August 2009 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the August 2009 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
2009 SLTS Theosophical Retreat
By Chitra Varaprasad
Saturday morning of 27th June 2009 was a sunny day! Forty four Theosophical Society members, including some non-member spouses, gathered at the Tanah Merah Ferry terminal. A motley crowd of young and old, and not so old had arrived promptly, looking eager and enthusiastic and ready to leave for Turi Beach Resort, Batam Indonesia for a retreat.
The ferry was delayed and we arrived at Nongsapura Ferry terminal at almost mid day. Our travel agents were quick and efficient in transferring us to a coach and then to Turi Beach resort. A cool and refreshing drink awaited us! Before we realized we were on the coach to Vihara Duta Maitrya temple for lunch. What a sumptuous lunch it was! Such an interesting spread of vegetarian food! The temple was just as inviting. The statues of Guan Yin and the Maitreya Bodhisattva were huge and awe inspiring, not to mention the peace and quiet that prevailed in the halls.
We were back in the coach at 2 pm, but the late comers were asked to sing making the coach ride an enjoyable one. Before we could take a snooze, we were at the Turi Beach resort for our first workshop module entitled ‘Self Realization and Development’. The workshop was divided into two parts: Observation and Introspection/Realization and Action.
The first module ‘Observation and Introspection’ began with some background information on Self Realization. Brother Sanne made it explicit right at the beginning that the workshop did not aim to provide readymade answers to one’s self realization. It was up to each individual to focus his or her mind and intuition and look within and to reflect on and observe one’s own qualities. The change had to come from within and through self realization, he added. In short the onus was on the individual.
Next Brother Sanne explained how awareness of oneself is through one’s bodies: the causal, the mental and the astral. He also spoke about the Higher Self, which is a spark of the Divine. The Buddhi is where spirituality and intuition are housed and it is these that contribute to one’s enlightenment. However, human beings are made up of the higher and lower self and it is the higher levels of consciousness that need to be awakened for self awareness. He compared the lower self to a horse that pulls a chariot and the higher self to a charioteer. Whether one wants to be horse without control or a charioteer in control with regard to self awareness is left very much to the individual.
The second part of the workshop focused on the application of the concepts. We were asked to observe and introspect on our inner qualities in the way we dealt with people around us. We were divided into four groups, each with a group leader. This was the most interesting part of the workshop wherein members of the groups came together to observe the qualities they admired in others and then to introspect on why they liked these qualities in others. This resulted in an introspection of one’s own inadequacies and their awareness being raised. Each group leader presented the outcomes of their group’s discussion. This first session concluded with Brother Sanne listing the different positive and negative qualities.
On Day Two, the second module of the workshop focused on ‘Realization and Action’. Brother Sanne provided some theoretical information on the subject. The processes of observation and introspection can lead to perception and cognition of one’s qualities. This in turn can result in understanding and realization causing one to be convinced and aware of the need to change. The second part of the workshop saw us discussing in groups and applying some of the above concepts. The group members were more forthcoming with their views as it was the second session and we had all become comfortable with our members. As we discussed we all realized that we were grappling with the same inadequacies of impatience, anger and so on. Some of us shared our experiences, while others aired their views on how we can cope, making the session one of both realization and hope. This was followed by presentations from group members. Some of the younger participants came forward to present on behalf of their groups. One mentioned how resorting to journaling helped him to come to terms with his weaknesses and another admitted to using his bathroom mirror to remind him to change his negative trait.
This session ended with inputs for future retreats. While some
wanted them to be organized in Singapore, others felt a change of scene can be
more refreshing. Some wanted a longer retreat. I would concur with this as we
did not get to enjoy and bask in the idyllic scenery around us, as much as we
would have liked to.
Kudos must go to Sister Lily and Brother Sanne for meticulously taking care of every detail: hotel bookings, the handbook, organization of the workshops…the list can go on. Many thanks to you both and your support staff members whose dedication and commitment have never ceased to amaze me. Above all, thank you all for an enriching and satisfying workshop.
The School of the Wisdom, Adyar
The aim of the School of the Wisdom is to enable the individual to cease from being one who gives intellectual adherence to a particular school of philosophy, and become one who learns to survey the problem of life directly by himself or herself. The essential search is to discover life as it is, life being inseparable from consciousness.
The School of the Wisdom aims at bringing each student to survey things “from the centre” which is intuitive awareness. An intense sense of Life must always accompany every true student. There can be no Wisdom without an ever-increasing sense of Wonder.
The aim of all studies in the School of the Wisdom is not the perfection of the individual but to enable the individual to use every faculty of his or her being for “lifting a little of the heavy Karma of the world”.
Essential in the progress towards Wisdom is a growing intimacy with all aspects of Nature. The message which each tree, flower, animal, meadow, sea, sky and cloud has, must be listened to and understood.
(From the Inaugural Address of the School of the Wisdom
The programme of The School of the Wisdom for the period November 2009 to February 2010 is as follows:
9 to 15 November 2009
The Mystery of Birth
One of the most interesting and fascinating events of Nature is that of the marvel and mystery of birth. Birth is a series of miracles which become deeper and more significant as we penetrate from man’s physical nature to his psychic links with the subtler bodies. This talk will look at the miracle of birth from the occult standpoint. It will cover the events in the inner worlds before birth takes place – the role played by the soul as it descends to ensoul the new body, the different unseen forces which come into play in the formation of the baby, what affects the physical features of the baby, how heredity is controlled by inner invisible agencies, still-born babies, how qualities are developed as the child grows and the consequences of misguidance, and the roles played by heredity and reincarnation to affect the physical characteristics and personality traits of the baby. Clairvoyant investigations into the antenatal period will also be described, giving you some insight into the important work of the devas or angels before birth.
Come for this interesting talk by Sis. Lily Chong on Saturday, 15 August at 5 p.m.