THE SOUL

 

The study of the soul is a pursuit both demanding and satisfying. But the deeper the inquiry goes, the more mysterious the subject becomes. What is this entity? The soul is not a thing that can be held with the hands, or heard with the ears, or seen with the eyes. The soul may seem so elusive as to be nothing more than a profound absence, justifying the bleak sense that we are only what we appear to be, and that our spirit is merely a wishful notion. Yet occasionally, as if by grace, there seems to be in our lives a palpable presence of creative power and loving wisdom, the source of which is as close to us as our own true being.

Currently there are great treasures emerging from the spiritual disciplines of the world. Humanity's wisdom teachings are presently accessible to anyone within reach of a bookstore. Today we can find, hidden within the literature of an ageless and worldwide esoteric tradition, an elegant theory and a simple practice that we can use as a map - to find the soul for ourselves.

In spite of, or even because of, the unprecedented wealth of available material, it can take much searching to find reliable information on the subject of the soul. Synchronicity plays a big part in this course of study. Occasionally the right book drops into our lap at exactly the right point. Or perhaps the right advisor shows up at precisely the right moment. The trick seems to be perseverance. If we continue studying and seeking, testing and checking, this mysterious subject can apparently unfold endless meaning as it leads us to its source. Every connection can bring us deeper. This brief but dense piece of writing is designed to serve those seriously engaged in the quest for the soul.
 

MAY THIS WORK BE OF BENEFIT, AND MAY IT CAUSE NO HARM!

Theory

The term esoteric has several meanings: The literal meaning is "occult" or hidden. For instance, the esoteric element of a religion is interior and mystical, as opposed to the exoteric components which are exterior and orthodox. Popularly, the term "esoteric" is sometimes used to mean "mystifying nonsense." But it is employed by the tradition of esotericism in a more technical sense - to mean of the soul.

The Esoteric Tradition is a worldwide phenomenon, spanning millennia, and dedicated to, among other things, the study of the soul and its wisdom. It is an informally organized system of theory and practice, with teachers in every period, culture, and field of human endeavor. It is known by different names, including: Theosophy, the Ageless Wisdom, the Perennial Philosophy, and the Primordial Tradition. But perhaps it is best to think of the Esoteric Tradition as Humanity's Wisdom Teachings, because the wisdom of the soul does not belong to any sectarian organization; rather, it is a human heritage, the birthright of anyone willing to undertake the rigors of seeking the soul and its wisdom.

And that is the traditional reason for the esoteric quest - the soul is known as a true source of wisdom; considered "occult" because it is hidden within our own being, in a dimension of consciousness that exists beyond the personality that we mistake ourselves to be. In fact, the search for the soul leads us directly to our self. But this is a pure true self - totally other than the body, heart, and mind we have come to believe that we know.

Recent studies of the wisdom teachings of our species give us an extraordinary model of the human psyche. There are a number of versions with significant differences in detail, but with remarkable core similarities as well. What emerges from wisdom teachings is an elegant and lovely theory of the soul -one half of the map that will show us the way to find the soul for ourselves.

Central to the esoteric approach is the notion that reality is composed of a vast field of energies. The human being is conceived as a unit of being that participates intimately in the being of the cosmos (as a kind of hol-entity); and as a microcosm, shares the same energies as the macrocosm. In esoteric terms the basic aspects of reality are viewed as three primal energies:

1. Spirit, Power, Will, the Father Principle, the positive pole.
2. Soul, Consciousness, Love, the Christ Principle, the magnetic field.
3. Matter, Intelligence, Light, the Mother Principle, the negative pole.

 
In accordance with the ageless law of correspondences - (in the ancient Hermetic terms "as above, so below,") the nature of humanity reflects the nature of divinity. (Psyche=Cosmos). So the esoteric psychological model of the constitution of the human being is also essentially a threefold concept:

1. Spirit
2. Soul
3. Personality

 
3. The Personality (persona in Greek for "via sound," mouthpiece, or mask) is the instrument, or form. It is a reflection in matter, an unfolding display of our own true being. It is composed of three substantial but increasingly subtle bodies, each more or less spherical, and arranging themselves concentrically -ranging outward from the denser physical to the subtler causal:

A vital or etheric body - a subtle energy body of many interwoven lines of force. The weblike structure of the etheric body organizes the denser aggregate of countless tiny lives known as the physical body; the one which falls away and begins to dissolve at the event known as death. In the esoteric model the gross physical body is regarded as a temporary effect, while the subtle etheric body is considered a continuously evolving instrument for contact with material reality. The vital corresponds with the element of earth. The mineral kingdom is evolving its consciousness at the level of the etheric.

This body can be experienced as a field of sensation.

An astral or emotional body- a subtle body composed of sentiency - the capacity of organisms to register impression from the environment. Humanity's stage of evolution at this point is such that the consciousness of most persons is polarized emotionally. Most people have developed a large degree of emotional sensitivity, and tend to react from this level. Humanity is often swept into motion by passion, driven by fear and desire. From the esoteric point of view, the astral body is somewhat problematic, since its turbulence is difficult to master. The astral corresponds to the element of water. The vegetable kingdom is evolving its consciousness at the level of the astral.

This body can be experienced as a field of feeling.

A lower mental body - a subtle body composed of the substance of mind - the capacity of living beings to think, to reason and ponder. Humanity is undergoing a transition, an evolutionary shift from instinctual emotional reactions toward intelligent mental responses. From the esoteric perspective, the ability to focus at the level of mind is critical for those who seek to be of service in the ways of the soul. Discernment, once freed from any distortions of attachment and resistance, is regarded as especially important. The mental corresponds to the element of fire. The animal kingdom is evolving its consciousness at the level of the mental.

(Note - the lower mental is the persona level of concrete cognition, as opposed to the higher mental which is the soul level of abstract cognition.)

This body can be experienced as a field of thought.

These three increasingly subtle bodies compose the instrumental personality, and for much of the evolutionary process of developing a fully functioning personality, the task is to coordinate the vital, astral, and mental levels into an integrated unit that is ready to serve the purposes of the soul.

The three levels of the personality are all considered to be composed of substance. Substances mental and emotional as well as etheric and physical are regarded as created from intelligence, or light - the basic material of the cosmic mother principle.

2. The Soul - (psyche in Greek) is the evolving quality of the human entity, developing over countless lifetimes through the instrumentality of the personality. The soul is essentially consciousness. It is trans-personal, meaning it exists beyond the person; it is a-mortal, meaning it is not born and does not die; and it is non-local, meaning it is not confmed to the bounds of space and time. This concept is somewhat different from the Christian notion of ruah, (Hebrew for breath) which is imaged as a ghost that enters into the body before birth and leaves it at death. The esoteric conception holds that the soul remains a transcendent consciousness throughout its experiences of embodiment. The term soul is not used by Buddhists, who tend to be committed to the notion of anatma (Sanskrit for no soul). The esoteric tradition is not ignorant of the meaning of that doctrine, and teaches a pragmatic non-dualism in which the relativistic perspective, that thinks in terms of the soul as a separate entity, is expected to evolve toward the perspective of the absolute, which knows all beings as a boundless singularity. (A Buddhist term which might serve as an equivalent for the esoteric term "soul" is alaya - used by Tibetan mysticism to refer to ordinary, or unconditioned, awareness as the basis for the existence of individual beings.)

In esotericism the term the soul is employed in a technical sense to refer to the causal body - which is a temporary sheath composed of mental substance and designed to focalize spiritual energies into the dimension of substance. The occult term the soul is also employed more generally to refer to the triad - which is a unit of consciousness composed of three spiritual energies:

Manas - a Sanskrit term for a higher or abstract mind - the principle of creative intelligence. "Manas" is the root of the word "man" (not in a gender exclusive sense) and means the entity which thinks. The manasic is the aspect of consciousness which creates by reflecting itself into the material substance of universal intelligence. Substance responds to consciousness by building forms to house the energies of intention. The principle of creative intelligence operates according to the magical axiom - "energy follows thought."

Manas can be known as the creative aspect of the soul which serves by making thought forms via the energy of light.

Buddhi - a Sanskrit term for the loving wisdom which interconnects all beings. The energy of Buddhi is the spintual basis of the faculties of intuition and compassion. It is direct knowing-by-being-one-with, or wisdom. It is also total contact through intrinsic union, or love. The buddhic is the aspect of consciousness which is capable of perfectly reflecting and discerning both spiritual and material realities. This capacity is known as pure reason.

Buddhi can be known as the relating aspect of the soul which serves by joining beings with reality via the energy of love.

Atma - a Sanskrit term for the power of will which generates an individual being differentiated from and yet co-essential with universal existence. The atmic is the aspect of consciousness which makes the soul into a distinct individualized entity with the power of choice and the responsibility of decision. The energy of atma is the spiritual basis for intentionality, the ability to direct energies in a purposive manner.

Atma can be known as the volitional aspect of the soul which serves by focusing intentionality via the energy of will.

According to the esoteric wisdom teachings, these three aspects of consciousness constitute the nature of the soul. (At this point it is important to remember that we are discussing the composition of our own being.) The soul1s basic powers are the energies of light, love, and will. The soul unfolds its nature through an endless series of cycles, reflecting life into form, and thus developing the quality of its consciousness. Consciousness is the essence of the Christ or Bodhisattva principle, which connects spirit to matter and relates void to form.

1. The Spirit is an entity whose nature remains mysterious. The esoteric teachings, which are notorious for being veiled, are particularly occult regarding this subject. But we can surmise that the term "Spirit" is employed to refer to an aspect of our being that links the relative and individual to the absolute and universal. And although the esoteric teachings are peculiarly noncommittal, reticent concerning precise detail, it is clear that our spirit extends itself into endless expanses of increasing subtlety:

The Monad (Greek for "the one" or a unity without parts) is also known as anupadaka - a Sanskrit term meaning "without parents" or "self-originated." The monad is described as a spark of the cosmic fire, and is depicted as the point in the center of the circle, or as the perfect jewel at the blossom's heart. This one" holds the soul's energies, being the source of the triad, while it shares in the divine nature of Spirit. It is important to note that from the angle of the person each being has its own monad, but from the angle of the spirit, this is a one for which there is no other.

The Logos (Greek for "the word," or meaning or knowledge) is divinity in a localized sense as in "the Planetary logos11 or "the Solar Logos" - great spiritual individualities that contain and direct vast scale systems. This aspect of our being is occasionally referred to as "He about whom naught may be said."

Adi is a Sanskrit term, meaning "the Primordial" - not merely in the sense of primeval but in the absolute sense of transcending origins altogether - indeed being prior to time and space. The term Adi (Vajrayana Ati and Vedanta Adhi) implies the divine boundless awareness of existence itself.

The wisdom teachings of the Esoteric Tradition assert that what humanity conceives of as the greatest spirit is merely the beginning of an in{mite extension. It is especially important to clarify that the verticalism of this theoretical model (the crude sense of three stacked levels - Spirit/Soul/Person) is a distortion due to the limitations of concepts, images, and language. (Indeed the term Hierarchy does not mean "stratified," as it is popularly interpreted, but rather means "sacred rule.") The person, the soul, and the spirit, are not separate structures arranged in "levels", but are rather simply aspects of being, that are at once our own being, a unity of all beings, and being itself.

Perhaps holonomic will prove a useful concept to ponder on - inter-nested systems within systems within systems, supported by coexistent fields beyond fields beyond fields. But the intellect boggles at the unlimited completely, and apparently the essential nature of the great field or void which underlies the existence of systems and entities cannot be conceived. Although we can certainly intuit and can certainly be inspired, humans may not be capable of fully grasping the spirit at this point in the evolution of our consciousness. let it suffice to note that the esoteric conception of spirit links the soul directly with God.

This is esoteric theory. Human beings are constituted of a triplicity of one spirit, individualized souls, and a personality composed of multiple bodies. This model serves as a map to point toward our own true being. By applying the model to ourselves we can find the way to the soul.

(Note - Bodies, soul, Spirit - the model points in a self-ward direction. Radical non-dual teachings, such as Dzogchen and Advaita, assert that the Primordial is no different than the ordinary awareness that is apprehending the meaning of this starement here and now. One way to understand this is to consider physics - the fundamental material of existence - as an omnipresent medium, rather than as a conglomeration of particles or objects. Then one can begin to inquire as to whether the objective medium of existence and the subjective medium of awareness really are a duality of two separate "things" or a unity of one and the same medium - a psycho-cosmic foundation. From there one can directly sense the presence of primordial spirit as the most basic ground of one's own being).

Practice:

I have a body, but l am not my body. (Let the body be still.)
I have feelings, but I am not my feelings. (Let the heart be calm.)
I have thoughts, but l am not my thoughts. (Let themind be alert.)

l am the soul. l am light; l am love; and l am will.

I offer my very self in service to the Plan of God.

Let the soul's pure energies of will, love, and light,
pour forth from my mind, my heart, and my body
.
 

Recent studies of humanity's wisdom teachings provide methods as well as models of the soul. A number of emerging psychologies are developing sophisticated approaches. (The bibliography of this work should serve to refer the serious student to a diverse variety of sources.) For instance, in psychologist Roberto Assagioli's Psychosynthesis, we can find the other half of our map - an especially effective practice that aligns perfectly with the esoteric theory. Dr. Assagioli has codified a potent yet simple means for the person to contact the soul, unfold its wisdom, achieve attunement with divine intentionality, and to attain fusion of spirit, soul, and person. (The above meditation is freely adapted.)

"Neti, neti," (Sanskrit for "not this, not that") is a classic method for detaching our sense of identification from the contents of consciousness in order to awaken to our true identity as the context of consciousness. Assagioli did not invent the practice, but rather adapted it for current applications. In the literature of Psychosynthesis the practice is referred to by the technical terms dis-identification and self-identification:

(Note: Assagioli uses the term "higher self" rather than using the term the soul. But for the purposes of consistency, this work shall employ the term the soul.)

I am not my body - We do tend to identify ourselves with our physical nature. But our being is not identical with its material manifestation. We have the ability to detach our sense of identity from our bodies. One way to do this is to witness, or observe, the sensations of embodiment, and thus to realize that the consciousness that experiences the body transcends the body.

I am not my feelings - We tend to identify ourselves with our affective, or emotional, experience. But our being is not identical with its emotional manifestations. We have the ability to detach our sense of identification from our feeling nature. We can do this by witnessing the flow of our feelings, and thus realizing that the consciousness that experiences feelings does so from a perspective that transcends feelings.

l am not my thoughts - We also tend to identify ourselves with our cognitive capacity. But again, our being is not identical with its mental manifestations. We possess the ability to detach our sense of identification from our thinking nature. We can accomplish this by observing the processes of our thought, and thus realizing that the consciousness that experiences thoughts does so from a vantage that is quite beyond the mind.

l am the soul. I am light, love, and will - Once we have freed our sense of self from our bodies, our hearts, and our minds, we can re-identify as the soul. This may seem strange - but it is necessary to dis-identify from the parts of our being in order to self-identify as the whole of our being. We must deconstruct the associations that confuse us into believing that we are the transitory contents of consciousness, in order to remember that we are actually the transcendent context of consciousness. In other words, we are not the sensations, feelings, or thoughts that are experienced by consciousness, we are consciousness itself. This is a crucial realization, because it is only from the trans-personal perspective of the witnessing consciousness that we have direct, unmediated, access to the wisdom, loving-kindness and power of the soul. By recalling that we in fact are the soul's energies of light, love, and will, we find ourselves in a perfect position to consciously direct those creative energies.

I offer my self in service to the Plan - It is by being the soul that we can come to act as the soul. A human unit of consciousness that has achieved even momentary liberation from identification with its limited form nature (contents), and has attained even momentary awakening to its identity as boundless spiritual essence (context), has direct access to divine intent. Personal tendencies toward selfishness and foolishness are not instantly or permanently dispelled by accomplishing this viewpoint. But the individual who perseveres in the discipline of transpersonal witnessing and soul identification will gradually develop and stabilize the perspective of the soul. The essential nature of the soul is purposive, loving wisdom. And the soul is our original identity. By taking a stand as soul consciousness we create a conduit for spiritual direction and guidance to inform our personality consciousness. In esoteric terms this state of awareness is called the antahkarana (Sanskrit for "inner organ of sense"). By accomplishing the stabilization of the antahkarana human beings can attune their intentions to the divine design.

This is the esoteric practice. One aligns with the soul, invokes the soul, and becomes the soul, in order to fullill the divine purpose. The Psychosynthesis techniques of dis-identificadon andself-identification, provide a map for attaining fusion with, as well as actually finding the soul.

(Note - There is a position, known as "the heart in the head," or "the cave," located at the center of the brain, at the intersection of a vertical line from the crown chakra over the top of the head and a horizontal line from the third eye, or ajna center between the brows. A relaxed yet attentive focus at this point renders the personality stable enough to accurately apprehend the intuition of the soul. The disciple, through a sustained process of rhythmic meditation, through persistent cycles of daily practice, can develop and maintain a center of focus - a point for soul contact. An esoteric prerequisite for this discipline is that the practitioner should have established a reliable personality integration. In order for the person to become a useful instrument for the soul's purposes, the three bodies need to be able to operate with coherence and synergy. The development of character is fundamental to the personality's ability to function consistendy as a working unit. For this reason a healthy balance between meditation and service is important - meditation develops the connection and service refmes the coordination.)

There are definite hazards associated with this knowledge. The very real risk exists that an undisciplined person will mistake thefr personal agenda for that of the soul. Even a trained disciple of the wisdom teachings must contend with the personality's tendency to distort spiritual information for self-centered reasons. One of humanity's deepest problems is assuming that our limited understandings of divine intentions are accurate and appropriate, and that our decisions and actions are justified by claims to wisdom. We only have to observe our species' global predicament to know that the stakes of the struggle between selfishness and spirituality are very great. Although the psychosynthetic method of dis-identification and self-identification has been refined through millennia of experimentation, it cannot be employed as a mere mechanical technique. This work is not a morally neutral activity. Certain commitments are necessary for accomplishing reliable fusion with the soul.

If a given person is drawn to soul wisdom, and toward knowing and serving the divine plan, then that person should consider the requirements of esoteric discipleship. Serious students of wisdom in other words those who intend to apply the teachings - should be cautioned to learn the laws of the soul.

One of the basic commitments is to discernment. The esoteric disciple is not immune to the glamorous illusions of "the Path." The rigors of perceiving reality through the filters of our personality distortions are demanding. The soul knows via the faculty of intuition, also known as "straight knowing," or "direct knowledge," a trans-sensory and trans-rational mode of perception (without the mediation of personal sensory or rational faculties). The classical terms for wisdom - the Mahayana Buddhist term prajna, the Indian Vedanta term gnana, and the Greek Christian term gnosis, could all be said to mean "knowing-by-being-one-with." In fact, wisdom could be technically defined as a state of awareness in which the interior subject and the exterior object are united. In order to enjoy reliable access to the soul's knowledge, a person must become skillful in the apprehension of intuition. This is an extremely sophisticated accomplishment, and the practitioner should be aware that delusion might be a potential danger for lifetimes of practice. It can be, however, very helpful to learn the difference between the images and phrases generated by the symbol-displaying functions of the neo-cortex, and the pure meanings intuited by consciousness. The soul "just knows," by virtue of direct contact with the truth, but the brain must register knowledge in some form. Precisely there is the potential for error. Intuition works best if the personality is quiet, detached, and vigilant - the body still, the heart calm, the mind alert. In this way spiritual meaning can be neurologically interpreted more or less exactly. The soul can pass its monadic impulse into the three bodies without undue personality impedance and distortion.

Another basic commitment of esoteric discipleship is that of harmlessness (ahimsa in Sanskrit). By virtue of being joined with being itself, the soul lives in union with all beings. The central energy of consciousness is love, and the soul's direction will always be oriented toward benefit to all beings. If any source of guidance counsels the degradation, violation, or exploitation of other beings, then that source is not of the soul. The soul is light and love, and its will is good.Discernment is the responsibility of the practitioner. We are capable of discriminating between impulses of anger, fear and desire, and impulses of conscientious intelligence. The commitment to harmlessness is fundamental for many reasons, not the least of which is that the moral struggle to discern wisdom and to choose selflessness rather than selfishness is in itself an intensive consciousness discipline which refines the practitioner's character.

Yet another basic commitment is an attitude of selfless service. For the esoteric disciple meditation can become a ceremonial sacrifice - an everyday surrender of one's body, heart, and mind, to the soul; a giving over of one's personal identity to identification as the soul; and an offering of one's total being in service to the Plan of God. The disciple is one who has committed himself or herself to the service of the universal whole of which individual beings are a part. This service is done by the soul, but the entire being must participate. The personality must be mastered by the soul in order to serve the plan with precision. The three bodies - vital, astral, and mental - must be integrated and eventually synthesized into a perfected instrument in order to serve the purposes of the conscious entity, the soul that overshadows, indwells, and eventually fuses with the personality.

This process proceeds, over many lifetimes, by an orderly series of unfoldments of consciousness, referred to as initiations. Its course is greatly enhanced by the deliberate involvement of the personality in the activities of esoteric meditation and service to humanity. Day by day, year by year, life by life, the disciple receives the energies of inspiration through rhythmic meditation, aligning the three bodies with the soul and invoking the energies of light, love, and will. (Meditation is considered the vertical dimension of an even-armed cross.) And day by day, year by year, life by life, the disciple distributes the energies of goodwill, loving-kindness, and wisdom, through humbly meeting the need of the humanity he or she encounters in the course of his or her lives. (Service is considered the horizontal dimension, the even-armed cross symbolizing balance.) In this way the karma, or action, of personal circumstance is transformed into the dharma, or duty, of service. Through patient, modest, study and practice we are transformed into nothing more or less than our own souls, and we then serve as catalysts for others, sharing the change with all that we meet, by becoming a radiant and magnetic source of blessing energies.

The esoteric tradition presents a model, and Assagioli's Psychosynthesis codifies a method. We seem to have a map to the soul. The only way to know for sure whether this quest is wisdom or folly is to give it a fair trial.

Suggestion for group study - unfold about one page per meeting.Sources Relating to the Soul:

General resources on human consciousness and spirituality.
 

Besant, Annie. (1938). A Study in Consciousness: a Contribution to the Science of Psychology. Adyar, India: The Theosophical Publishing House. (Early text on Consciousness Studies - originally published in 1904).

Feuerstein, Georg. (1989). Yoga: The Technology of Ecstasy. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher. (General introduction to the diverse variety of approaches termed "Yoga").

Huxley, Aldous. (1945). The Perennial Philosophy. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press. (Classic survey of humanity's wisdom traditions - wealth of quotations from global sources).

James, William (1961). The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. Collier Macmillan, Publishers. (Discussion of the commonality of human spirituality).

Sangharakshita. (1987). A Survey of Buddhism: Its Doctrines and Methods Through the Ages. London: Tharpa Publications. (General introduction to the wealth of Buddhist approaches).

Schuhmacher, Stephan & Woerner, Gert, eds. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion. Boston: Shambhala. (Useful general resource - comprehensive and concise).

Tart, Charles. ed. (1992). Transpersonal Psychologies: Perspectives on the Mind from Seven Great Spiritual Traditions.  San Francisco: Harper Collins Publishers. (Indudes chapter on western magical tradition).

Vaughan, Frances & Walsh, Roger. eds. (1980). Beyond Ego: Transversonal Dimensions in Psychology. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc. (General introduction to transpersonal field - collection of essays by major writers).

Materials related to esoteric sciences: included are explicit discussions of the soul as well as background on the esoteric tradition, and technical information on meditation and service. (Alice Bailey claims to be serving as ammanuensis for an adept known as "the Tibetan").

Bailey, Alice. (1936). Esoteric Psychology: Vol. One and Two. NY: Lucis Publishing Company. (Includes esoteric definitions of the soul and descriptions of its qualities).

Bailey, Alice (1922). Letters on Occult Meditation. NY: Lucis Publishing Company. (Primer - occult in the technical sense of inner, not in the popular sense of dark forces).

Bailey, Alice. (1971). Ponder On This. NY: Lucis Pub. Comp. (The esoteric enclycopedia - compilation of main points of Tibetan 's teachings - an indispensable resource on esoteric discipleship and the Great White Lodge).

Bailey, Alice. (1972). Serving Humanity. NY: Lucis Publishing Company. (Another compilation - focused on issues pertaining to service).

Bailey, Alice. (1974). The Soul: a Compilation. NY: Lucis Publishing Company. (Another compilation - focused on the subject of the soul).

Bailey, Alice. (1925). A Treatise on Cosmic Fire. NY: Lucis Publishing Company.

Bailey, Alice. (1934). A Treatise on White Magic: or The Way of the Disciple. NY: Lucis Pub.

Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna. (1990). The Foundations of Esoteric Philosophy. London: The Theosophical Publishing House. (Brief general introduction to esoterica by founder of Theosophical Society).

Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna. (1988). The Secret Doctrine: Vol.1 - Cosmogenesis, Vol. II - Anthropogenesis. London: The Theosophical Publishing House. (Classic seminal sources).

Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna. (1988). The Voice of the Silence: Being Extracts from the Book of the Golden Precepts. Wheaton, IL. The Theosophical Publishing House.

Cedercrans, Lucille. (1993). The Nature of the Soul. Whittier, CA: Wisdom Impressions. (Pragmatic introduction to the soul and service - in the form of intensive lessons - recommended for all considering application of wisdom to fields of human endeavor).

Cedercrans, Lucille. (1993). The Soul and Its Instrument. Whittier, CA: Wisdom Impressions. (Further lessons - equally pragmatic, i.e, useful integration of theory and practice).

Codd, Clara M. (1964). The Way of the Disciple. Adyar, India: The Theosophical Publishing House. (Theosophical introduction to esoteric discipleship).

Roerich, Nicholas. (1990). Heart of Asia: Memoirs from the Himalayas. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, Ltd. (Includes section on Shambhala).

Strong, Mary. (1948). Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood. London: Harper and Row. (Friendly counsel of loving wisdom - anonymous sources).

Materials related to Psychosynthesis: included are discussions of dis-identification and self-identification, as well as both the transpersonal and universal wills.

Assagioli, Roberto. (1992). The Act of Will. NY: Arkana.

Assagioli, Roberto. (1993). Psychosynthesis. NY: Arkana.

Ferrucci, Piero. (1982). What We May Be: Techniques for PsychologicaI and Spiritual Growth Through Psychosynthesis. NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam. (Accessible introduction to Psychosynthesis).

Stauffer, Edith. (1987). Unconditional Love and Forgiveness. Diamond Springs, CA: Psychosynthesis International. (Essene-based teachings on soul and love, as well as effective techniques for forgiveness of self and others).

Materials related to Pure Phenomenology: includes discussions of an "egology," an occidental methodology for locating "transcendental subjectivity" via "radical philosophic meditation. Phenomenology is well known as a method for humanistic research, but Husserl remains unrecognized in the West for discovering and exploring a basis for scientific knowledge located prior to the conventional dichotomy of epistemology (the study of knowing) and ontology (the study of being). Husserl has succeeded in codifying a reliable approach to the unmediated confrontation of reality.

Husserl, Edmund. (1962). Ideas: an Inrroduction to Pure PhenomenoIoy. London: Collier Macmillan, Publishers. (Suggestion - read the brief introduction).

Husserl, Edmund. (1970). Paris Lectures. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.

Materials related to Perennial Psychology: included are comprehensive surveys of global sources, discussions of a "transpersonal witness consciousness" and diverse methodologies for locating "absolute subjectivity." Wilber is a transdisciplinary scholar of human wisdom, and acknowledged as the foremost theorist of the contemporary transpersonal field.

Wilber, Ken. (1985). No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth. Boston and London: Shambhala. (Accessible introduction to non-dual teachings).

Wilber, Ken. (1982). The Spectrum of Consciousness. London and Madras: Theosophical Publishing House. (Foundational framework of Transpersonal Psychology - codifies the Perennial Psychology - integrates a wealth of teachings from global sources - provides a one-text education in humanity's wisdom teachings).

Materials related to the Great Perfection (or in Tibetan, "Dzogchen") and also termed the Primordial Yoga (or "Ati Yoga"): induded are discussions of "the natural state" of "ordinary awareness" as well as "the Primordial Buddha" Padmasambhava discusses a triplicity of Dharmakaya (body of truth), Sammbhogakaya, (body of enjoyment) and Nimianakaya (body of form) which resonates powerfully with the esoteric triplicity of spirit, soul, and bodies.

Guenther, Herbert, and Longchenpa. (1975). Kindly Bent to Ease Us: Parts 1. 2. & 3. Emervville, Ca.: Dharma Publications.

Padmasambhava (1989). (J. Reynolds, trans.) Self-Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness: Being an Introduction to the Nature of One's own Mind. Barrytown, N.Y.: Station Hill Press. (Translation of seminal text with commentary - the source is intended to serve as a direct introduction to the immediate experience of unconditioned awareness.

Padmasambhava. (1974). (WY. Evans-Wentz, ed.) The Tibetan Book of the Great Uberation: or the Method of Realizing Nirvana Through Knowing the Mind. London and Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Translation of and commentary on the above text from a theosophical perspective).

Related to The Non-Dual (or in Sanskrit,"Advaita") and also termed the Primordial Yoga, (or Adhi Yoga) included are discussions of the basic nature of awareness, discussions of "natural yoga" as well as "the Self)" "self-enquiry," pure being," and "the true teacher." Nisargadatta discusses a triplicity of Paramakash (field of pure spirit), Chidakash (field of consciousness) and Mahadalash (field of matter or energy) which resonates powerfully with the esoteric triplicity of spirit, soul, and bodies.

Nisargadatta Maharaj. (1973). (M. Frydman, trans.) I Am That. Durham, S.C.: The Acorn Press. (Introduction to non-dual reality - lessons from the angle of a "knower" - employs a method of direct self-inquiry).

Nisargadatta Maharaj. (1985). (J. Dunn, ed.) Prior to Consciousness: Talks with Nisargadatta Maharal. Durham, S.C.: The Acorn Press.

Nisargadatta Maharaj. (1982). (J. Dunn, ed.) Seeds of Consciousness. Durham, S.C.: The Acorn Press.

Ramana Maharshi. (1972). The Siritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi. Boston and London: Snambhala. (Introduction to non-dual reality, again from the angle of one who knows - also employs a method of direct self-inquiry).

Miscellaneous materials related to the subject of the soul: included are works on therapy and research, also seminal and emerging works from the exoteric angle of Depth Psychology.

Deikman, Arthur. (1982). The Observing Self: Mysticism and Psychotherapy. Boston: Beacon Press. (Psychological discussion of mysticism, intuition, cultural hypnosis, and related subjects - clarifies distinction between objective self and observing self). Dossey, Larry. (1989). Recovering the Soul: a Scientific and Spiritual Search. NY: Bantam Books. (Scientific discussion of non-local mind - evidence and implications).

Sullivan, Lawrence E. (ed) (1989). Death, Afterlife, and the Soul: Selections from the Encyclopedia of Religion. (edited by Mircea Eliade). N.Y.: Macmillan Publishing Company. (Anthropological resource). Jung, Carl. (1961). Memories, Dreams, and Reflections. NY: Pantheon Books. (Classic autobiography of modern pioneer into the "Mysterium Magnum").

Jung, Carl. (Laszlo, Violet, ed.) (1959). The Basic Writings of C. G. Yung. NY: Random House.

Moore, Thomas. (1992). The Care of the Soul: a Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. NY: Harper Collins Publishers. (Advocacy for the unconditional acceptance of wholeness).

Sardello, Robert. (1994). Facing the World with Soul: the Reimagination of Modern Life. NY: Harper Perennial. (Mythopoeic discussion of the common depths of psyche and world).

 

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