One word has dominated my life and that word has been – WHY? I must have been a very irritating child! However, when I went to school, I quickly learnt to bottle up most ‘whys’ not only for the sake of my fellow students but for the teachers who were quite convinced for a time that by staying after school and doing extra work, all my ‘whys’ would be answered! They were not of course: in fact, more ‘whys’ came, and less were answered.

Picture the battle-front in France during World-War I, Christmas Day, in 1914. British, French, Australian, and New Zealand troops in their trenches here, and German troops in their trenches there. For days, weeks, and months before, they had been shelling, shooting, and bayonetting each other to death in their thousands. Midday Christmas day a bugle sounds. Both sets of soldiers come out of their trenches, exchange cigarettes, drinks and food, and even play football with one another. A bugle sounds again after a couple of hours – back to the trenches and on with the battle – WHY?

Let’s look at it from another angle. Are there injustices in life? There certainly seem to be plenty. The Bible tells us that man has but three score and ten years on this Earth. Life expectancy these days in Australia is around 85years for women and 80 for men, so this is our allotted space to get it all together, do good works, and get into Heaven. Is it tough luck if you find yourself born in an African country where a life expectancy of 35 years or lower is normal? WHY?

Tidal waves in Japan, earthquakes in New Zealand, tornadoes in North America, floods in India – how can we reconcile the terrible injustices in life with an ‘All-Loving God’? We cannot if we limit the experience of the soul to one short span of 80 or so years, or much less for most people in the world today. Let me share with you some of the basic ideas of Theosophy which have had a profound impact on the answers I have been searching for over many years.

The most fundamental theosophical idea is that Universal Brotherhood is a fact in nature. Our thoughts and feelings have a great impact on others and living in harmony as best we can benefits not only those around us but Mankind as a whole.

Reincarnation and Karma are perhaps the most widely known ideas that have been popularized by modern Theosophy. Reincarnation and Karma are the keys to help explain each person’s character and circumstances by tracing them to thoughts and actions in this and past lives. The events and circumstances we meet are a response to our earlier choices and way of life, and in this way we evolve by our own efforts over a long series of lives.

All of us have evolved to this point in our lives by our own thoughts and actions – though some have not, sadly, evolved as far as others. Looking at the current wars and unrest around the world, at drug lords and those who consume their products, we may feel sobered. Yet we are never in a position to judge the inner worth or progress of another. One day, however long it takes, and whatever generation may then be on the Earth, all of us will be winners – people who ‘think’, and in whom good thinking leads to a change in themselves towards a spiritual direction.

Every person is in charge of his destiny if he chooses to exercise his divine capacity for thought and morally-directed action. As Jean-Paul Satre said some seventy years ago:

“My thought is ME – that is why I cannot stop. I exist by what I think – and I can’t prevent myself from thinking.”

There comes a point when we all come up against what HPB refers to in The Secret Doctrine as the First Proposition (of the Secret Doctrine):

“And in our thought, we are confronted by the Boundless, Infinite space, ceaseless motion, unending time. The Boundless – that Unknown and Unknowable principle from within the bosom of which over the passage of infinite time, universes, galaxies, suns appear and disappear like twinkling lights against the background of infinite time.”

However, I can think about this and still ask myself – WHY? That is what makes me a human being and I will always be asking – WHY? – for the rest of my life. As Goethe wrote:

“Everything worth thinking has already been thought, our concern must only be to try to think it through again.”

Happy thinking!