17 May 2015

The Theosophy of Namaste

Mutual Okayity: Transactional Analysis
And the Building of Universal Brotherhood

Carlos Cardoso Aveline

The lives of books are as unpredictable as the lives of people, and their inner value cannot be measured by outward success.

A best-seller in the final decades of twentieth century, the outstanding book “I’m OK, You’re OK” teaches in practical terms the healing power of brotherhood and mutual help.[1] Seen by some as an axiom and a personal motto, the sentence about mutual okayity is in strict harmony with the traditional Eastern greeting “Namaste”, which means:

“The best in me salutes the best in you.”

The phrase is usually said while bowing with the palms put together before one’s chest.

Human relations based on the principle of equilibrium constitute a decisive ideal for theosophists and indicate the inevitable future of mankind.  Although the practice of brotherhood is challenging and involves a profound rebirth and a loss of a previous sense of identity, it is unavoidable. There is no need to delay such an ideal. The fancy of an individualistic identity based on separation does not work any longer as a protection against  life.

The first object of the theosophical movement is the creation of a nucleus of universal brotherhood, regardless of illusory and lower self attributes such as race, social class, sex, caste, nationality and personal attachment to any particular religion or philosophy.

An unconditional, unlimited process of brotherhood ultimately includes the whole vegetable realm, the animal and human realms and the divine world. The building of brotherhood as a consciously essential part of human life must take place in each one’s heart, and has to be silent. Its builders need to confront all the phantoms of the past, the attachments to ignorance and suffering, the sum total of human anxieties and angers, the fear of being abandoned and a thousand other forms of  that lack of “okayity” which constitutes a major obstacle in the path to wisdom.

From a theosophical point of view, the phrase “I’m OK, You’re OK” means that the higher self in me recognizes the existence and the active presence of a higher self in you. Life is probationary. All beings are incomplete and pain is part of existence, but the immortal soul in me perceives the presence of the immortal soul in the other beings, and this is good. Transcendence heals us. Universality blesses, confidence protects, and courage allows us to be larger and stronger than pain.

The Three Aspects of Emotional Consciousness

Transactional Analysis simplifies the equation of human relations in order to work with its decisive elements. It sees three fundamental levels of consciousness in the personality of an individual during the process of interaction with the others:

PARENT - From  the highest nucleus of self-consciousness, one relates to others by playing the role (in his own individual world) of a father or mother, an authority, a counselor, a protector, the one who knows better or is more powerful. Yet one can be a kind progenitor or not, and may see good things in others, or otherwise.

ADULT - The second level of identity in human interaction seeks to establish relationships based on mutual respect and individual independence. The autonomy of the learner plays a central role in adult life.  There is an “Adult” to be respected in the psychological world of every child. It is the inner Adult that makes the child have self-respect and relate as a friend to others. Creativeness is also a function of the Adult.

CHILD - In the third level of self-identity, one sees himself as fragile, defenseless, dependent on help, as someone who absorbs situations and facts and can’t make decisions, and one who is unable to take responsibilities.

Regardless of age, every human being plays the simultaneous roles of a Parent, an Adult and a Child in his own emotional world. And this is the “P.A.C. system” taught by Eric Berne, Thomas A. Harris and others. It is the duty of each one to become a better Parent, Adult, and  Child. This must start by practicing observation and deciding to do one’s best.

The Four Basic Attitudes Towards Oneself and Life

Once the threefold PAC nature of human beings is understood, one must examine the ways the energy of the “okayity” or “ability to be OK” is ascribed to, and distributed, in the different forms of human interaction.

There are four basic forms of feeling and attitude in the emotional interactions, which are:

* I am not OK - you are OK.

* I am not OK - you are not OK.

* I am OK - you are not OK.

* I am OK - you are OK.

These four “spontaneous” attitudes are brought up by karma and can be changed by karma. The subconscious nature of the causes of pain present in them must be unmasked and revealed before one is able to replace pain by wisdom through the practice of right action and the sowing of good karma.  We should now make a brief examination of such attitudes in human interaction, according to Transactional Analysis and taking into consideration the teachings of esoteric philosophy.

1) I am not OK - you are OK.

If I choose to see positive qualities in the other and not in myself, it must be because somebody taught me not to have self-confidence. I probably had to hear or was made to feel many times in childhood that I am wrong, and that someone else is much better and more “powerful” than I.  Then I think I can only ask for help, beg someone’s pardon, get someone to have mercy on me, or play the role of victim to myself and to others. I limit myself to envying the other or to asking for his support, or I do both things.

The healing to this basic emotional attitude is in self-knowledge and self-transcendence. It is correct to observe the blindly repetitive pattern of self-deprecation. When we get tired of such vicious circle, we start building a pattern of correct relationship with ourselves and the others.

2) I am not OK - you are not OK.

A false beginning of self-confidence consists in thinking negatively of oneself and of the others as well. The ill-informed person thinks “the whole world is bad”. By developing a blind faith in skepticism, he may say:

“I’m not good and the others are not good. I have no value and no one is better than I. Everyone is wrong: nobody is right.” 

With this attitude, a large amount of anger and negative actions can emerge. The healing is in opening one’s eyes and seeing the falsehood and the illusion present in the idea that “I am not OK and the others are not OK”. Such a view is simply not true. Nature heals itself. I may be feeling that “I am not OK and you are not OK”. I must investigate the origin of such a view. Not every evaluation of life is necessarily true just because I am the one who made it.

I must ask myself what is my unrealistic desire which, having been defeated by facts, led me to adopt a pessimistic attitude towards life.  

An impersonal realism is often the best balm to the wounds of the soul. I heal myself through modesty.  Humbleness allows me to develop self-esteem, and from self-esteem comes confidence in myself and in the other human beings.

3) I am OK - you are not OK.

The third form of emotional blindness in the interaction with persons takes one to an active selfishness, and a well-defined desire to dominate others as a way to supposedly attain to self-respect and self-esteem.

Thus I create a difficult karma for myself and walk along a blind alley from which (if I don’t open my eyes) I will have to go back to one of the previous ways of blindness.

4) I am OK - you are OK.

The fourth kind of emotional identity or attitude establishes a creative equilibrium and allows me to see the presence of the spiritual soul in the other, as well as in myself.

As I perceive the legitimacy of the other, I expand the contact with my own legitimacy. The other is almost always a psychological mirror to my own being.

A deeper contact with the esoteric wisdom demonstrates the illegitimacy of the feelings which may make it harder for me to see the fundamental okayity of the others. They are human and they make mistakes. I may even think they make more mistakes than I; but they are the psychological looking-glasses of different aspects of mine, and they have a higher self just as I have. They are secondarily wrong and fundamentally OK. They are learners.

When the fourth attitude before oneself and the others emerges in a natural way, one can better understand the axiom present in Mark, 12, 31:

“Thy shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

A healthy realism makes us acknowledge the fact that human beings are essentially good. Their higher selves are divine; their lower selves have much to learn.

The instinct of universal brotherhood is present in every situation and age group and is not limited to humans. Piotr Kropotkin and others have shown that from the vegetable realm and including the animals, mutual help or brotherhood is the main guiding principle in the evolution of all life. Competition is a secondary factor.   

Criticism must be welcome as a tool for self-improvement and mutual teaching. Being my mirror, the other gives me images of my own sacred potentialities. He shows me the mistakes I must avoid, the lessons I can learn and the wisdom existing in my spiritual soul.


[1] “I’m OK, You’re OK”, by Thomas A. Harris, M. D., Avon Books, New York, 317 pp., sixth printing, 1973. The book is dedicated to Transactional Analysis.


In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.  


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