I know I said you wouldn’t hear from me for a bit, but I just wanted to tell you about a book I read coming back home from India.
First off, to explain: I always allow my intuition to choose for me what book I’m going to read. I used to go to bookstores, and consider various books until one screamed out:
READ ME, READ ME!
Now, particularly when I’m traveling, I read mostly on Kindle. And so choosing a book involves scrolling through my library of purchases and allowing a book to step forward.
(I very rarely buy a book to read immediately. I buy books that I will read at some stage in the future…)
Just before I boarded the flight from Bombay back to Sydney – 16 hours including transit time – I thought about what sort of book I’d like to read. After 7 weeks of fairly intense work, I figured I’d like to read something light and fun – non-spiritual, non-work related, something well written that I knew would make the flight pass quickly.
I’d recently purchased Salman Rushdie’s new book, TWO YEARS, EIGHT MONTHS, AND TWENTY-EIGHT NIGHTS, which I was very keen to read, as well as Jonathan Franzen’s new book, PURITY. I’ve read all his previous books. Both authors are magnificent writers, and I figured either book would do.
However, when I came to scroll down through my library, I found myself bypassing these two books until I settled on an old arcane book written in 1932 by Alice Bailey, called FROM INTELLECT TO INTUITION.
I’d bought this book after seeing it in a bookstore in Mount Shasta, earlier this year. There was a whole row of Alice Bailey books, and whilst I’d heard of her, I’d never read her. And so later I bought a bunch on Kindle. It was this one particular book that screamed out –
And so I did. And wow – it turned out to be exactly the book I needed to read on that long journey home.
Who is Alice Bailey? She was a very influential writer in the early part of last century. Here’s what Wikipedia says about her –
Alice Ann Bailey (1880 – 1949) was a writer of more than twenty-four books on theosophical subjects, and was one of the first writers to use the term New Age.
Bailey’s works, written between 1919 and 1949, describe a wide-ranging system of esoteric thought covering such topics as how spirituality relates to the solar system, meditation, healing, spiritual psychology, the destiny of nations, and prescriptions for society in general.
She described the majority of her work as having been telepathically dictated to her by a Master of Wisdom, initially referred to only as “the Tibetan” or by the initials “D.K.”, later identified as Djwal Khul.
Her writings were of the same nature as those of Madame Blavatsky and are known as the Ageless Wisdom Teachings.
She wrote about religious themes, including Christianity, though her writings are fundamentally different from many aspects of Christianity and of other orthodox religions. Her vision of a unified society includes a global “spirit of religion” different from traditional religious forms.
The book is esoteric, very intellectual, and dense. But full of extraordinary wisdom. It’s written in a very scholarly way and is well researched, citing references from core spiritual texts.
One of the early chapters is on education. She discusses the differences between Eastern and Western education, and summarises thus:
Firstly, in the Eastern system it is assumed that within every human form dwells an entity, a being, called the self or soul. Secondly, this self uses the form of the human being as its instrument or means of expression, and through the sum total of the mental and emotional states will eventually manifest itself, utilising the physical body as its functioning mechanism on the physical plane. Finally, the control of these means of expression is brought about under the Law of Rebirth.
Through the evolutionary process (carried forward through many lives in a physical body) the self gradually builds a fit instrument through which to manifest, and learns to master it. Thus the self, or soul, becomes truly creative and self-conscious in the highest sense and active in its environment, manifesting its true nature perfectly.
Eventually it gains complete liberation from form, from the thralldom of the desire nature, and the domination of the intellect. This final emancipation, and consequent transfer of the centre of consciousness from the human to the spiritual kingdom, is hastened and nurtured by a specialised education, called the meditation process.
In the west, she says, the emphasis is entirely reversed.
First, there is an entity called the human being, who possesses a mind, a set of emotions, and a response apparatus through which he is brought into contact with his environment. Second, according to the calibre of his apparatus and the condition of his mind, plus the nature of his environing circumstances, so will be his character and disposition.
The goal of the educational process, applied wholesale and indiscriminately, is to make him physically fit, mentally alert, to provide a trained memory, controlled reactions, and a character which makes him a social asset and a contributing factor in the body economic.
His mind is regarded as a storehouse for imparted facts, and the training given every child is intended to make him a useful member of society, self-supporting and decent. The product of these premises is the reverse of the Eastern.
She goes on to say:
The contrast between the two might be crudely summed up as follows:
THE WEST / THE EAST
Groups / Individuals
Books / Bibles
Knowledge / Wisdom
Mechanical Development / Mystical Development
Standardization / Uniqueness
Science / Religion
Memory Training / Meditation
Investigation / Reflection
She concludes by saying something that now seems so obvious, and yet it hit me with enormous impact –
The Eastern method is the only one which has produced the Founders of all the world religions, for all are Asiatic in origin.
When you think about it – Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Confucianism – all come from the Eastern / Asiatic method of education. The western way has given us science and art and philosophy and commerce, but not the spiritual.
Hmmmm, food for thought Bill:)
WOW! I especially like the comparison The West/The East. How true. And her conclusion – also true. Never thought about that before. Sounds like a book we need to read.
I’m sure we will all be suffering from withdrawals from the lack of posts, but we all get how busy you are and the need to get the film done is important to all of us too. Can’t wait to see it. Post when you can. We understand!
Haha – thanks Lynda. Yes the book is fascinating reading, but as you can probably tell by the excerpts I’ve included, the language is rich and dense and at times it’s not easy reading. But it’s full of insight and wisdom.
I’ll post when there’s something I need to say! Or that I think you all might find interesting…
Thanks for your understanding!!
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WOW and all I can concentrate on during a flight is a ‘flighty’ movie or a lightweight travelogue!! More power to you 🙂 Enjoy the busy time ahead, and if you do happen to be in Sydney give us a call 🙂
Hey Britta – you and Janet and Jenny / and Jennifer and me should do something in November prior to Christmas. That would be a wonderful thing to do. We’re going up to Brisbane in ten days, which will take us out till end of Oct, but November sometime would be good, don’t you think? (I miss dhal and paneer already!)
Welcome home Bill & Jen,
Fascinating reading for the plane ride – thanks for sharing.
Terrific idea to catch up next month – I’ll be there! Know any great Indian restaurants?
Very best with your current work on the film. Sounds like an exciting stage to have reached.
Hey Janet – Jen and I are still buzzing after the tour. Wasn’t it fabulous? Yes it would be great to catch up in November. Would love to hear about jenny’s adventures too while we were away! bbxx
I feel better knowing you & Jen are still buzzing! I’m ‘all over the shop’ still!
See you soon Jxo
Shrimp on the barby would be nice. HA! I know that is an Australian myth!
Hey! We are enjoying your Bindi Irwin on Dancing with the Stars. What a delightful girl.
I didn’t realise that Bindi was on that show. She seems like a real sweetheart. Thanks also for the tip about the Oprah show. I’m going to try and chase it down. Sounds fascinating. bb xx
WordPress bug devoured a comment I made, which was more annoying than usual, as it was reasonably well-written grrrrrr
Met a Pilgrim today, Franciscan Friar on the Way from Santiago to Rome — he in his brown habit, me in my BLACK gear and pilgrim cape, each with our Pilgrim Staves, most pleasant
I’ll rewrite and post later …
Hi Julian – I’ve been away, and didn’t realise you are on the road again! I’m sorry about WP and your previous comment. WP can be a real problem at times. I’d be very interested in your thoughts on that post though. By the way, I’m now giving very serious thought to my “Front Door” walk, as I’m calling it – from my front door to the End of the Earth! haha. Thinking of walking from my home in Mudgee, flying to Heathrow, then going to my birthplace – Wimbledon – then walking from there!
I’m not “on the road”, but I live on the Way between Santiago and Rome. I usually meet Pilgrims several times a year simply while going about my daily business. I bumped into this Franciscan Friar just next to our local supermarket 🙂
You’ve told me about your mad plan, and I’d love to accompany you at least some of the way, though I’ve no idea how realistic or feasible that would be …
Planning Fatima > Santiago > Lourdes for 2016 now. 2015 was a bust.
Cool Julian – that would be amazing if we could walk a bit together. Yes it is mad, but I’ve got the bug again. I have to get back out on the road… 🙂
I just got an email from Raphaelle Tamura – she was not able to post a comment here because of some issue with Word Press. Julian Lord had a similar problem. I’ve got into the backend of the blog and can’t see anything amiss, so I’m sorry about that. But here is Raphaelle’s comment:
I loved this post – and your very detailed insights about it. Alice Bailey was my very first “exposure” to this type of spirituality when I was in my early twenties. It was my first “foundation” after I started my search beyond the church and belief system of my family. Thanks for this insightful comment – keep reading, as ALL of Alice Bailey’s books are marvelous. A good one is “The Unfinished Autobiography” – it’s the thinnest of all her books, but intriguing. BTW, as you read all of her material, you will find some ideas are out-of-date, but there are very few flaws in D.K.’s dictations to her. I love it when I am guided to just the right book like this, too. Even NOW you are using your intuition – it’s a great “habit” to have!
Hi Bill and Jen – Welcome back to you both. Catching up in November will be great – I think a session involving copious amounts of sangria or whatever the Indian equivalent of that is will be in order – lots of stories to share – both from India and from Spain! I have a story which is a true ‘Camino coincidence’ to share, although we all know there’s no such thing as coincidence!
It’s wonderful to be home, isn’t it?
Jenny xo xo
Hi jenny – it would be great for us all to get together! And yes, keen to hear your stories and learn about your adventures! I think a long lunch will be in order, and yes I think it will be important to keep hydrated!! 🙂 Look forward to seeing you!
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We were on a spiritual tour of India not spirits as in liquor! Ha! Ha! After we ran out of Bailey’s and bourbon that we hauled from Amsterdam for a welcome to the tour drink, the most frequented thirst quencher was water or ginger tea! The ginger tea was quite good and was texting the girls today for how it is made. Yum and a cancer fighter to boot!
Anxious to hear your stories from Spain. How about having Jenny do a guest post Bill?
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Hey Lynda – still remember that “cocktail” party we had in your room the first night in Delhi. Very funny!! Yes, if Jenny is up for it, would love a guest post from her!
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Cheers Bill and Lynda!
I can imagine how riotous the impromptu cocktail party was! The ginger tea sounds delicious too! I’d love to do a guest post but will first check with David and the pilgrim who’s involved in the ‘coincidence’ story to get their OK. I’d wish to include photos of them so I’d like to have their blessing first.
Jenny xo xo
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Hi Jenny – no worries! Yes the ginger tea was beautiful – but also Lemon / Ginger / Honey tea was even better!
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