Perennialist teachers make certain ideas and exercises available to the general public. These exoteric teachings can be read and practiced by all who are interested. Advanced, esoteric teachings must be reserved for the tested initiate for a number of reasons:

  • Only a qualified initiate has the specific skills and personality traits which make it possible for her to understand the esoteric teachings:

    • Moral qualities which make it possible to discern what is being taught (e.g. a psychotic killer cannot understand the sanctity of human life)

    • Moral qualities which make it safe for her to be allowed to hear about extraordinary ideas and participate in advanced exercises (just as certain physical skills are required by a coach before allowing a person to engage in a rigorous sport)

    • Intellectual and philosophical skills which make it possible to understand advanced material

      • The esoteric material is of such a subtle, recondite nature that only those with finely tuned discernment are able to recognnize and comprehend it.

      • It's not a matter of Perennialist teachers making things deliberately arcane, it's simply the fact that unless you have made a truth a part of your being you have no capability of understanding it. Meister Eckhart explained in his writings, "...if you haven't the truth of which we are speaking in yourselves, you cannot understand me."

  • Only a qualified initiate has a genuine interest in advanced teachings and can therefore appreciate their value. To the merely curious or the scholastic, advanced teachings seem commonplace and lackluster.

  • Only a tested initiate has the background to handle challenging, sometimes dangerous ideas and exercises.