Jacques Mahnich - France
Since its creation, the history of the modern Theosophical movement looks like a never-ending record of schisms, human conflicts and divergences in ideas and actions. To realistically propose ideas and initiatives for reconciliation with plans to move forward as a united (re-united) stream of thoughts and actions, we must assess thoroughly the root-causes for these departures from the initial Theosophical Society’s goals and from its founder’s intents. A common denominator, often existing in most spiritual movements, seems to be this everlasting egoistic behavior of people who are so convinced that they know how to find the Truth better than anyone else, including the founders of the movement, and therefore reject any other voice.
Through individual and collective initiative, the twenty-first century seems to have triggered a theosophical “renewal” where students are moving away from the crystallization of existing organizations in order to go back to the original goals of the Divine Wisdom. It seems history is repeating itself when we compare this with religious movements like, for example, Christians who have returned to the original Gospels message. And it brings hope of a new energy and a unity in diversity.
Lessons learned are key factors for future achievements. Such success starts with integrity and the ability to forget one’s own personal desires and wants. To “know” is not enough. We must live by it and become a living example of these values. Then, a working-together attitude is required. Most organized movements have a pyramid-like leadership where one person is responsible for the decisions of the many and the organization as a whole. This can often lead to one-sided or an autocratic leadership. Also, while age brings wisdom and experience, we must be realistic that age also weakens the body and sometimes the mental capabilities. As we age we may not see things as clearly as we once did. Intergenerational leadership teams where young and mature work together can provide a good balance between the solidity of tradition and the inspiration of innovation. Spirituality is a living process that must be continuously adapted to each culture and period of time in order to survive.
Civilizations and human societies have developed and deteriorated through organizations. Organized bodies are the way for humans to create and support systems of thought and ways of living. History teaches us that most of the spiritual movements started with a very limited number of people who revived or rediscovered the Divine Wisdom. Later on, followers organized communities, roles, regulations, and, inevitably, egoistic human behavior took over leadership, leading to suffering and a loss of vision of the original goal that inspired the organization.
An organized body is useful to frame and transmit the teachings and their practice. But it must be emphasized that it is the responsibility of all members to study and behave according to the teachings for the movement to grow. We cannot feed the world with the Divine Wisdom if we are not the living example. As the Dalai Lama says, “There will be no future worth living, unless everyone, now, takes personal responsibility for their own inner life and universal responsibility for the pain and the misery in the world.”
Another important facet is the concrete and service-oriented actions. The twenty-first century, together with its frenzy for self-centered and egoistic “always-more-for-me” attitude, is also an opportunity for our movement: spiritual values are losing ground in many parts of the world, but the thirst for it remains. The acceleration of the rhythm of life, the opening of borders, and the arrival of seamless communications can provide great potentials for a unified world, but it can be our downfall as well if there is no balance.
We should use these opportunities to communicate at large, to open up the doors for the people to see and hear what the Divine Wisdom may provide as values and concrete remedies to the current human world suffering. Social networks, web sites, international gatherings, service-oriented projects are the tools to weave the web of universal manifestation of the One Reality.