"Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language."
Meister Eckhart - German Christian mystic
The Perennial Philosophy
Although I have studied and practiced with a number of teachers, if I were to summarize my orientation to spirituality, I would use the phrase, "The Perennial Philosophy" - a term coined by Aldous Huxley in his 1945 book by that name.
The Perennial Philosophy makes four basic claims.
The first claim is that there are two realms of reality. The first is the everyday realm with which we are all familiar: the world of physical objects and living creatures. This is accessible to us via our senses and sciences such a physics and biology. The second realm is more subtle and profound - the realm of consciousness, which cannot be known through the physical senses, because it creates the physical realm and our senses, as well as time, space, physical laws. This realm is unbounded, infinite and eternal. It is sometimes called, "Source."
Second, we partake of both realms - and in our own depths, we can find a center of transcendental awareness. It has been called pure consciousness, Spirit, and True self. It is the divine spark of Christianity and Judaism, the Atman of Hinduism and the Buddha Nature in Buddhism. Some traditions consider it as identical to the sacred ground or foundation of all reality.
Third, as human beings we have the capacity to recognize this inner spark and the sacred ground that is its source. However, this should not be blindly accepted; rather we should test these claims for ourselves, through our own experience. Readiness for this journey is essential.
This is not necessarily easy. Although any of us can be blessed with spontaneous glimpses of this realm - continuous clear vision and experience of these depths usually requires sustained effort to hone our awareness. This is the purpose of spiritual practices.
When the mind is still and clear, we can have a direct experience of the Universal Self. This realization is far from being a concept or theory about the self. Instead, it is an immediate knowing and identification with the Divine spark. The predicament is that, because this is an experience, books, ideas, even teachers can only point the way.
Fourth, the perennial philosophy claims that realizing our authentic spiritual nature is the highest goal and greatest good of human experience, realization of which leads to a flowering of deep wisdom, compassion and love.
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