How To Move Forward?

Tim Boyd – USA

Tim Boyd is Vice President of The Theosophical Society in America, and also President of the TOS in the USA. He has been a member of the TS  since 1974, and lives in Chicago- Illinois.

It is a source of profound comfort when we know that Theosophy, the Ageless Wisdom, is unchanging. It is a source of some dismay when we see that human nature, though not unchanging, seems to change so very slowly. In the Theosophical Society’s brief history we have a record of misjudgments, misunderstandings, conflict, and separations that seems to closely parallel the trends of the rest of the world. Carl Jung said, “that which has no shadow, has no light”. As much as we might wish that our TS should be a haven free from the troubles of the “outer world”, Jung’s words should be a source of encouragement to us. There is light within the Theosophical movement and within the Theosophical Society.

Colonel Olcott was a man who, in addition to being a student of the Masters and a recognized occultist, was highly regarded for his practical wisdom. On one occasion someone asked him what was the source of his deeply practical insights. His response was, “First of all, I use common sense; and I know my Theosophy”. I have often felt that we could learn a lot from this simple two part statement by the Colonel. So much of what passes for turmoil within the Society seems to arise from our imbalance in following his example. We seem to have a habit of reversing the order, brandishing our Theosophy first, and only later resorting to common sense.


It is our tendency to regard common sense as something mundane, certainly not lofty or spiritual. This, I believe, is a mistaken idea. Real common sense is not common because it is somehow ordinary or pedestrian in nature. It is common because it is universal. It is the shared understanding of all people. In its essence it is of the nature of buddhi/intuition.

Parents around the world have told their children some variation of “If your friend jumps off of a bridge, does that mean you will do it too?” or “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. These are not mere folksy truisms, but simple and direct common sense statements of a shared intuition of non-reaction, karma, and brotherhood. They require no footnotes or citations to communicate the value of their insight.

Having been a member of the TS for many years now, and having seen my share of misunderstandings, I still find myself saying that the Theosophical Society is perfect in every way. It was founded by the Masters for their work. It is a repository for sublime teachings. The only problem with the TS, now and in the past, is the people – you and me. The fact is that all of us are undeveloped and imbalanced in countless ways. The beauty of it is that we are trying. In the Theosophical teachings we have the highest quality guidelines and intimations for this process of self-unfoldment. We are all attempting to perfect our imperfect natures.

The progress of the Theosophical Society in this new century will be determined by our emphasis on that which is “common”, that which is shared, first among us, those sincere members of the TS who have committed to “form a nucleus of the universal Brotherhood of humanity”, and then with the world at large. Too many organizations have compromised their usefulness by becoming inwardly focused and disconnected from the world outside their walls. We as an organization need not suffer that fate. To the extent that we choose to focus on our field of service, “poor orphan humanity”, we will avoid the pitfall of self absorption. It’s only common sense.

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