Halldór Haraldsson – Iceland
Our Theosophical work in Iceland has in recent years probably been on a par with that of other countries in Europe: lectures, discussions, courses in meditation etc. during the winter months and Summer School in the summer.
As it may be of help to all of us to share information on the work we do in each country I venture to give a few points from our work.
For one thing in recent years we have been widening the topics of the lectures and their sources. The fact is that there are so many fine authors nowadays who may not be members of the TS but are writing remarkable books on similar subjects and in the same spirit which we welcome. By doing this we are not undermining the value of our fine TS writers, we are only updating and making an important addition.
Laugarvatn, where the TS in Iceland has held various summer retreats
As to the selection of lecturers and topics, besides our members we have got very fine lecturers from outside the TS, e.g. from our universities or other institutions presenting valuable subjects thus widening our horizons. Sticking mostly to the same TS authors could give the impression of a religious sect, which the TS is not. We make of course sure that the topics are related to the aims of the TS. As in other countries new technical means are used such as power-point presentations. We also have lectures without technical means, nowadays usually given without papers. Much appreciated are lectures by artists presenting their own art works with projectors and comments. Also lectures on the music of inspired composers with examples from their works together with some guidance on the art of listening are also very popular.
One of our lodges deals especially with ancient traditions regarding proportions in architecture, how lands in ancient times were settled according to certain traditional customs. In fact the very first lecture at Blavatsky´s flat in New York in September 1875 was given by the architect Mr. Felt on “The Lost Canon of Proportions of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.” Some members of this Icelandic lodge have been studying along these lines and done a remarkable job, publishing a few books, lectures on DVD etc. This work has brought in studies on measurement-proportions on land, origin of language, ancient symbols and has opened new views on the origin of the Icelandic nation. Most of this has its basis in Nordic mythology and the Icelandic Eddas.
For many years we have provided courses in meditation free of charge. Beside the practical instructions we have also given discourses on the philosophical background of meditation practices. Recently members have had the opportunity to try a new computer technique where a computer-program can be directly influenced by the mind, in which you get a feed-back of how well you can concentrate. The idea with this technique is to enable you to improve your concentration.
During our Summer School or Summer Retreat as it is now called, we have cut down the number of lectures and put instead:
1) Discussions and 2) Contributions from the members.
The discussions are sometimes linked with a DVD. What has also proved effective is when two members have a dialogue in front of an audience and at first not being in agreement on the subject. The audience can then also take part as the two members go on discussing. Changes will of course occur in the process but they have to do their best to stick to their subject. In this manner the discussion can go into uncertain fields and if we are lucky we may see the subject in a new light or even discover something entirely new.
Last year we asked for contributions from the members in general and were surprised how many came forward with interesting subjects. This year we increased the time allotted for this program, which really made the high point of the Summer Retreat.
After all, whether by new or old methods, good results rest on our sincerity and how deeply we are involved. Even if a brilliant lecturer is not deeply interested and involved in his topic, do what he will, he will leave his audience dull and disinterested.
Finally: In all our work it is important to keep the fire of our old legacy alive and at the same time be aware of new developments in various fields.