Dorothy Bell – Australia
Dorothy lives in Melton South, a suburb of Melbourne in the state of Victoria. She has been a member of the TS in Australia since 1999, and in 2007 she also joined the TS in America.
In her letter to the Americans in 1888, HPB advocated a brilliant model of disseminating and teaching Theosophy - based on truly educational and occult principles [Law of Attraction]. It provided for me the last jigsaw piece to see more clearly the way forward on another way of operating today to bring people into the teachings - and not just teaching about the teachings.
The traditional Theosophical lecture and book-study methods are primarily intellectual, with attendant issues of being too complex and abstract to put into practice. But both HPB and Annie Besant advocated the testing of the teachings by practical application “… the teaching can only be fruitful if it is lived ” [AB's preface in At the Feet of the Master].
Taking HPB’s idea again - of Theosophists who have chosen the steep and thorny road of self-transformation, and are initiating a local centre - how might it work? Presumably it would be sharing the journey of personal development and spiritual growth with other local seekers of truth who were attracted to a program, perhaps under the general theme of “knowing yourself” with the first focus on knowing the personality self.
I would see this way of working towards self-knowledge as a prerequisite to self-transformation and walking the Way of Wisdom: the latter being brought in and tested as an alternative mode of living - a new way of seeing, thinking and acting - seeing through the eyes of spirit rather than through the eyes of ego, the victim of conditioning, to find that peace that passeth all understanding.
Methods would be inquiry and issues-based, focused on understanding how the personal ego works, the process of perception, understanding the emotions and how conditioned thought operates in emotional situations. Eventually the choices would come - whether or not to continue to behave [see, think, act] as a victim of conditioning, or whether to take up the tough journey of removing the impediments to freedom and to find and be the true Self - entities in human form on a magnificent journey of exploration, Self-discovery and creative living.
Each person at the magnet centre would be a self-manager, designing a personal development plan for self-knowledge through self-study and using the tools of action research. For example, the GROW method [Goals, Reality check, Options, Working the way of the preferred option, action research feedback etc] would be useful and serve as the focus at regular meetings, where exchanging with others on their experiences - growing uniquely but together - would shape the input of the facilitator.
Strategies would be balanced between the intellectual and intuitive, practising the tool of meditation to strengthen spiritual awareness, perception and growth in the journey from head to heart; learning to work with the light energy, the healing energy, the creative energy of the One; and learning to see through form, the unity where once there was separation and division, and to transmute judgement into compassion through seeing a much bigger picture about the purpose of life on Earth while working with the universal laws that the One has set in place.
Finally, for the facilitators of the magnet centres - what is their network of support? KH makes a point in another context,
“If the beacon of Aryan occultism shall ever be kindled again, these scattered sparks must be combined to make its flame. And this is the task of the T.S”.3
While the magnet centers would assume some of the characteristics of successful New Age Groups, they would also differ from them by having an overarching philosophy and organization to unite them to form a flame. And the external mechanism for that would be the Internet, forming linkages beyond territories with those who had committed to the same kind of work. In this way Sangha would be formed in cyber space and when possible, physical meetings, perhaps at Olcott, would be essential to regroup and exchange experiences, to review the work - as well as to make new plans and design new resources.
The overall aim - and challenge for us to learn - is how to make Theosophy a living power4, as HPB advocates; how to make it a spiritual power in our own lives and in this way respond belatedly to the thoughts of the Master KH in a letter5 to Annie Besant in 1900 where he said that it was time for moving beyond the intellectual into spirituality. It’s time.
See the magnets and sparks, feel the flame, dare to dream the possible dream.
1. Ali Ritsema, Theosophy Forward, May 09, used the term in the context of HPB’s Letter to the Americans, 1888, referring to spiritual radiation and magnetic effects thereof.
2. Extract from Letter from HPB to the Americans at Convention 1888:
The multiplication of local centers should be a foremost consideration in your minds, and each man should strive to be a centre of work in himself. When his inner development has reached a certain point, he will naturally draw those with whom he is in contact under the same influence; a nucleus will be formed, round which other people will gather, forming a centre from which information and spiritual influence radiate, and towards which higher influences are directed.
[Gratitude to Ali Ritsema for bringing this to our attention.]
3. Extract from Letter from HPB to the Americans in 1890
… to forward the work of bringing Theosophy home to every man and woman in the country.
We are outwardly creatures of but a day; within we are eternal. Learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, and teach, practice, promulgate that system of life and thought which alone can save the coming races. Do not work merely for the Theosophical Society, but through it for Humanity.
May Theosophy grow more and more a living power in the lives of each one of our members.
4. Cited by Ali Ritsema, op. cit.
5. Extract from letter from Master Koot Hoomi in Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series #46.
…The TS and its members are slowly manufacturing a creed. Says a Thibetan proverb “credulity breeds credulity and ends in hypocrisy .… The crest wave of intellectual advancement must be taken hold of and guided into Spirituality.”