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Publisher's Summary

Answers to the questions that arise on the spiritual path

Includes specially selected writings from the huge literary archive of Paul Brunton

  • Explains the different stages of meditation and the obstacles likely to arise for each, offering guidance for achieving advanced states of meditation to deepen one’s inner life 
  • Challenges the need for spiritual dependency on any particular guru, teaching, or practice, showing that following your intuition can bring the best spiritual success 
  • Explores the process of self-examination and emotional purification, revealing how to break free from the ego and tap in to the inspiration flowing from within 

No matter where we are in our spiritual development, we all have questions about our practice and what we are experiencing - both the challenges and opportunities. How can I overcome my struggles to meditate more deeply? Is there a need for a guru, or can I rely on myself? Can I trust my intuition? Is it possible to hear the “Inner Word”, the voice of the soul, and how can I be sure that’s what I’m hearing? Is the Higher Self in the heart? 

Offering trustworthy answers to these and many more questions, renowned spiritual teacher Paul Brunton provides instructions to guide one’s development in three fundamental areas of the spiritual path: meditation, self-examination, and the unfolding of awakening. Guiding you with insight and care through each stage of meditation, including advanced states that deepen one’s inner life, he explains how meditation is the art and practice of introverting attention, of freeing oneself for a period of time from thoughts, sensations, and feelings and allowing the soul to reveal itself out of the quiet that one has created. He explains the goal of each meditative stage and the obstacles you are likely to face and examines the need for spiritual dependency on any particular guru, teaching, or practice, showing that following your intuition can bring spiritual success. 

Exploring the process of self-examination and emotional purification, Brunton shows how life’s challenges are moments by which we can make real progress in our surrender to a higher life. He reveals how to break free from the ego, follow your intuition to align with your ideals, and tap in to the inspiration flowing from within. He also examines the development of transcendental insight, the cornerstone of compassionate wisdom in action, which allows us to become a source of inspiration to all we encounter. 

Including writings received by the Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation after his death, this guide offers transformative wisdom to aid our understanding of what the spiritual journey entails, help point the way when the way is uncertain, and learn and grow from the challenges that arise as you develop spiritually.

©1984, 1985, 2019 Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation. All Rights Reserved. (P)2019 Inner Traditions Audio. All Rights Reserved.

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Profile Image for Parthiv N. Parekh
  • Parthiv N. Parekh
  • 12-01-2021

A Rare Gem for Spiritual Seekers

This is a veritable encyclopedia for all spiritual seekers—from the novice to the one who has come to his or her wit's end in their journey.

As a seeker since more than a couple decades, one who has read/listened to a wide spectrum of teachings, teachers, and gurus—classical yogic teachings with its eight-limbs; mystics like Rumi and Kabir; the Kriya Yogi giants of the 20th Century coming from the lineage of Mahavatar Babaji down to Paramhansa Yogananda; the self-inquiry luminary, Ramana Maharishi; Vedanta and nondualism; intellectual giants like Jiddu Krishnamurti; the contemporary teachers and gurus like Eckhart Tolle, Rupert Spira, Sadhguru Vasudev, Mooji, Gangaji, and dozens more—I am truly surprised that Paul Brunton is not as well-known as he most certainly should be in spiritual circles.

Let me first dispense with one slight criticism I have: Paul Brunton’s use of some terms that he has coined (such as “World Mind,” “World Idea,” “Overself,” etc.) or the ones that he has redefined (such as “Mentalism” and “Philosophy,”) is a bit disorienting and somewhat inaccessible at first. It is quite possible that my somewhat unclear comprehension of those terms is my own limitation, and that he may have deliberately sought this effect so as to encourage the seeker to dig deeper into highly sublime concepts that are inevitable in the journey towards transcendence. But even if otherwise, that’s a minor letdown in an otherwise indispensable work of wisdom that both, illumines and synthesizes mankind’s most revered scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, the Koran, and others to lead one into the rare stratosphere of spiritual insight.

Following are some specific reasons I feel this is a standout work of the most sublime yet very pragmatic synthesis of all the spiritual knowledge from the sources mentioned above:

• It does an unparalleled job of expounding on the confusions, contradictions, and dualities that hound even advanced seekers, such as the classic tussle between the polarities of the contentions of those who say that the ultimate spiritual deliverance is impossible without a Guru, and surrender to such a Guru; and those who, with equal conviction, maintain that the only and ultimate guru is your own Self—the God within, and that any reliance on anything or anyone outside of you is an obstruction.

• Brunton’s depth and expanse of wisdom are rare: he plumbs from just about every single source of collective spiritual knowledge of mankind, including the wide panorama of some of the teachings and teachers mentioned above. This is not only highly illuminating but also refreshing—in contrast to the often suffocating singularity of each of the above, no matter how profound each teaching may be in its own right.

• Brunton’s approach is lucid (notwithstanding the criticism cited above regarding the use of unfamiliar terms), sound, and rational even as he leads you increasingly to your ultimate, unspeakable, and unfathomable reality that is beyond understanding and rationality. The complete refrain from tangents, and from the superfluous, makes you want to hang on to each and every word, unlike the often quirky and tedious asides of many otherwise enlightened teachers.

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