Meditation classes in ancient Rome? Ashrams in Europe BC? Greek philosophers studying in India? Though the thinkers explored here (including Plato, Aristotle, and Plutarch) are acknowledged for having laid the intellectual and moral foundation of the Western world, Linda Johnsen shows that a vital aspect of their wisdom and teaching is unknown, denigrated, or even suppressed in the West. What has been lost – and which Johnsen illuminates in lively and accessible prose – is the importance the Greeks themselves acknowledged of their contact with the East, and the way the Greeks were regarded not just as philosophers but as sages and spiritual masters as late as the Renaissance. As a shared mystical tradition comes into focus, ancient teachings that may have seemed dull and outdated become vibrant and relevant while profound practices previously deemed alien and other can be embraced.
“It is a tragedy, and deeply absurd, that we in the West have lost touch with the wisdom of the extraordinary mystics who gave rise to our own civilization. This book is a lively and valuable introduction to that wisdom, and helps open the door again to those mystics and their transformative teachings, which we have been denied access to for so long.”
— Peter Kingsley, author of Reality and In the Dark Places of Wisdom