by Rick London, Guardian in Chief
Given Sunday, 12 March 2023 in the Blue Star Memorial Temple
How we begin to discover Theosophy, the Ancient Wisdom, is one of the great mysteries of life. Although calculated practically to the exact minute as a result of our thoughts, words and deeds, we are nevertheless surprised — if not devastated — to find ourselves at the beginning of the Path, the feet of the Master, our Higher Self.
According to the Theosophical Society: “There is no Religion Higher than Truth.” In order to come to know this Truth their three objects are: 1) to form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color; 2) to encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science; and 3) to investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in human beings.
Nowadays we see the Ancient Wisdom popping up everywhere. You don’t even have to point and click. It’s just everywhere, right at our fingertips and in our faces, even if we must root around to find those precious Truffles. All the great religions contain the Ancient Wisdom. In fact, it is as simple as the Golden Rule. Yet as simple as that may be, living the Ancient Wisdom continues to be a lifetime endeavor, especially when it comes to unlearning unhealthy habits and behaviors.
Fortunately for the Chela, the student of Life, there is a treasure trove of Ancient Wisdom right here in Halcyon. As I wrestle with words, my gratitude and admiration abound for the great body of work being left behind by those who go before us. Consequently, the “Survival of the Fittest” concept that was ingrained in me as a child has been challenged by Theosophy.
I don’t remember how my first impression of “The Law of the Jungle” came about. Perhaps it emerged between my Jewish rearing and my public education when experience began teaching me the economics of life. My ability to compete and win, to survive in the Jungle, would be assured through alertness, common sense, study, and hard work. From early childhood fables, I must have realized that I didn’t want to end up like some innocent creature living in fear of being devoured by some predator endeavoring to consume its life-giving sustenance. I also learned that for people, the key to survival would be money. Without money I would be as vulnerable as any prey in life. As cruel as that can seem, every living thing and creature needs to make its own living.
Some 22 years Madame Blavatsky’s senior, Charles Darwin’s theories on evolution and natural selection have become common knowledge around the world. Like several scientists before him, Darwin believed that all life on earth developed gradually over millions of years from a few common ancestors.
Darwin, however, avoided talking about the theological and sociological aspects of his work. Despite being a reserved, thorough, hard-working scholar who concerned himself with the feelings and emotions not only of his family but of friends and peers as well, his public persona was that of a non-religious person. That is, until he supposedly renounced evolution and converted to Christianity on his deathbed. Shortly after dying, Lady Hope claimed she had visited Darwin at his deathbed and witnessed the renunciation. Her story was printed in a Boston newspaper and subsequently spread. Lady Hope’s story was refuted by Darwin’s daughter Henrietta who would go on to say, “I was present at his deathbed …He never recanted any of his scientific views, neither then or earlier.”
Back then, many people felt threatened and strongly opposed the idea of evolution because it conflicted with their religious beliefs and convictions. While not necessarily a Christian, Darwin’s notoriety most certainly didn’t come to him by denying the existence of a Power greater than himself.
Today, the tables have turned yet again as our science and religion continue their transformation towards convergence. Some 20 years ago, the Columbus, Ohio State School Board adopted a science curriculum that left it up to school districts whether to teach the concept of intelligent design. “Intelligent Design” holds that the universe is guided by a higher intelligence. This relatively new standard put into writing the opportunity for their school districts to teach evolution, while not closing the door on the debate over the origin of life. This strategy followed 15 years after the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that reshaped the debate over teaching evolution in public schools. The high court struck down a Louisiana law requiring that schools teach creation science whenever students learn about evolution. The court ruled that the law’s purpose was to promote religion and thus it violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. In issuing that ruling, the court effectively closed the door on efforts to mandate teaching the biblical creation story in public schools. It was only 62 years earlier when science teacher John Scopes was prosecuted for teaching evolution in a Tennessee public school in 1925. In less than 100 years, the debate has now evolved to include whose version of our rather recent history we are to teach our children.
As in the case of Darwin upsetting the apple cart of religion with a scientific truth, today we see the apple cart of science being upset with the religious assertion that our universe is guided by a Higher Intelligence. To me this harkens to “a Power greater than ourselves.”
Over the 30 years following the groundbreaking publication of Darwin’s “The Origin of Species,” Helena Petrovna Blavatsky would write and publish “Isis Unveiled,” “The Secret Doctrine,” and “Key to Theosophy.” And those great works would inspire contributions from many others, like William Q. Judge and the Temple of the People.
We’ve come a long way since Judge was soliciting Buddhist guest speakers from India to tour America, in an effort to help counter some of the Christian dogma that was clouding the Theosophical twin Principles of Reincarnation and Karma — twin Principles that Judge would refer to as Hope and Responsibility.
While Darwin’s work remained focused on the evolution of physical life on earth, Theosophy and the Temple Teachings would go on to explain how theology and sociology were involved with the evolution of all life. One of the most helpful insights discovered by me here in Halcyon has been the Evolution of Matter, Force, and Consciousness. The Triple Key continues to open new doors while letting in a warmer light that is lifting the fogginess of my ever-evolving point of view.
When one acknowledges that the Temple of the People corresponds to the Temple of Humanity and to the Temple of the Universe, much understanding can be found. Converting that knowledge into Wisdom, while surviving in the Jungle, the crucible of experience, is yet another matter.
Religion, science, and economics are the foundation stones of The Temple. “There can be no true religion without its scientific basis, and there can be no right economic system not based on a science that is religious and a religion that is scientific.”
In the shortest of words: What we think we know — the Science, what we tend to believe — the Religion, and how we endeavor to take care of ourselves and each other — the Economics, have been responsible for bringing about the present world conditions. This has been going on for a very long time, whether we accept it or not.
There needs to be truth, honesty and integrity in our science, religion, and economics in order for humanity to radiate the kind of Love necessary for all of us to accept the necessity for living within our means. To a significant extent, the life-sustaining Balance here on Earth is in the hands of humanity.
Yet, the battle for religious, scientific, and economic domination rages on. Clearly, the pressure is on for humanity to transcend the Law of the Jungle, by looking beyond the financial implications of surviving on this planet.
In the world of the future, who of us shall be the Fittest?
The reconciling of true science with true religion has never been an easy task, requiring an open mind and pure motive for realizing the complementary natures of both. Going from the known into the unknown is our courageous challenge for coming to terms with the Ultimate Truth. Hopefully, true progress is being made.
Here in America, having fled from the rule of Kings and Queens, we now endeavor to govern ourselves. Disgusted with domination and religious persecution, a new form of democracy began its evolution.
Here, in America we would find better. We would experience personal freedoms, by being able to pursue life, liberty and happiness, as contemplated by the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. Never again would we be ruled by one. The three branches of government — Executive, Legislative and Judicial — were established. There was the optimism of sustaining a fair and balanced form of government. Neither the president nor Congress nor the courts would be allowed the upper hand. All the while, the doctrine of Separation of Church and State would ensure that no religious force would ever control the government of the United States of America, a democratic republic. Instead of just being told what to do, we the people would need to vote, and we the people would need to serve.
Yet with all of these checks and balances, separations and guarantees, protections and safeguards, we continue to remain under the influence of who’s got the most money. For some time now, the Stock Market has come to represent how many people feel about life and whether or not they need to be worried about their future. For many of us, the economics of life is the overshadowing factor impacting our survival and who of us is to be the fittest.
How our religions and sciences define our economies are significant factors behind our ever-evolving Law of the Jungle. Money has always been the great appeaser of our fears, at least when thought of in modern times. Interesting to take note that of all the ancient civilizations we know to have existed on this planet, it is the Australian Aboriginal culture that is believed to be the earliest one that still remains in existence — more than 50,000 years by some estimates, before the predaceousness of progress and modern times began taking its toll.
Born in 1880, blind and deaf before the age of two, by the age of 23 the following words were published by Helen Keller: “The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all … The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands — the ownership and control of their livelihoods — are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.”
Helen Keller was 84 by the time she came to know the roots of her lifetime of advocacy had become the fruits of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Paradoxically, we can find a contrast between the few and the many, especially with regard to the state of our media industry, not imagined during Helen Keller’s lifetime of contemplation.
Since the Telecommunication Act of 1996, the ownership of broadcasting stations and daily newspapers has ended up in the hands of a few corporations. It’s become even more challenging to discern whether or not the information we are getting from these sources is in the interest, necessity, and convenience of the public. Economics continues to be the driving force behind most of the easily accessible information we tend to see and hear. Nearly all media is being commercialized in this day and age. Despite knowing that self-interest is a dominating motive, we tend to take for granted the effects Corporate America is having on our consciousness and the political process. That is not to say that all content is bad and corporately controlled.
Paradoxically, in less than 70 years we’ve gone from the dominance of broadcasting to the ever-increasing dominance of narrowcasting; from CBS, NBC, and ABC to Google, YouTube, and Facebook. In the twinkling of an eye, now anyone can have their own website, podcast, or internet channel to express themselves. Along with the many now having access to what was once the exclusive domain of the few, our perception of time and patience has experienced a seismic shift. In less than 250 years we have gone from a message taking 30 days to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to a message taking an instant to reach anywhere and anyone. While communication has become increasingly convenient, our capacity for time and patience seems to be correspondingly in decline.
From homeless encampments to active shooters; from political misinformation to corporate greed; from substance abuse to diabetes; from how we keep our water clean to how we keep housing affordable; from altering our environment to altering our bodies, the list is daunting once we attempt to comprehend the actions and behaviors of everything that can impact the ever-balancing interaction between religion, science, and economics. The founding optimism for our three branches of government forming a more perfect Union seems to be challenged at best.
Clearly the economy or money and who controls it, in the final analysis, seems to have the greatest influence over whether or not we can afford to do what’s in the best interest of us all or in the best interest of a few.
So, what’s it going to take for all of us to be okay? When will we all have enough to be okay? When will enough be enough? When will we be able to afford that which is in the best interest of us all? Is financial democracy and economic justice even a possibility among us humans?
Despite being founded on the highest of Principles, including the wisdom of Hiawatha and the experiences of the League of Six Nations, our scientific, religious, and economic beliefs prevented us from living side by side with our Native American brethren. Women weren’t allowed to own property at first and would have to struggle some 150 years for the right to vote. Yet, today we can find Afro-American women elected to Congress, while others are influencing the New York Times bestseller’s list. Some of the wealthiest women of today are descendants from slaves. For some, progress is being made.
So again, I ask, “In the world of the future, who of us shall be the Fittest?”
While undeniably grateful for my American way of life, for some rhyme or reason I don’t think capitalism as we know it is really working out. Between all the rushing and tons of red tape, the gulf between the haves and have-nots continues to expand. Socialism and Communism have yet to be perfected. Can we imagine a way to conduct commerce where consideration and responsibility are valued as much, if not more, than freedom and rights?
The prophecy of the Lion, the Bear, the Eagle, and the Ox was given to the Temple in 1898 without any detailed interpretation, but with the assurance that it would work out perfectly as it is written on the inner light: “The Bear will growl at the Lion; the Eagle will alight on the Bear’s Head and pluck out its left eye; the Ox and the Lion will close in a struggle to the death; the Ox, the Bear, the Lion and the Eagle will form a Square, from the center of which will arise the Temple, the Architect of which will rule the Earth.”
Early Temple members considered various Keys to unlocking the meaning of the relationship between these symbolic animals. One interpretation published in a 1904 Artisan considered the Bear as a constricting inhibiting force in its extreme action representing Unionism — Organized Labor; the Lion as the predatory force of capital; the Eagle as the Spirit of true Liberty; and the Ox as Labor, pure and simple: unorganized labor, or the masses. The Artisan went on to say that “…the left eye is the Manasic eye, the eye of the head as opposed to the right eye — the Buddhic — or the eye of the heart. In this light the Prophecy would read: Organized Labor will growl at Capital, the Spirit of Liberty will alight on, or enter, the Labor Unions, and rid it of its lower mental forces. The Masses and Capital will close in a struggle to the death. The Masses, Organized Labor, Capital, and the Spirit of Liberty will become coordinated — form a Square, from the center of which will arise the Temple, the Architect of which will rule the earth.” The passage closes with: “It should be born in mind that every true symbol has at least seven, if not more, Keys.”
References to all but the Bear can be found in both the Old and New Testaments. One might wonder if the Prophecy is manifesting right here in Halcyon, on a micro level. On the global stage, it has crossed my mind that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, could represent the Lion, that Russia could represent the Bear, that the United States could represent the Eagle, with the Ox possibly representing China. Most certainly, there is no shortage of what one might ponder!
Nevertheless, we are in the midst of coming to grips with an ancient old truth that can be found in Economics 101. It’s called the Law of Diminishing Returns. Pollution is an excellent example of the workings of this Law. Another version goes something like, you can be sure to find the first drop of poison in your second cup of pleasure.
As we as individuals become addicted to certain things and different types of behavior, so do our worldly religious, scientific, and economic points of view become addicted to those things and behaviors.
It would appear that global satiation is near. Balance is a must and perhaps in the future there will be Twelve Step Support Groups that take into account our ever-evolving unmanageable dysfunctional global way of living. Regrettably, many addictions are being nurtured and sustained by a media that has mastered the art of attracting our attention and shaping our thoughts, thereby nourishing the root cause to our struggles. Of course, the media does much good, yet the old adage that “one bad apple can spoil the bunch” seems to hold true when it comes to one thought, word, or deed wreaking havoc on the many.
So how can we ever be okay when we are always being reminded about what we don’t have, and how much better off other folks are who have what we don’t? The Law of Diminishing Returns will help us find the way. You can find examples of this Law in the Bible as well.
The Jews prayed for it, while under the oppression of Pharaoh. Moses knew of this Law and had faith that Balance would eventually be restored to the Jewish people. After much pain and suffering, the domination of the many by the selfish few would end, at least for a cycle or two.
Perhaps we might think of the Law of Diminishing Returns as the Law of Increasing Spiritual Awareness: An aspirational opportunity for being our best, by climbing higher; an opportunity for becoming One with the Avataric Force, for endeavoring to realize the presence of the Avatar as a living Power in our lives.
Step by step, minute by minute, we are constantly redefining how we shall govern ourselves. For instance, the desire to win at any cost can foil the search for the truth in any legal matter. This bogging down of the intended jurisprudence, desired by our courts, has inspired the alternatives of arbitration and mediation as a means for justice being served — or at the very least, another opportunity for settling conflicts and disputes.
While money per se isn’t evil, it may be the love of money that gets us into trouble. How we get it and how we use it is the key. When our motives are selfish, when money is used to give us dominion over our fellows, we might say that we are endeavoring to realize the presence of the Pharaoh as a living Power in our lives.
Where we once had creeds based on religious beliefs, we now find creeds whose membership criteria relies more on your wealth and status rather than focusing on what you believe. So, if you believe in the Law of the Jungle as it relates to the Survival of the Fittest, how could you deny a creed whose basis was that of money and the accumulation of wealth?
When Moses returned from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, he found the people worshipping a golden calf. They had lost their patience with him and their faith in the God of Abraham. As the story is told, the loss of that faith caused yet even more pain and suffering for the Jewish People. Eventually, the Jewish People chose to honor the Ten Commandments.
When great wisdom and truth turns into a creed — a way of thinking that others must abide by rather than discovering the truth for themselves —that’s where the problems begin.
Using the Law of Correspondence to find clues to the blueprints of the Universe, I’m intrigued by the fact that my differentiated body organs and parts came from only one impregnated Egg, which leads me to believe that the God of Abraham is the God of Muhammad, the God of Jesus, and the God of the Buddha.
While attending Hebrew School, prior to my Bar Mitzvah, I came to believe that Israel meant a safe and sacred place for us Jews to live. Since coming to Halcyon, I have realized that the biblical meaning of Israel invokes the Law of Centralization as it stands for “one who prevails with God.” In essence, to me the word Israel stands for Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood and was one of the earliest civilized blueprints for how human beings could take care of themselves, along with each other.
By the time Jesus came along, some might say that the Pharisees or Jewish leadership found themselves in the process of closing the book on the Old Testament. It would be decades after the passing of Jesus before the first Gospel of the New Testament would be written.
Two thousand years ago, the Pharisees weren’t open to any new thoughts on the Mysteries of Life. But as for me, having married into the Catholic faith, it was my open mind that helped me to explore the teachings of Jesus (as recalled and restated by those who followed Him).
There are some assertions about the life of Jesus that I am quite comfortable relying on. I believe that Jesus was Jewish and that He never wrote a word. I believe that some Jews would have nothing to do with Him, while other Jews would end up worshiping Him into a God. I continue to believe that Jesus was a very old soul, and a very old soul is He. Having Mastered the Principles of His very own Nature, He could and can show us the way. He was a Child of God as we all are. He was the Exception of those Times and remains an Example for our Future. What would He think about the ways and means His alleged teachings have been proselytized over these many years? What would He think about how progress has treated members of the Australian Aboriginals and the League of Six Nations?
Can you think of a time when the Teachings of Jesus were not misinterpreted? What great teaching hasn’t been? Even more so, there has never been a time when the Teachings of Jesus were easy to live.
That it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God, and the ease with which we notice the splinter in our neighbor’s eye but not the board in our own eye — these have never been insights easily embraced by the many.
When religions can’t find common ground out of their concerns for their own individual religious survival, might that religion have become a creed? Certainly, survival instincts play a role in the tendency for everyone and anyone to think they know best. No matter how old, no matter how small, be it child or parent, sister or brother, friend or foe. It takes patience and endurance to let people learn, to wait for the student to be ready for the teacher to appear. It’s no wonder that keeping an open mind has always been the “One Great Prize.”
Think not that the Ancient Wisdom shall ever loose its Force. Its Truths are eternal. Eventually those Truths will catch up to us. In the end a good Foundation for Wisdom begins with the realization that God, that Intelligent Design, that a Power greater than ourselves is actually Love: Divinity in Manifestation.
Caring for ourselves, doing for each other; being a good person for the sake of good; working with each other and for each other — these sound almost Utopian, if not impossible. Yet all the different cells in our body unite for the sake of our personal existence. The peoples of the Earth need to retain some of the innocence of a child and be as loyal as the bees are to their hive, if we are destined to survive. Ever notice that the only words hanging in the Blue Star Memorial Temple are to the hymn “Great Unifier”?
To know the Wisdom of the Teachings, they must be lived, breathed into our daily lives. You can study long and deep until you’re blue in the face and never feel the Truth. Conversely, you do not have to be a scholar to be a living example of the Truth by working towards the good of us all.
How we radiate the Love necessary for all of us to live resiliently here on Earth is a work in progress. Certainly, the Law of Increasing Spiritual Awareness will help, but all alone, can the Evolutionary Forces be enough? All indications suggest not.
It will forever be our responsibility to endeavor. The Master’s Message to the 2002 Convention indicated that the world was in a fragile state and that all of our energies, no matter how small, needed to be directed towards the good of us all.
Creeds Disappear Hearts Remain, the Words of Force, the Great Unifier, the Aphorisms, Theogenesis, Mountain Top Messages, and so much more — yet we find the Temple Teachings encouraging us, the Chelas, to also take most seriously the words to be found in the Sermon on the Mount.
From “Qualifications For Chelaship” in Volume I of the Temple Teachings we find: “Nowhere in literature may the true qualifications for Chelaship be found more clearly defined than in the Sermon on the Mount: The poor in Spirit; the Sorrowing ones; the Meek; the Merciful; the Peacemakers; the Persecuted; the Pure in heart. These are the children of God, the true disciples, the Chelas of the Masters. Without these attributes, all the knowledge in the Universe would not avail. It is what we ARE, our interior character, not what we know or believe, that constitutes the basis for Chelaship in the White Brotherhood.”
Could the people who are running corporations, who are considered influencers, or who are leading our communities meet these qualifications? Are these the qualifications required for survival of the fittest?
“Turning the other cheek” doesn’t sound like much of a survival tactic. How is it humanly possible to believe in Jesus Christ and still contemplate war? What about the fact that various indigenous jungles around the world are struggling for their very own survival?
When will we learn? Survival of the Fittest depends on our goals. Spiritual Treasures are eternal; abundance must be shared. In the end, there will be no choice. Only kind, caring, loving people will remain, or there will be none of us at all. Could it be that “the meek shall inherit the earth” because they will have learned to “do to others as they would have done unto them?”
Our actions are the Foundation Stones of our tomorrows. Aspiring individually and collectively towards an economic system that is based on a science that is religious and on a religion that is scientific is our only way up.
Everything is evolving; that is the Triple Key. We must search for the underlying principles in everything we experience. Our motives take precedence; who we are and hope to be is determined by our thoughts, words, and deeds.
Lady Hope was certain that Charles Darwin had never been a religious person throughout his lifetime. As a Christian, how could she be so certain?
Clearly, he was a good, honest, caring man who worked for the betterment of his fellows. Perhaps it was because Lady Hope needed to see him in church.
Using the Sermon on the Mount as our guide, we find: “And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who pretend piety by praying publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. Truly, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you.”
Nothing is keeping us from discovering Truth. The Sources seem unlimited. Whether by observing the teachings from the Sermon on the Mount, honoring the Rules of Discipleship, or simply living by the Ten Commandments, we will come to know how we all must be. To Lady Hope’s inappropriate dismay, it may have been Charles Darwin who all along was living the Ancient Wisdom, the Teachings of the Master.
Take heart. Whether you’re a Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Theosophist, Agnostic, or Atheist, we are all subject to the Law of Increasing Spiritual Awareness. Whether you call it God, Love, the Christos, the Great White Lodge, the Central Spiritual Sun, the Force, the Logos, Mother Nature, or a Power greater than ourselves, honoring the age-old Wisdom with Faith and Trust in our Higher Self by thought, word, and deed is essential, and is the Key to our survival together. Learning to care for each other needs to be as important as caring for ourselves. To be rich in things or to be rich in Love, the choice is ours.
Survival of the Fittest will be determined by what we hold in our Hearts. Love, Will, and Wisdom hold the Keys to the Hope, Endurance, and Courage that will be necessary for overcoming the illusion of separateness and the aversion to Unity.
Spirit of Universal Harmony, Love and Wisdom:
Bind thou in bonds of Holy Brotherhood,
All Temple children.