Aug 12, 2017

Paradox and Unity in Life

In a Key Passage of “The Secret Doctrine”,
HPB Examines Contrast, Harmony, and Dissociation

Helena P. Blavatsky

On the left, partial view of a statue of HPB made by Ukrainian artist Alexey Leonov



A 2017 Editorial Note:

In its various divine, human, animal and material dimensions, Life combines contrast and unity, and evolves through constant cyclic change.

In the following passage from “The Secret Doctrine”, Helena P. Blavatsky examines the levels of association and dissociation between the divine and the human, on one hand, and between the healthy human and animalized human, on the other.

Yet this was not the first time HPB wrote about the matter. 

More than a decade before “The Secret Doctrine”, she had said in “Isis Unveiled”:   

“… If (…) the ‘soul’, as a half animal principle, becomes paralyzed, and grows unconscious of its subjective half - the Lord -  and in proportion to the sensuous development of the brain and nerves, sooner or later, it finally loses sight of its divine mission on earth. (…..)”



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Aug 7, 2017

The Art of Listening

The Creative Balance Between Sound and Silence

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




How far can we actually listen to reality and observe facts?

The average citizen is threatened by the intense flow of his own personal opinions. He risks becoming psychologically deaf. One must have a degree of detachment, in order to be able to pay attention to life and learn something from it.

It is inevitable at any given time to have a point of view from which to see things.

However, one’s perspective must be regularly reexamined so as to improve its accuracy. If we look at reality from a noble standpoint, this may displease and irritate quite a few individuals and power structures. Listening to facts and learning from them is often politically incorrect.

Discernment is needed for one to avoid mere routine and blind skepticism. By refusing to concentrate on the negative aspects of life, we preserve our liberty and stay away from the fragmented levels of consciousness.

It is not necessary to always have an opinion about every issue. It is important to admit we do not know the things we ignore, so that we can search for the truth about them. Narrowness and ignorance inspire those who pretend to know it all, about anything. Wise people carefully examine reality once and again, before forming an opinion. And what gives us a right to exert criticism is the noble intention that we may have, of healing the diseases of human soul and correcting our mistakes, individually and collectively. That demands self-sacrifice, for one’s intention will be misunderstood by many.

The practice of silence is valuable: noise prevents us from listening. One saves psychic energy by resisting the pressure exerted by premature opinions. We must avoid the energetic loss that takes place whenever we talk to someone who is not interested.

If I say nothing for some time, I may be able, later on, to transmit the whole idea in a few words, and in a better documented way.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”, said Socrates. And we might add:

The unexamined sentence is not worth saying”. [1]

When I speak, I must talk about things that are valuable to me and examine to what extent I’m actually being heard. It is often more effective to speak through actions than words. True sages teach by example. Facts and actions should come before words, whenever possible.

The Unworded Reality of Bliss

Part of the search for wisdom consists therefore in living the Void, listening to the silence and contemplating the Nothing.

For these are but names of the door to Plenitude, to the music of the Spheres and the Universal Law.

When the lessons we learn are truly divine, most worded thoughts may look like tiresome, boring, and precarious.

There are times when the pilgrim searches for the Silence as his own and highest temple, and the practice is correct. At other times, Silence comes to him with the strength and authority of his own conscience, and suspends much of his worded levels of awareness. Then the best thing to do is to accept looking at the outer world as if it were behind an invisible Karmic glass, while we experience the unworded reality of inner peace.

NOTE:

[1] In courses of Journalism, it has been said that “editing texts consists in eliminating words” and “any word that can be deleted should be so”.

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The above article corresponds to two texts published in the May 2016 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”, pp. 1-2. They had no indication as to the name of the author.

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Aug 2, 2017

Social Self and Deep Self

 Spiritual Path, Theosophy and Self-Integration

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




The process of learning theosophy brings about a psychological transmutation of pain into contentment, and ignorance into wisdom. It is not enough to look for the highest: one has to change at the same time that which is on Earth.

When obstacles emerge along the path, many think that a more intense involvement of the pilgrim with the theosophical effort will lead him to a greater integration of his personality. The altruistic work has an alchemical power and gives more consistency to the relation between the thoughts, feelings and actions of the individual.

The idea is correct in most cases. However, both modern psychology and classical theosophy show that exceptions are numerous. We see examples of that in the esoteric movement of the 21st century, and in previous centuries. The fact is clearly recorded in theosophical literature.

In the Karma of an individual, everything depends on three levels of motivation as he tries to tread the path: the conscious level, the subconscious and the supraconscious. There is in every human being a difference between the deep notion of self or identity, on one hand, and the “social self”, the visible self, on the other hand.

If there is a great distance between the inner (subconscious) self and the self that is socially visible, a stronger involvement with the external aspects of the theosophical Cause may increase, instead of reducing, the cleavage between social appearance and the internal reality experienced.

And this makes it more difficult for antahkarana to work. Antahkarana is the contact with one’s spiritual soul and the source of all legitimacy. When there is an absence of consistency in the relation with oneself, the contrast among thought, feeling and action expands and may get to high levels of absurdity.

How can such a problem be avoided?

The pilgrim must go ahead slowly enough for his integration with himself to face no danger. His sense of peace with himself must keep the same level and expand, even if little by little. Self-respect and self-knowledge are inseparable. It is impossible to make progress without them.

In the process of searching for wisdom, the pilgrim must observe the degree of contrast and contradiction between his “social self” - his individuality as perceived by other persons - and his “deeper self”, which the others cannot see.

Some students make sincere attempts to completely identify themselves with their “socially built self”, the self that is praised, the self consisting of appearance. They don’t realize that, as they expand the efforts to deserve the praise of others, the presence of frustration increases in their subconscious. Every attempt to look like a saint or a wise person is a form of psychological violence against oneself. The real feelings of the pilgrim are then suppressed. As a result of such a pretense, negative emotions get deeper and spread in his inner world.

By making efforts to “be” the spiritualized image of himself which he shows to others, the pilgrim struggles against the facts. He believes that, by obtaining social recognition and applause for his noble actions, the accumulated energy of right action - and of the praises received - will give him the strength necessary to “weld” his conflicted character, harmonizing the self that does not deserve praises, and is full of fear or anger, with the politically-correct self which is shown in social interaction.

The desired “welding” or healing does not occur, because the Deeper Intention is substantially different from the intention that is shown to other persons. The basic emotional self is hostile to the emotional self which exists for-the-others-to-see. And if the pilgrim intensifies his attempts to look like polite and politically-correct, the only result is a growth in fear, pride and aggressiveness, however disguised.

This mutually destructive symmetry between feelings shown and feelings repressed is quite dangerous in theosophy. It is much better not to go ahead than to take steps toward falsity.

In the history of nations, social hypocrisy is one of the sources of political and religious conflicts. It is from the accumulated process of emotional discomfort that wars emerge.

When the political leaders obey mainly to the rules of marketing and appearance, hatred and error go rampant in society. Military conflicts and terrorism bring down to the material world the anger and fear accumulated in the astral atmosphere. Brutal and treacherous aggression is the other face of politically correct falsity.

The elements described above are part of the psychology of each individual in the present moment of our humanity. Therefore, vigilance is of the essence even when the pilgrim is fundamentally consistent in the relation with himself. No one is completely free from such a challenge.

The citizen of good will may have in his soul a central and dominating love for truth, and perhaps he is part of a deep humanitarian project. Still, he will have to observe the struggle between appearance and reality in his own soul. If he tells himself he has “already won the battle”, he is but deceiving himself.

Respect Strengthens Harmony

It is up to each pilgrim to evaluate his journey.

Self-esteem is antahkarana. One must respect his own being, in order to understand the Path. And if the student does not have self-esteem enough, the creation of a secondary self, socially praiseworthy, will not be an alternative.

As the pilgrim needs to be in deep peace with himself, the goal in theosophy is to find the silent place of internal healing, and to activate the point of equilibrium that includes all facts and compensates and purifies the whole being, step by step. This task belongs to the soul, that is, to the essence of the individual.

He who studies the pedagogy expressed in “The Mahatma Letters” and the “Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom” may find it easier to see the process of unconditional inner clarity. The Letters are a valuable tool: there is nothing comparable to them in modern or ancient literature, if the pilgrim wants to know the point of view of the Initiates with regard to teaching and learning.

An arduous confrontation of one’s own mistakes and of the failures of others is an inevitable condition for the theosophical mission, and a necessity for one to achieve a lucid vision. However, this is not enough. The main duty is to build. Creative activity depends on brain areas and actions that are different from those functions which label, separate and criticize. The act of building implies the use of new forms of intelligence, quite dissimilar from the “intelligences of dismantlement”.

When a student has nothing to criticize - or when he realizes that discussing other people’s faults does not provoke the positive results desired - it becomes necessary for him to increase his inner severity and to confront the resistance in his own soul that boycotts the creative energy of wisdom.

The benevolent-self of the theosophist must transmute that section of the non-social self that fights the search for wisdom, and which does this from areas situated outside everything that is said or thought. The key factor in walking along the uphill path does not consist in showing to others that one is wise. On the contrary, it is allowing one’s mistakes to be visible, so that they can be healed, and establishing correct habits.

The quantity of tasks accomplished for a humanitarian cause has no supreme importance. It is the durability, the stability, the attention, sincerity, courage and humility with which they are performed by the pilgrim that makes the difference.

It is not by merely increasing one’s theosophical tasks that one’s soul makes progress toward the integration of the self and emotional consistency. Besides the strength of his decision, the discerning pilgrim observes the quality of his motivation.

When the method of learning is effective, the fulfilment of tasks expresses a devotion to impersonal truth. Then the altruistic effort constitutes a tool for that sort of self-discipline which improves the lower self in the wider perspective of love for time eternal, for the universal Law, and infinite Space.

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Aug 1, 2017

On The Putin Interviews

Oliver Stone’s Frank Dialogue With Vladimir
Putin Shows That Cooperation is Better Than War

Carlos Cardoso Aveline

Oliver Stone and Vladimir Putin during the discussions 



The 2015-2017 dialogue entitled “The Putin Interviews” transmits central and valuable lessons in History.

Filmed in Moscow by Oliver Stone and also available as a book [1], the conversation reveals much of the intercultural approach we need in order to live in peace on the planet. National cultures and specific lines of Karma must be respected: no country can act as the sole Sheriff of the world.

The study of original theosophy makes it clear that Russia is a cultural and spiritual bridge between Asia and Western Europe, and should be looked at with care and in depth. [2] From the point of view of human evolution, harmony must be expanded among the main civilizations now existing on Earth.

Outward uniformity in politics is not desirable. There is no point therefore in provoking a second Cold War between the two nuclear superpowers, which would only debilitate the efforts against nuclear proliferation. A balance has to be preserved in the way Eastern and Western nations interact. Propaganda war cannot replace facts: Russia is a great country; its cultural, philosophical and spiritual power is immense; by understanding the Russian soul Westerners will be better able to understand Asian cultures, and attain to a deeper view of their own Western Dharma and mission.

Perhaps the need for long term cooperation between the United States and Russia was seen in advance during the 19th century by the Eastern Sages who inspired the foundation of the modern theosophical movement. Some students of esoteric philosophy believe it was not a coincidence that the main founders of the movement, in 1875, were born precisely in the USA and Russia, in an apparent anticipation of the dangerous Cold War the world would have to face in the 20th century. The main founder of the theosophical movement was the Russian thinker Helena Blavatsky, and she founded it in New York.

In our own century, we have renewed reasons to preserve the inner harmony between Russia and the West. A respectful interaction among nations attracts spiritual energies to the world today. It preempts blind policies based on hatred and fear.

Kovalik, On Peace

Daniel Kovalik, author of the interesting work “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia”, had this to say about Oliver Stone’s book:

“…The Putin Interviews is a desperately needed antidote to the anti-Russia hysteria gripping the US. When one takes the opportunity to spend time with Vladimir Putin through the interviews, one cannot help but see his humanity, intelligence, and complete lack of antipathy towards the US. Indeed, Putin constantly refers to the US as a ‘partner’ and, in a humorous twist, frequently chides Stone for being too critical of the United States. After reading this book, one will wonder why we cannot view Russia in turn as a partner and a friend, especially at a time when our country is so in need of both.” [3]

The need for mutual respect and cooperation between Russia and Western countries has been self-evident for decades.

The financial and military interests which aim at a new Cold War are also not difficult to see. In 1961, U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower [4] was among the first to speak in public about the dangerous influence of the military-industrial complex. In more recent years, Henry Kissinger has been advocating common sense and a balanced attitude of the West regarding Russia. [5]

Listening to One’s Silences

Of course, planetary citizens must challenge mental routine and cultural stagnation. In February 2017, toward the end of his acceptance speech for the Writers Guild Laurel Award for Screenwriting, Oliver Stone gave a short testimony on peace, courage, and truthfulness. He said to the writers present in the ceremony:

“I urge you to find a way to remain alone with yourself, to listen to your silences, not always in the writer’s room; try to find not what the crowd wants, so that you can be successful, but try instead to find the true inner meaning of your life here on Earth. And never give up, on your heart, in your struggle for peace, decency, and telling the truth.” [6]

Both the world peace and the state of the planet depend on each good-willing citizen. For this reason Helena Blavatsky wrote that mankind’s fate is, up to a certain point, in the hands of those theosophists who feel responsible for the future.

However, being a theosophist has nothing to do with formal affiliation to one association or the other. A theosophist is a friend of truth. There are members of the theosophical movement who are not theosophists, and theosophists who are not members of the theosophical movement.

Blavatsky and her Eastern teachers constantly invited good-willing citizens to feel co-responsible for the common Karma of present civilizations. For those who try to go beyond appearance and dead-letter, the invitation is as valid as ever in the 21st century. Oliver Stone has done a service to mankind in helping pave the way to intercultural dialogue.

NOTES:

[1]The Putin Interviews”, by Oliver Stone, Hot Books, New York, 2017, 277 pages. Also available in video at Showtime: http://www.sho.com/the-putin-interviews.

[2] See in our associated websites the article “Slavophilism and Theosophy”.

[3] The above words are reproduced from the back cover of the book “The Putin Interviews”.

[4] See in our associated websites the 2-minute video “Eisenhower Denounces Military-Industrial Complex”. It is easy to find through the Lists of Texts in Alphabetical Order.

[5] On Kissinger and the international order, see in our websites the article “The Birth of the Future”.

[6] Click Here to watch the 3m video with Oliver Stone in the YouTube channel of “The Aquarian Theosophist”.

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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).


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Jul 29, 2017

Thoughts Along the Road - 12

To Live in Depth is to Live
in Calm; Agitation is Shallow

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




* Self-control is the natural result of self-knowledge.

* It is correct to take some time each day and leave aside every waste of energy, concentrating one’s mind and heart on the unchanging peace of pure Law.

* Human potentialities are externally modest, internally unlimited. A sense of courage allows one to try his best: humility and realism stimulate an unconditional harmony.

* Discernment expands as the student has a clear and noble goal and learns to learn from his own mistakes.

* No energy is lost as long as one’s heart is present in what one does. However, it is always possible to improve the way we use time.

* Individual austerity leads to happiness. If life seems to you to be “too uncomfortable”, examine the possibility that you have been unduly indulgent with yourself.

* “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find” (Matthew, 7:7). No doubt. However, one must be careful in choosing what one will seek.

* In order to understand the parts, one must see the whole. If we want to better use the time available today, we must have a notion of eternal time.

* When the will is clean, learning takes place. Purity of intention gradually reduces spiritual ignorance.

* Moderation is an element in attaining a victory that lasts. Exaggeration tends to destroy harmony. A knowledge of the appropriate limits increases efficiency.

* Universal compassion is an unlimited balm. The healing power of selflessness is transcendent and derives its strength from the fact that generous help is the first-hand experience of unity in diversity.

* The spiritual path demands that we understand the classical lesson from Epictetus and have less expectations regarding life, less expectations regarding other people, and concentrate instead in doing that which is right and which depends on us.

* To live in depth is to live in calm. Agitation is shallow. Truth-seekers must be able to listen to the silence. The right amount of rest is necessary for one to make an effective and enduring effort.

* Classic books offer us a safe sort of time travel. In addition to that, Lucius Seneca (4 BCE - 65 CE) wrote that through books one can become friends with the wisest men of all time.

* Love means aiming at the happiness of the other, or others, rather than our own. The feeling produces intense bliss for a simple reason: it liberates one from the narrow-walled prison of selfishness.

* As we understand the process of reincarnation according to the original teachings of theosophy, we realize we have the eternal time at our disposal. We live indeed in Infinite Duration. Boundless time is part of us. As we expand our horizons, our daily efforts become more effective.

* By keeping in order the small things of daily existence, we can better dedicate ourselves to the issues that really matter. As one places his heart in that which is unlimited in space or time, one reaches voluntary simplicity regarding the material dimensions of life.

* Since outward existence is largely made of challenges and obstacles, detachment as to outer circumstances is needed for the student to develop his inner affinity with bliss and happiness. However, detachment does not suppress attention: it increases attention, instead, by liberating it from distortions and distractions.

* Time-Cycles are calculated with great precision in esoteric philosophy. Precision does not deny complexity: it is part of it. The precise date of the Kali Yuga is given, for instance, in theosophical literature. Examples are countless: numbers are sacred.

* The Mathematics and Geometry of the Universe are scientific fields of knowledge, just as Raja Yoga. To be vigilant about details constitutes a necessity if we want to attain transcendence. Similarly, the utmost precision is of the essence in building an airplane that can work smoothly at 33,000 feet above ground. As we do our small daily tasks, we can understand the teachings about universal transcendence.

* Envy implies the desire to steal something from another person. It also means that the envious has a severe lack of self-confidence. Admiration and good will, on the other hand, result from a correct relation between the individual and his higher levels of consciousness.

* Sincerity is the fruit of self-respect. Those who lie - and they often do this using beautiful excuses - have no true self-esteem.

* A feeling of frustration regarding others invites us to examine up to what extent we are happy with ourselves.

* We need a sense of self-esteem in order to appreciate the positive qualities of those around us, and to try to help them in their difficulties.

* To criticize and to show mistakes is as natural and necessary as receiving criticisms. However, while thinking of other people’s mistakes, one should not be ungrateful to them. We must remember our own mistakes. By keeping conscious of our own limitations, we have a better perspective from which to look at the faults of others.

* Life is not suddenly understood. In some special occasions, one may obtain great insights and undergo experiences that change one’s way of looking at the world and at oneself. However, the discovery of truth takes place step by step, slowly, and by layers.

* Every level of reality has its own sort of landscape. If we get attached to the world vision we have today, we cannot proceed the uphill journey. The very act of walking widens the horizon and changes the landscape. At each new step along the road, the vision changes, and we ourselves become a little bit different.

* To each new layer of truth-perception, other forms of detachment, devotion and personal integrity are needed. Common sense is of the essence at higher altitudes. The more we climb, the more we need a sense of equilibrium and the ability to place our feet with both intelligence and firmness, on the soil of reality.

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An initial version of the above fragments was published in the July 2015 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”. It had no indication as to the name of the author.

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In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.

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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).


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