Dharma Message for 3Q12

meerabai  I take the path that ecstatic human beings have taken for centuries

Why Mira Can’t Come Back to Her Old House

The colors of the Dark One have penetrated Mira’s
      body; all the other colors washed out.
Making love with the Dark One and eating little,
      those are my pearls and my carnelians.
Meditation beads and the forehead streak,
      these are my scarves and my rings.
That’s enough feminine wiles for me.
      My teacher taught me this.
Approve me or disapprove me: I praise
      the Mountain Energy night and day.
I take the path that ecstatic human beings
      have taken for centuries.
I don’t steal money, I don’t hit anyone.
      What will you charge me with?
I have felt the swaying of the elephant’s shoulders;
      and now you want me to climb
      on a jackass? Try to be serious.

— Mirabai, Translated by Robert Bly in Kabir: Ecstatic Poems

Radical Hospitality

Jan Black, SFTS Lodge, July 2012

SFTS Friday Night Conversations in Theosophy 2012-07-27 On July 27, 2012, Jan Black led a conversation on meeting life’s challenges, based both on her own real-world experiences and on readings from Radical Hospitality: A Benedict’s Way of Love by Lonni Collins Pratt, a Catholic laywoman, and Daniel Homan, a Benedictine monk.

Listen …

Mythology and Fairy Tales

Victor MacGill, SFTS Lodge, July 2012

Victor_MacGill_July_2012 On July 20, 2012, Victor MacGill, a visitor from Australia and New Zealand, delivered a presentation on fairy tales and myths, in which he explored some ways that archetypes (e.g., King, Warrior, Magician, Lover) influence our psychological and spiritual development.

Listen …

More Scientific Progress Towards a Glimmer of a Hint about Consciousness

SFTS Lodge Fellow (and University of San Francisco Professor) Jeff Curtis

Jeff Curtis, June 8, 2012

We are, indeed, grateful that the Third Avowed Object, “To explore the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in …” is alive and well in City of the Golden Gate.

In this 6/8/12 talk titled “More Scientific Progress Towards a Glimmer of a Hint about Consciousness,” Jeff Curtis picks up where he left off in his 4/20/12 presentation: Report on “Toward A Science of Consciousness 2012” 

Listen …

Some Related Posts

Report on “Toward A Science of Consciousness 2012”

Dr. Jeff Curtis: Measurement, Meaning and Mind (11-11-11)

Jack Sarfatti on Our Once and Future Holographic Universe (SFTS Lodge, 7/30/10)

Celebrating the Third Avowed Object – Jeff Curtis Reports on Tuscon 2010 Consciousness Conference

Dr. Jeff Curtis: More Developments in Quantum Theory & the Nature of Consciousness (1-29-10)

The Tale of A Personal Journey, and An introduction to the Swedenborgian Church

The title page of William Blake’s Jerusalem (1819).
William Blake's Jerusalem

On May 18, 2012, as part of the SFTS Lodge’s outreach to other, deeply-rooted spiritual centers in San Francisco, Rev. Junchol Lee, Senior Pastor of the San Francisco Swedenborgian Church, visited and shared the powerful story of his personal spiritual quest from his life as a six year old boy in Korea to the man who sat with us that evening.

In the course of his talk, Lee also delivered a brilliant introduction to the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg.

Philosopher, scientist, inventor and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg exercised a profound influence on many thinkers and artists from the great playwrite August Strindberg to great psychologist Carl Jung. But perhaps the most profoundly influenced of all was the great poet William Blake. According to Mark Schorer in “Swedenborg and Blake” (Modern Philology 36, 1938), Swedenborg was “foundation for this grand thing, for Blake’s concept of Jerusalem exists only because Swedenborg’s New Jerusalem existed first.”

Here is an audio recording of Rev. Lee’s powerful witnessing –

Intriguing Intersections of Theosophical and Bahá’í History and Beliefs

Bahai_visit_May_2012.2 Members of the S.F. Bahá’í community sharing their rich spiritual tradition with the SFTS Lodge, May 2012

On May 4th, 2012, we were honored to welcome three representatives of the Bahá’í Center of San Francisco.

In their presentation, Charlene and Steve Magzhi, together with Anthony Hogan, not only eloquently articulated the principles of the Bahá’í, they beautiful manifested its heartfelt essence.

In the course of this poignant conversation, we celebrated both a mutual dedication to the universal power of love and a shared history of synergy stretching back over a century.

Charlene, Steve and Anthony brought with them several treasures from the San Francisco Bahá’í Center’s archives, including the W.J. Walters’ introductory remarks to a talk given by ‘Abdu’l-Baha at the San Francisco Lodge (October 1912), a letter from ‘Abdu’l-Baha to the Secretary of the Theosophical Society and the Editor of Scotland Theosophy, the text of a tablet praising Theosophical Society president Annie Besant, and the text of a discourse “upon the distinctive notes of Bahá’í teaching” that ‘Abdu’l-Baha delivered at Theosophical Headquarters (September 30th, 1911).

Here are a few brief excerpts from just two of the powerful documents.

From the text of a tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Baha praising Theosophical Society president Annie Besant:

“The ideal of Mrs. Besant, I say truly is very lofty. She is working and laboring most valiantly, and her utmost hope is to render a service to the world of humanity, and to be the means of the establishment of good-fellowship and love between all of the communities of the earth. At all times I am praying in her behalf … Consider how many important women have come into this world! How many queens have lied upon this earth! How many distinguished ladies have become the presidents of societies! But neither have their names nor any great account of their deeds been left behind! Yet Mary Magdalene, who was only a peasant woman — because she became inspired to serve the Kingdom of Christ and to scatter his seeds in productive ground — what a great crop she gathered!”

From the text of a discourse “upon the distinctive notes of Bahá’í teaching” that ‘Abdu’l-Baha delivered at Theosophical Headquarters (September 30th, 1911):

“Firstly: [Baha’u’llah] lays stress on the search for the Truth. This is most important, because the people are too easily led by tradition. It is because of this that they are often antagonistic toward each other, and dispute with one another. But the manifesting of Truth discovers the darkness and becomes the cause of Oneness of faith and belief: because Truth cannotbe two! That is not possible. Secondly: Baha’u’llah taught the Oneness of humanity; that is to say, all the children of men are under the mercy of the Great God. They are the sons of one God; they are trained by God … Therefore all nations and peoples must consider themselves brethren. They are all descendants from adam. They are branches, leaves, flowers and fruits on One Tree. They are pearls from one shell … Seventhly: The arrangements of the circumstances of the people must be such that poverty will disappear, and that every one as far as possible, according to his position and rank, shall be comfortable. Whilst the nobles and others in high rank are in easy circumstances, the poor also should be able to get their daily food and not be brought to the extremities of hunger. Eightly: Baha’u’llah declared the coming of the Most Great Peace. All the nations and peoples will come under the shadow of the Tent of the Great Peace and Harmony — that is to say, by general election a Great Board of Arbitration shall be established, to settle all differences and quarrels between the Powers; so that dispute shall not end in war.”

Dharma Message for 2Q12

sfts_gallery_0304 “Ignorance, the shadow, is the only obstacle …”

“Ignorance, the shadow, is the only obstacle that stands in the way of everyone in this room being fully realized right at this moment. Now, the first awareness might come to you in a moment when you are terribly frightened … Did you ever notice how clear everything becomes? You see all the details, just like that, because you have stopped this peripheral thinking and you have referred to the higher mind and consciousness, to that super-subtle state known as Buddhi. Now, that is right next door to Atma. If you have touched the Buddhi, or universal aspect, you are right next to touching Atma.”

— Joe Miller, Great Song, p. 111

Report on Toward a Science of Consciousness 2012

Jeff_Curtis_April_2012 SFTS Lodge fellow (and University of San Francisco Professor) Jeff Curtis represents us at the annual Toward A Science of Consciousness conference (Phoenix, Az) and then reports back on the latest developments.

Indeed, the Third Avowed Object, “To explore the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in …” is alive and well in City of the Golden Gate.

Here is an audio recording of Jeff’s report on this year’s event.

And here’s link to his 2011 report.

Celebrating the Third Avowed Object – Jeff Curtis Reports on Tuscon 2010 Consciousness Conference

Conversations in Theosophy

Mary_Kamadulski_April_2012 Mary Kamadulski, SFTS fellow, opened up the conversation by acknowledging the enery it takes for each of us, all of us, to come together, and expressed gratitude. Mary remarked that we are all polishing each other’s understanding by participating (or not), and explained than any topic (other than politics) is welcome … She passed out printed copies of powerful sacred images, from nature, from architecture, from science and from art, ranging from Georgia O’Keefe painting to a Hubble telescope photograph, and from the various versions of OM to the structures of the Anasazi. She also passed a book of Ancient Egyptian Art around the circle … Mary quoted Chuang-Tzu in asking the open question, “What is meant by the harmonizing of conflicting views in the invisible operation of Heaven?” (Adapted from the Lodge Secretary’s Minutes)

Here is an audio recording of this inspiring conversation –

What’s A Bodhi Tree?


Chris Black, SFTS fellow (and long-time Zen practitioner) led a conversation centered on two texts, the Autobiography of Hui-Neng, the Sixth Patriarch, and the Hsing Hsing Ming. Chris led off by telling the remarkable story of how Hui-Neng came to be the Sixth Patriarch. Chris spoke about Samadhi and Prajna, using an analogy from Hui-Neng, saying that the two were like the light and the latern, but he didn’t know which was which. He also spoke about the so-called Sudden and Gradual Schools. Meaning some people get “there” faster than others, but when “it” finally happens, “it” is all called grace. If enlightenment is an accident, you can practice to become accident-prone. Chris then passed out copies of the Hsing Hsing Ming, and each person in the circle took turns reading a few lines from the short masterpiece, with discussion of the meaning of the text interspersed. (Adapted from the Lodge Secretary’s Minutes)

Here is an audio recording of this delightful hour –