A Cross-Pollination Sighting at the U.L.T.
The meetings at the United Lodge of Theosophists are consistently enlightening as they have been for the last 107 years of our existence. The teachings are kept intact, expounded in as simple a manner as can be expressed and are made a living power in each meeting. One of the collateral implications, however, of the fact that all of the U.L.T. Lodges function independently of the other U.L.T. Lodges, is that compared to most world-wide associations, we are a bit insular. Unfortunately, we just don’t cross-pollinate. For example, in any given U.L.T. Lodge, rarely do we feature speakers from even other U.L.T.s., let alone from other Theosophical Organizations such as the T.S.A. or T.S.P.L. So when Herman C. Vermeulen from The Netherlands of the Theosophical Society Point Loma spoke at the United Lodge of Theosophists in Santa Barbara last August, something new was happening!
There was an effortless cooperation that Sunday evening, foretelling the successful four days of working and studying together by students from various Theosophical traditions later that week in Santa Barbara at the 2016 International Theosophical Conference. Herman shared the platform with a wonderful student from our Lodge, Christine Nolt. They spoke on the subject of Raja Yoga: the Sacred Science. Christine spoke first in her clear and uplifting manner. Herman then referred to Christine’s talk and showed how her points amplified his and dovetailed with his line of thinking on the subject. He also referred to a “nice, yellow pamphlet” he had spied in our lodge entitled, “Meta-Astronomy” (Secret Doctrine Series of pamphlets). After complementing how its production was a truly fine work, he joked that if we all understood what was in that, he wouldn’t need to be speaking on the subject! Rather than dance around the edges, concerned that by going too deep, that, heaven forbid, differences might come out; both speakers fearlessly dove into the depths, like two deep-sea divers, who, while perhaps trained a bit differently, knew that they could depend on each other.
Herman spoke of how we need to investigate for ourselves all of our fundamental assumptions. He invoked the ancient Greek aphorism, “Know Thyself.” This is the beginning of the Sacred Science, wherein reasoning and investigation is from the top down and not from the bottom up. Starting from consciousness, not matter, we can begin to comprehend emanation—a flowing out, not to be confused with creation. While we attract lesser beings within our magnetic field, and while we exist within larger fields, as do Earths, Solar Systems and Milky Ways—beings are not created anew. The only thing new is levels of cooperation. Herman gave us U.L.T.ers a good dose of the concept of hierarchy, which is one of the Seven Jewels in the T.S.P.L. tradition. I wondered what was new here. Something was new and very powerful. Was it that he emphasized hierarchy, fields of being and cooperation? No, not really. The centrality of metaphysical hierarchies is detailed in The Secret Doctrine, as are these other ideas. Was it is that he was using a computer in a U.L.T. Lodge presentation, perhaps scrolling through Keynote as he made these powerful points? These questions I pondered, sitting in the front row of Crosbie Hall directly in front of Herman and listening to his clarion ideas. My eyes occasionally resting on the Apple logo on the back of his lap-top computer, I couldn’t help but marvel at how it is the quality of thought and the purity of motivation behind words that lend potency to the power of sound. Heralding new levels of cooperation, Herman’s speaking at our Lodge was cross-pollination at its finest.