- What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is José van der Loop, I am from the Netherlands and I have been a member of TS Adyar since 2014.
- Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am not active in a Lodge, but more generally active. I love the seminars and lectures organized by the TS and attend them. And I also give talks and lectures for Lodges myself. Last year I gave a one-day seminar on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali together with a colleague Theosophist of the International Theosophical Centre in the Netherlands. It was a great pleasure to do so!
- How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
In my youth, my parents have given me the fundaments of philosophy in various traditions. Later in my life – after making a career - I made a more serious effort to fulfill the desire or deep longing I had for connection with the Absolute, for me it is God. I could have been a nun but I didn’t. I made a major career switch based on this longing. I searched for more knowledge - especially of Indian traditions - and after reading books in the regular libraries I went looking for more and deeper knowledge and ended up at the beautiful TS library in Amsterdam where there are more than 30,000 books available in all traditions you can think of!
At the same time, I met a lot of very nice and lovely, like-minded people there and also at the International Centre in Naarden in the middle of the Netherlands! And then I became a member of TS Adyar.
- What does Theosophy mean to you?
First, I have a lot of respect for Madame Blavatsky. What touches me in Theosophy is the depth of knowledge that can be found within the doctrine. Furthermore, Theosophy embraces all traditions and all religions, I think comparative study is important and makes us richer in understanding the meaning and practice of various traditions. I am an expert in Indian traditions and also the teachings of Jesus touch and move me deeply. But I can see beauty and truth in all true religions and teachings.
- What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
Several books, of course the Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled. And I love the excellent commentaries from Theosophist I.K. Taimni on the Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali, Siva Sutra, and the Pratyabhijña Hridayam which means ‘the essence of recognition’, and his wonderful commentaries on Narada Bhakti Sutra. They are all very clear! It is wonderful to compare his explanation of the sutra’s with the those of well-known great yogi’s such as Shankara and so on!
And not forgetting to mention the books of the Indian Theosophist Bhagavan Das. For example his book – a masterpiece in my opinion - ‘Science of the Emotions’ explains different emotions, the source and the interaction between them really well. Another one of my favorite books is ‘Process of Self-Transformation’ of the Theosophist Vic Hao Chin which provides a very useful practice for overcoming trauma and emotional healing. These two books can perfectly be read together!
- What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
Being an organization and movement that connects to the characteristics and challenges of our time while maintaining the core values and knowledge – and of course keeping all the beautiful people that are already involved in TS. I think the challenge is to develop a new, contemporary environment which matches our time (with modern language and expression, excellent speakers and so on) to attract new people and grow worldwide. In the Netherlands, an initiative has started to invite new people with attractive talks, seminars and programs. The Lodges are the places for people who want to continue and work together in a group. As we live in a time that not everyone wants to be a member, other people prefer to follow individual activities, which is also fine. I think that we must look carefully at the success factors of other qualitatively valuable spiritual organizations that are growing and learn from them. Innovation and change must be realized through a careful and well guided process, and sometimes concrete action is required to step forward!
This is also a time of major transitions. Think of our climate challenges, the environment, food transition and inclusiveness. I think TS can connect very well to these issues from its point of view and core values. For example, a connection can be made between real inclusiveness and the universal brotherhood!
- Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I am a lover of high-quality information and I believe that everyone should have access to true knowledge, which is very relevant to provide solutions for our personal spiritual development, today's challenges and the way we treat each other and our environment. Organizations like the TS provide this knowledge. And when modernization and innovation have been carefully developed and implemented throughout the organization and are visible through its expression in the world, I am sure growth and the existence of TS are guaranteed!
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.