Here is a review of The Secret Teachers of the Western World that appeared in the March 2016 issue of Science of Mind magazine. Many thanks to Diane Bishop for sending me a copy.
“The breadth of Gary Lachman’s book is stunning. He argues that esoteric teachers from ancient to modern times have bequeathed us values such as religious freedom and tolerance in addition to profound understandings of spiritual consciousness. The book also serves as a bracing reminder of the historical costs for holding beliefs similar to New Thought. These secret teachers often faced persecution and sometimes martyrdom. Why have these influential teachers been disowned? Lachman turns to current research on the holistic intelligence of the right brain and the rational/logical left brain for answers. At one point, humans relied primarily on the right brain — what the right-wing mystic Rene Schwaller de Lubicz called the “intelligence of the heart.” The right brain is at home with imagination, symbols (think Carl Jung) and mystical awareness of Oneness (think Meister Eckhart). With the advent of left-brain modern consciousness and rational science that believes in only what can be seen and measured, the right brain intelligence of the heart has been disowned. Lachman writes that modern esotericism and the New Age are reactions against the malaise that results from believing reality is found only in the physical world. He says the contemporary spiritual scene is a mix of the shallow sprinkled with the profound. What is needed to address our global problems is an integration of the two sides of our brain — a “Goldilocks” moment akin to the Renaissance where both science and the search for meaning were honored. In this highly recommended, accessible work, Lachman introduces us to the spiritual life of Neanderthals, shamans, Plato, Dante, Jean Gebser (who also influenced Integral theorist Ken Wilber) and many lesser known, but equally fascinating, teachers throughout history.” — HARVEY BISHOP