Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil
Microsoft’s icon Bill Gates, when asked about his view regarding the developments on our planet earth in the year 2014, in connection with the world’s overall health situation said: “Of course, we can’t ignore the fact that it’s been a turbulent year, in the United States and many other countries. But it’s worth taking a moment to celebrate some of the good news too. More children are surviving than ever before. We’re making progress against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. These are some of the most fundamental ways to measure the world’s progress — and by that measure, 2014 was definitely another good year.”
In spite of the horrific news that reaches us daily from many parts in the world, the Middle-East, Africa, Eastern-Europe, Afghanistan and Pakistan in particular, if we would look more intensively and dig a little deeper, we notice that a culture of peace is emerging in all fields of human endeavor, although when one watches the new bulletins this conclusion might seem paradoxal.
I have a special “link” with the number seven, so let’s just take a quick look at seven pieces of good news I came across after some “digging”:
1. World Interfaith Harmony Week
The Office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly and the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations celebrate the World Interfaith Harmony Week, multi-religious partnership for sustainable development, 6 February, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Cosponsors: CONGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns-NY; Global Movement for the Culture of Peace; NGO Committee on Sustainable Development; Spiritual Caucus; The Values Caucus at the UN.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010 by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan. Just under a month later, on October 20, 2010, it was unanimously adopted by the UN and henceforth the first week of February each year is observed as a World Interfaith Harmony Week.
2. India’s tigers come roaring back according to new report
Kuala Lumpur: India’s tiger population has significantly increased according to the 2014-2015 India tiger estimation report released today. Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in numbers — from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014.
The increase in the tiger population can be largely attributed to better management and improved protection within tiger reserves and other tiger bearing protected areas. Poaching remains the greatest threat to wild tigers today with tiger parts in high demand throughout Asia.
The report, Status of Tigers in India, 2014, published by the National Tiger Conservation Authority of the Government of India, highlights that the future of tigers in India depends on maintaining undisturbed core habitats for breeding tiger populations, habitat connectivity and protection from poaching of tigers and their prey.
Since 2010, all tiger countries have been working to double global tiger numbers, a goal known as Tx2. This new result from India coupled with the increase from the last census demonstrates that even in densely populated and economically booming Asia, ambitious targets for species recovery can be achieved. India’s tiger population in 2010 was estimated to be 1,706.
3. US Energy Department announces more than $59 million investment in solar
In support of the Administration’s effort to double renewable energy generation for a second time by 2020, the Energy Department announced more than $59 million in funding to support solar energy innovation today. The Department is making $45 million in funding available to quickly move innovative solar manufacturing technologies to market, and is also awarding more than $14 million for 15 new projects to help communities develop multi-year solar deployment plans to install solar electricity in homes, businesses, and communities. As more communities look to solar energy as a source of clean, renewable electricity, the funding announced today will help lower the cost of going solar and enable businesses to develop solutions for overcoming technical, regulatory, and financial challenges, further unleashing cost-competitive solar energy.
4. New winter clothes keep children of Gaza warm
As families left the Lady Fashion clothing store in Gaza City carrying bags filled with new jackets, gloves, hats, socks and pajamas, it looked like a big sale was happening. But it wasn’t a sale that drew the crowd, it was ANERA’s winter relief program which included clothing vouchers to redeem at local shops [ANERA = American Near East Refugee Aid, is a registered non-governmental organization http://www.anera.org/ ]. After the devastation of the 2014 Gaza war, the need for winter clothing is even higher than normal because so many families lost their homes and their belongings.
Gaza kids say “Thank You”
Shop owner Nimer Shamali described the scene in his Lady Fashion store as astonishing. “With ANERA clothing vouchers, we can provide the most impoverished families with new clothing,” Nimer said. He smiled and added, “It is very innovative because we are not giving prepared packages of clothing. We are giving people a choice so they can select what best meets their children’s needs.”
5. New Climate Economy Report launch in Ireland: protecting food, forests and people from climate change
The Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) held a discussion on the New Climate Economy Report with Christopher Delgado, author of the Land Use Chapter Protecting Food, Forests and People, on Tuesday 03 February in Dublin.
The New Climate Economy Report, launched at the Climate Summit in New York in September 2014, explores how to advance the joint goals of economic prosperity and combating climate change.
Part III of the report identifies opportunities to boost investment and productivity while reducing emissions in the agriculture and forestry sector. IIEA hosted the Irish launch of the New Climate Economy Report to explore how the nexus of challenges associated with agriculture, climate change, food security and development can best be managed.
Speaking at the event, Mary Robinson said “To ensure that international processes truly protect Food, Forests and People from Climate Change we must ensure that human rights are the cornerstone of all sustainable development, poverty eradication and climate actions. A human rights framing for the post 2015 development agenda and the 2015 climate agreement would significantly increase the potential for equitable and effective results.”
6. Joe Cocker’s Kids Foundation has given $1 million to his community
The family of music legend Joe Cocker is asking for memorial donations to The Cocker Kids’ Foundation in lieu of flowers. The gravel-voiced singer of Beatles cover “With A Little Help From My Friends,” Billy Preston’s “You Are So Beautiful” and Grammy-winning duet “Up Where We Belong” (with Jennifer Warnes), lost his battle with small cell lung cancer on Dec. 22. He was 70-years-old. “Cocker Kids’ Foundation is a non-profit, community supported foundation dedicated to supporting and aiding area youth up to the age of 21 in areas of education, recreation, the arts and athletics,” it reads on the web site. It has contributed over $1 million to youth-related programs and children of the North ForkValley in Delta County, Colorado. (...)
Late pop-giant Joe Cocker with “his” Kids
CKF has “an active and involved board of directors,” which along with the Cockers “have made sure that the funds have impacted the kids who need it most.” (…) The million dollars that has been granted to youth, to date, has been raised by numerous initiatives, such as “house tours, yard sales, and other happenings, including an occasional benefit concert by you-know-who.” Sadly, you-know-who will not be performing anymore, but his legacy will live on in more than just music — Joe Cocker Kids Foundation continues in his name. (…)
7. Jerusalem - Launch of "East & West" - Young Women reading literary texts
The first encounter of the reading group of young Jewish and Palestinian women from East and West Jerusalem took place on Wednesday, November 12th, in the Swedish Institute in Jerusalem. The group was intimate and the encounter was very fruitful and happy. We discussed the nature of expected encounters, meeting's language, thought of ways to invite additional Palestinian participants and agreed on the days and hours that are suitable for the following sessions.
Palestinian and Jewish women in dialogue
We form and maintain on-going interfaith encounter groups, or centers, that bring together neighboring communities across the country. Each center is led by an interfaith coordinating team with one person for each community in the area.
The goal of this group is to develop into a “mini-community” that exemplifies the desired relations of mutual respect and friendship while respecting and reinforcing the unique identity of each community. These groups then act as models for the surrounding community of how multiple faiths can live side by side in peace while becoming growing islands of coexistence communities.
The backbone of the groups’ process is the monthly session of joint study.
We are on the right track
So, here we are, seven chunks of very good news, but unfortunately people’s eyes and ears are time and again drawn towards the negative side of things, and one would need to climb into the a crow's nest, looking out for the positive things which are taking place as well.
As a kind of experiment, I have placed as header above this editorial the following:
“The future of Theosophy and of all its vehicles is very promising!”
I appreciate that some might be convinced of quite the opposite, others, mainly active in the sinister land of “ill-will” might even crucify me for making such, in their opinion, bold statement, but I happen to be convinced that it is absolutely true: the future of Theosophy, and the future of its various vehicles does look bright indeed, providing we start looking in the right places.
So let’s see what we can find, where do we look?
More and more young folks are showing a keen interested in the writings by H. P. Blavatsky, look at the website of The European School of Theosophy. The Theosophical Order of Service-International, which operates independently, but under the TS-Adyar umbrella, is continuously expanding its activities world-wide, students associated with the United Lodge of Theosophists publish truly excellent magazines, just to mention two of them: Vidya in the USA and The Theosophical Movement in India, The TS-Pasadena, although lately not actively involved with the outer world apparently, continues to publish classical Theosophical literature and has a large selection of Theosophical books and magazines available on line. The TS-Point Loma with a great number of young dedicated members operating from The Hague the Netherlands, not only organizes many study courses but also symposiums all through Europe, it publishes standard literature and the magazine Lucifer, both in Dutch and English, a non-affiliated Theosophist on the island of Madeira, Paulo Baptista, publishes the excellent blog Lua em Escorpiăo in Portuguese, and those who would like to find their way in the history of the Theosophical Society can visit the sites of Daniel Caldwell, the Blavatsky Study Center (publications) or FOTA. (Friends of Theosophical Archives)
Shall we look a little further?
The Brazilian Section of the TS-Adyar must be one of the most active ones in Latin America, organizing striking Theosophical caravans and many other events all over this enormous country, the Argentinean section there has a wonderful centre in San Rafael where regularly meetings take place, in Slovenia, Anton Rozman is the owner of Teozofia.info-Members Area, a site with a matchless collection of material, impartially covering more recent events that took place in the Theosophical world. Also in Slovenia, Domen Kočevar, a bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church and student of H.P.B.’s work, has set up the first public Theosophical library there, called Jivatma, and what to think of the well-known Theosopical libraries in Wheaton, Sydney, New York, Amsterdam and Adyar? In the Netherlands, the International Theosophical Centre in Naarden is fully booked with splendid events this year, and the Krotona School of Theosophy in Ojai, California, having its broad activities often visited by Theosophists from several traditions, doesn’t need any further introduction. For students of the original Theosophical teachings, the site Theosophy Nexus is an inspiring and wonderfully well-moderated meeting place. In Russia and Ukraine many study groups are active. In Africa, The Pan African Theosophical Federation is actively disseminating Theosophy and strengthening the many Theosophical groups on the African continent, while The European Federation of Theosophical Societies (EFTS) in Europe, and the Indo-Pacific Federation of the TS covering many countries in the East, are doing the same in their regions. International Theosophy Conferences Inc, (ITC) will hold its annual meeting in The Hague, the Netherlands this year; participants belonging to various Theosopical organizations and non-affiliated Theosophists are expected from all over the world. If one would like to be informed on interesting and heartening Theosophical news-items , the Good News category on Theosophy Forward is a must, whilst in India both the United Lodge of Theosophists in Mumbai and Bangalore, and the TS-Adyar, in Chennai (International Headquarters) and Varanasi do their important work.
Some time ago an energetic young Brazilian called Rafael Marques de Albuquerque, who currently lives and studies in in the UK, started a Facebook group called Digital Theosophy, while Steve Otto from Germany is responsible for an excellent site called Theosophy World News on which he publishes collected news-items from all over the Theosophical world. Odin Townley in New York for many years now, conducts Theosophy Watch, without a doubt one of the finest and most comprehensive Theosopical sites around.
It is not my intention to present the “complete works’’ here, obviously the list above is far from complete, it is much longer. I just wanted to present a glimpse of inspiring and encouraging activities worldwide.
Dare to say that thousands of women and men, all over the globe affiliated with one of the vehicles or independently, are diligently dedicating their time and best years to the Cause and we ought to be grateful for that fact. It might sound to some as a cliché when it is stated that the world in which we live is in need of Theosophy, but let there be no doubt, the statement is spot-on. It is also clear that we do not spread Theosophy in the literary sense, we are no evangelists and don’t enter any messianic discourse, we can set examples however by simply living the life.
It is all about LivingTheosophy, applying the teachings, rather than just talking about them, interpreting them, or, often very boringly, ventilate our private opinions about them.
We can make those, who are willing to see with their eyes and hearts, aware that Theosophy does exist. There are countless good souls who often silently and invisibly are contributing and working towards that goal; each one of them in their respective region, and in their own particular manner.
At times the Theosophical movement is going through the growing pains, but without pain there is no growth. So, agreed, much is to be done still; many issues need to be resolved, we cannot and should not run away from them; our environment isn’t perfect, but we can start reaching out for perfection. Theosophists with different backgrounds are learning now to really listen to each other, the dialogue has started there is no turning back. That is undeniably a learning process, and it’ll take time. At one point we will book progress, and sometimes we would need to take a few steps backwards; it is all a part of that process. Many still have opinions based on what they brought from their own past; some are prejudiced, while others are badly informed. In any case, to go out into the Theosophical world proclaiming the Truth instead of sincerely searching for it won’t do any longer; my Theosophy isn’t better than yours, and your Theosophy isn’t better than mine! Respect, patience and humbleness are the keywords, condemnation, unfounded criticisms or insults even, often sprouted from plain fear, are out.
Always search for Truth …
To profoundly rediscover and meditate on the deeper meaning of the first object might be a tool to help us to move Theosophy further forward: “To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.”
Renee Sell, an active and hardworking Theosophist from New Zealand, in her contribution to Theosophy Forward’s series Our Unity, wrote this significant line: “Unity, Oneness or brotherhood whatever you wish to call it, is at the heart of Theosophy, and is it not our duty to probe and ponder more deeply the meaning of this?”
I can fully underscore her statement: all our endeavors ought to be at the very heart of Theosophy, and because I sense that many are realizing and living up to this now this, I am certain that our Theosophical future looks very promising and bright.