- What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Ria Schopman and I have been a member of the TS for 10 years now.
- Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am a copywriter and occasionally make WordPress websites and as such I was asked to make a website for the ‘The Hague Lodge’ of which I am a member. I am not a graphic designer, but I know a little bit about Photoshop, so a couple of years ago, I offered to design the brochure containing the yearly program of courses and activities. Since September 2020, I am on the board of the ‘The Hague Lodge’.
- How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
A dear friend asked me to come along for a free meditation course, based on Madame Blavatsky’s Meditation Diagram. I had no idea what to expect, but I instantly knew that following this course would be very beneficial to me. I felt right at home at the lodge and soon became a member. The course was initially planned for one year but continued for another 5 years, because the participants were eager to explore the rest of the theosophical teachings.
- What does Theosophy mean to you?
An enrichment of my life, a guideline, the key to a treasure chest of wisdom. It taught me to embrace all experiences, good or bad, because what you resist persists until you have learned the lesson it contains. So, sometimes I don't find what I'm looking for, but I do always get exactly what I need, at the right time. The Universe provides. That’s how I see it.
- What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
The Voice of the Silence. When I first picked it up, I understood little of what was being written. It was only when I gave up the desire to fully comprehend the content, that I could let myself be completely immersed in these beautiful verses. Only then, did I feel the words resonate, could I grasp their true meaning. I cannot explain it any other way.
- What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
To ensure the continuity of the Theosophical Society, we have to attract a bigger, and younger audience. We have some unique selling points that are very popular at the moment: We are an organization without dogmas, and a fundamental principle of the Society is Freedom of Thought. People don’t want to be told what to do, what to think, or what to believe in. No matter who, what or where you are from, you are welcome. The downside of this is that some people actually prefer a given structure and certain directions how to act and what to believe in. They simply can’t handle that much freedom.
Another good thing about Theosophy is that it gives you directions, but it lets you explore the field and find the answers you seek, all by yourself. This takes time, and especially younger people prefer ‘instant gratification’ over years of study and a long-term commitment.
To attract more people, we must first find out what it is they really need and then adapt our activities accordingly. The Ageless Wisdom provides all answers but first we have to know which questions people would like to be answered.
- Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
My wish would be that the Theosophical Movement would become better known so that people can learn how to see through the false illusion of separateness. We are all one, and when we all work together on the problems afflicting the world, there isn’t a single issue we can’t fix. I would also like for Theosophy to not only be studied, but also be put into practice more. Theosophy will then become a part of our daily life and seeing the benefits of these teachings in our life, will perhaps persuade our friends, colleagues or family members to give Theosophy a chance.
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.