"Periodicity" and Catholic Gnostics: A Few Practical Considerations

According to Madam Blavatsky, the Universe, which she also calls Eternity, is "a boundless plane, periodically the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing" and involving " the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature" (Algeo, "Secret Doctrine"). This concept of periodicity is very congruous with contemporary physics, since many contemporary physicists hold that the "Big Bang" has occurred and will occur periodically an infinite number of times, although each universe, along with its history, is very different from that of every other.

This idea is important to Gnostic Catholics for a number of reasons. It should give us great hope, for it points to an infinite future of development in many different universes, although in forms so advanced we cannot begin to conceive of them now.

It should make the doctrine of reincarnation more credible to us and lead us to lovingly embrace those karmic processes, however painful they be; for, as John Algeo points out, "in karma—the law of cause and effect that controls and induces birth in the physical world—we see the principle of order that is essential to all periodicity. In us little human beings as in the great universe itself there is order and repetition, there is karma and cyclic renewal (Algeo, "Essentials").

John Algeo also points out that, by intelligent awareness of cosmic order, " we can cooperate with the periodicity of the universe, consciously assisting and advancing the cosmic plan. Once again, theory and practice merge together: to cooperate with universal order, we must know it; but to discover that order, we must live it" ("Essentials"). The ancient Chinese recognized the constant interplay of yang and yin, with one becoming dominant, then the other. If you flip three coins, according to The I Ching, and come up with two yangs and one yin, the dominant force is yin—because, in the process of ceaseless alternation, that is the direction being taken.

We ought to strive to respect this periodicity in our own lives. We ought to get enough sleep (many Americans do not, and recent medical studies are beginning to detail the disastrous effects this can have). Thomas Merton says that "the monk serves God not only by the prayers he says in the dark of night but by the sleep he takes in obedience to God, Who made us what we are" (99).

We ought not to overvalue masculinity or femininity. And we ought not to resist natural change when it comes into our lives. We ought to avoid extremes of all kinds, knowing that all polarities give way to their opposites: the universe is like a swinging pendulum.

"Sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard; sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness;
Sometimes one is up and sometimes down.
Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excesses, and complacency" (Tao The Ching 29).

Works Cited
Algeo, John. "The Essentials of Theosophy." Australian Theosophical Publishing House.
( http://www.austheos.org.au/tsia-article-essentials-of-theosophy.html ).

"The Secret Doctrine and Its Study." Theosophical Society of America.
( http://www.theosophical.org/resources/leaflets/secretdoctrine/SecretDoct... ).

Merton, Thomas. No Man Is an Island. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, Inc., 1955.