Category: Philosophy

The Undiscovered Self by C.G. Jung

Even though Jung is a psychologist I decided to place this book under philosophy because Jung shares in these seven chapters his philosophical view about the dilemma of the individual in modern society.

Jung starts by addressing the plight of the individual in chapter one. He explains that most people confuse “self-knowledge” with knowledge of their conscious ego personalities, but that the ego knows only its own contents not the unconscious and it contents, the real psychic facts that are for the most part hidden from them. That causes problems because we are defenselessly open to all kinds of influences. In Jung’s opinion there can be no self-knowledge based on theoretical assumptions, for the object of self-knowledge is an individual – a relative exception and an irregular phenomenon. If we want to understand an individual human being, we must lay aside all scientific knowledge and discard all theories and understand him as a human being because the individual is the true and authentic carrier of reality, the concrete man as opposed to the unreal ideal to whom the scientific statements refer. He warns of the psychological effects of the statistical world picture because it displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up to mass information.

Instead of moral and mental differentiation of the individual, you have public welfare and the raising of the living standard. The goal and meaning of individual life, which is the only real life, no longer lie in individual development but in the policy of the State. The individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision as to how he should live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothed and educated as a social unit, accommodated in the appropriate housing unit, and amused in accordance with the standards that give pleasure and satisfaction to the masses. Under these circumstancesCompare with Your Own Identity an Laws of Destiny under Psychology it is small wonder that individual judgment grows increasingly uncertain of itself and that responsibility is collectivized as much as possible.

He addresses the issue of religion in the next two chapters and predicts – correctly – that Communism will collapse from within. He points out that the West has considerable industrial power and defense potential, but that the biggest guns and the heaviest industry with its relatively high living standard are not enough to check the psychic infection spread by religious fanaticism.  The Churches stand in Jung’s opinion for traditional and collective convictions, which are no longer based on inner experiences but on unreflecting belief, which can disappear with time and under certain circumstances. Therefore belief is no adequate substitute for inner experience.

He ends chapter 3 with the conclusion, that common to the materialistic and the collectivist system is, that both lack the very thing that expresses and grips the whole man, namely, an idea which puts the individual human being in the center as the measure of all things. That is because both systems are comprised of hierarchical structures where the individual counts for nothing. Indeed, the self-knowledge or individualization that would produce true men and women capable of standing up to the hierarchy is actively discouraged.

In chapter four he explains that there would be no world without consciousness because the world exists as such only in so far as it is consciously reflected and consciously expressed by a psyche.  Consciousness is a precondition of beingCompare with Quantumphysics under Science. Thus the psyche is endowed with the dignity of a cosmic principle, which philosophically and in fact gives it a position coequal with the principle of physical being. The carrier of this consciousness is the individual, who does not produce the psyche on his own volition but is preformed by it and nourished by the gradual awakening of consciousness. He reiterates that the individual psyche is always an exception to the statistical rule.

Jung points out that the psychic situation of the individual is menaced by advertisement, propaganda and other influences; and that for the individual it is often difficult to act on his own insight instead of simply copying convention that agrees with the collective opinion.  He explains that people go on blithely organizing and believing in the sovereign remedy of mass action, without the least consciousness of the fact that the most powerful organizations can be maintained only by the greatest ruthlessness of their leaders and the cheapest of slogans. In this context he reminds us that Christ never called his disciples to him at a mass meeting and that Jesus and Paul are prototypes of those, who trusting their inner experience, have gone their own individual ways, disregarding public opinion.  The infantile dream state of the mass is so unrealistic that people never think to ask who is paying for everything.  The balancing of accounts is left to a higher political and social authority, which welcomes the task, for its power is thereby increased.

At the same token Jung warns that only the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself can affect resistance to the organized mass.

He further points out that it is not Christianity, but our conception and interpretation of it, that has become antiquated in the face of the present world situation.

In chapter five he addresses the rupture between faith and knowledge and explains that it is a symptom of the split consciousness, which is so characteristic of the mental disorder of our day. It is as if two persons were making statements about the same thing, each from his own point of view, or as if one person in two different frames of mind were sketching a picture of his experience. If for “person” we substitute “modern society”, it is evident that the latter is suffering from a mental dissociation, e.g. a neurotic disturbance. In view of this, it does not help matter at all if one party pulls obstinately to the right and the other to the left.  A relationship with both sides has to be established instead.

In this chapter he also addresses the specific achievement of the Christian epoch: the supremacy of the word, of the Logos, which stands for the central figure of our Christian faith. No one seems to notice the veneration of the word has a perilous shadow side. The moment the word, as a result of centuries of education, attains universal validity; it severs its original link with the divine person. Thus the word, originally announcing the unity of all men and their union in the figure of the one great Man, has in our day become the source of suspicion and distrust of all against all. In this context he also points out that people think they have only to “tell” a person that he “ought” to do something in order to put him on the right track. But whether he can or will do it is another matter.

Separation from his instinctual nature inevitably plunges civilized man into the conflict between conscious and unconscious, spirit and nature, knowledge and faith, a split that becomes pathological the moment his consciousness is no longer able to neglect or suppress his instinctual side. The forlornness of consciousness in our world is due primarily to the loss of instinct, and the reason for this lies in the development of the human mind over the past aeon. The more power man had over nature, the more his knowledge and skill went to his head,  the deeper became his contempt for the merely natural and accidental.

He starts chapter six about self-knowledge by stating that in order to answer the question if we have an immediate relation to God which will keep us from dissolving into the crowd we have to fulfill the demands of rigorous self-examination and self-knowledgeCompare with To Know Yourself under Spiritual Development. He reminds us of all the atrocities that have happened over the last decades and explains that men don’t deny that terrible things have happened and still go on happening, but it is always “the others” who do them.  But none of us stand outside humanity’s black collective shadow and we have to possess some “imagination in evil”, for only the fool can permanently neglect the conditions of his own nature and that this negligence is the best means of making us an instrument of evil. What is even worse, our lack of insight deprives us of the capacity to deal with evil. In Jung’s opinion people are largely unconscious of the fact that every individual is a cell in the structure of various international organisms and is therefore causally implicated in their conflicts.

In the last chapter Jung explains that the very fact that through self-knowledge, i.e. by exploring our own souls, we come upon the instincts and their world of imagery should throw some light on the powers slumbering in the psyche, of which we are seldom aware so long as all goes well. He tells us that the spiritual transformation of mankind follows the slow tread of the centuries and cannot be hurried or held up by any rational process of reflection, let alone brought to fruition by one generation. What does lie in our reach, however, is the change in individuals who have, or create an opportunity to influence others of like mind in their circle of acquaintance. Jung does not meant by persuading or preaching –he is thinking of the well-known fact that anyone who has insight into his own action, and has thus found access to the unconscious, involuntarily exercises an influence on this environment.

He concludes with stating that happiness and contentment, equitability of soul and meaningful of life – these can be experienced only by the individual and not by a State.

 

The Ever Present Origin by Jean Gebser

The Ever-Present Origin is an immense exploration into an insight—a “lightning-like inspiration” as he called it—that first came to Gebser in Spain in 1931. This insight, that a new kind of consciousness was beginning to appear in the West, came to Gebser through his study of poetry, particularly that of the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. As Gebser unraveled it, he soon saw that evidence for this new consciousness could be found in developments in science too. In fact, the more he thought about it, the more Gebser discovered signs of this new consciousness in practically all aspects of Western culture. For the next eighteen years, he gathered and organized his thoughts on what he called an impending “mutation” in consciousness, the most immediate manifestation of which was what he called the breakdown of the “mental-rational structure” of consciousness, the dominant “scientistic” rationalist reductive paradigm that has held sway over the West for the last few centuries.

He explains in the book that we are at the brink of historical chasm and that the new millenium will bring peace, if we find a realistic response to the global crisis we are in. He described it as a crisis of consciousness and said that we have to work on a solution individually and collectively.

In his exploration about human consciousness Gebser was able to identify four major configurations in our consciousness and illustrates them through cultural data. He believed that consciousness has moved through four previous “structures,” each achieving a further separation and distinction from an atemporal, immaterial, spiritual source that he called “origin.” According to Gebser, each major configuration of consciousness always changed through a mutation hereby reaching the next level of consciousness.

Archaic (almost completely instinctual):

  • Zero-dimensional (total absence of differentiation; e.g. between the individual and the universe)
  • Non-perspective (like deep sleep)
  • Total absence of any sense of separation

Magical (principal of identity as expressed in analogical thinking):

  • One-dimensional
  • Perspectival state of timelessness and spacelessness (like a state of sleep)
  • The magic man was part of his environment and felt secure only with his group

Mythical (cognitive structure):

  • Two-dimensional
  • Unperspectival state of consciousness (like a dream)
  • Imagination and attunement with natural rhythms became important factors
  • Unfolds symbols rather than calculus
  • Intuition rather than hypothesis and abstract thinking

Mental (the domain of men’s thinking mind):

Through his research he came to believe that we are on the threshold of a new structure of consciousness, namely the Integral. This integral consciousness structure was made evident by a new relationship to space and time and it consists in part in its ability to integrate the preceding consciousness structures rather than suppressing them as the mental structure does.

Integral:

  • Four-dimensional
  • Aperspectival world of transparency
  • Time free, space free, subject free, object free world
  • Total integration of all parts
  • Grasp by mind and spirit
  • Liberation understanding of the whole

 

Gebser noticed that the integral structure of consciousness was largely witnessed as the irruption of time into the “fixed-reality” of the mental structure and explained in detail the incorporation of time in physics and the attempts to “paint” time in the visual arts and the like. This structure will enable the human mind to transcend the limitations of three- dimensionality. The supersession of time is a theme that will play an extremely important role in this structure. In fact, the ideas of arationality (as opposed to the rationality of the current structure), aperspectivity (as opposed to the perspective, spatially determined mentation of the current structure), and diaphaneity (the transparent recognition of the whole, not just parts) are significant characteristics of this new structure.

In his book “Verfall und Teilhabe” (Decline and Participation) that has not been translated into English yet, he supplies the readers in the chapter “In Search of the New Consciousness” the present mutation of consciousness. Some of them he mentions are:

  • Haste is replaced by silence and the capacity for silence;
  • Goal-oriented, purposive thoughts is replaced by unintentionalness (Absichtslosigkeit);
  • The pursuit of power is replaced by the genuine capacity for love;
  • Quantitative idle motion (Leerlauf) is replaced by the qualitative spiritual process;
  • Manipulation is replaced by the patient acceptance of the providential powers;
  • Prejudice is replaced by the renunciation of value judgments;
  • Action is replaced by poise/attitude (Haltung)
  • Homo faber is replaced by homo integer
  • The divided human being is replaced by the whole human being
  • The emptiness of the limited world is replaced by the open expanse of the open world.

 

For me, one of the most important messages from Gebser is, that the arational structure of consciousness, which in his opinion has been in the process of constellating itself since the turn of the century, does indeed depend for its full emergence on each individual person. We all have to do to the work of self-transcendence which, as Gebser freely admits, is the most difficult of all human tasks.  He said:

All work, the genuine work which we must achieve, is that which is most difficult and painful: the work on ourselves. If we do not freely take upon ourselves this pre-acceptance of the pain and torment, they will be visited upon us in otherwise necessary individual and universal collapse” (Kulturphilosophie als Methode und Wagnis, p. 409)

Gebser’s “The Ever-Present Origin” is not easy to read. If you want to find out more about him and his work you can find an overview of his work on the Internet.

Ken Wilber named Georg Feuerstein, a German Indologist who authored over 30 books on mysticism, Yoga, Tantra, and Hinduim, as “probably Gebser’s foremost American interpreter”. Feuerstein shows in Structures of Consciousness why Gebser’s comprehensive work is one of our century’s most important intellectual contribution to a new self-understand and profound spiritual reorientation. This book is for those who do not have the time or patience to work through “The Ever-Present Origin”; Feuerstein gives a terrific overview of the basic framework of Gebser’s thoughts and concepts.

In the chapter “The Play of Consciousness” in his book “Structures of Consciousness” he provides a list of integral features and their mental-rational counterparts:

self-consciousness – mind-transcending freedom
ego-fulfillment – ego-transcendence
search for perfection – present happiness
self-opacity – self transparency
obsession with and fear of time – time-freedom
past- or future-orientedness – presentiation
now-orientedness – living in the full continuum of time
boundedness, maskedness – openness
rigidity, defensiveness – fluency, availability
intolerance/toleration – playful tolerance
control – letting -be
hesitancy – immediacy
anxiety – enjoyment
alienation – participatory freedom
internalized responsibility – personal responsiveness
emotional dependence/independence – freedom of feeling
observer consciousness – participatory consciousness
forced action – responsive doing
purposive orientation – humorous participation
categorization – name-transcendence
abstraction, obsession with thinking – bodily presence
knowledge – understanding, wisdom
dogmatism – acknowledgement of the multivalency of life
fear of intimacy – freedom for intimacy
doubt – reverence for life
guilt – freedom from the superego
ennui – equanimity
exploitative orientation – service
falling in or out of love – being love

 

Theosophy by John Algeo

The Theosophical Society

The Theosophical Society is a worldwide association dedicated to practical realization of the oneness of all life and to independent spiritual search. It was founded in New York City in 1875 by Helena P. Blavatsky, Henry S. Olcott, William Q. Judge, and others. Blavatsky (1831-1891) is the primary force behind the modern theosophical movement. Her works and those of her teachers express the principal concepts of its philosophy. A Russian by birth, she traveled for twenty years in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Near East studying mysticism and occultism. Helena P. Blavatsky also wrote books titled Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine.

What is Theosophy?

Algeo starts out by explaining that we have made a lot of progress in science, technology, and other matters but in our relationship to others, in concern for our own health, on our work and our leisure, we do not apply the same intelligence and realism.

The three objects of the Theosophical Society are:

  • To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
  • To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy and science.
  • To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.

The motto of the Society is “There is no religion higher than Truth”.

The word religion comes from a Latin term whose root meaning is “to link back”. Therefore different religions link their followers back in different ways to the ultimate source of life – the Absolute/God/Divine Reality.

Theosophy does not claim to be a complete and final statement of wisdom and truth; it holds that all things, including the human mind, are evolving. It does not bind an individual to any particular belief or creed. Theosophy asks you to live your religion, not to leave it.

Theosophy as Science

Science limits itself to what can be quantified and tested by repeated, controlled, and objective experiments. Every great discovery of science was at first a grand intuition and theosophy reaches into the area of these “grand intuitions”. Theosophy, while pointing out new roads to inner knowledge, also teaches that only those who prepare themselves in action, desire, and thought to hold the welfare of humanity above their personal benefit can safely gain such knowledge.

Theosophy as Philosophy

Theosophy is not a body of beliefs but a way of explaining things (a philosophy). It holds that the universe unified, orderly, and purposeful, that matter is the instrument for the evolution of life, that thought is a creative power which we can learn to use effectively, and that experience of both joy and suffering is the means by which we grow in character and ability and thus attain wisdom, compassion and power.

Religion, science, and philosophy are three ways of viewing the truth of the universe.

Some Fundamental Concepts

  • Ultimate reality is a unified whole – absolute, impersonal, unknowable, and indescribable.
  • The universe is manifold, diverse, constantly changing
  • The ultimate reality is the source of all consciousness, matter and energy
  • The physical universe of which we are normally aware is only one aspect of the total universe. Of the seven planes of our solar system, human beings function primarily on the lower three: physical, emotional and mental.
  • Everything in the universe is orderly, following patterns of regular cycles
  • Evolution is good and follows a plan
  • We are threefold beings: 1) a temporary, single-lifetime personality; 2) a spark or direct emanation of the ultimate reality; 3) an abiding, evolving individuality tat reincarnates.
  • The process of evolution must eventually become a conscious process
  • The evolving human has more intelligence, some may serve as helpers
  • The pain, cruelty, and frustration we experience in life are the result of ignorance, unbalanced actions, or change.
  • It is possible, as a result of individual effort in this life, for human beings to come by intuitive knowledge or mystical experience to a full awareness of their non separateness from the ultimate reality

What is within counts!

The Theosophical Society guarantees full freedom to interpret the teaching and has three prepositions:

      • The universe and all that exists within it are one interrelatedCompare with Dying to Be Me under Metaphysics and interdependent whole.
      • Every existent being is rooted in the same universal, life-creating reality
      • Recognition of the unique value of every living being expresses itself in reverence for life, compassion for all, sympathy with the need of all individuals to find truth for themselves, and respect for all religious traditions.

Central to the concerns of Theosophy is the desire to promote understanding and brotherhood among people of all races, nationalities, philosophies, and religions.

Devotion to truth, love for all living beings, and commitment to a life of active altruism are the marks of the true Theosophist.

The three truths:

      • The human soul is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendor has not limit
      • The principle that gives life dwells in us and around us
      • We are each our own absolute lawgiver; the dispenser of glory or gloom to ourselves, the decreer of our life, our reward, our punishment

The Ancient Wisdom in the Modern World

1) History

The Theosophical Society was founded in New York City in 1875 and the chief founders were Blavatsky (HPB) and Olcott (HSO).  HPB was a Russian woman, married young and left her comfortable life to seek an explanation to life’s mysteries. She came in touch with some teacher in her dreams who sent her to America.

Olcott was a lawyer who served in the civil war. When spiritualism became interesting he went to Vermont to write a story. Publicity rose after the first cremation. HPB and HSO soon moved to the East. HPB focused on the esoteric aspects, HSO on its public aspects.

Annnie Besant became HPB’s successor and also adopted and fostered the Indian philosopher Krishnamurti, who grew up to be an independent teacher.

2) The International and National Societies

TS still has its international headquarters at Adyar and is now represented in about 70 counrties in the world.

3) Universal Brotherhood

The first object it to form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.

Brotherhood is the primary focus of Theosophy because all humans are related. Because we are interrelated, everything each of us does affects everyone else. Brotherhood is spiritual siblinghood/family. In old English it refers not to a group of males, but to people generally. Brotherhood is spiritual family of humanity. It is a goal to form a Center/Core/Nucleus, since the brotherhood already exists.

The universe is an expression of the Divine Reality.

In Theosophy brotherhood means much more than a humanistic ideal of kindness and consideration of others; it is an integral part of our existence as human beings.

Instead of accepting that “the fundamental identity of every soul with the universal over-soul” is a fact, we fight what is in our own best interest.

The humans have not yet wholly freed themselves from the cramping bondage of self-absorption and self-interest. We should not only consider the welfare of ourselves, our family our fellow-believers or communities.
We need to understand that what happens in one country affect all others. We all ultimately reap what we sow and thus learn the lessons of our sowing.

We need to work on ourselves to achieve betterment in the world!

Compassion, a virtue taught by Christ and Buddha, is the last great virtue that must be fully attained by every aspirant. We cannot judge one another. We have to recognize our oneness with all life, in whatever form it manifests.

4) Human Beings and our Bodies

The physical body is not the real personSee also Heal Thyself by E. Bach under spiritual development. Theosophy teaches that we are really the “Monad” or inner unity, a fragment of unity, a spark of the divine flame (which lives in many houses). In addition to the dense physical environment, we have environments of vital energy, feelings, thoughts and intuitions. Our interface with each environment performs two functions. On the one hand, it is the channel through which we experience and influence that environment. On the other hand, the kind of interface we have with an environment also limits how much of that environment we can experience and respond to (House-windows-how many we have determines what we see). Limitations protect us and limit us. Too much would lead to be overcome by sensations, energies, emotions, concepts etc.

Theosophy teaches us that our solar system includes seven interpenetrating planes of matter or fields of energy. Three are directly involved in our personal evolution – the physical , the emotional, and the mental. The physical consists of the dense and etheric level. The mental has a lower and higher subdivision (lower = mental; higher = causal). Bodies are not fixed and static. All bodies are really localized fields of force of concentrations, individual foci, of the energies of the larger fields in which they operate. Each of the bodies ha around it a radiating energy field (auras). The “bodies” are not really separate. They are interdependent and function as a whole.

We know we never feel emotion without thought, nor do we think without feeling emotion. And thoughts and emotions affect our physical bodies and vice versa. The connection between our various bodies is the chakras. They are seven major energy centers over our body, where channels of energy converge, each having the appearance of a wheel or lotus flower.

The causal body is more permanent than the others (incorruptible body) – composed of the higher-frequency energies. Our consciousness functioning on that plane is the real “us”; the aspect of ourselves that incarnated in lower bodies to gain experience through them. It is the body of our permanent individuality. Here are the causes stored that sooner or later become effects in the outer, visible world.

One part of the physical body is the dense part composed of solids, liquids, and gases. The etheric double is largely invisible and gives the pattern by which the dense physical body is built – every cell of the dense body! It is the carrier of physical sensation. The etheric double absorbs energy from the sun and transmits is as vitality. The etheric double can be separated from the dense physical body by shock, anesthetics etc. but remains attached by the “silver cord”. When it breaks, death follows.

The emotional body, extending beyond both the physical form and the etheric double, is the vehicle of feeling and desire, ranging all the way from earthy passions to inspiring emotions (radiant – therefore sometimes called astral).

When the physical body sleeps, the consciousness continues to function in the emotional body sometimes remembered through dreams. Clairvoyants describe the emotional body of an evolved person as filled with vibrant and luminous color. Less evolved persons are darker.

Theosophy describes each of the planes or fields of the universe as having seven subdivisions of matter or frequency, The “lower” mental body is composed of the four denser subdivisions of the mental plane the causal body is the vehicle of consciousness in the three subtler or “higher” subdivisions.

When the mental body is in use, it vibrates rapidly and temporarily increases in size. Prolonged thought makes the increase permanent, so the mental body is built day by day through the right use of thought power.

Because emotions and thoughts are interrelated, each affecting the other, these two bodies are closely linked. The mental together with the emotional is called kama manas, which means “desire mind”. The causal body is the vehicle through which the human individuality or soul expresses itself as a series of personalities in the world. It does so by functioning through temporary bodies – mental, emotional, and physical –on the denser planes. Only the good, the true, and the beautiful enter into the causal body, because its vibrations are so subtle that they do not respond to that which is coarse, false or ugly.

It is small at the beginning, as we evolve, and the effects of our good thoughts, feelings, and actions gradually are registered there; it takes on greater color and grows in size, but very slowly until we reach the stage of unselfish or impersonal views of the world.

The causal body continues life after life – is our permanent embodiment.

After our body dies we interact with our subtler-plane environment for a while through our emotional and mental bodies. But eventually they too die; then the beneficial experiences of the previous incarnation are incorporated in the form of increased capacities.

When the experiences of the previous incarnation have been so absorbed and transmuted into increased powers and capacities, the desire for more experiences draws us into incarnation again. We then attract about ourselves first a mental and next an emotional body of the same general characteristics as those we sloughed off at the close of our last incarnation. Thereafter, we come to birth in a new physical body built according to the sort of pattern we have established in past lives, although not necessarily of the same sex.

We need to manage control of our lower bodies!

5) Life after Death

We have actually many reports about what happens after dying. Survival of consciousness after dying is a logical conclusion. Life after death is unique for each person. Life after death is a subjective state said to be largely determined by the individual’s attitudes, thoughts, and actions – that is, by the level of consciousness attained during the life just completed.

There are two patterns of the after-death state. As a person approaches death, the etheric double withdraws, only the silver cord left. At the end the events of the ending incarnation pass swiftly in review, then when dying the cord is broken and the person (etheric double) seams to float above the dense physical body in a state of peaceful unconsciousness (sleep-body stays attached to the etheric double). You help the dying by staying calm and without emotional resistance.

After hours the inner person disengages from the etheric double and releases itself entirely from the physical world. The double “dies” and disintegrates, while the person’s consciousness remains in the emotional body. After dying, the person is attracted to that level most characteristic of the habitual emotions during life. The denser, coarser vibrations form the outer most shell. A person who has lived a life governed by strong, coarse desires (materialistic), awake to the vibrations of that type in a sort of purgatory (the desire can’t be fulfilled because the physical vehicle no longer exists). It is a result of natural law.

Individuals of less coarse tastes and more controlled appetites will experience no such intense emotional stress.

One view: Individual sleeps through the entire post mortem experience in the emotional world awakening only on the mental plane Devachan.

Other view: Individual sleeps only through the coarser levels; when the higher levels are reached they find life similar to that which they left (pleasant earth life – less material). Thoughts are now visible, so deception is impossible. The dead communicate with the living, while the latter are asleep. Loving thoughts from living friends and prayers – free of sadness – often help. Excessive grief is not good.

Every person is eventually cleansed of emotional desires (20 – 40 years). Then the individual awakens to more favorable and pleasant surroundings – entrance into heavenly life.

The special characteristic of the heaven world (Devachan), which exists from the four lower sub planes of the mental body through the highest causal sub planes, is said to be an intensity of bliss. In Devachan we create the world that best suits us. The experience of Devachan (a term that means “the land of Gods”) is a consolation for every pain and disappointment of earthly life. Devachan is a state of consciousness in which energies have been stepped up to an immensely high level. The individual has the power to grasp every situation in its entirety.

We spend time there as long as we need. Experiences from past life will be stored for future use in the form of conscience and ideals.
After a stay on the causal plane the individual grows hungry for more experience which leads to a vision of the next incarnation.

6) Reincarnation

ReincarnationSee also Initiation by E. Haich under Spiritual Development is a fundamental concept of Theosophy. Many people don’t accept the unfairness and inequalities with a God of justice and love. Each of us is an evolving part of the divine life (heavenly father who inexplicably plays cruel games while demanding unquestioning love!). Why does a soul have a future but no past? Since we have an earthly life, it must serve a purpose in the evolutionary process.

ReincarnationCompare also with The Gnostic Gospels and the Bhagavad Gita under Religion and with Quantum Physics under Science is the most logical and most in harmony with an orderly system (like school). Reincarnation is repeated entering into a fleshly body. Through each of our recurring lives in a body of flesh, we gather experience thatCompare with Your Soul's Plan under Metaphysics, during the period between incarnations, we work into faculties and powers needed for further growth in spiritual statue. Some incarnations seem to be a failure but failure too is educative (humans enter after/at the end of a stream of animal incarnations).

We can start “schoolCompare with The Heart of the Soul under Spiritual Development” in different years and vary in the progress we make. Some are more/less advanced. We all have equal possibilities for development. The order varies. All learning follows a spiral pattern. Some things we have to relearn.

Reincarnation explains the differences we see all around us that neither environment nor heredity account for.

Each soul comes into a physical body bringing along the fruit of past lives. Talent is no gift; it is the result of lives of work in a particular endeavor. Conscience is the fruit of the past, the indelible record of lessons learned in other lives.

Reincarnation also offers an explanation for homosexuals. The inner self has no sex, but wears in one a male body, in another a female. If you pick the same sex for several lives and then switch, the other traits will remain.  It forces you to develop the other sexes’ response to experience.

It is believed by Hindus, old Egyptians, Buddha, Greek Pythagoreans, Kabbalah and it was believed among the early Christians.

Ian Stevenson wrote about past incarnations and the intersection of biology and reincarnation. We are affected by the “likes and dislikes” of past lives. Detailed memories are connected with the physical brain and when the body dies that brain consciousness is lost; detailed echoes of our past life are no longer active. When people remember it’s usually because the former life ended sudden and too early and the previous life was incomplete and the reincarnation took place quickly (close in place).

The past is eternally available but we do not know how to access it. Some people have achieved the necessary sensitiveness to recapture some memories of past lives.

Three main factors determine the circumstances of our next birth.

      • Law of evolution: The purpose of reincarnation is to further our intellectual and spiritual development.
      • Law of cause and effect: The law of justice determines if we either earned opportunities or if we will be limited.
      • Sympathy or connectedness: We have to meet those with whom we formed ties of love of hate; helpfulness or injury.

Everything works for the growth of the spirit!

7) Karma

Our universe is lawful and orderly, a place where nothing happens by chance. The energy put forth in thoughts and desires will sooner or later produce results. Even death does not cancel what we owe.

KarmaCompare with Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire under Spiritual Development is the law of cause and effect. Every action we do affects our relationship with our families, our friends, our business associates and others. Karma is the world of constant change; nirvana is the world of permanence. Karma is always educative; Karma is the law of growth. Karma is un-personal; it has no concern with us individually. Some karma is from present life; some from past. Some Karma is related to our family and some of it relates to humanity as a whole.

Every human being is constantly generating physical, emotional, and mental forces and the effects of those forces determine the kind of life we lead here. Reincarnation is part of the plan of evolution. We can continually modify the effects of any law. If any condition inconveniences, blocks or causes pain and discomfort to others, and ourselves we have a right, in some instances an obligation, to do what we can to change it. We grow and develop our powers through Karma, which helps us learn through dealing with problems. If in spite of our best efforts, the block or conditions remain, it may have other purpose – perhaps a lesson in renunciation, patience or sacrifice (first make sure it is inevitable).

You can counteract the effects of Karma. When we begin to find the right answers, we will realize that they come from within ourselves, where the problems also came from – for the answer is always in the problem. Each person’s life is intertwined with the life of all humanity.

We need to control what we think and feel! Whatever one of us does affects all others because at the deepest level of reality we are all one. Every time we think or feel or act unselfishly, we are helping. We can act for ourselves, but we have to act for others as well.  We also must act now!

8) The Power of Thought

We generate three karmic forces every day of our lives; thought, emotion and action. And the most powerful of these three is thought. Thought is an energy that consciousness produces to modify the subtle matter of the mental plane. Our thoughts vibrate. When we think the same thought, the resulting thought form is produced quickly and accurately. The effects of thought are of two kinds: those that react on the thinker and those that affect others.

Any repeated thought establishes a vibratory habit in our mental body and thoughts have side effects on the astral and causal bodies. We make ourselves by the way we think. When we think of others, radiating vibrations create a thought form that floats through the mental plane.

No external thought can impinge on us unless we are already attuned to its kind. If our thoughts are clear they will be resistant to being replaced by other thoughts.

Concentration and meditation are two important aspects of the power of thoughts.

Only a mind trained to stay on one subject, to concentrate on one task to the exclusion of all others, can succeed in meditation. Meditation is especially important if we are to undertake the inner work needed for treading the Path. It aims at quieting the personality to reach our individuality.

Devote 5 minutes each morning to quiet, positive thought, focusing on qualities to develop. We need to think about the opposites of our weaknesses. Close your eyes and see yourself acting with the quality you want to acquire. For this concentration is essential.

If you are easily irritated, practice seeing yourself as serene, calm, kind. But be aware that a test will come. And you will get irritated and think you failed but it passed more quickly and eventually you will not react with irritation, no matter what the situation. Then you can begin on another aspect you want to foster. Eventually 5 minutes is not enough. Regularity is more important than duration though.

Worry is one of the most difficult habits to overcome. You need to work in a new direction. When somebody is ill, don’t think about their illness but send them healing thoughts. We do not help “sinners” by dwelling on their faults. It is better to send them love and peace and progress. Send the dead ones only the most loving thoughts.

Ultimately, however, the purpose of meditation is not just to improve our personality, but also rather to put us in touch with our inner core. It helps us to discover who we really are. Spend 5 minutes every day just being quiet and becoming aware of your surroundings.

Goethe: Do not worry about your past. Do not be angry. Do not hate. Enjoy the present. Leave your future to Providence!

9) The Question of Evil

Why is there evil and pain in the world? There is no absolute, just relative evil in the world. Selfishness – no concern for the welfare of others – exists. Infants are selfish but not evil. It may help to substitute “incompleteness” or “imperfection” for “evil”. In this Universe nothing happens except in relation to something else. Evil, like good, exists only in relation to its opposite.

      • Stage: evolution towards ever-greater materiality, unconsciousness, and separation.
      • Stage of evolution: progression from materiality, unconsciousness, and separation to spirituality, awareness and unity; and from unselfishness, ignorance, coercion, and discord to altruism, knowledge, freedom, and harmony.

Evolution is a dynamic, onward-going process, with purposefulness at its core. Good is whatever is in harmony with the evolutionary purpose by aiding the journey onward, and evil is whatever works against it. Evil is the exaggeration of good, the progeny of human selfishness and greediness.

Good is all that works in harmony with the development of the universe; evil is what works against it.

Recognizing and opposing evil develops our moral sense. Pain results when we do a wrong action.

Struggle is not to be avoided, but to be acknowledged as the very root of existence in an evolving world.

We should lift our consciousness toward a level where evil cannot express itself.

Peace comes when we accept the nature of the world, with a selfless sense of detachment.

10) The Plan and Purpose of Life

What is the purpose of life? Science believes there is an orderly process in the universe; but it is concerned with natural causes and their effects, not with nature’s purposes and plans to achieve them. Theosophy believes there is intention and consciousness.

Three hypothesis:
1) Everything is chance.
2) The Universe is the product of inexorable natural law with no options and free will.
3) The Universe is a precisely ordered organization.

Theosophy takes the view that the purpose of existence is the development of latent possibilities into active powers.

Evolution is not only physically but also the evolution of consciousness from the restricted to the expanded and spirit to the consciously unified.

Earlier kingdoms – animal, vegetable, mineral – are more connected with each other than humans but they lack conscious awareness.

During the involution, life “descends” from a state of pure consciousness and becomes immersed in denser matters.

Each solar system is pervaded, energized, and controlled by a mighty collective consciousness, a divine Mind called LOGOS (or Word of God), which emerges from the Absolute. The divine Mind has called our solar systems into being and we are evolving fragments of the life of that Mind. The divine Mind lives through us.

According to the Theosophical hypothesis, three stupendous life impulses are needed to bring a world into being. The Trinity symbolizes them. When a world is formed, first that living matter has to be brought into existence, then it has to be molded into forms through which life becomes increasingly conscious, and finally that consciousness has to realize its identity and spiritual unity. The three steps are three Life Waves.

The first wave of creative energy corresponds to the Holy spirit and comes forth from the LOGOS. The first Life Wave passes “downward” or “outward” through seven stages, bringing into existence matter. During the “outward” breath or involution, matter reaches increasingly dense states. The process of creating matter takes eons. The densest matter in our universe is in the center of black holes.

While the first Life Wave is in the process of making matter, the second Life Wave – corresponding to the Son, or second person of the Trinity, also becomes active. The LOGOS sends out constant succession of these Second Life Waves. It brings characteristics that will enable matter to respond to stimuli through intuition, thought, desire, sensation and so on.

The first Life Wave develops and vivifies matter; the second builds from that matter the various kingdoms of life – canyons and mountains, worms and whales etc. which have the ability to respond to their environment. The Third Life Wave, corresponding to the Father, brings the most highly developed forms produced by the Second Life Wave into contact with the imperishable sparks of the divine life that are evolutionary units of consciousness called individual “monads” (units). In Theosophy this is the immortal spiritual Self, which becomes a separate evolving entity through the third Life Wave and which, by repeated incarnations, gradually unfolds its full potential.

The monad is consciousness plus the film of matter, but at the beginning it is not conscious of anything.

The monad is the ultimate spiritual identity or self-awareness.
The mineral kingdom has a single ensouling monad. In the vegetable kingdom, it is “divided” into separate functional units. In the animal kingdom, the monad becomes yet more “divided”. In the human kingdom, the monad reaches its nadir with a process called “individualization”, as a result of which the monad’s self-awareness linked with a single re-incarnating individual.

When we become human, we begin the process of evolving back to a realization of unity by linking up with our fellow creatures. The individuality is an extension of the monad, just as the personality is an extension of the individuality.

In the animal kingdom we have group souls. In lower forms of animal life (such as worms), a group soul is incarnated in a great many animal bodies. In higher forms (elephants) the same group soul incarnates simultaneously in only a few animal bodies.

Entry into the human kingdom is a great step forward in responsibility on the evolutionary journey. Gradually, we learn that we live in a world of natural laws, experiencing pleasure when those laws are obeyed and pain when they are disregarded. Great Teachers come and help us in our evolution. Humans evolve by gathering experiences in various cultures and genetic variations of our species. Such varying groups are called “root races”. Even the minor genetic and cultural variations of our species are useful for our schooling. We take birth in many “races” to learn specific lessons. Each culture/nation has a special lesson (Greece – beauty; Rome – organization; China – harmony etc.) Experience in many cultures is needed before the goal of the wholeness can be reached. To understand life, we must experience it in all of its variety.

One of the ways in which the variety of life manifests is called the Seven Rays – primordial cosmic energies. Those seven wavelengths make up the “white” that radiates from the sun.

Ray 1 – Atma – sense of Self

Ray 2 – Buddhi – relating to one another

Ray 3 – Higher Mind – discovering how to use knowledge to improve our world, ourselves and the purpose of living

Ray 4 – Vital Energy – balancing and harmonizing apparent opposites – life is our inner mediating power

Ray 5 – Lower Mind – discovering the world around us; understanding how things work and learning how to control our environment

Ray 6 – Emotional Self – relating to one another on a level; recognizing the underlying unity and equality of all beings

Ray 7 – Etheric Double – energy of acting formally, with discipline and habit, following a double

Every person and every thing has all seven of these energies in at least potential form, but various of the energies are dominant. The end of evolution is to have all seven of the energies fully developed and mutually integrated.

The purpose of life is the development of countless numbers of spiritually self-conscious and fully developed individuals who recognize their own individuality and unity – to discover who we are, to know ourselves and to know ourselves as integrated expressions of the oneness.

11) The Rise and Fall of Civilizations

The rise and fall of civilizations is part of the great plan. Cultures come and go, each supplying a particular field of development for the individuals incarnating in them and each contributing its own special gift.

The plan of evolution is sevenfold in nature. There are seven great evolutionary phases in which seven human types or “root races” appear and furnish vehicles for the process.  All types have their contribution to make . Each root race represents a school in which a major group of lessons must be learned; the sub-races represent grades within the school. Attendance is mandatory. Each school concentrates on learning/developing particular aspects of consciousness. We must recapitulate previous training. Root races exist as long as necessary.

The first two root races left no historical or geological records (no dense physical bodies). The first race – 55 million years ago – had sensations/perceptions at the most primary and basic level – sexless; they reproduced by budding. The second race – 35 million years ago – was luxuriant vegetation followed by violent terrestrial changes – the concentration was on activity, beginning to organize its bodies into vehicles of active expression by which to influence its environment. They sweated to reproduce.

The third root race – 18 million years ago – became physical. These were the Lemurians. The sexes were separated and emotion was developed. The mind was activated but relatively quiescent.

The fourth root race – 3 to 1 million years ago – was the actual development of the analytical mind and language (Atlentean). In Atlantis was a highly materialistic civilization, using magic evil in high places and endangered progress.

The fifth root race began 7500 years ago and started with refugees from Atlantis – Aryan (noble people). The present root race is still imbued with much of the Atlantean consciousness.  Problems are pride of intellect and indifference to moral and human values.
The fifth root race is now the dominant on this earth. We have to develop our social sense through the higher mind. Currently we are in the 5th subrace and hone this quality of mind and foreshadowing the next faculty – the intuition – which will begin to illumine the minds of the sixth subrace.

The sixth root race will recapitulate previous experience before bringing into full play the faculty of intuition (buddhi) and foreshadow the quality of spiritual will (7th root race).

Evolution does not leap but it happens gradually with much overlapping.

12) The Ancient Wisdom in Daily Life

Theosophy is practice as well as principle. Fellows can belong to any religion. Theosophy is non-dogmatic. It does not dictate any position. As Theosophists we are obligated by the principle of brotherhood to respect the right of others to differ from the position we hold.

All fellows are recommended to spend regularly some time in study to widen the mind by opening it to new truths, some time in meditation to internalize the truths learned.

Study, meditation, and service are the three aspects of “doing Theosophy” that Blavatsky alluded to.  Meditation can be 10 or 15 minutes of quietness first thing in the morning a review of the day’s activities before sleep at night. Service can be to the homeless, the dying, the disadvantages, to the society or its groups, or to the world by sending out thoughts of peace and harmony to all beings.

Other lifestyle considerations are vegetarian; no furs; no smoking, and no alcohol.

Thy truly Theosophy-life is one dedicated to learning by study, self-discovery by meditation, service to othersCompare with The Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita under Religion; promotion of harmony among humans and respect.

The Theosophical Society has a website with lots of information and online rosources: https://www.theosophical.org/

You can find a lot of information about Annie Besant, a  prominent theosophist, on this site: http://www.kurtleland.com/annie-besant-shrine

And there is Wiki specifically about Theosophy in four languages:  http://www.theosophy.wiki/