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practicing universal brotherhood rather than merely mouthing the concept

Sep 08, 2004 08:44 PM
by Eldon B Tucker

At 07:18 PM 9/1/2004, you wrote:

... newcomers may join the list in
the hope of sharing, for example, their understanding of the
writings of Besant and Leadbeater, among other authors. The
statistics from posted by Daniel recently clearly
indicate that both Besant and Leabeater continue to be identified,
in the public mind, as belonguing to the field of Theosophy (or
People may come to Theosophy from many different approaches. Some may have started with books by Leadbeater and Besant, others with books by Barkorka and Purucker, others with Judge and Blavatsky books. I would expect that if they can engage each other in friendly discussion, they can broaden their knowledge and grow to greater insight.

I don't think it's necessary to tell people to only read certain authors and avoid others as being tainted. I will say what I prefer, but leave it to other people to decide what appeals to them best. In a free exchange of ideas over an extended period of time, I think people will gravitate to the highest approach they are ready for. Each person sets their own limit and is better able to seek it out when exposed to a friendly, diverse environment that encourages thoughtful study.

Although I'd consider my studies as being advanced, I recognize that it is just from my point of view and others would see things differently, often with wherever they are at being highest, for now, in their estimation. And it does not serve a useful purpose to rank and order different approaches, with one's own on top, of course, in order to add to one's self-importance and putting others in their place.

If someone wants to study Leadbeater's life from a historic standpoint -- or Blavatsky's, Judge's, or Krishnamurti's -- that's fine as long as they don't use their appraisal as a hammer to hit people on the head when they say that they read and like the books any of these people may have written.

A metaphysical and spiritual thread of discussion is as valid as any historic one, and everyone should be free to share their ideas, regardless of the author or any historic threads of discussion going on at the same time.

Regardless of what we might discuss, it's important that we respect the others among us of different backgrounds and beliefs, and not put things in a way that sounds like a personal insult, like "You like that idea from a Crowley book? You must be an evil dugpa!" Or "You say you like that idea from a Bailey book, yet we have just proven in our historic discussions that Bailey was a fraud. Only an idiot would believe something she wrote. Do you recant any belief in her works or do you confess to being an idiot?" Or "Do you profess a belief in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and profess a belief in the One True God, or do you admit to being a devil worshiper destined to burn it hell?" -- Note that there are all leading questions that require people to either submit to one's belief or confess their stupidity.

It's possible from any particular slant of discussion to find ways to put people down, even if one is not doing so intentionally. A discussion of the actual history and spiritual credentials of someone's favorite theosophical figure could have a chilling effect upon people reading his or her books and wanting to discuss the ideas presented. Yet were they free to discuss the ideas, perhaps we'd learn something from them and they're be exposed to better ideas from us as well.

A discussion of metaphysics might lead to suggestions that people not versed in that particular set of philosophical ideas is "not ready yet" and should simply be dismissed as spiritual wannabes. That, of course, has a chilling effect on the skeptic or believer in something different, making him or her to want to brand people a bunch of religious kooks and leave for a better group of people.

It all comes down to a matter of respect. We can explore new ideas, challenge existing assumptions, and seek a greater understanding of things. But we should maintain sufficient objectivity to know that our personal viewpoint isn't the prime perspective of the universe. Everything only seems that way *to our eyes*. If we can believe what we will and yet happily allow others to coexist with different beliefs and assumptions, respecting their individual and likely different seeking of truth, we are actually practicing universal brotherhood rather than merely mouthing the concept.

-- Eldon

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