THE HEART OF PHILOSOPHY

Year 1

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THE HEART OF PHILOSOPHY AIMS AT THE REALISATION THAT WISDOM, HAPPINESS AND LOVE ARE NOT DISTANT GOALS, BUT ARE OUR BIRTHRIGHT AS HUMAN BEINGS.

The first three courses in the School of Practical Philosophy explore wisdom, happiness and love. These three are grouped together as the Heart of Philosophy.

The introductory course, Mindful Wisdom, rouses the memory that wisdom is within and seeks to draw out the memory. The second course, Sustainable Happiness uncovers that happiness is part of our true nature as human beings but is obscured by attachments and unnecessary pressures. The Happiness course explores these to weaken the hold of these obstacles in our lives. The final course in the first year focuses on Love, how love holds us together, as individuals, societies, as a species and as a part of the universe, and it takes an infinite number of forms.

Read more about each course by clicking the button below:

1. Mindful Wisdom

THE MINDFUL WISDOM COURSE EXPLORES WAYS OF BRINGING HISTORY’S GREAT PHILOSOPHICAL INSIGHTS INTO OUR EVERYDAY LIVES. IT IS A COURSE WHICH HELPS YOU TO BECOME MORE MINDFUL, MORE CONNECTED AND MORE ALIVE.

The course looks at life and its meaning, the world and its causes. It asks, what holds us back? What sets us free? Based on the classic philosophies of East and West, it invites students to see life as a place to test the words of the wise.

It asks, Who am I? and gives practical ways to explore the answer. It considers wisdom and how it is acquired; levels of awareness and consciousness; the power of reason; beauty and the possibility of unity behind everything.

 

COURSE OUTLINE

  • The nature of wisdom
  • Self-discovery and self-knowledge
  • Different levels of awareness and wakefulness
  • The power of mindfulness and the present moment
  • What it means to live justly
  • The nature of energy and how to best use energy
  • The light of reason
  • The nature of beauty
  • Finding unity in diversity

There is no attempt to cover all philosophical systems, but there is plenty for anyone interested in the big questions of life and the world around us. The course draws on the great philosophic ideas of East and West, which lead to mindful presence and effective action in work, study and every aspect of daily life.

The course includes ideas put forward by Socrates, Plato, Confucius, Buddha, Rumi and Kabir, Epicurus, Emerson, Vivekananda and Maharaja Sri Santananda Saraswati, a modern exponent of the philosophy of unity or Advaita. Nevertheless, the emphasis is on learning from the most powerful of teachers: our own experience.

Our courses will inform you and transform you.

2. Sustainable Happiness

HOLIDAYS COME AND GO. CLOTHES WEAR OUT. BANK ACCOUNTS GO UP AND DOWN. THROUGH ALL OF THIS, THE DESIRE FOR HAPPINESS IS A COMPASS-POINT. THIS COURSE WILL CALIBRATE YOUR COMPASS, PROVIDE A MAP AND REFRESH YOUR NAVIGATION SKILLS.

The desire for happiness is hard-wired into human nature because happiness is part of our nature. But something’s blocking the flow. The Sustainable Happiness course opens the gate and sets you on your way. It builds on everything that the Mindful Wisdom introduces and focuses on meeting the perennial need for everyone to find the well-spring of happiness through all of life’s changing circumstances.

The course looks at the following topics and just like Mindful Wisdom, it offers simple but transformative practices for making happiness readily available.

 

COURSE OUTLINE

Session 1

What is happiness?
How is it acquired and how is it lost?
Happiness and conscious perception.

Session 2

Happiness and others’ needs.
Happiness as harmony with one’s own nature.
Happiness and creativity.

Session 3

Happiness for all
‘The greatest happiness for the greatest numbers’.
Power of direct observation.

Session 4

Unity as the source of happiness.
Plato and the good life.
The eternal present and passing time.

Session 5

Marsilio Ficino – the renaissance of happiness.
Immortality and divinity of the soul.
‘Rejoice in the present.’

Session 6

Difference between pleasure and happiness.
Various states of attention.
Progress to joy.

Session 7

Desire for knowledge.
Desire for fullness of life.
Desire for happiness.

Session 8

Seven natural values: happiness, knowledge, fullness of life,
service, generosity, beauty and love.
Common misconceptions about them.

Session 9

Natural values and common misconceptions.
Detachment, wealth, truth, self-respect, efficiency, duty and work.
Attention and efficiency.

Session 10

The meaning, origin and creative power of wisdom.
Happiness and Contentment
Stepping free from the grip of passing time.

Session 11

The importance of not selling our happiness.
Being at one with the universe.
Happiness and self-esteem.

3. Fullness of Love

RELATIONSHIPS DEPEND UPON IT. FAMILIES GROW STRONG BECAUSE OF IT. CREATIVE ACTION BEGINS WITH IT.

The course outline below gives an indication of the rich content in this term’s course, but such a list of topics cannot capture the beauty and energy that rises when a group of like-minded people inquire into the nature of love together. It is as if the inquiry itself allows the substance of love to reveal itself and guide the inquiry, for love is the substance that holds things together, nourishes everything and gives every creature its motive for existence.

 

COURSE OUTLINE

Session 1

  • What is love?
  • How is it gained and how is it lost?
  • Seeing beyond the apparent.

Session 2

  • Pure love expressed as creation.
  • Pure love governed by wisdom, attachment or delusion.
  • How love overcomes all limits.

Session 3

  • Expanding pure love.
  • Love as the natural in-between.
  • Things which cover love.

Session 4

  • What’s worthy of love?
  • Directing love to essence.
  • The nature and effect of gratitude.

Session 5

  • Whom shall I love?
  • Transformative effect of love.
  • The subtle realm and its importance.

Session 6

  • The machinery of mind.
  • Connecting mind and senses.
  • Living the open heart.

Session 7

  • Love as motivation force.
  • Causes of duality and hostility.
  • Unity of knowledge and love.

Session 8

  • Sacrificial love and sentimental love.
  • Human and divine love.
  • Importance of stillness.

Session 9

  • Relation of law and love.
  • The commandment to love one another.
  • Freedom of law and love together.

Session 10

  • Love and work.
  • Constancy between words and actions.
  • Love guided by wisdom.

Session 11 

Course review.

What do I enjoy most about practical philosophy? Its PRACTICAL! What is discussed in class can be applied outside the class.
- Sophie

Our course in practical philosophy makes mindfulness practical.

Somewhere along the way, practical philosophy got hijacked by theoretical philosophy. It’s time to take it back. Our courses are for people seeking to understand the nature of existence and the world in which we live.