A significant sub-tradition of our Primordial Wisdom Tradition is known in Latin as Philosophia Perennis, or in English as the Perennial Philosophy. In the way the ancients used the word, philosophy was a practical rather than a purely theoretical pursuit. So, in this sense too, timeless wisdom can be thought of as applied rather than abstract philosophy.
The Greek word from which we get the English philosophy, as most people know, simply means love (philo) of wisdom (sophia). When this love of wisdom is strong enough, it inspires and leads one to the pursuit of truth above all other things.
For the ancients, philosophy was not a speculative exercise, largely the province of specialists, as it is today. Instead, philosophy signified for them a practical way of life grounded in the highest ideals and values, and one which is available for all to follow. Anyone who was dedicated unreservedly to this pursuit, and acted on it, was said to be a philosopher, or “lover of wisdom”.
According to the ancients, love of wisdom as a way of life leads to the progressive unfolding of true knowledge. Love of the Infinite leads one ultimately to the experience of infinite love.
Infinite love is love of wisdom fully requited in the complete and abiding fulfillment of realization, which according to the wise is ultimate truth, the apex of awakened consciousness.
According to the ancients, the aim of philosophy is “to live the good life.” For them, the good life didn’t signify a life of ease and pleasure, as it does today. Rather, it meant a life ordered or attuned to the summum bonum — the highest good.
The sages are generally in agreement that this supreme good is found, ultimately, in realization of absolute reality, in mystical experience that transcends limited mind. According to the universal teaching, the aim of practicing timeless wisdom as applied philosophy is ultimate truth, and the way to it is the spiritual path.
~ Thomas Hickey