Someone asked, “Where does theosophy belong in today’s society?”

Though most are unaware of it, Theosophy is actually woven into many aspects of modern society including not only the religious and philosophic but the cultural and artistic in many of its dimensions. To gain an impression of this read through this list of famous people who were members of the Theosophical Society and were also noted writers, architects, scientists, inventors, psychologists, painters, musicians, actors, politicians, feminists, and religious figures, etc: Famous people in the Theosophical Society.

The list is partial, one of many omissions being David Bohm:

“Many theosophists will know of Bohm as a close associate of Krishnamurti, and also as a unique philosopher. However his primary role was as a quantum physicist.” Bohms Quantum Physics…Theosophical Society

There is also a related item on Quora: What were the ideas of professor Albert Einstein on Theosophy and Mme. Helena Blavatsky?

So the answer is that Theosophy continues to exercise a far reaching influence in today’s world. But what exactly are we talking about and what is its value?

First, let me say that there is much value in delving into theosophy. Though sometimes dismissed as another religion or amalgam of them, it is far more than that. Theosophy defines itself, not as a religion, but as the underlying principles from which the best aspects of all religions derive. So it is not religion in a formal sense but the essence of them. One Theosophical work delves into this in exploring the The Essential Unity of all Religions.

Broadly speaking, there are two different senses of the word “Theosophy.” On the one hand it is the particular body of teaching that derives from the founder of the Theosophical society, H. P. BlavatskyBut in the broader sense Theosophy means the “wisdom of God,” or spiritual wisdom wherever and in whatever form it is found which includes the best of religions, philosophies, the sciences and all aspects of life that pertain to the cultural evolution of humanity. These did not arise with H. P. Blavatsky but are part of the wisdom of the ages. In this sense Theosophy is “New Age” philosophy. These two sense of the word are elaborated here: Theosophy: What is It?

For some of the specifics of Theosophical teaching see this summary: Theosophy in the Modern World and also Theosophy in the World Today, and Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy and the Arts in the Modern World.

The New Age philosophy I reference above is a modern phrase that is close in meaning to what is called the “Ageless Wisdom” and also not far from the meaning of Perennial philosophy:

“The Ageless Wisdom is called the “Golden Thread” that connects the inner, hidden teachings at the heart of the world’s religions, East and West. It’s often referred to as the “Perennial Philosophy” because it’s been present on earth in some form since the beginning of recorded history.” Ageless Wisdom.

There is a Wikipedia article on New Age that contains a paragraph with the following good summary:

“Despite its highly eclectic nature, a number of beliefs commonly found within the New Age have been identified. Theologically, the New Age typically adopts a belief in a holistic form of divinity which imbues all of the universe, including human beings themselves. There is thus a strong emphasis on the spiritual authority of the self. This is accompanied by a common belief in a wide variety of semi-divine non-human entities, such as angels and masters, with whom humans can communicate, particularly through the form of channeling. Typically viewing human history as being divided into a series of distinct ages, a common New Age belief is that whereas once humanity lived in an age of great technological advancement and spiritual wisdom, it has entered a period of spiritual degeneracy, which will be remedied through the establishment of a coming Age of Aquarius, from which the milieu gets its name. There is also a strong focus on healing, particularly using forms of alternative medicine, and an emphasis on a “New Age science” which seeks to unite science and spirituality.”

The newest evolution of this science and spirituality union can be seen here:

Who’s Who in Open Science

Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science

Original from Quora

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Someone asked, “What was your no-mind experience? How did you feel during the session, and how did you feel afterwards?”

The word “meditation” can be applied to thought, or more properly to inspired thought because the mind can very partially mirror and express that which is beyond and above it. But all meditation, in the deeper sense, is sourced in no-mind experience meaning it lives in that which is transcendent to the mind but which nevertheless can shape thought afterward.

Meditation evokes wonder, mystery, inspiration, thrill, amazement, joy, shock, upliftment.

Here are a few passages formulated following meditation and expressing something of the feel of it.

There! Ghost of light, arresting glimmer on the periphery of vision… Is that a magic mirror, a window, a door? If mirror, it does not reflect earth-light. If a window it might be a sacred landscape, a memory of ancient worlds or worlds not yet born.

It is close now, and clearly an opening door. I see through to a world, and within and beyond that another and another–bright worlds of the past and worlds of the future, infinite vistas of painful beauty. They sweep around and through me and I go to them. Their flow is joyous, commanding, where each paints the fiery core of things. And now a chorus of shining, ascending, voices. They fill me with open spaces; they engulf and overwhelm; I am with them, of them… I love and become through them.

Thought is poised between dimensions, dropping easily toward earth and more rarely deep into luminous reflections of other worlds. In thought is an opening door, a world of rainbow silences lovely as light, where then, when the veil wears thin, thoughts come with the lighting edge of fire. Where then, when the veil wears thin, the gleaming surfaces of objects dissolve to exquisite meanings. And in ready moments, mind glides quietly into the blue and into landscape of distant worlds, where with all drawn close to the eyes, the way is clear. And for company in and through all the glowing silences of lost spaces, are true friends, and love in the air all surrounding. And more sure than fine sun of cloudless day, interior radiance proves spirit well. So clear, pure, tremendous, the ethereal pressures of sacred things to be, mount within us, and mysterious shadows of ancient days crowd round us in night and day. See then the Life laid out, a clear and certain path, even to the most distant stars and times. And life as something far beyond our reach, proves illusion, for distance dissolves and new life fills the creative fires of each happy day.

Have you seen the white faces, the stars on wall of night? Calm they seem, and cold, cold as Arctic light; hot they seem, burning bright into my eyes. New fires bloom there, and stars that lived and died long before an eye could capture light. Behind my prison sight, the sky seems phantom cold, spatial void unbridgeable. But there is more fire than prison eyes can see. Have you seen the cold sky warm to luminous shadows, patterns of things to be? Have you heard the cold clear call, the songs of distant stars? Behind this bloom of lights, voices sing and whispered stories come of deeps beyond, and futures holy light.

Portions adapted from my writings: Morphing with Light

Source: Quora

Someone asked, “What is new age philosophy?”

The New Age philosophy is a modern phrase that is close in meaning to what is called the Ageless Wisdom and also not far from the meaning of Perennial philosophy. “The Ageless Wisdom is called the “Golden Thread” that connects the inner, hidden teachings at the heart of the world’s religions, East and West. It’s often referred to as the “Perennial Philosophy” because it’s been present on earth in some form since the beginning of recorded history.” Ageless Wisdom

There is a Wikipedia article on New Age – Wikipedia that contains the following good summary:

“Despite its highly eclectic nature, a number of beliefs commonly found within the New Age have been identified. Theologically, the New Age typically adopts a belief in a holistic form of divinity which imbues all of the universe, including human beings themselves. There is thus a strong emphasis on the spiritual authority of the self. This is accompanied by a common belief in a wide variety of semi-divine non-human entities, such as angels and masters, with whom humans can communicate, particularly through the form of channeling. Typically viewing human history as being divided into a series of distinct ages, a common New Age belief is that whereas once humanity lived in an age of great technological advancement and spiritual wisdom, it has entered a period of spiritual degeneracy, which will be remedied through the establishment of a coming Age of Aquarius, from which the milieu gets its name. There is also a strong focus on healing, particularly using forms of alternative medicine, and an emphasis on a “New Age science” which seeks to unite science and spirituality.”

In a more essential sense the new age philosophy has evolved as a result of the Ageless Wisdom, a term associated in modern times with three main schools (plus many minor off-shoots) that have come into the world during the last 130 years. They are, in order of appearance:

Theosophy (Blavatsky); under the impression of Masters Morya, Kuthumi, & Djwhal Khul. Given out between the late 1800s and early 1900s. Theosophical Society in America

Alice Bailey under the impress of Djwhal Khul. Given out from 1920 to 1950. Lucis Trust

Diverse: Below the above two are a wide diversity of teachings that are while expressing a real measure inspiration, are less comprehensive, less precise, and that often introduce some measure of error.

There are also many earlier precursors of these schools of which the most notable modern one is Transcendentalism. The modern or “New Age” expressions of the Ageless Wisdom are also associated to related schools of ancient times of which Platonism is a notable example.

Someone asked:  “What is a universal religion?”

It is a simple religion based on love and brotherhood—a religion that transcends all the little forms and human inventions and dispenses with the fake theology of hell and the fake vengeful God. It would be a religion that does not belong to any race, country or region and does not insist on the superiority of this or that prophet or idea. It is a religion of common sense and freedom of thought, a religion of compassion and benevolent action that recognizes the value of all life and all humanity.

Source Quora

Someone asked, “Do some scientists believe that there is life after death? If so, is it closer to reincarnation, heaven or hell?  

Of course some, actually many, scientists believe there is life after death—see Science Religion Philosophy and Scientism. But questions about reincarnation, heaven, or hell, are outside the realm of conventional science. They fall, to some degree, within the province of the science of parapsychology. For that in connection with the reincarnation part, see: Reincarnation–Parapsychological Research and Articles. For the heaven hell aspects of your question, see Scientific Evidence Supporting Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife.

The consensus about heaven and hell is that the reality has little correspondence with religious teachings. Hell is not something imposed by God on wayward souls and heaven is not something granted only to the faithful of some religion. Rather, heaven is a natural phenomena and a state of consciousness that is the ultimate destination for all. Also it is much better than religious imaginations have depicted. Hell is just a very temporary and rather illusory self-created problem. More specifically, hell is a self-created state of temporary consciousness characterized by failure to express harmlessness in thoughts, words, and actions, and is operative in Earth life as well as in the afterlife. Heaven, in its many grades demonstrates as the dimensions of life based on love, and is also operative in Earth life as well as in the afterlife.

Though no words can capture “heaven,” here is a very good try:

Someone asked: “How do I stop acting defensively over small issues?”

The thing is, people have their own issues and their reactions to you are not just, and sometimes hardly at all, much about anything that you personally said or did. So, it’s often not really so much about you as about them. So it’s helpful is to realize, as Laura Huxley put it, that You Are Not the Targetso read the book, it’s free.

In addition, with that understanding, you can more easily have compassion toward the personal problems that they are struggling with when they happened to bump up against you—what horrors they may have gone through to get where they are, you do not know. So people are just being what they are and, “To become indignant at their conduct is as foolish as to be angry with a stone because it rolls into your path.” (Schopenhauer). Finally, remember that we are all weak at times and that, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

Some asked:  “Is the concept of intelligent design an acceptable bridge between science and religion?”

There is a free PDF here that explores this question in depth: Blavatsky Helena – Evolution and intelligent design in the secret doctrine

For conservatives and more materialistically oriented scientist, intelligent design and science do not go together and you can find all manner of arguments dismissing the idea of relating them.

But for some in science the subject is viewed differently, see: Articles About the Science of Intelligent Design and these eminent scientists and scholars also see merit in intelligent design theory: Scientists who support intelligent design | Evolution News and this list is easily expanded an example being: Peer-Reviewed Articles Supporting Intelligent Design. And see Intelligent design theories gaining steam in scientific circles

Significant history in connection with the emergence and evolution of the intelligent design idea is to be found in connection with H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical society.

“Helena Blavatsky, in 1888, was the first person to use the phrase ”Intelligent design” to convey her understanding of evolution. She used the phrase to convey the idea that the evolution of the species was guided by an underlying purposeful intelligence in nature. This intelligence is different from the “God” of theistic religions. Orthodox science opposes the whole notion of any intelligence design and insists on chance without any guiding direction. This makes her view a distinct alternative to both religion and science.” Darwinism – blavatsky.net

“It is seldom remembered that, in the years following publication of “The Origin of Species”, HPB was the first person to aggressively argue the case for a transphysical element in evolution against the rising Darwinian consensus. Yet, buried in the sprawling bulk of her two major works (Isis Unveiled, 1877, and The Secret Doctrine, 1888) there lies, in rudimentary form, the first philosophy of psychic and spiritual evolution to appear in the modern West. Her effort, unlike that of the Christian fundamentalists, was not to reject Darwin’s work, but to insist that it had, by its focus on the purely physical, wholly omitted the mental, creative, and visionary life of the human race, in short, it omitted consciousness, whose development followed a very different evolutionary path. Darwin simply did not go far enough; his was not a big enough theory to contain human nature in the round.” Praise For Blavatsky – blavatsky.net

Source:   Quora