creation story
creation story

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deeper thinks:


timeless wisdom

by martin boroson © 2000

becoming me is based, in part, on the collected wisdom of the great spiritual pioneers and visionaries--all those who have looked deeply within themselves for the answers to timeless questions, questions such as: why do we suffer? is there "something more"? what is our true nature?

on face value, all the world's religions seem to be radically different, and have often been quite hostile to one another, so the idea of "collected wisdom" might seem odd. but in fact, scholars have identified something called the "perennial philosophy", a term made popular through a book by aldous huxley.

the perennial philosophy is a set of beliefs that can be found at the core of most religions, and yet is beyond any particular religious tradition. philosopher ken wilber calls it the "worldview that has been embraced by the vast majority of the world's greatest spiritual teachers, philosophers, thinkers, and even scientists. it's called 'perennial' or 'universal' because it shows up in virtually all cultures across the globe and across the ages… and wherever we find it, it has essentially similar features, it is in essential agreement the world over. we moderns, who can hardly agree on anything, find this rather hard to believe."

in order to understand the perennial philosophy, it's important to understand the difference between the "outside" and "inside" of religion. "outside" refers to things such as customs, myths, rules, language, organization, etc. "inside" refers to the inner spiritual questions, direct experiences, and illuminations of individuals. these inner experiences generally emerge after some kind of commitment to a discipline or path, such as meditation, contemplation, yoga, shamanism, or prayer. these paths challenge you to know yourself deeply, and, ultimately, to experience higher levels of reality. you are urged to look in yourself, inside, for answers, and not simply follow external rules.

broadly speaking, this is the difference between religion and spirituality. "religion" refers to the outside, and "spirituality" refers to the inside. and although the world's religions have disagreed, often violently, on the outside, if we look to the source, the heart, or inner core of each religion, we find broad agreement. in other words, we find the perennial philosophy--timeless truths that appear and reappear, no matter how local politics, tradition, and language inevitably limit their meaning.

what are they, briefly?

here is how ken wilber summarizes the seven major points of the perennial philosophy, in his book grace and grit:

1. spirit exists.

2. spirit is found within.

3. most of us don't realize this spirit within, however, because we are living in a world of sin, separation, and duality--that is, we are living in a fallen or illusory state.

4. there is a way out of this fallen state of sin and illusion, there is a path to our liberation.

5. if we follow this path to its conclusion, the result is a rebirth or enlightenment, a direct experience of spirit within, a supreme liberation, which--

6. marks the end of sin and suffering, and which--

7. issues in social action of mercy and compassion on behalf of all sentient beings.

wilber goes on to explain these seven points in detail, in the form of an interview, conducted by treya killam wilber.  read this interview.



"timeless wisdom" © martin boroson, 2000

martin boroson is the author of the interfaith creation story, becoming me, and the one-moment master. he can be reached at


excerpts from grace and grit, by ken wilber. (c) 1991,2000 by ken wilber. by arrangement with shambhala publications, inc., boston,

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text © 2003-2004 martin boroson (unless otherwise noted);
illustrations © 2003-2004 christopher gilvan-cartwright
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