The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
July 1998 Vol. 1 Issue 5
The lamp we light in the night has a wick which is small and oil which is very little. But there is no timidness in its tiny flame, burning as it is in the heart of an immense darkness, for the truth of the light, which sustains it, is infinite. -- Rabindranath Tagore
What is something constructive anyone can do, regardless of location, time, education, wealth, or belief? "Know yourself!" was the motto inscribed above the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, one of the holiest sites of the ancient world, and it remains excellent advice today.
One reason for trying to "know ourselves" is that people are very complex, with contradictory motives and desires. To effectively control our life and habits, we need to accurately evaluate these various impulses, and integrate into a balanced whole our various "selves" -- physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
However, there is more to knowing ourselves than setting our day-to-day consciousness in order. Theosophically, each entity is a spark of divinity, an expression of the divine Cause that lies behind the universe. This central spiritual core extends a thread or ray of itself to the furthest reaches of its being, uniting every aspect of our "self" with every other and with its divine parent. We can follow this divine thread inward as far as our capacity of consciousness allows, toward the central point of ourself and equally of the universe. Going farther, we eventually experience divinity in ever fuller measure.
Thus, each individual is a miniature of the whole, a microcosm of the greater cosmos. As a drop of water reflects its surroundings as if it contained heaven and earth, each of us possesses, latent or expressed, all the qualities of the universe. Looking within, we discover infinite vistas of spirit and matter, good and evil, potential progress and retrogression. From this perspective, to know ourselves fully is to know all things terrestrial, spiritual, and in between.
This endeavor does not require books or props of any type. The opportunity is always there to examine and exercise control over the various portions of our being and discover their possibilities and limitations. At any moment we may consider our motives and actions, still the chatter of our everyday mind, deliberately choose our thoughts, or analyze the many facets of our consciousness. In doing so, we find ourselves farther along that ancient, "still, small path" that leads to the heart of the universe by leading to the heart of ourselves.
The Theosophy Northwest website has added several publications, including:
Find these books, and links to many other online theosophical publications, at
This month our subject is "How Can We Find Truth?" We will be discussing such questions as: What is truth, and how is it related to science, philosophy, religion, and our own experience? Is it the same for all people, or does each one have his or her own truth -- or both? What is the best way to seek for truth, and how can we use what we find to help ourselves and others? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
The Theosophical Society does not present as dogma or creed any particular beliefs, and its members only need to accept universal brotherhood and pledge to make it a living force in their lives. The Society does, however, offer for consideration a body of concepts found in the world's great religions, philosophies, myths, and sciences. Several of these key ideas are sometimes presented as "seven jewels" of wisdom:
Karma:The universal law of cause and effect, which acts everywhere to restore harmony. It allows us to learn from always meeting the results of our choices. From this perspective, each of us is responsible for our fate and personality because our thoughts, attitudes, and acts create our present and future. Everything that happens to us is the result of our past actions and character, and whether unpleasant or desirable, these circumstances provide us with the very opportunities we most need to learn and grow. Because we determine our future by our actions and reactions now, we can control our fate.
Reincarnation:Human beings are essentially spiritual beings who live many times, growing and learning from experience. Our personality in each of earth-life is like one of many pearls strung on the thread of our imperishable individuality. Because we return to earth to meet the events and people we knew before, there is always another chance to improve ourselves and to make amends to others. Throughout history and today, belief in reimbodiment has been widespread.
Hierarchies: As it is above, so it is below, among the countless interblending states and beings that form our living universe. From the subatomic to the supergalatic, everything at its heart is an evolving center of consciousness. Life and consciousness are everywhere, and all are developing as integral parts of greater beings and in turn are constructed of smaller lives. No being can exist for itself alone, because all are essentially one; separateness is only apparent. For this reason, essential oneness is the fundamental law of the cosmos, and universal brotherhood the keynote of human advancement.
Cyclic Evolution: Nature expresses itself through duality and rhythmic pulsation, so that every entity evolves forth its inner potentials during endless cycles of activity and rest. In infinite space, universes, stars, planets, and their inhabitants come forth into manifestation, cycling from spirit into matter and back into spirit again. These beings then disappear into the inner worlds for periods of rest and assimilation before beginning a new eon of material evolution. The same cycle illustrates human experience, where we live from birth to death, and then undertake wonderful adventures in inner worlds, returning to be born again on earth.
Individuality: Each being is the expression of its unique selfhood. Its present status is the result of ages of self-development. All evolution comes forth from within the individual, from the innate urge of its inner divinity. Evolution is not a process of adding factors from outside, but of gradually evoking forth what is latent within.
The Two Paths: The age-old struggle between selfishness and altruism centers on our aspirations and the choices we make in our daily life -- between caring most about ourselves or about others' welfare. Whether we climb the path of spiritual development or descend along the egocentric path that will eventually result in our destruction depends upon the motives and habits we cultivate now. Even those pursuing spiritual growth must choose between being self-absorbed or focused on the good of all.
Self-Knowledge: As said on page one, we can attain all knowledge through self-knowledge because divinity is at the core of our being. Every part mirrors the whole, containing all its capacities in potential. So whether we search by looking outside or within us, we will eventually achieve the goal of human evolution: self-conscious unity with the heart of the universe.
Light for the mind, love for the heart, understanding for the intellect: all three must be satisfied in every man before he has real peace. -- G. de Purucker