"Fearlessness is the first requirement of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, May 16, 2011

Paul Brunton: Spirituality and the Necessities of Life

Paul Brunton (1898-1981)
For those not familiar with him, the late philosopher, mystic and prolific author, Paul Brunton left a vast record of his spiritual quest and spiritual realizations. Chief amongst these was the realization and teaching that for modern man, though the pressures of our hurried lives are always pressing, daily practice of meditation and prayer is necessary if we are to attain to the heart of our being - what Brunton (like Emerson) called the 'Overself.'

In the attached video taken from his book, Perspectives (the first of sixteen volumes of his notebooks on the spiritual quest), Brunton observes that, "We need to balance our extreme tendency to activism with something of quietism."

"The fast pace of modern living and the busy clamour of modern cities," Brunton notes, "presents us from meeting ourselves. The true place of peace," he suggests, "must be found within the self by external moderation and internal meditation."





"Everyone, wants to live," Brunton writes, "(but) few want to know how to live."
"If people permit work to take up so much of their time that they have none left for their devotional prayer or mystical meditation or metaphysical study," he continues, "they will be as culpable for this wastage of life as they will be if they permit transient pleasures to do so."

"Those who have no higher ideal than to chase after amusement and to seek after pleasure may look upon religious devotion as senseless, metaphysical studies as boring, (and) moral disciples as repulsive
, he observes. "(However) those who have no such inner life of prayer and meditation, study and reflection, will necessarily pay, in emergency or crises, the high price of their hopeless extroversion."
Brunton recognizes that "(t)he needs of external life are entitled to be satisfied in their place." "But," he notes, "they are not entitled to dominate a man's whole attention."
"It is quite true," Brunton notes, "that man must eat, find shelter, wear clothes and amuse himself. And it is also true that if a fortunate fate has not relieved himself of the necessity, he must work, trade, scheme, or gamble to get the money for these things. But all this is insufficient grounds for him to pass through life with no other thoughts in his head than those of bodily needs and financial strivings. There is still room there for another kind of thought, for those concerning the mysterious elusive and subtle thing that is his divine soul."
"The years are passing," Brunton warns, "and (man) cannot afford such a wastage of time, cannot afford the luxury of being so extroverted at the cost of having lost touch with the inner life."

"It is bad enough to be a sick person," he notes, "but it is worse to be sick and believe you are well. Yet the complete extroverts are in this condition, because they regard complete extroversion as the proper state for normal healthy living!"

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