For 1000s of years, the world’s various esoteric traditions have spoken with one voice as to what the purpose of life is. And the message that these traditions have offered us (i.e. the "perennial philosophy") is that the purpose of all life experience is to guide creation towards self-realization, i.e. the awakening of the transcendent, bliss-consciousness that is the source of our being and our true nature and identity.
And although the particulars differ from one culture to another, these spiritual traditions have also been united in their understanding that the longing for spiritual healing (i.e. direct union with that transcendent, bliss-consciousness) is the ultimate motivation for all our actions and that meditation (i.e. focused attention upon that transcendent consciousness) is the most direct path to self-realization.
But despite the fact that the wisdom of these traditions has been potentially available for millennia, it remains, even today, largely unknown as human beings continue to search elsewhere for answers to the meaning of life.
The truth is that for most of history, the wisdom of the perennial philosophy has only been known to a select few. Often, it has been intentionally obfuscated or completely hidden. And, arguably, with good reason. The collective human consciousness was (and, in many ways, still is) relatively undeveloped. We are a young species. And the capacity to embrace or even understand a clear and direct exposition of this wisdom challenges us. To this day we see this sobering truth reflected in the many stories of avatars, prophets, saints, soothsayers and even "whistle-blowers" of ages past and present who have been slain, martyred, exiled or maligned for speaking a truth that their community was not ready to hear.
The sum and substance of this human evolutionary history is that the deeper understanding of the purpose of life (and of spiritual healing as the fulfillment of that purpose) has been either lost, distorted or forgotten altogether. And as such, human affairs have largely and sadly been starved of the fruits of self-realization.
The heartening promise of our spiritual heritage is that in every moment of our lives, we are meant to seek the fulfillment of our deepest longings through the transcendent joy of spiritual healing - not just as an occasional indulgence but as an ever-present sacred duty. Our happiness is not just intended - it is who we are. But, in our ignorance, we settle for seeking nothing more than the mere avoidance of pain or the pursuit of momentary pleasures to soothe our egoic desires because we don't know or are too afraid to believe there is anything more.
Even our systems of medicine and healing, in their efforts to advance the common good, unwittingly betray this bias for prioritizing our egoic desires over our spiritual longings. By seeking the removal of illness and disease as the principal measure of success in healing, they become overly invested in circumventing life's inescapable dualities. As such, they miss the opportunity to help us embrace and transcend those dualities by guiding us in the development of the consciousness that would reveal to us that pain and disease are meaningful (and necessary) experiences in and of themselves .
When we look to the present age, we see that with the ever-increasing secularization and materialization of human societies, our identification with ego and egoic pursuits has actually deepened and our attention has continued to move away from the knowledge of our true spiritual nature.
The poignant irony of our modern times is that In the past 100 years, we have seen an amazing proliferation in both the scope and the types of healing available to us. And with the advent of computer technology, we now have an historically unparalleled ability to access resources and information about those systems of healing and medicine -- we no longer live in an age in which knowledge of the wisdom of our esoteric traditions can be completely obfuscated or confined to a select few.
Yet, even now, most of our current systems of healing (from “allopathic” systems of medicine to more “holistic” alternative approaches) still fall short of the promise of true spiritual healing because they ignore or dismiss the wisdom of the perennial philosophy and continue to seek either the elimination of disease or the evocation of pleasurable “spiritual” experiences as their primary (or only) goal. And the same computer technology that makes information about that wisdom more accessible than ever has also undermined the promise of that accessibility by becoming the very tool with which we can, and often do, keep ourselves and our attention constantly entertained and distracted with all sorts of worldly matters.
This continued attachment to the satisfaction of egoic desires, at the expense of the development of our higher consciousness, is quite understandable. As previously mentioned, human consciousness is still relatively undeveloped, and as such, we are all (for the most part) still very much identified with our egos. And so the elimination of pain and disease (i.e. the denial of life's duality) has an immediate appeal that is undeniable because from the perspective of ego that is all we have.
But the perennial philosophy tells us that that is not the truth -- that there is more to our existence than the futile quest to subvert life's dualities by triumphing over its polarities of pain, disease and death. And since that quest is not the purpose of our lives, it ultimately cannot and will not quench our essential desire for true transcendence. And so it will always and inevitably leaves us wanting.
Against this historical backdrop, I was inspired to begin working on the Healing for the 21st Century workshop because I believe we are in need of a new vision for healing not to replace or supplant the old and existing paradigms but rather to fulfill their promise. And I believe that humanity is ready for this new kind of healing. A healing that is rooted in the wisdom of our ancient traditions and that lifts us high above life’s duality of pain and pleasure by beckoning us to reach for the highest expression of what humanity we can be.
In the Healing for the 21st Century workshop, we will look at our existing paradigms for healing from the perspective of consciousness to understand not just their gifts but also their limitations. Then, we will explore a vision for what healing (as spiritual healing) can be that is radically different from many of our current systems of healing. A vision centered not in the elimination of suffering but in the development of a consciousness that allows us to embrace that suffering and transcend it as the only true and lasting source of happiness. A vision that seeks to bring healing back to its original and intended purpose as a path to self-realization and the awakening of our true identity as Absolute bliss-consciousness-being.
For more information about the Healing for the 21st Century workshop, click here.