United Lodge of Theosophists, London, UK

Online Meetings

[Image courtesy of McGill University and facultyfocus.com]

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A guide to joining online (or by phone*)

Please email us on info@theosophy-ult.org.uk if you’d like to join the meetings online (or by phone, see at the bottom).

From Sunday 18th October, all meetings have been solely online, but we are pleased to announce that from Sunday 11th April 2021 we will be open again for the Sunday and Tuesday meetings. It will still be possible to join these online; this page explains how to do that. The Wednesday meetings will continue to be online only until further notice.

You can join all the meetings by Skype, check the links below for more details.


SUMMARY OF ALL MEETINGS

TUESDAYS study schedule here.
Dhammapada & “The Key to Theosophy” from 7 to 8.15 pm.

WEDNESDAYS study schedule here.
“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2 from 7 to 8.15 pm.

THURSDAYS an informal Q&A Drop-in meeting for any general questions and those on the Course, details here; twice monthly from 7 to 8 pm.

SUNDAYS see programme & handouts here.
Talks and study groups from 7 to 8.30 pm.

MONTHLY “MYTHS & LEGENDS” for children & parents here, on Sunday mornings twice monthly from 11 am to noon.

QUARTERLY SEMINARS see the PDF quarterly programme linked here,
Once a quarter on Saturdays from 3 to 6.15 pm.

The meeting times are GMT.

 

Registering to join

All are welcome to join the London meetings, although we encourage those with local ULT centres to contact them to ask if they have online meetings, which most do now.

Please contact us a day before the meetings begin so we can exchange contacts and so you’ll have time to study the texts beforehand, they will usually be posted in the Skype chat box (you’ll see it when you’re added to the group). For most Sunday meetings there’ll be a handout on that Events page a day or more beforehand.

Tell us which of the five groups above you’d like to join; we will keep you in the group until you ask to be removed. You’ll get a call for each meeting, and if you don’t join for a few months we may remove you, but you can ask to rejoin at any time.

Hardware & set up

You can install Skype here.

You’ll need a microphone but a camera is not essential. Good microphones for quality and reliability are those that plug into audio socket via a 3.5mm plug (at fron tor rear, but not the ones that use a USB plug). An inexpensive one is Computer Gear Lightweight Desktop Microphone Black with 3.5mm Jack for under £4. You shouldn’t need a noise canceling one unless you’re in a noisy environment (see improving sound quality without it). Position it up to a foot (300 mm) or so away from your mouth and well away from computer or fan noise.

We share screens to view documents so that works better on devices with larger screens and this will also reduce eye strain. For a better experience try to use a hardwired connection to the internet rather than WiFi; for those two reasons it is preferable to avoid using phones or tablets when on the group calls. If it’s not possible be mindful of these connection issues and move to a strong signal or get advice on changing WiFi channels.

Timing

We’ll call you around 5 minutes before the meeting to give time for welcomes and introductions. Don’t call us as it’s the Lodge which has to initiate the call.

Note that for large groups Skype may not make a loud ringing sound so keep an eye out for the call at the time! You’ll see a green “JOIN CALL” button on the main Skype screen when the calls starts.

Please do introduce yourself when you join for the first time, we are a friendly group and welcome new students. Do feel free to have the camera on when you join each week.

The sections below are about asking questions and how the meetings work.

During the meeting

After the start of the meeting and greeting it is best to turn off your camera to minimise distractions and save bandwidth. Mute your microphone when not talking as it reduces background noise. The camera and mute functions are usually at the bottom of the blue, live Skype screen.

Recent studies show that having the video off helps one to listen well, to improve concentration and remain centred… if one does not multi-task, nb.

At the start open the Skype chat box, you’ll see links to handouts and also comments and questions. The chat box icon is the square speech bubble on the bottom right of the blue Skype screen.

Your participation in the meetings is welcome, if you have comments or questions wait for a suitable moment, speak clearly and close to your microphone, or send a message via the chat box, altho’ we may not be able to respond to all of them.

If you drop out during the meeting you should see the green “Join Call” button which will add you back in.

How the meetings work, the role of asking questions with Perseverance & Patience

ULT meetings are to study the original Theosophical teachings so we ask you to keep on topic and be mindful of this aim of the ULT’s work.

When asking questions address those chairing the meeting (who are more the meeting’s managers than teachers) rather than other individuals. If the chairpersons or other students do not have the answer you were expecting be a little patient as they have a habit of surfacing in the future. We say the texts are the Teachers and when we interrogate them together thoughtfully then good progress can be made.

Be mindful and stay focused and it will become easier to follow the lines of thought the texts provides. To study with calmness and diligence creates a sense of purpose and unity.

An attitude of friendly but impersonal ‘non-separateness’ helps open one’s perceptions to the higher metaphysical truths that we try to bring to life in the meetings and then afterwards by applying the ideas in daily life.

Thank you for your interest in Theosophy, we wish you many enjoyable hours of fruitful meetings.

You may also wish to read about the aim of the meetings below.

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Notes

* JOINING BY PHONE

The above guidance also applies when joining by phone.

To register you can be in the UK, Europe, USA and many other countries; just send an email to info@theosophy-ult.org.uk or call 020 7723 0688 one day before the meeting.

We can telephone you from our Skype app at the same time as the Skypers, approximately 5-10 minutes before the meetings.

Landlines are preferred (they have better audio quality and won’t drop out) and if you have a speaker phone it will make it easier for you to listen.

Please use a phone with a mute function as any background noise affects the call quality for others.

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THE AIM OF THE MEETINGS

Students are invited to regard our meeting space as a place where we come to study the original doctrines of Theosophy given by H. P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge and others who had been trained to their high standards and understood the teachings and their methods.

We respect individual contributions but it is not the ULT’s mission to host opinions on general theo-philosophical topics, it’s simply a space where we can help each other to learn and apply the perennial Wisdom. All contributions on how to understand and apply this sublime and well-proven system are welcome, noting that at the same time we will steer away from side issues.

It is a great thing to be able to share these ideas with each other but our constant care is also needed to keep the meetings running along good lines.

This approach comes out of a respect of the long lineage of the philosophy, seeing that it is not a product of recent academic or other study but that it has a definite basis and standards that have enabled it to weather countless millennia.

With patience, mutual support and your willingness to take as well as give advice, all of this becomes inspiring, helpful, and ultimately transformative. And by the rigour of frequent study and inner contemplation on the original teachings you may find the door that leads to Theo-Sophia, Divine Wisdom.

Questions about what are the original lines of the Masters’ Trans-Himalayan Arhat School, and why they do matter, are at the centre of the approach and are an important study. An illuminating read on this is the Ancient Source text, which says in part:

THE Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system . . .

No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions – so obtained as to stand as independent evidence – of other adepts, and by centuries of experiences.  (The Secret Doctrine 1:272)

The full version is here, on page “1” of the pamphlet (p 4 in the PDF).

Happy studying!

[updated 9th May 2021]

 

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