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A few months ago I was digging around in an antique bookshop in Norfolk. I was thrilled to find a 1949 edition of The Tibetan Book of the Dead by W.T. Evans-Wentz. Not long after this I discovered another mystical classic while rooting around in London’s Treadwells bookshop. This was a 1921 copy of C. Jinarajadasa’s First Principles of Theosophy. Both books explain different aspects of the Ageless Wisdom including after death states, reincarnation, the astral plane and karmic law.
These concepts are not confined solely to works of scholarly investigation. They are also to be found in mainstream fiction. Jessica Brody’s novel The Karma Club follows the fortunes of a group of friends who attempt to tackle the unhappiness caused by the actions of others. Mitch Albom’s, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, gives an account of a gifted musician with the power to influence people’s futures. Neil Gavin’s, Threads, is a reincarnation story involving Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor as lovers whose relationship spans many lifetimes. James Herbert’s, Nobody True, is about a man murdered while travelling on the astral plane. Left without a physical body he must try to prevent his killer from striking again.
The esoteric is also to be found in the medium of film. In Flatliners, (1990), five medical students induce near death experiences when each of them flatlines for sixty seconds. In the Spanish film Abre Los Ojos, (Open Your Eyes, 1998), Eduardo Noriega is cryogenically frozen moments after his death. He finds himself locked in a lucid dream on the astral plane. The film was successfully remade in 2001 as Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise in the leading role. Darren Aronofsky’s 2006 film, The Fountain, explores questions of rebirth, reincarnation and the eternal life of the soul. More recently, in 2016, the superhero blockbuster Doctor Strange involves ancient mystical texts and hidden Nepalese masters.
The Ageless Wisdom has provided inspiration for a number of television series. The 2006 British serial Life on Mars finds a seriously injured detective trapped thirty years in the past with a killer to catch. Is he already dead or is he comatose and having an out of body experience? The series was critically acclaimed and followed by an equally successful sequel, Ashes to Ashes. In The OA, which premiered on Netflix in 2016, Brit Marling portrays an angel in a race against time to save her fellow angels trapped in an alternate reality. Another Netflix Original, Stranger Things, gained recognition for its exploration of inter dimensional travel and telekinesis.
There are many academic works exploring the mysteries of the Ageless Wisdom. There are many fictional works as well. If you want to add some esoteric spice to the next novel, film or television drama you select, there is plenty to choose from. In the world of the Ageless Wisdom, fiction can be just as compelling, and just as strange, as fact.
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