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"The most precious thing which anyone could find cannot be given to others. Spirit is incommunicable and impalpable. But words, which tell about it, can be given to them."


Readers of The Notebooks of Paul Brunton will quickly realize that they consist of a large number (approx. 36,000) of entries varying in length from one sentence on the one hand, to full-length essays on the other-but most consist of a paragraph or two on a single subject. To enable readers to more easily give inner life to the subtle meanings in his words, and to deepen one’s understanding of them, Paul Brunton used a presentation which is unique to the Western mind. He puts his thoughts/intuitions into short notes. At first reading one gets the idea but perhaps only at a superficial level. Subsequent notes, although somewhat repetitious, come from a slightly different slant, moving the readers’ attention around a seed thought in a circular fashion. The quotes interact, illuminating each other. Each quote can be used in a contemplative way, serving to deepen awareness, arouse the readers’ intuition and bring them closer to their precious inner spirit.

Paul Brunton was well aware that the Western mind found repetition tiresome. But when it came to imparting spiritual understanding, he considered the Eastern mind to be wiser. Teachers of great truths throughout the ancient world found repetition invaluable. “…the more important tenets of higher philosophy are intellectually extremely subtle, so subtle as not to be apparent at first contact with them, and extremely difficult to realize. The repeated contact with them, however, acts as a kind of indirect meditation and removes their unfamiliarity, renders them understandable, and causes them little by little to sink into the emotional consciousness.” (from the Notebooks, selection #8-5-114 = category #8, chapter #5, entry #114)

Each selection in The Notebooks of Paul Brunton has been placed in one of 28 subject categories that PB created to classify his writings. The source category, chapter, and entry number (such as you see in the selection above) are indicated for each selection to facilitate further study of the topics. The first volume of the 16 Notebooks of Paul Brunton is a volume titled: Perspectives. You might like to explore this online presentation first. It contains a selection from the other volumes of outstanding teachings from the 28 categories and contains a few teachings not found in the other volumes. Each of the other 15 printed volumes contain one or more of the 28 categories. In both the online Notebooks and the printed Notebooks volumes, the categories are organized into chapters, each with many entries. Please know that the editors, not Paul Brunton, determined the sequence of material in each category.

The 28 categories of the Notebooks cover a broad range of human development–from beginners who just heard about the spiritual quest to teachings best suited for advanced practitioners. PB broadly arranged the categories in developmental order-the basics are in the early categories and the advanced material in the later ones. As it turns out, what is true at one stage of development may be altered at a later stage and perhaps even seem contradictory-just as is the case in human maturation from infant into adult.

An introduction to the terms created by Paul Brunton such as Overself and World-Mind can be found at the bottom of the homepage. They are mostly explained by referencing definitive PB quotations from the Notebooks.

Please note: Paul Brunton wrote in the mid twentieth-century when the literary convention was to use “he” rather than “he or she,” but certainly he intended these teachings for everyone drawn to study them.

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