It seems I can’t stop writing about theosophy, even now that I’m no longer a member of the TS Adyar.
On facebook an African American theosophist asked me if I’d written ‘I’m no longer a member of the Theosophical Society‘. I replied in rather short terms that yes, that was me. I realized soon after though, the post might be misconstrued.
As an African American he might conclude from that post that I no longer think it a good idea if people try and live together brotherly (and sisterly) without distinction of race, creed, sex, sexual orientation etc.
I’m not a different person than I was when at 12 I befriended an isolated Hispanic girl in our school Austen TX. I’m still the granddaughter of a Christian Muslim specialist who traveled all over the world at the invitation of Muslims in the Middle East and Pakistan. I’m still the daughter of a psychotherapist who worked with men and women who had been abused as kids till she retired and now teaches what she knows to other psychotherapists. I’m still a resident of a country in which our ‘slums’ full of ‘ethnic workers’ would seem like middle class neighborhoods to most Americans today. I’m still the woman who tried to teach at a multi-ethnic high school at the end of her teaching career. I’m still a very inactive member of Amnesty International. Note too that I think what my grandfather and mother accomplished along these lines is WAY more impressive than anything I’ve done or am likely to do in this life.
Of course I still feel that boundaries between races and classes need to be softened by policy makers and individuals. Of course I still feel that men and women have equal mental and spiritual capacity. Of course I would still prefer finding the ideal working place in which I might develop my spiritual side AND help bridge the gaps between people on all levels.
However, the question is to what extent the TS works towards her objects. My personal question is also whether Katinka in the TS helps anything towards any of them. One of the things the Tibetan Buddhists are very clear about is that motive is everything. Theosophists say that too, but with less clarity. What the Buddhists say is that if you do something grudgingly, if you’re in a situation that makes you angry – you are not working from love. True of course. Anger and resentment have to do with attachment, with expectations not being met. No longer believing I could make a difference in it, I let the TS go. I’m not advising that as a general policy in dealing with conflicts of course. My general advice would be to look problems straight in the eye, work through all feelings associated with them, communicate clearly and leave only once that is clearly the only solution you can live with.
The fact is, the love I had for the TS is gone. That’s why I left. I wondered in 2010, as a few activist theosophists sat at a table at the World Conference, what we were doing it for. What the aggravation was for. Well, my answer is: it’s no longer any use for me to get aggravated about the TS. It’s also not possible for me to be a member of the TS at present without being aggravated.
Does that mean I’m sorry about all the theosophy I studied? Of course not. Blavatsky is a fascinating lady and I look forward to trying to square what she wrote about Buddhism, karma and devachan with what (Tibetan) Buddhists themselves teach.
Does it mean I’m sorry about all the other religions I studied and people I met from all spiritual traditions present in The Netherlands? Certainly not.
Does it mean I didn’t learn anything in the TS about the hidden forces in myself and humanity in general? I certainly did learn a few things along those lines in the practical work, while shoveling dirt and pruning bushes.
However, the question does need to be asked: did I experience real brotherhood in the TS? The answer is, yes and no. Yes, individual theosophists were great sometimes. Yes, the Theosophical Society felt like home for most of the years I was a member. The no’s eventually won out though and they started winning out the moment my theosophical mentor, Henk Spierenburg, passed on.
For those of you still in the TS – I would have you ask yourselves to what extent your wanting to be part of a universal brotherhood has to do with wanting to avoid conflict. And is avoiding conflict really such a worthy goal? Doesn’t it merely mean shoveling differences under the carpet?