RE: theos-l digest: February 19, 1999 Why do we seem to repel others by our attitudes ?
Feb 20, 1999 06:53 AM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck
Dear Friend K - - - :
The desire to teach is sometimes presented over-enthusiastically.
We all have it as a soul urging to express what we feel to be
true. Sometimes our wish to help can overwhelm both us and
others. It may seem to others that we desire to discipline them
into thinking or behaving as we would do - a kind of
regimentation. This produces either a resentment or a
submission. The natural independence of the spirit has to be
evoked, I think, by asking questions that lead to
self-reflection. But why is there in each human such a "spirit
of independence?" What is the nature of "man?" What is the
power of the "mind?"
If we are, in effect, mirrors of the infinite Self, then in our
limited minds we have to develop a view of the potential and then
the actual knowledge that is internal. I say this because if the
Universal Principle of ALL is "universal" then each of us has the
same potentials and powers of observation, reasoning and
How can we get people to look inside and to trust their own
powers of reasoning, when they are seen to be swayed by desires?
It is a great puzzle: how to be a good teacher of anything. We
can point to principles, which if true, are universal. Can we
lead pupils to seek for the wisdom that is interior?
I think that the greatest barrier is the one which integrates
these two great factors: Our desire to learn and our desire to
WE all have minds but we do not all desire to use them fully.
The problem to me then is: how do we discipline our desires ?
What shall we adopt as the best in the long run?
This drives me, the enquirer, to ask which (or who) is the
Controller in me: the Mind, or the desires? But I see that I
can direct the mind and I can subdue my desires. So the "I" in
me is different from either mind or desires. The "Mind" I use as
a tool. I can blunt it or sharpen it. The desires are confusing
and often an impediment. They are most difficult to confront and
control. I ask myself: which are valuable and which are
self-destructive? How do I get to isolate and examine "desire"
using the "mind?"
Most desire a formula or a rite or something that another has
devised, so they can either memorize it without reason, or, if
misapplied, they can blame the teacher for. Few realize that
with knowledge also comes responsibility. The fact of
"responsibility" or "duty" frightens or annoys many. Why should
that be so?
The great problem as I see it, is that we, who have some
knowledge of the operations of Nature that integrate all these
questions and problems, have to lead slowly, providing the
information that is essential.
In a school or academy in our present world, as a teacher, with a
curriculum to complete in a set time, the pupils have to be
encouraged to learn (actually, to remember) those formulas which
they can use to solve examples and exercises set to enforce those
theorems. In life we find that there is no such discipline or
time-agenda. If we want to laze or divert ourselves, we can do
so. If we wish to live disciplined or inquisitive lives, we can
do that also. There are a million ways in which anyone can
direct their living. But, is there a certain optimum? And if
so, how do we define it, and how do we practice living in that
In mathematics there is no leeway between the true answer and all
the errors. In logic it is a little more obscure, because the
matter of sentiment arises, and a question of liking or disliking
an answer that we arrive at, internally, may prevent us from
arriving at a universally and true result. Some results are
unpleasant to our "desire nature."
What shall we do? Remain ignorant and happy, or try to be come
wise and in the meantime discipline our desires and channel them
into the disciplines that lead to a knowledge of the true? For
some this is easier than for others. But, everyone has the
freedom to make up their own mind, ultimately, regardless of how
others think they ought to behave.
In Theosophy, as in all philosophical systems, there is the
problem of basis. How do we establish a basis that is fair and
just and true as well as useful? How do we test it? If it is
UNIVERSAL and open to all to seek for verification, the answers
are more likely to be true. Theosophy claims to be a record or a
report on the "wisdom of the Ages." It has no curriculum outside
of our own living. It looks at all aspects of individual and
collective life. It inquires into motive, into the power of
thought into the results fanciful or real of desire, etc... It
does not give rites, rotes, or formulas. It encourages a study
of all the ways and laws of nature and a search for the best way
to apply them to ourselves as members of the world community of
So the basis is (for most) a "belief" about GOD. Is it a
UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE, or is it a He, a She or an all-powerful
whimsical being that enjoys being praised and gives or withholds
with neither rime nor reason? Does one religion or system give
better protection or assistance over others? Is it a refuge for
thinkers or for hopeful believers who are forever unsure? How do
we test the rites, creeds, dogmas and observances of any or all
religions? Do they encourage us to do this? Or, do they
discourage such search?
Next: are there rules and laws in the Universe for mathematics,
Science in all its many departments where various aspects of
Nature are studied? Are those rules invariable or are the
constantly changeable? Is our pursuit of knowledge a matter of
temperament or a capacity that all have in various degrees? If
there are impediments to such a desire, what are they?
Is the evolution of: 1. the bodily form, 2. the emotional
nature, and 3. the mind, subject to rules and laws (ethics,
morals)? And if so, how are they to be defined, and applications
made universally fair and just for all? Do the "rich" have more
in their favor than the "poor?" If so, why? Should the "poor"
apply unethical methods to become powerful? Is ethics a science?
Does psychology, as at present taught, in our academies a
Does ease, happiness, contentment, etc... depend on an inner
attitude or the acquisition of the power to purchase them?
Does Theosophy present answers to these questions? If so where,
and how do we verify them?
These are some of the questions that have puzzled me for many
years. I have found some of them that seem to satisfy me, but,
when I present them, I do not find that everyone is eager to
listen or talk about them. So I am a constant "seeker for
It is quite rare, but always rewarding to find others engaged in
the same timeless search. In spite of many disappointments and
discouragements, if we persevere in dong the best we can we need
not worry about how others react. There is a need for weighing
all those who approve against those who do not. Then to find out
in what areas that disapproval is shown. Following that, we need
to ask ourselves if we (our methods of presentation, our
attitude), or the subject of study, has caused that difference.
Then: How do we make a bridge to draw objectors in to seeing our
point of view rather than our resenting their views as such. Can
we put ourselves figuratively in their place and look at
ourselves with their vision?
I wonder if this is of any help to you and the questions and
observations you offer?
Best wishes to you,
* * * * * * * * * *
* ORIGINAL MESSAGE
I don't know if it was that bad, but a simple
misunderstanding grew out into people assuming I
deliberately talked down on them. The fact is that I am a
teacher (math & chemistry) so I am used to try and help
people understand things better. But now the effort was not
appreciated at all, in fact it was interpreted as an
insult. And only because the person did not in fact
misunderstand, so I was answering a question that did not
Perhaps I should become less inclined to help? How is that
for a theosophist, or a person trying to be one?
No, I will continue to try and explain when I think I have
a relevant answer or comment. Perhaps my skin needs to
become more like one from an elephant.
- - - - -
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application