Tuesday, September 6, 2011



IN THE LAST few years the general public has taken an increasing interest in spiritual matters. There has been a dramatic spreading of the realization that the purpose of life consists in more than food, drink, sleep, sex and possessions. But what is that purpose? Can we ever find it? Shall we return to the Church which we left in the first thrill of intellectual expansion? Or is the answer to be found only in the teachings and religions of the East?
Such unanswered questions turn people into seekers. The seeking may be almost more important than the finding. To seek is to question, to give up all fixed opinions, to become flexible. Seeking unfolds people.
For some years, I have been giving regular evening and holiday courses on “Esoteric Psychology” alongside my practice as a therapist. The great success of these courses shows that the ideas explored in them have become signposts for many seekers. It was the people who participated in them and more especially those unable to take part who encouraged me to publish these ideas in a book. As a result the subject of the first term of the courses are gathered together here. Books have the great advantage of wide dissemination; they reach a large audience. But they also have a disadvantage – namely that much of the flavour of the spoken word is lost. This is why in ancient times true initiation was only transmitted by word of mouth.
Like the first term of the course, this book aims to be an introduction to the esoteric concept of the world. Such an introduction does not presuppose any specialized knowledge, but merely a willingness to cast aside prejudice and allow new and unaccustomed concepts to work freely on the mind. This is more difficult than is usually thought. All too easily do we cling to fixed and familiar habits of thought. Everything new unconsciously stimulates fear and triggers off a defence mechanism. Many thoughts and assumptions in this book will meet with resistance from the reader. No one finds it easy to give up ready-made points of view and cherished attitudes and replace them with new insights. Yet we have to do this constantly if development is not to come to a halt. Development and expansion are the concern of this book. If it can be of some help to searching minds I shall be very please.

Thorwald Dethlefsen
Munich, October 1978

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