Daniel H. and gifts
Sep 16, 1995 09:16 PM
by Murray Stentiford, Scientific Software and Systems Ltd
Looking back over your last few messages, without quoting any particular
I have noted the way you have "come out" considerably since your first
cryptic entry to the list. I like it better this way - you speak more
directly from the heart now, and have shown us amongst other things, a
little of the suffering in your life and those you deal with.
However, in one place, you rather contemptuously wonder if theosophists
could do anything really useful for people who are down and out, if I
remember your thoughts correctly.
The fact that I can't talk to street kids for example (are they called
that in the USA too?) in their own way doesn't mean I don't care about
them. However, I'd be a presumptious do-gooder to wade into their midst
without having the humility to just listen and learn from them before
trying to do anything, and then my usefulness would be limited by the
fact that my background is a lot different.
It is more natural for people closer to them to try do any direct
helping. In New Zealand the few good drug education programs are run by
people who have done the drug thing and come out the other side. The best
people to counsel cancer patients are those who have had it and are
leading normal lives again. It can't really be any other way.
The Theosophical Movement (TM) may seem intellectual to the point of
disappearing up its own chakras, but its members have often done their
share of suffering too, and I don't mean not having enough credit cards
to go around. I'm thinking of drug addiction, incest, loss of marriage
partner after long illness etc - and that's just within my circle of
The TM is a service organization intended to help relieve suffering in
the world by working at the level of insights and understanding. It is
NOT meant to convert people from their religions, though from some of the
items on this list, you might wonder.
In the beginning of the modern theosophical movement,
1 The Masters and HPB wanted the TS to help humanity by applying and
extending the initial spiritual insights.
2 They were also strongly against the TS becoming a cosy little school
for a select few to study occultism and magic in intellectual comfort
without regard for the needs of people at large.
As it has turned out, the TM has done less of 1 than was wanted, and more
of 2 than was wanted, but there are nevertheless many people within it
who feel a deep commitment to trying to relieve suffering in general as
well as in their immediate environment.
The potential for good in working at the level of insights and
understanding is enormous, especially if powered by dedication to what is
highest and best. So much of human and animal suffering is due to the way
people think (or don't think). Isn't this partly why you are so keen to
share your own religious views?
I did animal welfare work for a few years, and sometimes saw people who
worked in child welfare organizations, for instance, get snotty and
derogatory about people who worked for animals, and vice versa. Not very
productive, and not really true to the spirit of their own organizations.
I feel the same way about people in one religious/philosophical group
having a go at those in another.
There are many organizations working at practical levels, and it would be
good if we could be free of sniping between them and those that work at
the level of ideas and insights.
Daniel, I love the commitment and enthusiasm that are not too hard to
read between your lines, even if I don't always like the channels they
flow through. And I believe the suffering that you have gone through, is
ultimately a priceless gift in your quest to find ways to help others who
are going through extreme inner pain in their lives.
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