by Guardian in Chief Richard A. London
Given in the Blue Star Memorial Temple, January 14, 2024
The Golden Rule, Theosophical Principles, and the wisdom of the League of Six Nations have been my go-to’s when endeavoring to offer a Temple Newbie some instantaneous perspective about what the Temple means to me. If there is true interest, I may find myself sharing a moment or two navigating the edges of any one of these three concepts, but more times than not, the interest tends to be an inch deep and a mile wide. Regrettably, the simplest way to explain the essence of the Temple seems least satisfying to those who are interested in the proverbial quick-fix for our woes.
As we find ourselves entering a brand-new cycle known as 2024 to most throughout the world, the thought comes to mind of overcoming attitudes, desires, and behaviors we believe not to be in our best interest. This would seem especially true for those who are struggling with various forms of unproductive or unhealthy strategies we now wish could only be seen in our 2023 rearview mirror.
For those of us making New Year’s Resolutions, the good news is that we recognize some kind of change is in order. We may feel somehow out of balance and have an emerging need for a greater sense of equilibrium, asking what to do, how to choose, who to count on, and most importantly, why does it even matter?
For me, resolutions have everything to do with my North Star, my Guiding Light or purpose in life. There have been times when not knowing my purpose, not being useful, or not having hope have provided me with the opportunity for a period of “aimless drift.”
This aimless drift turned out to be not so aimless, although from an exoteric perspective, I would say I was “lucky” to have drifted into the Town of Halcyon.
However, after becoming familiar with the Temple Teachings, I would now say from an esoteric perspective that it was and still is my open- mindedness, persistence, and care from others, influenced by my Karma, that continues to offer me the opportunity to be engaged with the Temple of the People. My present station in life has more to do with the choices I have made throughout my various lifetimes than by some cosmic accident or by the fault or good graces of anyone else but me.
No matter how reluctant I’ve ever been to accept responsibility for where I’ve ended up, while taking comfort in some perverted sense of faith that others would get their just due, unbeknownst to me I was “Calling in the Healing Forces of the Lodge.” It never dawned on me that I was subconsciously longing to be connected to the Higher Attributes of Universal Love.
These days, acronyms like LOL, YOLO, and FOMO are some of the most popular in use — meaning laugh out loud, you only live once, and fear of missing out. “For your information” is an acronym I recall before texting was a thing. FYI can be utilized in numerous ways and tones, and is usually offered as a guide, if not a reprimand.
While we may be bombarded with a plethora of self-help guides for implementing New Year’s Resolutions in the coming days and weeks, all of them will have some form of FYI in common.
For your information, buried within the alluring attractiveness of many a self-help guide, is another version of FYI.
It can also stand for, “Faith, Yield, and Implementation.” Briefly stated, you need to believe that your resolution will work, that your work will bear results, and that you can and will do the necessary work. Now, how simple is that? Notice the emphasis on the words “will” and “work.” Yes, it takes the will and the work, as does anything really worth learning or accomplishing.
From an even higher perspective, “I will endeavor to realize the presence of the Avatar as a living Power in my life” not only requires our will or commitment, it also requires our work or endeavoring for this sacred prayer to come true.
Believing that your resolution can work is a significant element of Faith. Akin to the placebo effect, the optimistic attitude of knowing that an outcome can be accomplished is a very powerful auto- suggestion.
I hear it in this message from Volume II of From the Mountain Top, entitled The Ascending Stairway:
“Faith is one glorious step beyond Hope, the measure by which fulfillment is drawn, and the whole sublime structure for both. When darkness overwhelms the senses and deflects the light of the heart and mind — when defeat of purpose seems inevitable — then the sustaining step of Hope appears, alerting and urging the Soul on anew, while the glorious Light of the Star of Faith illumines the next step with its resplendent beauty, binding the links of the eternal golden chain of Principles to the clearing vision of the courageous climber to the Heights on Life’s Ascending Stairway.”
I believe that everyone, whether mindful or not, relies on some form of faith, be it religious or some transformative degree of hope.
However, concerning the concept of faith, there would seem to be a schism between the views of the Theosophical Society (TS), and Temple of the People. The TS preamble states this:
“Ever since its founding in 1875, the Theosophical Society has stood for freedom of thought and respect for all people regardless of race, class, caste, sex, or religion. To join the Theosophical Society, you are required to have no specific beliefs. You need only to state your agreement with the Society’s Three Objects:
“Stating your approval of these Three Objects is the sole condition of membership. All members have an equal right to follow any school of thought, but have no right to force their choice on others. The Society fearlessly encourages freedom of thought and expression, within the limits of courtesy and consideration for others.
“Most Theosophists regard Truth as a prize to be striven for, not as a dogma to be imposed by authority. We hold that belief should be the result of individual understanding rather than mere acceptance of traditional ideas, and that it should rest on knowledge and experience, not on faith. We seek out Truth through study, reflection, meditation, service, and devotion to high ideals.
“At the same time, Theosophists respect the beliefs of different traditions. We see each religion as an expression of the Divine Wisdom, adapted to the needs of a particular time and place. We prefer to study various religions rather than condemning them, and we prefer to practice them rather than trying to convert others. Theosophists extend tolerance to all, even to the intolerant, not as a privilege we bestow, but as a duty we perform. We seek to remove ignorance, not punish it. Our aims are peace and Truth.”
While the TS preamble resonates deeply with me, I may have a different take on the concept of faith, which I believe has been tempered, if not polished, by my relationships with knowledge and experience.
In other words, I perceive there to be little to no substantive difference between the TS and the higher aspirations of the Temple of the People. Yet, what we hold to be true is the fulcrum for how we interpret our knowledge and what we may glean from our experiences. To me, trusting in our knowledge and experience is an aspect of faith, as in “Faith without works is dead.” Perhaps the difference is that the Temple contains aspects of a faith-based organization, whereas the TS does not; and yet we both trust, if not have, faith in the roots of our sources.
When I contrast the Old and New Testament relationship with the Secret Doctrine and Theogenesis relationship, a more evident schism appears. By way of example, the healing forces embodied by Faith, as expressed within the New Testament, are not generally recognized by those who tend to rely on what came through the Old Testament. Likewise, the Theosophical Society tends not to recognize Theogenesis, which came through the agency of the Temple of the People and is asserted to be the third volume of the Secret Doctrine, which came through the agency of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis — volumes 1 and 2 of the Secret Doctrine — and Theogenesis are all three based on the ancient Stanzas of Dzyan of Tibetan origin. Within the pages of Theogenesis we may gain further insight into the process whereby the Human Kingdom will continue merging into the Divine.
Surely the Temple’s reliance on the Golden Rule requires faith if one is going “to do unto others as they would have done unto them.” To live the Golden Rule requires faith, girded by courage and trust, if one is to lead the way in compassion, kindness, consideration, forgiveness, and self-responsibility. “Creeds Disappear Hearts Remain” is not just the Temple motto or a platitude; it is an absolute certainty.
Without faith in ourselves and our New Year’s Resolutions, we may encounter the elusiveness of a sustainable yield to that which is the goal of fulfilling our needs and desires — which brings me to the Yield in this New Year’s FYI.
The letter Y itself offers a clue as to the direction I am heading, for if you ever found yourself climbing to the top of a gigantic letter Y, you would eventually face a point where a decision would be required in order for you to reach the broader landing at the top.
So many choices await our discernment — as in “my will versus Thy Will,” or this idea from the Temple lesson called The One Great Prize: “It is not easy for you to understand that two diametrically opposed methods of action may both be right.” In other words, either direction may yield the sort of results we may be seeking.
So, what kind of shift in our concept of Yield do we desire and what is the motive that compels our need for shifting? Are we even aware of what we have been “bowing down to” throughout our lifetime?
Are we looking to yield in the sense of being more courteous, kind, and respectful; or of being more cautious; or needing more rest; or exercising or eating healthier; or learning to let go or surrender? Or are we after a greater yield on a return on our efforts, on a return on our investments, on the results from everything we think, say, and do? Is it a matter of being more courageous, and trusting or needing more discipline to buckle down?
Can we find the balance between being more open-minded and considerate of the needs of our family, friends, and neighbors while being mindful of “what’s in it for me”?
For me, this yielding business is the crux of the matter. Will we yield to the Golden Calf or to the Ten Commandments? Will we yield to Love or to Mammon? Is individual comfort and convenience more valuable than the well-being of our environment?
Every day at the Noon Healing Service, we hear this sentence right before the Benediction: “In the name of all that is pure and holy, we ask that this Service be blessed, and that its radiant essence may consecrate us to Selfless Service now and forevermore.” In my mind, Selfless Service is the highest form of yielding. From there we may need to be yielding to a healthier way of eating, yielding to exercise instead of being a couch potato, yielding to more study and less entertainment. There is yielding to more face-to-face time with our children and spouses than with our screens, and yielding to the needs of family and friends over our own needs.
There is also the type of yielding that keeps fools from rushing in where Angels fear to tread. This form of yielding tends to take a back seat to the kind of yielding that is to be extracted in the name of
progress, in the name of development, in the name of comfort and convenience, in the name of the freedom and right to unbridled personal benefits at the expense of everyone else.
Today we find ourselves living during a time when we have become so far removed from being nurtured by Mother Nature that our preferences for yielding may not be a matter of choice.
How we choose to yield is pivotal to our overall well-being. While progress has brought Humanity many conveniences and comforts, it has taken many away. While progress has saved many lives and cured many conditions, it has taken many lives and caused many unhealthy, if not terminal, conditions.
How and what we yield to and what we expect or demand our yield to be has consequences beyond telling. The intent or motive behind our need to yield or the expectation of the yield we seek is critical to our decision-making process.
When we get near to the V portion in our climb up the letter Y, that is where the letter I, in FYI, plays its greatest role as the power and force behind the Implementation of our choices in the why and the where we find ourselves these days.
When our Faith and our desired Yield are in sync with the Higher Purpose, our Implementation may be more about Healing, even if we perceive our progress more along the lines of growth or improvement. The forces of Balance and Karma are pushing and pulling every living thing and creature towards a return to equilibrium, and are always at play. Though these Higher Forces of Nature may seem nowhere to be found, without them, the cycles of sustainability would be beyond our reach.
In today’s world, Implementation in reality boils down to healing our way, individually and collectively, locally, and globally, to the point where and when our planet and we ourselves can experience a cycle of sustainable equilibrium and wellbeing.
When I call in the Healing Forces of the Lodge, I tend to equate the Lodge with a Power greater than myself. An aspect of that Power lies in the Temple’s connection with the wisdom of Hiawatha and the Haudenosaunee — the League of Six Nations — in words we hear at every Temple Convention:
“In the Lodge of the Red Star, we have met and renewed our alliance to the tribes, to the warrior forces of the Universal Chief of Life. His war lance is the flaming sun. His peace pipe is the silvery moon. His lance has points as many as the sands of the sea, and no one can escape them. When the great chief lights his pipe at night and passes it to his brothers, the star men, great rings, and wreaths of light glow in the sky. This is the voiceless chant of peace that bears to the Great Spirit the message that all is well with his world children. The Great Spirit lights another star with love; another soul glows with the fires of hope and faith in the Master Chief, whose song of life and sweetness fill the cabins of the tribes.”
While the modern world may boast of its superior wisdom, I find that we have lost much of the reverence for the sacredness of Mother Nature on which the Temple of the People was founded. Our present state of arrogance, if not ignorance, is at the root of what separates us, not only from each other, but from our oneness with Mother Nature.
The essence of my thoughts today is found in “The Rationale of Self- Examination,” a lesson in volume III of the Teachings:
“You have to reach down to fundamentals of human character, select from them those you would cultivate and those you would suppress, and then consciously set about doing so before you can rise above your present environment. You may say you have no power to do so, but I say you have that power. The trouble is you try to seize upon the effects of actions already committed instead of the original causes. You ignore the tremendous power of auto-suggestion. Once you have recognized that your motives are questionable in most cases, reach into the desire back of the motive, and if that desire be selfish, crude, or half-formed speak to it with all the concentrated willpower at your command: ‘I do not desire this thing, though my mind or body may desire it. It is not in accord with universal law, therefore it is not my real desire.‘ If you do this with sufficient intensity you will find that particular desire shriveling up, going out, and know yourself free from it with a higher desire in its place.“
FYI — this is the year to resolve:
To use the Words of Force to bolster our Faith;
To use the Temple Mantrams to zero in on our Yield; and
To use the Healing Forces of the Lodge to guide our Implementation, by
Calling in the Healing Forces of the Law of Love,
Calling in the Healing Forces of the Law of Karma,
Calling in the Healing Forces of the Lodge.
— Richard A. London Sixth Guardian in Chief