The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
October 2001 Vol. 4 Issue 8
All over the world we hear the call to peace, and though it seems impossible to restore it fully at this moment, we have to find out how human beings should behave in order to avoid conflicts in the future. In complicated situations the ideas Helena Petrovna Blavatsky expressed in her books are of enormous value and help. Her central teaching is universal brotherhood. How easy this seems to be, how many times has the word brotherhood been used, and yet how difficult it is to live accordingly!
Where does brotherhood start? The first step – before we do something, invent something, start something new – is a thought. Brotherhood – or peace – and also hatred, conflicts, turmoils, and wars, begin in our minds. The present world situation is a manifestation on the physical plane of all the many wrong thoughts we, as a humanity, have, of all the thoughts that lack peace and brotherly feelings with our fellow beings. We must try to nullify as many wrong thoughts as possible by giving forth only good thoughts to everyone and everything around us. If we succeed in weaving a garment of positive thoughts around us, that will be a protection against evil, just as a warm coat protects us against icy winds. And our actions will follow our thoughts.
Once we no longer give wrong thoughts an opportunity, wars and other conflicts will ebb. Blavatsky and many other authors have given us hints on how to make this dream of peace a reality, pointing out that we ourselves – each one – are responsible for all that is going to happen. At first we can be little centers trying to live according to the ideas of universal brotherhood. And from these centers brotherhood can spread out like waves, finally reaching every corner in the universe. Good thoughts will accumulate and there won't be any room left for evil ones. The future will happen just the way we prepare for it in our minds. If our thoughts become peaceful, the world will become so also. – Elisabeth Dolinek
Life is a hard training school, demanding, but just. Once we feel confident that absolute justice prevails in every aspect of existence and that prompting all life is divine purpose, we are launched on a workable and sound course for living which evolves and deepens as we seek to understand the broad and intricate workings of the universal law of karma, or action and reaction. It is an encouraging thought that everything that happens is of our own making, of our own choice, in this or in some previous incarnation, and also that we have the power to change the quality of a situation by our attitude toward it. The way in which we meet a problem is more meaningful than the problem itself. This aspect, our attitude, applies directly to the philosophy behind the recognition of an opportunity.
It takes the sting out of any adversity to know that it would not have come to us unless there were a need in some way to polish another facet of our nature. Sometimes in retrospect we can understand the changes that came about in our lives as the means by which we received a good jolt and were thereby enabled to start on a road that called forth new qualities and abilities. Time and again this occurs.
Every human being has the inner resources to handle any predicament, and the surmounting of a difficulty, how-ever small a victory it may seem, helps in the fulfillment of one's self-chosen destiny. Opportunities come in many guises. Sometimes what on the surface appears best is not the condition through which we may learn the most. There is often a conflict between what we think we want and what we intuitively know we need, which results from the discrepancy between our imperfect human self and our illumined higher self, or the Knower within.
A good friend, in the winter of her years, each time we ask her how she is, responds enthusiastically, "Ready for anything!" And this is not said idly. Through many a crisis she has lived the wisdom of her words. Remarkably enough, this simple expression combines three essential factors which contribute to making the most of an opportunity: a courageous attitude, an inner acceptance of anything that may occur, and an awareness of the value of living in the fullness of each moment as it comes. – Ingrid Van Mater
"The Mysteries of Time" is our subject, including such questions as: Does time have independent reality, or is it a human construct or a function of consciousness, space, or change? Is it the same everywhere and for all types of beings? Is it linear or cyclical, open-ended or determinate, unidirectional or bi-directional? Do past, present, and future exist, and how are they related? How is it possible to foretell the future? Is time travel possible? 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:
It is universal ideals that the world is aching for today. We need to understand as never before that our responsibilities are not for ourselves alone, not for our own countries alone, but for the whole human family. Territory and trade may be much, national honor may be much, but the general salvation of human society here in this world – that is all.
The most vital need of every people on earth is permanent peace, and to get permanent peace we must create and sustain an international spirit or world patriotism which will come as the result of recognition that what affects one nation, affects all; that as far as one ascends towards the peaks of knowledge and well-being, so far all others will follow, and as deep as one may fall away from its ideals and into national selfishness, to that depth or lower in the nature of things the others will be dragged down too; that each nation must partake of the good and bad karma of all.
The curse of our nations is separateness. We are separated one from another by the imaginary interests of daily life, and competition carried too far is ringing the death knell of our civilization. Money has become such a power as to make men lose sight of their souls and conscience and forget that they are a part of universal life. Our half-interest in ourselves – devotion to the outward selves and ignoring of the inward and real – closes against us the door to those deeper realms of thought where truth abides, and hides away from us the manifestation of the true and beautiful divinity latent within each. The man whose mind is occupied with trying to get control of others that he may stand before the public as powerful and prosperous – that man is, from his soul's standpoint, in his death throes.
Fear and apprehension of war are becoming a chronic disease among all so-called civilized peoples: an old disease that hangs on and will never be healed until the world discovers the secret of true patriotism. There is no nobility in fear. It is a thing born wholly in the realms of personality, smallness, and selfishness, and has nothing to do at all with the higher self which is the hero in man. No individual and no nation can make the slightest progress upwards until fear has been eliminated from his or its being. For the great power of the divine universe is in every human heart, even the most wretched and unfortunate, and it does not take a life-time, it does not take a year, for a man to discover the god within himself. If he has the courage to face the issues, he may find it in a moment of time.
The soul of a nation – the living essence of its being – is the aggregation of its thoughts, feelings, actions, and ideals, backed by the divine quality of the god within. To the degree that the people of any country nourish their national soul with thought of that spiritual and godlike kind, to that degree their country is protected, impregnable, beyond the reach of violation. Hug to your mind and heart the old contemptible fallacy that moral victories can be won by force and you will go on being duped by foolishness and creating misery for yourself by sowing the seeds of war.
We forget that a future awaits us – verily the gods await us – and that there are more lives to be lived than this one. We ignore the spiritual will in man and that godlike part of our own nature which now more than ever should be brought into action, for this is the beginning of a cycle, a pivotal time in human history. Every age has its keynote: there was a period of political and religious despotism; this is one of inquiry, growth, and doubt. In proportion as we attain understanding of truth now, the evils that afflict the world will be eradicated as the cycle proceeds on its course. We are building the civilization of the future, and it is the first duty of the human race today to see that the building is nobly done..