human shield in the endangered redwood trees. 

“Such is the quality of commitment, the degree of self-sacrifice of a bodhisattva or Buddha of Compassion,” Van Mater wrote, “who gives himself totally to join those, ‘unthanked and unperceived by man,’ who build and sustain the Guardian Wall protecting mankind, to shield us and this planet ‘invisibly from still worse evils.'”

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Legacy of Love

THE famous meditation of John Donne, “never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee,” highlights two Theosophical principles:

First, the affirmation that there is no isolation, that nature and all mankind are interconnected — and second, karmic responsibility.

“It’s one thing to fashion a particular work of art, sculpture, painting, a worthy accomplishment,” Thoreau once wrote, “but much greater is the creation of one’s life.”

“…to exemplify the highest potential imagined, it is the highest of loving artistic accomplishments,” he believed.

A compassionate activist, Julia Butterfly Hill is a living example of Theosophy pure and simple, took the decisive action taught in The Voice of the Silence — sacrificing  her comfort and well-being to “help Nature and work on with her.”

It must have been a profound inner sense of the sacred that roused Julia, as she climbed up those ropes, to begin a permanent encampment in the endangered redwood trees.

“She doesn’t follow any organized religion but says she believes very strongly in the spirituality of the universe.”

Continue reading

Legacy of Luna

THE famous meditation of John Donne, “never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee,” highlights two Theosophical principles:

First, the affirmation that there is no isolation, that nature and all mankind are interconnected — and second, karmic responsibility.

“It’s one thing to fashion a particular work of art, sculpture, painting, a worthy accomplishment,” Thoreau once wrote, “but much greater is the creation of one’s life.”

“…to exemplify the highest potential imagined, it is the highest of loving artistic accomplishments,” he believed.

A compassionate activist, Julia Butterfly Hill is a living example of Theosophy pure and simple, took the decisive action taught in The Voice of the Silence — sacrificing  her comfort and well-being to “help Nature and work on with her.”

It must have been a profound inner sense of the sacred that roused Julia, as she climbed up those ropes, to begin a permanent encampment in the endangered redwood trees.

“She doesn’t follow any organized religion but says she believes very strongly in the spirituality of the universe.”

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.