The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
January 2001 Vol. 3 Issue 11
This solstitial birth-time creates auspicious conditions for a confrontation with ourselves, challenging us to rise above the petty, mean, and superficial to the "great fundamental measures of the universe and life." Truly are we participants in a cosmic drama in which the sun and its family of planets, and all the heavenly hosts, are involved. For what we are celebrating is not only the reassurance of our daystar's life-giving warmth as it starts once again on its northward journey but, in very truth, the affirmation of the constancy of the real sun that is its heart. No wonder there is cause for rejoicing as in midwinter festivals of old, which were accompanied by the lighting of bonfires, symbolic not only of revitalizing solar power but of ever-lasting divine life.
In ancient times sacred days were connected with the four seasonal cross-points of the year, and the festivities were designed to quicken the inner consciousness and awaken a feeling of kinship with the whole of nature. Of these celebrations, the winter solstice remains today the crowning-point of the year. In its association with the birth of saviors and the bringing out of the god in every man, it is testifying to the triumph of the light of compassion over the darkness of ignorance and selfishness. It reminds us that there are sunlit peaks above the shadowy valleys of life's experiences, and that the divine fire within every human heart, central to all life, is a constant source of inspiration and strength.
Each of us, as an inseparable part of universal life, is inwardly that pathway leading to the heart of the sun, and one day will become a "Son of the Sun," as saviors of mankind have been called throughout the ages – those Great Ones such as the Christ and the Buddha who were suffused with the radiance of the Sol Invictus or Unconquered Sun of Mithraic and Roman tradition.
As we enter the new year, we could wish that something of the magic of Christmas, made manifest by the countless gestures of good will and expressions of the best in us, might continue undiminished. Just as the sun sheds its light on each new day, so we may find illumination, inner strength, and joy in a larger vision of our divine purpose and of our oneness with nature's compassionate heart. – Ingrid Van Mater
Matter is but inherent energies or powers or faculties of kosmical beings, unfolded, rolled out, and self-expressed. It is the nether and lowest pole of what the original and originating spirit is; for spirit is the primal or original pole of the evolutionary activity which brought forth through its own inherent energies the appearance or manifestation in the kosmic spaces of the vast aggregate of hierarchies. Between the originant or spirit and the resultant or matter, there is all the vast range of hierarchical stages or steps, thus forming the ladder of life or the ladder of being of any one such hierarchy. When theosophists speak of spirit and substance, of which latter matter and energy or force are the physicalized expressions, we must remember that all these terms are abstractions – generalized expressions for hosts of entities manifesting aggregatively. The whole process of evolution is the raising of units of essential matter, life-atoms, into becoming at one with their spiritual and inmost essence.
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What peace it brings to one's heart, to know that the entire universe is filled full with conscious sentient beings, and that everything around one is as much living as I am, as you are; that there is an infinite and a universal brotherhood among all beings, that there are no separations, no divisions, anywhere; that what man thinks, he thinks because the god within him thinks, and his human brain receives the divine thought, and interprets it humanly; and as we human beings evolve, we can interpret these divine thoughts of the divine thinker within, more and more perfectly, as evolution, growth, development, bring them out. – G. de Purucker
Monthly Discussion Group
"Is Life Everywhere?" is our subject. We will discuss such questions as: What is life? Is it adequately defined by the scientific distinction between organic and inorganic, or is it more comprehensive? What are the relationships between the visible and the invisible, between physical matter and energy, life, spirit, and consciousness? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
The topics for the monthly discussion group for the next few months are:
As I was pondering the irrationalities of man, his unaccountable contrarieties, a sentence recently read came to mind: "every atom and molecule in the Universe is both life-giving and death-giving . . ." This is it, I thought, a key to the polar extremes, the duality observable everywhere, and particularly in human nature. It was sobering to reflect further on the complex interweaving of destinies, of influence and responsibility of even a single atom upon every other atom throughout the cosmos. To grasp at least something of the continuous flux and ebb of the life-force in its variety of expressions, one should read the sentence in context:
Each particle – whether you call it organic or inorganic – is a life. Every atom and molecule in the Universe is both life-giving and death-giving to that form, inasmuch as it builds by aggregation universes and the ephemeral vehicles ready to receive the transmigrating soul, and as eternally destroys and changes the forms and expels those souls from their temporary abodes. It creates and kills; it is self-generating and self-destroying; it brings into being, and annihilates, that mystery of mysteries – the living body of man, animal, or plant, every second in time and space; and it generates equally life and death, beauty and ugliness, good and bad, and even the agreeable and disagreeable, the beneficent and maleficent sensations. It is that mysterious LIFE, represented collectively by countless myriads of lives . . . – H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine 1:261
Wherever we look in nature, there is the same outpouring and withdrawal, the same rhythmic expansion and contraction: behind and within the external is the innate power, the invisible x-factor of consciousness, eternally building and eternally destroying, bringing into activity and casting aside form after form. In this way the "mysterious LIFE" fulfills its dual role of quickening the "countless myriads" of lesser entities into fuller awareness while the god-spark within is gaining in breadth of experience until eventually it attains the stature of divinity. The potential of Brahman, verily, is in every point of life.
The birth and death cycle is easy to detect in our physical bodies: for example, when the destructive energies, let us say, gain the upper hand at the expense of the constructive, we have the wasting diseases; and vice versa, when the building forces take on more than is their rightful task, we have tumors, benign and malignant. The analogy is even more apt when applied to our personal lives. By our thoughts and feelings we are either creators or destroyers; inevitably so, for inner health is dependent upon the proper balance between the impulse to dispose of that which is outgrown, and the impulse to regenerate, to renew that which is essential for progress – in private character and in our associations with others.
But let us beware lest we find ourselves becoming unconscious destroyers of soul-force, rather than destroyers merely of the vehicles that have seen their day. When we cannot forgive, and harbor ill-will and resentment, by so much are we death-dealing, retarding the transformation of negative elements into life-building energies. Conversely, when we can empty our natures of that which is mean and limiting, we are creators, life-givers – to ourselves and our fellow men, for there is no living unto oneself alone. Thoughts and emotions of whatever kind circulate swiftly through the inner atmosphere of earth, to return in kind upon the individual, and upon the nations and races, that sent them forth, degrading or uplifting untold numbers responsive to the same wavelength.
Life, the great leveler and teacher, fortunately brings to all of us just those intermeshings of personalities and events that will deepen our sympathies and help us awaken to the need every moment consciously to be life-giving rather than death-dealing, to add warmth and understanding instead of mistrust. Once we learn the art of living closer to the center of life, to the heart of our being whence love and wisdom spring, though temperament and mental approach be ever so different we will know our brother as ourselves. There will be few problems that patience and understanding cannot solve, for "between hearts and hearts are ways."