Re: Tourists and Pilgrims (Reply to Alexis)
Jul 03, 1996 06:51 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker
>I view everything as an energy field, and I view that energy
>field as spirit. Therefore to me, spirit is the Only reality,
>and physical entities and beings are both part of that "spirit"
>and acted upon by it.
This part is fine. Life is unified, both visible and invisible,
and there is a underlying reality behind things.
>I maintain that there is no such thing as "THE" path, but that
>all things proceed along a "line of development" that is
>appropriate to that entity or thing. Being part of spirit, and
>when one actually becomes aware of that fact, demonstrating that
>is not a "duty" but simply the reality of ones being.
The Path is a metaphor, an analogy that describes certain things
that we might do or participate in. There are situations in life
where significant changes happen, like in a caterpillar entering a
coccoon and later emerging as a butterfly, or like when someone
takes a special training program, like going to college and
earning a PhD in mathematics.
There is the normal course of development in life where we
participate in the status quo of human progress. And there is the
possibility of hastened development, of rapid progress, for the
purpose of being of benefit to the world. "The Path" also refers
to this hastening of one's growth, a forced or accelerated
development that takes one beyond the events of the external
>We are not "students of the spiritual" we are each an individual
>field of force and the intelligences intrinsic to that force act
>upon us to further that development. It cannot really be shared,
>because it is intrinsic to each individual sentiency.
The spiritual is not directly shared, it is self-won, it is more
akin to subtle qualities that give depth to our consciousness. The
spiritual, though, can be *expressed*, it can be given tangible
expression in the world. And this is the "sharing". I see the
wonder and magical qualities of life, as experienced on the higher
planes, as becoming part of the experience of life *on this
plane*, as an increasing number of people awaken those qualities
and express them in the external world.
>You say above: "I see our duty, as students of the spiritual, to
>work on ourselves and to share whatever we've been fortunate
>enough to have enter into our lives". Now, you probably don't
>mean it that way, but identifying yourself as a "student of the
>spiritual" seems to be an effort to set yourself, and those like
>you, aside form other lesser folk, in that you perceive that you
>have "duties" toward them, like a parent has duties to a child.
There's a certain religious quality or undertone to my writings at
times, and this may cause you to react, apart from what I may
actually be saying.
When I say "student of the spiritual", I mean something like
"someone doing this good stuff", not "someone better than others
not doing the same thing". There's no thought or feeling of
"better than others".
The "duties" towards others are those of a more general sense,
those that anyone has: to share whatever is special that comes
into one's life, to give it tangible expression in the world.
When we come to a topic like teaching Theosophy, I'd want to teach
the doctrines in stages or levels, not because a new student is
somehow less worthy than an older student, but out of a common
sense appreciation of the learning process, of now new materials
are taught and can be understood and incorporated in someone's
>You also regularly use phrases like "subtle meanings" and "deeper
>knowledge" and "Ancient Wisdom " and "Mystery Schools" all of
>which clearly imply that: "I know something you don't know". Do
>you see how that impression could arise in someone reading your
Sometimes I may know a little more than I'm saying, but more often
I'm referring to the materials being studied, to how they go
deeper than we may realized, like the tip of an iceberg. But there
are many ways of "knowing something more". In teaching Theosophy,
an intermediate student knows something the beginner may not,
because the introductory materials leave much out. This is
"something more" in terms of intellectual study.
The same is true regarding life experiences and an appreciation
of the spiritual, where you or I or anyone shares what is
appropriate with the person we're talking to, and may not
indiscriminately say everything that crosses our minds.
>You also seem to reject out of hand any one's methodology that
>differs from yours and from Core Theosophy. Now you say you
>don't' do so, but then you turn right around and clearly
>demonstrate that you do.
When I'm speaking from the standpoint of the theosophical
approach, the specific theosophical approach which I've studied
and benefitted from, I'll say "this is the way that it works". And
if I'm working to promote that approach, I'll stay focused in that
direction. But I don't deny other approaches, nor seek to exclude
them from the Adyar T.S. or theos-l.
>>I'm also for sharing with everyone, to the extent that their
>>interest allows. I'm not for label ling someone as "ok" or "not
>>ok" and then using that to decide if they're enticed to benefit
>You may very well not be doing so, but Joy Mills certainly is.
>She and I have been totally opposed to one another since 1973,
>because I believe, and acted upon that belief, that theosophy was
>a "big tent", and totally eclectic, and wanted to take advantage
>of the broad public interest at that time into metaphysics to
>help the society to grow.
Here we have two items. First, I'd agree that we'd share what we
have to offer, including whatever approach that we may be
following, to others without pre-screening and rejecting as
unworthy certain people. We let others self-select the materials,
to themselves decide if they're "ready" or not. Second, though,
this does not mean that any and all beliefs and preferences come
under "Theosophy". Your difference with Joy may be over how
focused the T.S. should be in supporting certain approaches to the
>You cannot imagine how roundly and soundly I got "put down" and
>she made it very clear that to her, and to the people around her
>(The E.S.) there was not such thing as theosophy and that The
>Theosophical society was not for the "rif raf". If you don't
>feel that way, and you claim not to, then you needs must distance
>yourself from those who do.
As to "theosophy", it's simply a matter of semantics. You may use
it to describe the general process of self-discovery and inner
growth that all living things participate in. She may prefer to
not use the word in that context.
As to the Adyar T.S., it has to determine its own purpose in life.
That purpose could be "the big tent", with a different ring for
every possible show in town. Or it could be smaller, more
specialized, and in support of a more specific mission, like
promoting Theosophy or certain approaches to the Path in the West.
Personally, I'm not involved in any struggle either way over its
direction. I'll give it some of my time and support, as part of my
general wish to help out Theosophy. But it's not the only show in
town nor the only project I've active with, so I don't have the
same stake in it that others might.
From the Point Loma point of view, there's not the same problem as
you might find with Adyar. A majority of lodges and members became
independent in the 1940's and 1950's, and continue that way to
this day. They continue to study and work as they see best,
without caring about any authority from a national or
>>There's no "disease" associated with the theosophical doctrines
>>-- rather the reverse. I find a connection through them with
>>healing, uplifting, informing, and nourishing processes within.
>>Perhaps you may find yourself sickened by the words and exoteric
>>ideas used to convey the doctrines? If so, it could be that your
>>reaction is to dirty wine bottles, not realizing the special
>>vintage held within?
>The kind of verbiage in the above paragraph is exactly what I am
>talking about. I think I have made it abundantly clear that I
>regard all religion as an imposition on humanity and, in many
>ways a "disease".
This comes again to semantics. You tend to define "religion" to
refer to institutions like a church, but not to more independent
and spontaneous activities like Shamanism. I'd find the religious
behind all approaches to the spiritual, although I'd expect that
some "products" have a very short "shelf-life" before they lose
their nourishment and spoil.
>When the speculative hypotheses that are intrinsic to theosophy
>are transmogrified into "doctrine" which to me is a synonym for
>"Dogma" then Theosophy becomes a manifestation of religion and it
>too becomes an imposition.
Here we have an area of disagreement that involves lengthy
discussions to explore and clarify. I'd consider the doctrines as
exoteric (although true as fare as they go). I'd consider them as
based upon the living reality of life, both visible and invisible,
and as a form of organized knowledge that it is possible to pass
on to others.
>Please explain to me EXACTLY what you mean when you say: "I find
>a connection through them with healing, uplifting, informing, and
>nourishing processes within".
In simply terms, although somewhat incomplete, they form part of a
practice of Jnana Yoga. They also fashion (vastly broadening)
one's world view. They give *depth* to the experience of life. And
they are inseparably correlated with inner changes.
>>I don't understand how you would think that anyone with even a
>>slight benefit from the spiritual wouldn't feel obligated to
>>share it somehow? This wanting to share is both a mission and a
>>duty and only grows stronger over time, and it not a sign of
>>disease or sickness, nor proof that one is deluded. No. It's a
>>natural result of filling one's life with spiritual contents and
>>the natural desire to share that arises therefrom.
>Once again it's a good example of how we differ. I believe that
>every single sentient life form in the unified field of energy
>that is the reality of our cosmos benefits from spirit all of the
That's true, I'd say, in a very general sense. But I'd also say
that the manifestation of spirit on this plane is far from
complete. There are higher and yet higher planes of
spirit which have no means of expression on this plane,
except until there become beings that can carry and give
expression to that consciousness. Filling our being with such
higher content, there's a natural urge to express it in the world.
>I don't believe in "things spiritual", but in the intrinsicness
>of spirit to all that is. What is "spirit"? It is energy masking
>itself as intelligence--intelligence masking itself as energy,
>and it is all that is, was, or ever will be.
Our difference might be that I see plane after higher plane, level
after higher level, depth followed by greater depth -- a series or
succession of unfoldings or vaster aspects of spirit being
comprehended, experienced, and expressed *in this world*.
>To me the term "spiritual" is a human affectation that is used
>primarily to avoid the perception of the reality of ONLY spirit.
This is a preference regarding the use of the word. Ideas and
concepts are *descriptive* and helpful when in their proper place.
It's only when the ideas become rigid, crystallized, and
interpreted too literally that they become barriers to perception
rather than aids to perception, perception enhancers.
>One doesn't have to "share it" one is born a part of it and
>automatically and insensibly shares it every moment of one's
>existence both carnate and excarnate.
I think there is a difference between knowing, getting, realizing,
experiencing something grand, where one keeps it to oneself, and
where one shares or expresses in the world. The first case is
*being without action* and the second is *being inseparable from
action*. It is in the sharing that one becomes whole.
The sharing is not automatic. It is, in fact, our efforts to
express and share our inner depths that makes us better, wiser,
more loving, and more evolved people.
>The "Mission and Duty" to share the perceptions one has
>intellectually gained, which may be of the apperceptions of
>others, or then again may only be the "passing on"of those others
>perceptions of the ideas and theories of still others further
>back in time. This "mission and duty" as led to the most
>incredible mass of oppression, repression, and hatefulness.
Here I'd make what may be a subtle distinction between sharing
something because it's so special, precious, important, and where
there's no thought of oneself involved -- a distinction between
that state of being enfilled with the spirit and the more mundane
and unadmirable state of forcing one's ways on others out of a
power and ego trip. These two are really polar opposites.
>You must surely know that Torquemada and Savanarola both felt
>exactly as you do. They too had a "mission and duty". How many
>people died and otherwise suffered because of that "duty"?
But there's a big difference from the non-specific urge to share
the spiritual that fills one's life, to express the wondrous
contents of one's consciousness, an expression that takes on an
individual and creative form of its own, and with politics,
or even worse, with religious politics, or terrorism, where one
is promoting an undesirable organization.
Being a living expression of the spiritual, working out of love
of it, is radically different than being a clever activist, using
questionable means to achieve some desired goal. The difference
is as vast as between a genuine Saint and a crafty Jesuit.
>One thing that a Shaman knows, and finds out early on, is that
>one does NOT "fill one's life with spiritual contents", but that
>one's life is an expression of spirit and it fills you on it's
But you're saying almost the same thing, in only slightly
different words. It's true that the spirit enfills us on its own
terms, and we only set the stage for it's possible, but not
guaranteed appearance. But those things that we do when it does
enfill us -- that's when we're "filling our lives with spiritual
>You, or I, or anyone, has nothing to do with the process.
>Spirit, makes itself obvious to the human consciousness on its
>own terms, not those of any individual human personality.
We can participate in the process, setting the stage and sometimes
making it easier to happen. Sometimes that does not matter; it
takes us regardless of our willingness, and shakes our awareness
and lives. Other times, it may be just a little thing that we do,
like stopping to gaze at the mountainsides, or putting on a
certain piece of music -- or even writing some email ...
>There are many people, not simply Shamans, but Zen Roshis and
>others who would say that it is totally pretentious to pretend to
>have anything to share with anyone.
Paradoxically, it can be argued with success either way. *We*, the
personalities, have no spiritual content of our own. We simply
express it as it comes through us of its own accord. In this
sense, we cannot pretend to have anything to share. On the other
hand, we do have skills and abilities with which we *can express*
the spiritual, each in differing ways and with differing skills.
This may include writing, painting, composing music, healing,
psychological counseling, and many other individual skills.
>Once again, it is the aura of "I know something that you don't
>know" that gives the impression you find so dismaying.
I don't feel dismayed, but in a certain way am following a similar
path to you and many others. That is, although I use the
theosophical materials as a starting point for my studies and
thoughts, and as an anchor and "reality check" for what I come up
with, I still *look within* towards other ways of knowing things,
and attempt to learn and grow in my knowledge in a more direct
>Perhaps it is good that we are going through this oh so painful
>process of sharing views. Perhaps you are hearing things you've
>never heard before, and perhaps (I hope so) I am learning not to
>be so quick to dismiss others.
I'm listening to what you say, and treating it as yet another
source of materials to consider. But when I'm ready to really know
something, I'll take that and all I know and then do something
that might be described as "listening in the silence" or looking
at the ideas from a standpoint of formlessness or emptiness. It's
a way of thinking about things, or a way of meditation, or a way
of brain-storming, or a combination of the three. But it's also a
source of new learning, and I rely on it too.
>I had never believed that you cared a "tuppence" for my opinion,
>now I perceive that you do. I cannot tell you how gratified I
Your opinion counts too, but it's harder to hear it when you're
shouting it or when it seems that you're speaking for your own
benefit rather than adjusting what you say for the other person.
When we're civil, we can have a much more valuable interchange
than when we're in attack mode. (This is not to say, of course,
that being polite is not attacking, a sugar-coated dagger cuts
just as deeply!)
The best approach that I've found, when hearing something I don't
like, is to ask someone "what do you mean when you say that?" I'll
often hear that they meant something that agrees more with me than
I've thought. Even, though, when they disagree, I can better
understand their position, and know how to better coexist with
them in the future.
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