Theosophical University Press Online Edition

James A. Long — 1951 Tour Reports


Meeting at Bournemouth

Queen Hotel
June 23, 1951 — 3:30 p.m.
Lilian Rainford, General Chairman
Hubert Parkin, Local Chairman


In the meeting at Bournemouth, the subject matter of the leader's talk and the question and answer period covered material already presented in these Tour Reports, some of the questions having been answered several times already.
The question of the organizational setup of the English work, that is, lodges becoming branches attached to Headquarters, was also discussed, and the leader suggested that the members of Bournemouth take their time in considering the matter and coming to whatever decision they chose. The charter from Bournemouth has since been received from the president, Mr. Parkin.
After a brief intermission, when tea and biscuits were served, the leader concluded the meeting with the following remarks:

Thank you for the tea, and also for the beautiful flowers. They are gorgeous sweet peas.

During the tea, Mrs. Rogers spoke about what I had said with regard to the changing over from the receiving to the giving end, and was pleased to note that she was not alone in her recognition of that fact during her fairly recent period of having to live and work for theosophy more or less alone, away from other members. What she has noticed is a typical and natural thing. This transfer is not only affecting the Society in its cyclical implications, but theosophists forget sometimes that the whole world is affected by the turn of centuries and the convergence of cycles! The fact is, however, that we as theosophists have a greater responsibility. More is expected of us, because we should know and understand more clearly the operation of the law.

How are we going to give that little bit more than the non-FTS? The answer to that question in my opinion is the answer to the success of the Theosophical Society and its ability to help a little further along the way the progress of humanity itself. Certainly we are not going to do it by standing on the housetops and preaching theosophy, nor are we going to accomplish our work by parading on street corners until the crack of doom. There are enough organizations doing that now, and the world, though not worse possibly, is certainly not being rapidly saved by that method. What our responsibility is first and foremost as members is to take theosophy home with us, and begin to work seriously and self-consciously on building and strengthening ourselves. That is an old old story, but ever new. KT hammered and hammered at this: self-conscious, self-directed evolution. That is what I am talking about. We are just plain hypocrites if we don't straighten ourselves out before we try to save the world. Colonel Conger impressed upon us one day not too long before he died how wrong it was "for pledged theosophists even to tell a white lie, for the karma of that reverberated through the ages." If that be the case, then why take any chances on compromising with the forces of darkness or destruction, even in so far as justifying ourselves in this or that or the other minor thing that may not seem to matter very much? Every time we compromise we are leaving a dark mark on the inner arena of that divinity which is within each one of us.

How can we accomplish our mission? By putting into practice the Heart doctrine. That in simple ABC language is the core of the whole thing. GdeP's most technical teachings are nothing but a verbal explanation of the true Heart doctrine. In order to warn his students time and again, GdeP would constantly insert a reminder in the midst of the most technical exposition that that spark of divinity which is in the heart of each one of us was that which made all else possible, and it was up to us to unfold these spiritual powers from within. There is nothing more honorable, regardless of what our profession may be, than doing our karmic duty from day to day, doing it with our whole heart impersonally, unselfishly, and with no regard whatever of the results to ourselves. Let us remember the injunction of the Gita to detach ourselves completely from the results of right action, and to place that action on the altar of Krishna, on the altar of that divinity which is within each one of us, and let that divinity or the Warrior, if you want to call it that, or let the Law of karma or the Lodge, take care of the results.

None of us is a perfect example of this by any means, but I am grateful to have had the experience of having gone through plenty of hell in my own life. I have more than once scorched the very foundations of my soul while going through the gateways of purification, and I know that we make more progress with ourselves by being strictly honest than in any other way.

I wish I could share with every FTS the full joy that I have had when deciding that even if death resulted I would absolutely and honestly face myself. The Law works, and if one is rigidly determined never to turn back once his face has seen the light, then help comes. The gods reach down and render help. Something has happened, and they no more can turn their backs on the truly aspiring soul, than a mother could turn her back on her child, no matter how slow he may be, who is earnestly trying. Help comes in unexpected ways, from unexpected sources and at unexpected times, when help is most needed. Then we begin to understand and to know the real joy of living theosophy. It is then, too, that we begin to see in the eyes of our fellow men the bright light of their divinity. It is then that we find ourselves given power to help, not necessarily in words, but by our actions, often in the silence of our own hearts. Until we lose ourselves in the service of others, in that inner sense, putting above everything else the interest and welfare of our fellowmen, knowing that there too resides a divinity, feeling in our hearts that we cannot progress until someone else has progressed also, we will never begin to know what theosophy really is. When more and more of us in each country do that, we will give to the Masters a power unequaled in the past, a power that will allow them to utilize the karma of each country to touch this or that individual on the shoulder in high places or in low, just as they have in the past. If we can do this to a greater degree than ever before we may be sure, Mrs. Rogers, that our sincere efforts, however insignificant they may seem to us and to others, will reach the right place and bring results. We will have given theosophy in the true sense of the word, and the world will be that much happier.

It is a beautiful thing if only we can all do it; but we are all very imperfect, nor should we regret the fact that we cannot be perfect overnight. But I am assured absolutely that to the degree that our whole membership recognizes this just a little bit more consciously, to that degree will wonders on inner planes be accomplished. Instead of a temporary or short-lived booster to get the work of the Masters to 1975 going strong until the new messenger comes, we must and will by so doing have given it such an impetus that when the new messenger does come it will not be a matter of carrying it over one century until the next, but over centuries and centuries to come. We have that opportunity, but we must depersonalize ourselves in order to do the job.

From the time of Tsong-Kha-pa until HPB in 1875, that effort has failed over the centuries. The impulse was given in each century but it did not carry over. HPB came and gave it an impulse which we who have succeeded her — I don't refer here to leaders, but to all the members — who have followed along, have maintained, and are today carrying on in a stronger manner than ever before in our past history. That is the only message I can leave with you from my heart. As I told our Welsh brothers, I am not building fires under members to go out and try to accomplish outer things. We must get our houses in order from the inside out, and begin with ourselves working together with the full understanding of what our responsibility is in the country in which we live. That responsibility is helping to establish and to place a true spiritual anchor to windward so that the ship of state of our respective nations will not in any way flounder during these strenuous times, but will be able to sail on and win the real battle of the human race, and thus bring civilization one step nearer another golden age. That is all.

You came this afternoon with a number of diverse feelings in your hearts and in your minds. But with it all, within whatever feelings there were, in the center was theosophy, and by the simple alchemy of an open heart and an open mind, you have each of you brought together here, or at least attracted here, a feeling of spiritual strength and understanding that to me cannot fail to find its manifestation in a new era of theosophic expression in Bournemouth and in this part of England. How long it will take to manifest, I don't know, but I am not worried. But I feel certain that nothing happens by chance, and that I would not have been prompted to say what I have just said had it not been called forth by the hearts of all of you.

Whatever you decide in Bournemouth about the charter will be all right with me, one way or the other. I will leave it to you to decide exactly what you want to do, and you can let me know in London before I leave, or let Mrs. Rainford know.

Thank you all for coming. I shall now say au revoir to each one of you.

The Meeting closed at 6:30 p.m.

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