- What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Jaap (Jacob) Trouw. I live in The Hague in the Netherlands with my wife Marijke. We are both members of the TS and of The Hague Lodge since 2011.
- Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
Since March 2013, I am a board member of our Lodge, as secretary and since 2018 also as treasurer. Together with two other members of the TS in the Netherlands (TVN) we took the initiative to start a national study group ‘Society in Change’.
- How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
The church in which we were raised did not give answers to all our questions and we started looking around us. Through the school of our children we came into contact with the Anthroposophy and that aroused our interest in other spiritual directions. The first contact with the TS took place at the beginning of this century. Through a colleague of my wife, who was a board member of The Hague Lodge, we came into contact with the lodge. We followed a number of courses that has widened our knowledge of Theosophy and we went to interesting lectures. Finally we joined the Lodge as members.
- What does Theosophy mean to you?
We experience Theosophy as a widening and deepening of our knowledge about man, world and cosmos. Theosophy opens life in all its aspects. It gives us an increasing understanding of how everything is related to each other. Actually it is all about one system with a multitude of manifestations. 'The Golden Ratio' shows this very beautifully. I increasingly become aware of the unity of all Life.
- What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
It is difficult to name one favorite book. In particular, the books of I.K. Taimni, including 'The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali', inspired me. They give a clear explanation and that appeals to me. We have worked with his book 'A Way to Self-Discovery' in a study group over the past three years.
- What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
Because of the older age profile of the members within the TVN and the fact that there is hardly any growth from younger members, the number of members will probably shrink in the coming years.
That was the reason that we started the study group 'Society in Change', to make Theosophy accessible to people of this present time and especially for a 'younger' generation. It is important to reach the many people who are searching for meaning in their lives outside the church. Scientific research shows that in the Netherlands approximately 60% of the population belongs to this group. To make Theosophy accessible to this group it is important that they are approached in their ‘language’ and through their media. For example, when translating books into Dutch, we have to use a language that is understandable for all generations, without compromising the original content and meaning of the text.
- Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
It is incomprehensible to me that people do not seem to be able to respect and accept others, who disagree with them on a particular subject, and continue with them in association. This has happened in all religions and it also took place within the Theosophical Society and has led to schisms. It seems to be in the nature of man that, if you do not agree with another about something, you start a new club. We still have a lot to learn. But there is hope, a growing group of Theosophists sees what is going on and will try make a change. The International Theosophical Centre (ITC) in Naarden, the Netherlands is a place where different Theosophical Groups meet and that will hopefully start a movement of unity in the Theosophical 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.