The Path by Michele Sender
At some point in our lives a tiny corner of the veil has been lifted and our interest for something other than the ordinary has been piqued. We came to know that there is more to life than what we see on this physical plane. We may have started following a system of thought but eventually that system came up short to our expectations; somewhere along the way we found theosophy. For many of us its explanations and understandings helped to answer the questions we had, giving words to the unorganized thoughts floating in our head. We began to ingest, digest and assimilate its ideas and concepts and out of this chaotic pre-order we found order and direction in its all-encompassing clarifications. It was exciting to grasp new understandings, to find brotherhood, to see a thread that runs through and unifies everything. Now that we know about the goal of evolution and the journey of the soul, we are ready for a detailed road map to help aim our journey more methodically towards the summit. The first step is to recognize that there are —
Two paths, both having the same end, a glorified immortality. The one is the steady natural path of progress through moral effort, and practice of the virtues. A natural coherent and sure growth of the soul is the result, a position of firm equilibrium is reached and maintained, which cannot be overthrown or shaken by any unexpected assault. It is the normal method followed by the vast mass of humanity . . . . The other road is the precipitous path of occultism, through a series of initiations. Only a few specially organised and peculiar natures are fit for this path. (Occultism of Southern India, T. Subba Row)
It is this second Path that we will study together in Naarden. This is not the well-worn path around the mountain that traditional religions offer us. It is the straight up the mountainside pathless path of occultism, which represents a way of shortening the time it takes to get to self-mastery. In its teachings, Theosophy describes the preparation needed, the packing list, and the travel plan but still, to tread this way the disciple needs the help of the Mahatmas, those great souls, who have travelled before us.
Occult progress, growth along this path, is effected by the adept directing through the chela various occult forces, which enable him to obtain prematurely, so to speak, a knowledge of his spiritual nature: and to obtain powers to which he is not morally entitled by degree of his progress. (Occultism of Southern India, T Subba Row)
By studying the relationship between Master and disciple, we can find insights as to the purpose and direction of our quest, and guide posts to help us along the way. However, before we go through the “narrow gate” we must be in possession of the right view. Pitied is the person who makes the mistake of thinking that this progression is for the attainment of powers for selfish aims. The motive to serve humanity is at the heart of every step of the way. For this reason, self-transformation is an inherent part of the path:
This task includes in its teachings of divesting yourself of all personality through interior effort, because that work, if done in the right spirit, is even more important . . . than any outward work we can do. (To Aspirants for Chelaship, WQ Judge)
At some point in our journey towards this path we may meet difficult times; things may seem to fall apart for a shorter or longer period in our life. When this happens, an understanding of the nature and laws that govern probation and discipleship can be helpful. If we can think of these times as the training ground for higher learning or as an opportunity to purify the aspects of our personality that anchor us to the material—all being done with an attitude for the welfare of humanity—we will find the strength and endurance to continue to progress with a one-pointedness. As we acquire experience we also gain true faith which is an important element within this path:
Faith is the perception of the Manas (the fifth principle), while knowledge, in the true sense of the term, is the capacity of the Intellect, i.e., it is spiritual perception. In short, the higher individuality of man, composed of his higher Manas, the sixth and the seventh principles, should work as a unity, and then only can it obtain “divine wisdom,” for divine things can be sensed only by divine faculties. Thus the desire, which should prompt one to apply for chelaship, is to so far understand the operations of the Law of Cosmic Evolution as will enable him to work in harmonious accord with Nature, instead of going against its purposes through ignorance. (Mahatmas and Chelas, HPB)
By gaining an understanding of the occult doctrine, we can find the acceptance and confidence necessary to move forward from the place we are right now; to do our work in the midst of our everyday duties, without thinking we have to wait until we reach a better position, have more time, or more money. As Blavatsky says, there is not a single person who has ventured to this point . . .
who is not able to do something to aid the cause of truth and universal brotherhood; it only depends on his own will, to make that something an accomplished fact. (Spiritual Progress, HPB)
Who is Who:
Michele Sender has been a member of the TS in America since 2006, soon after joining she moved to its National Headquarters, where she worked as Information Coordinator. Here, she also served as President of the local branch. She is currently living at Krotona Institute of Theosophy, in California, where she is active in sharing the Ancient Wisdom beyond the borders of the TS. Her background is in Education and part of her focus was teaching positive thinking skills to High School at-risk students. She has organized and given lectures, classes and seminars on Theosophy and its practical application in daily life, in the US, Europe and New Zealand.