Living Theosophy - How can we make Theosophy a Living Force in our World?

Tim Boyd—USA


An attempt to answer the title question requires examination from several levels. The first and most obvious is from the point of view of the individual. Theosophy cannot be a force in the world around us until it is a living force within us. To quote Albert Schweitzer, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.” When we think about the people who have had the greatest influence for good in our own lives, invariably we find that the ones who were fired with a passion, being steadfast, open, and wise, are the people who made an impression. Add love and kindness to that mixture of qualities and you have the ingredients for a person of transformative power. 

One of Theosophy's many beauties is the depth of its teachings on the constitution of both the human being and the universe we inhabit—a vision of who we are and how we came to be. This vision is empowering, but without a systematic application of those teachings, they become a collection of expansive, but ineffectual concepts. The first goal for us as Theosophists is to enliven these truths by applying them, first to ourselves and then to the world around us. As HPB said in The Key to Theosophy, “Honor every truth by use.”

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Living Theosophy - Clarisa Elósegui

Clarisa Elósegui – Spain

The question "How can we make Theosophy a living force in our world?" has a simple answer: only by living Theosophy. But to understand what "living Theosophy" means requires deep thought and is difficult to express in a few words.

Very often, members ask, "Why is my study of Theosophy not fruitful?" or "Why have I been studying Theosophy for so many years, but still suffer from what happens in my life?" Other members, eager to spread Theosophy in their Lodges, ask the same question with a different focus: "Why is it so difficult to reach students?" or "Why is it so difficult to convey Theosophy and to touch students deeply?"

The process of assimilating Theosophy involves three essential factors.

The first factor is information, specifically the Theosophical wisdom we receive from books, lectures, courses, and seminars. This information has to be digested so that we avoid verbal indigestion; it is said that we should read for five minutes and then meditate half an hour, or longer, about what we have read.  Too often, the process stops without the meditation, and then the students become "Theosophical parrots," repeating what they have learned without understanding it. There is no heart in such communication of Theosophy, which is why it does not reach the hearts of students, even though it can get into their heads. Those who are satisfied with such communication will become new "parrots" themselves. Those who search for something more will proceed to the second factor. 

Read more: Living Theosophy - Clarisa Elósegui

Living Theosophy - How can we make Theosophy a Living Force in our World?

Halldór Haraldsson - Iceland

Besides the two classical definitions of the word “Theosophy”: the absolute and the relative, it seems to me that this question indicates a practical meaning. The former refers to theosophy as the living reality, the ultimate goal for each individual: a transformation of consciousness, and the latter to theosophical teachings: knowledge sometimes referred to as the Ancient Wisdom. In the very first object of the TS from 1875 the emphasis is on knowledge, but when the objects became three in 1896 the first one added great importance, both in regard to the brotherhood of man and to human rights “without distinction to race, creed, sex, caste and colour.” Although stated so long ago this was ahead of its time and is now of paramount importance in the situation of the world we live in today.

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Living Theosophy


Pablo Sender—Argentina and the USA

Theosophy as Spiritual Practice

Since its inception, the Theosophical Society has been actively engaged in spreading the esoteric philosophy. This knowledge was conveyed to the public primarily by means of informative lectures and written material, a method that worked fairly well in the past. Today, however, we are no longer reaching the public in an effective manner. The causes for this deficiency are complex but include the fact that, during the last forty years or so, our culture has changed in two important ways.

First, during the early decades of the Society, esoteric philosophy was little known in the West, so our organization was the most important source of knowledge about it. People who were looking for a spiritual approach other than the religious one were attracted to these "new" Theosophical ideas. In time, chiefly as a result of the Society's work, the main topics of esoteric philosophy became more and more accepted, and an ever-growing number of organizations were created to promote these ideas. Unfortunately, this later popularization was done at a rather superficial level and did not create a deep understanding of the tenets. Nevertheless, today esoteric philosophy is no longer perceived as a novelty, and the Theosophical Society is seen as one organization among many dedicated to the spreading of these teachings.

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Living Theosophy

Gaspar Torres – Cuba

Living Theosophy is a difficult task in view of the average evolution of humanity. Moreover, we are in a particular cycle, known in India as Kali Yuga, in which the worst conditions for the spiritual life prevail, and the Divine Wisdom, or Theosophy, is left unattended and unknown by the majority of persons.

In The Work of the Theosophical Society, Annie Besant stated: ‘Those who can read the signs of the times will understand the vital importance to the future of Theosophy, of the direction now given to the work of the Theosophical Society. We are treading a cycle similar to that trodden by Christianity in its early centuries,…’ (reprinted in The Theosophist, March 2010). She also pointed out (1) that past efforts of Neoplatonists and Gnostic Christians failed in their task to pass on to a new civilization the fundamental principles that support a faster progress of the Evolutionary Plan; (2) the similar conditions of the present cycle; and (3) the duty of the TS in relation to this situation.

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