A member sent me an e-mail the other day with some interesting and valid criticisms. When someone has something really insightful to say you should listen. This has lead to some pondering and (you guessed it) some questions.
The criticism lay around us acting as a site geared more towards philosophy rather than the practice of traditional theosophy. To that I say touche'. As a member with an opinion speaking to another member I have to say that the thought hit the spot.
All of us here engage in some practice or other, even if we don't call it by that name. Some of us meditate, some use astrology, cards, numbers or and many other means to tap into higher knowledge. In traditional theosophy these are among the means used to communicate with nature and the divine.
So, with that, what works for you, and how do you do it?
I look forward to your thoughts.
Dear Joe ,
Practice is a very vague and a stricture filled word - in enhancing ones individual expansion as with everything an element of love and happiness for whatever is being done has to be there .In things related to an enhanced inner life whilst retaining an end purpose - one can use any method , some are more psychically developed and would go in for dabbling in the hidden sciences leading to honing their talents in Clairvoyance etc . Others yoga and some others research into all these and more and more . What is obviously intended by such (practices ) include I believe a personal development but on a more rarified plane . You or I or anyone for that matter would not be able to re define philosophy as we perceive it in the general - but we can do so in our own inner and more particular way - many people do this and achieve a happy synthesis in their lives and have a life that is both worldly and enriching internally . For me this would be true philosophy as practised by a person - it is obvious to me that many who inhabit this site are people like that . So the worth would be in that ideas (in helping each other ) to be exchanged which are life enhancing and sublime at the same time . It is not bounden upon anyone to accept anothers views in toto - taking whatever is good for their journey and leaving what is not required. I would rather say a kind of mental philanthropy . I cannot imagine at least for myself in the light of my experiences ever bring myself to follow a single thought structure (ie. a strictly eastern or western or Indian or chinese philosophy ) or an author . It doesnt work that way for anyone . We are the happy synthesis of world thoughts gone before
Of course that is not to say that a man cannot be modestly ambitious and work assiduously towards becoming a philosopher of the type whose philosophy gains notice and entry into world philosophy . But not every world philosopher has been a good theosophist or a good theosophist an excellent philosopher due to the very fact that the world cannot bother itself with people of synthesis (which is the individual) and tend to be more happy with conventional stereotypying
with a firm resolution (in a worldly way of thinking ) - This is that !! So I had once a met a man of philosophy who was wandering in the barrenness of Eastern thought and who had a strange aversion to anything connected with or having overtones (his perception) to religion and very dismissive of one of the greatest of intellects in modern times from the western world (I am refering to Soren Kirkegaard ) as rubbish and a that he was a religionist !!. He was explaining to me about the phenomenology of the senses and had an intellect so dense that you cuold almost feel its weight !! and was proud that he had for the past 30 years been coming to India regularly (an insult in my opinion if you ask me ). One normally digs for water where one knows water will be found - it is unheard of digging everywhere to find water .I was naturally unhappy and asked him what his opinion was about Bishop Berkley another fine mind and he told me quite haughtily that again I had no sense or value of the culture I was born in . It was after that I confirmed my suspicion that if the individual is happy then society will be happy . Each man to his own .
The upshot of all this is that it is up to us to see whether it is an end in itself or the means to a greater end and if so what that end would be , would the starting ideals become jaded and forgotten by the accumulation of knowledge leading to a slow corrosion in the soul, a slight hardening of ones first happy ventures into a ever so slight and imperceptible dogma (personal religion) - thus shutting oneself out completely to what could have been a wonderful journey . Largeness of heart and largeness of intellect are both the same thing and does not have any reference to the physical heart and its location or the brain and its location with a struggle to incorporate one in the other !! Never the twain will meet .
The idea and the beauty embodied by the words Philosophy and Theosophy are in the general same - they are mutually accomodative and do merge in each other at the right level of understanding and feeling - any distinctions are an attempt by the puny human intellect that will not work but sleep and needs to be spoon fed by definitions thus assuring the poor unthinking person that he is a thinking animal - another source of happiness and further reason for him not to work !!!
Dear Jessica ,
Practice is the holding of a snake by its middle ,rather than its ends, in the vain hope that it can be controlled .
Dear Jessica ,
It is a kind of ''Thoughtless thought'' which is a very deep silence . Brought about by the total unconditioning of ones intellect of all known ideas , words and feelings . I would object to the using of the idea " no- number" because you are in effect only substituting your idea of a number with another word which is an idea (or understandable object as idea or feeling) within you . These types of negations are not helpful - dependency on ideas show that the mind is still there - the mind refuses to be quiet and forces you to comprehend things only by ideas if the image is not there .
There is a classical example - The description of a non cow would not negate the existence of a cow or its idea . Because its very basis is the word cow , much like athiests have put themselves into a very uncomfortable position - where they have to define athiesm with reference to theism as it is the substratum of the negative word itself. Thus making it infructuous from the very begining . It is wrong to construe any idea as non it would not bring the necessary experiencing knowledge that would negate the word idea which is the substratum for it.
What can be negated is not a reality , on the other hand by what something is negated has to be true and no negation of it should be possible . The words Self,Atman,Brahman,Knowledge,Consciousness,God,Truth,Intelligence,Will,Infinity,Eternal,Silence,Peace etc are not within the scope of an object and hence cannot be negated by another word idea since they do not posses Species,Genus, or Caste or Religion or Hunger,Thirst,Old age , or even names . It is only something which has species , genus etc (ie. Name ,Form and Action) that can be negated as it is transitory phenomenon and would not hold true in the three periods of time (past ,present or Future) for timelessness is an indication of infinity and there for not a phenomena . We know of time only through objects - otherwise it would be unknowable . We can however negate the "Idea of Time'' from within us as it is a result of Phenomenon and if with the passing away of all objects and the finite observers - time would not exist . However the word ''Eternal'' cannot be negated as its ''Word Idea'' precludes negation of the very idea . But if you are interested the word Idea of eternal can be used to negate the idea of time as the former is a non object and the latter is object dependent . This is the way of right negation and unconditioning oneself from error . Knowing negation will not confer any experience for you would be just ''knowing'' another piece of knowledge in lieu of others (but superior as its only aim is liberation or peace etc ). Bu the intensive practice of negation you will attain to a clear intellect which unclouded by errors in perception will reflect the truth of things . This knowledge is right knowledge as the individual ego will dissolve as this knowledge arises and the knower and knowledge become one. To be effective in negation one has to take a top down approach - rooted in the truth one negates what is not true - for that a firm idea of the nature of the self has to be there and a firm belief against all perceptional evidences to the contrary has to be maintained . Meditation is concerned with the self and not the world . One "cogitates" on the world in order that dispassion may be gained and " meditates" on the self .
Just by way of two examples of negation of ideas :
An alphabet is the representation of sound (in particular ) which particular sound in turn is from the sounds in nature (wind, thunder,Crackling of fire, crashing of waves, Lightning, Earthquakes, Crashing of trees etc ) these are the substratum of the particular words we know and these sounds are General as they are natural and in their majesty cover the whole gamut of lesser sounds within them as if we have cut the particular rules by control and rules of inflexion etc . So really speaking as no sound can be represented by alphabets or words as they are only spoken, read or written - ALL representations of sound are false - and hence language is false . Because if we contend that the above reasoning is untrue - you have to understand that there is a serious error involved in that contention for we "assume'' apriori that language came first - it is wrong sound came first and next language , reading and writing next - one only has to go back to ones own childhood and see how it entered ones own life . So what we do by the forgetting of the roots is the letting of our intellect and memory work erroneously with an inbuilt anchronism in it .
When did you learn numbers ? when did you learn to represent them ? every number is the same as again they are representation of an idea through sound . So numbers are false as sound cannot be represented through written numbers. This again is intimately connected with Time and its cognition .Prior to that you had no time . One cannot think that because there is a southern and northern movement of the sun in an annual rotation of the earth round it , and its further divisions as seasons and days and nights are time ..... no never it is only the history of time and some speculation as to its genisis in human memory - for you it is the playing with a clock or your mother or teacher showing you what time is and you have taken it for granted that time is and has always been and a in later years it is validated by the knowledge of how time came into being via history . We lie to ourselves more than we imagine . You have to meditate on that smallest time in you BEFORE the knowledge arose and so on for all knowledges - whre you not there at that time before the knowledge arose ? Are you not still there after the knowledge arose ? So who are you ? Acquired knowledge or something else ? It is this something else that has to be enquired into - everything else are but aids to this .
I absolutely agree 100% with what you have written . You are correct , Please do accept my sincerest apologies if I came out as being obfuscating in my reply . Probably something was lacking from my side . I hope your largeness of heart would however consider this saying
"Nobody is always wrong , even a clock that does not work is right two times a day ''.
Simple : A typist can not type fast until he practiced certain words fast till his brain cells reach to the finger tips. ( like blind people will have brain cells at the finger tips while they observe/ feel the words. Meditation is also a practice where the brain cells moves to wards a point pre determined and then it works . Pendulam also moves in a way if though power is added to it. When nature is all around you who you want to communicate. Astrology tatoo is it a divine knowledge?
Dear JOE ,
YOU WANT HIT THE BULLS EYE with one question. The process taught by MASTERS is to ( GET SOME GUIDE) observer the flow of thoughts which goes wandering all the time and emits different thoughts at different wave lengths.(First step) . Astrological signs , cards, pendulum tricks etc were the out put of the human brain which emits continuously with certain frequency , which can be manipulated with thought power.. Breathe is the most important observation in astrology, and in meditation. Breathe is the churning of the life or prana in the body and is the main controller. The direction of the breathe, quantity, quality is to be observed. It is again your astrological position which brings guide in your search.Second step
Sound is the next important factor during meditation ( secret doctrine) . Few sounds in sanskrit ( sacred chants or words ) and in English create vibrations if spelt at particular frequency. ( Master and the path by C.W Lead beater) Frequency is again connected to musical notes. What happens in the body to be observed and some reference is required. ( know a bit of Human Anotomy and the drug function on the human body) All chants and and all sound does not suit all the humans as all are not born at same wave length and work under same frequency. ( Third step)
Selecting a guide who does not expect any thing from u and he only expects you to be only as giver and not taker from your students is one of the most important in this entire process. In the entire process you will loose your materialist life but gain spiritual life. Having surrounded by many people is the biggest hurdle in spiritual progress. a person should be able to life with most contended life. NO PERSON CAN HAVE FULL MATERIALSIT LIFE AND SPIRITUAL LIFE TOGETHER. ONE SHOULD BE LOST TO GET THE OTHER . This is real and real and the final truth.
A truth seeker will always gets information from any corner of the world to his door steps if he is really true towards his goal. As you earlier said who wants to see master or who want this knowledge which does not fetch dollers$$$.
You can still post comments on this notes
I am the fellow who wrote that this is a site geared towards philosophy rather than the practice of traditional theosophy, although the exact words were not those... these days I don't feel like writing, this is the reason why I have not answered earlier...
first and foremost, I did not mean to criticize, I just tried to give form to a thought
I am very skeptical on any traditional theosophy that one may find in the net... yes, I can download for free ebooks from all traditions that have been translated into English, and this means that I can make my opinion about ideas that are thousands of years old... and this means, too, that I am not within those traditions
I was born within the Roman Catholic tradition and decided to stay in as long as I could breath, so I had the chance to go deeper into it in study and practice than the average Catholic... until I needed fresh air
even when I was a Catholic I distrusted anyone calling himself "traditional" of "traditionalist", prefering to read the classical books instead
(if we need a qualifying for "theosophy", I think that "synthetic" is better than "traditional" ;-)
anyway, I was trying to write about different kinds of thirst: the thirst for understanding, that may be the root of any philosophic effort, and the thirst for God (anyone is allowed to (mis)understand the word "God" at his own risk hehehe) as I have experienced them both, but only one has been quenched, the thirst for God (the reason I use this word is that it is a short one)
... and the thirst for understanding has changed its shape: I don't need anymore to understand, feeling quite comfortable in craziness and although I still long for understanding among people, I am not worried about it, it will come soon, I have seen it with the eyes of faith :-)
anyway, the most important point is to be aware of each one's own need, thirst or longing... when this is clear, the activity or practice needed becames properly focused... so honest reflection is the root practice
have fun today, friends!!!
yes, Joe , but if it's so I can't help thinking that this is not at all traditional, meaning with it to be inside a living tradition... a true tradition is not something that belongs to me, it's me who belongs to the tradition
I just can't think on using a tradition like a tool is used!
I don't mean that this "should not be done", I just mean that it's impossible to me... this may be a consequence of me being born Catalan, a nation that choose culture as a survival strategy in the beginning of XXth century, so when I was a child I could read the books in Catalan from my grandpa, printed before Franco's dictatorship in Spain forbade it, so the feeling that a tradition is something to keep alive for the next generation is quite strong in me
Heaven (to use the Chinese word) decided that I'd receive instruction in the arts of the Tao (internal martial arts) from a competent teacher who belongs to a true lineage of practitioners and teachers: our one-to-one classes in the park were based upon energy transmission, not as a kind of magical thing but as the true mark of the art (hahaha I'll always remember his face when he said for the first time "etheric body" and looked at my reaction) he was aware of the value of the teaching and so am I ... it's something inside, that does help me along the practice, it's alive... when I teach, I try to be faithful to the tradition, not to the form but to what's inside
and, well, I think that we humans need a "new theosophy", that a true theosophy can help to bring real solutions to the problems of the world, but this means a cultural change that most New Age people do not imagine, and to do this we need to go beyond the limits of the past
I think, too, that any true theosophy can only be achieved today through a group effort, a shared effort, and that our personalities cannot actively make theosophy, but learn to receive it
the practice of triangles with the Great Invocation, as explained in Alice A Bailey website http://www.lucistrust.org/en/service_activities/triangles is simple and effective, and the practice of Transmission Meditation as explained in Benjamin Creme website http://www.share-international.org/background/xmission/tm_main.htm is more powerful
these are the practices I recommend :-)
Dear Ferran ,
I understand perfectly what you mean , I do mean it and looking at it you are correct , but I see it in
another way (relating to this site ) there is a common unseen thread running within everyone in this forum and those who have come and gone and of those who will join later - it is a wanting to know more of a ''something'' that cannot be probably put into words an inner urge a certain restlessness that makes them more open to ideas and adventerous to pin point that desire and work their way .More than the commonality or banality of a group who will venture into e commerce sites . There is an understanding that it is a melting pot of Ideas , western,eastern, esoteric ,occult the arts and sciences and personally developed one. So as a group we are like minded , in fact it is very gratifying that there are so many in engaged in a common pursuit despite themselves subscribing to various schools of thought and belonging to various in born denominations . Everyone of us is a ''new theosophy'' as synthesis is achieved within the individual , if a group synthesis based on certain ideas is done we would be no longer ''new'' it would be just old wine in new bottle - this type of group thinkings in theosophy which envisages homogenity or even presupposes it is a sure fire movement to rigdity and counter productive , More over being western you are used to mant ideas on Philosophy and other things - In the east we do not have Philosophers as in the Western world - we have philosophy but no philosophers (including China and other far east countries) - For us philosophy and alos religion are so enmeshed and it is part of our blood , because it is a practised religion and practised philosophy . By which I mean it is part of the person and not separate from him . So it is understandable that the benefits that you have gained from following Tao Chi is very deep and intrinsic and has become you yourself and a path or practice in the western way does not exist , itself has become you and and has led to an enhanced life - it is so in every Eastern Theosophy and Philiosophy and religion - it takes hold of the person and overpowers his will and ego and changes him for ever - You have to understand that this is philosophy for us - if it is unable to merge in the practitioner then there is something wrong in its understanding by the aspirant not the philosophy . Many people from the western world have I met in various ashrams and other societies during my wanderings - and they have very quickly (as with you ) caught on to this fact . All good disciples of a good master is all I can say about them. It might come across to a person so immersed in the spirit of things to get a bit upset or impatient at their less fortunate counterparts in the world who are stragglers , that they are inclining to Philosophy and not theosophy etc etc. These are just words and our impatience - let it be , everyone evolves , to patiently help each other is the only remedy , after all we are all born into this world and it makes no sense to not help another as if he were a long lost friend . Patience my friend . There may be more people than you know who may be immersed in Tao Chi and its ways than you suspect on this forum. Thank you for the practices , I for one will go into it to find the areas of coincidence within me , may probably explain many things unknown.
thanks, but I distrust anyone who says that has understood me perfectly, sorry but this is so hahahaha :-)
in the first part of the writing I just tried to make my position regarding tradition clear, I have to agree, with some success...
of course "there's a common unseen thread running within everyone in this forum" ... now, shall we be bold or crazy enough to aknowledge this fact? (yes, I mean you, admins! hahahaha ;-)
East and West ;-) yes, writing in general terms, Eastern culture does not make philosophy and theosophy separate rooms, but this has been made so through Western history
yes, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, too, are people who went so deep inside that they went beyond this separation, but they are not representatives of mainstream Western thought, and they did not fit into the academical standards of their time
I do not mean at all that theosophy is "better than" philosophy or that people in the spiritual business are "more evolved" than those in any other business, or any "should or should not", it's just that I take long posts as a sign of philosophical inclination hahahahaha ;-)
there's a huge unprecedented cultural change going on undercurrent and my opinion is that spiritual energies are the cause of this change... as I see it, the academical world, like all official institutions, prefers to ignore the fact... the change I mean is that human personality is about to aknowledge the reality of human soul, and I mean the race as a whole (I have seen it as already done in vision)
if we were living according to human nature instead of living through bad habits, theosophy, the access to divine wisdom, would be, like the energy comin' from the Sun, a natural gift of life... and if humanity is to survive until the next century, bad habits are to be changed in this one, yes we can!!!
warm hug, friends!!!
Getting this discussion back to practice...
I use japa/mantra meditation. It is used in the various religions and has no central belief (until one assigns a belief to it).
People who are not religious, including atheists, may use it successfully.
One great advantage is that it is transmission independent. The need for a Guru, teacher etc. is optional.
Regarding the site being too philosophical: We have no central religion or even a doctrine from which to create a dogma. Using words to discuss abstract ideas will appear philosophical. Not surprising people will see it as such
I did not mean that the site is "too philosophical", if I meant this, I would have written it right straight
well, using words to discuss abstract ideas is philosophy, understood according to Western standards, unless my professors lied to me, John... they had not studied Eastern thought, and they were not quite sure whether to call it "philosophy" or not
Hari has made this point quite clear, I think, and I myself feel much more comfortable with the Eastern approach to reality than with the Western one, something that you have already guessed, I imagine
maybe it would be good to study the history of dogmas in the Catholic church to understand what a dogma is, which is the way to become really free of them