Spiritual Legacy of Gerald Heard

It seems most appropriate to begin this blog on the 132nd birth anniversary of author/historian/lecturer/philosopher Gerald Heard. Gerald’s contributions to the spiritual legacy of our contemporary Western world are enormous. Following his approx. 1934 conversion to the path of experiential mysticism, Gerald charted a sure and steady course that laid the foundation for others to follow. Beginning with 1937’s The Third Morality, continuing through 1939’s Pain, Sex and Time, and blossoming in the 1940s with a series of popular books, including his quintessential Training for the Life of the Spirit (1941), and culminating with his decade-ending compilation, 1949’s Prayers and Meditations, Gerald’s written musings on the spiritual life covered a broad swath of terrain that pointed in one direction: Godward.

In 1941, Gerald founded and directed Trabuco College, a prototype coeducational, interfaith spiritual community in Southern California. Gerald’s focus was experiential rather than theoretical. He practiced what he preached, meditating six hours daily in the sublime Trabuco College oratory. Gerald influenced a number of key individuals who would, in their own way, disseminate a spiritual message, either at times or throughout their lives: Aldous Huxley, Huston Smith, Michael Murphy, and others. The late yoga authority Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D. wrote of Gerald, “Heard’s work — and he published a number of insightful books — was one of the ideological sources of the human potential movement and was also instrumental in the spreading of Vedanta in the Western hemisphere.”

2021 also marks the 50th year of Gerald’s passing. All spiritual aspirants can benefit from Gerald’s message: “There is a purpose in evolution — to evolve consciously, to evolve consciousness. That evolution is achieved only by the skilled, conscious training of our spirits” (Training for the Life of the Spirit). And so, on this day we commemorate Gerald’s life, legacy, and passing. Gerald Heard: October 6, 1889 to August 14, 1971.

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