The period from around 800 BCE to 200 BCE which Karl Jaspers argues involved a major cultural and psychological paradigm shift in which there developed a focus on the individual and self-consciousness.
A philosophical or (more usually) religious perspective which advocates a rigid adherence to certain fundamental beliefs or principles, and is generally associated with intolerance of alternative views.
A religious-philosophical tradition, originating in the period before Christianity, that emphasises salvation through higher knowledge. A central theme in Gnosticism is the evil that is manifest in the material world and the need to escape this through magical or mystical practices.
Traditional religious beliefs and practices found among descendants of peoples who originally inhabited a territory prior to any colonization or settlement from outside Generally used to refer to native religious traditions that are not represented in the major world religions.
Sanskrit for 'Greater Vehicle'. One of the three major schools of Buddhism which is found mainly in Northern India, China, Tibet and Japan. Mahayana Buddhism emphasises the universal quest for enlightenment which may be achieved in many ways, including the path of faith.
A profound pattern of experience that may occur when a person has nearly died or has clinically died and then been resuscitated. Typical features of the NDE include a sense of peace, out-of-body experience, moving through a dark tunnel, the encounter with a loving light, meeting deceased relatives or friends, or spiritual beings, and a life review.
Term used for a variety of new religious movements that are based on the revival of pre-Christian religion. Neopagan religions often emphasise nature, magic, and the worship of the Goddess and/or Horned God.
A philosophical school developed by Plotinus and others from the 3rd century CE which postulates the existence of a single spiritual source of all things (the One) with which the individual soul may be united in mystical experience.
Lit. 'revealing the psyche'. A term coined by the British psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond to refer to mind-altering drugs such as mescaline and LSD. Also used to refer to the experiences induced by these drugs.
Wilber's suggestion that a truly integral approach must recognize that all phenomena should be examined from a perspective that considers both (1) insides and outsides, and (2) the singular and the plural. Also see AQAL.
Term used in Buddhism to refer to some kind of personal continuation from one life to the next. Since Buddhism does not accept the notion of a permanent self, this is not literally a reincarnation of the same fixed entity.
School of Hindu philosophy that forms the basis of Yoga. It argues for the reality of two basic principles: purusha and prakriti. The purpose of spiritual practice is to realize our true nature as purusha.
A term used in a variety of different senses including: (1) an animating principle, (2) a supernatural being, (3) consciousness, (4) the soul, (5) the transcendent witness, (6) the essence of the Divine.
Term used by Stan and Christina Grof for disturbing and often overwhelming crises that may be indistinguishable from psychosis, but which represent a process of transformation and spiritual opportunity.
An ancient tradition, which is found in both Hinduism and Buddhism, that focuses on awareness and use of the energies of the body, relationships and the cosmos for spiritual purposes. Tantra uses ritual and magic and is often associated in the West with sexual spiritual practice.
A philosophical system that derives from the writings of Helena P. Blavatsky who founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. Theosophical teachings are based on an esoteric interpretation of Hinduism and Buddhism and on the belief in the perennial philosophy at the core of all religions.
Pali for 'Elder Doctrine'. One of the three major schools of Buddhism, Theravada adheres closely to the original teachings of the Buddha. It proposes that enlightenment is achieved through one's own spiritual effort and, especially, through the monastic life. Found chiefly in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.
A Buddhist form of mindfulness meditation which aims at gaining insight into the nature of mind. Vipassana entails witnessing the physical sensations and mental activity as these arise in consciousness.
Wilber's term for a higher mode of systemic thinking that is capable of holding and integrating different perspectives that may formerly have been considered contradictory or incompatible. Wilber argues that vision-logic arises at the Centaur stage of development.