I’ve been thinking about the idea of ‘walking the talk’ as it relates to what we think we know about the Theosophical way of life, compared to how we actually live our lives. 

I read the theosophical texts and register the truth of them, yet observe that I don’t quite live their truth.  Sometimes I suppose I do, but often, not so.  I can talk the talk, but see I don’t always walk the walk.  I think you all must know what I mean.

So I would like to ask, do you find this disconnect also in your life?  If so, how do you respond to that observation?   Personally, I become disappointed when I see this.  I resolve to do better, yet I struggle.

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Don, I would like to think we can all find this disconnect in our lives, and this is a good thing! It means that you are now viewing yourself. Life is a struggle.  We all are a sorry lot of suffers when you think about it.  Don't forget we have life times of skandas behind us, and have built up this personality and these tendencies also.

We do the best we can, when we can.

How should we treat ourselves when we can fully view this disconnect? Disappointment, from my personal experience, has no positive outcome, yet sometimes it is reactionary. Where do we go from here?

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Good thoughts Kristan,

I guess how we view this disconnection depends upon where conciousness is at the moment.  Sometimes we view it with disappointment and guilt, and at other times with more understanding and acceptance.

I think that to truly walk the talk wouldn't result from guilt, but instead from a greater understanding of ourselves.  We probably all have observed the difference between these two situations. 

 

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Good question - I thinks that it's important to re-focus on the practical aspects form time to time. For sure, everyone goes through funky, fuzzy, cloudy phases - that's part of the deal - the caterpillar has to dissolve within a cocoon before becoming a butterfly, symbol of the soul among the Romans - Here's some interesting practical daily life ideas (from the first Blavatsky book I read)- a small booklet called Practical Occultism -it turns out that the article is probably not by Blavatsky - it's from an unsigned British pamphlet issued during HPB's lifetime - but it has some pretty decent suggestions, IMO (PS - the original text makes the seven sections correspond the days of the week:

http://hpb.narod.ru/DailyLife.htm

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When I recognize my shortcoming and if there is nothing I can do about it,  I just move on. It does not seem to help if I dwell on it.   It seems a better use of energy if I shift my focus to the teachings.  The process is like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the mountain again and again.

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Don, the answer for me is YES too.  I think it is a natural conclusion to establishing an ideal in your life.  The ideal, they say, is truth at a distance.  So when you say to yourself, I am going to be an ethical person, I am going to adopt an altruistic mode of living, I am going honor every truth by its use you set yourself up for the inevitable gap between the ideal and the current state of realization.  But being aware of it is a strength in and of itself.  Most people lah de dah through their lives and don't strive to bridge the gap between the ideas they hold and their conduct.  Gandhi says that the more effort he put out to attain his ideals the more they would recede.  Why? because the ideal grew and deepened in his perception as he attuned himself to it ever more.  You could liken it to gaining greater and greater appreciation for a classic piece of music.

I have found it helpful to turn this equation around.  Theosophy says each man is an immortal soul.  That our higher nature is practically perfect and all knowing, that is the real man, not the imperfect one here on  earth struggling.  What is imperfect are the vehicles the immortal soul has to work with.  So it becomes our task to chip away at the imperfections so that the light can shine through. In other words don't identify with the imperfections but try to identify with the Soul which is perfect.  The immortal soul is not time bound, so what is the hurry if we cannot perfect the vehicles over night, just do what you can, that is more than enough.

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Gerry,

Thanks.  Yes, being aware of the truth about ourselves - the low and high aspects - is in itself a good and necessary step which gives us strength, I agree.  The strength aquired by knowing ourselves may allow us to sustain yet greater awareness of ourselves.  The very gaining of understanding seems to grow yet further understanding.  It perpetuates itself, you could say. 

Perhaps the very understanding of this process, or you could say the simple knowing of oneself, is how the lower conciousness recedes.    

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Hello Don. I'm Myrtia nice to meet you :)

I have observed this and still do in my self also. Additionally, when I got deeper and deeper in meditation I saw myself as a small, small person, such imperfections, such vanity, and egoism! A desperation and guilt may come as a result, but this is rooted in self pity and fear, so it is in the lower vehicles. I believe also that you must not dwell in this thoughts and emotions but turn your gaze upwards again and, in time, these periods or moments last less and less and you gain inner peace as you become more attuned with the higher worlds.

Humility and patience are seed thoughts for me on this one. Thank you very much for this subject.

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Wonderful post Don. I make the same observation within myself, certainly. I agree with Gerry, that this kind of inner state is a natural result of holding to an ideal: we can't help but see the difference between the practical life we're living and the ideal one we hold within, and from that we might often feel bad about our current experience of life, kind of self-judging ourselves to be inadequate.

I wouldn't necessarily look at the situation in terms of a disconnect, though. The heavenly man has his head above in heaven and his feet below in the mire, and while we all do struggle with the battle that rises up within us as we attempt to walk the path, from another angle I think it's very good training to be constantly faced with a range of inner experience: from the personal up to the impersonal. We're learning to embrace the whole, and I think our conscious experience of the battle within gives us insight into the condition of humanity, and allows us to perhaps more fully understand the full range of the One Life.

We might imagine the state of a mahatma as one wherein the ideal is experienced as the real (though, as Gerry says, they would then have but a higher ideal), but from another perspective it may just be that such a state involves a keener understanding of the full range of the human condition, and an ability to place oneself en rapport with any level of that rangewithout losing oneself to it. And I think that's the key: not losing oneself in the lower: which doesn't necessarily mean not experiencing or observing the lower, but simply not making it personal, not clinging to it (whether out of attraction or aversion), and not immersing our identities in it.

So, like you, I do find myself resolving to do better when I observe that I'm not living up to the ideal, but perhaps that resolution need not lead to a personal struggle; that is to say: perhaps it need not be so difficult to be ever-falling-short-of-the-ideal, if we can, to some degree, remove the personal "I" from the "I want to do better". After all, no matter how "perfected" we become (or how perfected we already are, in our higher nature), there will always be an ideal we have yet to rise to (or awaken to), so the condition of "falling-short-of-the-ideal" may just be a permanent one; what may be impermanent is our taking it personally, making it personal.

The more I immerse myself in this path, the more it seems that the "trick" may be simply to not make the battle personal, to not become personally involved in the need to do better, for the sake of the personality, motivated by the personality, or by a personal judgment on our need to do better, etc.. But instead, to... well, to allow Krishna to be the charioteer. :)

Easier said than done, perhaps.

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Thanks for the nice comments.  Good to meet you as well, Myrtia.

It seems that we can agree that we're multifasceted beings with conflicting desires.  There seems to be a 'battle being waged within ourselves' over what kind of being we'll be. There's a great struggle here.

Would it be true, as we move from the personal to the impersonal, that the battle seems to die out?  Do our ideals whither away, desires shrink, and as you say Jon, once Krishna becomes the charioteer the struggle ends?   

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Good questions Don. This is really where the rubber meets the road, isn't it!? :)

I would venture to say that our ideals don't whither but become ever higher and higher. As we reach closer to an ideal we begin to see another, even more grand ideal above and beyond it. And so it goes, on and on, ever-climbing.

As far as personal desires go, my experience has been that the more we move towards allowing Krishna to be the charioteer the louder those personal desires might protest! (at least initially). But, over time they do seem to shrink or diminish in both their loudness and (most importantly) their power over us.

As for the struggle, again just my experience, it seems that the struggle of the personal against itself is certainly lessened significantly. And it seems to me that a great majority of the struggle-aspect of the path is just that: the personal waging war on itself under the guise of a battle between higher and lower. It's not to say that the battle between higher and lower doesn't exist (it surely does), but that the lower plays a nice little trick in the game by setting itself up as its own false-duality, mocking or playing the role of a "higher self" while simultaneously playing the role of a "lower self" and then doing battle with itself, with, it would seem, the ultimate aim of keeping our attention fixed securely within the lower.

I imagine we can all relate to this: we do or think something, and then "another" voice pops up to chastise us for it, and so a duality of "selves" engages in a (usually not very pretty) dialogue within. But that chastising voice is only a false "higher self"; it's the personality playing the role of what it thinks the higher self should be like (which is usually a terribly limited impersonation!). The real higher self, meanwhile, allows its "chela" to err if it is going to err, and doesn't "rag on it" when it screws up (which would only be a kind of non-productive focusing on the past). Instead, it patiently continues its efforts to guide and direct in the present moment.

I think part of letting Krishna be the charioteer is to allow the lower to play such foolish games without engaging in them: perhaps a little like the way a parent might allow a child to throw a tantrum until it's tuckered itself out. And as the personality tires itself out (which it will if it's not being fed attention), then certainly the personal-struggle-aspect of walking the path is lessened.

I imagine there to be a certain point on the path where the voice of the lower is so weak that the kind of struggle most of us are used to really does cease to play much of a role. It is likely then replaced with a new kind of difficulty, which is the real mountain climbing of becoming an Adept.

Just my thoughts and observations. :)

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Thanks, Jon.

Yes, this is where the rubber meets the road :)  It's the very stuff of our efforts here I suppose is to fight Arjuna's battle - as we answer the call of the higher self, forces are marshalled against this effort, including the protestations of the lower self.   

I've pasted below a comment from WQ Judge's commentary on the Gita (Ch.2):

"Arjuna, whose heart was troubled with grief, let fall his bow and arrows, and sat down on the bench of his chariot...

Every student of occultism, theosophy or true religion — all being the one thing — will go through Arjuna's experiences. Attracted by the beauty or other seductive quality, for him, of this study, he enters upon the prosecution of it, and soon discovers that he arouses two sets of forces. One of them consists of all his friends and relations who do not view life as he does, who are wedded to the "established order," and think him a fool for devoting any attention to anything else; while the general mass of his acquaintances and those whom he meets in the world instinctively array themselves against one who is thus starting upon a crusade that begins with his own follies and faults, but must end in a condemnation of theirs, if only by the force of example. The other opponents are far more difficult to meet, because they have their camp and base of action upon the astral and other hidden planes; they are all his lower tendencies and faculties, that up to this time have been in the sole service of material life. By the mere force of moral gravity, they fly to the other side, where they assist his living friends and relatives in their struggle against him. They have more efficiency in producing despondency than anything else.   ...

All of us are brought to this study by our own request made to our higher self, who is Krishna. Arjuna requested Krishna to be his charioteer, and to drive him forth between the two armies. It does not matter whether he now is consciously aware of having made the request, nor whether it was made as a specific act, in this life or in many another precedent one; it was made and it is to be answered at the right time. Some of us have asked this many times before, in ancient births of ours in other bodies and other lands; others are making the request now; but it is more than likely in the case of those who are spurred on to intense effort and longing to know the truth, and to strive for unity with God, that they have put up the petition ages since."