Gerald Heard Reprint Series

Series Foreword
Gerald Heard (Oct. 6, 1889-Aug. 14, 1971) wrote
nearly forty books during the course of a distinguished
career. His Cambridge-trained, curiosity-ridden mind
left no stone unturned in its intellectual investigations.
His nonfiction topics ranged from history to philosophy,
from psychology to religion, and virtually everything
in between. These issues were woven together by a
single unifying theme--the evolution of consciousness.
During the 1940s, after he had relocated to America,
after he had rediscovered his religious roots, and after he
had begun a rigorous daily meditation practice, Gerald,
as he was always known, mobilized his energies into
establishing Trabuco College in Southern California.
Trabuco was the first coeducational spiritual community
in America to incorporate ecumenical, nonsectarian
religious principles and practices. And practice the
Trabuco attendees did, meditating three times daily in
order to accelerate the spiritual evolution of their own
individual consciousnesses.
Having previously published a dozen mostly academic
and popular science books, Gerald turned his attention
to religion during this war-torn decade. Gerald's
religious writings from this period consist of eight key
contributions that address practical and inspirational
spiritual themes. Of these, four primary Heardian reli
gious works are initially included in this vital new Wipf
& Stock series, with more to follow. Collectively these
books comprise Gerald's quintessential statements on
the spiritual path, and a person could conceivably use
these volumes as guidebooks for their entire spiritual
journey.
And here is Gerald at his very best--preaching the
evolution of consciousness and offering practical advice
on how to attain it. Gerald's rotating roles as visionary
historian, maverick cosmologist, and prescient philosopher
are all present in the background of these religious
works. But at the forefront is Gerald the practicing
mystic and knowing docent, gushing forth an ebullient
but sometimes cautionary narrative on traversing the
spiritual path from start to finish. His accounts, as confirmed
by classic mystics and traditional texts, derive
from his own subjective experience. The ringing truth
of his musings will cause the receptive reader first to
reflect, then to act, propelled by the stirring contagion
of Gerald's boundless enthusiasm.
In the 1940s, novelist Christopher Isherwood
wrote that Gerald, "has influenced the thought of our
time, directly and indirectly, to an extent which will
hardly be appreciated for another fifty years." Those
fifty years have now passed. Some of Gerald's ideas
have fallen by the wayside, while others lie dormant
still waiting to sprout. Yet a good many have blossomed
into unspoken cornerstones of contemporary thought.
The widespread establishment of religious communities
has become commonplace. Religious syncretism,
ecumenical studies, and interdisciplinary, eclectic approaches
lie at the vanguard of progressive religious
thought. Contemplative meditation practices have
gained broad acceptance across a spectrum of diverse
traditions. Theories on the evolution of consciousness
abound. Colleges and whole movements of thought
now regularly explore the transpersonal realm of pure
consciousness.
But what makes Gerald's farsighted approach to
religion especially relevant now is what made it relevant
when these books were first published--he is espousing
timeless truths. The reader is supplied with a map, compass,
and numerous exhortations of attainment, as well
as warnings of the pitfalls to avoid while embarking on
this singlemost important sojourn in life. Gerald offered
no quick fixes or shortcuts. He advocated a wholesale
restructuring of one's entire being through, "the skilled,
conscious training of our spirits." He advanced a holistic
approach long before holistic approaches became
popular.
Within these books is found Gerald's essential
message: "Our whole life must become intentional
and purposive, instead of a series of irrelevant events,
adventures, and accidents. We must ourselves deliberately
develop ourselves. That evolution which follows
will show itself in a threefold development: in growth
of conduct, of character and of consciousness itself. The
world exists for man to achieve union with God. The
meaning of all, the purpose and the end of all is one
thing, seeing God."
When revisiting Gerald's spiritual classics in this
new century, we are entering the very heart of religious
experience. We are treading the path trodden by serious
spiritual practitioners, be they novices or seasoned
mystics. We are undertaking a journey of utmost significance,
leading to pulsating union with God. As able
guide and modern interpreter of mysticism, Gerald
Heard nimbly and authoritatively beckons us toward
the Goal that each of us was born to realize in this very
life.
John Roger Barrie
Literary Executor of Gerald Heard
Nevada City, California
January 22, 2007

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