[We received the following report from Linda Watts. Although the piece refers to activities which took place last October, this is an ongoing project and worth mentioning.]
New Zealand, beauty further than down-under
The Universe expresses shifts in form within the cusp of the surrender of old thought forms and structures and the uptake and embodiment of a new turn of the spiral. From the bottom of the South Pacific, we recognise that the relevance of Theosophy must be expressed in the energy of more open-minded forums of engagement and materialised in different structures.
In September 2014 the impetus for engaging more with community was expressed in a gingerly placed first step towards community by inviting others steeped in the ageless wisdom -outside formal TS structures, in the first of the TSNZ (the Theosophical Society in New Zealand) Theosophy Dialogues.
In dialogue, people are asked to put their personal opinions and agendas aside, listen to diverse perspectives, look to understand them and notice the different assumptions that underlie those perspectives. As we become aware of our own assumptions and those of others, we have the capacity to examine and challenge the assumptions that undergird those perspectives.
One of the founding aspirations of the Theosophical Society was that we might look to a deeper study of comparative religion, philosophy, art and science – was the Theosophical Society intended as a trail blazer for the art of dialogue?
Co-founder of the Theosophical Society, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky - recognised by some as the mother of the ”new age”, saw the value in both learning and building from deeper study - along with the practice of meditation and altruism. This enables the higher and broader view termed “apperception” to emerge.
For TSNZ we acknowledge that we must be mindful of the “myth and reality” of our relevance. In the perspectives you share, we ask that you be mindful of the “myth and reality” of your own perspectives. Together, with open-mindedness, creativity and an intention towards co-creation, we may discern a role that enables a valuable contribution to the whole.
Some questions we may want to be mindful of during our dialogue process:
1. Is the work of the modern Theosophical Society over?
2. What has already been seeded and what has been the contribution by our founders?
3. What would it take to be relevant in the 21st century?
4. Could the Theosophical Society have a vibrant future?
The impetus for sharing Theosophy in community has continued in the form of providing Yoga Sutra study and Meditation retreats for TS and members of the wider community which were facilitated and organised by Vera Zdarsky and Sushma Webber in Wellington, September 2015 and the development of a delicate marketing strategy, by the National Section of TSNZ which will begin in December 2015. Further engagements are planned by new TS Hamilton president, Carol Collier, at the Hamilton Gardens in 2016.
Marketing as Education, has a focus on community building by building and distilling content that enables independent enquiry. We have many theosophical principles and protocols, like the inter-connectedness of all forms, that all forms are impermanent, the laws of polarity and attraction and the law of correspondence etc.
Most of us can repeat that the three pillars of Theosophy are meditation, study and service and from a personal perspective we determine what this means for each of us on an individual level. These could be interpreted as personal resilience and ecological sustainability at a planetary level. Do we realise that they also correspond at a cosmic level as The Secret Doctrine outlines? Maori, Mayan and Masonic wisdom would look to understand this level…as would an Egyptian cosmology. We must be able to distil the teachings so that they have relevance….do we truly understand what HPB unfolded?
Our focus has been about personal transformation and in the era of the internet - if we understand the law of correspondence, we’ll also understand the cross-pollination between personal, organisational and social transformation. HPB challenged us to carry the torch and co-create even greater things than she has done. Since the teaching in her era, other worlds have been opened up for exploration….we have split the atom which has in turn opened up many new worlds on the physical plane that we couldn’t have imagined….sub atomic quarks, and leptons etc and we’ve discovered that at a quantum level of continuous movement that nothing is solid. We also now talk of the Planck scale being the smallest measurable unit of matter and that development unfolds in sequential stages of punctuated equilibrium.
Education in community continues with the realisation of the potential value in an education curriculum, the development of online courses by members and future communal activities planned for 2016 and beyond. These include a focus on youth which include programmes to build character and the development of “Building Momentum: Building Resilience”, aided by the perspective of James Hillman, who shares “without dying to the world of the old order, there is no place for renewal…”