1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
Jan Willem van Zuyden, The Hague, the Netherlands. Member since 2008.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
From the moment, I became a member of the Theosophical Society Point Loma The Hague, I got involved with activities which have been growing in number over time. The possibility to learn and develop, and later teach new faculties to use for spreading Theosophy is of great value in our organization. This even involves things I had never expected to learn, like maintaining the websites www.blavatskyhouse.org & www.stichtingisis.org , which is quite special for someone like me, who once threw his keyboard out of the window, frustrated, due to a lack of computer knowledge.
Furthermore, I’m one of the editors of our magazine Lucifer the Light-bringer ; board member in the I.S.I.S. foundation; involved in the PR; the printing-on-demand and book production; the recording of our lectures and participant in the symposium-working party. We come together every Saturday morning to prepare our two-day symposium on May 20 and 21 with this year’s theme: Compassion and Wisdom – keys to a harmonious and healthy world. And most recently I contribute to the course Thinking Differently which we started this year in English.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
Through my good friend Erwin Bomas, who once asked me to join him for a lecture. “Bouke, I think this might be something for you too”’ he said. Later I heard that I had been nodding all through the lecture. This is how I’d been thinking all the time without being aware of it! It felt like coming home, and it still feels like that.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Everything. A way of living, a philosophy of life which is unthinkable not to be present in my life anymore. It’s an invaluable vision that enables you to discern illusion from reality, obviously to a certain extent, and make right choices.
It is the awareness of being a Devine stream of consciousness that gives you a ‘shining armor', as Katherine Tingley puts it, to deal with all situations in life. The strength you feel when you stand up for injustice, the calmness you experience and radiate to others that there is nothing to fear for that doesn’t belong to you. People wonder sometimes and ask “how can you be that positive all the time?” That is the best moment to start a conversation about Theosophy!
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
Golden Precepts of G. de Purucker. This little jewel, based on the The Voice of the Silence of H. P Blavatsky is of tremendous help for those who are having difficult times. It speaks right to the Heart and makes that part resonate in you that is immortal and free from suffering. It is written in such a way that you can give it as a present to someone who’s not a Theosophist yet, which is really nice.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
Reaching out to the public at large on their range of interest, without compromising the teachings. I think this is our biggest and hardest task we are facing at the moment. Keeping Theosophy alive. On the one hand, we have to reach out to the people, attracting their attention, while on the other hand we have to keep the teachings pure and unaltered. I think the best way connecting with the public is to provide answers on life questions people have. This means we must look for the problems people are facing and translate Theosophical principles into practical solutions. By practical I don’t mean physical help in the first place, but giving a vision that enables people to help themselves.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
Yes: being a strong nucleus by forming that bundle of sticks H.P.B. talks about. I’ve attended the Conferences of ITC since 2010, and I think it is a wonderful platform to form this bundle of sticks among the various Theosophical organizations and lodges worldwide, by helping each other and exchanging ideas how to give Theosophy its rightful place in the world.
From the editor:
Opinions and ideas expressed in the mini-interviews are exclusively of those who are being interviewed. They don’t necessarily represent the ideas and opinions of the compilers of Theosophy Forward. The responses of the interviewees are not edited for content. Some contributors give short answers to the questions while others touch upon the subject more elaborately.