By Betty Bland
What is our purpose? What are we, who care deeply about the world, to do? If we are committed to the work of the adepts, the inner founders of the Theosophical Society, how can we stay focused and positive in the face of seemingly endless turmoil and violence? In our younger years of high idealism, we might have felt that we could "save the world" and that we would save it. Some young readers of this piece may still feel that way, and I hope they are successful. However, as time goes by and as our world broadens to include the entire globe, the problems can seem insurmountable.
In considering what we might do, we need to first look at where and who we are before ascertaining where we want to go and how to get there. Often when my husband, David, and I are driving somewhere and we get turned around (a less objectionable term than "getting lost"), I am assigned to be the map reader. As David cruises by street signs that either glide by too quickly or are too obscured by glare for my eyes to focus on, I am totally lost as to where we are on the map"”and am no help whatsoever. We have to first figure out where we are, either by seeing an identifying landmark or by stopping to read a sign. (Real men do not ask directions.) A map or plan requires both a starting and an ending point in order to be useful. I recognize that this analogy may be lost on those of you who have graduated to GPS systems in your cars, but even though the new technology can tell you where you are, you cannot move ahead without knowing the address of your destination.
So let us start with where we are. Have we formed a coherent nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity? Are we at least working in that direction? Are we building into our own characters a willingness to listen to our brothers and sisters? Do we consider kindness as a primary motivation for our actions? Of course, as imperfect human beings, we probably cannot answer totally in the affirmative, but to the degree that we can, we can be assured that we are generally headed in the right direction.
We are currently in a time of transition from the old Piscean energies of belief structures and authority figures to the uncharted waters of Aquarius, the age of cooperative knowledge and understanding. The networking capabilities of the Internet personify the spirit of this new age. Although for many of us this heightened fluidity creates stress and confusion, somehow we have to be able to regain our bearings in the cross-currents of these times. Perhaps we can be more hopeful if we realize that the chaos we see without and within is a necessary pathway of transition.
There are many things that we cannot understand or predict, but one thing is certain. If we are to have a life worth living, if we are to travel toward a better future, we must incorporate compassion and tolerance as an essential component of our being. Many of our standard landmarks may be changing, but the mandate toward brotherhood/sisterhood remains constant throughout the ages. Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He also taught that we could not love our spiritual parent, whom we have not seen, if we could not love our brothers or sisters, whom we have seen.
So wherever we find ourselves, the one certain direction is to seek to build relationships in which we touch spirit to spirit, in which we are bonded by a mutual understanding of unity and ageless spiritual principles. In the June 2009 issue of TheoSophia magazine from New Zealand, President Warwick Keys stated that if a number of people equal to the square root of one percent of the population would meditate on the same thing, it would have far-reaching results. I am not sure of the source of his figures, but I am convinced of the inherent truth of his statement. I propose that this same kind of disproportionate outcome exists relative to our impact on the world.
We always have the option of following some of the divisive patterns of the past, when members of our band stood divided against one another. Many times our Society has had disagreements and splits over issues that could have been resolved if egos and personalities could have been put aside. Our penchant for fractiousness can be reviewed in the historical family tree of American Theosophy by Dorothy Bell of this issue. This history highlights the need for us to increase and strengthen our bonds of fellowship as Theosophists"”in our lodges, in our federations, at the national and international levels"”wherever and however we can be drawn together in ways that make those bonds possible. Only by working together can we transform the world.
Once forged, those bonds become living strands within our nucleus and form what Buddhists call our sangha, our spiritual family, which provides spiritual support and encouragement. This kind of spiritual family used to be more or less limited to one"™s physical location, but can now be extended worldwide. As a part of the new wave of possibilities brought to us by our modern culture, our territory is the entire planet. The masters surely understood this when they inspired the impulse toward forming the Society, as did the French scientist and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin when he postulated the concept of the noosphere"”a dimension of consciousness that encompasses the globe. In both instances, they saw a spiritual network as being a goal of humanity as well as the ultimate salvation of our world. Grasping this idea alone can turn the tide away from violence and the clash of civilizations.
Theosophical author Geoffrey Hodson glimpsed the reality of this inner fellowship as spanning not only national borders but also the demarcations of time. In chapter 7 of Thus Have I Heard he wrote:
Nature has placed many of us in incarnation in the West. We are being borne upon the crest of a wave of materialism and of intense physical activity. We must learn to achieve and to maintain that spiritual poise and inner realisation which was ours in olden days. We no longer enjoy the close physical companionships of long ago, when we prayed and worked together in the temples, monasteries and mystery schools, for we are now spread all over the world. The old association remains but it is now mental. We are united by our common acceptance of the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom. No matter in what part of the world we may be, we are in reality one body corporate. Our ancient friendships and relationships show themselves today as we draw together in the same great cause, and follow the same glorious Leaders, who are the Masters of the Wisdom, and Their exalted representatives in the outer world.
In this sense we are to be the cornerstone of the future religions of humanity. Our activities and studies have to draw us toward this kind of bonding or they become exercises in futility. How this translates into specific programs we can only work at day by day, but this much I know: the means has to be inherent in the end sought. In other words, our goal is present at every crossroads: every step along the way has to include elements of the goal. If this goal is an unfolding of universal brotherhood/sisterhood, then the map calls for each one of us to incorporate that into the patterns of our work in daily life and for the Society. Each such spiritual bond is a treasure, a gift not only to ourselves but also to the stability of today"™s world and to the vast future stretching before us.