Theosophical Order of Service
Warm greetings from Olcott (national center of The Theosophical Society in America),
I'm having a ball (and wishing you were here) attending the 127th Summer National Convention of the Theosophical Society in America, to be followed in a few days by the TOS International Convention 2013. I'm surrounded by dedicated TS and TOS workers from around the country, and from around the world. Inspiration abounds as we share ideas and stories of service from our local groups.
TSA's conference theme this year is "Be the Change" and addresses the inner transformation that is at the heart of outer change in the world. Needless to say, active service work performed by an altruistic heart is a powerful catalyst to inner transformation. I look forward to reporting more fully in the next issue on what promises to be a profoundly transformative and inspiring international TOS Conference. For now, I'll just say what I've been thinking approximately every 10 minutes throughout the conference . . . WOW.
TOS Liaison Coordinator
|TOS Stalwart: Miles Standish
Miles Standish was introduced to the Theosophical Society at age 9 by his mother, a member of the TS in St. Petersburg, Florida. He joined the Society in 1946 at age 20, shortly after finishing a Navy wartime ROTC program at Duke University.
Miles began teacher training at Duke in 1946, intent on teaching secondary school. After two years of teaching, Miles joined the Air Force for pilot training in 1949, heeding with the advice of a fellow teacher who commented, "After you retire from the Air Force, maybe you can afford to teach school."
Having been nurtured by At the Feet of the Master, Light on the Path and other theosophical classics, service has always been Miles' main interest.
Miles has served The Theosophical Society in various capacities at local levels, including President of the branches at Orlando and Atlanta, the Florida Federation and the Young Theosophists, USA (a long time ago, according to Miles). For several years Miles was Treasurer of Stil-Light Theosophical Retreat Center and is presently Treasurer of the Phoenix Study Center. He also served for some years on the TOS-USA Board of Directors and remains on the Board as an Honorary Member.
Happy 4th graders at Crystal Boarding School
In recent years, Miles has served Native Americans. In addition to sending winter blankets to the Rosebud Indian Reservation, he assisted the publisher of Sicangu Sun Times tribal newspaper to recover from computer and printer failure. Read the story here.
A member of the Verde Valley Computer Club, Miles refurbishes donated computers for people who can't afford one. In May 2012 he delivered five computers to the Crystal Boarding School on the Navajo Reservation near Gallup, NM, then delivered 15 more in December 2012.
|Miles thinks the most important book ever written for improving the health of our nation is The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD. Miles will give a copy to anyone who promises to read it, and he donated copies which were placed in guest rooms at TSA headquarters for the 2012 Summer National Conference. Miles wants everyone to know that, "practically all the major diseases of mankind can be avoided or eliminated by proper diet." Visit Miles at his personal website: www.lmstandish.net.
|Your online shopping = "free money" for the TOS!
|With about 5 minutes of easy effort, your online shopping can add up to significant donations to the work of the TOS. Over 1,300 merchants (including many favorites like Amazon.com and BestBuy.com) have agreed to donate a small percentage of your online purchase to the TOS. Over time, it adds up.
Here's how it works:
1) register at iGive.com, and select "Theosophical Order of Service" as your cause (it's registered with an address of Wake Forest, NC).
2) After you register, download the iGive.com button so your purchases will automatically count toward TOS donations without any further effort on your part. And that's about it, really. Sit back and watch your donations add up.
Giving doesn't get any easier than this!
|How Does Your Coffee Grow?
Does your coffee come from beans grown in the shade or the sun? Does it matter? Most of the $4 billion worth of coffee imported into the United States each year is grown in the sun under conditions that harshly punish both the environment and wildlife, especially migratory birds. Shade-grown coffee, on the other hand, comes from plantations that serve as a habitat for up to 200 species of birds, plus dozens of species of insects, amphibians, and plants.
Traditionally, coffee beans have been grown under a shading canopy of natural forest or planted shade trees in Mexico and South and Central America. Shade coffee plantations are a simplified but stable ecosystem, providing nesting and feeding habitat for wildlife, including endangered species. Shade plantations are good for wildlife, but are also good for the farmer. Because shade coffee plantations produce secondary crops such as bananas, plantains, oranges, grapefruits, and mangoes, they are a more sustainable way of farming and provide economic incentives by diversifying cash crops.
Coffee growing under shade canopy in Guatemala
In an attempt to gain higher-yielding coffee harvests, however, many plantations have cut down their trees to become "sun" coffee plantations. Once the trees are gone, so are many native and migratory species of songbirds. Soil erodes and biodiversity is decreased. Without the trees to provide natural mulch for fertilizer, pollution is increased due to the need for heavy use of fertilizer and pesticides.
You can help by buying organic shade-grown coffee at your local store. If you can't find it, ask your store to begin stocking shade-grown organic coffee. In the meantime, you can buy it online at one of these sources. Ask for shade-grown coffee at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop, but be prepared to answer questions. The Audubon Society offers a helpful primer as does the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
By insisting on organic shade-grown coffee, you'll not only be supporting biodiversity and migratory songbird species, you'll also enjoy the enhanced flavor that comes from coffee beans grown more slowly in the shade.
|Charter for Compassion
|TOS-USA has joined the International TOS and other TOS sections around the world in signing the CHARTER FOR COMPASSION. Signers of the Charter for Compassion encourage a world where everyone is committed to living by the principle of compassion (the Golden Rule, taken to the next level). Watch a short video (2:11) to see what it's all about.
The Compassionate Action Network International defines compassion as "the recognition that all beings are profoundly interconnected, such that the joys and sufferings of one are the joys and sufferings of all, with a corresponding commitment to appreciate and treat with respect all individuals as we ourselves would want to be treated--even and especially when we find it difficult to do so--and to alleviate suffering when and where we encounter it."
Compare that definition with the Theosophical Society's first object of brotherhood and the motto of the Theosophical Order of Service: "A union of those who love in the service of all that suffers."
You and your group can become part of the compassionate action movement by: 1) signing the Charter (individually, on behalf of a group, or both); 2) approach your local officials and ask them to join the effort by signing the Charter as a Compassionate City. Check to see if your city is involved yet; 3) visit and "like" the Charter's Facebook page so your friends will see the link to the Charter.
|What's your Happiness Quotient?
The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything. --Author unknown
Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. --Abraham Lincoln
"a union of those who love in the service of all that suffers"