The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
May 2006 -- Vol. 9 Issue 3
On Saturday May 6 a free family event, the "Colors of Our Community" Festival, will be held at Bellevue Community College from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the main campus, 3000 Landerholm Circle SE, Bellevue. It will include an Interfaith Fair featuring local faith and interfaith groups. Organized largely by BCC students, the multicultural festival will also present world music and dance performances, foods from around the world, a multicultural film festival featuring local directors, and arts and craft vendors. Parades at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. will include a Chinese Lion Dance, the Bellevue-based Show Brazil! Dancers, martial arts performers, a Filipino Drill Team, as well as a number of BCC cultural student clubs. The Kids Fair will have displays and activities for children, and exhibits on health, literacy, and child safety for parents. Free ID cards for children from law enforcement agencies, tours of fire engines, salsa lessons from Mexican dancers, child singers and songwriters, a Native American story teller, and an African musical group will be featured as well. For more information, contact BCC Student Programs at (425) 564-6150. -- Sally Dougherty
In April John and Alex Rau of Rodney, Michigan, were appointed National Secretaries of the American Section. Longtime members, John and Alex for the last seven years have been at the heart of the Great Lakes Branch, giving lectures, holding discussion groups, meeting with prisoners, and publishing the Kali Yuga Rag. Several of us have had the pleasure of meeting and corresponding with them, and we look forward to working with them more closely.
We would also like to express our gratitude to Alan E. Donant, the retiring Secretary, who helped us form the Northwest Branch and who has assisted and encouraged us over these last ten years. We wish him well with his many continuing responsibilities at the international headquarters.
Just what is the direct road to wisdom? I think that this is the most important topic of thought that can be addressed today. Is anyone able clearly to define what this direct road to wisdom is, as contrasted with what I may call the indirect road?
The indirect road may otherwise be described as the road leading into our consciousness from outside ourselves: the road of instruction, the usual way of the churches and lecture halls; helpful perhaps, stimulating it may be, to certain minds at times; but can we really define this road or path as the road to wisdom?
The direct road to wisdom is the road or path of inner light, understanding, arising from inner striving and experience; and it has been outlined, at least briefly, by every one of the great teachers of the human race. It might otherwise be described in mystical phrasing as achieved when the man himself becomes at one -- more or less in fullness -- with the god within himself. This is the direct road.
What ails the world today? What is the cause of its manifold inner troubles, of its hesitancies, of its loss of confidence? The answer lies in the fact that people are largely inwardly empty; as multitudes and as individuals: there is no inner fullness from which to give to others, no inner and filled richness of understanding through and by which we may receive and solve the problems confronting humanity, and thus wisely help ourselves and others.
To do our utmost to fill this emptiness in human hearts, more than anything else I believe to be our duty: to point to the direct path to wisdom, to make the inner emptiness a filled richness, a richness of wisdom and of quick and understanding sympathy, so that by it people's lives may become grand and strong and true. Then we shall work justice, and gentle reason will preside in all our doings. Much if not all of human ignorance will then have fled; the light of wisdom will guide our steps. -- G. de Purucker
This month "Wisdom: The Understanding Heart" is our subject. We will be discussing such questions as: What is wisdom, and how does it differ from knowledge and intelligence? How can we acquire it? Why do we say that emotion, intuition, and spiritual impulses are located in the heart rather than the head? Is there any scientific basis for this symbolism? Should we be guided in life more by our intuition or our reason? What is the role of experience? Who are we, essentially, as human beings? How can we join our different types of awareness together in a holistic way? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge
Upcoming TopicsJune 8: Our Kinship with the Stars
The topics for the monthly discussions are chosen by members of the Northwest Branch. If there is a subject that particularly interests you, or if you have ideas or suggestions about the meetings, please do not hesitate to email or mail them to the Branch or to mention them after the meetings.
"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
Wisdom. Knowledge. These are often used interchangeably, but are they the same? The dictionary defines wisdom as discernment or insight and knowledge as acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles. It seems possible to know a great many things but not fully integrate them into our daily lives. We may know the difference between right and wrong but not have the ability to "discern" between them. We must understand the differences, I may even say the far-reaching effects of them, to be able to incorporate them seamlessly into our lives. Until then we may act as little children who have knowledge of right and wrong in many cases but not fully ingrained enough to actually make it a force in their lives.
There is a path which leads to the heart of the universe. Different for every one of us, it is our journey through life, which is wider and longer than this single earthly lifetime. On this path we learn who we are, what we are doing here, and where we are going. In some ways it is ironic that we learn from ourselves and not from others. Others may point the way, but it is we who actually inculcate the knowledge and develop the wisdom to climb our mountain path. We use our inner faculties to separate useful information from what we discard along the way. In this fashion we put together concepts from different sources, find relations between them, and use them to build our knowledge and grow our wisdom.
In our spiritual course through the universe we have available to us our various vehicles of expression, intuitional, intellectual, emotional, and so forth. Generally they are divided into heart and mind. Now these are not the physical organs we normally associate with those terms, but their spiritual counter-parts which are seated in the physical organs. They are part of what ties the part of us we can see with the part of us we cannot see. We have a vast and varied composition, not limited to the purely physical being we normally think of as ourselves. The heart and mind are where we respectively store our under-standing and knowledge.
Understanding indicates that we have grasped the significance, implications, or importance of something. We may comprehend some piece of knowledge well enough to see its impact on our life and the lives of others. We can see the implications of choices, how certain actions may affect others. Understanding also conveys accepting something or someone sympathetically. Often when we see how our actions may affect someone, and we ourselves have experienced that same effect, we are enlightened with an understanding of how our actions actually affect other people, beings, and things.
Somewhere deep inside us this knowledge is transformed into understanding and inculcated into our hearts as a way of life. The next time we come across similar situations, through our wisdom we are able to apply principles that allow us to work more in harmony with nature, rather than against her. H. P. Blavatsky wrote: "Help Nature and work on with her; and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance. . . . To live to benefit mankind is the first step."
Through careful observation and vigilant attention to our thoughts and actions we will become more meaningful and considerate creators of our own lives, and more unselfish forces in others' lives. It is our path, and we each are literally the path we seek. We are already there, we have nowhere to go but within ourselves for answers to the perplexing questions of Life. We have the answers. Our highest spiritual essence, connected to the divine source of All, is constantly at our disposal. We only have to ask, in a diligent, honest, and unselfish manner, and it will be answered. Knock, and it will be opened unto us! The Delphic Oracle rings true by simultaneously instructing and cautioning us: "Know thyself!"
What a comfort to know that we are divinity at our innermost! We have only to see past the veil to the true meaning and essence of life. We are all interconnected in one universal brotherhood. Race, sex, age, religion, are all effectually inconsequential. We must let the Oneness reign supreme in our lives. The Golden Rule is golden because of the heartfelt wisdom it imparts. Every religion has it version; from Native American to Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, all evoke the same tenet: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. This is possible only with an understanding heart.
All truly wise thoughts have already been thought thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience. -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe