This interview was first published in March 2015
1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Jonathan Colbert. I live in Santa Barbara, California. I have been an associate of the ULT for 37 years.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I would say I’m fairly active. I give talks at the ULT Lodge I attend in Santa Barbara. I also help with the formatting of our Theosophical Magazine called Vidya, which comes out quarterly. I also contribute articles to Vidya and a few other Theosophical magazines.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
I think I signed the ULT Associate’s Card when I was 18, but I started going to the ULT in LA when I was four, about fifty years ago. My parents started bringing me to Theosophy School at that time. They didn’t have to bring me kicking and screaming. I actually felt most at home there, more than at school.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Theosophy is the only system I’ve seen that makes complete sense. It gives explanation, meaning and nobility to the enormous suffering that exists in this world. Theosophy’s affirmation that there are perfected beings offers a great goal for humanity and puts the idea that we are all brothers and sisters in a prodigious light. There is no system out there that helps people to assume full responsibility for their lives and actions better than Theosophy. I think this is due to its intense focusing on the laws of unity, cycles, karma and reincarnation. Theosophy, with its deep metaphysics, helps me to understand that spirituality is more about the true motive behind my thoughts, words and deeds, than with external allegiances. So for me, the practice of Theosophy is a path service and of the refining of motives rooted in a more and more universal basis of identity.
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
I would say The Voice of the Silence by H.P.B. You really get the idea when you are reading it, that you are coming into contact with a part of yourself that has to do with the ancient past, the living present, and eons into the future. At least I do. I feel unbelievably lucky to have come into contact with such a deep current.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
I think the biggest challenge is the perception that organizations matter. We are not working for any definite organizations, but instead, for the uplifting of the way people think and the awakening of spiritual self-reliance.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
Yes. Firstly, I would wish that more of us would get a deeper working knowledge of the actual teachings of Theosophy as taught by H.P.B. Second, I would wish that the writings and example of William Quan Judge, H.P.B’s adept colleague, were more emphasized in the reading, study, meditation and work of modern day Theosophists. Thirdly, I would wish that, once we become as much as possible, fully attuned to H.P.B. and Judge, then we could, from there, be open to and recognize the integrity of the path of other Theosophical students and co-workers alive in the present. Fourthly, I would wish that more people would participate in the International Theosophy Conferences and trust its overall direction and spirit. This helps us get out of our own heads (and the heads of our respective groups) and into a larger current of Theosophy. It has helped me to see that we are all part of one great movement for humanity. One suspects that a combination of all these would allow for the further influence of Masters in Movement.
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.