James Colbert – USA
An addition by the author:
In the short piece, written two years ago, the intention was to bring awareness of a shift which can occur within our being – between unity and separateness. Unity can make us feel more vulnerable and separateness can make us feel safe. When we open ourselves to unity to other Theosophists from traditions not of our own kind, sometimes we are not sure what tribe we belong to. The article suggested that at a higher level of our being – Buddhi/Manas we can possibly open ourselves to unity.
We might think of this as “bands of consciousness.” We note that the 7 principles given in Theosophy (Atma, Buddhi, Manas, Prana, Kama, Astral, and Physical) are a kind of gradient from unity to separateness. Each of these divisions are aspects of ourselves. Most of our lives consist of a band of consciousness at the physical, Kama, and lower Manas levels. We are concerned with everyday life and making our way in the world of survival. There are times when we go beyond this and experience a greater band. We become aware of others and their needs plus levels of cooperation. At certain times we may become aware of an even greater band of consciousness - perhaps the feeling of oneness.
The greater band might be thought of as the theosophical movement. Perhaps a step or two beyond the theosophical tradition we represent. It is suggested that if we can find this within ourselves. It can be a source of strength bringing us together at a level past our vulnerability in opening ourselves to unity. ITC (International Theosophy Conferences, Inc.) provides a vehicle opening the door beyond separateness. There is much to do in bringing Theosophy to the world. The unity first needs to be found within ourselves. Then to other Theosophical traditions and perhaps then reaching out to all others. Just the very existence of ITC can remind us of the band of consciousness available within ourselves.
Hereunder my article as it was published in 2013:
Finding Unity is The Most Difficult of All.
For most of us the path of unity is the most difficult. At one moment we may be content with separateness. We may feel safe and without threat. To join with another or others can have the effect that we might lose something of ourselves.
The path of unity is the most difficult
Yet, at another moment, unity is compelling. Brotherhood, Sisterhood, Compassion, Sympathy, Support for others and Unity resonates somewhere within us. There is an almost unconscious nodding of our heads as we let the flavor of the words circulate. The heart has taken the lead and found its rightful place. We sense this is somehow who and what we are.
But somehow we start to feel like “they” do things differently, not the right way, and “that is really not me.” Traditions that are treasured so dearly we feel will be lost. Our inclination turns towards separateness. You go your way and I will go mine. Soon we find fault in how they do it. We sometimes feel so much better in not “giving in” to the way they do it. We feel justified and temporarily safe.
As long as we are not involved with “them” we can do fairly well. However, something may bring us in contact as the world is now growing smaller. We start to become aware “they” are really not that much different from ourselves. And, we recognize that if we were together so much more could be accomplished. We start to gravitate towards “them.” We start to get along. We may even laugh and enjoy the sometimes comradeship. We may even become exposed and reveal our thoughts and feelings more openly. Then, something may happen and we may find what we said or did was not well received. We may again hunger for separateness. The cycle of going forward and drawing back begins to repeat.
How to get past this cycle? Theosophy does give us the tools. It is suggested that unity is at a higher level of our being. Separateness is at a much lower level. Unity is at the Buddhi -Manas level of consciousness. We are capable of finding this level within ourselves and going there. Somehow we need to bring this to our awareness.
Ianthe H. Hoskins
In the extraordinary little booklet put together by the well-known English author and lecturer and member the Adyar Society, Ianthe H. Hoskins, Foundations of Esoteric Philosophy, she writes that Commander Robert Bowen recorded from H. P. B., that the first principle to keep in mind when studying Theosophy is the FUNDAMENTAL UNITY OF ALL EXISTENCE. Ianthe elaborated that existence is ONE THING.
Unity, we might say, is the bedrock of the Theosophical philosophy – even though it can hurt. Holding to this thought is the most difficult of all – yet so important.