What draws them in; an alternate view.
Oct 09, 1995 11:26 PM
by Sy Ginsburg
At The Theosophical Society in Miami & South Florida (TSA) in Deerfield Beach,
we do not see as an issue whether theosophical teachings have to be changed to
be more attractive and easy to comprehend. We think they are fine just the way
they are. Some studies are more difficult, some less.
At present we offer the following specifically Theosophical courses/study
1. Theosophy: Its Mystical Roots (Sundays 11 am, bi-weekly). This is an easy
going Theosophical history course, using Old Diary Leaves as the text.
2. Theosophy: Light on the Path (Thursdays 7:30 pm, weekly). Somewhat more
difficult but certainly understandable.
3. Theosophy: Introduction to The Secret Doctrine (Sundays 2:00 pm, weekly). An
8 week course using the introductory booklet prepared by Wheaton plus
"Foundations of Esoteric Philosophy". Certainly easy to understand and we are
getting a fair turnout of about 8 people for the present course, which will be
repeated in January.
4. Theosophy: The Secret Doctrine Study Group (Sundays 1:00 pm, bi-weekly). This
is a heavy duty study of the Secret Doctrine. It has been going on at our
Branch for several years, and has a steady following.
5. Theosophy: The Spiritual Path (Sundays 11:00 am, bi-weekly). A members only
meeting to discuss Theosophy, the purposes of The Theosophical Society, and
6. Basic Workshop in Metaphysics (Saturdays 2:00 pm, restarts in Nov.). This is
Enrique Renard's top notch 15 week course reviewing all the Theosophical
concepts in plain language. Enrique gets an excellent turnout usually 15-25
That's a lot of Theosophy, but if we only offered the above 6 study groups, we
would have a limited membership and, in our view, we would not be fulfilling
the 3 declared objects of The Theosophical Society. We too often overlook these
objects and forget that when HPB founded the T.S. there was no Secret Doctrine,
no Mahatma Letters. These seminal documents were given to us but only later.
The original members were hearing lectures on the lost canon of proportion of
the Egyptians. There is, in our view, a really important reason to pay more
than lip service to the declared objects, which are the only things we agree to
when becoming TSA members. That means our members might want to look at related
religious, philosophical, scientific and unexplained laws of nature (occult
phenomena perhaps) disciplines. So we have a lot of other Study groups. This
makes the T.S. non-dogmatic and so far as we know, there are no other
non-dogmatic groups of significance. Other religions, groups etc. say, in
effect, "other stuff is O.K. but our teachings are more worthy." We do not
believe that the people behind the founding of the T.S. thought that way.
I've put out the list of our related offerings once before on Theos-L and it
changes a bit every few months. Here are the current related courses/study
Astrology, Bhagavad Gita, Course in Miracles, Dream Workishop, Esoterica (an
informal metaphysical discussion group), Esoteric Science (examining modern
science and how it relates to spirituality), Gurdjieff Introductory course,
Gurdjieff Study Group, Huna Healing, Light Touch Healing, Krishnamurti,
Meditation, Star Trek, Basic Tarot, Tarot and Numerology, Transmission
Meditation, Urantia Book. These groups all meet either weekly or bi-weekly. We
also have an active weekly guest speaker program, and periodic workshops. But
the above courses and study groups are all facilitated by members, not guests,
and these are people who know their stuff in the various disciplines. It's
amazing how much collective knowledge we have in a sizable Branch. And it is
true that someone coming to the Branch for Astrology, for example, and never
having heard of the Secret Doctrine, gets interested. But it's okay with us if
they just want to do Astrology. We make the Theosophical teachings available and
its up to people to find their way into what suits them.
All this makes us a big active Branch with well over 100 members and growing.
We are not at all concerned locally about the chronic decline in TSA membership,
but respectfully suggest that those of you interested in Branch work might wish
to take a look at what we are doing here. We are convinced that if more
Branches followed a broad program of course and study group offerings, the TSA
would be growing, not shrinking.
It's not hard to do and you do not need a lot of money. Just members of
goodwill who wish to give some service for the overall benefit. We do this all
in a small (1000 sq ft) store in a shopping center which also contains our Quest
Bookstore and Branch library.
We presently send out our bi-monthly Program, Calendar and Catalog of Courses to
several other Branches, and we receive some of theirs. If you would like to be
put on our mailing list, just reply to me and we will do it.
Sy Ginsburg, Branch President
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