A Never-Dying Spirit

kerryn-mccann-with-her-childrenKERRYN McCANN won the hearts of all Australians in 2006 when she won gold at the Commonwealth Games in a down to the wire marathon win.

Media footage showed Kerryn crossing the finish line, as if that was her life’s main triumph.

Two years later the much loved athlete succumbed to breast cancer, her husband and three children at her bedside.

Kerryn told friend and fellow athlete Raelene Boyle just a week before that she was still hopeful. Then she was so ill in her final days, she could no longer talk — yet through it all, her spirit never dimmed.

The body, brain and personality is understood in Theosophy as only a vehicle for the immortal soul in each lifetime.


But this necessary instrument presents us with special opportunities in each life to express our  potential. Yet, many are unable or unwilling to seize those gifts in the time allotted to them, as Karryn did.

The illness drew out her determined, deathless and compassionate spirit, an inspiration to those who might not have her inner strength. She knew the deadly disease had come back, but she competed anyway.

The Inspiring Finish

Character & Capacity

The soul’s capacity will be fully availed of, or not, according to individual karmic endurance, W. Q. Judge says. Their capacity and destiny is the result of their “desire and prior conduct.” The person’s past choices and behavior, he wrote,

“will have increased or diminished” their karmic resources in any given lifetime.


Our individual choices shape not only our own character and capacity, but inspires the emergence of character and capacity in others as well, because we are all connected at the core.

And, “the troubles of nations and families arise from want of capacity,” Judge says, “more than from any other cause.” Although we cannot ever judge another’s karma the principle holds good: The choices we make will always have a wider influence in life, than to us as separate individuals.

Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad

(Drama of the Mysteries)

“The Spirit sees not, yet seeing not, she sees.
“The Spirit smells not, yet smelling not, she smells.

“The Spirit tastes not, yet tasting not, she tastes.
“The Spirit speaks not, yet speaking not, she speaks.

“The Spirit hears not, yet hearing not, she hears.
“The Spirit thinks not, yet thinking not, she thinks.
“The Spirit touches not, yet touching not, she touches.
“The Spirit knows not, yet knowing not, she knows.

“For the energy that dwelt in smell, taste,speech, hearing, thinking, touching and knowing cannot cease, because it is everlasting.

And there is nothing else besides the Spirit, or separate from her, for her to know.”   



The Eternal Joy

“For only where there is separation may one see another, may one taste another, may one speak to another may one hear another, may one think of another, may one touch another, may one know another.

“The one Seer is undivided
like pure water.”

“This is the world of the Eternal. This is the highest path. This is the highest treasure. This is the highest world.

“This is the highest bliss. All beings live on the fragments of this bliss.”


Homeless to Harvard

“Liz Murray, the homeless daughter of an extremely dysfunctional Bronx family. As a young girl, Murray is taken care of by her loving, but drug-addicted, parents. After her mother dies of AIDS, which she got from sharing needles during her drug abuse, she got a ‘slap in the face’ by her mother’s death and begins her work to finish high school, which she amazingly completed in two years, rather than the usual four. She becomes a star student and earns a scholarship to Harvard University through an essay contest sponsored by The New York Times.” (Wikipedia)


“But as the brain had no part in the life last lived, it is in general unable to remember,” W. Q. Judge explains in the Ocean of Theosophy, but “by living according to the dictates of the soul…

“the brain may at last be made porous to the soul’s recollections.”


On the other hand, he says, “if the contrary sort of a life is led,” one which is essentially soul-less, “then more and more will clouds obscure that reminiscence.”

Until we gain a deeper soul perspective on life, we would not be able to recall our past lives. We would be “very miserable if the deeds and scenes of our former lives were not hidden from our view,” Judge wrote,

“… until by discipline we become able to bear a knowledge of them.”


Early Theosophists placed great importance on Dharma. This is the sum total of the limited portion of our karma into which we are reincarnated in any one life.

Conductor Gustavo Dudam

Conductor Gustavo Dudam

Higher Evolution

Karma and reincarnation are easily understood, W. Q. Judge wrote, and together they furnish “a solid foundation for ethics, and all human conduct.” Reincarnation provides the hope, and karma the responsibility for our actions and choices.

“But in the light of Karma and Reincarnation evolution becomes the logic of what must be.”


These are “the very key-notes of the higher evolution of man,” he said, and  without them “evolution is but a fragment, a process whose beginnings are unknown, and whose outcome cannot be discerned — a glimpse of what might be, a hope of what should be.”

Jacqueline du Pré

“The links in the chain of being are all filled in, and the circles of reason and of life are complete.

“Karma gives the eternal law of action, and Reincarnation furnishes the boundless field for its display.”


Endless evolution on the grandest scale, is a “complete synthesis” of laws which effect all humanities and worlds, Judge wrote. And in this great scheme, he said, it is the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation that “form so important a part.”


True Genius

“Great Genius if true and innate,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote, “and not merely an abnormal expansion of our human intellect…

“… can never copy or condescend to imitate — but will ever be original, sui generis in its creative impulses and realizations.”


Genius is living proof of the preexistence of a spiritual thread soul. The power of the soul’s innumerable life experiences, focused like water through a narrow channel of a single life, magnifies its force. Clear streams flowing naturally and effortlessly through the obstacles of life in complete acceptance.

We selected the three heroine geniuses for this post, not as much for their incomparable talents, as for their undaunted courage in the face of tragedies that would have broken lesser souls.

To the very end, their minds and hearts remained each crystalline pure, unclouded by blame or regrets, focused solely on their karmic callings, and always as much, for ways they could help others.

Both Sides Now

Hayley Westenra


“The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.” (Wikipedia)

Pressing hands together with a smile to greet Namaste - a common cultural practice in India

Pressing hands together with a smile to greet Namaste – a common cultural practice in India


6 responses to “A Never-Dying Spirit

  1. Would not a Soul that has been in a male body many incarnations in a row and is now incarnated in a female body have a difficult time adjusting to its new feminate role?
    What advice would Theosophy give to this person?


    • Again, the karma of gender is purely an individual matter. The lengthy male experiencer probably already had many previous female lives and is now revisiting that side of him/herself. The question in every case is the quality of life led by the ego in either body, and how the sexless Ego has learned to harmonize the energies. Also, Nature never acts by sudden leaps. So in every case gender change requires transition time on the part of the Ego — and this would be especially evident after a many lives in one gender. This is why in less experienced or younger Egos the transition would be more challenging — translated into difficulty adapting — i.e. why there might be a lot of pain in a male body with a strong female astral. The “gay” phenomena is directly related to this necessary transition period, and in the case of younger Egos creates a lot of confusion and trouble. In ancient days such “sensitives” would raised to serve in the temples.


    • “So God created Adam in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27

      Adam, also understood as mankind, not ish (man) nor woman (ishah).

      I agree with the Editor, in that “sensitives”, male and female, were probably oriented to serve in temples. The meaning of life is not dependent on sex anyway, and some people have a hard time dealing with this.


  2. According to the Theosophical teachings about Reincarnation, does the Soul incarnate in the same gender life after life or one life in a male body and then the next in a female body and etc.?


    • There is no fixed formula I don’t believe, rather depends on individual karma and tendencies. Everyone has both male and female aspects, and the idea is to perfect a balance between them – similar to the dual hemispheres of the brain. The following quote is from The Theosophical Forum: “It is as hard for man as for woman to enter the mysteries. Man works through the intellect, woman through the emotions or heart…and of the two the heart is the better tool…The greatest Teachers have been those who have had most of the womanly in their natures.” – W. Q. Judge (Answers to Questioners)


  3. Yes, this new opportunity for correction that comes with every incarnation is also hinted in Isaiah 65:17:
    “See, I will create
    new heavens and a new earth.
    The former things will not be remembered,
    nor will they come to mind.”
    because in order to progress, to climb another step on the spiritual ladder, oblivion of the past is also necessary, or we would all be stuck in past and progress very little.


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