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RE: Discussions

Dec 26, 1994 10:36 AM
by jrcecon

Jerry wrote:

>     The reason why I bothered to speak up in your dialogue with
>Paul is because you stated that: "One of the reasons why I wanted
>to join the theos network, was to help come to agreements between
>theosophical factions."  Anyone interested in doing this has my
>complete attention.  However, after following your dialogue with
>Paul, and with my experience with you, I'm left to wonder what
>you meant by the above statement.  How do you propose to help
>bring agreements between theosophical factions?

I haven't spoken much on this list...but joined it for much the
same reason.  After having belonged to the ATS out of Wheaton for
probably around a decade now, and having fallen in love with its
*ideals*, I found the practice of them was perhaps a tad
lacking...the factionalization and wrangling about what seemed to
me to be insignificant personality issues was forming anything
but a "Universal Brotherhood".  I thought the freedom of the
INTERNET, where perhaps members from the different factions might
be able to engage discussion of theosophical ideas free of
affiliation, might provide a better forum for theosophical

> Regarding my involvement in this matter, I saw CWL as a good test
> case for "coming to agreements"--not for the purpose of bringing
> agreement concerning CWL's guilt or innocence, the polarization
> is too deep and there seems to be no bases for communication on
> that issue.  The reason for the deep polarization, I believe, is
> because the issue is just a veil for much deeper and more
> threatening ones.  Therefore, I had hoped that a dialogue would
> continue in spite of the polarization.  I had hoped that parties
> would continue to explore the issues, not for the purpose of
> convincing others of the truth of their viewpoint, but to come to
> a deeper understanding as to how others can hold a contrary view.
> In other words, to discover a bases of communication where none
> seemed to exist.  Universal brotherhood is not going to come
> through everyone adopting your's or mine or someone else's point
> of view.  It will come when we all become universal enough to
> listen to and truly understand everyone else.  Only then, will
> all of the "bogey men" go away and leave the Theosophical Society
> to do its important work.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Universal Brotherhood is *not* the absence of
conflict, nor the unification of viewpoints...rather it lies in
achieving the proper attitude towards conflict and differences of
thought.  This, I think, in practice could be called the paradox
of the seeker...when one makes the inward decision to follow the
path, and begins doing both the physical and mental disciplines
required by such a decision, it almost invariably produces a
great stregthening of the entire personality structure.  Thoughts
become far more powerful and focussed, and the core individuality
of the person states itself with greater and greater clarity.  It
makes conflict far more, rather than less likely.  And it is in
this that I think Theosophy has something to say to the 21st
century: With population growing exponentially, and Universal
Brotherhood (by whatever name the sentiment is called) coming to
be no longer a nice thought, but rather almost a *requirement*
for our species, Theosophy _could_ be a place where the models of
Brotherhood are worked out...the vast majority of models of
Universal Brotherhood that have been tried up to now (including
Communism) have, in practice, meant harmony through the voluntary
submission or involuntary subjegation of some people at the
expense of which the final image of the harmony was
either the dissolution of all into a collective mush, or some
sort of dictatorship (whether relatively benevolent or not).  The
MISSION that I believe HPB handed to Theosophists is perhaps the
most difficult...and increasingly essential...problem posed to
modern humanity: How does a group of people who are all
strong...i.e., none able to be dominated by others and none
willing to simply swallow their perspectives for the sake of a
_false_ can such a group create a Universal
Brotherhood? When I first came to Theosophy, and in the years
since then, this has always seemed to be the potential light
within it.  The occultism and minute details of esoteric ideation
seemed quite secondary (I had met and been trained by what
Theosophy calls the Angelic kingdom before I even heard of
Theosophy...and the experiential touching of the inner realms
renders most books about them kind of uninteresting)...but the
more I thought about the First Object, meditated on it, attempted
to grasp its root...the more I understood why HPB kept
emphasizing it, kept trying (with only partial success) to keep
members focussed on that rather than on starting yet another
small and isolated occult brotherhood obsessed with the study of
the minute distinctions between philosophical ideas (as many
members then, and now, wish to do).  In fact, I believe the
patterns of relationship required to form a genuine Universal
Brotherhood in which everyone feels fully empowered (that is, not
at the expense of some; not premised upon supression) literally
*do not yet exist*.  We, Theosophists, at our highest and most
brilliant point of development, could become one of those very
few groups that discover and articulate those patterns...and at
this point in humanity's history no organization could hand to
humanity any greater gift.  When I think of this possibility, I
begin to understand what HPB poured her whole life into...begin
to understand why the Masters put such a relatively large amount
of their very rare and scarce energy into the TS.  I certainly do
not claim to know what such a thing as true Universal Brotherhood
looks like, but I have, after a decade of meditation on that one
concept, concluded that its manifestation lies in patterns of
relationship...thousands of groups and philosophies have a notion
of the *idea*, and there are countless books written full of
wonderful sentiments about "loving" one another, treating one
another with respect and dignity & etc.  Literally hundreds of
millions of people mouth pithy little aphorisms...but the whole
thing falls apart at the level of interpersonal relationships.
To discover how to have those wonderful ideas penetrate that
layer of human living where a few people engage one another on a
topic about which there is great (IMO) to most
fully engage the task embedded in the First Object...and it takes
the full courage of the first ray, the enormity of the
understanding of the second ray, and the clarity of intellect of
the third ray to even undertake such a project.  Yes, Jerry, I
agree with you completely...the issue at hand is far greater than
CWL (and frankly, I personally couldn't care less about the
personality quirks of him or anyone else) is the very core
of Theosophy.

>     You asked about conflict resolution--if anyone on theos-l
>has studied it.  My wife has studied, practiced and taught it, so
>I acted upon your implied suggestion and asked her about it.  She
>tells me that the bottom line is for people to learn to listen to
>each other.  This is the only way I know of for us to "fix up our
>karma"  as you say.

Again, Yes! Yes! Yes! I have worked in the same realm...even
written about it...and as I understand the process, what has
happened re: the CWL discussion, has been very *good*, but is
only halfway done...first step is to allow all of the bottled up
stuff full expression...then to intend to drive the discussion
deeper, to stay _engaged_ in spite of the enormity of
differences.  A tactic I developed in groups where two or three
members were really going at things was to ask both to spend one
hour, only one hour, as the *pupil* of the other.  Each person
then had an hour in the teacher role, and each an hour in the
pupil role.  Further, the "teacher" could choose *any topic they
wished* to teach...and usually it wound up having nothing to do
with the conflict at hand (curiously enough).  The teacher has to
try to be the perfect teacher, to really attempt to convey
his/her ideas clearly.  The pupil has to genuinely engage that (for the moment) see the teacher as worthy of respect
and put all their effort into understanding the topic of the
teacher.  After this is done, both then again engage the topic of
dispute...and invariably (if both *genuinely* engaged the
teacher/pupil roles) the entire tenor of the dispute
altered...and in fact the most suprising solutions often wind up
arising.  Even more than that, an extremely deep level of
friendship often comes about between the people.  This works
among people that have no spiritual orientation...among
Theosophists there is something far more powerful that provides
additional aid: the fact that we are Brothers and Sisters on the
Path...the most powerful bond that can exist between humans
because it transcends individual lives and personality

>     You say that you are just a member at large--that "the
>leaders" should take up this issue.  What makes you think they
>are any more capable than anyone else?  The leaders did take up
>this issue sixty years ago and made a big mess out of it.
>Besides, the problem affects everybody, so everybody should be
>involved.  What would you suggest?

Yes! Yes! Yes! The present leadership (at least of the ATS) is
composed of a small cotiere that is currently exerting, through
bylaws, publications, and a wealth of other means a deep and
exclusive control over Theosophy (or at least attempting to).
They are, for the most part, fully into conflict avoidance...and
the *last* thing they are likely to do is to take up something as
contentious as the CWL dispute.  If Theosophy survives and
flourishes in the 21st century it will be in spite of, not
because of the current "elected" leadership.  The probationary
path is composed of the form side of life, and often becomes
nothing but abstract intellectualism...the path itself engages
the life side...and takes far more courage.  The whole being
becomes engaged...powerful emotions are unleashed...every aspect
of the personality structure engages in a battle with the
spiritual impulses, and any comfort zone within the person's life
is dissolved.  The CWL discussion, with all its surface
appearance of discord, is, if the participants can stay engaged,
far closer to true Theosophy than anything the ATS has approached
in years.  It is Alive.

Blake, I think, somewhere described the inner kingdom as "a
democracy of Kings"...a curious sentiment because it seems to
describe so fully the relationships between the Masters.  All of
them that are glimpsed in Theosophical writings are fully
powerful beings...but a harmony exists between them that flows
from a much larger, common purpose.  My own image of universal
harmony is not one of dissolution into one common set of ideas
(the "oatmeal" form of unity so common nowadays), but rather that
of a galaxy of fully shinig stars...each radiating its fullest
light...none needing submission to any other, but each knowing
where it belongs and all revolving in harmony within a much
larger, almost inconceivable pattern.

Sorry, fellow Theosophists, for such a long post, but it stirred
something inside of me.  L and P, I deeply admire the courage of
both of you, and really hope you can continue the discussion.
You have allowed us to watch as you both had deep pain and unruly
emotions invoked, and you have allowed us to see you reaching
deeper and deeper into that pain and anger and anxiety...and I
can almost feel both of you wondering if you can go beyond it,
rise above it.  The ancient Greeks thought that courage was the
first of the virtues...that without it no other virtues were
really possible...and I hope you will both stay engaged in the
discussion, and allow the rest of us the priviledge of watching a
demonstration of the very core of Theosophy: Two powerful people
who seem to have irreconcilable differences, but still deeply
desire to travel the path and arrive at Universal Brotherhood.

With love, and respect beyond my ability to articulate,

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