In our technology-driven society where such a great premium is placed upon formal education, it is easy to overlook the wisdom of common people. When we talk of philosophy, we tend to think of complex academic debates held in universities rather than practical rules for living. Yet, in the sense that philosophy is about guidelines for life, look around and you’ll find true philosophers everywhere.

Mothers quietly sacrificing their personal wants and desires for the sake of the children. Fathers working every day in often unrewarding jobs for the sake of their families. Nobody much thinks of them as representing the qualities of the future Humanity. But the developing Humanity is the sum of these minor sacrifices just as much as it is the learned writings of philosophers and religious leaders who have the education to articulate the yearnings for peace and a better life that people naturally feel all over the world. In times of dramatic change in values and attitudes such as we are experiencing these days, it is the enduring common sense of ordinary people getting on with life that gives our society some measure of stability. In more ancient cultures, the common experience of being human was crystallized in myths, folk stories, proverbs and folk music which forms the basis of the sophisticated art forms of our civilization.

Theosophical teachers tell us that all our thoughts and actions are recorded in a tenuous thought-atmosphere surrounding the earth much like the wispy clouds floating in the atmosphere we breathe. Just as the air sustains our bodies, these thoughts dramatically affect our lives in that their quality reflects back on humanity that shaped them originally. Harmonious thoughts can lead to a more peaceful world. Disharmonious thoughts precipitate out of the thought atmosphere upon us in the form of wars and natural disasters by which Mother Earth attempts to find her equanimity once again. Therefore, it behoves us to carefully guard the quality of our thoughts and subsequent actions as these can have manifold affects over time. We are told that the appearance of great religious leaders is even governed by the quality of the mass thought-life of Humanity calling forth a new restatement of ancient truths in the philosophies and religions we see in the world’s cultures.

What better example could I offer of the reservoir of good intentions that common people share than to cite the example of an unsophisticated neighbor as we discussed the future for our children. As I enquired about his hopes for his 15-year-old son, he replied that he didn’t care if he should be a doctor, a lawyer, wealthy businessman, or anything great in the eyes of the world.

He simply replied: “I just hope that he will grow up to be a good person.” Could all the philosophy books in the world better express our hopes for the future of Humanity?

Theosophical teachers on the Wisdom of the Common Man:

Frequently in the Mahatma Letters to AP Sinnett it says that the Masters of Wisdom are looking for the light of compassion in the hearts of aspirants shining in the hearts of aspirants whoever they are regardless of worldly status, wherever they are around the world. When they find this ‘Buddhic Light’, they watch and guide those who demonstrate a genuine purity of heart and motive in relation to helping Humanity. At the right time their direct training can commence, perhaps after life-times of testing in the ‘fires’ of daily life as their ‘Probation’. In one of her writings HP Blavatsky she had met high students of the mysteries at monasteries in Tibet who were not enormous intellects or necessarily of high social or educational status – but who in goodness and purity of heart outshone all others. Purity of heart, whatever our social, economic, or educational background, aligns us with the Inner God and from there knowledge and wisdom can flow at the appropriate time – and not just via intellectual training. The harmonization of the Inner and Outer man/woman leads to a profound joy and happiness because we are working closer and closer with Nature’s purpose.