THIS INTERVIEW WAS PREVIOULSY PUBLISHED: JUNE 2017
1.What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Paul Benedict, I was born in Phoenix, AZ in 1981 and I currently live in Las Vegas, NV, having moved here when I was 10 years old, in 1991. I’ve been a member of the TS since 2007.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am active in our Las Vegas Study Center. I am the Secretary, and, along with another longtime Theosophist, Terry Hunt, I lead our meetings, discussion groups, and classes.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
I first learned about Theosophy and the Society through Terry Hunt in 2006. I was in the process of assisting a cousin with the purchase of her home, and I was very curious to learn more about the meditation practices that she did at the time, on a regular basis. She introduced me to Terry, who was holding basic Theosophy classes at his home in Las Vegas. I got as close to Terry as I could, since I LOVED what he taught, how he taught, and just him in general! I knew I wanted to do what he was doing (teaching Theosophy).
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Theosophy, to me, is The Ancient Wisdom Tradition. It is an open-minded inquiry into life and how to live it with purpose, understanding, and with as little suffering as possible. It provides theory to support our purpose and path; wisdom that provides logic around the framework of the cosmos and our existence within it.
5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?
I have two: Theosophy: An Introductory Study Course by John Algeo – because it is a short, clear, and very accessible book that explains profound topics of life, the universe, and Theosophy! It’s the book that hooked me, and it is still my go-to for introducing people to Theosophy. I love teaching this book in a classroom setting as well.
The Science of Yoga by I.K. Taimni – because yoga is my path in this life, and Taimni is a brilliant scholar of Theosophy, yoga philosophy, and spiritual growth. His in-depth study of Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras is fascinating, highly educative, and approached from a Theosophical perspective, which is not commonly found in the yoga world. He provides a highly detailed, elaborative, and scholarly approach to self-transformation from someone who has obviously delved deep into the actual practices and experiences himself.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
Membership growth and/or spreading the teachings to new people. For some reason, all the programs, courses, and offerings that the TS provides are far under-used by the public and members alike.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I would wish for more people to learn of Theosophy. There are so many people who know a little bit about “new age” information; whether it be Zen Buddhism, crystals, the hierarchy, astrology, ancient civilizations, the koshas/constitution of man, meditation, yoga, pranayama, tantra, esoteric Christianity, reincarnation, karma, or just spirituality in general… but most people only have a fraction of the information available and usually not enough to make any real changes in their lives for the better. I would love for these “new age-inclined” people to hear about Theosophy and expand their knowledge of where their attraction can lead them; the foundations, the purpose, the bigger picture.
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.