Introduction to the Study of the Esoteric Courses

THE INSTITUTE offers three courses, based on esoteric knowledge. These courses are: An Esoteric Understanding of the Human Being, You and the Spiritual Hierarchies and Developing Spiritual Thinking.

The material contained in these three courses is designed as a beginning point for those who are interested in furthering their understanding and knowledge of the workings of spirit and the spiritual worlds.

The content has been gathered from various sources. Rev. Mario Schoenmaker taught much of the content of these courses during his ministry in the latter part of the 20th century. Those who are familiar with the work of Dr Rudolph Steiner will recognise the content of the courses are also in line with his teachings from the early 20th century. Reference sources have been supplied in the courses wherever possible, so that the student may follow up with their own research and reading.

Initiates say they perceive the spiritual worlds through imaginative perception, which means they perceive in picture form, and also through highly developed intuition. They report difficulty bringing their spiritual experience to others through the ordinary language of the intellect, but this is what they attempt to do. They do this in order to nourish the souls of those of us who have not as yet developed a high degree of spiritual perception.

The content of these three esoteric courses are based on the written work of Rev. Mario Schoenmaker and Rudolph Steiner and also on the experience of those who have studied their writings or have been in their presence as students. Therefore the material in our courses is a condensed form of the original, and consequently is now to a degree removed from the original experience and perception of the initiates themselves.

Nevertheless those who study the work of the initiates report at times, being lifted in consciousness to such a degree that they can experience something of what the initiates themselves had experienced.

Mario Schoenmaker described another benefit of such study. He said that by studying esoteric material, even if we do not fully understand it now, a seed is planted which will work within our souls and become manifest in a future incarnation as heightened spiritual perception.

The courses enter into subjects such as the subtle bodies of the human being otherwise known as the etheric and astral bodies; the soul’s journey in the spiritual spheres between death and rebirth; the beings of the spiritual hierarchy; evolutionary history of the world and of human consciousness; the significance of the Christ in evolution; and the challenges and the potential of the human being today.

At this time of uncertainty and conflicting understanding in fields such as politics, religion, economics, science and art, it is very helpful to find an understanding of life and the meaning of human existence which touches a chord of truth within the soul. It is hoped that the material contained in these courses will provide such an experience for the student, enabling them to enter their life more fully and with greater purpose. The renewal of spiritual purpose and rebirth in the life of soul is at the heart of good esoteric teaching.

Another benefit for the student is that the course material will become a valuable resource in their library. It will serve as an excellent reference source for many foundational concepts of esoteric knowledge.

The prospective student needs to keep in mind that the study of esoteric material in itself is not a training that leads to clairvoyance or initiation. The reason these courses do not amount to an esoteric training is because such training encompasses the whole of ones life and soul rather than just intellectual information about spirituality. To be properly trained one needs the guidance of a teacher.

Reading esoteric material can be of benefit as described in terms of nourishing the soul, but reading this material and then holding the knowledge only on an intellectual level, will not enrich the life of soul.

Spiritual teachers indicate that as one is learning esoteric concepts the student also needs to be adjusting their own character when necessary. Otherwise a dissonance develops within the person, which could be unhelpful to them.

If you do not have a teacher and you want to further your development beyond the scope of these study courses then it is recommended you at least find a group with whom you can study esoteric teachings.

These courses therefore offer a good framework and resource for the study of esoteric concepts, but the courses do not constitute an esoteric training.

In an article written by Mario Schoenmaker in 1980 he wrote that more and more people are becoming spiritually aware and are recognising the great potential they have within themselves as spiritual beings, ‘But with this awakening there also comes the need for knowledge. Not only a knowledge of facts and figures, but knowledge about self and relationship of self with the whole of the universe, with God, Spirit and fellow human beings.’

The purpose of this brief article is to outline the likely benefits and also some possible pitfalls of undertaking esoteric study. It is hoped in reading this article that you, the prospective student, will be assisted in your decision concerning undertaking a course of study. You are welcome of course to contact the Institute for further information if needed. If you do decide to proceed then you will be encouraged to commence with the course ‘An Esoteric Understanding of the Human Being’. This course has been created as a foundational study.

With careful study and taking your time to absorb the material in these courses, it is hoped you will experience renewal and enrichment in your life.

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