From the archives of some theosophical e-mail lists.


Universal Seekers

Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2002 20:31:21 -0400
    From: Mauri 
 Subject: re "meditation"
 Katinka  wrote:  <<Well, about meditation - I just don't  know. All I do is, when my work gives me stress, I force myself to sit still for a half hour or so. This really helps.>> 
 As I tend to see it,  some Theosophists (for example?) might be interested in esoteric/experiential, essential reality.  And since exoterics (duality/maya)  might tend to be/appear  ("is"?) "very different and apparently irrelevant" (say, in a  sense?) from an "esoteric view" ("apparently," at least?---ie,  "irrelevant" aside from whatever back-ups---or "sense of  reality"---that exoterics might be perceived to provide?); and since esoterics/duality might seem so fundamentally different as to seem (possibly?)  "basically irrelevant" "as per" one's "sense of Essence/Beness," (even as that "sense" might be  "exoterically, tentatively  defined" . . .) what's the point of  getting waylaid (during onen's "meditation") by "USUAL distractions/thoughts" (where the quotes are meant to imply  that our "usual" thoughts are not, necessarily, all that "usual,"  except in as much as we see ourselves in some "usual" sense that binds us, "usually"). . .   
That is, couldln't we see towards cultivating some "sense of  essential relevance" (in whatever interpretive/individualistic sense), that, (while it may/might, admittedly, get side-tracked by various manasic notions/detours),  it might,"also" (?),  "tend to provide for" (if rather indirectly by way of whatever exoteric interpretive tendencies/influences) some kind of "more relevant foundation" "re" such as  "relevance,"  "t/Theosophic," "meditation,"  "monadic," "Monad" (by way of whatever interpretive/individualistic notions/detours?). . . .
So . . . 
That is, I'm trying to find words for some "sense of  meditation," say---aspects of which might extend to one's ''sense of Theosophy," say (as per one's "sense"---in whatever individualistic terms--- "about the essence of reality") that  might "provide for" a "mental/spritual" (and no matter how  "apparently exoteric") "basis" (in some sense?) that might be  "somewhat more condusive" towards some "more realistic"  (if still largely exoteric) kind of "meditation re Being/Reality/Essentiality."

Something like that, maybe . . . 

  Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 02:18:35 -0700 (PDT)
   From: Katinka Hesselink <>
Subject: Re: esoteric and exoteric - deep and shallow

Hi Mauri,

Being a Krishnamurti-person, I don't think that the canyon between esoteric and exoteric is all that big. Or maybe I  should put in the symily (spelling?) Besant often used: theosophy is like the see by the beach for some: undeep and easily tread, and deep like the ocean for others. How does one get from the beachwaters to the deep? By simple swimming. In my opinian meditation, observing thought, obtaining practical selfknowledge in any shape or form is part of that swimming or learning to swim. Once one can swim, all kinds of places of consciousness are accessible. 

My current thoughts are part of my ocean, are part of the ocean of life. They are my reality at this moment. I don't think it helps to push them away. I think this stuff should also be (or probably is) about seeing life right now as it is. Including thoughts, shallow or deep. 

I am not sure I understand your mail correctly (I never am with you) - and I think the above may not be all that clear either. To make a long story short: I think esoteric and exoteric are parts of one continuum: the shallow water is as much part of the ocean as the deep is. Even if the two can reasonably be called different worlds. To go from one to the other is a gradual proces in which it does not pay to ignore the present (the shallow waters with its lifeforms) just because in the deep there will be other lifeforms and experiences.


Message: 3
   Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 02:51:35 -0700 (PDT)
   From: Katinka Hesselink <>
Subject: ocean

Hi all,

Relevant to my recent seashore metaphores comes the following quote:

"There are treasures beyond compare in the ocean.  If you seek safety stay ashore."  Sufi saying.


Katinka Hesselink
-Those who observe, learn, a whole life long.
-Wie observeert, leert , een heel leven lang.

Message: 4
   Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 09:04:24 -0500
   From: "rodakjl" <>
Subject: Re: ocean

Katinka ~ Great website you referenced re: Quotes.  One I found on there that resonated with me was by Deepak Chapra and read as follows:  "Walk with those seeking Truth.  Run from those who think they've found it."  What this suggests to me is that we, each of us, has to find the  Truth for ourselves .. . whatever we come to trust the Truth of the matter to be.  Until later,
then.  Sat Nam.   jlr

Message: 5
   Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 17:36:19 -0000
   From: "majordork3" <majordork3@y...>
Subject: Re: re my "middle way" re exoteric/esoteric

Oh I get it!

Let's see if I've got this right. You were saying that there might be a helpful exoteric method. However, it is usually believed that only esoteric methods produce wisdom, I think you're saying. Since exoteric methods are dualistic, they are illusory and therefore can only produce further entrapment in illusion.

That's pretty cool. I think that in order for a method to work it must be based on reality. Illusion does not produce real results. I understand esoteric to mean "for the few" so I hesitate to call these methods esoteric. Some of them work for and are practiced by many. However, I think there are methods that are truly '"for the few." It is my goal to discover these methods and practice them if I can find the people to guide me. Or I'll just try to reinvent the wheel.

I have noticed that some truth is not for everybody and better left unsaid, although it might be quite useful.

By the way, I was kidding about the qualification. I know sometimes tone is hard to read in emails.

Message: 8
   Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 21:17:17 -0400
   From: Mauri <>
Subject: re "middle way" re exoteric/esoteric

Mauri wrote: <<<In my "correction" and "meditation" posts I had in mind  contrasts/differences that might be seen between such as "zen meditation" (which is about esoteric "just being," I think),  and whatever forms of meditation that might be seen as "more exoteric." >>>>

To which Gerald responded on Theos-1 (I quote with his permission):
<<Mauri, there are indeed stages of meditation, ranging from the most exoteric up to the most esoteric (probably Dzogchen or Mahamudra). In exoteric  meditation one sits quitely, worries over posture and breaths, and  concentrates on a single object - first an outer object and then an inner  mental object. Then one meditates "more esoterically" and concentrates without  an object, which is to say one simply looks into one's own mind. Finally,  esoteric meditation is "non-meditation" or "meditation without meditating" where one can observe emptiness directly while going about one's  daily life.   Only high Adepts can do the latter.>> 
 <<<I thought that maybe if I qualified, explained a little more, then I might  get across something about my concern about how people (even Theosophists!)  seem to think about "esoteric/exoteric" (whether in connection with  meditation, or whatever), in that, as I see it,  there seems to be an  overwhelming tendency among people in general to convert EVERYTHING (even the  essential  goal of meditation, I suspect, in many cases) into "understandable"/exoteric/dualistic terms, regardless of whether a key part of  that everything might be better off seen as truly esoteric (ie, that which can  ONLY be experienced, and that which cannot be translated into  exoteric/dualistic,"understandable terms") . . .>>>
from Gerald: << Most Theosophists equate meditation with Patanjali or Raja Yoga, which is  exoteric in the sense that it uses objects, postures, breathings,   concentrations, and other devices. It is, however, a good place to start. It  helps to control manas, to direct it via the will. But it does not help us  transcend manas. For that we need a more esoteric type of meditation. > > 

from Mauri: <<<so to say that <<<there might be an exoteric form of meditation that produces esoteric insight?>> might (?) tend to be interpreted, by some, (even   though, obviously enough, that's just a question), that exoterics are, or can   be, "in some sense," "less mayavic" than some say . . Of course any more  specific interpretation of << there might be an exoteric form of meditation   that produces esoteric insight?>> would hinge on what is meant by such as   exoteric form," meditation,"  "exoteric insight.">>>

G:   We have to define terms. A "more esoteric form of meditation" is, IMHO, one  that allows us to transcend manas.
M:<<<Seeing as there are Theosophists who have various ways of > interpreting/defining certain key concepts relating to Theosophy (as per such  as esoteric, exoteric, maya, monad, Monad, eclectic freedom, literalism), I  keep wondering if maybe there's some kind of "exoteric-enough middle way,"  say, that might at least be "somewhat helpful," even if it might be precarious  and/or too misleading at the same time.  But I'm beginning to think that such inventive "middle ways" might only lead to more and more "exoteric   preferences," really.>>>
G: As long as meditation leaves us in manas, we reify and personify, because that  is what manas does. Using Parabrahman as a meditational object, for example,   can lead to reifying Parabrahman. It can, and does, lead Theosophists into   reifying atma-buddhi as a "permanent Self" or "eternal pilgrim" when it is not (it is only relatively permanent). My saying "atma-buddhi is not permanent"   does nothing at all to those who have not experienced it, have not yet  transcended manas, and who are using a literal intepretation of Blavatsky to  support their worldview. The attachment to manas is so strong, especially here in the 5th Root Race, that it is hard to allow it to be transcended. >>>

Timorthy wrote:  <<Let's see if I've got this right. You were saying that there might be a helpful exoteric method.>>

I'm speculating (even "saying," I suspect) that "helpful exoteric methods" are all, to begin with, dualistic (and, therefore, mayavic), and that the nature of the "helpfulness" can only, at best, revolve around in relative/comparative manasic terms that are (to boot) karmically influenced, so 
. . . 
whereas "esoteric reality" on the experiential level (as per HPB's "Beness," for example) isn't related to, or dependent on, duality, maya, karma, and is not (of course) conceivable in exoteric terms.

T: <<However, it is usually believed that only esoteric methods produce wisdom, I think you're saying.>>
There seem to be various definitions out there about what is meant, in what sense, by "esoteric methods" and "wisdom." I suppose some things might SEEM "more esoteric" in exoteric/comparative terms, (after all, what other kinds of terms are there, other than bottom-line exoteric, in a karmic/dualistic/manasic setting? Huh?). 

But if Theosophists were to define "esoteric" as at least primarily that (whatever) that's experiential (as opposed to theoretical, literary): whether that experiential might be lawn mowing, tennis playing, art appreciation, actual mystical experiencing, etc) and if Theosophists (particularly?) at least clarified about the kind of "esoteric" that they're 
referring to, whether the word is used in some dualistic/exoteric sense, or in reference to that which can only be experienced, then maybe there might be somewhat less confusion out there . . 

(Thanks, Gerald, for that idea!)

T: <<Since exoteric methods are dualistic, they are illusory and therefore can onloy produce further entrapment in illusion.>>

"Only produce further entrapment"?  What if there are "exoteric methods" that are, say, inspirational re whatever that might be seen as "more esoteric" in some comparative/exoteric sense  . . . After all (?), "even" the SD is, basically, exoteric, (in the sense of being an exoteric version), so interpretation (of the "more esoteric kind"?) might be in order (leading some Theosohists, apparently, to "more exoterics," but?) . . . Seems that when experiential reality is "translated" into words, such a reality then becomes exoteric; and so, in the case of the SD, (which is bottom-line Beness referencing in exoteric terms?), those words can be (optionally?) followed literally, or used as  clues to a reality that doesn't hinge on them at all.


Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2002 19:57:43 -0000
   From: "majordork3" <majordork3@y..>
Subject: Re: re "middle way" re exoteric/esoteric

I guess my question is this: Can you arrive at the esoteric without a method?

If so how? (other than being born enlightened, which I guess is possible)

If not what methods do you prefer, if any?

Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2002 22:02:23 -0700
   From: "wry" <wry1111@y..>
Subject: Esoteric Meditation

To give a different point of view on this subject, from my own background and experience: I have studied with Tibetan lamas for many years and am still attending teachings to this day. Though I have taken Buddhist vows, I am an eclectic Buddhist, as I have never had an inclination to chant or practice rituals (even without the K influence, I doubt I would do so).  I have had much hard-core, reality based spiritual training for the thirty years before I took many Tibetan teachings and initiations, and because of this training, I have been fortunate to approach Buddhism with a keen ability to decipher the inner meaning of teaching stories, rituals, mantras and even the body movements of teachers and get to the core.  For each of us there is the little world of our own body, and a bigger world, the universe, or more accurately, the perceptual field.  All esoteric teaching is about incorporating or digesting incoming material in such a way that there is nothing left over, though it is true that in the same way we cannot eat the shell of a nut, or the chaff of the grain, sometimes certain material needs to be discarded. The end result of this process could perhaps be looked at not so much as (conscious) being, as has been suggested, but as conscious doing. In order to do consciously, it would be necessary to be highly specific, as every action would presumably need to be fine-tuned to the unique and ever changing circumstances of each situation. Though the exoteric is of the exoteric and the esoteric is of the esoteric, the key to the esoteric is actually the bridge between the esoteric and the exoteric. In Mahayana Buddhism this is perhaps what is referred to as the middle way, but this is usually only spoken of allegorically, as though the esoteric is of the esoteric, it is within the exoteric, and this is hard to conceive of intellectually, and easier to grasp by the use of symbols, such as speaking of the nut within the shell. When we speak of the squirrels gathering nuts for the winter, we know what that means, but in literal reality we are dealing with physical material such as light, food and air and its intake into the body. There is a kind of meditation that is both highly specific and also esoteric. It is called Guru or Deity Yoga, and it involves meditation upon a deity and the exchange of specific substances (materials) with this deity of ones preference who is understood to be a deliberate device that is a constructed from the imagination. This practice is highly secret and guarded, and one cannot begin to understand it without taking tantric teaching. But even if the average spiritual seeker is lucky enough to receive certain tantric initiations and explanatory teachings, he still may not understand, as even in these initiations and teachings, the nutmeat is encoded through ritual and story into allegory. Indeed he will most likely take what is intended to be symbolic literally and turn it into dogma. To receive true esoteric teachings of any kind would be extremely rare. It is far more rare than most people can conceive of or realize, and it is only for a few. And yet it is also for the many, and herein is a great enigma to be pondered, for without the exoteric there can be no esoteric. To realize my situation of being on the outside is sad, but perhaps feeling this sadness consciously is the beginning of letting go of some material I do not need to retain any longer. If I can find my own words, be sincere and try to communicate, not just for the sake of myself, but also for the sake of my brother, maybe help will come to me, as sincere people, attempting to communicate for the sake of each other,  will surely create a certain atmosphere and this may attract certain influences. To conclude, in order to participate in such a way that I may partake of esoteric teaching, I must be prepared to ultimately pay out every last farthing, as without a complete surrender, there is not complete conversion.. This means I need to become naked in my mind, and like a little child. without knowledge of the past. There are many references to this kind of poverty, in the New  Testament and also in Buddhist teachings. What is the practice, if any, that will bring me to the entrance of the cosmic ocean?  Though I have spent 33 years of my life deeply interested in Krishnamurti, I personally am a firm believer in practice, as long as that practice is intelligent and will lead to the desired result. Every creature needs to practice in some way or other. We as humans are in a unique situation because our memory function is open ended. We can get into a psychological box because of this, but perhaps there is a way out. I personally believe observation to be the key. In the beginning it was natural to be attentive, but that function degraded. All esoteric practice, as I understand it, needs to be generated from an impartial field. "I" do not take a part of "myself" and base a practice upon it, but rather I start with an impartial field. When the field is impartial, the observation is impartial. There is a choice to observe  #1: the trees and people #2. myself, or #3: the trees and people AND myself. This is an interesting pallet of possibility, but if something that has no opinion records myself as I am, out of an impartial field, this effectively connects the macrocosmos (an impartial field) and the microcosmos (my body) in such a way that no attention is lost or degraded. However, a field cannot observe, but a point can. This impartial observation from one little point creates a material net, between the point which is recording the physical body, from outside, as an object, and the larger perceptual field. This net could even be looked at as a MAGnet. Wry