January 2015 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the January 2015 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
“A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! This seems easy enough to say, and everyone expects some such greeting. Yet, whether the wish, though it may proceed from a sincere heart, is likely to be realized even in the case of the few—is more difficult to decide. According to our theosophical tenets, every man or woman is endowed, more or less, with a magnetic potentiality, which when helped by a sincere, and especially by an intense and indomitable will—is the most effective of magic levers placed by Nature in human hands—for woe as for weal. Let us then, Theosophists, use that will to send a sincere greeting and a wish of good luck for the New Year to every living creature under the sun—enemies and relentless traducers included. Let us try and feel especially kindly and forgiving to our foes and persecutors, honest or dishonest, lest some of us should send unconsciously an “evil eye” greeting instead of a blessing.”
H. P. Blavatsky
“May no further karma attach to those who have sinned last year in thought as well as in deed. Personally they are forgiven. Let a new year and new hopes begin for them.”
Significance of The New Year
“.... let no one imagine that it is a mere fancy, the attaching of importance to the birth of the year. The earth passes through its definite phases and man with it; and as a day can be coloured so can a year. The astral life of the earth is young and strong between Christmas and Easter. Those who form their wishes now will have added strength to fulfil them consistently.”
H. P. Blavatsky
The Illumined Mind
International President, Theosophical Society
Reprinted from Theosophy
in Australia 2014 November Edition
We have descended, we have ‘involved’ ourselves into matter, and now we are at a juncture where something is changing. I am going to try to focus on where we find ourselves now, and pick it up from that point of the arc. What does that mean, and how do we respond to this particular stage in the cycle? Part of my title is about illumination; often we think of it as a specific moment when something occurs and suddenly we find ourselves, like a light-bulb, illumined. That is accurate. However, it is also a process that brings us to this particular moment of awakening. Often in theosophical terms we think of human transformation as a sudden instant, which, again, is correct, but there is also a process that is involved in arriving at this time.
Where do we find ourselves now? What is our situation? When I was younger I would listen to my father or uncles tell a story and, after they were just a few words into it, I would realise this was the same story I had been hearing all of my life. I would have to pretend as if the story was brand new, even though from the start I would know where it was going to end. As time goes on, they say that we become our parents. In my theosophical thinking I find myself arriving at a place that seems to have great importance for me, that until I can grasp this particular point, everything else around it seems to be just information. This information may be interesting, or metaphysical, and if you say it in the right place you may impress somebody and they will think you are profound. But, beyond all that, it is just more information until we find the context that gives it meaning.
For us as human beings there is an essential problem. If we could resolve it, then all other things would fall into place. It begins with something that H.P. Blavatsky talked about in her three fundamental Propositions. She spoke about the pilgrim soul and an obligatory pilgrimage that must be made. It is through reincarnation – the repetitive cycles of birth, death and rebirth – that this pilgrim soul evolves. The process is where we lose our way. The attempt to provide some direction in this process is the basis for all of the world’s religions, for the profound teachings of Theosophy. What do we do to interrupt this cycle of repetitive births and rebirths, of different varieties of suffering in this life, different bodies in which we put so much effort into figuring out ways to cause harm to ourselves and others?
The process begins for us when a soul comes into a body. Some of us may be familiar with the Egyptian story of the coffin that Seth built for Osiris. It fitted Osiris’ body exactly. Seth tricked the god Osiris to enter into the coffin, closed it around him, and removed him from the royal house. On one level the story describes the soul’s entrance into a body. Once we enter, it is very much like entering into a coffin in the sense that we become cut off from something – the Divine, our spiritual Source. Life after life we find ourselves incarnating in this way, but what happens thereafter is where we become perplexed. The problem we face as spiritual beings working through a material body is one of false identity. In this process of birth we take on not just one, but multiple false identities.
A soul is without gender, nationality, political party, or religion, but at the time of incarnation the first thing that is declared is the gender. ‘It’s a boy’, or ‘It’s a girl.’ From that moment forward there is an expectation for a limited range of self-expression, and if you want to try to act differently, in whatever culture you are from, you will face severe restrictions. Thus incarnation has its consequences. We take on, and then accept, a variety of identities.
The good part about it is that this ever-expanding ‘I’ has certain limitations. There will necessarily come a time for every person when an intense dissatisfaction becomes the characterising frame of mind that plagues the heart. This is a good thing because out of that dissatisfaction comes the necessary next stage where we now find ourselves. We become seekers for happiness, for Truth, for something that we call by many names.
In the initial stages, what we are really seeking is something to fill our sense of emptiness that will stop the feeling of dissatisfaction. Often it expresses itself as a desire for freedom. What begins as a ‘freedom from’, grows into another sense of freedom, a ‘freedom to’. This becomes the experience in normal human living – a freedom to love, to be kind, to be open; these are the ones that seem to have some lasting meaning.
One of the fundamental ideas of Buddhism is that every sentient being is searching for happiness, whether it is an ant or a mountain lion. We all are. There are some things that give very short inputs, not lasting, but as we mature and develop we start to realise that there are certain experiences which lead to a happiness which can be repeated.
In 2011 the Dalai Lama visited us in Chicago. One thing he said impressed me. He made the comment that one of the results of his training and practice is that now, most of the time, he is quite happy. To me, this statement was remarkable in its simplicity. To be happy most of the time does not seem like such a demanding goal. Here we have something we can attain. This happiness can be repeated as we embrace certain ways of being. We recognise that it is our state of mind and behaviours that bring it about.
What is a human being? As defined by H.P. Blavatsky, it is highest spirit and lowest matter, linked by the mind. This is simple, but profoundly important. If we ever gain some understanding of this definition, then it becomes clear where it is that our work in this life must take place. It takes place in the linking ground – the mind. This bridge of mind linking the poles of spirit and matter is what makes us human.
In the countless details that we call our life, we should try to never lose sight of the fact that there is something much more profound lying on the other side of that. The problem for us is we cannot reach it unless we attend to these details properly. The only thing I would do is to encourage you, as I encourage myself daily, to remember what lies beyond. Everybody has seen it, and felt it, just remember. That is enough.
The above is an extract from an article in the August 2014 issue of The Theosophist. The full article can be read at: http://www.ts-adyar.org/node/307 .
Annual January Talks
One of the annual talks is on the Purpose of The Theosophical Society. This talk reminds us why the Society was founded in 1875 by Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott. More importantly, we are reminded of the words of the Great Ones on the true purpose of The Theosophical Society. Understanding the purpose of the Society is important if the Singapore Lodge, as a part of this great worldwide movement, is to contribute to the noble ideals of the Society. We must realize our specific mission. As this talk will be given on 24 January 2015 when we celebrate our 126th anniversary, you have one more good reason to come and join us in our celebration.
For those who are interested to know more about clairvoyance and psychic abilities, you may wish to attend the talk on The Nature of Psychic Abilities on 3 January 2015. In this talk we will realize that the unfoldment of psychic powers is a natural process in evolution.
Another annual talk which is intended exclusively for members is The Occult Hierarchy. As students of theosophy, we know that just as there are many below us climbing the ladder of evolution, there are also many above us, way ahead of the mass of humanity, who have achieved perfection—the Adepts. We also know that amid the seeming chaos in the world, there is perfect law and order supervised by the Inner Government of the World. In this talk we learn about the quest for perfection and the august fraternity of humanity who have reached the other shore—The Masters and The Path. This talk is scheduled for 17 January 2015. Don’t miss it if you are a student of occultism.
Let’s Celebrate Our 126th Anniversary
The Singapore Lodge Theosophical Society was formed by Col. H.S. Olcott on January 24, 1889. Many of us may not realise that we have been in existence for 126 years! As a matter of fact, the Singapore Lodge was formed only 14 years after the founding of the parent Theosophical Society in 1875.
To commemorate this momentous occasion, we are gathering together on Saturday, 24 January 2015, to have an anniversary bash. On this day, we shall remind ourselves of the Purpose of the Theosophical Society and reaffirm our dedication to it.
This is one of our most important days in the year. Do come and join the merriment and rejoice together. Remember, it will be on Saturday, 24 January 2015 at 5 p.m.