The Theosophical Society in America

Viewpoint: Change and Growth

 Originally printed in the September - October 2002 issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Bland, Betty. "Change and Growth." Quest  90.5 (SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2002): 162.

By Betty Bland, National President

Betty BlandIT HAS BEEN SAID that the only two things one can count on are death and taxes, but I would say that the two inevitable occurrences are change and growth.

When we consider the fundamental principles for understanding our universe that Madame Blavatsky gave to us in The Secret Doctrine, the unitive principle is always the first one mentioned. There is one immutable, all-encompassing, all-pervading principle, within which all of manifestation has its being. This principle is the cornerstone of the Society’s first Object—that of forming a nucleus of the human brotherhood without distinctions.

Unity, however, does not mean homogeneity. Following closely on the heels of the oneness principle, the second fundamental principle is cyclicity, that is, fluctuation or ebb and flow. This second principle underlying our universe implies differentiation, differences in manifestation, and a certain tension within the system that keeps all of creation in constant motion. Change is inevitable; it is the nature of the universe.

The third fundamental principle, that of a pilgrimage for each individual, implies outgoing or seeming separation from the one and the consequent need for us to progress on a return journey. All the force of evolution is driving us forward; yet until we begin a conscious cooperation with it, our progress is slow and unintelligible.

In harmony with these principles, our predecessors wisely established term limits for the officers of the Theosophical Society in America. By building change into the system, we can have orderly growth with fresh ideas building upon the foundation previously laid. Without this mandate, we might complacently allow ourselves to become static until the inevitable crisis would catapult us into creative chaos as a precursor to growth.

We may understand this very well, but we are creatures of comfort and habit. When things are going well, we don’t want to embrace change. Yet time ripens all things until it is indeed time to break free from a former skin in order to let new growth begin.

John Algeo has served us extremely well as President of the American Section these last nine years, bringing a high degree of professionalism to our classes and publications. John is a master of words, in his professional life, in his work for the Society, and in his puns at the dinner table. There have been many instances in which his words expressed what many of us felt, but could not quite define. We all thank him for that clarity and inspiration, and for his tireless service.

In his new life in Athens, Georgia, and as international Vice President, he will continue to provide a legacy for many who will follow after, who will find insight and encouragement through his wisdom as well as in his written words and research into Theosophy, its history and its contemporary applications. He and Adele will be continuing their important work along those lines.

Change and growth are certainly more appealing than death and taxes, but still they can be painful. We are sorry to say farewell to John and Adele here at Olcott, and wish them Godspeed. Meanwhile, I will find comfort in the ultimate outcome of growth as I work with you to build on the foundations so lovingly laid down by all of our predecessors. Let us turn to the new day with vision and enthusiasm. The new cycle begins.