Re: Re to Eldon & David
Sep 03, 1995 07:17 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker
>Eldon:<The process of spiritual development is something useful
> to discuss. How do we become selfless, how do we forget
>ourselves and rise about the pettiness of the personality?>
> This brings up a point that I think needs to be
>discussed. All too often theosophists tend to equate
>spirituality with selflessness. While it is certainly true
>that to be spiritual, one must be relatively selfless, I
>feel the need to mention here that the reverse it simply not
>true - to be selfless does not make you spiritual. Lots of
>selfless folks can be found in mental hospitals who are not
>terribly spiritual. Someone with amnesia can be selfless.
>Selflessness is not enough. You also need gnosis. Buddhism,
>for example, insists that you need both means selflessness/
>compassion) and wisdom (gnosis). The quest for gnosis
>alone is also not enough, and is a pretty sure road to
>psychism. A truly spiritual person, to my way of thinking,
>is a balanced person. And Eldon does, in fact, add later,
>that we need "to do wise things to realize wisdom."
Agreed. We are selfless when we function without the sense of
personality predominating our perceptions. We are functioning
in a different part of our inner constitution. There can also
be selflessness with a damaged sense of personality, where the
personality is non-functional and therefore does not take a
dominant role in our perception of life. When I speak of
selflessness, I still picture someone with an active, colorful,
unique personality. It is just that the personality does not
act at the "prime mover" of our consciousness, it is not the
seat of consciousness anymore, but rather acts as an "outer
mask" to our more-deeply-seated consciousness.
>Eldon:<The biggest ill effect of psychic development is the
>state of passivity that it often requires.>
> I have no idea what the heck you are talking about
>here??? What passivity? Do you mean yogic positions such
>as the lotus, in which the physical body is passive?
It's not the activity of the physical body that I'm thinking
of. Something like zazen, for instance, I would not consider
passive, although the student is completely unmoving.
>Do you mean the passivity of the human mind when thoughts are
>stopped in samadhi?
I'm not sure that thoughts stop in samadhi. The stream of
consciousness that constitutes our thought process continues,
just as the physical heart beat and the flow of blood in the
physical body continues. What stops is *our attention* being
drawn to the mental process. We became momentarily unaware of
our thoughts in the same sense as we might become unaware of
our physical body, how we have our legs folded, etc. The
process represents a more-complete shifting of our focus of
consciousness to a part of us that is above and beyond thought.
There is nothing passive, I'd say, in this.
>In magic rituals, just as one example,
>the magician uses his/her body, speech, and mind all
>together and is hardly passive.
I would not consider the practice of magic to be passive.
>Buddhist meditations are
>usually geared to stimulating and directing the body, speech,
>and mind as well (considered the three main parts of any
>true spiritual practice).
When we visualize a Tibetan Deity, that is an active,
self-conscious process. When we focus our mind on a Zen koan,
and continue to reassert our *sense of conscious control*, we
are not passive.
I'd consider it passive when we lose our sense of consciousness
at the moment of falling asleep. Or it would be passive if we were
attempting automatic writing, allowing our hand to write things
*that did not first originate in our minds*. Or if we were opening
up to outside influences, attempting to psychically receive
impressions from without, impressions that were not the results of
using our existing senses, nor of using our mind, feelings, etc.
The open, receptive, passive state would be similar to the state
that a hypnotic subject is opened up to, or when a medium, in a
seance, has given up control and allows other entities to take over
the medium's body and momentarily speak and act.
The psychic, magical, and occult arts overlap, and there are a lot
of activities that perhaps could be considered either self-conscious,
self-directed, self-controlled; there are others that could be
considered unconscious, externally-controlled, and of a sort that
weaken the person's ability to control and express his own consciousness
in his vehicles.
>Eldon:<If we get into studying the issue of whether there
>could be a parallel line of evolution for the angels/devas, a
>number of related issues in the Teachings will need to be
>discussed, like there being no such thing as "group souls" >
> Who says that there are no group souls? I thought
>that this was one of the "core teachings."
You'll find "group souls" in the Adyar line of writings, including
Besant, Leadbeater, Powell, Jinarajadasa, Arundale, etc. I'm not sure
you'll find it in Point Loma or ULT basic textbooks. The basic conflict
is between the idea of the birth of a Monad through fission from the group
soul at a certain point in time. This idea conflicts with the fundamental
idea of the eternal pilgrimage of the Monad, neither with beginning nor end!
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