Halldór Haraldsson - Iceland
Besides the two classical definitions of the word “Theosophy”: the absolute and the relative, it seems to me that this question indicates a practical meaning. The former refers to theosophy as the living reality, the ultimate goal for each individual: a transformation of consciousness, and the latter to theosophical teachings: knowledge sometimes referred to as the Ancient Wisdom. In the very first object of the TS from 1875 the emphasis is on knowledge, but when the objects became three in 1896 the first one added great importance, both in regard to the brotherhood of man and to human rights “without distinction to race, creed, sex, caste and colour.” Although stated so long ago this was ahead of its time and is now of paramount importance in the situation of the world we live in today.
Now the brotherhood ideal seems far away and there does not seem to be much understanding and tolerance between people of various cultural and religious backgrounds. Still, there are many positive powers at work. At the same time their work is reaping more understanding, unity and peace, the powers of fundamentalism increase in their fanatic attitudes when they realize they are losing their grip. As has been pointed out, we don’t find the roots of the difficulties in what appears, but in the mind of every human being. Here we come to Krishnamurti’s words: “You are the world and the world is you.” The real root is to be found in the ’I-process.’ As Robert Linssen said: “All our social, religious and moral structures are based on the reality of the ‘I-process’ whose expression in all domains they encourage. The fundamental notion of the impermanence of the ‘I-process’ leads man to an attitude of detachment, both from himself and from other things.”
In Krishnamurti’s teaching and various theosophical teachings we have the means to heal man’s sickness. It is important to gain knowledge, but the main thing is how we live. As it may take some time for us to reach transformation of consciousness, we have meanwhile to increase understanding and try to make these things a living force in our world before that ultimate goal is reached. But - how?
There is no question that the work of the TS in the world today has its effect outside its borders: meetings, workshops, conferences, books, CDs, DVDs, lecture- and discussion-programs for the internet reach many outside the society. But besides that we have allies in many interesting things happening nowadays that support our views. Psychologists in many countries have accepted the practice of mindfulness-meditation with very positive results; discoveries in physics support some of the teachings of the ancient wisdom; the fashion of yoga, zen etc. the world over, although sometimes commercial, has on the whole a beneficial effect; ESP research;
research into the possibility of reincarnation by acknowledged scientists is remarkable, as it has in fact never been investigated scientifically before because of religious prejudice. All this is in sympathy with the objects of the society, especially the third object. Whether this is known by the name of theosophy or something else is of no significance here. What matters is the fact that it is happening. We have to keep an open-minded attitude.
Also: besides all theories and teachings there have been throughout history
remarkable cases of people having unexpected, mystical experiences which in most cases include not only higher states of consciousness, but also knowledge that is in accordance with the ancient wisdom or perennial philosophy. And the important thing is: this keeps on happening.
This can happen spontaneously or by our own personal efforts. But a transformed person cannot transform another person, each person has to learn by and for himself. On the other hand a transformed person can have an effect on others by the way he or she behaves, lives and simply the way he or she is. I’m tempted here to use a favourite phrase: “When you smile other people smile, and when other people smile, there will be miles and miles of smiles.” This is not just funny. It is a fact.
We see today proof of this in the present financial world crisis, where we see how greed for money and power is repeated in the same pattern in many countries. It is as if these circumstances, mysteriously worldwide, are forcing man to learn a lesson. This crisis has immense moral implications. Having seen the unmasked face of greed we may reach a deeper understanding, a realisation which may have unexpected benefits for man, not only financially, but even more so at deeper levels. We may not only be able to solve the difficulties, but also change ourselves for the better. So, if we, each and every one of us, can actually make theosophy a living reality in our lives, we can make it a living force in our world.
At the request of the author, this contribution is being published as the author sent it, without editorial intervention.