The title of this post is a Blavatsky quote that was retweeted amongst some of my followers on twitter for a while. Her full name is Helena (or Elena) Petrovna Blavatsky (or Blavatskaya) by the way, not Helena Petronova Blavatsky. Here’s the full quote, quite popular among theosophists.
There is a road, steep and thorny, beset with perils of every kind, but yet a road, and it leads to the very heart of the Universe: I can tell you how to find those who will show you the secret gateway that opens inward only, and closes fast behind the neophyte for evermore.
There is no danger that dauntless courage cannot conquer;
there is no trial that spotless purity cannot pass through;
there is no difficulty that strong intellect cannot surmount.
For those who win onwards there is reward past all telling—the power to bless and save humanity; for those who fail, there are other lives in which success may come.
In Blavatsky’s theosophy there were two kinds of people – those who simply live their lives by the standards of the world, and those who become students, neophytes, chelas of the eternal wisdom. That’s what this quote is about: the path of the second group. She tells us that their road is a steep one. Not just beset by the problems of every day life like (in present times) most of our lives are. No, deeper psychological and occult problems. I sometimes think those occult problems bear a strange resemblance to ordinary psychological problems. What it amounts to is that for those who set aside the standards of living of their surroundings and start to really walk their own path, there are a zillion problems to overcome. She tells us the characteristics needed to overcome those problems: dauntless courage, spotless purity and a strong intellect.
Perhaps one reason why the problems of chelaship sound so much like psychological problems is that in our time culture changes so fast that in a sense all of us have to, to some extent, face up to what culture is and how limited local standards are. The values of our parents aren’t our own. Our grandparents grew up in circumstances so different from ours they’re hard to imagine. There’s a divide between what most of us realize needs to happen in the West to create sustainable economic development, and the actual things we do from day to day. The story of stuff makes that clear I think:
If you think about this video a bit, it puts our whole lives into a different perspective. It says: we cannot afford all the stuff we have – we have to steal from poorer countries to get it. We cannot afford to accept companies making stuff that only lasts a few years. But if governments get serious about getting companies to make stuff that lasts longer, the very basis of our economy falls flat from under us. Add to that that the only reason the current state of affairs could go on like this for so long is that oil and gas are available as energy source and the basis for most of the materials used in those products (plastics) – and it becomes clear that things just can’t go on like this much longer.
This is, I think, pretty common knowledge by now. Yet how can we step out of that cycle? Although the system is built on our individual actions, our individual greed, our individual wish not to be behind the times – the system as a whole cannot be changed by us. People are loosing their jobs, their very means of existence, because the system (or part of it) collapsed recently. This system got started with government action, it has to be changed through government action as well. And it is only fair that those who are still rich pay for the food and housing of those who lost everything in this first collapse. (I don’t just mean charity, I mean taxes).
For each individually perhaps it does help to be reminded that in the ultimate scheme of things, everything is temporary.