The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
October 2006 -- Vol. 9 Issue 8
How beautiful is the world that surrounds us! The sunrise over the eastern mountaintops is one of the most exquisitely beautiful things I know.
It is so beautiful because it calls forth within us a harmony of understanding akin to the natural beauty which we see painted on the eastern sky. All beauty is in the consciousness of the perceiver therefore, where, in a very true sense, all things that we cognize are.
You cannot see beauty outside unless you have beauty within you. You cannot understand beauty unless you your-self are beautiful inside. You cannot understand harmony unless you yourself in your inner parts are harmony. All things of value are within yourself, and the outside world merely offers you the stimulation of and to the exercise of the understanding faculty within you.
Every tree, every flower, every atom of the mineral crunched under your feet as you tread the surface of the earth, everything that is, had you the seeing eye, you could learn from. Have you never looked into the bosom of a flower? Have you never studied the beauty, symmetry, glory, around you? Have you never looked deep into the eye of a fellow human being, looked with a seeing eye on your own kind? Have you never found marvels there? What a wonderful world we are surrounded by! Yet with all the beauty surrounding us, the heart aches and the mind is overwhelmed with the thought of the woes of mankind caused by the three dire problems -- old age, disease, and death.
Learn to control the mind.We are each a child of the gods, and our minds should be godlike, our thoughts aspiring, our hearts constantly opening in love ever more; and there-fore our attitude should be godlike also.
Go into the silent places of your heart; enter into the chambers so quiet and still of your inner being. Soon you will learn to knock at the doors of your own heart. Practice makes perfect. Intuition will then come to you. You will have knowledge immediately; you will know truth instantly.
In these silent places you receive illumination, visions of truth, because your spirit -- the core of you, the heart of you -- has gone into the very core of being, where it is native, from which it is separated never, from which it originally sprang, and with which you are in direct and unceasing communication.
Realize this wonderful truth; take it to heart. For there are fountains inexhaustible of wisdom, of knowledge, and of love -- yes, and power; power over self first of all, which means power over nature in which we live and move and have our being. For the core of your being is your inner god, the divine spirit, the Christos-spirit, the Buddhic splendor.
It is into these quiet places of the soul, into these deep silences of the heart -- that is to say, the inmost of the inmost of the human being -- that enter the Great Ones when they want to acquire more light and greater knowledge; for by so doing they enter into the very structure and fabric of the universe, and therefore know truth at first hand, because they become in their own minds and intelligences -- in the interpreting organ we call the mentality -- one with that universe, vibrating synchronously, sympathetically, with the vibrations on all planes of the Eternal Mother. There they become at one with All, and therefore know truth intuitively. -- G. de Purucker
O never star
Was lost; here
We all aspire to heaven and there is heaven
If I stoop
Into a dark tremendous sea of cloud,
It is but for a time; I press God's lamp
Close to my breast; its splendor soon or late
Will pierce the gloom. I shall emerge some day. -- Robert Browning
"Our Spiritual Origin" is our subject. We'll be discussing such questions as: Who are we? Do body, psyche, and spirit have different origins, and how are they related? What do we mean by "spiritual"? What is the source of existence -- God, Brahman, Tao, Sunyata, or Nothingness? Are we one with divinity or separate from it? Is there a divine Creator? What does a spiritual origin imply about who we are and the way we live and think? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge
These subjects are currently being considered for the Monthly Discussion group. As always, those who have a particular topic they would like to have featured are encouraged to contact us.
November 16: Suffering and Sacrifice
December: Religion and Theosophy
January 2007: Living Well -- The Paramitas
February: Who Are We?
March: Health and Healing
By Sally Dougherty
What is our origin? We look to scientists to explain the origin of our body and its substance. With reflection we can each trace the development of our psychological self, what traditionally is called the soul, though its origin is more controversial: is it a byproduct of the body or of the spiritual core of our being? Is it new-formed at birth, or do its causes extend into past existences? Our ordinary personal identity is an awareness of "I am I" -- not you, not her, not that. But more fundamentally we are an awareness that can observe our body, thoughts, and feelings while remaining separate from them. However deep we go in introspection, this observer remains apart from whatever we perceive. We can't observe it as an object -- we can only experience it. It approaches an awareness of existence independent of a particular form or identity. This pure sense of "I am" is the same in you as it is in me and every other person. Hindus refer to this expression of universal consciousness as atman.
Quaker Howard Brinton says: "The word spiritual designates our relation to the Divine which is within us as well as beyond us and above us." Religions and philosophies have called the spiritual origin and ground of our being by many names: Divinity, God, Brahman, Tao, That, Emptiness, the Transcendent. This ineffable, unfathomable source is who we are at the deepest level of our being. We are expressions of it and remain actively connected to it. Our entire being derives from it.
Since all human beings -- indeed, all beings and things whatsoever -- share this spiritual source as the inmost point of their being, all are essentially one. Separateness is an illusion in that it is temporary and not fundamental. For example, we might picture ourselves as a wave on the ocean, a temporary form arising from the water on which countless other waves come into being, move, and disappear. Or we might picture ourselves as a vortex in a stream, a temporary focus of activity that in time will return to the underlying element. Or we might see ourselves as a leaf on a cosmic Tree of Life, drawing our life and strength from its hidden roots, and by our activities contributing to nourishing the entire tree.
How can we become more fully aware of this universal ground of our being, our spiritual origin or original nature? Many practices have been devised that lead in this direction. Various forms of meditation can help us realize that we are not our thoughts and feelings or our body. Impartially observing our ordinary awareness calms it and allows it more easily to reflect inner depths. Again, living in the moment, fully absorbed in our sensations and activities while remaining sensitive to those around us, has the same effect of allowing our essential being to express itself through our ordinary awareness. We are not distracted by thoughts and feelings about the past or future, the realm of our ego that so often monopolizes and controls us.
What are the practical implications of this spiritual origin we all share? That life, the universe, and everything are a oneness, a unity expressing itself as endless diversity. More particularly, all human beings are one, expressions of Divinity. Realizing this affects how we view ourselves and others, how we act, and what our priorities are. Recognizing our spiritual oneness also affects the way we view religion.. The Quakers, for example, express this realization in their doctrine of the "Inward Light" or "Christ Within." It holds that "God reveals Life, Truth, and Love to every human being of every race and religion, directly, without the requirement of any intermediary such as church, priest, or sacred book. . . . This Divine Spirit, revealing itself in the depths of the soul, is thought of as a source of religious and moral knowledge, a source of power to act according to that knowledge, and a source of unity with others" (H. Brinton).
Along the same lines, Taoists approach the Tao or Ineffable by acting in accord with the natural flow of events, while not getting caught up in the dualities of human life (rich-poor, good-bad, weak-powerful, sophisticated-simple). Rather, they open themselves to unmediated reality without the need to impose judgments, explanations, stories, values, and order on it -- all aspects of the mind that separate us from reality.
We don't need to "return" to our spiritual origin because in truth we've never left it -- we've only forgotten it, blinded by the distractions of mind and matter, or what the Hindus call nama-rupa, "name and form." Our origin is our spiritual home, the heart of our being, and reaching it means experiencing more fully the reality of ourselves and the cosmos.