I know I sometimes scare people a bit with my cynicism about the Theosophical Society. There is one aspect of the work though that compensates for worries about the future and questions about the organization… it’s the lodge work. I fell in love with lodge work 17 years ago as soon as I felt it, and I love it still.
I loved the serious minded study. I loved the Key to Theosophy, but I also loved talking about it, hearing people’s opinions, getting a feel for the book with both my mind and my intuition. I loved that theosophical lodges contain people of such a variety of backgrounds and spiritual stripes. I loved the balance of the mental, the social and the spiritual – mixed up occasionally with very real stories of spiritual experiences, which helped put my own into context. I loved that theosophists really did have a map against which the most important issues I came across in my own life could be measured.
17 years later I love being part of a lodge that manages to attract people under 40 😉 We were 4 this evening (jotting this down on arrival home). We even had a kid of 26 😉 I love leading a Key to Theosophy study-group which dove into the book, on our first try two weeks ago, as deeply as though it was the Secret Doctrine. I love that having been a member of the TS with my ears and eyes open, I could draw you a very decent map of the Dutch spiritual scene. I love being part of a lodge that has the whole package to offer newbies:
- An introductory course into theosophy
- A Key to Theosophy study group
- A Secret Doctrine Study group
- A Blavatsky Meditation Diagram meditation group
- Public lectures about topics as wide apart as parapsychology and spiritual experiences, Life after death, free will and karma and the Count the Saint Germaine.
I sympathize with the ULT, because they’ve made lodge work central to their approach to theosophy. I totally get that, except that as an organizational structure I just don’t believe in it. However, I do feel that the TS is perhaps a bit over structured. After all – the above list of lodge activities does not require as much administration as now often goes into it.
I find that now I get to use what I learned in my own spiritual process to help others stay with their feet on a path that’s at least a bit less perilous than it would be if they had to travel on their own. Not that I’m being their guru or anything – not me individually as an authority, but the group as fellow travelers who know the terrain and the map a bit. Together we show how life can take shape, without having to ignore the spiritual aspects that intrude upon it. It’s a great feeling to have everything fall into place.
You may have noticed – the number 17 is pretty strong here. Had I been allowed to help the TS in India next year, it would have happened in my 17th year of being a member (I got my diploma early 1994). Instead it’s turning out to be the year that I take my first serious spiritual steps outside the TS. I’m sure that however it pans out, the months I spend at the foot of the Himalayas will be life changing.
When I was asked how I saw my place in the TS in future, during the World Congress, I said that it depended on what the TS wanted of me. I’ll be where the work is that suits my talents best, whether inside or outside the Theosophical Society. I see two possible scenarios:
- The TS welcomes what I learn in India
- I find in the communities of Buddhism or Yoga a place of work the TS will not give me.
Whatever the future has in store for me though, I doubt I’ll leave the TS lodge work behind.