Last year I was the President of the local lodge of the Theosophical Society. It is a worldwide society, based on the premise that we are all entitled to our own beliefs and opinions, and to express freedom of thought, not being bound by any particular dogma or doctrine. Its aims are to explore the nature of Man, the Universe, comparative religion, philosophy and science, and to form a nucleus of the Brotherhood (or Sisterhood!) of Humanity. Anyone can join, regardless of race, creed, gender, caste or colour. Unfortunately though, sometimes these wonderful ideas get forgotten when people get caught up in the politics of running an organisation, and allow personalities to interfere where there would otherwise be tolerance. I resigned this year after being a member for some time, for reasons I don’t need to go into here, but the idea of Theosophy itself is still important for me.
Some people may be familiar with the term ‘theosophy’, but for those of you who are not, it basically can be broken down into 2 sections. ‘Theo’ meaning God or Divine, and ‘Sophia’ meaning wisdom, so ‘Theosophy’ means ‘Divine Wisdom’.
But what does this really mean?
For some, divinity is something to be found outside themselves, it may be a Creator spirit or a higher aspect of being, pervading all that is, and inspiring us to become better human beings. What I believe we all need to accept, is that no matter who we are, or what religion we follow, or beliefs we hold, we are all on the same path. The Divine is found everywhere and has many names, although in a sense, naming it is impossible, because it is the unknowable, it is beyond our understanding. We can get an ‘idea’ of it when we see it in the beauty of the world around us, or feel its touch in times of need. We may get a ‘sense’ of it when we pray or meditate. We may feel uplifted by it when we hear a truth that speaks to the heart and we have an inner ‘knowing’ of something being right.
Wisdom is the common thread that runs through ALL ancient belief systems, no matter where they are found, or who received the writings. They are known as wisdom teachings, because they have withstood the test of time and give us basic tenets to follow which we understand innately. But wisdom can also be found in places we least expect it – the homeless man may have just the answer for you in a simple statement that somehow has come to him from a higher place, just as you passed by and were needing to clarify something in your life. How often do we hear pearls of wisdom coming from the mouths of children? They just seem to have that inner wisdom that we as adults seem to have lost contact with. Wisdom is not only found in books by religious leaders, or out of the mouths of gurus. You have innate wisdom even within yourself if you understand how to access it.
The Divine has many faces or aspects, and as we all come from differing cultures, our perception of what the Divine is varies accordingly, it is coloured by who we are, where we grew up, what we were taught or NOT taught. To me, in a sense, even those who call themselves atheists are still acknowledging that there is such a thing as the Divine. Let me explain it like this – we wouldn’t have a concept of good, if we didn’t have an understanding of bad or evil, we wouldn’t understand the concept of darkness, if we didn’t understand light, we wouldn’t understand black without white and so on. Therefore, we wouldn’t understand NO belief, unless we understood BELIEF. There is always polarity, it is what keeps the balance in the world.
It doesn’t matter whether you are an American Indian believing in the Great Spirit, a Christian believing in God and Jesus, a Jew believing in Yahweh (although they may not like to verbalise a name for God), a Muslim believing in Allah, or whether you are a follower of Buddha, an Australian Aborigine who believes in the Dreamtime or a Wiccan following the Divine Goddess …… these are all Divine principles and are equally valid. I am only generalising here. We all approach the Divine in our own way, in our own time. NO ONE has the right to force their ideas or beliefs on another. The paths are many, but the destination is the same and we all yearn to find that Divine spark within ourselves and the world around us, leading us toward a more peaceful and unifying existence – part of the interconnectedness of all beings, including our animal brothers and sisters and nature spirits, returning to the Creative Force from which we all sprang.