1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Pauline. I’m from the Netherlands and I have been a member of the TS since 2019. However, I know the TS much longer; almost 13 years now. I’m the type of person who first likes to investigate different religions and philosophies before committing to something. In the past, I have investigated a bit of Kabbalah, Sufism, Baha’i faith and I have studied with the Rosicrucians for some years. Also, during my studies in Psychology, I took extra courses in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. However, I eventually came back to Theosophy as it incorporates many of these different beliefs and philosophies and focuses on the underlying ageless wisdom. This is what attracts me to Theosophy, being inclusive of other religions, but seeking for the deeper esoteric meaning in it. Also, not being dogmatic in what one should believe, but stimulating each person to undertake his or her own search and formulate own beliefs. I believe this is essential for universal brotherhood as well, focusing on the elements that bind us together, not what separates us from each other.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
Currently, I’m only active as it comes to assist in compiling the Dutch Theosofia magazine. For this magazine, I have been asked to collect and make an overview of the activities of the different TS lodges and centers in the Netherlands. Last year, I have also been active in a local lodge, where I guided discussion groups on different books, mainly commentaries on Light on the Path and The Voice of the Silence. I really enjoyed doing this. However, I had to quit when I went to India for a long stay. As I’m living a self-chosen nomad life at the moment and do not have a fixed address where I stay, I’m currently not active in a local lodge.
Some other things I have further been asked to do is thinking about how to attract young people to the TS in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the number of active young theosophists in the Netherlands is rather low, so it is necessary to think about activities that would appeal to these young people and ways how to reach them. Some time soon, I will brainstorm this topic with another young Dutch theosophist.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
My first encounter with Theosophy was through lectures in the city where I studied as a student. I was lucky that, at my university, posters from the Theosophical Society were put up on the wall that caught my attention. I was very much interested in spirituality at that moment, so wanted to know more about topics as ‘karma’ and ‘reincarnation’. This is what led me to the TS eventually. It started with attending lectures and symposia. Later on, I also attended courses in Theosophy and became part of discussion groups in which we together read and discussed theosophical books. This led the basis for my study and further path in Theosophy.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Theosophy to me means working on my self-transformation process through acquiring more awareness of myself and my relationship with the world around me. Awareness, that could be acquired through study or meditation, for example, but needs to be consolidated and internalized for an inner transformation to take place. However, this inner transformation should not be an egoistic pursuit, I believe, but should result in the ability to better serve others in their own transformation process.
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
My favorite theosophical book is Light on the Path by Mabel Collins. It is a book about the spiritual path, although not a path for the mass, but for those who choose the steep thorny road, the path of initiation. It is full of beautiful aphorisms that you could overthink for days or months, without eventually understanding all the different layers in it. That is because our task is not to walk the path, but to become the path. And with every step we take in this process, our awareness expands, and consequently also our perception of the things around us. Each broadening of our awareness is a small initiation in by itself, bringing us a bit higher on the spiral, from where we see things from a different light. Becoming the path means that our task is to not only to gain understanding of things, but to transform ourselves also. Not by expanding our ego or mind, but by surrendering ourselves to this higher principle in ourselves and let this take control in our lives. “When God, Truth or Master is the actor and mind the instrument, then there is produced an exquisitely beautiful song of life. It is when we cease to play our tune, but only provide an instrument, that the Master musician can manifest Himself as divine harmony through us” says Rohit Mehta in his commentary of Light on the Path. So, this is our task: becoming an instrument for the Master musician’s melody, the Song of Life, the melody of the heart.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
I believe the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment is how to keep Theosophy ‘living’ and attractive for the new generations. I think it is important to realize that Theosophy is not bound to the books Blavatsky wrote at the end of the 19th century. Theosophy is about an ageless wisdom that should be as living today as it was centuries ago, meaning that its principles should be of use in our contemporary lives as well. That’s why I love books that bring Theosophy more to the here and now, such as books by Joy Mills and Vicente Hao Chin. In the end, one of the main objectives in Theosophy is the pursuit of self-transformation and in doing so, we need practical tools that help us in accomplishing this. Tools that make us more aware of ourselves, both our thought and emotions, and help us acquire mastery over this. I believe the new generations highly value such practical tools and how to use these in their daily lives.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I wish that the Theosophical Movement will become a light on the path for future generations. This means that it assists in the spiritual self-transformation of all people, both theosophists and non-theosophists, by bringing more awareness on daily, as well as bigger, struggles in life. And also bringing a new spiritual vision. Confusion is born out of ignorance, I believe, whereas confusion is what we nowadays see everywhere around us. It seems we are acting out of fear most of the times, fear of the damage we bring to our planet and fear of each other. However, the bigger spiritual vision in our acting is missing. Bringing back this vision of universal brotherhood, of oneness of all life, could help us taking more care of each other and of the planet.
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.