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Re: hearing about theos-l

Aug 14, 1997 03:36 PM
by Eldon B Tucker


>Theosophy is much more than book learning - reading the basic philosophy of
>Theosophy is really only the naked beginning.

True, but it depends on *what* books you read and if that reading stops
at brain-mind study of arbitrary metaphysical assertions or continues
until it penetrates to what might be called "mystery teachings" what you
get out of the books. We need to awaken higher faculties than what we 
normally use to read and study books.

> It is what you do with it that matters - not whether you know what a 
>"Round" or "Root Race" or "Yuga" is.

This is the karma yoga approach. But even with this approach it is necessary
to learn symbolic thought and other faculties *of knowing*. And because
everything is contained in everything else, if you really knew about 
Rounds or Root Races you'd have a good grasp of the rest of life, including
everyday events in the external world.

> Theos-l is fascinating in that it is peopled by those who have been
>exposed to Theosophy, and, hence, it reflects Theosophy in action. 

It certainly has a far wider cross-section of views on Theosophy, with
views ranging from "it's all 18th century make believe" to a fundamentalist
worship of the dead letter of theosophical "sacred literature". 

>One can
>learn so much more about themselves, humanity, and the cosmos in exchanges
>such as "barroom fights" or listening to someone on "a good soapbox."

Yes, we learn by experience. Second-hand experience is helpful, like in
watching others on the list. First-hand experience is better, where we write
and deal with the reactions of others, some that may violently disagree 
with what we say.

The degree of self-control that we exercise also has an effect on others;
they see what we do and also can learn by our example. We can
be civilized, acting from a sense of personal style and refinement, or
we can act totally by impulse, overcome by the passion of the moment,
like a barroom drunk punching someone in the face because of feeling
slighted. The person that was punched in the face may have a learning
experience, but I wouldn't try to justify that kind of experience as
legitimate and necessary.

>Careful observation of this list reveals individuals growing, maturing,
>developing - I've seen people change before my eyes here.

I've seen the changes too. The most noticeable change is that people
get used to this new medium of communication and are better
behaved -- new people start off with guns drawn, ready to reform
the world by blasting everyone that disagrees with them. People
learn how to "listen" to others that disagree with them rather than
fight. They often are able to do so in person, with the other staring
them in the face, but they find it hard at first to treat a mailing
list as the same sort of situation.

> I've learned more
>about Theosophy - doing Theosophy - on this list than I have in the number
>of books I've read on the subject. 

I'm glad for you. But don't discount what you *haven't found* in
the books. There's a natural limitation on what can be put down in
black-and-white on the printed pages, but I'd say there's quite a bit
of wisdom left for any of us to find in the theosophical literature.

>Doing Theosophy is much harder than reading about it - it can appear
>uncivil, formless, chaotic, rowdy, uncultured - being able to peep and
>perceive through that to comprehend the value of chaos and what it means is
>the point.

I don't see it as an either/or situation. We haven't really learned the
esoteric philosophy until it becomes part of our day-to-day lives.
This includes both the troubled times and the smooth times in life.
There's nothing that says that we give up the sense of magic in
life, the appreciation of the unexpected, the challenge of an
ever-more-difficult life before us. 

This higher type of raw enthusiasm for life that I'm talking about it
a key element of the spiritual Path. It has nothing to do with a
Puritanical, pious observation of someone else's rules of good
manners. And it's completely different that the drunken, "animal
house", wild-party, pee-on-your-car sense of freedom-seeking
which is only a childish rebellion from authority figures by
confused people with no self-esteem nor heart-awareness.
It's more like being excited about everything that comes to us
in life, at each moment -- being as excited as a little child waking
up on Christmas morning, about to run to the Christmas tree,
There's also a sense of style, dignity, beauty to the feeling
that makes it of a different quality of experience.

-- Eldon

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