Re: Toward an inclusive dialogue
Sep 11, 1995 08:51 AM
>I think you're right. Aside from trying to convince or ignore
>Daniel, it would be enlightening, if each of us examined their
>own attitude towards him. For instance, i realized that my
>attitude towards fanatics is influenced by the fact that I was
>involved, even if from afar, with the Nazi fanatics in Germany.
The conversation with Daniel has shown me several
exceedingly valuable things - perhaps the greatest being that of
the time-scales of service: it was amazing how quickly
frustration with him built ... both in myself and (seemingly, tho
I wouldn't speak for anyone else) on the list in general. Several
have taken the time to write somewhat extended posts to him, but
it is also quite clear that there is no sudden alteration that is
going to come about immediately because of our words.
It began occuring to me that no one will gain the pleasure
of seeing their efforts find any fruit (i.e., I hardly expect
Daniel to say "oh, I get it now - ok I'm not a fundamentalist
anymore") - it seems far more likely that he'll probably be gone
in a month or two (especially as he will probably become as
impatient as we are, and has virtually no chance of "saving" a
single infidel here (-:); but then comes the question, how will
he be affected by his slight exposure to Theosophy? Perhaps five,
or ten, or twenty years from now, when events perhaps have
conspired to bring about a state of receptivity - whether through
a crisis of faith or simply a gradual expansion of his energy-
system - perhaps of his own accord he *will* begin looking
earnestly for a wider spiritual life ... will he remember
Theosophy? (And throughout this I keep remembering that he *is*
what Art *was* just a short time ago - that out of his current
state could quickly grow a mind as broad and a heart as beautiful
as Art's). What will he remember of us? Will we have left him
with an impression that Theosophy truely *is* a place of
"Universal Brotherhood", where all are accepted as valid
regardless of what stage of their path they are on (and by
"acceptance" I by no means mean "agreement"). It occurs to me
that in the short run, we are quite involved with our words and
ideas, but in the long run, a decade from now, he will not
remember a single word, but *will* still have a general
impression of Theosophy. What do we wish his (or for that matter,
anyone's) impression to be?
What *then* occured to me was to try (as I do every so
often) to envision the scale at which the Masters work -
imagining what it would be like to think not in terms of moments,
of years, of decades, but in terms of centuries, of millenia - to
labor with total devotion and intensity of focus in the present
on projects whose initial effects may be ages away, and whose
final culmination is aeons in the future. Boy howdy ... talk
about not being attached to the fruits of one's actions (-:)
It has occured to me more and more strongly as the Daniel
conversations have unfolded that perhaps the "Theosophical"
attitude towards the situation lies far less in the words we say
than it does in the consistant radiation of a genuinely open
attitude - of not trying to persuade him of anything, but simply
of continuing to offer him avenues through which the expansion
out of his current constrained perspective might be
accomplished - and whether he sees them now, or ten years from
now, or ten lives from now means less than the fact that we took
the time and the trouble to offer them.
If the path many of us believe we are following reaches, in
us, its final fruition, and the Masters are any indication of
what that state is - the picture of spiritual growth reduces,
finally, to ever increasing scales of service ... what
individuals are to us, so are entire nations to the Masters; what
individual ideas are to us, so are whole schools of philosophy to
the Masters. And if we cannot then show patience and
understanding towards one individual for a few weeks, how can we
then expect to (perhaps aeons in the future) have reached the
point that we can shoulder the responsibilies of true Masters ...
showing the ability to take humans where they currently exist,
and showing patience and understanding towards hundreds of
thousands for centuries.
This may be a bit fanciful, and I by no means want to say
that I know how a Master looks at the world - but I've been
subject to increasingly strong intuitive sensations over the past
few days - that Daniel, for a whole host of reasons (though for
none of those that *he* envisions) is an exceedingly valuable
gift to this list - [though I don't believe my intuition
perceptions are any more universal than my clairvoyant ones (-:).
>Other Theosophists must have other motives for their attitudes
>towards Daniel, other ways of grappling with their shadow, or
>our Theosophical shadow.
Yes! A powerful point, and another valuable contribution
from Daniel - IMO fundamentalisms are often the shadows of major
religions and ideologies ... and Daniel is a *powerful* reality
check for Theosophy ... that certainly *does* have a shadow, and
can be every bit as rigid and orthodox as any fundamentalism is
.. a thing difficult to see from the inside, as no one operating
from *within* an orthodoxy believes they are being rigid - they
generally (as Daniel does) downplay any rigidity or exclusionary
sentiments and instead claim that they are within a "living"
tradition that *needs* to exclude things, *needs* a certain
amount of exclusion, to keep the tradition pure and intact.
>But, just as, from a distance of continents & years, I can
>sometimes be compassionate & understand that Nazis suffered as
>well as Jews , Gypsies & homosexuals, so can I sometimes feel
>compassionate towards Daniel. I can see that he also hurts, with
>his hell fire & brim stone, with his insulting attitude, & in
>that vision of him dimly see ways to try to get him to become
>more reasonable & less hurting.
Ah, dear friend ... while this list is often a wild free-
for-all, and we all hold very different orientations towards,
well, towards just about everything, now and then almost everyone
will (IMO) touch a point of inner alignment and out of the din of
endless spiritual verbiage will arise some single, shining
sentiment, some gorgeous paragraph that seems to glow with a life
of its own.
So much is said here, simply, sweetly, and with no self-
importance .... what a tremendous struggle it must have been for
a Jewish woman to have reached the place of understanding capable
of grasping the suffering inherent in *being* a Nazi - but to go
even further and expand that understanding to the point where it
actually becomes an organ of vision - allowing you to see
(however "dimly") the potential means of aiding a fellow human
..... such an attitude (IMO) encompasses "the Good the True and
the Beautiful" ... and merely by thinking about it the tree
outside my window looks a bit greener, and the mountains in the
distance a bit more elegant.
>You're right, very few people are up to the task. I hadn't
>really thought about that fundamentalism "is a profound
>spiritual problem of our time". Maybe we can bat around this
>post a little ideas as to how we as Theosophists can tackle the
Yes ... I wonder how many agree? If the Mahatma letters are
any indication, while the Masters do understand an "ancient"
wisdom, they were also deeply involved in the current issues of
the time. (((***IMO***))), if I were to name the most profound
issues of *our* time (who knows ... maybe others have opinions
about this ... might be an interesting thread) ... they would be
(in no particular order):
1. The severe and growing damage our population is doing to
the environmental systems composing the biosphere.
2. The huge imbalance between the masculine and feminine
principles - both at the philosophical and personal
3. The massive growth of fundamentalisms that are the
equivilent of cancers eating away at the world's
4. Greed. Greed pursued at a scale and by greater numbers
than anything in recorded history.
>Lastly, I got a good giggle out of the picture of the Masters
>that emerged from what you wrote. Of course we're more obtuse.
>We also came from an entirely different culture than theirs. I
>can just visualize them silently tearing their hair out, trying
>to get us to understand.
For some reason the frustration towards Daniel made me think
of the Masters trying to deal with Hume ... who in his own head
did believe he was in their favor, in fact thought he was doing
them remarkable service (as Daniel, IMO, really does believe he
is doing for Jesus).
Whoops, just realized this post was about twice as long as I
thought it was gonna be. Great post Liesel ... wonderfully
With true respect, -JRC
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