[Image courtesy of McGill University and facultyfocus.com]
A guide to joining online (or by phone*)
From the start of October to end of June every year, the Lodge holds talks and study meetings on Sundays and study groups on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Seminars on topical subjects are held quarterly on Saturdays.
From July to September the programme is different, with less meetings and some in a different format. All the dates and details for this summer are shown on the programme of events. The October-December programme is now online here. All the meetings can be attended in person at the Lodge (with the exception of the Thursday drop-in, which is online only) or joined online via Skype.
If you’d like to join online for the first time, just email email@example.com after reading the information below.
Registering to join
All are welcome to join the London meetings, although we encourage those with more 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 various online Skype 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 good microphone but a camera is not essential. Please read the advice on using mics, cameras and WiFi. During the meetings we often share screens to view documents; this works better on devices with larger screens, and this will also reduce eye strain.
Try to use hard wired connections, for reasons at the bottom of the page on mics, cameras and WiFi.
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… as long as one is not multi-tasking!
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, although 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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* 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
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[updated 9th July 2021]