Theosophy

The Power of One:  Collective Consciousness and Individuality

Esther Pockrandt – Australia

[Part 1: Collective Consciousness]

Esther 1

What is collective consciousness?  Aristotle first argued that the whole is something greater than the sum of its parts. For good? or for bad? 

If thought is vibration, then surely it must, like air or water, pure or polluted, touch and swirl around all of us, collectively and individually, and have an effect. When many come together united in one vision, how powerful this would potentially be also. It certainly would not hurt to experiment with intent, and see if and how our own inner thought ‘clean-up’ would affect the quality of our own relationships, lives and health, to start with.  Some even advise, to be discerning with what type of group energy, or what kind of company one keeps, or exposes oneself to, if one wants, for example, to break habits of addiction or other. The power of One, must not be underestimated! 

And the question arises, “can tapping into this potential, through group meditation, people coming together at the same time, for example, affect change in society and on our surroundings in a positive way, perhaps even on the individual?” 

More recently, quantum physicists have argued for the existence of a unified field in which all particles and forces exist. When we think this through logically and remember our Science classes, that an electron is part of an atom, an atom a part of a molecule, a molecule a part of a number of molecules that make up an ecosystem, an ecosystem that exists in every living being, in us, interconnecting us, every planet, where planets make up galaxies which make up universes and so on, where each part is an integral part of a whole, where the whole is the sum of all its parts and visa versa, we can no longer maintain separatist thinking, can we.  Nor can we continue to feel powerless, that argument for giving up, “what difference can what I do, or say make!”

Esther 2

Hans Jenny, here in his laboratory, (16 August 1904, Basel – 23 June 1972) was a natural scientist and physician who coined the term cymatics to explain the acoustic impacts of sound wave phenomena

Simple experiments with sound waves on sand particles on a sheet of metal enthral children and adults alike. Yet the origin of such experiments, making sound visible, coined cymatics, by Swiss physician, and follower of the Anthroposophical movement, Hans Jenny (1904–1972), dates back to Galileo Galilei, to around 1630.  His work was followed up by Robert Hooke in 1680, and later perfected by Chladni, who introduced the acoustic phenomena systematically in 1787 in his book Entdeckungen über die Theorie des Klanges (Discoveries on the theory of sound).  It is interesting to note, that Hans Jenny repeated Chladni’s experiments publishing his findings in two volumes, Kymatic (1967 and 1972), in which he claimed that the symmetrical images made by sound waves, reminiscent of Indian sacred mandalas and other recurring forms in nature, evidenced the existence of a subtle power, an invisible force field of the vibrational energy that generated it.  The observation of a vocalization in ancient Sanskrit of Om (regarded by Hindus and Buddhists as the sound of creation), impressed him most, when the lycopodium powder (he used to make sound waves visible) formed a circle with a centre point, one of the ways in which Om had been represented.  Indeed, this is how Madame Blavatsky symbolically depicts the creation story in Vol 1, Cosmology in The Secret Doctrine.

In fact, for a plate of circular shape, resting in the centre (or the border, or at least in a set of points with central symmetry), the nodal vibration modes all have central symmetry, so the observation of Jenny is entirely consistent with well-known mathematical properties.

                                                               Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society (2016) 59, 287–300 (Thesis)

Esther 3

In 2004, the book The Hidden Message in Water took the world by storm, where the author, Masaru Emoto, a Japanese businessman, author and called a pseudoscientist by the scientific fraternity, as was Hans Jenny’s work incidentally, claimed that human consciousness, thoughts and words, could affect the molecular structure of water. Findhorn, as an intentional spiritual community and the extraordinary produce and gardens that were produced in its beginnings, with such same awareness of the power of loving vibrations, highlight our hugely untapped potential. When we consider that the human body is said to be + or - 80% water, the impact of sound that we surround ourselves with, the thoughts and words we speak, the media we read or movies we watch and absorb, becomes significant.

Perhaps those who are called pseudoscientists may one day soon be heralded as pioneers on new frontiers.  Weren’t Galileo Galilei, scientist, mathematician, astronomer and Giordano Bruno denounced on suspicion of being heretics, as they dared call out the creation stories of the Bible as faulty, by stating that the Earth was not the Centre of the universe, but that the Sun was and the Earth and other planets revolved around it? Galileo was ordered to renounce his ‘science’, labelled a simpleton and was put under house arrest till his death by the Pope. Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for following up on Galileo’s science and therefore contradicting the Church hierarchy’s interpretation and rendition of the Creation story of the Bible.

In the eighteen hundreds, during Madame Blavatsky’s time, the Christian world still taught that whatever happened to us was in God’s hands.  It was the will of God. That faith in God, the church, Jesus, the son of God, who died on the Cross for our Sins, our protector against the temptations of the evil serpent, Satan, the fallen angel, also named Lucifer, were our only Savior.  Time was a concept that had a beginning and an end.  A life time was that measure from birth to death. An afterlife was on hold and was one granted only through judgment by God on our worthiness, our merit or demerit on that great day that would lead God’s chosen into Paradise and those unworthy sinners for ever relegated to a torturous hell. Upon death there was no more one could do but wait for God’s mercy or punishment. No wonder suspicion and fear reigned high, although blaming the devil for one’s misdeeds for which one could be absolved by confession to a priest, must have been a welcome convenience.

Nowadays however, taking personal responsibility for what happens in our lives, which the law of Karma implies, almost a household word, that law of retribution, of cause and effect, together with that other law, reincarnation, the law of cyclicity, these two sibling laws together, present a more commonly acceptable view of life and death, and, life after death.  These laws of nature, rhythms and cycles, spring, summer, autumn, winter, of stars dying and being born in the cosmos are palpable and real and no longer fill us with superstition and fear.

Star gazing is sure an antidote and puts our little lives into perspective. Stargazing fills us with awe, when we project ourselves into the night sky.  Although it is understandable, that some would think, that the heavens move around the earth, it being its centre, in an egocentric world view. There is also nothing, like gazing into a full moon, a planet so close to our earth, waxing and waning till it vanishes from the horizon, leaving but blackness and vastness and an immense depth, of stillness, until it returns reflecting the light of the sun back to us once more on its next round.  Is it any wonder, we fill with a sense of sacredness of our lives, with questions of what is beyond, and the why and how of us spinning around in the cosmos, on spaceship earth, and more questions still of what holds it all together so perfectly, in a recurring infinite rhythm, we but miniscule. How humbling!

If we humans are in essence all mere star dust and energy, like all of life, bundles of energy vibrating at different speeds, bound up in fleshy temporary bodies, albeit with the added benefit of intelligence to make choices, why would we be governed by different laws than other life forms on this planet, and the law of cyclicity?  Does the benefit of intelligence and the ability therefore to make choices, also imply we carry more responsibility? Would this not tie us unmistakably to the law of karma and that benevolent law of reincarnation which gives us endless opportunities to get it right, eventually?

Karma, as we know, is the law of cause and effect and restoration of balance. It is often described through the metaphor of a pebble being dropped into a still pool of water.  We metaphorically are that pebble in all we do, say and think. As the pebble enters the water, it disturbs the mirror flat surface of the pond with ripples radiating out from the point of impact to the edges of the pond, where the ripples return to the point of impact, until finally, after much back-and-forth rippling, and much time, the ripples come to stillness, and the pond surface returns to a clear flat mirror surface once more.  We know when we watch a rain shower start, that a raindrop has the same effect.  Can we imagine and magnify this rippling effect when many raindrops fall on the mirror surface of a pond as in a rainstorm and all the ripples collide with other ripples on their way to the edge of the pond and then back again until stillness or harmony finally with so many ripples colliding, has been restored?  Are we perhaps those grains of sand on a metal plate too, another metaphor, vibrating at different speeds, colliding with energy waves all around us, forming and regrouping patterns of consciousness, discordant or harmonious, we all in it together, co-creators of these waves either harmonizing with, or, disturbing the OM, the sacred sound by our vibrational frequencies, our thoughts, our karmic charge? 

In The Key to Theosophy, Madame Blavatsky, as the Theosophist, replies to the Enquirer on the topic of Karma,

…each individual environment, and the particular conditions of life in which each person finds himself, are nothing more than the retributive Karma which the individual generated in a previous life. We must not lose sight of the fact that every atom is subject to the general law governing the whole body to which it belongs, and here we come upon the wider track of the Karmic law. Do you not perceive that the aggregate of individual Karma becomes that of the nation to which those individuals belong, and further, that the sum total of National Karma is that of the World? The evils that you speak of are not peculiar to the individual or even to the Nation, they are more or less universal; and it is upon this broad line of Human interdependence that the law of Karma finds its legitimate and equable issue.

Enquirer: Do I then understand that the law of Karma is not necessarily an individual law?

Theosophist: That is just what I mean.  It is impossible that Karma could readjust the balance of power in the world’s life and progress, unless it had a broad and general line of action. It is held as a truth among Theosophists that the interdependence of Humanity is the cause of what is called Distributive Karma, and it is this law which affords the solution to the great question of collective suffering and its relief.

                                Helena P. Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy, Theosophy Publishing Company, LA  1930 Edition, p. 202/203

This implies clearly that it is not an accident we are here in our families, circles of acquaintances, communities, the countries we live in, the circumstances in our lives, at this time of planetary events, with all who we meet in this life time on this planet.  We are all implicated in some way in the plight of all we see and all those who suffer around us. 

Esther 5

Rare copy of The Voice of the Silence

Madame Blavatsky in her translation of the Dalai Lama endorsed Buddhist text, The Golden Precepts tells us of our responsibility and karmic purpose, within this pond of ever colliding ripples, in this quote:

Sow kindly acts and thou shalt reap their fruition. Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin.

                                                                   The Voice of the Silence, Fragment 2, Verse 135

Earlier in the text,

Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain

like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun.

Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain

before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer’s eye.

But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart

and there remain, nor ever brush it off,

until the pain that caused it is removed.

These tears, O thou of heart most merciful,

these are the streams that irrigate the fields of charity immortal.

                                                                 The Voice of the Silence, Fragment 2, Verse 59 - 62

Esther 4 Dalai Lama and Tim Boyd

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tim Boyd, International President of the TS-Adyar

The Dalai Lama, reminds us similarly:

Compassion and love are not a luxury;

they are essential to our existence.

Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.

If we are to survive, human beings must develop

a greater sense of universal responsibility.

We must learn to work not just for our own self, family, or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. Compassion is the radicalism of ourtime.                                                                        

                                                                                                           Quotes gleaned from various talks.

So, when we come back to our personal selves, our individual consciousness, it is obvious that we do not exist in isolation, but are a part of a bigger consciousness, an energy field. Energy fields interact, and unconsciously so most of the time.  Energy fields, such as generated by our families, race identity, community, our nation and so on also, with their particular belief systems, religious, nationalistic, or other.  These are there to uphold the group consciousness and the group’s cohesion, for right or wrong. We have seen this strongly over the past few years, ideologies clashing, and groups pitted against each other, all proclaiming they have the truth.

This is our task to become aware of our unconscious personal biases and small group consciousness, a group’s hypnosis also, as anything that divides, anything that has elements of them and us, we now know is not, nor can it ever be the Truth.  Separateness is the ultimate delusion, as that which befalls one, befalls every other, so says the Ageless Wisdom. 

To be continued in Part 2: Individual Consciousness.

This article also appeared in December 2023 issue the magazine Theosophy Downunder (TS-Pasadena)

If you would like to receive this high quality, quarterly e-Magazine in your mailbox, write to the editor, Mr. Andrew Rooke: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.m  

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