The Esoteric Approach
Oftentimes, we get perplexed reactions from people who attend our full moon group meditations or past seminars (or even those who visit our website), but who were not fully familiar with the philosophical framework of the ageless wisdom. Some seek further clarification to understand (which we are realy grateful with), but some chose to leave without asking and form their own conclusions. It is sad when unresolved issues sometimes lead to scorn and antagonism. Thus, we decided to put up this page to address uncertainties and clarify where we are coming from.
We believe that part of the confusion came from the dominant culture's stereotyping of the "new age mindset" as exclusively coming from the existential and metaphysical nihilism of its eastern religious origins.
For instance, as to our vision, activities and service programme -
- We believe in redeeming matter and the value of external and societal change to improve the quality of life to make it conducive for individual change, when almost everybody thinks that change should only come from the individual first.
- We believe that matter or the world can be transformed and spiritualized, when almost everybody thinks there is nothing to the world but illusion and the goal should be to transcend matter or renounce anything connected with matter
- We believe that the group or the common good or the larger community we belong is as important, when almost everybody thinks that only the individual and family are important
- We believe we can learn from the past, and the future of humanity and a Plan is as important, when almost everybody thinks that only the "now" is important
- We believe in being actively involved in world affairs and issues, when almost everybody thinks of not reacting to content and indifference
- We believe that service is a duty and is an expression of love in action on all fields of human activity, when almost everybody thinks that service is simply synonymous with "giving to charity", doling-out to the poor, or any sporadic acts of kindness
- We believe in active compassion, when almost everybody believes in dispassion and inaction
Even to our meditation methods -
- We actively use the mind to generate thoughts, when almost everybody tries to be passive, negate thoughts and make the mind blank
- We try to master the mind, when almost everybody believes in transcending the mind because it is the slayer of the real
- We try to use form and structure in meditation, when almost everybody eliminates the form altogether and dwell on abstractions and passive awareness
- We try to study the cause of world conflicts and illuminate public opinion, when almost everybody believes in simply meditating for world peace
Are we just being contemptuous by trying redefine the wheel or are there actual philosophical basis for these divergent views?
Accordingly, the study and application of the Ageless Wisdom in daily life follow two great approaches: that of the mystic and of the occultist (esotericist). Here's a brief differentiation made by AAB and the Tibetan:
"The mystic deals with the God within; the occultist with God in outer manifestation.
"The mystic works from the centre to the periphery; the occultist reverses the process.
"By finding the kingdom of God within himself and by the study of the laws
of his own being, the mystic becomes proficient in the laws which govern
the universe of which he is a part. The occultist recognises the kingdom of God
in nature or the system and regards himself as a small part of that greater whole,
and therefore governed by the same laws.
"The mystic seeks to work from the emotional to the intuitional,
and thence to the Monad, or Spirit. The occultist works from the physical to the mental,
and thence to the atma or Spirit."
But these seeming two opposing world-views are not exclusive to the ageless wisdom or occult/new age philosophy. It also spawned schisms across all human endeavor - politics, education, philosophy, religion, and even in economics - to wit (a few):
|inductive method||deductive method|
|neoliberal democracy||social democracy|
|neutrality, appeasement||peaceful or passive resistance|
|way of the heart||way of the head|
|Hinayana Buddhism||Mahayana Buddhism|
|path of the renunciate/own enlightenment/the Arhat||path of the savior/avatar/the Boddhisatva|
|bhakti yoga, laya yoga, kundalini yoga||raja yoga, jnana yoga, karma yoga|
|eastern occultism/ chaos magic||western occultism/ ritual magic|
|biblical Christianity/ personal experience with jesus||liturgical Christianity/ sacraments & rituals|
|show the love of Christ through conversion and evangelism||show the love of Christ through works of mercy and improving the world|
For a more accurate and detailed exposition on the nature of esotericism/occultism and the esoteric approach, please read excerpts from Alice A. Bailey's books: Nature of esotericism and The Mystic and the Occultist.
The Esoteric approach as depicted in films
If one doesn't want to bother with all the jargons of esotericism and all the philosophical gobbledegook, one simply has to see the animated comedy film, "The Simpsons Movie". The way we see it, the movie got it right in presenting the arguments between the mystical (represented by Homer Simpson) and the esoteric approach (Marge, Bart and Lisa Simpson) which divided the family. On one side, Homer only wants to save himself and his family and chose to remain indifferent to the problems of the community they are living with, while Marge and the kids would want to do something about it since they are the ones who partly caused the problems. For a synopsis of the film, Wikipedia's take is pasted below.
Thanks to The Simpsons Movie for the non-profit and
educational use of their images here. This movie in DVD
or blue ray can be purchased online via Amazon.com
Thanks also to Wikipedia for the plot synopsis reproduced below:
"While performing on Lake Springfield, rock band Green Day are killed when pollution in the lake dissolves their barge, following an audience revolt after frontman Billie Joe Armstrong proposes an environmental discussion. At a memorial service, Grampa has a prophetic vision in which he predicts the impending doom of the town, but only Marge takes it seriously. Lisa and an Irish boy named Colin, with whom she has fallen in love, hold a meeting where they convince the town to clean up the lake.
Meanwhile, Homer adopts a pig from Krusty Burger and names it "Plopper". Homer stores the pig's feces (and some of his own) in an overflowing silo which Marge tells him to dispose of safely. However, Homer gets distracted and instead dumps the silo in the lake, re-polluting it to an even more severe degree. Moments later, a squirrel jumps into the lake and becomes severely mutated. Nearby, Flanders and Bart discover the squirrel during a hike, and the EPA captures it. Russ Cargill, head of the EPA, presents five options to President Schwarzenegger to keep the town's pollution contained; he randomly picks option 3, enclosing Springfield in a large glass dome. When the police discover Homer's silo in the lake, an angry mob of townspeople approach the Simpsons' home and set the house on fire, but the family escape through a sinkhole that leads to the outside of the dome, and flee to Alaska.
The trapped citizens damage the dome over time and Cargill, not wanting news of what he has done to become widespread, plans to destroy Springfield. In Alaska, the Simpsons see an advertisement, starring Tom Hanks, for a new Grand Canyon to be located on the site where Springfield is located. Marge and the kids want to go and save the town, but Homer refuses to help the people who tried to kill them. The family abandon Homer and leave, but are captured by the EPA and then put back into the dome. After a visit from a mysterious Inuit shaman, Homer has an epiphany and believes he must save the town in order to save himself.
As he arrives at Springfield to do so, a helicopter lowers a bomb suspended by rope through a hole in the dome. Homer climbs to the peak of the dome and descends the rope, knocking the escaping townspeople and bomb off. Homer takes the bomb and a motorcycle. After reuniting with Bart, they drive up the side of the dome and Bart throws the bomb through the hole, seconds before detonation. The bomb explodes, shattering the dome, freeing everybody. Cargill, angry for ruining his plan, arrives and is to shoot Homer with a rifle, but gets knocked out by Maggie, who throws a rock at the evil CEO. The town finally praises Homer, who rides off with Marge on the motorcycle into the sunrise and kiss each other. The townspeople begin restoring Springfield back to normal."(From Wiki)
The Inuit Medicine Woman helped Homer undergo an "epiphany" or a sudden realization of great truth. Through throat singing, he was placed into a trance or vision quest where his past actions were replayed to his memory. In his vision the shaman warned him that unless he will have an epiphany, he will spend the remainder of his days alone. At one point, living trees tore-off Homer's limbs and the different parts of his body apart. Much like in a shamanic initiation but also, as we see it, is a symbolic esoteric idea that we are parts of a greater whole; we cannot function effectively without the whole, and the whole cannot live without its parts. Slowly, Homer came into the realization that "other people are just as important as me....without them, I am nothing. In order to save myself, I have to save Springfield, that's it!" Then suddenly the living trees brought back his body parts together again.