I'm not sure if this has already been linked to here, but Vinstonas Wu has written a piece called Debunking the Law of Attraction and "Thoughts Create Reality" Concept. The contents of the article are
Common sense and ordinary examples that logically refute this teaching
Beware: Whatever you expect to happen, will happen! And whatever you fear will manifest! Or will it?
Whatever you think of yourself will be what others think of you - Yeah right!
Example of circular reasoning by its adherents
The ultimate experiment for Wayne Dyer and his fans that would prove him wrong
The teaching fosters a victim-blaming mentality and unjust persecution of the innocent
Can thoughts influence or affect reality? What does science say?
Appendix: List of questions for those who believe that "thoughts create reality"
H.P.B. was exposed to Masonry via relatives and friends in her formative years, and later many of her associates were Masons. Among them were some, including Col. Olcott who helped in the founding of the Theosophical Society and became its first President,. At the time of the founding of the Society, however, there had been no public exposition of Theosophy. Later there were intimations of it in Isis Unveiled and in many of H.P.B.'s early writings. The great comprehensive teaching only came out in The Secret Doctrine published in 1888.
The significance of this in the matter of Masonry vis-à-vis Theosophy is that with the publication of the Theosophical teachings some hitherto closely guarded occult secrets were made public for the first time.
Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest secular fraternal societies. It is a world-wide organisation based on the principle of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man. It is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by series of ritual which follow ancient forms and use stone masons' customs and tools and allegorical guides. It seeks to make good men better and there by make the world a better place in which to live.
Freemasonry has been in existence in the present form for nearly 280 years in the world and for over 250 years in India,
Indian Order of Freemasons
The Indian Order of Freemasons has, as its head, its Grand Master, who is elected for a term of three years. M.W. Bro. Maj. Gen. Dr. Sir Syed Raza Ali Khan, the Nawab of Rampur, was the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India: The present Grand Master who-is 14th on the line since the time the Grand Lodge of India was formed is M.W.Bro. Capt. Dr. Balaram Biswakumar, O.S.M. Some of the prominent Indians who have been Freemasons are Swami Vivekananda, Shri C. Rajagopalachari, Shri Moti Lal Nehru, Shri Fakhuridin Ali Ahmed, as also several serving and retired judges of Supreme Court and High Courts, serving and retired Defence Personnel and Civilian Officers besides many Industrialists, Business men, Business Executives and other Professionals.
In 1717 A.D. when an era of comparative peace and harmony dawned on the European scene, the Grand Lodge of England took shape at a meeting of the local Lodges of London, to elect a Grand Master. A United constitution was drawn up and recognized by all the Lodges. A democratic tradition in the election of the Worshipful Master of a Lodge was prescribed. The Worshipful Master was authorized to appoint his team of officers.
It is therefore of interest that within 12 years of the constitution of the Grand Lodge of England, constituted for the purpose of exercising supervision over the lodges in London, and its neighboring areas, a petition was sent by a few Brethren in India to constitute a Provincial Grand Lodge in Calcutta. The Petition having been granted, a Provincial Grand Master was appointed to supervise Masonic activity in India and the Far East in 1728 A.D.
Full details regarding how the First Lodge was constituted in India, are preserved in the Minutes of the Grand Lodge in London. First a petition was presented on December 28, 1728 and at the end of the minutes of that meeting, the text of the "Deputation" from the Grand Master: "to Empower and Authorize our well beloved Brother Pomfret....that he do, in our place and stead, constitute a regular Lodge, in due form at Fort William in Bengal in the East Indies...." This was signed and sealed "the 6th day of February 1728/9 and in the year of Masonry 5732 (which shows that Grand Lodge used Usher's Chronology in dating the Masonic era - as the Grand Lodge of Scotland still .
The Lodge at Fort William -- that is, Calcutta -- appears in the Engraved List of 1730, as No. 72. It was to meet at Fort William in Calcutta. The coat of Arms was adopted from the East India Company a golden lion, rampant guardant, supporting between the forepaws a regal crown. In 1729, Captain Ralph Farwinter was appointed "Provisional Grand Master for East India in Bengal" and also James Dawson as "Provincial Grand Master" for East Indies.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Madras was formed in 1752 and The Provincial Grand Lodge of Bombay was created in 1758. Although it appeared in the Roll of Grand Lodge there is no record of how it came into being.
The first Indian Mason was Omdat-ul-Omrah, Nawab Carnatic initiated in 1775. The doors to Hindu Masonry was flung wide-open might one say, by the unstoppable determination of one Mr. P.C. Dutt of Calcutta to become a member of the craft. After much opposition from the Provincial Grand Master (Hugh Sanderman) and nine years after he was proposed for initiation Mr.Dutt became Bro. Dutt in Anchor and Hope, No. 234, in 1872. Twenty-three years later, he was Deputy District Grand Master.
Ramana was the son of a brahman (a member of the Hindu priestly caste) who worked as a lawyer at Tiruchuzi, a village in the Tamil sector of South India. His real name was Venkataraman Iyer. While still a teenager, in 1896 he underwent an “awakening” experience. The current Wikipedia article on the subject describes this event in terms of “liberation” (meaning moksha).
“Later followers subsequently rationalised this event as a sadhana [spiritual discipline] which lasted half an hour and was completed on the spot. They wanted to believe that he had gained the ultimate realisation known as sahaja samadhi in this brief period of awakening, though he himself did not say that” (Shepherd, Some Philosophical Critiques and Appraisals, 2004, p. 153).
Ramana retrospectively referred to his “absorption in the Self [atman].” There is the complexity that he also described his “awakening” in terms of possession, apparently his early reaction to the experience, and relayed to his first biographer B. V. Narasimhaswami (David Godman, Life and Teaching).
The “awakening” occurred at Madurai, where Ramana was in the habit of visiting the Meenakshi temple, associated with Shiva-bhakti and the sixty-three Shaiva Tamil saints of the nayanmar tradition. He had read a book (the Periya Puranam) on those saints which inspired him. In his later life, he acknowledged the significance of bhakti (love, aspiration), which is something quite different to the Advaita doctrines. Indeed, his own report states of his continuing visits to the Meenakshi temple (after his awakening) that he would sometimes pray for the descent of divine grace “so that my devotion [bhakti] might increase and become perpetual like that of the sixty-three saints” (Arthur Osborne, Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, London: Rider, 1954, p. 23).
In 1896 he left home and school, journeying to the town of Tiruvannamalai, there staying in temple precincts and subject to an indrawn state. He eventually settled at nearby Arunachala Hill, strongly associated with the deity Shiva. His “pre-ashram” sojourn in caves on that hill was lengthy, dating from 1898 to 1922.
The basic feature of that early period is one of acute introspection. He was no longer a brahman, having jettisoned the sacred thread that signified caste status. He was now an ascetic sadhu and wore a loin-cloth, not the ochre robe of Vedantic renunciates. Ramana was not an official Vedantin or sannyasin. Devoted attendants saw to his simple needs and protected him from intrusions, diverting unwanted sightseers who thronged the pilgrim locale of Arunachala. At first, his introspection was so acute that food had to be pressed into his mouth in order to keep him alive. Afterwards, he is reported to have accepted only a single cup of food daily, and he was accordingly emaciated.
Ramana required an attendant for survival purposes, and for years (until circa 1906) would not speak to visitors. He is reported to have lost his ability to speak normally until that juncture. A different kind of problem was jealous sadhus, local holy men who resented his increasing fame.
A visiting group of sadhus expressed the extremist belief that their own distant sacred hill was home to a rishi who had been practising austerities for thousands of years, and who had told them to abduct Ramana for initiation, after dramatically preparing him for the attainment of occult powers or siddhis. “Whether hemp addicts or alcoholics (or both), they evidently entertained some of the more fantastic and predatory ideas associated with Tantric Yoga” (Shepherd, op. cit., p. 155). Ramana is reported to have made no response to these visitors; he never expressed esteem for siddhis, which are an unhealthy preoccupation.
The concession to public spotlight was accompanied by some unusual characteristics. Ramana retained a very simple lifestyle. He did not refuse visitors, though he could seem indifferent in company, and his statements tended to brevity; he seems to have modified his jnani emphases if he considered that the audience was uncomprehending. He did not fit the customary ideas and expectations about holy men. He was notably averse to giving initiations, which were an accepted part of the popular Hindu spirituality.
Furthermore, Ramana was often requested by admirers for permission to adopt the life of renunciation. Yet he generally opposed this desire, a persistent trait which caused puzzlement. According to him, the effort needed was internal, and nothing to do with the formal vow of sannyas (renunciation). He evidently regarded many of the renunciates as rather distracting sources of misinformation, a point not always emphasised by commentators.
A discernment guide
A GUIDE TO AUTHENTIC SUFI GROUPS
The following points are designed to assist sincere seekers in their quest for authentic Sufi representatives. These days there are many Sufi organisations. Some are genuine and some are not. It is too common to hear reports of negative experiences of people who have been "burned" by dubious groups. The points below should help seekers avoid such groups.
A sincere devotion to Allah Almighty, a deep reverence for the Holy Prophet - peace be upon him - and a love of a life of prayer and rememberance of God are the main signposts to authentic groups. These are always more important than claims of "unbroken chains of transmission" and other claims of "authority" based on dreams or visions. Don't be too concerned about claims of "authority". seek groups where the Sufi life of prayer and brotherly love are tangible and real. The proof is in the pudding.
Does the Order have a proper relationship to Islam?
Sufism is the interior perspective of the Islamic religion. Avoid groups that deny this or that claim that Sufism is entirely independent of Islam. Avoid de-Islamicized forms of Sufism. A Sufi Order should have a strong, healthy connection to (externalist) Islam and be respectful of the Islamic faith. The people who run the Order should be pious, sincere Muslims.
Are members of the Order required to be practising and committed Muslims?
While some Orders will permit non-Muslims into the introductory levels, properly constituted Orders will insist that serious long-term members are practising and committed Muslims. Avoid Orders where this is not so or that are indifferent to the religious affiliations of members.
Does anyone make money from the operations of the Order?
While it is proper for an Order to cover its costs a Sufi Order should not be a profit-making business. Avoid Orders that operate as business ventures or that require expensive membership fees or on-going financial contributions from members.
Does the Sheihk have some other occupation by which he makes a living?
"Sufi Sheihk" is not a job. Sufism does not have a paid priesthood. Avoid Orders where the Sheihk is not successfully established in some other occupation beyond the Order.
Are the private and family lives of members respected?
A Sufi Order should not interfere in the private or family lives of its members. Members shoulds never feel pressured to change jobs, marry or divorce, move location, etc. Avoid Orders that do not respect the right of members to pursue their own private and family life.
Are members free to come and go from the Order's activities as they please?
The Sufi path should be freely entered. It is arduous and demanding. Members of an order should be free to drop out at any time for any reason without having to justify themselves and without being pestered or pursued. The decision not to continue participation should always be respected. An Order should not in any way coerce or pressure members to participate. Avoid Orders where this is not the case.
Does the Order have a tolerant and universalist perspective?
Sufism is an esoteric perspective. At an esoteric level all religions meet. There are many paths. Avoid Orders that insist that they and they alone are the true path or that are hostile to religions other than Islam.
Is there a fraternal spirit in the Order?
A Sufi Order should have a well-developed atmosphere of fraternal love between members. This Platonic fraternal nature excludes members using an Order as a dating pool or a marriage agency. Avoid Orders that do not have a fraternal atmosphere or that are incestuous.
Is there a proportionate sense of formality and chivalry?
A Sufi Order should have an appropriate code of behaviour that is both formal and chivalrous. If the conduct of the Order is too casual then it is merely a club. Sufism is a serious spiritual endeavour. Avoid Orders that are too casual or frivolous.
Is the Order directed exclusively to spiritual purposes?
An Order should only have one purpose - the spiritual advancement of its members. They come together for rememberance of Allah Almighty. Avoid Orders that combine Sufism with other, more profane purposes whether it is a sport, learning Turkish music, bellydancing, etc.
Does the Order mix spiritual forms and systems or employ profane methods and philosophies?
Sufism is a rich self-contained tradition. Avoid Orders that try to blend Sufism with other disciplines or spiritual systems such as yoga, Gurdjieff, pop psychology, gestalt therapy, American Indian rituals*, etc. Seek an Order that is purely Sufi in its philosophy and methods.
This week researchers announced that a storm is coming--the most intense solar maximum in fifty years. The prediction comes from a team led by Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one," she says. If correct, the years ahead could produce a burst of solar activity second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958.
That was a solar maximum. The Space Age was just beginning: Sputnik was launched in Oct. 1957 and Explorer 1 (the first US satellite) in Jan. 1958. In 1958 you couldn't tell that a solar storm was underway by looking at the bars on your cell phone; cell phones didn't exist. Even so, people knew something big was happening when Northern Lights were sighted three times in Mexico. A similar maximum now would be noticed by its effect on cell phones, GPS, weather satellites and many other modern technologies.
Albert Rudolph (Rudi) was born January 24, 1928 to impoverished Jewish parents in Brooklyn, New York. His father abandoned the family when he was young and his mother could be quite violent.
According to his autobiography, Rudolph's first spiritual experience occurred at age 6 in a park. Two Tibetan Buddhist lamas appeared out of the air and stood before him. They told him they represented the heads of the "Red Hat" and "Yellow Hat" sects, and they were going to place within him the energy and wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism. Several clay jars appeared, which they said they would put inside his solar plexus. The lamas said these jars would stay in him and begin to open at age 31. He would then begin the process of assimilating their contents, and would continue to do so for the rest of his life.
Rudolph began his his first job at age 12 in a pocketbook factory, due to a labor shortage during World War II. To supplement his income, he searched through neighborhood rubbish bins to find items to sell. His next job was at a textile company when he was 16 years old, where he worked for the next two years.
Rudolph joined the U.S. Army at age 18. For 1½ years, he was an instructor for the government, teaching ROTC at the University of Washington in Seattle. After being discharged, he returned to his job at the textile company in New
During this time, Rudi began to attend meetings based on the teachings of Gurdjieff, which he continued for 5 years.
Rudi joined the Subud organization, studied with its founder, Pak Subuh, and helped establish the group in New York. In 1958, Rudi met Shankaracharya of Puri during his first visit to the United States, and lived with him in New York for 4 months.
In early 1959, Rudi declared himself a spiritual teacher and began teaching students individually in his store. Rudi’s method was to sit opposite a student and gaze intently into their eyes for perhaps five to ten minutes, said to allow him to transmit shaktipat energy.
In 1960, Rudi began to hold classes in his apartment, which consisted of an open-eyed meditation where he "transmitted shaktipat energy" in a group setting, followed by a lecture. Spiritual teacher and friend Hilda Charlton was frequently in attendance. Occasionally after classes, Rudi would invite the students up to his living room to play poker, or he would take them to dinner in Chinatown.