Here's a text, that I find has a lot of good basic notions: www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/path/oc-wqj.htm

It opens with a quote from Miguel de Molinos - here's a full version-

The Spiritual Guide which Disentangles the Soul Miguel de Molinos The PREFACE. Fourth Advertisement.

The Burden of this Book consisting in rooting out the Rebellion of our own Will, that we may attain to internal Peace.

29. The way of inward Peace, is in all things to be conform to the pleasure and disposition of the Divine Will. (Hugo Cardinalisin Pf.13.) In omnibus debemus subjicere volis tatem nostram voluntatis divine hæc est enim pax voluntati nostra ut sit per omnia confirmis voluntati divine. Such as would have all things succeed and come to pass according to their own fancy, are not come to know this way, Viam pacis non cognos verunt, and therefore lead a harsh and bitter life, always restless and out of humour without treading the way of Peace, which consists in a total conformity to the will of God.

30. This conformity is the sweet yoke that introduces us into the regions of internal Peace and serenity. Hence we may know, that the rebellion of our Will is the chief occasion of our disquiet; and that because we will not submit to the sweet yoke of the Divine Will, we suffer so many streights and perturbations. O Soul! if we submitted our own to the Divine Will, and to all his Disposition, what tranquility should we feel! what sweet peace! what inward serenity! what supreme felicity and earnest of bliss!. This then is to be the burden of this Book: May it please God to give me his Divine Light, for discovering the secret Paths of this Inward Way, and chief Felicity of perfect Peace.

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Divine Will or Will of God corresponding to the Higher Self.

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Know then, oh Man, that he who seeks the hidden way, can only find it through the door of life. In the hearts of all, at some time, there arises the desire for knowledge. He who thinks his desire will be fulfilled, as the little bird in the nest, who has only to open his mouth to be fed; will very truly be disappointed.

So effort is required - effort in the real world - In today's consumer society atmosphere it is perhaps pertinent to note that knowledge is not necessarily obtained through the path of purchasing products of knowledge.
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In all nature we can find no instance where effort of some kind is not required. We find there is a natural result from such effort. He who would live the life or find wisdom can only do so by continued effort. If one becomes a student, and learns to look partially within the veil, or has found within his own being something that is greater than his outer self, it gives no authority for one to sit down in idleness or fence himself in from contact with the world. Because one sees the gleam of the light ahead he cannot say to his fellow "I am holier than thou" or draw the mantle of seclusion around himself.

For the first part, I think one can compare the need for effort with learning a craft, such as carpentry, or a musical instrument - these endeavors take a lot of time and sweat, a lot of tedious discipline of repetitive exericizes and a constant need to keep the skills exercized and is a continual learning process, in effect.

For the second part, I think it's fairly straightforward, owning an impressive library of obscure esoteric books, while not necessarily undesirable, does not justify one to pretend they are the Count St-Germain or somehow part of an elect few.
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Agreed, Casedy. It is through effort and endeavors that allows people to gain knowledge in intangible ways. Experience nor the lessons gained from it can be purchased.

What anyone can anticipate are the lessons from effort - if they wish to receive them. The beauty in  effort is that it brings a "customized" set knowledge that one needs in order to grow. Arguably, no two people require the same set of knowledge to elevate and expand in life.

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Nice reflections Shen,  - On this point, I'm reminded of a little Zen story, perhaps you've heard of it:

There was once a man who was being chased by a ferocious tiger across a field. At the edge of the field there was a cliff. In order to escape the jaws of the tiger, the man caught hold of a vine and swung himself over the edge of the cliff. Dangling down, he saw, to his dismay, there were more tigers on the ground below him! And, furthermore, two little mice were gnawing on the vine to which he clung. He knew that at any moment he would fall to certain death. That's when he noticed a wild strawberry growing on the cliff wall. Clutching the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other and put it in his mouth.

He never before realized how sweet a strawberry could taste.

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How stark, yet necessary at times it is to flounder. But in floundering, like the man in this story, awareness is gained in exchange.

Fortunately, painful circumstances are not the only type of "work" or effort needed to have knowledge and awareness. Granted, the discipline and persistence in obtaining a hard-earned skill are also valid effort.  (You discussed this point prior.) As the Zen story may indicate, we are not always ready to experience the gifts in life without the effort needed to appreciate it.

Thank you for sharing this Zen story, Casady.

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My pleasure Shen - and thank you for reviving this thread - it is a text I often feel the need to return to...

It is through effort and endeavors that allows people to gain knowledge in intangible ways. Experience nor the lessons gained from it can be purchased.

Quite so. “For mysterious are the ways of Karma? (BG 4,17)

What anyone can anticipate are the lessons from effort - if they wish to receive them. The beauty in effort is that it brings a "customized" set knowledge that one needs in order to grow. Arguably, no two people require the same set of knowledge to elevate and expand in life.

I think so – the freedom that helps develop self-reliance is key - everyone, down to the smallest atom has its own unique, special journey, the goal being the same…

How stark, yet necessary at times it is to flounder. But in floundering, like the man in this story, awareness is gained in exchange.

Indeed – everyone has floundered, everyone has experienced pitfalls - Ideally, if one is able to reflect upon them, certain mistakes can be avoided in the future...

Fortunately, painful circumstances are not the only type of "work" or effort needed to have knowledge and awareness. Granted, the discipline and persistence in obtaining a hard-earned skill are also valid effort.

Yes, for example - although the text advises not to sit down in idleness- one does need more introspective moments for study and meditation or else one could not gain the necessary practical wisdom required in the tricky business of altruistic service to humanity.

As the Zen story may indicate, we are not always ready to experience the gifts in life without the effort needed to appreciate it.

Verily – not everyone has the remarkable compartmentalizing skills of our floundering strawberry-loving friend – it must have required a lot of hard-earned concentration skills to be able to focus on the strawberry without being seriously anxious about the lion and the mouse….

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thanks Casady,

I liked this Judge piece a lot.  Very straighforward.  I used to think that this effort described had to do with 'working on me', and was put off with the notion of effort, thinking perhaps it was just another angle to pursue in the interest of one's ambition.  The very idea of effort used to make me suspicious.  But when we read further...

'It is not the study of ourselves so much, as the thought for others that opens this door.'

Then the effort makes sense.  We turn our efforts outward to others, not towards the 'me'.  Not in the way of being the 'do-gooder', but rather to just be available to others.  I try. I fail over and over. It remains hard, but I try again, hopefully knowing the effort is about the other.  I think this is the way. 

 

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Thanks Don- nice reflections - a nice message of perseverance, which is so important -

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The soul develops like the flower, in God's sunlight, and unconsciously to the soil in which it grows. Shut out the light and the soil grows damp and sterile, the flower withers or grows pale and sickly.
This part fits well with the previous paragraph. We are all flowers in the same garden of life.
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Each and every one is here for a good and wise reason. If we find partially the why we are here, then is there the more reason that we should by intelligent contact with life, seek in it the further elucidation of the problem. It is not the study of ourselves so much, as the thought for others that opens this door. The events of life and their causes lead to knowledge. They must be studied when they are manifested in daily life.
So this practical path does not require much. Just living your life brings you the challenges and opportunities you need. Accept things as they come. Deal with situations the best you can. Try to give your best attention to every person and situation that you encounter. Although one does need to exercize care and discernment in chosing one's projects and directions. If one becomes more attentive to the details of daily life, it is conceivable that a surprising amount of mysteries can be noticed, a concept similar to Jung's notion of Synchronicity. Although there is also a need to have a balanced, objective, reasonable perception of things.

 

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Yes, taking it on as it comes our way, in the best way we know.  
 

"Try to give your best attention.." - right, attention, mindfullness of the other or of all that which is not the 'you' -the personality that we've created.  Then, maybe something else can happen in our lives and in others lives that will create better relations. 

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Good point Don - harmonious relations - very important - may you reach the terrace of enlightenment...

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Thank you Casady, and may you too.

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There is no idleness for the Mystic. He finds his daily life among the roughest and hardest of the labors and trials of the world perhaps, but goes his way with smiling face and joyful heart, nor grows too sensitive for association with his fellows, nor so extremely spiritual as to forget that some other body is perhaps hungering for food.
So a certain toughness is needed, physical, emotional, and mental. One can be lead to rough physical environments and so a certain spiritual strength is required to maintain one's equanimity.
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It was said by one who pretended to teach the mysteries, "It is needful that I have a pleasant location and beautiful surroundings." He who is a true Theosophist will wait for nothing of the sort, either before teaching; or what is first needful, learning. It would perhaps, be agreeable, but if the Divine Inspiration comes only under those conditions, then indeed is the Divine afar from the most of us. He only can be a factor for good or teach how to approach the way, who forgetting his own surroundings, strives to beautify and illumine those of others. The effort must be for the good of others, not the gratifying of our own senses, or love for the agreeable or pleasant.
There's not much room for the modern concept of teachers with limousines and luxury, glamour and the cult of personalty and what not, here. Another vivid illustration of the need for unselfish motives.

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Permalink Reply by Casady on March 23, 2013 at 8:56am
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Giving thought to self will most truly prevent and overthrow your aims and objects, particularly when directed toward the occult.

I take this to mean that one's spiritual development will remain stagnant if one's motives are selfish.
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Again there arises the thought "I am a student, a holder of a portion of the mystic lore." Insidiously there steals in the thought "Behold I am a little more than other men, who have not penetrated so far." Know then, oh man, that you are not as great even as they. He who thinks he is wise is the most ignorant of men, and he who begins to believe he is wise is in greater danger than any other man who lives.

I think this should be well understood from the beginning. I think one of the the reasons for the great danger is that it can lead down a wrong path, and once one goes further down, it can become very hard to set things straight...
Permalink Reply by Casady on March 27, 2013 at 3:10pm
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You think, oh man, that because you have obtained a portion of occult knowledge, that it entitles you to withdraw from contact with the rest of mankind. It is not so.

This can be difficult - because occult study does require peace and quiet and a healthy magnetic environment. And one's study does tend to make one more sensitive and introspective and one's interests naturally detach from the materialistic concerns of the hustle and bustle of daily affairs. Therefore a balance is required, I think - Occult study needs to be organized so that it gives you energy to handle daily business and too much meditative activities can impede practical action - therefore it's a question of balance between action and contemplation.
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If you have obtained true knowledge it forces you to meet all men not only half way, but more than that to seek them. It urges you not to retire but, seeking contact, to plunge into the misery and sorrow of the world, and with your cheering word, if you have no more (the Mystic has little else) strive to lighten the burden for some struggling soul.

This sounds very difficult and obviously, it is. On the one hand, one does not have the option of turning away from people that you don't get along with; something that many people have no reservations in doing. Therefore excellent interpersonal, diplomatic and conflict resolution skills need to be developed, some people have a knack for these things, but for those who don't, work needs to be done.

Another challenge is that if one is lead to forsake pursuits directed towards financial gain, then one is left vulnerable to all sorts of life difficulties. Yet even when one is left open to the difficulties of existence, one not only has to cope with those challenges, but one also needs to not feel weighed down by them, but remain upbeat and positive in the face of stress. So I think a strong capacity to deal with stress is needed - developping the habit of not letting unpleasant situations affect you too much.
Permalink Reply by Don Petros on March 27, 2013 at 4:52pm
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Casady,

Without answering in depth, as time is short for me, I feel obliged to say to you - thank you for your comments above.  They're very straighforward, and help me to think and gain a greater sense about these matters as well.  I'll re-read and hopefully reply with more to say.   

Don

Permalink Reply by Casady on March 30, 2013 at 6:50am
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Thank ye kindly, sir - I get a lot out of WQJ's works, but the world has changed tremendously since his time, so I thought it would be interesting to try to sort of re-contextualize his writings, while trying to be faithful to the spirit...

Permalink Reply by Don Petros on April 1, 2013 at 9:54am
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Righto.  I'm currently reading The Ocean of Theosophy by WQJ.  His style of writing is interesting.  On one hand, his style is 'business casual' (businesslike, friendly, conversational, but not technical), and on the other hand he writes as if from another (astral?), extraordinary state of mind.  He 'edges' one into that other way of thinking which I like... 

 

Permalink Reply by Casady on April 4, 2013 at 1:58pm
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A classic - I can't think of a better exposition of the main theosophical principles, although I haven't really looked at the recent stuff all that much...

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"You dream of fame. We know no such thing as fame. He who seeks the upward path finds that all is truth; that evil is the good gone astray. Why should we ask for fame? It is only the commendation of those we strive to help.

Desire neither notice, fame nor wealth. Unknown you are in retirement. Being fameless you are undisturbed in your seclusion, and can walk the broad face of the earth fulfilling your duty, as commanded, unrecognized."

We live in a world controlled by mass media conglomerates that place central value on the financial world. Fame and wealth can be traps as they brings with them pressures and obligations that can be time-consuming and counter-productive.

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If the duty grows hard, or you faint by the way, be not discouraged, fearful or weary of the world. Remember that "Thou may'st look for silence in tumult, solitude in company, light in darkness, forgetfulness in pressures, vigor in despondency, courage in fear, resistance in temptation, peace in war, and quiet in tribulation."

Keep your chin up! He closes this first part with another quote from Molinos:

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It ought to be thy continual exercise to pacify that throne of thy heart, that the supreme King may rest therein. Thy protection is prayer, and a loving recollection in the divine presence. When thou seest thyself more sharply assaulted, retreat into that region of peace: when thou- art more faint-hearted, betake thyself to this refuge of prayer, the only armor for overcoming the enemy: thou oughtest not to be at a distance from it in a storm, to the end, thou mayest, as another NOAH, experience tranquility, security, and serenity, and, to the end, thy will may be resigned, devout, peaceful, and courageous.

Finally, Be not afflicted nor discouraged, he returns to quiet thee: this divine LORD will be alone with thee, to rest in thy soul, and form therein a rich throne of peace within thine own heart, with his heavenly grace, thou mayest look for silence in tumult, solitude in company, light in darkness, vigor in despondency, courage in fear, resistance in temptation, peace in war, and quiet in tribulation.
Permalink Reply by Don Petros on April 5, 2013 at 2:11pm
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"It ought to be thy continual exercise to pacify that throne of thy heart, that the supreme King may rest therein."

A good quote and timely.  Have been trying to reside more in the heart than the head... 

 

Permalink Reply by Casady on April 8, 2013 at 10:45am
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"Work as those work who are ambitious. -- Respect life as those do who desire it. -- Be happy as those who live for happiness." -- Light on the Path.

An essential passage from that classic work...

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We are tried in wondrous ways, and in the seemingly unimportant affairs of life, there often lie the most dangerous of the temptations.

Dangerous, possibly because they can lead to subtle bad habits without one's realizing it. We can be inclined to pay less attention to mundane, routine situations - but I think that it's important to be as attentive as possible to all things...

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Labor, at best, is frequently disagreeable owing either to mental or physical repugnance. When he who seeks the upward path, begins to find it, labor grows more burdensome, while at the time, he is, owing to his physical condition, not so well fitted to struggle with it. This is all true, but there must be no giving in to it. It must be forgotten. He must work, and if he cannot have the sort he desires or deems best suited to him, then must he take and perform that which presents itself. It is that which he most needs. It is not intended either, that he do it to have it done. It is intended that he work as if it was the object of his life, as if his whole heart was in it. Perhaps he may be wise enough to know that there is something else, or that the future holds better gifts for him; still this also must to all intents be forgotten, while he takes up his labor, as if there were no tomorrow.

So one should try to be as conscientious and motivated as possible, even if one's situation is not that inspiring - unpleasant situations, accordingly then, are not overcome by walking away from them, but by working to deal with the challenges one is faced with... which sometimes means being able to recognize when a situation is unworkable...
Permalink Reply by Casady on April 13, 2013 at 9:36am
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Remember that life is the outcome of the Ever-Living. If you have come to comprehend a little of the mystery of life, and can value its attractions according to their worth; these are no reasons why you should walk forth with solemn countenance to blight the enjoyments of other men. Life to them is as real, as the mystery is to you. Their time will come as yours has, so hasten it for them, if you can, by making life brighter, more joyous, better.

Turn that frown upside down...

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If it be your time to fast, put on the best raiment you have, and go forth, not as one who fasts, but as one who lives for life.

So material conceptions of health and well-being have their purpose - the body needs to be maintained properly and a certain amount of discipline needs to be directed to appearance and public participation...

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Do your sighing and crying within you. If you can not receive the small events of life and their meanings without crying them out to all the world, think you that you are fitted to be trusted with the mysteries?

A very pithy observation...
Permalink Reply by Casady on April 20, 2013 at 8:55am
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The doing away with one or certain articles of diet, in itself, will not open the sealed portals. If this contained the key, what wise beings must the beasts of the field be, and what a profound Mystic must Nebuchadnezzar have been, after he was "turned out to grass"!
I think that the important thing is what is going on in the mind - that's the deciding factor - of course, unhealthy eating habits, like eating junk food, doesn't help matters - a moderate diet, if it gives one enough energy, is also not a bad thing - but ultimately I guess it's just a means to an end - if it helps with concentration and quieting the passions - then abstinence is usefull - sometimes it can have negative affects on one's health, in which case in is not productive...
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There are some adherents of a faith, which has arisen in the land, who deem it wise to cast away all things that are distasteful to them; to cut asunder the ties of marriage because they deem it will interfere with their spiritual development, or because the other pilgrim is not progressed enough. Brothers, there lives not the man who is wise enough to sit as a judge upon the spiritual development of any living being. He is not only unwise but blasphemous who say to another: "Depart! you impede my exalted spiritual development."
People can sometimes have qualities that don't seem to be what we think of as spiritual or that is not apparent- but actually have considerable value - qualities such as courage, honesty, generosity, justice, perseverance, optimism, modesty, empathy,... sometimes a change in circumstances can reveal a whole a new facet of someone's being...
Permalink Reply by Casady on April 25, 2013 at 11:45am
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The greatest of all truths lies frequently in plain sight, or veiled in contraries. The impression has gone abroad that the Adept or the Mystic of high degree has only attained his station by forsaking the association of his fellow creatures or refusing the marriage tie. It is the belief of very wise Teachers that all men who had risen to the highest degrees of Initiation, have at some time passed through the married state. Many men, failing in the trials, have ascribed their failure to being wedded, precisely as that other coward, Adam, after being the first transgressor cried out "It was Eve."

The Adam and Eve story is symbolic, nonetheless relevant here. I guess people complain about marriage and relationships, however, I think it's safe to say that this relationship with the opposite sex is one the purist spiritual feelings that the average person experiences in their lives.

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One of the most exalted of the Divine Mysteries lies hidden here -- therefore, oh Man, it is wise to cherish that which holds so much of God and seek to know its meaning; not by dissolution and cutting asunder, but by binding and strengthening the ties. Our most Ancient Masters knew of this and Paul also speaks of it. (Ephesians v, 32.)

It is indeed the mystery of love and I think that it's safe to say that being in a couple relationship gives one an important amount of psychological balance and stability - it's probably easier to get through life with that kind of support.
Permalink Reply by Casady on May 4, 2013 at 11:00am
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Be patient, kindly and wise, for perhaps in the next moment of life, the light will shine out upon thy companion, and you discover that you are but a blind man, claiming to see. Remember this, that you own not one thing in this world. Your wife is but a gift, your children are but loaned to you. All else you possess is given to you only while you use it wisely. Your body is not yours, for Nature claims it as her property. Do you not think, Oh Man, that it is the height of arrogance for you to sit in judgment upon any other created thing, while you, a beggar, are going about in a borrowed robe? 
A very striking reflection. It really puts things in perspective... I think it really shows how fleeting material goods and appearances are...
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If misery, want and sorrow are thy portion for a time, be happy that it is not death. If it is death be happy there is no more of life.
A good reminder to look for the positive side in circumstances, to see the bright side of things. Basically he's saying that if your life is miserable, at least you're not dead; and if it happens that you're going to die, then at least all your misery will end.

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Permalink Reply by Casady on May 9, 2013 at 12:00pm
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You would have wealth, and tell of the good you would do with it. Truly will you lose your way under these conditions. It is quite probable, that you are as rich as you ever will be, therefore, desire to do good with what you have -- and do it. If you have nothing, know that it is best and wisest for you. Just so surely as you murmur and complain just so surely will you find that "from him that hath not, shall be taken even that which he hath." This sounds contradictory, but in reality is in most harmonious agreement. Work in life and the Occult are similar; all is the result of your own effort and will. You are not rash enough to believe that you will be lifted up into Heaven like the Prophet of old -- but you really hope some one will come along and give you a good shove toward it.

What he's describing here is actually quite simple. All one needs to do is give the best of themselves. Anyone, anywhere, any time. That's it.

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Know then, Disciples, that you only can lift yourselves by your own efforts. When this is done, you may have the knowledge that you will find many to accompany you on your heretofore lonely journey; but neither they nor your Teacher will be permitted to push or pull you one step onward.

The kind of person that you become and what you accomplish in the material world is a pretty good indication of your progress on the spiritual level.

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This is all a very essential part of your preparation and trial for Initiation.
Permalink Reply by Casady on July 13, 2013 at 10:18am
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Moving on to part 3:

If you desire to labor for the good of the world, it will be unwise for you to strive to include it all at once in your efforts. If you can help elevate or teach but one soul -- that is a good beginning, and more than is given to many.

This is a good, simple point. One step at a time, one day at a time, don't count your chickens before they are hatched - cultivate relationships with care - develop simple, basic points of teaching to share and discuss - think globally, act locally...

Permalink Reply by Casady on July 14, 2013 at 9:21am
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http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/path/oc-wqj.htm

Fear nothing that is in Nature and visible. Dread no influence exerted by sect, faith, or society. Each and every one of them originated upon the same basis -- Truth, or a portion of it at least. You may not assume that you have a greater share than they, it being needful only that you find all the truth each one possesses. You are at war with none. It is peace you are seeking, therefore it is best that the good in everything is found. For this brings peace.

The above is, I think, a particularly poignant expression of freedom, tolerance, and peace. I think it is relevant, in an age where religion and politics are often plagued by extremist terrorism, violent protest, promiscuity, exclusivism, and dogmatism , to keep in mind that behind these distorted manifestations, there still remains a core of ideas that have an essential basis conceived for the uplifting and edification of humanity.

Permalink Reply by Casady on July 17, 2013 at 10:46am
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It has been written that he who lives the Life shall know the doctrine. Few there be who realize the significance of The Life.

A very short phrase, but very rich with significance. I'd simply like to opine that it has to do with the idea that theory and practice are not two separate things, one informs the other and vice versa. Devoting oneself strictly to methaphysical theorizing on the one hand, or strictly to altruistic actions, on the other, would seem too one-sided. I think a balance of the two is more advisable.

Permalink Reply by Casady on July 18, 2013 at 9:53am
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It is not by intellectually philosophizing upon it, until reason ceases to solve the problem, nor by listening in ecstatic delight to the ravings of an Elemental clothed -- whose hallucinations are but the offspring of the Astral -- that the life is realized. Nor will it be realized by the accounts of the experiences of other students. For there be some who will not realize Divine Truth itself, when written, unless it be properly punctuated or expressed in flowery flowing words.

No comment - I think this passage is pretty clear and has not lost much relevance...

Permalink Reply by Casady on July 19, 2013 at 11:05am
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Remember this: that as you live your life each day with an uplifted purpose and unselfish desire, each and every event will bear for you a deep significance -- an occult meaning -- and as you learn their import, so do you fit yourself for higher work.

This attentivenss to daily events is something that he seems to emphasize. So here he stresses the importance of attitude - one's attitude has a great effect on how we perceive and experience things.

Permalink Reply by Casady on July 21, 2013 at 9:14am
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There are no rose-gardens upon the way in which to loiter about, nor fawning slaves to fan one with golden rods of ostrich plumes. The Ineffable Light will not stream out upon you every time you may think you have turned up the wick, nor will you find yourself sailing about in an astral body, to the delight of yourself and the astonishment of the rest of the world, simply because you are making the effort to find wisdom.

I think there were rather romantic notions of orientalism at the time (there still are, come to think of it), so probably the above probably to dispell these ideas....

Permalink Reply by Casady on July 23, 2013 at 10:42am
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He who is bound in any way -- he who is narrow in his thoughts -- finds it doubly difficult to pass onward. You may equally as well gain wisdom and light in a church as by sitting upon a post while your nails grow through your hands. It is not by going to extremes or growing fanatical in any direction that the life will be realized.

I think this one is an important notion that does not get stressed enough. This could relate to the second step on the golden steps -an open mind- this comparative approach to religion and universalist ideals evidently presents one with the challenge of being open to different cultures, different philosophies, different traditions, different attitudes and researching and discovering new things all the time, yet keeping a critical attitude at the same time - therefore it requires a healthy amount of mental and emotional effort to develop an attitude where all these differences can comfortably and productively co-exist in a harmonious fashion - I think it's a learning process, it takes time - a matter of progressively widening one's perspective in order to embrace a more inclusive view, overcoming one's prejudices, intolerance, misconceptions, and uncritical assumptions..while avoiding falling into a kind of apathetic relativism...

Permalink Reply by Casady on July 29, 2013 at 8:31am
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Be temperate in all things, most of all in the condemnation of other men. It is unwise to be intemperate or drunken with wine. It is equally unwise to be drunken with temperance. Men would gain the powers; or the way of working wonders. Do you know, O man, what the powers of the Mystic are? Do you know that for each gift of this kind he gives a part of himself? That it is only with mental anguish, earthly sorrow, and almost his heart's blood, these gifts are gained? Is it true, think you, my brother, that he who truly possesses them desires to sell them at a dollar a peep, or any other price? He who would trade upon these things finds himself farther from his goal than when he was born.


There are a lot of things in this passage - they're all pretty fundamental - it is unwise to be drunken with temperance - what does that mean? I suppose it could mean the feeling you get when you achieve a certain level of discipline and self-control after a certain struggle -which could correspond to the first of the golden steps, a clean life - the result being that one usually has a certain level of positive health, well-being, energy and clarity of vision - so this influx of positive energies could lead one to misconceive the role of temperance and one can get stuck on the first step as it were, although it is an important step...something like the whole - I'm a vegetarian, but so are cows and they're not wise - kind of thing...
Permalink Reply by Casady on August 2, 2013 at 7:25am
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There are gifts and powers. Nor just such as you have created in your imagination, perhaps. Harken to one of these powers: He who has passed onward to a certain point, finds that the hearts of men lie spread before him as open book, and from there onward the motives of men are clear. In other words he can read the hearts of men. But not selfishly; should he but once use this knowledge selfishly, the book is closed -- and he reads no more. Think you, my brothers, he would permit himself to sell a page out of this book?


Reading the hearts of men (and women). Interestingly, this is proposed as the first of the spiritual powers to be obtained. I think the main obstacles nowadays is the pronounced degree of superficial extraversion in western societies, coupled with the strong tendency towards individualism, which, from a theosophical perspective, could be considered a euphemism for selfishness, making it difficult to develop the necessary empathy required. There's a line that Merlin uses in the film Excalibur, when Arthur asks him about his father, Uther Pendragon. His reply was, that he could not read the hearts of men...
Permalink Reply by Casady on August 5, 2013 at 7:15am
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Time -- that which does not exist outside the inner circle of this little world -- seems of vast importance to the physical man. There comes to him at times, the thought that he is not making any progress, and that he is receiving nothing from some Mystic source. From the fact that he has the thought that no progress is being made the evidence is gained that he is working onward. Only the dead in living bodies need fear. That which men would receive from Mystic sources is frequently often repeated, and in such a quiet, unobtrusive voice, that he who is waiting to hear it shouted in his ear, is apt to pass on unheeding.

The last point empasizes the need to be aware of the more subtle aspect of life - it's conceivable that a lot of deep, profound influences can be presented in very inconspicuous ways and so one would need to be attentive to small, quiet, details... so learning how to pay attention is a good skill....
Permalink Reply by Casady on August 9, 2013 at 8:59am
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Urge no man to see as yourself, as it is quite possible you may see differently when you awake in the morning. It is wiser to let the matter rest without argument. No man is absolutely convinced by that. It is but blowing your breath against the whirlwind.

Another very pithy observation. Good practical advice.
 
Obviously a goodly amount of specific esoteric doctrines have been presented under the TS banner - and one would do well to present these doctrines to others in a clear, concise and organized manner - but to insist upon a theosophical orthodoxy could end up being a slippery slope indeed... therefore dogmatism is probably best avoided, which includes dogmatically insisting on avoiding dogmatism... in that sense, I guess a good practice would be to try give time to discussing schools of thought  one does not agree with and try to develop productive, articulate critiques....

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Permalink Reply by Casady on August 12, 2013 at 10:51am
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It was at one time written over the door: "Abandon Hope, all ye who enter here." It has taken hundreds of years for a few to come to the realization that the wise men had not the slightest desire for the company of a lot of hopeless incurables in the mysteries. There is to be abandoned hope for the gratification of our passions, our curiosities, our ambition or desire for gain. There is also another Hope -- the true; and he is a wise man who comes to the knowledge of it. Sister to Patience, they together are the Godmothers of Right Living, and two of the Ten who assist the Teacher.

 

A very good esoteric explanation of Dante - I'm not sure what Ten he is referring to - the ten Paramitas? This completes all three parts of the musings, probably by WQJ - Om Tat Sat