| Perennialist books, essays, stories, and exercises possess intrinsic power to effect transformation in persons who have attained varying degrees of mental and spiritual capability. Perennialist teachers make available specially created material that affects students in direct ratio to the capabilities they work to attain. The levels of study correlate directly with the levels of consciousness humans have achieved. Only about five percent of contemporary humans have the capacity for study in the Perennial Tradition.|
Study within the Perennial Tradition is not a magical or automatic process; seekers must fulfill their responsibility of assiduous and devoted study, contemplation, and effort. At the same time, the material itself is designed in such a way as to act on the psyche of the student to engender specific mental and spiritual enhancement in a natural way.
This essay explicates the preparatory level of study of Perennialist material. The individual comes in contact with purposely developed material through the teacher's books, Website essays, and activities.
Each level of study presents its own unique challenges to the seeker. The preparatory study program involves initially reading and studying the essays and books listed below.
- Background to Preparatory Study
- Respect for Higher Knowledge
- The Perennial Tradition
- Rediscovering Plato and the Mystical Science of Dialectic
- The New Commonwealth
- Progressive Awareness
- Rediscovering Plato and the Mystical Science of Dialectic
- Portals To Higher Consciousness
- Realizing A New Culture
- Replace Capitalism With Commonwealth
After discovering the Perennial Tradition and its accompanying study material, the individual must choose between two courses of action:
- Approaching the material as ordinary information: "Picking up scraps of jumbled information like a dog scavenging in a refuse pit" 1
- Approaching the material as Higher Knowledge: recognizing that "the transmission of the message is not a right but a privilege granted to those who merit it" 2
"He who wants knowledge must himself make the initial efforts to find the source of knowledge and to approach it, taking advantage of the help and indications which are given to all, but which people, as a rule, do not want to see or recognize. Knowledge cannot come to people without effort on their own part. They understand this very well in connection with ordinary knowledge, but in the case of great knowledge, when they admit the possibility of its existence, they find it possible to expect something different." 3
In the preparatory phase of study, Perennialist material is the "teacher." It is only appropriate and effective for a person to work with a Perennialist teacher when they've succeeded in the effort to achieve the first essential break-through into preliminary awareness and power. They must have learned that the "curative effect" of Perennialist material is not automatic, so it does no good to "wait" for it inactively. They will have come to the awareness that Perennialist material possesses an esoteric kind of "medicine" that requires that the person "sense" the curative effect for it to take place, becoming fully conscious of the catalyst that activates the entire process. They must have worked assiduously to gain an understanding of how to discern the "curative effect" and then develop the intitial capabilities that allow for more advanced study.
Nothing for Man Except What He Has Earned
The superior experience and knowledge will be made available to a man or woman in exact accordance with his capacity and earning of it. Hence, if a donkey sees a melon he will eat its rind; ants will eat whatever they can get hold of; man will consume without knowing that he has consumed.
Our objective is to achieve, by the understanding of the Origin, the Knowledge which comes through experience.
This is done, as with a journey, only with those who already know the Way.
The justice of this state is the greatest justice of all; because, while this knowledge cannot be withheld from him who deserves, it cannot be given to him who does not deserve it.
It is the only substance with a discriminating faculty of its own, inherent justice.
Yusuf Hamadani, Perennialist Teacher
The objectives of preparatory study in the Perennial Tradition include:
- Psychological, emotional, and intellectual stability:
- Having overcome egomania in all its manifestations and being in effective control of one's debilitating self
- Having overcome the effect of past negative experiences to the point of no longer being excessively afraid of personal rejection, attaining sufficient courage to face criticism and move into new, unfamiliar areas of thought and experience
- Life stability: having one's occupational, interpersonal, and financial circumstances under personal control to the point that one would be easily able to relocate to another area if he were successful in the preparatory phase of study and became qualified for introductory study involving direct instruction with a Perennialist teacher
"In Pythagoras' school at Crotona, the pupils passed through a series of three grades, and were not allowed personal contact with Pythagoras himself until they reached the highest or third grade."
Paul Brunton, Notebooks
- Experience of definite, discernible epiphanies 4 which give you clear evidence of the dynamic force contained within the material. These epiphanies would have to have produced definite incipient intellectual, emotional, and spiritual transformations in you: you would now be able to demonstrate that you can think and act in an augmented, effectual, exceptional manner
- The definite conviction that being a part of the Work of the Perennial Tradition is the only desirable life pattern for you. Your attachments to family, friends, habits, and past life-patterns would have to have become secondary to participation in Perennialist Work, including becoming involved in the Perennialist commonwealth enterprise.
"Esoteric knowledge can be given only to those who seek, only to those who have been seeking it with a certain amount of consciousness, that is, with an understanding of how it differs from ordinary knowledge and how it can be found. This preliminary knowledge can be gained by ordinary means, from existing and known literature, easily accessible to all. And the acquisition of this preliminary knowledge may be regarded as the first test. Only those who pass this first test, those, that is, who acquire the necessary knowledge from the material accessible to all, may hope to take the next step, at which point direct individual help will be accorded them." 5
- The major focal point of your consciousness should become the study of preparatory Perennialist material, your activities constantly directed toward self-transformation, the overcoming of oppressive forces in the world, and assisting others in their spiritual ascent. You would need to have searched for and explored any other programs of study that seem viable to you and worked in those systems to determine if one of these is more suitable to you than the Perennial Tradition.
- Being able to experience inspiration through opening to Higher Intelligence, evidenced through the production of new, creative ideas and processes 6
"A man may hope to approach esotericism if he has acquired a right understanding from ordinary knowledge, that is, if he can find his way through the labyrinth of contradictory systems, theories and hypotheses, and understanding their general meaning and general significance. This test is something like a competitive examination open to the whole human race, and the idea of a competitive examination alone explains why the esoteric circle appears reluctant to help humanity. It is not reluctant. All that is possible is done to help men, but men will not or cannot make the necessary efforts themselves. And they cannot be helped by force." 7
Students in the preparatory phase of Perennialist study must make psychic contact with Perennialist teachers through the material the teachers have created. Seekers must comprehend that persons who have developed the transformative material and its accompanying procedures on which the study program is based demonstrate the power and effectiveness of the higher knowledge it enables by having produced and continuing to produce material through inspiration and by applying its transformative procedures in their own self-work.
Much of the effort during the preparatory phase must be in clearing away mental, moral, and intellectual obstructions that hold you back and make spiritual progress impossible. In the terms of Clement of Alexandria, one of the main focal points in this phase is "healing."
"Health and knowledge are not the same; one is a result of study, the other of healing. In fact, if a person is sick, he cannot master any of the things taught him until he is first completely cured. We give instruction to someone who is sick for an entirely different reason than we do to someone who is learning; the latter, we instruct that he may acquire knowledge, the first, that he may regain health. Just as our body needs a physician when it is sick, so, too, when we are weak, our soul needs the Educator to cure its ills. Only then does it need the Teacher to guide it and develop its capacity to know, once it is made pure and capable of retaining the revelation of the Word. Therefore, the all-loving Word, anxious to perfect us in a way that leads progressively to salvation, makes effective use of an order well adapted to our development; at first, He persuades, then He educates, and after all this He teaches."
Clement of Alexandria
The preparatory phase of the program of study is in essence "healing" in Clement's terms, since most persons must regenerate their psychological and moral essence, restore their awareness of themselves and the world, and remedy the disuse of forgotten mental and spiritual faculties, reawakening those capabilities and powers that have lapsed from their consciousness.
The preparatory phase assists students to open both their mind and their soul to the Perennialist teachings so that later they will be able to open themselves to a teacher if that becomes possible.
"The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. No attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul and if the mind and the body are to be healthy, you must begin by curing the mind. That is the first thing. Let no one persuade you to cure the mind until he has first given you his soul to be cured."
Plato, The Commonwealth
Perennialist material has a "security safeguard," a means of making it impossible for unprepared and unsuitable persons to understand or benefit from it--sometimes by diverting them to the kind of nonsense they enjoy. To illustrate: ordinary minds will easily dismiss this entire essay, feeling relieved that they're intelligent enough to have "seen through" a transparent effort to fool them into thinking there's something extraordinary in Perennialist material, when it's evident from a cursory perusal of the books and essays that they contain nothing more than ordinary ideas and exercises--nothing magic.
"If a man insists on asking for the attentions of a personal teacher before he is sufficiently prepared to benefit by them, then his rash importunity will be punished. For he will find a false teacher, a guide to untruth and darkness rather than to reality and light. Enough work should have been done on himself and by himself in mental and emotional discipline, in moral striving, in intellectual preparation, and in meditational practice to justify his request for instruction. Otherwise he may be really actuated by egoistic ambitions which are secretly hiding beneath his spiritual aspirations, or he may be too unbalanced emotionally to accept in his heart the serene impersonal wisdom even when it is proffered him."At every level of study, Perennialist teaching material contains inner screening processes that weed out persons who would be unfit for any aspect of Perennialist study. Those who make it through this screening process and persist in their studies learn to approach Perennialist preparatory material with the necessary interest and respect. Only by learning to make the appropriate and correct approach to Perennialist material do seekers discover what is truly contained in it.
Paul Brunton, Notebooks
"A divinity may approach you: it is either everything or nothing. Nothing, if you meet it in the frame of mind with which you confront everyday matters; everything, if you are prepared and attuned to the meeting. What the divinity is in itself is a matter that does not affect you; the important point for you is whether it leaves you as it found you or makes a different man of you. But this depends entirely on yourself. What is brought to you depends upon the reception you prepare for it. You must have been prepared by the education and development of the most intimate forces of your personality so that what the divine is able to evoke may be kindled and released in you. Everything depends upon the way in which you receive what is offered you."
Rudolf Steiner, Christianity As Mystical Fact, 1947
If you believe that you've studied the Perennialist Tradition material listed above effectively and have achieved the objectives outlined, and now wish to inquire about the possibility of introductory study:
- Complete this test to determine if you understand this essay and the linked readings.
- Read the online study program material and then complete the screening and testing process connected with the course of study, which will include contact with the Director of Study.
"'Go, my friend, seek your goal by sifting the pure from the false and seize hold of that which has survived the centuries and emerged progressive and intact, not as a hoary belief to be venerated but as a positive path of action and reaction. This path does exist, it exists everywhere and in every age, yet it hides itself from the unready, the sensation-seekers and the self-indulgent. It is a hard path and one of total commitment and absolute discipline. Its reward is extinction.'" 8
1 Rafael Lefort, The Teachers of Gurdjieff
3 P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous
4 The defining characteristics of Perennialist study material are psychic upheaval and epiphany: the disruption of the psyche and the production of a higher state of consciousness. The meaning of "epiphany" has expanded beyond its Greek origins - the manifestation of a god - to include special and sudden raptures. An epiphany is an episodic mystical experience. In this embodiment of the Perennial Tradition, a serious student experiences epiphanies while engaging in specific exercises, especially dialectical interchange.
5 P.D. Ouspensky, The Fourth Way
6 The capability of creating new, original ideas and processes is demonstrated (or not) through, among other means, participation with a Perennialist teacher in dialectical interchange, when the seeker has passed beyond the preparatory phase to the introductory stage. The word "new" is emphasized because some persons can work artistically in structuring other people's ideas in innovative ways, but this does not involve their creating their own, original ideas through inspiration.
7 P. D. Ouspensky, A New Model of the Universe
8 Rafael Lefort, The Teachers of Gurdjieff