The course explores the full meaning of Wisdom, the real nature of Mankind, and what promotes human development. It draws from the general philosophic ideas of both East and West, past and present but is neither a history of philosophy, nor a comparative study of philosophers. The conduct of course encourages opportunities for full discussion and is essentially practical. This means that the principles and practices discussed can be put to effective use in every day life.
The course is for all, regardless of age, race, political or religious beliefs. No previous knowledge of the subject is necessary.
Profound principles for a deeper experience of life
The ideas held by individuals have a profound influence on their lives and on the communities and nations in which they live. Ideas based on natural laws provide a sure foundation for a happy, useful and fulfilling life.
Being essentially practical and concerned with the essence of the great teachings of the world, this philosophy is for everyone regardless of education, occupation, age, culture and religion. It explores the meaning of wisdom, truth and consciousness, the real nature of the human being and what inhibits human development. Its study and practice naturally involve all three levels of human experience – physical, mental and emotional. Greater efficiency in thought and action arises from greater clarity of mind coupled with the growing realisation that the stresses of modern life can be overcome through personal effort and a change in outlook.
The course offers an entirely practical approach to the study and practice of the philosophical principles governing human society. It draws from the great teachings of East and West, and provides a deeper understanding of ourselves, the world in which we live and the purpose of human life.
At the heart of this philosophy is the understanding that underlying the present diversity of the world is that which is unchanging. Consider an illustration for a moment: you are the same person who has lived as a child, an adolescent and an adult having had different physical, mental and emotional experiences, nevertheless the essence of who you are has remained the same – this gives an indication of an unchanging dimension in your own being. This is known as a non-dualistic philosophy, or ‘Advaita’ to use a Sanskrit term for it, meaning simply “not two”.
This understanding provides a fresh way of dealing with the challenges that we face in everyday life.
No special qualifications are required for those wishing to attend, just a willingness to put into practice what is heard and understood.
There are three modules to the Introductory Course:
Module 1 Theme Wisdom – Being Wise
Session 1: What is Philosophy? The wisdom within you. A very practical exercise.
Session 2: Self-knowledge. Observation and verification. Neither accepting, nor rejecting.
Session 3: Being awake. Knowledge vs information. Levels of awareness. The spirit of enquiry.
Session 4: Experiencing the present moment. One’s full potential. Transcending fear.
Session 5: Living justly. Experiencing deeper levels of being through stillness.
Session 6: The three universal forces and their effects in the creation.
Session 7: The light of Reason.
Session 8: The power of Beauty.
Session 9: Finding unity in diversity.
Session 10: The desire for Truth.
Module 2 Theme – Happiness through being wise
Session 1: The true nature of happiness.
The conscious perceiver and the present moment.
Session 2: Happiness and the needs of others.
Being in tune with one’s own nature
Session 3: The principle that all be happy.
Observing the movements of the mind.
Session 4: Self as the source of happiness.
The present and passing time.
Session 5: The work of the Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino.
Immortality and divinity of the soul.
Session 6: The difference between pleasure and happiness.
The different states of attention.
Session 7: Natural values and their misconceptions.
Session 8: Natural values continued.
Attention and efficiency.
Session 9: The creative power of wisdom.
Speech and conversation.
Session 10: The process of self identification.
The four principles of work.
Module 3 Theme – Love through being wise
Session 1: The importance of love.
How it is gained and how it is lost.
Session 2: Love as it is expressed in creation.
The nature of love overcoming limits.
Session 3: The expansion of love.
The things that conceal love.
Session 4: What it is that is loved.
The nature of gratitude.
Session 5: “Love thy neighbour”
The subtle realm of mind.
Session 6: Review of the Course so far.
The importance of connecting mind with the senses..
Session 7: The causes of duality and hostility.
The unity of knowledge and love.
Session 8: Lack of love and giving.
The importance of stillness.
Session 9: The relationship between love and law.
Freedom of love and law together.
Session 10: Love and work.
Love guided by wisdom.
For those wishing to continue their studies additional courses are available as also a system of meditation is offered.
Students are encouraged to pursue further developments of the subject beyond the first term and for those wishing to continue their study and practice of the subject, further courses are offered on the basis of a twelve week term. Simple exercises are given for practice each day to help clear and quieten the mind and strengthen attention. After some time, the study focuses more upon the Advaita philosophy teachings as given by one of the oldest philosophical traditions. Participants are also invited in the second year to take up the practice of meditation as a means of connecting more deeply and effectively with the inner consciousness, the source of all energy and intelligence. In essence, the aim of the course is to help each person to understand their own nature, adopt what is helpful, discard what is unhelpful and realise their full potential.
The School seeks not only to raise the intellectual understanding of its students but also encourages them to put what they have learned into practice. The aim is to lead a balanced life and to serve society to the best of one’s ability.
During the second or third year students are offered the opportunity to take up a mantra method of meditation, though some students may wish to do so earlier in the course. The method involves silently and inwardly repeating a given mantra for two periods each day, morning and evening. This simple practice, if done regularly, helps gradually to bring about an inner peace, harmony and love, and also to release finer energy for practical use in daily life. No breathing techniques or postures are involved and it is done seated on a chair.
The introduction to meditation is regarded as a significant event. It is marked by a simple, dignified traditional ceremony carried out by or under the auspices of the School of Meditation, which has had a close association with the School of Economic Science since it was founded in 1961. Students are asked to present some traditional offerings, including a gift of money that goes to the School of Meditation and which they use solely for the purpose of making meditation as widely available as possible.
Regular meditation in the group and checks by the tutor with individual students then form part of the course.