Our look at the Teachers of Wisdom was reasonably straightforward. To find a definition of the teaching itself is more difficult. The underlying teaching of the Ageless Wisdom, or the Perennial Philosophy, is taken to be a single whole - but the way in which it appears varies widely. These underlying truths have been interpreted in every age, and in every community, in words that resonate with the then existing culture of the time and place. As a result words differ widely and even the meaning is far from universally clear.
The earliest teachings are seen in those of the Hindus and Hermes Trismegistus, held to have lived around the time of the earliest part Egyptian civilization. Plato gave a clear definition of the teaching, and until the late 19th century this was probably the most universally understood definition of the Wisdom. In the 19th century Madame Helene Blavatsky published a number of books defining how she saw the Wisdom and set up the Theosophical Society. From these beginnings emerged teachings of Alice Bailey, who formed the Lucis Trust, and Rudolf Steiner who set up the Anthroposophical Society and the Waldorf Schools, and in recent years the Hermetic teachings have become more popular.
All these teachings are helpful, but tend to be esoteric, detailed and not easily understood as a coherent whole. On this page we will give an outline of these teachings with suggestions for further reading at the end. Any one of the subjects summarized below has been covered by numerous books and it takes a lifetime of reading and research to begin to fully understand the teaching.
It is of course important to understand that this is one interpretation of the Wisdom. As explained earlier, there are many other versions, but at the very source the root teachings are similar and indeed One.Below is a summary of the contents of this page
Unity, Consciousness, Unity in Diversity, Hierarchies of Beings, Correspondence, Vibration, Rhythm, Creation, Energy, Levels, Balance, Cause and Effect, Man, Suggested Reading.
Unity - The concept is that there is one unified Whole embracing everything that is spiritual and everything that is material. This Whole is all love, knowledge, truth, beauty, unity, harmony and compassion. The entire universe is a part of this one Whole, which is held together by the dynamic of Love.
Lying behind everything in this Whole is the Mind of All. This mind is pure Spirit that is, in its majesty, Unknowable Indefinable and Incomprehensible to the material human mind and is only understandable in the material forms in which it appears.
Consciousness - This universal mind is in every aspect of the material universe. A form of consciousness is found everywhere - from the smallest sub-particle of an atom, through the molecules, elements and cells that form every structure and being. The material world is linked through this One and every action taken by an individual component affects the whole universe.
Every part of the physical structure of the universe is made up of unified entities, known as monads, each with a form of innate intelligence The electrons, protons and neutrons that make up an atom have their own individual consciousness and the whole, that is an atom, has an awareness and is a self-contained entity – a monad. The same applies to the molecules, cells, and organs that make up the human being. The same concept is held to apply throughout the universe and is found in all human projects, the earth itself, the solar system, our galaxy and the whole universe.
The idea of the material and spiritual universe being one coherent conscious entity is the essence of the Wisdom. All is One – but appears in many different aspects. The One underlying spiritual energy is eternal but appears in a multitude of material forms that are limited in time. The universal One revels in diversity as it creates new forms and levels of consciousness.
Unity in Diversity - From the idea of a universal conscious intelligence flows the concept of Unity in Diversity. In any one organism there is the Diversity of the individual components but a Unity in the one monad that embraces the whole. The whole has a concept on its individual components - the individual components have an understanding of their sub-component, but may not necessarily understand the greater whole of which they are a part.
Hierarchies of Beings - Everywhere there is consciousness and everywhere there is life, for there is no empty space or inanimate matter anywhere in the universe.
A gulf exists between the consciousness of the Divine One and the awareness of a human being. Contemplating the extraordinary size and complexity of the universe it is apparent that a mind capable of creating this Whole is beyond human comprehension. By necessity, a gradation of consciousness is needed between the one indescribable Divine and the ordinary human. This infinite ladder of consciousness – of different awareness and complexity - is occupied by intelligent entities from the most mundane to the most supreme. This range of beings at different stages of consciousness enables the incarnate human to find a guide at the level of awareness to which he can relate
Certain advanced spirits have developed to the point where they no longer need to re-incarnate but are available as helpful intermediaries between the Divine one and individual incarnate souls. These advanced souls are recognised in many forms including inspirers of individual religions such as Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed, avatars, saints, masters and guides. They are available as teachers and guides for incarnate individuals and are a part of the ladder of consciousness
Correspondence - One of the most widely used principles of the Wisdom, and attributed to Hermes, is:
‘As below, so above; as above, so below’
It is held that there is a direct correspondence between what is found in the macrocosm - the universe, the human body, and the microcosm – the infinitely small. In every aspect of the mental material, and spiritual universe is found a reflection of this principle. This means that by understanding how these principles are found in man, the same may be applied to other objects and other human constructs and communities.
Vibration - Everything is in permanent motion and vibration. Nothing is still for a second. Although all is Mind and consciousness, the different manifestations of matter, energy, mind and spirit arise from varying rates of vibration. The highest rate of vibration is the Universal Mind and the very lowest is the coarsest material solid. By learning how to handle this vibration, it is possible for the individual to manipulate material and spiritual forms.
Rhythm - Everything flows and has its tides. All things rise and fall. The pendulum’s swing to the right is balanced by the swing to the left. Rhythm compensates for all. The only constant is a state of change following a rhythm of ebb and flow. This movement is seen in the tides of the ocean, the seasons and the breath. It occurs, over longer periods, in human and animal life, in businesses, community projects and in still longer periods in nations and empires. The pattern is birth, growth, a plateau of maturity, and then gentle decay and finally death. An understanding of this ‘Breathing of Energy’ is helpful when working with the changes experienced in the material world such as the regular periods of economic growth and recession.
Part of this rhythm is
Reincarnation - It is not recognized by the Christian religion but has always been believed in the East. This is the concept of an individual spark of the Divine repeatedly descending into the material world in order to learn and grow in consciousness and awareness. This is done in a series lives, in a male or female body, and in a wide variety of roles, as what has to be learned cannot be achieved in one lifetime. The soul returns time and again to learn and grow until reaching the point of complete transformation and oneness with the Divine - and no longer needing to re-incarnate.
Creation - This mind first manifests by producing a sea of shimmering energy that fills the entire universe - called the Akasha by the early Hindus and the Ether by 19th century scientists – this might also be the Quantum Field of contemporary physicists. This energy is the potential from which all may be materialized. An idea imposed by the Mind upon this universal energy produces the material world that we see around us,
Energy - This is the concept of different spiritual and material entities vibrating at different ‘frequencies’ some of which are not currently measurable. This idea might be more acceptable if we think of the extraordinary spectrum of electro magnetic energy. Until recently, only a small section of this range of energy, visible light, was known. More has been learned with modern instruments, including x-rays and radio waves. Maybe one-day instruments will be developed able to record the currently undetectable spiritual energies.
Levels - The word ‘Levels’ is used to describe different frequencies of spiritual energy. The words ‘above’ and ‘below' are often used and imply the physical separation of items that in reality occupy the same space but at different energy levels… The spiritual world could be thought of as a different universe interpenetrating the physical world, in some ways analogous to the dozens of unseen television, radio and mobile signals flowing through the same place at the same time, but only observable with a suitable receiver.
These levels are described in many different ways, but the following is a working summary:
Spiritual Level - the level of pure spirit - the ground of all being.
Astral Level – sometimes called the Akashic or Mind Level - a non-material level, where the universal human emotions, feelings and thoughts are to be found. At this level are held what are called the Akashic Records - an accessible ‘library’ containing every thought, concept and idea that has ever been formulated.
The Etheric Level - a materially formless level of alive and intelligent energy. An energy permeating and filling the whole universe being the raw material from which all physical objects are created. An idea, held firmly, with absolute clarity in this formless substance, creates a material copy on the Physical Plane.
The Physical Level - the material level at which are found all physical objects
Balance - Everything is dual, everything has poles, everything has its pair of opposites. Everything has its masculine and feminine principles. This can be thought of as positive and negative energies influencing and balancing one another. Everything contains both these principles. Every male thing has a female element and every female thing contains the mail principle. We see this most clearly in electricity, magnetism and the composition of the atom, although it is found everywhere and in everything. Like and Unlike are the same. These opposites are identical, simply poles of one concept. By understanding that there are always two poles, always two extremes, and that there is a place of balance in the middle, is the secret of living a balanced calm and peaceful life. From this understanding flows the ability to look for the opposite pole in every statement. When the opposite pole can be understood, then a decision can be made as to where the balanced truth may lie
Cause and effect - Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause. According to this principle, there is no such thing as Chance or Luck – everything is a direct result of something that happened earlier,
By understanding this it becomes clear that actions today affect what happens in the future. Some of these actions will be initiated by ourselves, others will be initiated elsewhere, but the result of these actions is inevitable. By ordering our behaviour we can influence our future lives.
This concept is the essence of the principle of
Karma - In each life, the spirit grows in consciousness and awareness and carries out both positive and negative actions. Positive actions help the spirit to grow towards its ultimate objective. Negative actions have to be compensated for and healed and do so by returning to the initiator, but this time inflicted by another.
Make up of Man - (taken to include both men and women) = The Wisdom defines the human being as being a complex structure of seven components each being made up of of seven subsidiary components. For this exercise we will simplify this to the classic three-fold description of man as being Mind, Body and Spirit.
Spirit- this is thought of as being two-fold – the one eternal universal Mind and the Spark of this Mind and dwells within the heart of every human being.
Mind – also thought of as the Soul - The mind is the bridge between the eternal formless, numinous spirit and the physical, earthbound Body. This mind is two-fold, a Higher Mind in touch with the world of the spirit end of which is part of the eternal individuality of the soul, and a Lower Mind which is the mortal personality in any one life, that is in touch with the physical body with its material and emotional needs
Body- this is thought as being three-fold, the so-called Etheric Body, which is the spiritual pattern of the physical body, the spark of vitality, the Bringer of Life, flowing from the world of the Spirit, and the flesh and blood Physical Body itself.