The Approach of Zen Theosophy
There is no spiritual hero worship in Zen Theosophy.
There are no perfect teachers, neither gurus, Masters, or by any other name.
Every teacher is only a fallible guide, and every teaching only a guideline to be critically evaluated from our own experience. The Buddha's exhortation 2500 years ago to the Kalamas to do exactly this— and to not blindly accept authorities or dogmas— is the first of Zen Theosophy's foundation principles. As final conclusions stop thought, rigid clinging to certainty stops inquiry. ZT discourages blind faith and encourages doubt— doubting the deepest doubts. For is it not the ability to doubt that separates human from artificial intelligence. No robot will ever create meaningful philosophy.
ZT looks to develop a synthesis of helpful concepts from all global traditions. Like the most skeptical of scientists, it holds nothing sacred except the course of social compassion.
ZT believes that spiritual ideas evolve with new investigations just as science does. Even timeless ancient ideas may benefit from being restated in modern terms.
There need be no contradiction between science and spiritual inquiry. To the contrary, some of science's latest concepts, such as the 'superposition' of a particle to explain the wave-particle duality paradox in quantum mechanics, helps us to better understand the ancient concept of Atma in Yoga-Vedanta. If you are geek enough to want more on this, click here.
ZT does not consist of doctrines alone, but includes a process for evaluating spiritual, psychological and philosophical propositions. But before we can understand The Big Questions— Why is all this here? Is there a meaning to life? Is there a purpose to all this, or is it merely the result of particles colliding a few trillion years ago? Why is this happening to me? Is there a God? Do we have a soul? Do we need to cultivate our own soul?— we must understand ourselves.
ZT teaches that there is a direct correspondence between what happens within us (the microcosm) and what happens in the world outside (the macrocosm). This process begins by developing discriminative wisdom: how to tell the significant from the superficial in ourselves, our immediate surroundings and the world. Once we have improved ourselves, we can better improve our world.
The psychology of ZT teaches that one of the primary illusions is the feeling of ourselves as one. But in fact, we are a blend of consciousnesses. One level, our subconscious mind, is always awake, we are simply not aware of it. When we drive home from a friend's, for example, we are totally preoccupied with planning our next day at work — then suddenly we are home. We don't remember the process of driving. The driving was done by the subconscious mind.
From the example above, we can easily see two consciousnesses, a conscious and a subconscious, blended into one.
Consider the example of a person hypnotized who has been given a post-hypnotic suggestion to tie his shoes when the hypnotist says the word 'green’ after he has awakened. The subject comes out of the trance, hears the trigger word and, completely bewildered, finds himself kneeling to tie his shoes.
Here again we see two consciousnesses: one put to sleep, one kept awake.
The subconscious mind has many levels. The level identified here can be very helpful, but it is easily controlled by outside suggestibility. Hence easily manipulated by advertising, social influences and the like.
The subconscious is the source of unnecessary stress, anxiety, misunderstandings in personal relationships, false feelings of inadequacy, our false ego and much more. ZT offers a method to help us understand the subconscious, and meditation practices to help us control its troublesome irrational aspects and break free from unconscious conditioning.
In a way, we can think of meditation as the opposite of hypnosis. In meditation, we want to strengthen our conscious mind and detach from the subconscious mind thus lessening its unconscious, automatic power over our being.