Teaching Methods

Ouspensky’s approach to self-development and ‘self-realization’ is taught with both theory and practice, no differently from any conventional ‘higher’ education in science or the arts. In this case it is both a science and an art and each individual naturally emphasises one or the other in their own natural learning process.

Removing the blindfold

Education means ‘to lead out of’ and here it means to lead out of an habitual mundanely limited self-awareness, to an expanded and heightened state of being in which individual awareness widens to include everything, as in the Veda:

The Universe and yourSelf are One.

Ouspensky’s method begins with the understanding that human beings are designed by evolution to be capable of higher, wider, more energetic states of consciousness and can naturally receive and express True Knowledge and True Love as their birthright.

People are led from an early age to believe they naturally possess full consciousness and free-will, are capable of unconditional love and have control over their own lives. Unless personal experience and observation make it obvious that these assumptions are not always true there is little incentive to seek a remedy.

The teaching emphasizes the benefit of knowing why we ought to attempt something before we try to do it. As in any other kind of education it is necessary to get ideas in a certain order so they can be sufficiently understood to be practised. The new practice leads to a new idea, and so on.

The saying: ‘As above, so below’ runs through all ancient philosophy. This means that the micro world of the individual is a perfect image or reflection of the macro world, the universe as a whole. In Christian terminology, ‘God created Man in His own image’.

To explore the truth and meaning of this fundamental understanding it is necessary to study human existence in the universe from both points of view — from personal experience, psychology and physiology, and also from the point of view of the universe as a whole, cosmology.

A Helix Nebula from the Hubble Telescope
‘I am the eye with which the Universe
Beholds itself, and knows itself divine…’
P. Shelley. Hymn of Apollo

The two views are complementary and teaching alternates between them. When the examination of ourselves and our personal psychology becomes too narrowly focused the teaching shifts to the cosmological view. When the cosmology becomes too theoretical we return to practical matters.

The aim is always to reveal the ever-present unity of all existence and experience.

All individuals are the Absolute themselves, and so are you. It is only a question of realising that one is the Absolute. To realise that, one has only to do away with those impediments, the illusions, that conceal that understanding.
HH Shantananda Saraswati.