David M. Grossman – USA
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The science of penetrating the outer facades of existence is the process of realizing that all people, regardless of race, intellection, imagination, shape, or disposition, religion or political persuasion are our brothers and sisters. There is an intimate interconnection between us, and we have an innate responsibility toward each other as well. We effect others by the way we live our lives and likewise others effect us whether we personally know them or not. We are all emanations of the same essential source, both matter and Spirit. Humanity has chosen to ignore this fact to a critical degree. This is essentially why there is so much suffering and division in the world.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is also known as the "Golden Rule”. The actual quote from the Bible is from Luke 6:31. This same teaching is found in the Koran, in Buddhism, Hinduism and basically in all religious teachings. In Judaism which is prior to the Christian bible, in Leviticus 19:18, it states the Second Greatest Commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is science from the inside based on the human capacity for intuitive insight.
Every outer action has an inner impulse. Subjective reality has its discernible laws as does objective reality. Consciousness is the substratum of it all. As H.P Blavatsky states in The Secret Doctrine,
The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards. As above so it is below, as in heaven so on earth; and man — the microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm — is the living witness to this Universal Law and to the mode of its action. . . . The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, . . . For each of these Beings either was, or prepares to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a past or a coming cycle . . .
The Secret Doctrine 1:274-5
Then throw into the mix Mr. Darwin and the generally accepted scientific theory of evolution that rose out of his ideas. This general acceptance, especially in the West, caused a major shift in human thinking in a number of ways. First it loosened the stranglehold of much of “blind belief” religion with its rigid views put forward as absolute facts on the origin of life and how things work; thus stifling independent thought and the acquirement of further knowledge.
Before Darwin, in the West, there was really no concept of human evolution, physical, mental or spiritual. On the one hand Darwinism helped to free the human mind to explore the nature of life more deeply and see that we partake in an ongoing journey of development. On the other hand it has taken us down a very materialistic path, especially with the conclusion that life as we know it unfolded through a series of fortuitous accidents. This direction has set science and the academic world on a materialistic track and has had some unfortunate ramifications for society as a whole. Of course it did create a challenge and even a blow to the anthropomorphic views in various religions.
A much more plausible conclusion, especially looking at the amazing design and unfoldment of life, is that there is intelligence and intelligences at work in the formation and transformation of life.
So results are mixed because besides presenting an alternative view to some of the bigger questions of life, Darwinism also turned many away from the spiritual dimensions of life altogether. Anything “mystical,” “spiritual,” “occult” or “other worldly” became mere fantasy, overheated imagination or worse, of a Satanic nature if not a miracle from god. HPB certainly had foresight when in the introduction to Isis Unveiled, her first major foray into the public arena of both science and religion, she said,
when we consider the bitter opposition that we are called upon to face, who is better entitled than we upon entering the arena to write upon our shield the hail of the Roman gladiator to Caesar: Moriturus te Salutât! (“Salute to the dying.”) New York, September, 1877
Isis, vol.1, preface, pg. viii
We were warned in a sense thousands of years ago by the Oracle at Delphi to “Know Thyself”. It is from within that we find courage, inspiration, imagination, a sense of connection and belonging or oneness, not from without.
Science will not save us from ourselves. As one of the patron saints of modern science Albert Einstein once wrote,
Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.
Albert Einstein: Letter 24 January 1936 to the schoolgirl Phyllis Wright.
Only by rekindling the moral ethical-fires of the soul do we have a chance to re-channel ourselves in a healthy direction. Most of the hunger, disease and animosity in the world is man made. If we lived healthy lives there would be much less need for artificial cures for example. If we took care of “our neighbor” and acted in concert with our fellow beings we could get rid of all weapons, high tech security systems, spyware, etc., things that actually have no intrinsic value.
When you really reflect on how our world works now, based on protecting ourselves from the other, with weapons, walls and gates, security systems where we can look into our homes from afar, listen in to what’s going on; and although we base this on what we might term our realistic fears of life today, acting responsibly, protecting ourselves and loved ones; but the real fact is we have created this warped reality and live collectively in a kind of paranoid soup of our own making.
In spite of this there have been breakthroughs of other sorts. Over the past 15 or 20 years the regenerative power of the brain has been demonstrated in the field of neuroscience through observation and experiment.
In his 2008 New York Times Bestseller, The Brain That Changes itself, Norman Doidge, M.D. presents the facts that it is now known that the brain is not “hardwired” as traditionally thought, and that the term neuroplasticity has morphed into an actual arm of neuroscience. Doidge gives example after example how people have changed the structures of their own brains through thinking and action. His book goes a long way to show how the “power of positive thinking” has gained scientific credibility and that thinking and feeling together actually alters pathways in the brain itself and can even repair itself after various types of injury. The mind body reciprocity is now undeniable.
In The Ocean of Theosophy W.Q. Judge seems to have been quite aware of the brain’s qualities of neuroplasticity when he wrote,
By living according to the dictates of the soul the brain may at least be made porous to the soul's recollections; if the contrary sort of a life is led, then more and more will clouds obscure that reminiscence. But as the brain had no part in the life last lived, it is in general unable to remember. And this is a wise law, for we should be very miserable if the deeds and scenes of our former lives were not hidden from our view until by discipline we become able to bear a knowledge of them.
Ocean, ch. IX WM. Q. Judge
Making the brain porous to the soul’s emanations is an example of transforming the physical vehicle to be a fit instrument for the spiritual or real man.
The first statement from the “Dhammapada,” sayings attributed to the Buddha, is “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” As incarnated souls or egos, mind beings incased in 4th state or physical matter we are shaped by both material and ideational factors. Our thought life as a whole is polarized toward the material form side of life rather than the unifying spiritual side. And as a result we tend to solve our interpersonal or international problems with a “win or lose,” “I’m right, they’re wrong,” mentality instead of one where we all come out winners with mutual understanding., Rather than be caught up in the duality of the outer world we need to turn inward where a vision of wholeness is to be found.
Theosophy can awaken us to the processes of human transformation. And just as there is physical, mental and spiritual evolution, “intertwined and inter-blended at every point,” so there is physical, mental and spiritual karma.
As H.P. Blavatsky states early in The Secret Doctrine,
Whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in, both we and the things belonging to that plane are, for the time being, our only realities. As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities, and the upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have reached "reality"; but only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from the delusions produced by Maya [illusion].
H. P. Blavatsky. The Secret Doctrine vol. 1:40
It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover