The term “perennial philosophy” was coined by Agostino Steuco (1497–1548), and is defined by Aldous Huxley this way:
[The] metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical to, divine Reality; the ethic that places man’s final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being ; the thing is immemorial and universal.
More simply, the perennial philosophy says there is only one Reality (call it God, Tao, Dharmakaya, Brahman, Great Spirit, Consciousness, Universe, etc.) that is the source and substance of all creation; that while each of us is a manifestation of this Reality most of us identify with something far smaller, i.e. the individual and isolated ego; that this misidentification gives rise to needless fear and unnecessary suffering; that compassion and justice naturally replace such fear and suffering when we realize our true nature as a manifestation of this nondual Reality; and that the great sages and mystics of every people throughout human history have discovered and rediscovered these truths and articulated them in the language of their time and culture.
The practices and texts that form the curriculum of One River Wisdom School are rooted in this philosophy, and aim to help you experience it directly. Our focus is not on teaching the various texts and techniques of the world’s religions, but only those that speak from and point us back to the Perennial Philosophy. This is, we think, one of the things that makes One River Wisdom School unique.
Years ago when Rami was living in Los Angeles he asked Petter Yarrow for permission to use the song River of Jordan as the theme song for One River. The song, which is posted on our website, reminds us that we are all part of one river, the singular universal flow of divine energy. This simple truth, however, is often hard to remember, and because it is hard to remember we engage in a variety of spiritual practices designed to remind us of what we already know and too often forget. One River Wisdom School is a retreat-based program for remembering. While we may teach you practices with which you are not familiar, and explore texts from the Perennial Wisdom of the world’s religions with which you may not be all that fluent, we won’t reveal to you any new truth, but rather remind you of the one truth you already know but may have forgotten: all is God (Tao, Brahma, Spirit, Dharmakaya, etc.).
One River Wisdom School is an experiment for Gordon, Kathy, and Rami. We don’t want followers and we don’t see ourselves as gurus. We only want to share ideas and practices that we find essential to our lives in the hopes that you will benefit from them as well. The School is a work in progress. We invite your input and participation. The more we can meet your needs, the more we meet our own as well.