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Finding a Working Philosophy

Writing in a private journal over seventy years ago, the literary critic Alfred Kazin said, “More and more, it is clear to me that what I suffer from is the lack of a working philosophy, of a strong central belief, of something outside to which my ‘self’ can hold and, for once, forget its ‘self.’”

Most people probably don’t ever approach the idea of finding a “working” philosophy, or for that matter a philosophy of any kind. Satisfied with the “self” that guides their thoughts and actions, they glide (or not) through life oblivious of the need or desire to know more about the nature of the life they are living. But at some point they may encounter a moment, a crisis, a serious bump in the road and ask, “Who am I? What am I to do with this life? Why am I here? At this point, like Kazin, we might start looking for what he called a working philosophy, a set of propositions, of questions and possible answers to those questions. What is interesting about what Kazin penned those many years ago is the complexity of the notion of finding something that the “self can hold…and then…forget its self.” That last thought is more complex than just grabbing hold of a philosophy and holding on to it like a life raft.

What can he mean by forgetting his self? One answer is to be found in the Perennial Philosophy, that thin thread of wisdom traditions that began when the first human beings discovered the very idea of a self, a personal identity that said, “I exist. I am an individual person, not like others, and I can think things, and I can choose what I do.” It is at this point that selfconsciousness is born, and that birth often results in a divided self, an inner and outer persona and was what Kazin was asking not to suffer from with its feelings of separation and conflict.

That sense of separation is often called the Fall of Man and is what traditional religions offer as relief through faith, devotions and feelings of safety from conflict. But sometimes these traditions may not satisfy or provide relief from what in Kazin’s time was called an existential crisis.

A true working philosophy is one which can be practiced, not just studied. It can be put to work for us and provide a sense of unity and clarity. It addresses our longings and crises, and the only allegiance it demands is consistent attention. The Wisdom Traditions here at UPR offer an opportunity for students to find a working philosophy through the study of a history of the human effort to find a personal set of values and examples of how some human beings have found a path that is life-enhancing.

The traditions are Eastern and Western, culturally diverse and intellectually stimulating. They address the physical, mental and spiritual nature of human existence in an expansive cosmos of great mystery and wonder, while at the same time providing the opportunity to acquire undergraduate and graduate degrees. And this year, with the support and coordination of our national accreditation partner, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) we are beginning work on a Doctoral program with a primary focus on the Wisdom Traditions within our dual programs of Consciousness Studies and Transformative Psychology.

Professor Richard Geldard, Consciousness Studies

Dramatic Literature and Classics, Stanford University. Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University, Doctoral Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and Author of ten books on Early Greek philosophy and the thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson (see www.rgbooks.com)

Easter: The Secret of Life Everlasting

Christians believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world. In ancient Greece, there was a tradition of making a particular individual into a scapegoat who symbolically took on the sins of the people and was expelled from the city or put to death. They called this person a pharmakos. Before his death he was clad in holy garments, wreathed with sacred plants, fed on the purest of food. Through his sacred sacrifice, the sins of the city were banished. The fate of a pharmakos was to be insulted, beaten, disrespected in every way and put to death.

The mysteries of Mithras, celebrated their sacrificial rites symbolically, rather than literally. An icon of Mithras slaughtering a bull was used as an altarpiece rather than by enacting the sacrifice itself. “Thou hast saved us by shedding the eternal blood,” reads an inscription not to Jesus, but to Mithras. Although centuries later, Christians would express gratitude to their savior in nearly the same language.

Now, the cross was a sacred symbol for the ancients. Its four arms represented the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. The fifth element, spirit, was bound to materiality by these four elements. Plato refers to the desires of the body as nails that one-by-one fasten the soul to the body. The four nails used to crucify man through hands and feet would have been symbolic of our sensual desires, which attach the soul to the world of the four elements.

In the same way that Osiris was synthesized by the Greeks, with the indigenous god Dionysus to create the the Greek mysteries, other Mediterranean cultures that adopted the mystery religion also transformed one of their indigenous deities into the dying and resurrecting god-man. So the deity was known as Osiris in Egypt, Dionysus in Greece, Attis in Asia Minor, Adonis in Syria, Bacchus in Italy, Mithras in Persia and so on and so on. His forms were many, but essentially he was the same perennial figure whose collective identity was referred to as Osiris-Dionysus.

The Spring festival in the mysteries of Attis, like Easter, lasted for three days. During this time, the myth of Attis was performed as a passion play, just as the story of Jesus was performed as a passion play in the Middle Ages. An effigy of the corpse of Attis was tied to a sacred pine tree and decorated with flowers sacred to both Attis and the Syrian counterpart Adonis. It was then buried in a sepulcher. Like Jesus, on the third day, Attis rose again. The mythologist Sir James Frazier writes, “But when night had fallen, the sorrow of the worshippers was turned to joy, for suddenly a light shone in the darkness: the tomb was opened: the god had risen from the dead and as the priest touched the lips of the weeping mourners with balm, he softly whispered in their ears the glad tidings of salvation. The resurrection of the god was hailed by his disciples as a promise that they too would issue triumphant from the corruption of the grave. On the morrow, the twenty-fifth day of March, which was reckoned the vernal equinox, the divine resurrection was celebrated with a wild outburst of glee. At Rome and probably elsewhere, the celebration took the form of a carnival. It was the Festival of Joy.”

Paul, at around 50 CE, talks of a spiritual resurrection: "Someone will ask, how are the dead raised up? With what body do they come?'' Now listen to his answer: "Fool, what you sow does not come to life unless it dies. As for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or some other grain. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor and raised in glory. It is sown in weakness and raised in power. It is sown a physical body; it is raised a spiritual body."

So what is this secret of rebirth, as played out in countless mythologies throughout history? Perhaps it is an allegory through which we can awaken to our immortal soul – to remind us that man's problem is that in his ignorance he believes himself to be just a body, one that will grow old, suffer and die. His sense of injustice at the inevitability of this fate leads him to hurt himself and others, either through lust for more life or fear of approaching death. These crimes serve further to bind the soul to the body and so increase man's suffering.

It seems to me that the greatest tragedy of our time, the greatest tragedy in the modern world, is the atomizing of everything. Each of us is beginning to believe that we are somehow insular beings. And so we identify ourselves as separate beings. I suggest no more of such atomizing. Instead, let us begin to see that we are being reborn as one integral being, one undivided universal Self, belonging to one common human family.

I suggest that this is how we should celebrate Easter. We should celebrate the death of the dark ages of religious fundamentalism and literalism, with its good and evil, its saints and sinners, its insiders and outsiders, and the resurrection of the golden age with its higher level of consciousness in which the old becomes new and the new becomes sacred. Let us listen to our breath a little more. Resolve that we are going to spend a little more time in meditation, a little more time in self-reflection this coming year. This is the beginning of the year to the ancients: Easter is the beginning of the year; the beginning of a new life and a new hope. 


Obadiah Harris is the founder and president of the University of Philosophical Research. Harris has a long and storied career in both mainstream academia and the American metaphysical culture.  He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision from the University of Michigan and an MA in education from Arizona State University, where he was an associate professor of education and director of community education.  

Why Science Fiction?

 

Why Science Fiction?

by Mary-John Hart, instructor of
The Transcendent in Science Fiction

For the past 75 years, give or take a few, we humans have been experiencing radical change in ourselves, in the human-created realm, and in the life-world. This transformation has been occurring on both the macro and micro scales and has taken place from approximately 1950 to 2016. It is a product of exponential change in science and technology. The ripple effect caused by those developments is transforming how we are human in the world, how we imagine ourselves in the future, and how we understand our planet without which we cannot survive.

During this time, and as a reflection of this transformation, science fiction has evolved from a cult or fringe or pulp phenomenon to a powerful and dominant cultural force worldwide – witness the extraordinary response to the arrival of the latest “Star Wars” movie, which has shattered all previous box office records regardless of genre.

Just so far this century we have seen such films as “Artificial Intelligence” (2001), “Minority Report” (2002), “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003), “I, Robot” (2004), “Serenity” (2005), “Children of Men” (2006), “V for Vendetta” (2006), “The Man From Earth” (2007), “Wall-E” and “Hancock” (2008), “Star Trek,” “Avatar,” and “District 9” (2009), “Beyond the Black Rainbow” (2010), “Super 8” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), “Prometheus” and “The Hunger Games” (2012), “Gravity,” “Snowpiercer,” “Star Trek into Darkness,” and “Elysium” (2013), “Edge of Tomorrow, “Interstellar,” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014), “Ex Machina” and “The Martian” (2015). That’s just a sampling of what’s emerged so far. There is now even a cable TV station that deals exclusively with science fiction. Who knows what fan demand and genius will produce in the very near future?

This growth in the influence of and demand for ever more inventive and thrilling kinds of science fiction brings to mind questions for those of us who would study such things as soul and purpose and deep-meaning and God-by-many-names-and-in-many- forms. What are the implications for human life of this transformation with its intensifying acceleration? What is science fiction really about – as if any one person could answer a question about a field that is now so vast and multi-layered that no one person or institution or course or group of courses could possibly embrace it. Is science fiction about the past, the present, or the future?

Author, N.K. Jemisin is quoted in “Wired” magazine, November 2015 (“War of the Words”, a highly recommended article): “Science fiction is not actually the literature of the future. It’s the literature of the present.” And, I would add, the “present is merely the most recent past. The article points to a pivotal issue that is quite heated in human culture at this time and has to do with what’s going on in gaming and technology between males and females and in science fiction between those who include in their work gender and societal issues (the so-called politically correct) and those who have no use or patience for such “correctness.” This debate is now also reflected in our current presidential election and concerns, at bottom, the past being absorbed into the present (or future). To conclude, science fiction is a place where our questions (however deep or shallow) concerning what it is to be human in what kind of brave new world can be asked though certainly not fully or permanently answered.


Mary-John Hart has her Ph.D. in Depth Psychology on the role of the image. She also has graduate work and teaching and administration experience in drama, and is an award winning science fiction writer, famous in her pesudonym Mary Staton for her book The Legend of Biel. In this course, she shares her depth psychological understanding of the structures of science fiction through the use of her own novel as an illustration.

Christian Mysticism: A Talk by Obadiah Harris

 

Our Christmas talk for this year reflects the history of the Christian Mysticism and its manifestation through a variety of outstanding seers throughout the ages. Traditionally they have been prosecuted and misunderstood. It is only after their lifetime are they genuinely appreciated. This would be a good time to reveal their lives and their teachings as well as other mystics, and to see if we can emulate their life and come to a deeper understanding of their teaching.


Obadiah Harris is the founder and president of the University of Philosophical Research. Harris has a long and storied career in both mainstream academia and the American metaphysical culture.  He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision from the University of Michigan and an MA in education from Arizona State University, where he was an associate professor of education and director of community education. 

He is the author of multiple books, including his most recent title, The Simple Road: A Handbook for the Contemporary Seeker published this year by Tarcher/Penguin. 

Winter Quarter Begins January 25th

In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer…. ~Albert Camus

  
With the days getting shorter and the nights colder, we are all beginning to feel winter creeping in. As we begin to wrap up 2015 we also begin to plan for the year to come. What new wisdom might it have in store for us? Where could such knowledge lead us? During this potent time, UPR wishes to invite you to join us this Winter Quarter on a one-of-a-kind educational journey.
 
This upcoming quarter we will be offering access to lectures for one of our undergraduate courses: REL 241 – Introduction to Indic Wisdom Literature on a non-credit basis free of cost. For more information on our undergraduate program and additional enrollment options, please visit the following link.
 
UPR's Winter Enrollment Deadline is Monday, January 11th, two weeks before the quarter is scheduled to begin on January 25th. If you have been thinking of enrolling into any of our programs or taking single courses, now is the time to contact us for more information and to begin your application process. Our offices are open M-F 10am-4pm Pacific time. Give us a call during these hours at 323.663.2167 or email us at info@uprs.edu and a university representative will be happy to assist you.

 


Here's what we're offering:

B.A. Courses

PHI 202 – Foundations of Greek Philosophy 
PSY 202 – Attention Mechanics
CUL 251 – The Transcendent in Science Fiction
REL 241 – Introduction to Indic Wisdom Literature*

*Offered this upcoming quarter on a non-credit basis free of cost. 

Clicking in any of these will take you to the course page with a sample video. Further detail on the courses and faculty can be found at: /undergraduate-academics/

The Power of Thanksgiving

 

The Power of Thanksgiving

On November 26th the people of our state and nation will join in celebrating a unique national holiday. One which is different from all others in dedication and in what it commemorates.

Except for the Thanksgiving holiday, all of our other national holidays are of a secular or temporal nature. New years day is an event of the calendar, July 4th memorializes our political independence, but Thanksgiving day alone is what might be called God's holiday for on that day only of all the holidays we render thanks to the Divine Spirit for the blessings that we enjoy.

In accordance with the Thanksgiving Day Proclamation issued by every president since George Washington, as President of the University of Philosophical Research and the Philosophical Research Society, and on behalf of its Board of Trustees and members and friends, I hereby tender our thanks to the Supreme Divine.

With that in mind let us look upon this coming sacred holiday and the power of thanksgiving in a new and deeper way. One which we hope will open the way to much to be thankful for in the years ahead.

Jesus said, “I thank thee O Father Lord in heaven and earth that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and has revealed them unto babes.” Let us look for that revelation and in doing so may we be as Paul who said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication and with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God and the peace that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”

This Thanksgiving will be a far cry from that which the Wampanoag people and the colonists celebrated many years ago on the rock bound coasts of New England.

They did not feast on that first holiday in the midst of safety and comfort but in peril and hardship they offered thanks. At such a moment of drastic change and unfamiliarity, the Wampanoag people shared their resources and intuitive knowledge of the land with these early colonists. They possessed a knowledge that perceives God in all things and events and understands them as part of the Divine purpose. A knowledge that receives all happenings with love and joy and without rebellion as coming from God. And that in purity of deed all of its work and all that it has to do as an offering to God.

As religious dissenters, the colonists had undergone persecution in the old world and had come to the new determined to continue at all cost toward the spiritual goal they had set for themselves. In them, I believe, was a sense of selfless devotion to a great truth of the spirit, inner strength, and perseverance. Fundamental in their motivation was the guiding impulse of mankind, that impels him forward toward ever free and higher spiritual unfoldment and perfection. Not denying old and eternal truths but realizing them to an even larger extent in their lives and in world nature.

This was the rise of a great nation on the North American continent destined to lead humanity so that all human kind may enjoy the same free unfoldment of the spirit and may have all material blessings necessary to the wellbeing of the human race and the peace of the world.

If we are to be wise and provident and learn from the story of these early Americans, we too must have as they did a selfless devotion to an even greater truth of spirit and even greater reliance on the power of thanksgiving. If we can do this it will lead us not only to a free nation but to something yet greater, to a free world and a happy mankind. That new devotion which we should undertake today should not be for ourselves, but for all of human kind. Its purpose should be to carry out the divine will in the world. To bring about a spiritual transformation and to receive into our lives and into that of humanity a divine nature.

It is not for spiritual bliss alone, but for the realization of the kingdom of heaven on earth. The ideal that is closest to the heart of all peoples, the aim of the Messianic era of the Hebrews, the Divine Anunda, or Golden era of the Hindus. No mere external rearrangements alone, whether political, social or religious can bring this about, the change must be inner.

The state of the world will not change until human nature changes, until that rebirth occurs, until man becomes not an instrument of his ego but a realized soul. Not as some supernatural after death expectation, but as a spiritual fulfillment of the natural realm. In that great day all will have cause to be thankful for each man will then see himself in the selves of others and then in his own self and the Divine in all. This spiritually reborn man will have a greater knowledge, sympathy, power and self effectuation of the Divine Truth. He will be aware of and identified with the inner being of all men.

As man evolves towards spiritual liberation and identity with all others, he evolves toward spiritual oneness and the unity and harmony of mankind. It is this way that the change in human nature will come about. In this there will be reconciliation of all differences. The true equality in which all are children of God, an end to the clashes of the individual and communal egoism and abolishing of any imposition on the spirit, mind, or body.

And in its place the outstretched hand of love. Not by might nor power but by my spirit saith the Lord, not by the material armor of science, but by the spiritual armor of love shall we enter the joy of a new thanksgiving for all people. As Paul the apostle to the gentiles let us be the apostle to all men so that this thanksgiving may come into their lives. This is the thanksgiving and the table of that feast, the feast of the spirit spoken in the 23rd Psalm, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, my cup runneth over surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Today, when we look upon humanity we see suffering, ignorant humanity torn apart by racial and religious barriers. We see materialistic nations, worshipping at the altars of science. We see wars and hear rumors of wars even to the annihilation of mankind. But when we look up, we see light breaking in the east, the dawning of a new day, and in the rosy hue of that new horizon, we see the form of a new kind of individual. Transformed perfected, clothed in a light from heaven, and deep in the silence of our souls we hear a voice saying, my dearly beloved, that person is you, the whole of human kind, transformed lifted up, made new. Let us look up and give thanksgiving for our redemption draws near.

 


 

Obadiah Harris is the founder and president of the University of Philosophical Research. Harris has a long and storied career in both mainstream academia and the American metaphysical culture.  He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision from the University of Michigan and an MA in education from Arizona State University, where he was an associate professor of education and director of community education. 

He is the author of multiple books, including his most recent title, The Simple Road: A Handbook for the Contemporary Seeker published this year by Tarcher/Penguin. 

Fall Quarter Invitation

 

No spring nor summer’s beauty hath such grace / As I have seen in one Autumnal face…. ~John Donne, "Elegy IX: The Autumnal"

  
With Fall right around the corner, colors begin to change and this Summer's excitement ripens to reveal the cool calmness of Autumn. UPR wishes to invite all seekers, scholars and learners to join us this Fall quarter in a one-of-a-kind educational journey.
 
This Fall quarter we will be offering access to lectures for one of our undergraduate courses: PSY 201 – Self-Regulation and Human Potential on a non-credit basis free of cost. For more information on our undergraduate program and additional enrollment options, please visit the following link.
 
Don't miss Jonathan Young and Anne Bach's upcoming workshop and webinar, The Inner life of the Holidays (click here for more information) on September 12th, or a reading with Dr. Obadiah Harris on October 3rd in our bookstore from his newest book, The Simple Life, published and released by Tarcher Penguin this September. Click here to purchase a copy now on Amazon. Make sure to join our mailing list at the bottom of this page to stay updated on an exciting new series of events we plan to offer this upcoming quarter.
 
UPR's Fall enrollment deadline is Monday, October 12th, two weeks before the quarter is scheduled to begin on October 26th. If you have been thinking of enrolling into any of our programs or taking single courses, now is the time to contact us for more information and to begin your application process. Our offices are open M-F 10am-4pm Pacific time. Give us a call during these hours at 323.663.2167 or email us at info@uprs.edu and a university representative will be happy to assist you.

 


Here's what we're offering:

B.A. Courses

PHI 201 – Introduction to Philosophy
PHI 251 – Introduction to Modern Western Esotericism
PSY 201 – Self Regulation and Human Potential*
CUL 206 – The Art of the Essay
REL 201 – Introduction to Religions of the World
 

*Offered this upcoming quarter on a non-credit basis free of cost. 

Clicking in any of these will take you to the course page with a sample video. Further detail on the courses and faculty can be found at: /undergraduate-academics/

Open to the Whole

 

Open to the Whole


Many years ago now, the philosopher and teacher Leo Strauss made the following statement in one of his lectures: “Man is that part of the whole that is open to the whole.” Always one who challenged the more traditional materialist positions of his colleagues at the University of Chicago, Straus was not only stating the difference between human beings and other creatures in matters of consciousness, but he was also making the case for our very identity.

We have all been placed here with the gift of a unique perception within the Whole of the known universe and its deeper mysteries. It is our gift from an intelligence within which we take our life and from which we are invited to enter the portal to the beginnings of wisdom.

The space we enter, not unlike the porch of an ancient temple, is only a beginning of wisdom because merely having a perception of the Whole does not mean that we have an understanding of our place within its nature. An astronomer can grasp a sense of the visible Whole while not being open to it as a personal relation. A continuing study of the wisdom traditions, on the other hand, provides a rare opportunity to become open to the Whole and to know how to live with that openness.

Here at UPR, we have the means to study the philosophy of this consciousness of the Whole as well as the psychology behind that relationship. Together, these two disciplines provide handles with which to grasp and hold on to its mysteries. Without those handles our position is, in effect, unhandsome, that is, not having a handle on our own lives.

As UPR begins its undergraduate program in earnest, inviting students to complete a degree already begun perhaps in a more traditional setting, we open a portal into the nature and character of the Whole. It is a rare invitation, not suited to everyone, but recognized on some level of an understanding seen perhaps as a deep curiosity or a search for meaning. Once completed, the degree invites a deeper grasp of the wisdom tradition with completion of a graduate degree.

One of the rarities of the UPR setting is that the faculty we have assembled for this study have both a sense of the true nature of the Whole and are also open to being a contributing part of it on behalf of those willing and able to discover what that openness entails.

Richard Geldard, Ph.D. 

UPR Dean of Undergraduate StudiesAdjunct Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University, Doctoral Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and Author of ten books on Early Greek philosophy and the thought of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Summer Quarter Invitation

The summer night is like a perfection of thought. – Wallace Stevens

This Summer at UPR is looking to be an exciting one. We will be offering our community a new lecture series on The Art of Buddhism through September and an all day Workshop and Webinar with Jonathan Young and Anne Bach. We are also pleased to announce our newest graduate course, PHI 531 - The Hermetic Tradition, taught by professor Richard Geldard, M.A. Consciousness Studies faculty and UPR’s undergraduate Dean of Academics.
This upcoming quarter we will be offering access to lectures for two of our undergraduate courses: PHI 203 – The Examined Life and REL 202 – Stages of Spiritual Growth on a non-credit basis free of cost. For more information on our undergraduate program and additional enrollment options, visit the following link.

UPR’s Summer enrollment deadline is Monday, July 13th, two weeks before the quarter is scheduled to begin (July 27th). If you have been thinking of enrolling into any of our programs or taking single courses, now is the time to contact us for more information and to begin your application process. Our offices are open M-F 10am-4pm Pacific time. Give us a call during these hourse at 323.663.2167 or email us at info@uprs.edu and a university representative will be happy to assist you.

Here’s what we’re offering:

M.A. courses:

PHI 531 – The Hermetic Tradition
REL 511 – Understanding the Bible
REL 512 – The Wisdom of Islam
REL 523 – Buddhism in the Modern World
PSY 521 – Spiritual Psychology
PSY 523 – Buddhist Psychology & Methods of Healing
PSY 524 – The Yoga of Integral Transformation

Clicking in any of these will take you to the course page with a sample video. Further detail on the courses and faculty can be found at: http://www.uprs.edu/graduate-academics/

B.A. Courses

PHI 203 – The Examined Life*
PSY 222 – The I Ching: Archetypes of Transformation
CUL 251 – The Transcendent in Science Fiction
REL 202 – Stages of Spiritual Growth*
REL 203 – The Human & The Divine: A Comparative Anthropology

*Offered this upcoming quarter on a non-credit basis for a limited time free of cost. 

Clicking in any of these will take you to the course page with a sample video. Further detail on the courses and faculty can be found at: http://www.uprs.edu/undergraduate-academics/

The Simple Road: A Handbook for the Contemporary Seeker

The Simple Road: A Handbook for the Contemporary Seeker 
by Obadiah Harris

Tarcher (September 1, 2015).  Preorder Available Now on Amazon.com

This elegant, concise guide by the founder of the University of Philosophical Research distills a lifetime of spiritual seeking into one beautiful, unforgettable blueprint for inner growth.  

“When you grow exhausted with all of today’s spiritual programs, axioms, seminars, and techniques; when you feel fatigued from searching and cannot find a way forward; when it seems that years of seeking have netted so little – throw yourself upon the essential truths in this book…It can be lifesaving.” –Mitch Horowitz, from the introduction 

For more than a half-century, Obadiah Harris has studied the spiritual path, holding ministerial pulpits in traditions ranging from Pentecostalism to New Thought, and directing programs in continuing education, community-outreach, and distance-learning at major universities. As a scholar and seeker, Harris has traversed and helped shape broad swaths of our modern spiritual landscape. Now, he distills the insights he has found — all of them potent, powerful, and, above all, useful — in The Simple Road

The Simple Road is more than a book. This concise statement is a spiritual GPS that guides the earnest seeker past dead-ends and switchbacks to locate the path that most intimately and directly connect us with the Source of all life. The methods and ideas in this book can help rescue you from a crisis and provide a daily source of practice. 

This brave work addresses head-on topics that are often shunned or ignored in works of “proper” theology, including the question of physical healing by spiritual means — a topic treated with deepest seriousness — and with the existence of hostile forces that test us on the spiritual path. 

The Simple Road is balm for parched souls. Whatever tradition you belong to, or if you belong to no one tradition, The Simple Road helps you locate the thread of universality that runs through all faiths, and leads you to practices, prayers, methods, and parables that lift your daily journey to a higher, better place.


Obadiah Harris is the founder and president of the University of Philosophical Research (www.UPRS.edu), a nationally accredited distance-learning college that grants graduate degrees in CONSCIOUSNESS STUDIES AND TRANSFORMATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY and undergraduate degrees in LIBERAL STUDIES. Harris has a long and storied career in both mainstream academia and the American metaphysical culture.  He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision from the University of Michigan and an MA in education from Arizona State University, where he was an associate professor of education and director of community education. For almost two decades at Arizona State he designed programs in community outreach and in adult and continuing education. Harris has held numerous ministerial pulpits and collaborated with figures of major influence in contemporary spirituality, including Ernest Holmes (1887-1960). Born in northeastern Oklahoma, he lives in Los Angeles.

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