During our last webinar on “What Inspires You?” (see our website www.theoservice.com under “Resources”), one of the participants asked how the TOS is different than any other service organization. It was a valid question. There are many service organizations in the world that help the homeless, advocate for animal rights and the environment and so on, what makes the TOS different? This led to a deeper discussion about why we do what do and what the significance of the TOS is in our lives. One participant said when she discovered the TOS, she found it helped her live the principles of theosophy that she was learning. This is what makes the TOS different.
The Order of Service is just a service organization like any other. What makes it different is Theosophy. It is the Theosophical Order of Service. Theosophy is not just the teachings that we read in The Voice of the Silence or The Secret Doctrine or even The Mahatma Letters. These are just words (beautiful as they are) on a page. In The Key to Theosophy HPB writes that Theosophy is altruism. In The Mahatma Letters, the Masters write that Theosophy must be practical. In other words, without the applicability of Theosophy, the writings mean nothing. They continue to be words on a page.
“Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun. Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer’s eye. But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain caused it is removed.”
These words from The Voice of the Silence, so often quoted, show that our work as members and supporters of the TOS have a task before us. It is only one example of the instructions we are given in the theosophical teachings. Otherwise, they remain poetic words on a page in a book we refer people to, without ever having tried to live what is written. Once we begin living the teachings in our own lives, we begin the process of spiritual midwifery. Meaning, we begin birthing a different way of living for ourselves and everything and everyone we come into contact with.
Kinship or brotherhood with other living beings on our precious Mother Earth is not just a fanciful term. It is an underlying fact of the unity of all life. We cannot survive without the help of other beings. It is absolutely impossible. Those who feel this are not thinking about the fact that the food they eat to survive comes from the earth. The earth itself is alive because of the sun’s heat and light. Life is symbiotic at many levels. This basic understanding is a fundamental principle in Theosophy and one, we as workers of the TOS, must live and teach to others through our work. The suffering of others is our own suffering.
An Order of Service also has its own significance. As brothers and sisters of the Theosophical movement, we must find a way to work in harmony with one another so our work and its vibration is of the highest quality. Often it is mentioned in many theosophical books to work together as fingers on one hand. The analogy is wonderful. Try working with just one finger! You won’t get a whole lot done, nor will you do it efficiently. Aside from that, you will find the hand becomes fatigued. The same thing happens when only a few people do the majority of the work in a group. The group, like the hand, loses vibrancy. Learning to work together as a unit, more work can be achieved and more needs met. We cannot help birth the spiritual lives of others, when we ourselves are not practicing brotherhood in our lodges and study groups.
Theosophy provides a beautiful explanation to the why’s of our existence. When we are with others unfamiliar with theosophy, do we hid the teachings that give meaning to our life or when given an opportunity, explain it? And do we explain it in our own words from our own experience, or do repeat lines from a pamphlet? Many of us are afraid to do so because of how we may be perceived. The founders of the TS gave little attention as to how they were perceived because they believed in the work they were doing. Do we? It does not mean that we need to start proselytizing Theosophy. But when comforting another, do we connect with the vibrant energy around us to provide calm healing? Are we comfortable mentioning the resilient spirit which lies within us all? There are ways to promote Theosophical service, in other words, theosophy, through our demeanor, our words, and our actions without ever having to get into a heavy conversation.
Our work in the TOS must connect to the Theosophical principles or, like the unlived teachings in a book, it will lack the power to bring unity to the divided, love to the fearful, and peace to the conflicted. Our work must take into consideration the realms of consciousness, seen and unseen. Not just of humans, but of all life. That is true Theosophy in action.