Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Communicating Esoteric Knowledge

... I tend to view the conceptions of "action" and "contemplation" as pathways of spirituality distinguished by their emphasis upon one of these vocations but not necessarily in a mutually exclusive manner. Whereas the path of contemplation tends to emphasize the existential or inward realization of divine qualities, the path of action tends to emphasize their outward manifestation, typically through such efforts as those of social and environmental welfare and concern. In either case, a path of contemplation does not necessarily mean withdrawing from the world and its concerns completely, just as a path of action is not necessarily void of contemplative depth, although both of these extremes are also possibilities. In the language of the Vedantists, the gnostic must cease to become attached to the "fruit" of his actions. This may mean that one must cease to become preoccupied with the concerns of the world in so far as they distract one from the remembrance of God, but not necessarily that one must forfeit one's occupation in doing so.

This is a consideration of the subject in general, however, whereas you have invited the consideration of a specific situation, that is, how can I contribute what I have learned of esoteric teachings to my exoteric community, a question that I have encountered frequently in different forms and from various angles of approach among those exposed to the writings of the traditionalists. There is a tendency to be so enthusiastic about these insights as to naturally want others to benefit from them also. I have found that it is useful to pose an introspective question in such instances, specifically what are your motivations? Are you genuinely motivated by the interests of others or is there a subtle self-serving motive involved? For myself, I have found that if my convictions are strong enough that they do not require the collective support of others as an external validation, I can stand alone in my convictions, conversing with people according to their own aptitudes. When I encounter those inclined toward the consideration of metaphysical knowledge, we may engage in many interesting and mutually beneficial conversations on these subjects. If I were to try to engage in such conversations with those who do not possess these inclinations, however, the result may be a burdensome if not intolerable exchange. According to Baba Afdal al-din Kashani in his Advice to Seekers of Wisdom, "They should not sit and converse with anyone in other than that person's manner and path, for, if they speak of knowledge with the ignorant or of serious matters with the shameless, they have tormented their sitting companion and boonfellow." Ultimately, our own ability to convey esoteric knowledge to those around us, if it is not to be limited to theoretical discourse open only to those with the necessary mental capability, is predicated upon our own level of realization of or existential participation in that knowledge. If it has transcended the merely theoretical and been assimilated into the existential, it is through our being that we may then communicate it. In the context of social relations, this consists essentially of the outward expression of the virtues which are the the subjective manifestations of objective divine qualities and the means by which we come to embody esoteric knowledge. To reply to your question, then, "Can I, as a seeker, contribute to the community that housed me allowing me to discover the traditionalist sages, even though they may not understand or agree with the perspectives?", we may answer yes, if conveying your knowledge you do so in the "manner and path" that is common to all people, specifically, through practice of spiritual chivalry.