Katherine Tingley inspired me greatly when I was a young woman. Not only was her guidance invaluable, but the way she wrote always moved me closer to divine thoughts and feelings. Her heartfelt words, never steeped in intellectualism, were always simply expressed for the common man and woman. As a great companion and comfort, she appealed to me in a very profound way: from my own heart.
Many traits in her nature made her unique. For instance, her tremendous feeling for Mother Nature allowed her to bring out the sublime message of nature's divine silence. In order to discover these great spiritual messages within nature, she encouraged us all to go out by the hills, oceans, or forests, for there our mental atmosphere can clear, bringing forth divine revelations; there heart and mind stir to a higher harmony. Her words were like songs reflecting the joy and enlightenment that come from nature.
But the teachings I profited from most were those centered on home and family. At the time they were a guiding light where no other could be found. Having a family of my own, I treasured her wisdom and insight into the many issues of theosophical life. As a young mother, I learned the value of bringing into the home an atmosphere of harmony and tranquillity. She instilled in me a greater sense of duty toward the upbringing of a child's soul. She stressed the importance of teaching youngsters to have an understanding of their own inherent divinity; to love and value truth and wisdom; and to know the beauty which comes from an understanding heart. Most importantly, she asked parents to help the child obtain a sense of compassion towards all of life. To achieve this, she recommended the use of music, poetry, and lessons on the history and scope of the larger family of mankind. These activities bring to minds and hearts in their earliest years a sense of brotherhood. She also spoke of bringing the child out into nature in order to instill a love for the many wonders it has to offer — a grand and simple way to nourish the spiritual soul of the child.
Meeting the child's physical, mental, and spiritual needs in a balanced and timely way was essential in her eyes, as this would bring about the best and most natural growth. She taught that one must always distinguish between the needs and wants of children and see that we do not unconsciously cultivate the selfish side of their nature.
In The Wine of Life she outlines a vision of an ideal theosophical home which stirs the imagination. Though most of us are not capable of living up to this high ideal, having it before our mind's eye aids us in remembering its nobility so that someday perhaps we can achieve it.
These and other ideas of Katherine Tingley — such as her compassionate insights on crime, wars, and other social ills — help us to guide our thoughts and actions to right living and right being. Within the heart she places a concept of theosophical life that will continue to inspire future generations, giving to ordinary men and women a bright beacon to steer by, a light to grow by.
(From Sunrise magazine, April/May 1998. Copyright © 1998 by Theosophical University Press)
Children are rich with all they do not own, rich with the potential wonders of their universe. — Paul Hazard, Books, Children, and Men