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Responses to Liesel

Oct 06, 1994 03:12 PM
by Jerry Schueler

Responses to Liesel's last posting:

Liesel <My way of dealing with the latter is to do something, &
then just go on to the next thing.  But sometimes I wonder
whether what I did was right, & sometimes I back track to find
out what happened (& it's not always just to learn whether I did
the right thing so I can do better next time.) I don't claim to
be perfect.>

Actually, none of us are claiming to be perfect.  Your method of
dealing with ethics seems fine to me.  Being ethical without
thought for reward is a goal.  It is something that we should be
striving to reach.  I doubt that any of us are there yet.

Liesel <Being ethical, I think must come from within to be
genuine.  I think most of the motivation is connected with our
ideal of Universal Brotherhood.>

Exactly my own feeling.  This idea has been around for a very
long time.  For example, Bruno Borchert, writing about Gnostic
mysticism says, "It was claimed that whoever had reached the
Self, did the right thing automatically.  Moral instruction was
Weiser, p 137.  Thus the Gnostics too, taught that ethics should
come from within - they should, eventually, be spontaneous and
without thought for reward.  I hear a lot about ethics and morals
from theosophists, but very little on this important point
(which, to me, is the big difference between theosophy and the
world's religions).

Liesel <But I'm just now wondering whether as a way of becoming
ethical from within, whether as a teaching method you couldn't
start consciously imposing ethics on your thoughts & actions,
with the motive of learning it, if it's something you felt you
needed to improve on.  I wonder whether after a while this would
work out to your being ethical from within.  But this method, if
it works, would be for adult self-training.>

Exactly.  We must all take the first step - we must develop
ethics in our thinking throughout our everyday life.  Then we
take the second step, and try to be spontaneous about it.
Really, all we need to do to go from step 1 to step 2 is to
honestly question our motives.  Most religious folks never get to
step 2.  In fact, most don't even know it exists.  Hindus and
Buddhists, or example, think it just fine to do good deeds in
order to accumulate personal merit or good karma for themselves.
Christians think that it is OK to do good deeds to get into
heaven.  The fact that what they are doing inflates their ego and
is goal/reward seeking is OK with most people.  However, most
Adepts or Saints of virtually all religions have said at one time
or another that we should not seek personal rewards for our
ethical behavior.  Theosophy also says this, but a lot of
theosophists seem to be mystified about step 2.  I can understand
this from newcomers - those just beginning their theosophical
studies.  Older theosophists should know better.  Again, I am not
saying that anyone should already be at step 2 - only that it
should be a goal to work toward.

Liesel <I'm not sure how I would teach a kid.  By example, & by
saying "listen I want you to do it this way...  because".  Do you
think that's better than carrot & stick? How would you teach.....
? >

This is an extremely good question.  My wife and I have wrestled
with this one too.  Her answer is the carrot and the stick.  She
says that Christianity makes it easier to teach children, because
the reward/punishment approach works well with most children.
Without a reward/punishment system of some kind, teaching
children is very difficult.  I tried the "by example" approach
with my own children, but I am not sure how well that actually
worked.  The "golden rule" approach only works on children that
are sensitive to others, and who already like themselves.  For
example, my foster daughter has very low self- esteem and almost
no respect for authority or for adults.  To tell her that she can
do unto others as she would do to herself would be to invite
disaster.  But the "carrot and stick" approach doesn't do well
with her either, and for the same reason.  So we are teaching her
about "consequences" of one's actions.  Her behaviors have
consequences and those things that she likes can be taken away,
while those things she doesn't like can be given (a
reward/punishment system by another name which seems to work,
probably because it is not so obvious).  At the same time, we are
working to build up her self-esteem.  I am of the opinion that my
wife is probably right, a reward/punishment system or something
close to it, is probably essential for children.

Liesel <I think someone on the List wrote that Christian
Scientists believe in always looking at the bright side.
Theosophists do that too.  Whenever someone is ill, people send
healing,...  you hear very little talk about their illness.  CWL
says it reinforces negative thought forms Serge King believes in
blessing as much as possible ie saying & thinking nice things
about others...  like stroking.>

Nancy wrote that Christian Scientists believe in always looking
at the bright side.  She is right.  Christian Scientists believe
that if your thinking is "right" (this is something equivalent to
the right-thinking of Buddha's Eightfold Path) you will not
experience anything "evil" or "wrong" or unpleasant.  For
example, if you are driving down the highway with a Christian
Scientist, you may see an accident where someone is laying along
the road, possibly in need of help.  A Christian Scientist
wouldn't see it (unless, of course, their thinking wasn't right).
They believe firmly that all of the unpleasant aspects of life
are an illusion (in this sense, I would say that a Christian
Scientist is the modern equivalent of a would-be Pratyeka
Buddha).  They seek to raise their consciousness to a level where
such things simply don't come into their experience (and I know
from my own experience, that this is entirely possible, at least
up to a point).  Don't get me wrong here, they are very nice
people.  I was one for over 10 years and all of my family are
strong members (I am now the family black sheep, for leaving the
fold, so to speak.  Mrs Eddy spoke as unpleasantly about
theosophy, as HPB spoke about Christian Science.).  My mother,
father, and sister have been (my parents are now deceased) or are
readers and church officials.  My mother and sister were
"trained" by taking what they call "class." Now taking "class" to
a Christian Scientist is equivalent to a theosophist being in the
esoteric section or ES.  It gives them rank and status within the
church community.  It also, unfortunately, inflates their egos.
This is probably one reason why the Pasadena TS abolished its ES,
thus putting everyone back on an even level.

When CWL says that right thinking reinforces thought forms, he is
correct.  There is no doubt in my mind about the power of
positive (or negative) thinking, especially where physical health
is concerned.  But the Christian Science approach (which I call a
magical approach) doesn't take karma into account at all.
Healing must somehow account for one's karma.  I agree with the
idea that we should be loving and thoughtful toward others.  But,
once it dawns on us that universal brotherhood is a spiritual
fact waiting for physical expression - we are our brothers
keepers - then thinking positive about others is spontaneous and

Liesel <Sometimes you have to say & think untoward things.  But
it doesn't make anybody feel good.  How do you feel about this?
I'd really like to know because I'm very undecided.>

Yes.  This is because none of us are fully functional Adepts yet.
We are all seekers.  We are all treading the Path, and hopefully
we will reach a point someday when we will no longer think
"untoward things." Do you know where these "untoward" thoughts
are coming to us from? They come from the Dark Brotherhood.  As
long as we are human beings, these thoughts will enter our minds.
But, we can (and one day we will be able to) rebuke them and send
them off without letting them feed on us or affect our actions.

Liesel <The other question I'd love to discuss is alternate
health ways as against allopathic.  What kinds of health care
solutions have you found for yourself, & your family? >

This is another good question.  I have been told to look into
acupuncture and other exotic things for my knees.  I have RA in
my joints.  My left knee was swelled so bad I had to use a cane
to get around.  Several doctors looked at it (two said "ooohh,
that looks baaad!" which didn't help me any).  I quit using
Christian Science (which does work, by the way, but at a price I
was no longer willing to pay).  I also refuse to use magic, for
the same reason.  Instead, I have decided to sit back and watch
my karma play itself out.  To a large extent, my problem revolves
around the stress that I got at work.  I retired last April, and
my knee has already shrunk back to normal size (which is
medically impossible, but it happened anyway and I have xrays to
prove it).  The arthritis is still effecting my muscles, though,
so I still use a cane sometimes.  But all considered, I am a lot
better now simply by removing a lot of stress in my life.  My
family generally uses medical science.

Hope this helps,
                             Jerry S.

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