‘Once upon a time we were one with everything. We had access to all of eternity. That was before we took our first incarnation into the limited, separate system and found ourselves locked into bodily consciousness, deeply identified with the body and with only a partial view of the whole. Where did the rest of eternity go?’
Corelight – Author’s Website and Corelight's Courses
Brad Laughlin's Youtube Channel
Interview with Leslie Temple-Thurston
The Ebb and Flow of Light and Dark with Leslie Temple-Thurston
The Marriage of Spirit: Enlightened Living in Today’s World (2000)
Leslie Temple-Thurston with Brad Laughlin
In Summary

We are stuck in dualistic thinking – us and them, black and white, liberal and conservative. Leslie Temple-Thurston offers a practical and theoretical guidebook to escaping the binary, entering into the higher oneness of all things.


The Marriage of Spirit begins with a divorce. In 1971, Leslie Temple-Thurston found herself in a heated debate with her husband over the relative merits of science and art, empiricism and intuition. In the aftermath of that night, Temple-Thurston had a ‘vision’, wherein the deeper unity between the two sides of their argument was revealed to her, along with a glimpse of the eternal oneness underlying all the false dualities of our earthly domain. After her husband questioned her sanity, Temple-Thurston tried to repress these revelations (becoming a ‘closet mystic’), returning to her life as a new mother and wife. Yet the tap-tap-tapping of her unconscious would not let go, not until she eventually rejected the cyclic fears and desires of her outer personality and embraced the cosmic self within. The marriage could not survive her transformation.

Progressing through intensive spiritual growth in the 1980s, Temple-Thurston believes she was able to leave behind these wounds and entanglements through shedding her ego and overcoming the roller coaster of earthly highs and lows. In 1990, she met her future life-partner, Brad Laughlin, with whom she further developed a programme for spiritual growth and co-wrote The Marriage of Spirit (2000). Yet the titular ‘marriage’ actually refers to the wedding of opposites: the breakdown of duality and the recognition of the eternal unity of all things. Indeed, raised in South Africa during apartheid, Temple-Thurston found herself constantly beset by the false binaries of black and white, us and them, powerful and powerless. But through the congruence of her mystical experience within she was eventually able to source the deeper symbiosis that had been so lacking without.


We are caught swinging between constant dualisms (for example, male and female, love and hate, pain and pleasure, chaos and order, sacred and secular, insecurity and confidence, positive and negative). Every side seems to have its opposite latent within it; for example, over-confidence often bespeaks a deeper insecurity and moments of pleasure are eventually replaced by moments of pain. This is the ‘swinging pendulum of consciousness’, wherein we rotate back and forth between the two sides of seemingly inescapable opposites. Yet becoming aware of these poles allows us to diagnose our habits, cycles and imbalances, recognising how we bounce back and forth between extremes. Temple-Thurston prescribes Polarity Exercises, where the reader journals their thoughts and feelings then goes back through the text and highlights emotionally weighted terms, using a dictionary to find their antonyms. This enables them to identify and reflect upon imbalances that emerge by leaning too far in either direction.

According to Temple-Thurston, all was one in the beginning. There were no distinctions, no separations, no dualisms in eternity. Then, somehow – in a mysterious process she likens to a Judeo-Christian fall – this unity was shattered, and the individual Soul distinguished itself from the world for the first time. This androgynous Soul then separated further, forging the binary of male and female. From here, the cracks continued spreading indefinitely, splintering out into all the false fractures and dualisms of our contemporary culture. Our past lives, as well as our lopsided experiences in this life, have further imprinted such dualities upon us, causing us to spiral away from true balance.

Many of us try to avoid the negative side of these dualisms through positive thinking, repressing trauma and negative desires into the unconscious, attempting to change our material circumstances for the better, and so on. However, insofar as the two sides of duality are linked, you cannot indulge one without arousing the other. We must accept that our true self is not defined by the dualisms we experience in our ego or personality (for example, thinking we are skinny or fat), but by the hidden oneness we have with all things. To achieve this, we must cultivate within ourselves what Temple-Thurston calls a ‘Witness’, whereby observing our ego from the outside prevents us from being governed by its subjective highs and lows. Because our true self exists beyond ego, through meditation and ‘the way of neutrality’ we can transcend our binary patterns. For example, instead of oscillating between insecurity and arrogance we can embrace humility. Temple-Thurston suggests we create what she calls word ‘Triangles’. Write down two opposite sides of a dualism you are stuck rotating between, then draw upward lines to where they might meet in the middle at a more unified juncture. This helps us to identify our dualistic patterns as well as the higher unities that can help us escape them. Then, like ‘a cork bobbing on a stormy sea, we are unaffected by the waves – we are unsinkable.’

In one sense, the individual ego that the Western world has often defined as its truest self – with its personality, emotions, experiences, pride and insecurity – is now transcended. Does this mean that awakening our divine Witness eradicates the individual identities and differences that set us apart within the world at large, only to be swallowed up into a homogenous, uniform state of humanity? Temple-Thurston is aware of this concern and maintains that ‘unity does not mean uniformity’, but rather ‘unity in diversity’ in the same way that a good marriage does not negate your spouse’s individuality but rather helps draw it forth.


Merging mysticism and modern psychology, The Marriage of Spirit provides potent insights into the self and its recurrent patterns. The second half of the work is composed almost entirely of practical exercises, such as journalling, word associations, meditation guides and more.

In addition to introducing a wealth of psychological insights, the philosophically inclined will find in this book an abundance of pressing questions to keep them occupied: What am I? Am I my personality? Am I defined by my past failures and successes? Is there escape from the seemingly unending cycles of my emotions and actions, as I ricochet from one false hope to the next? Will humanity ever cease to fracture what remains or is there a way up and beyond the dyads of us and them, black and white, rich and poor, conservative and liberal, love and hate? What way leads to the fount of eternal oneness that escapes all fractures?

Further Reading By This Author

Leslie explored similar themes in her other published work, Returning to Oneness: The Seven Keys of Ascension.

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