Three Dimensions of an Effort
The Theosophical Movement Needs
Researchers, Organizers and Active Supporters
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
“A group or branch, however small, cannot
be a theosophical Society unless all the members
in it are magnetically bound to each other, by the
same way of thinking at least in some one direction.”
(Helena P. Blavatsky, in “The Letters of H.P.B. to A.P. Sinnett”,
T.U.P. edition, Pasadena, USA, 404 pages, see Letter C, p. 222.)
It is not possible to learn theosophy in a deep and lasting way except by activating and expanding the contact with one’s own higher self.
Words are not theosophy in themselves; but they point to it. Carefully examined, the teaching stimulates an understanding of universal realities which can only occur at those levels of heart-consciousness which are the microcosmic dimension of universal realities.
How then best activate one’s higher-self consciousness? How can one see theosophy as it is, in its transcendent complexity and radical simplicity?
In order to do that, one must dedicate oneself to altruistic and cooperative practices which point to the long term advancement of the whole mankind, and not of any particular section of it.
This precondition is not the result of any arbitrary decision taken by someone located above students.
It results from the very practical fact that higher selves have no sense of separated identity: they see only universal, impersonal realities. Lower and personal selves can loyally serve their higher selves. They can transfer the focus of consciousness from outer life to that level of consciousness which is immortal and thus understands universal realities. “To enter the path” is but a metaphoric expression. It means one dedicates one’s existence to living the abstract, impersonal and eternal principles.
Such a life will take place mainly – and at first almost exclusively – in one’s innermost heart. The external world will be but probationary. Outer actions and attitudes will clumsily reflect the inner intention in the mayavic world, thus being promptly classified as silly by most people – except in a few cases sometimes made possible by special karmic conditions.
Intense difficulties will test, confirm and deepen one’s resolve – if one does not give up. As the years and decades pass by, the gathering of experience due to repeated efforts in the same noble direction will slowly increase the degree of efficiency.
The theosophical movement must develop into a karmic scenario where such a complex development of one’s inner nature can take place in less than disastrous ways. But for this to be possible, a significant number of its members must thoroughly understand that the movement is essentially probationary in its nature and its dharma, or duty.
Founded in 1875, the movement as it is constitutes still a recent invention. Yet it can already provide up to certain extent an opportunity for students to consciously develop their higher-self connections through active work for mankind.
There is no easier way. One can only benefit oneself by benefitting others, and it is impossible to benefit others without being (occultly) benefitted by it. The two things are as inseparable as the higher and lower selves of each healthy individual. A noble motivation is necessary to obtain noble fruits. Selfish “spirituality” would lead but to ill-disguised selfishness.
The real theosophical movement is a collective effort of sincere, friendly students who must be able to take strong decisions and learn from their mistakes. Theosophical activities have to go far beyond studying, memorizing, repeating, and trying to live up to classical texts. To limit the movement to these activities would gradually lead to dead-letter routine and spiritual blindness, ending in complete paralysis.
Self-renewal is synonymous to life.
The movement needs researchers, organizers and active supporters. Each student must do these three functions up to certain extent. He will be naturally stronger in one or two of them, according to karma and temperament. He must be a pioneer, for any living reality or movement is dynamic. The universal Law guarantees that each theosophical worker is repeatedly tested by Life and Karma in whatever he does. One must be thankful for that.
An expanded definition of the word dynamics would say it is the motion and equilibrium of systems working under the action of forces both internal and external.
In any living system, a challenging dynamics is unavoidable. In theosophy, it means probation, not routine. And probation must be dealt with by a constantly renewed research which preserves the essential axioms and permanent foundations of the teaching, while facing ever-renewed difficulties. The right perspective improves the inner life of the theosophical effort (both individual and collective) by constantly updating the perception of eternal Law.
The Independent Lodge of Theosophists and its associated libraries and websites can be described as a research laboratory. They can also be seen as forming a virtual or astral light place in which cooperative investigation is developed and shared.
Out of the main lines of research and action followed by Independent Lodge of Theosophists, the following eleven topics may be named, not necessarily in this order:
1) The past history of the theosophical movement, its present challenges, and its future, towards 2075 and beyond;
2) The importance of an active respect for the center of the aura of the movement, a feeling that leads to the activation of one’s individual contact with it;
3) The resulting need to defend the truth about the founders of the movement, by consistently showing the falsehood of half-disguised and pseudo-theosophical slanders;
4) The study and the understanding of the movement’s duty towards mankind, on one hand, and towards its living, inner sources of inspiration, on the other hand – for these two aspects of duty are inseparable;
5) The search and study of the best ways for an efficient, daily self-discipline of individual students, for such an effort constitutes the true foundation of collective progress in theosophy;
6) The study of Ethics as the art of sowing good karma;
7) The identification and study of the writings of John Garrigues, one of the most influential 20th century theosophists, who worked in anonymity;
8) The search for a correct equilibrium, in the collective effort, between mutual help and individual responsibility;
9) The perception of the inner relation and identity between each field of human knowledge and theosophy;
10) The importance of “The Mahatma Letters”, “Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom”, “The Secret Doctrine” and other classic works for the theosophical effort in the 21st century;
11) The examination of the present world geological challenges from the point of view of the teachings in “The Mahatma Letters”, “The Secret Doctrine”, and the true teachings of esoteric philosophy, as a whole.
These are a few topics but research is not enough.
The movement needs organizers who can build collective opportunities for the work to be done in a creative way, while mutual help mechanisms expand and multiply.
Organizers consolidate the effort. They make research possible. They give the movement a correct interaction with physical reality. They promote study and make the products of research available to as many people as possible. They focus the effort necessary to keep classical writings in contact with the general public. They gather people together so that by altruistic action they can better understand the teaching, and attain true self-knowledge.
There is a third activity of decisive importance. It is developed by conscious and active supporters, whose dharma is to help make things happen.
After considering the movement’s wide variety of on-going tasks and existing needs, each supporter must choose how he or she can best add strength to it. And this is not all: supporters must also do their research and organize activities in their own spheres of supportive action.
Each student is able to and must combine in himself research, organization and support. Every dimension of the movement needs the three gunas or characteristics of life. It must have stability, or the higher aspect of tamas. It profoundly needs motivation to renew life, and this corresponds to the higher aspect of rajas. And it must have satwa, that principle which gives rhythm and harmony to life, and which does that by producing the right combination of stability and renewal.
How then can students expand their present degree of efficiency?
The means and resources to do that depend on our perspective. They can be attained; but each individual must have eyes to see the higher possibilities of karma for himself.
According to theosophy, it is not true to say that students of esoteric philosophy have dozens of positive opportunities surrounding them and available all the time.
It is not true, for the number is much higher.
Students are literally surrounded by unlimited, atmic potentialities. Developing them is only a matter of focus, affinity, and a long-term determination.
The article “Three Dimensions of an Effort” is the English language version of “Três Frentes de Ação”.
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.