Janet Lee – UK
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” Julius Caesar (1.2, lines 140-141)
Shakespeare’s Roman play is about equality, political balance and brotherhood, and the deep problems and conflicts that arise when some claim moral and actual superiority above others and when we each claim we are all good and faultless! Conversely, H.P.B. comes across as a woman who understood herself very well, particularly aware of her own failings and her weaknesses, so that in her own way she was a very integrated person, and therein is her strength and her authority. She was uniquely and authentically herself, and she knew her own imperfections. As above, so below: as without, so within. As Theosophists, we cannot hope to be unified with each other, as the universal brotherhood, if each of us cannot find that inner unity within ourselves.
An integrated personality, unity within, means facing up to our own mistakes and shortcomings and, if helpful, acknowledging them publicly to move things along, so we can all move past them. I am not always right and need to be fully aware when I am wrong. It is important for me to acknowledge when I behave poorly (even though I strive to do better in the future) or when I contribute to controversy and conflict, even if I deem it necessary to make progress. As a psychotherapist, I encourage analysands to cross over a threshold and face up to their dark selves: doing so is the key to all good emotional, spiritual, and psychic health. “Know Thyself” (and encourage others to do the same).
All unity, of whatever kind, must of necessity begin within each one of us. The longing for unity begins in our own hearts, begins from the anxiety and panic of separation from the whole, from belonging to the mother who held us, and the family who enveloped us. The disintegrations that separation causes — within us, more widely within the Theosophical movement, and within society — can be healed only if we do not gloss over those disintegrations in hubris but instead examine and acknowledge them as our shadows.
Finally, one idea for this very short piece was to ask all my Theosophical friends to contribute a statement or quotation to a collage so that the whole demonstrated our unity. Instead, I got to ask only my friend, Edward Archer, who came up with this poem:
Self-righteousness may be very satisfying,
But it leaves the “Imprisoned Splendour”* crying.
To “know-it-all” may feel very well.
Unfortunately, that is the route to hell!
It is humbleaspirants the Masters need,
Not those who cling to a rigid creed.
You see, Truth is much bigger than us all
And, divided in our search for it, we fall!
So let the mantra be, that we choose to stress:
“One-liness is next to Godliness.”
* from Robert Browning’s poem “Paracelsus,” also quoted in Questions We All Ask by G. de Purucker (1931). Both poem and lecture, which are well worth a read, can be found at http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/qwaa/qwaa2-31.htm