May 22, 2019

The Roots of Lucidity and Pain

Looking at the Practical Side of Compassion

Carlos Cardoso Aveline

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)



Every political crisis has moral roots, and the foundations of good sense and mutual understanding are also moral.

The sources of conflict must be found at the human soul, just as the essential substance of peace and justice. The process of social decay starts in the minds, then gets to the social behaviour - and spreads. The philosophy of selfishness destroys nations from within. If there is no clear social contract, conflict and misunderstanding are unavoidable. One can see this in every department of life nowadays. 

There is on the surface a marked moral decline in Politics. Social and institutional life is becoming liquid, as Zygmunt Bauman wrote. Human action is getting more astral and less physical. It becomes subtler and more complex. Dogmatic ethics, based on formal obedience, works no longer.

The fact that social structures become ‘formless’ or flexible like a liquid does not mean that moral decay is the only thing one can see in the process. As blind obedience disappears, challenges multiply and a new sun rises. Transcendent, deeper forms of moral commitment are quietly in the making which will give authenticity to politics and social life again. In order to avoid desperation, healthy central goals are needed which people can share. Communities must have long term common projects.  How to achieve that?  The lessons for the future will be found in the past.

The guiding principle of universal compassion, for instance, is present in Benjamin Disraeli’s philosophy of “One Nation” [1]. In the 19th century, looking at a society divided between extreme poverty and indifferent members of the elite, the twice Prime Minister of the UK taught unity and solidarity.

Disraeli’s humanistic philosophy of communion and mutual help constitutes a much needed lesson in blind materialistic societies. Its basic idea, good will among different social classes, is an instrument of survival in the 21st century, as in all time. The same fundamental principle will be found in such diverse thinkers as Leo Tolstoy, Theodor Herzl, Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave, Francis Hutcheson, Pitirim A. Sorokin, Helena P. Blavatsky, Bachya ibn Paquda [2], Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoevsky, among others.

Those who aim at a better future know that they must be cautious and vigilant in order to overcome the numerous challenges ahead. They tend to live in cooperation. They have pleasure in leading moral lives. When both ethics and generosity are present, people can understand each other and it is possible to live in peace. In such a community, it becomes self-evident that the main purpose of life points to inner self-improvement, in the open context given by the learning of one’s immortal soul.

A New Level of Awakening

With the growing transference of human activities to the online world, much of the spiritual effort takes place in the Internet. The main obstacles faced by theosophical associations change in nature. Philosophical schools must reinvent themselves in the age of universal electronic connection. Old bureaucracies - ritualistic or not - find it difficult to understand to which century they belong. Individual self-expression replaces corporate obedience, and it is not a mere coincidence that the new trend is in line with the teachings of Helena Blavatsky. The next step in evolution consists in fully acknowledging the central role played by positive thought and friendly action in the progress of human communities.

NOTES:

[1] Benjamin Disraeli wrote “Coningsby, or the New Generation” (1844), “Sybil, or The Two Nations” (1845) and “Tancred, or the New Crusade” (1847), among other books.

[2] Examine “Duties of the Heart”, by Rabbi Bachya ibn Paquda, Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem - New York, 1996, two volumes. See for instance section eight, The Gate of Self-Accounting, volume II, pp. 743-745.

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The Roots of Lucidity and Pain” was published in our associated websites on 22 May 2019.  It is also available at our blog in “The Times of Israel”. An initial version of the article can be seen at “The Aquarian Theosophist”, April 2019, pp. 1-2. In “The Aquarian”, it has no indication as to the name of the author.

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May 18, 2019

Thoughts Along the Road - 32

The Power of Spiritual Soul Comes Down
As a Blessing to One’s “Terrestrial” Being

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




* A master of the wisdom is consciously One with the Universal Law, for he lives and acts in harmony with It. Free from the common karma of our mankind, having transcended death, he humbly cooperates with the law. He causes harm to none and helps the liberation of all beings.

* True teachers never stop learning; they are fundamentally colleagues to their students, and the fact is documented in the Mahatma Letters.

* The way to wisdom consists in studying the essence of the universe and the One Law of Life, which is the Law of Equilibrium and Justice. “The Secret Doctrine” and every true book of theosophy are guiding lights along the path to understand the universe, macrocosmic and microcosmic.

* Spiritual virtues cannot be acquired by imitation.  They must develop from within in natural ways. They are stimulated by the Sun of a pure heart and nurtured by the wind and the rain of daily probation, as they grow on the hard soil of individual practice.

* By studying the flow of Cycles one gets to understand the science of the use of time. The practice of right action is also the practice of right timing. In every Duration there are a few proper moments for real change. When to wait, when to act, in what a rhythm, and where - these are questions that demand profound calm, vigilance, discernment and attention.

* At the lowest point of the tide, the waters of life start recovering strength. In the coldest time of winter, the Sun begins to get stronger again.

* In the most unpleasant moments, great lessons in wisdom are available. Since everything is cyclic, one must be serene in defeat and humble in victory.

* There is a deep yet rarely seen sort of bliss. It consists in detecting the mechanisms of spiritual ignorance in ourselves and in those around us, and staying away from them; and challenging them; and preserving peace in our souls.

* Unfortunate are those who identify themselves with ignorance. Bliss starts with a willingness to pay the price for getting rid of attachment to falsehood. An unconditional love for truth is the first requirement to begin the journey.

* In order to listen to the voice of one’s conscience, one must be in complete silence on the emotional and mental levels. Such absence of noise is attainable by reducing to nothing one’s personal existence in its psychological dimensions.

* One can listen to his conscience by ceasing to function - for some time at least - as a separate self. There is scarcely anything more spiritually pleasant than listening to the silent voice of the void, which contains the totality of life.

* One’s central point of view makes some things easy to see and causes other things to become invisible. Looking at life from various perspectives, we can better observe the complexity and contradictions present in the objects seen. Some points of view are complementary to each other; some are mutually exclusive. One must examine and decide with care what the main standing-points of our choice are, for they determine our relation to life and Karma.

* That part of the lower self that reacts against wisdom tends to fabricate painful emotional dramas out of nothing. In fact, human beings do not generate problems they can’t solve. All difficulties cease to exist in due time.

* In the long term, each individual is the hidden source of his own pain, and the active healer of himself. The universe is not ruled by personal feelings of one kind or another: it is regulated by the impersonal law of love, the principle of balance and equilibrium among all, the action of impartial solidarity.

* One must have eyes to see, before perceiving the unity and the beauty of the cosmos behind an apparent chaos.

* While a building is being remodeled, sheer confusion is the first thing a visitor seems to observe.  

* As the housekeeper cleans a house, everything seems to be out of place.

* Historical time evolves along centuries. A new civilization of ethics slowly emerges in the middle of old materialistic societies, and many a fact seems not to make sense. Just before selfishness is defeated, the false victories obtained by spiritual ignorance may look like the biggest glory of all time.

* The power of spiritual soul comes down as a blessing to one’s “terrestrial” being. Listening to the highest is hearing that which cannot be heard. It is seeing the invisible facts of life and feeling that which cannot be felt on a personal level. And there has to be a decrease of velocity in the life of the external world, for the inner and the higher to freely flow, unperceived, in that which is visible.

* No philosophical perception can be found in a dead-letter reading of scriptures and teachings. Attachment to words is but the worship of superficiality.

* Right thought includes an intelligent interaction with the silent sources of sacred knowledge. In the dialogue between word and non-word, the purposes present in the silence reveal the several layers of meaning in the higher teachings.   

* The best wording can only point to truth and provide useful elements for the autonomous development of knowledge in our consciousness. Authentic philosophical literature is but the humble vehicle for the wisdom of the universe.  

* Do we want to teach and help others? The example set by our intentions and actions teaches more than whatever we say or write. The positive value of words is great, as long as they come from one who lives what he says.

* By firmly rejecting distorted waves of thought and emotion, the student of esoteric philosophy keeps his conscience clear before his own higher self and every other being. [1] He thus preserves a most precious asset: his ability to learn the best.

* One of the first duties of a pilgrim is to maintain the world of personal emotions under the constant light of his own spiritual soul. In order to expand his purity of mind, he can look up to wiser souls and spiritual teachers. He may also learn lessons from his younger brothers, the fellow-animals, from the trees, from the forests, from the wind and other elements of Nature.  

* As long as the pilgrim receives the approval of his own soul, it does not matter if he seems to have little intelligence. He has already obtained the main condition for progress, and other factors will emerge in due time.

* Both severity and goodwill are necessary. Sometimes one of these factors must come to the front while the other remains invisible, preserving the foundations of right action.

* Goodwill should not be confused with weakness; but in many occasions misinformed people cannot tell the difference between the two factors.

* When generosity is seen as weakness, severity is needed.

* Severity must not be confused with lack of goodwill: however, naive people are unable to see the difference between the two things.

* Life includes a self-renewing contrast between fact and illusion. Equilibrium and a love of truth guide the pilgrim to wisdom: as long as his inner purpose is noble, the blessing will be there.

NOTE:

[1] See the New Testament, Acts, 24: 16.

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Thoughts Along the Road - 32was published as an independent text on 18 May 2019. An initial version of it, with no indication as to the name of the author, is included in “The Aquarian Theosophist”, March 2017 edition, pp. 12-13. A few short notes written by the same author and anonymously published in that edition of “The Aquarian” were added to form the article.

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May 13, 2019

Written Lessons in Philosophy

Learning from the Great Sages of All Time

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




Correspondence courses - in which students and tutors communicate by post - are a central part of the theosophical tradition.

The very Mahatma Letters - the documents in the theosophical literature that come from its highest sources - are an example of that. The teachings in those Letters flow like a sort of informal Correspondence Course given to lay disciples during the first years of the esoteric movement.

Reading on classic philosophy leads us to insight. It needs silence and a deep attention. A calm dialogue with a text is a magic, or “occult” process by which we can get in tune with some of the wisest souls of all time.

Both writing and reading contain sacred potentialities, and a Master of the Wisdom wrote these words regarding the karmic tests which every aspirant to discipleship must face:

“The aspirant is now assailed entirely on the psychological side of his nature. His course of testing - in Europe and India - is that of Raj-yog and its result is - as frequently explained - to develop every germ good and bad in him in his temperament. The rule is inflexible, and not one escapes whether he but writes to us a letter, or in the privacy of his own heart’s thought formulates a strong desire for occult communication and knowledge.” [1]

Written words are more carefully considered than the words of an oral conversation. The noiseless dialogue with theosophical authors invites every student to a “vertical reflection”. It stimulates a thoughtful attitude and a deeper understanding.  Inner silence - the great master - is more welcome while reading than as we talk.

It may be very difficult to get to meet a great sage, personally. It is perfectly possible to have the essence of such a privilege if we read good texts on theosophy, looking at them from the point of view of our immortal souls. Classic readings which take place as part of a good correspondence course can help us travel in time while expanding our horizons, and our discernment.

NOTE:

[1] From Letter LXV, pages 365-366, at “The Mahatma Letters”, T. Fisher Unwin Ltd., London, UK, 493 pages and Index.  Click to read the book in our associated websites. Numbers of pages are the same in the TUP edition (Pasadena).

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An initial version of the above article was published in the May 2019 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”, p. 4. It had no indication as to the name of the author. Its publication as an independent text in the associated websites occurred on 13 May 2019.

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May 10, 2019

The Aquarian Theosophist, May 2019





Page one of the May edition presents the article entitled “Of Seeing - and Making - the Future”.

Everyone can obtain an accurate view”, says the article, “of the trends and potentialities that point to the future. For that, however, one must have some real knowledge of the past and present, a goal of enduring value, and freedom from illusions of a personal nature.”

On page two, a note discusses the natural affinity that exists between morality and kindness.

Two fragments from the Jewish tradition enlighten page three. “Written Lessons in Philosophy - Talking to the Great Sages of All Time” is on page 4.  Then we have “A Few Words by Maine de Biran”.

An Independent System of Training” is on pages 6 through 8.

Other topics include:

* The Writings of an Eastern Master - 26;  

* Thoughts Along the Road - Stimulating the Growth of That Which is Good;

* The article “Uncertain Winds Guide Public Opinion”, by H. P. Blavatsky; and

* A Course in Discipleship According to the Masters, starting next June.

The May edition has 20 pages and includes the List of New Items at the associated websites.



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The entire collection of The Aquarian is available at our associated websites.

If you want to help spread theosophy and ethics in today’s world, send the Aquarian to your friends; invite them to write to the editors making a free subscription of the journal.  

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


Those who want to join E-Theosophy e-group at YahooGroups can do that by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info.

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May 5, 2019

Thoughts Along the Road - 31

As We Renounce Possessions, Dense
And Subtle, Happiness Descends Upon Us

Carlos Cardoso Aveline




* Truth cannot belong to an organization or an individual. However, individuals and organizations can belong to truth, in a way: they may devote themselves to its humble search in a long-term process.

* It is only by giving up things of secondary importance, that one can save energy enough to make a difference regarding decisive issues. By not having wishes, one develops will. He who leaves aside desire is able to have a real purpose in life.

* Good will is the right kind of will. A generous purpose expresses a knowledge of the universal law, an intrinsic unity and harmony with it, and an affinity with the way essential things flow, within and around the Earth or the Cosmos.

* Words can’t replace facts. A sense of ethical responsibility will not emerge because it is demanded, or because intense propaganda is made about its importance. One must be free in one’s soul, before having an inner sense of duty. Responsibility, “the ability to respond”, comes from within. It results from actually seeing our dynamic unity with the other beings and all forms of life.

* A certain degree of gross energy is necessary to dominate and control the automatic trends of one’s physical body. The will to live in correct ways cannot be expressed in daily life through mere abstractions. It requires the formation of outward habits that, while being dense, are essentially - if imperfectly - compatible with the higher energies, and can obey them in the main aspects of life. It is only whited sepulchres, though, that pay too much attention to the outer personality.

* It is an old axiom that Light comes to the world whenever it is necessary for It to do so. However, Light will come when Light knows it is the right moment for It to emerge, and not when some human beings would prefer to see It descending upon them. Light will typically come in unannounced ways, through unexpected events, and after being rejected by the “wise ones” who respond to organized ignorance.

* An individual who cannot stop his own discourse to himself may have something in common with parrots. On the other hand, he who practices the art of being in silence is able to listen to other beings indeed. Silence is among the best friends of a truth-seeker. The absence of emotional noise entitles him to better learn the lessons that Life teaches him all the time, and which are transmitted in a thousand different ways.

* No one is wise in choosing between optimism and realism, or between confidence and prudence. Human beings need all of these qualities and many others. One must combine different and contrasting energies along the road, not being carried away or dominated by any of them. The inner substance of one’s talents will be constantly improved if used to seek noble objects.

* Sublime feelings or thoughts are not enough and one cannot rely too much on them. The pilgrim must create some very dense, down-to-earth and uncharming habits and forms of discipline, in order to perform correct actions in stable ways. Due to tiring and tasteless practical efforts, higher level perceptions will be able to inspire the whole web of life and get integrated into it.

* As we think of the cosmos, unavoidably a peace comes to us and becomes part of our aura for some time. The intensity and durability of the peaceful feeling will depend on how deep the thought was, and how long it endured. Such peace is often subconscious. Raja Yoga says one’s mind gradually adopts the form and substance of that which it contemplates. It is therefore worthwhile to think of the cosmos, as theosophy invites us to do.

* Hypocrisy is not in the difference between ideal and practice. Such a distance is perfectly human. It means one has an ideal in life. It may take a long time to fill the gap. Falsehood consists in not attempting to reduce the distance between ideal and practice. The central notion of “doing one’s best” defines the direction of Karma. He who does not do his best is going to the middle of nowhere. Walking fast or slowly means nothing: one must know if the efforts point to the right aim.

* It is correct to make a daily spiritual retreat - perhaps several times a day - and establish oneself in that inner fortress of our soul where the pure, unlimited strength eternally flows. The refuge in the fortress of silence renews one’s perspective of life, brings us new energies and cleans the lens through which we look at facts. The renewing introspection also takes place in communities. A city and a country are born again due to the inner renewal of their citizen.

* When we renounce possessions, dense and subtle, the energy of bliss has a chance to descend upon us.  Freedom from attachment is the path to plenitude, insight, and wisdom. It brings about happiness.

* A thorough perception of truth is as quick as light, although some of the things it shows are not beautiful. Perception of truth does not wait for outward reason. However, it is always reasonable in itself.

* Thought will read and understand a correct perception of truth, but such perception is above thought and doesn’t quite need it, except as an instrument to test, to strengthen and improve itself.

* Most religious and philosophical traditions teach a tenet which theosophy and simple common sense also state: that moral decline leads to the extinction of a civilization. It is up to each one, then, to see whether there is decay in Ethics in present-day societies, for this issue defines the main tides of the future ahead. The theosophical movement exists to preserve and to sow the wisdom of universal brotherhood and self-responsibility.

* To each cycle of growth in falsehood, hypocrisy and moral decadence in social life, there is a corresponding cycle of growth in truthfulness, sincerity and ethical principles. If one sees willful illusion in today’s world, it would be naive to consider that this is the portrait of the future. Every wrong action is duly compensated in time. Ethics is eternal law, and each being will have as much time and trouble as necessary for this fact to be understood.

* Having ideals is good. It is even essential, as long as they are managed with common sense.  In the absence of discernment and self-restraint, lofty ideals produce disasters of great proportion. This is seen not only in lives of individuals, but in the long list of bloody social revolutions and genocidal wars made in the last 20 centuries.

* The Arctic Ocean and North Pole region is at risk of environmental destruction. And what is its meaning and importance according to theosophy? Helena Blavatsky writes in “The Secret Doctrine” that the North Pole represents the region of Atma in our planet: of pure soul and Spirituality. [1] The region corresponds to the higher levels of consciousness, if seen on a planetary and geological context.

* An idealistic view of life must be compensated with realism, with a long-term conception of time, an awareness of the universal law, a feeling of respect for all and the intention to sow, before intending to harvest.

* When in a community each one makes an intransigent defense of his or her rights, the common atmosphere gets polluted by the accumulation of selfish complaints, to which few pay attention anyway. The result is the unhappiness of all. When each one thinks mainly of fulfilling his or her duties, the collective atmosphere is purified by altruism. Then the common Karma is helped by sincere solidarity and there is no need for complaining. The result is a lasting well-being.

* As the field of one’s awareness expands, one gets more independent from the wording process, although one still very much needs words for outward expression. A new light shows facts both nice and unpleasant. Blind belief loses strength in every department of life. Thus truth gets easier to see. In due time worded expressions will be recognized as being but the humble tools of consciousness. Falsehood in words will then become impossible.

* Self-discipline would have no merit, if it were not necessary to face habits and trends which point to the opposite direction. The “resistance to change”, of which both Psychology and Theosophy speak, is made of habits. Its substance is the karma of attachment to things contrary to what one consciously desires. One must calmly persevere in the noble direction. By doing our best after each mistake or failure, one makes significant progress. 

* There are only two ways for an individual to “get to the same level” as that which he sees as higher in wisdom. The first one is by elevating himself up to the higher realm. The other one consists of debasing the higher realm and trying to bring it down to his own world of ignorance. The steep, uphill and narrow path to wisdom preaches respect for those elevated viewpoints which belong to sacred knowledge. Such a path leads one’s consciousness away from personal competition. It stimulates universal cooperation on the basis of justice.

* Happiness is the perception that everything is OK with Life and there is nothing to worry about. Words cannot describe spiritual contentment. Such a view of life is like a sun that never sets. It results from one’s conscious identity with the Law, with the Cosmos, and Universal Friendship. It doesn’t need to use words. Specific moments in life can trigger the feeling that “life is perfect as it is”. To the awakened higher self, an unlimited bliss is always present. Suffering is a visitor and teacher; Peace constitutes the territory where all things take place.

NOTE:

[1] “The Secret Doctrine”, H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., volume II. See p. 403, and also pp. 402 and 404, among others.

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Thoughts Along the Road - 31was published as an independent text on 5 May 2019. An initial version of it, with no indication as to the name of the author, is included in “The Aquarian Theosophist”, February 2017 edition, pp. 11-14. A few short notes written by the same author and anonymously published in that edition of “The Aquarian” were added to form the article.

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