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My attempts to find schools of truth in India

Dreams are one of the principal obstacles on our possible way to the Miraculous

Author P D Ouspensky
When I went away, I already knew I was going to look for a school or schools. I had arrived at this long ago. I realized that personal, individual efforts were insufficient and that it was necessary to come into touch with the real and living thought which must be in existence somewhere but with which we had lost contact.

This I understood; but the idea of schools itself changed very much during my travels and in one way became simpler and more concrete and in another way became more cold and distant. I want to say that schools lost much of their fairy tale character.

On my departure, I still admitted much that was fantastic in relation to schools. “Admitted” is perhaps too strong a word. I should say better that I dreamed about the possibility of a non physical contact with schools, a contact, so to speak, “on another plane.” I could not explain it clearly, but it seemed to me that even the beginning of contact with a school may have a nature. I imagined, for example, the possibility of making contact with schools of the distant past, with schools of Pythagoras, with school of Egypt, with the schools of those who built Notredame, and so on. The idea of schools in itself was fantastic and nothing seemed to me too fantastic in relation to this idea. And I saw no contradiction between these ideas and my attempts to find schools in India. It seemed to me that it was precisely in that it would be possible to establish some kind of contact which would afterwards become permanent and independent of any outside interferences.

On the return voyage, after a whole series of meeting and impressions, the idea of schools became much more real and tangible and lost its fantastic character. This probably took place chiefly because, as I then realized, “school” required not only a search but “selection,” or choice -- I mean on our side.

That schools existed, I did not doubt. But at the same time I became convinced that the schools I heard about and with which I could have come into contact were not for me. They were schools of either a frankly religious nature or of a half religious character, but definitely devotional in tone. These schools did not attract me, chiefly because if I had been seeking a religious way, I could have found it in Russia. Other schools were of a slightly sentimental moral-philosophical type with a shade of asceticism, like the schools of the disciples or followers of Ramakrishna; there were nice people connected with these schools, but I did not feel they had real knowledge. Others which are usually described as “schools” and which are based on the creation of trance states had, in my eyes, something of the nature of “spiritualism.” I could not trust them; all their achievements were either self deception or what the Orthodox mystics (I mean in Russian monastic literature) called “beauty,” or allurement.

There was another type of school, with which I was unable to make contact and of which I only heard. These schools promised very much, but they also demanded very much. They demanded everything at once. It would have been necessary to stay in India and give up thoughts of returning to Europe, to renounce all my own ideas, aims and plans, and proceed along a road of which I could know nothing beforehand.

These schools interested me very much and the people who had been in touch with them, and who told me about them, stood out distinctly from the common type. But still, it seemed to me that there ought to be schools of a more rational kinds and that a man had the right, up to a certain point, to know where he was going.

Simultaneously with this I came to the conclusion that whatever the name of the school : Occult, or Yogi, they should exist on the ordinary earthly plane like any other kind of school : a school of painting, a school of dancing, a school of medicine. I realized that thought of schools “on another plane” was simply a sign of weakness, of dreams taking the place of real search. And I understood then that these dreams were one of the principal obstacles on our possible way to the miraculous. 
[ Excerpts from "In Search of Miraculous" published in 1949 ]

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