A talk given in the Temple by Rick London, September 21, 2014
My first encounter with Theosophy came through the Halcyon Store nearly twenty
years ago. Initially, it may have been merely the act of browsing, that led me
through a Temple pamphlet or two. It would take another year or so, before I was
compelled to experience my first Noon Healing Service.
That was on Wednesday August 2, 1995, the twenty-third anniversary of my kid
brother’s death. Over the years I’ve held onto a practice of finding a special way of
annually remembering my brother’s life. Seems like those first twenty minutes I
spent in the Temple of the People had a significant impact on the recalibration of
By then, I had already been living in Nipomo for two years, after a fifteen year stint
in New York. I had brought my wife and son, or they brought me, back to California
and we still hadn’t made a real connection with any faith based organization. For
those first couple of years my family and I frequented the Halcyon Store, which
continues to have some pretty neat stuff. To be honest, I have little recollection of
hearing anything but suspicion and innuendo about the Temple of the People back
then and was somewhat apprehensive about even reading the Temple pamphlets.
At the time I had no idea what the Temple Convention was or that it was about to
Raised by a Holocaust survivor born in Berlin and a second generation Lithuanian
immigrant who also lived with anti-Semitism, I grew up with my three younger
brothers, in the Jewish tradition. Although my father’s mother kept a kosher house
for a time, we did not. My mother did not know she was Jewish until nearly eleven
and had become more familiar with Christian Science before the religion of her
My youth was spent in Van Nuys, California, in a middle class neighborhood with
very few Jews. I did my four years of Hebrew school, at Valley Beth Israel,
followed by my Bar Mitzvah in 1964 as I turned thirteen. I was a member of a
Presbyterian Boy Scout troop and spent two summers working as a junior
counselor at a Jewish “kosher keeping” sleep away camp, where I met my first
During school desegregation I drove a school bus for the Los Angeles Unified
School District, taking white neighborhood children to black neighborhood schools
and vice versa. I timidly protested against the Vietnam War. I had a loving
relationship with the daughter of a Christian Science practitioner. I took a course in
communism at Cal State Northridge, while getting a degree in business
administration. I married a Catholic girl and enjoyed attending Mass with my
mother-in-law. My son was circumcised, baptized, grew up celebrating Hanumas
and now considers himself to be a Cashew. I spent a number of years in the music
business where my extensive touring took me to many places including Israel,
Cuba and the USSR. These are just some of the influences affecting the
calibration of my being.
Back to the summer of 1995; I was recovering from defending my reputation, over
the previous six years, in New York State Supreme Court. I had put all of my faith
and trust in our legal system and was then trying to assimilate an extraordinary
amount of disappointment after being severely let down. I was battling a deep
sense of cynicism, as I was then certain that money controlled how the majority of
us perceive what may or may not be true. My faith in our system was all but gone.
I was in desperate need of a mental, emotional and spiritual recalibration and was
blessed with enough compassionate people in my life to allow that process to
begin and as it turns out, to continue.
We all have our stories about the experiences and choices that have shaped our
personalities and principles to any point in our lives. Of course the only one who
really knows my whole story, as biased as that might be, is me, myself and I.
Whether or not, your interpretation of my personality and principles, lines up with
the real me, remains to be seen.
Following my first Noon Service, the next thing I know it’s the second weekend in
September 1995 and I am participating in an event called Dune Spirit, with
Halcyon playing a significant role in the activities and programs. By then I was
intrigued and it wasn’t long before I started checking out books from the William
Quan Judge Library, attending study classes and services and making new
friends. To this very day; the more I read, the more I study, the more I question,
the more I discuss, the more I wonder, the more I realize, the more I practice. 3
Despite the challenges of comprehending Reincarnation and the Lodge of
Masters; the essence of the Wisdom Religion was making intuitive sense to me
and seemed to be inclusive of beliefs that had been evolving in me over time.
Besides, what could be wrong with living by the Golden Rule?
My familiarity with the Temple Teachings and Theosophy deepened over the next
several years. I was delighted to come to know that I had actually encountered
Theosophy as a teen when my mother had given me a copy of “Education and the
Significance of Life,” by Krishnamurti.
My recalibrating continued as I joined a 12 Step Group, became very involved with
Low Power FM Radio and started looking into Nonviolent Communication. My
family and I continued living with my empathetic father, while I contemplated a new
career, spent time in study and support groups, looked for work, spent time in
nature, exercised, volunteered and watched TV and went to the movies.
I even came down with a case of Pledge Fever; a condition I now know to be
contagious, once I realized that I was making some people sick of me. I have since
come to learn what it means to proselytize theosophically, which is so much easier
said than done. Not unexpectedly, this period of recalibration, strained my savings
and my close personal relationships to and beyond their limits.
By 1997 I was starting to feel calibrated again and life was beginning to make
more sense. My creative energies were being transferred from my social justice
comic story ideas to a focus on children’s music, when smack, 1998 came along. It
started out with me saying goodbye to relationships with some of my favorite
libations and then a family separation. It seemed like in the twinkling of an eye, I
was back to recalibrating.
It would not be until April 1999 that I became a member of the Temple of the
People. The following month I gave my first Temple Talk. That was also the year I
started working for United Way. I was calibrated again. My family had returned to
the area, I was finally earning enough money to make ends meet and I was able to
introduce my son to Temple Builders.
At the time, Temple Builders had a crop of kindergarteners and my son was just
We ended up having mostly a father son Builders, meeting here in the Temple,
accompanied by other children from time to time. We did this until my son’s 14th
birthday, when he gave his own Temple Talk. For me, that was like his Bar
Mitzvah or Confirmation. I remain ever so grateful for the experience of spending
so much time with my son, here in the Temple. That was 14 years ago.
This brings me to the evolution of my spiritual practice and a metaphor that has
recently come into my mind and seems to be helping me get clearer about the
Universe and what is nearest at hand. It has to do with my relationship with the
Divine Adjusters; the Lords of Karma. I have been using a thought tool I call
“Recalibrating Compassionately.” I will try to articulate to you this “style of action,”
as I find these two words to be a very powerful combination of verb and adverb.
According to Merriam-Webster, “caliber” is a degree of mental capacity or moral
quality or a degree of excellence or importance. It can also be the diameter of a
bullet or other projectile or the diameter of a bore of a gun usually expressed in
hundredths or thousandths of an inch. A fascinating dichotomy found in one word.
I would like to suggest that we are all created to a Universal Caliber. While the
essence of that caliber is the same for each of us, it varies ever so slightly, to
where none of us is ever exactly the same as anyone else.
According to Merriam-Webster, “calibrate” is to adjust or mark (something, such as
a measuring device) so that it can be used in an accurate and exact way or to
measure (something) in an exact and precise way against a standard (or caliber).
So to recalibrate would involve returning to a functioning calibration, which by no
means guarantees an intentional connection to a caliber that is in the best interest
of us all. That’s where the need for responsible degrees of compassion becomes
ever so vital.
In my mind, a person of high caliber has been well calibrated. The sea turtle is a
good example of a species that is born fully calibrated. Based on instinct alone, it
is responsible for its own survival.
There is never a parent or elder around to protect the hatchling or to show it the
way. As life experiences enhance the survival chances of the hatchling, their
instinctual calibration is fine-tuned, maintaining the existence of their species.5
“The Call of the Wild” is a novel by Jack London published in 1903 and the first
book I recall reading. Interestingly, I latter came to learn that Jack London was a
Theosophist too. The story he tells, is set in the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike
Gold Rush, when strong sled dogs were in high demand.
The novel’s central character is a dog named Buck, a domesticated dog living at a
ranch in the Santa Clara Valley of California, as the story opens. Stolen from his
home and sold into the brutal existence of an Alaskan sled dog, he reverts to
atavistic traits. Buck is forced to adjust to, and survive, cruel treatments and fight
to dominate other dogs in a harsh climate. Eventually he sheds the veneer of
civilization, relying on primordial instincts and lessons he learns, to emerge as a
leader in the wild.
While this story is fiction, I’ve always found it to be quite realistic and I use it here
as an example of the recalibration of Buck. The reverse can be true with the
domestication of wolves, as Nature calibrates wolves to survive in the wild. The
later may be considered an example of recalibrating compassionately, especially
with the rescue of a pup.
On the other hand, today’s sea turtle may be unable to recalibrate or adapt to
mankind’s relentless intrusion into their habitat. This, in spite of being an ancient
creature that has been on the earth for more than 100 million years and surviving
some 65 million years beyond the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Of course, we human beings have been known to be remarkably adaptable. In
some respects our ability to manufacture just about anything we can think of has
change the material caliber of our lives. There are a variety of manufactured
conveniences that we now depend on that come with a factory preset capability.
As soon as you plug them in and turn them on, whatever the product may be, it is
preset to function in a way that pleases the majority of its users.
In a sense, we human beings are evolving from a Creator preset or spiritual
Caliber, if you will. Our goal is to be at peace with our Soul.
One could say this Caliber is the result of the Triple Key, the evolution of Matter,
Force and Consciousness and the Universal Laws of Unity, Centralization and
Balance, to name a few.6
In the early years of each of our lifetimes, our experiences tend to strengthen or
weaken the Caliber that comes preset with birth. Eventually most of us become
calibrated to the point, where the rest of us interpret that calibration as our
personality and principles.
Once we are calibrated or believe ourselves to be mature, there is a very strong
tendency to take for granted that we are fully calibrated in this way for life.
Yet, many of our individual, family and community calibrations have strayed from
the original Caliber we all come from. This, for the most part, is responsible for the
Friction which is demanding a recalibration in many aspects of life on this planet.
I believe that there is a global need for Recalibrating Compassionately. But let us
focus on what is nearest at hand. Many of us are able adapt to change by merely
tweaking our current state of calibration. Yet all too often, for reasons beyond or
within our control, we find ourselves struggling to overcome unmanageable and
dysfunctional modes of existence. Our calibration has evolved to a point of
ineffectiveness and dissonance.
Wouldn’t it be grand, if like some of our manufactured conveniences we could
merely press the reset button and so simply return our lives back into some sense
of order and harmony?
Teachings of the Temple Volume I begins with, “A Master is one who has become
as a little child, who has entered the Eye of the Triangle in the Square within the
Seven, and who, by sore travail of Soul, has won his Robe of Immortality, which
Robe he must keep unspotted, not for fear of the spotting but lest the mud thrown
against that Robe rebound and strike the thrower.”
While this expression could be the subject of several Temple talks, I offer it as the
Supreme example of Recalibrating Compassionately. In my mind a Master has
recalibrated over many lifetimes to become “One” with the original Caliber and in
doing so has obtained the ultimate capacity for compassion.
I believe this bears repeating, “A Master is one who has become as a little child,
who has entered the Eye of the Triangle in the Square within the Seven, and who,
by sore travail of Soul, has won his Robe of Immortality, which Robe he must keep
unspotted, not for fear of the spotting but lest the mud thrown against that Robe
rebound and strike the thrower.”7
I use this definition of a Master as a distant guide to remind me of my spiritual
aspirations as a member of the Temple of the People.
I began this talk by highlighting some of the experiences that I believe continue to
influence the calibration of my life. We can recalibrate in a moment or over
numerous lifetimes. The ways and means to do this are many. For one, I believe
that the Twelve Step Program can be an effective strategy for Recalibrating
Compassionately. The Serenity Prayer is a pretty cool strategy too. So is laughing.
No matter what strategy we end up using, in the end, I believe that we all need to
be looking forward to a world where our youth are achieving their potential, our
families are financially stable and we all are healthy. We can do this if everyone is
living compassionately, thinking preventively and acting responsibly.
In May 1999, I delivered my first Temple Talk, “From the fear of God–Through the
love of God–To God is Love…” After a brief preamble, I went on to recite in their
entirety; “The Ten Commandments,” “The Sermon on the Mount” and “The Ten
Rules of Discipleship.”
While I continue to draw from all three of these in my spiritual practice, it is the
Sermon on the Mount that inspired my talk for today. I have never forgotten the
instruction, that despite all of the great bodies of work at our fingertips, from the
Secret Doctrine to the Bhagavad Gita, if all of our teachings were to be set ablaze,
it would be the “Sermon on the Mount” that we are to save. For the instructions
given within those few pages is the basis for Universal Sister Brotherhood.
We are encouraged by the Temple Teachings to study the Scriptures and that we
cannot study them enough. Being raised on the Old Testament and choosing to
study the New Testament, I believe that it is through my reverence for the Sermon
on the Mount, that I share with you my interpretation of the following three quotes
from the Master Jesus.
These three quotes are just a couple of the numerous arrows I hold onto in my
Theosophical Quiver as I endeavor to target Recalibrating Compassionately, as an
ongoing action within my life. I consider each of them a gateway thought tool that
inevitably triggers deeper thinking in me. They are:
1. “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” Matthew 26:34
2. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:248
3. “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:26
These quotes vary widely depending on the origin, yet they will suffice nicely as I
briefly connect my interpretation to the Principles they reflect.
They are meant to keep me present to my need for fidelity, humility, obedience
and courage. To keep me alert to our collective need for Liberty, Equality,
Fraternity and Justice. To remind me that there can be no true religion without its
scientific basis, and that there can be no right economic system not based on a
science that is religious and on a religion that is scientific. They are meant to
motivate me to take aim towards the ultimate Caliber worth aspiring for, when it
comes to my recalibrating compassionately.
For me the first one is an allegory for Courage, Loyalty and Trust and requires a
belief in a Power greater than ourselves. The quote comes from the Last Supper,
the celebration of the Jewish Passover, when Jesus tells his disciples, in essence,
that they will be unable to withstand the Testing Force heading their way.
“This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” I
believe this to be in reference to my connection with my Higher Self. Every day I
endeavor to maintain my connection with my Higher Self as I struggle with my
lower self’s efforts to disown that relationship, with even the slightest temptation.
I believe that it is how we have evolved our calibration, as to whether or not we
can sustain our connection with the original Caliber we are all preset to. This is by
no means an easy task individually or collectively. Humanity has come to a point
where there is fierce disagreement as to the meaning of the Universal Caliber we
have all been preset to.
As I endeavor to accept my responsibility for advancing the common good, to be
sure, I need to truly known myself and be clear on my motives. If I get lost or
detached from my Higher Self, the Six Pillars of Character help me to recalibrate
compassionately. If I am not trustworthy, responsible, respectful, fair, caring and
an engaged citizen, I may have disowned my connection with my Higher Self.
We need common sense compasses to help us navigate and recalibrate. The Six
Pillars of Character makes for a fabulous compass. Finding connection with one’s
Higher Self, even if only on a par with Pinocchio’s Jiminy Cricket, is one thing;
maintaining that connection is another matter. We’re linked when we’re grateful.9
The second arrow in my Theosophical Quiver, to help support my efforts for
recalibrating compassionately, has to do with patience, suspending judgment and
sustaining an open mind. From the Cross we hear, “Father, forgive them, for they
know not what they do.” I invoke this often, for myself and for others. It helps me to
question my enemy image and to mitigate my fears and anger. This may be one of
the highest callings and corresponds with the Master’s concern for the mud
rebounding from Their Robe and striking the thrower. It is very difficult to forgive
when not connected to one’s Higher Self. Forgiveness is critical to our ability to
heal and recalibrate our way back to a productive and useful life. “Judge not and
ye shall not be judged,” is the basis of forgiveness and makes room for love and
compassion. It is very difficult to move forward without forgiveness. Even here, in
mind, the reference to “Father,” is a request to my Sacred Higher Self.
“Faith without works is dead,” is the third arrow in my Theosophical Quiver. I think
of this one as walking the talk. Practicing what we preach. Being the change we
wish to see in the world. This requires us to be mindful, as our perceived charity
may end up enabling, if not manipulating ourselves and others. What is the motive
behind our recalibrating? Are we mindful of “Not my will Thy will?” Do we know
when to save our breath to cool our soup? Are we doing what is nearest at hand
and needs to be done? Do we accept that forgiveness is not a release from Karmic
debt? Have we discovered the power of the placebo effect in our faith?
Edmund Burke’s “The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do
nothing,” rings true with me. Our challenge is to truly come to understand the
meaning behind what is good and what is evil and to utilize that understanding to
honestly measure our standing with the Universal Caliber.
Recalibrating compassionately, during certain cycles, can be possible with the
greatest of ease. Regrettably, we can miss opportune times for recalibrating
compassionately, as an individual or as a group in a particular cycle, which can
lead to greater amounts of pain and suffering over additional periods of time.
For me these three arrows are interconnected and interdependent, for they are all
for one and one for all. Without my mindful and intentional relationship with my
Higher Self it is difficult for me to forgive in a healthy and sustainable way and
most certainly, impossible, unless I’m willing to do the work. From another angle,
doing the work can become a burden without my partnership with my Higher Self. 10
In some cases, the end of a relationship, as we once knew it, can be a time for
grieving and mourning. Eventually we can naturally overcome this emotional state
of being. Although, still the essences of sadness, when it persists for an extended
period of time, we start to label this behavior as depression. This is when we really
need to, at the very least, “act as if we have faith,” if we are to ease the heaviness
of our needed work. Is it time to hold on, time to let go or time to leave our comfort
zone? Our work is to recalibrate our connection with our Higher Self and initiate
the process of forgiveness so we can have a chance to rediscover the love and
compassion within our hearts. It would be so nice if there really was a Cupid, who
could use those magic arrows to return joy and happiness to our lives.
Recalibrating compassionately is a strategy for turning discord into harmony and
for realizing that selfishness is unaware of its Karmic consequences. So many
paradoxes, yet for harmony to continue we must always be prepared for change;
for nothing on this physical plane remains the same, save one, which is reflected
in our Temple motto, “Creeds Disappear, Hearts Remain.”
Endeavoring to realize the Avatar as a living Power in my life is all about my
recalibrating compassionately. May I endeavor to hold true to the personality that
is a reflection of the Principles that you and I believe we know and hold dear.
I would like to close with the following Mountain Top Message. “There is no going
back. You must go forward. It remains with you, however, whether or not you will
win the Holy Grail, which is immortal life, or go back for ages. There is, as I say, no
standing still, no peace; it is battle, battle, battle, with first one enemy and then
another. The powers with which you are fighting are greater than you can
conceive. Be on the alert. Have your armor on. Be ready for the foe at any time of
either day or night, or you will be taken unawares and swept off your feet. And, my
children, after all is said, it is the simplest thing that is asked of you – simple Faith,
and Trust, and Love, and Work. You are asked to perform no great deed, nothing
but your simple daily duty, one hour, one minute at a time. Nothing more nor less.”