See The Treasure-House of Pearls for the complete article.
An excellent thing for one to do when he is first coming into a knowledge of [occultism], and is beginning to seek the way forward by its guiding light, is to ask himself in what particular traits he is lacking and then earnestly set about acquiring them. It is usually not difficult to find some weak points. … And so he may run down the scale of his virtues and his frailties, critically examining each point, until he comes to things we usually consider as of no importance. … In many directions he will find opportunities, if he seeks them, to strengthen his character and perfect his armour against the coming day of a mighty conflict. Great things are possible only to strong souls and it is from the trivial events of daily life that strength is won. Until we have become masters of the little things there is nothing great awaiting us. —L.W. Rogers, Hint For Young Students of Occultism
Sometime ago, I had the opportunity to speak with a person relatively new to occultism, and in particular Thelema, and we discussed their progress. The student had a mentor and he related that we he first met the mentor he had previously imagined all kinds of things the mentor might ask of him. Would the mentor ask the student to immediately sit in an asana for a period of time? Or maybe recite some portion of a Thelemic Holy Book? Or perhaps the mentor would demand exacting performance of some ritual on the spot, or quiz the student on some obscure point or maybe even thrust upon him some kind of quest. All of these ideas were imagined scenarios in the head of the student and he was eager to meet his mentor..
Yet, when they did meet, the mentor made no such demands of the student. Instead the mentor calmly discussed the student’s progress, the student’s current life circumstances, and at times, discussed some of the deeper points of Thelemic philosophy. At the end of the meeting, the two parted and the student and mentor returned to their respective work, both in a better position to continue in the learning process.
What I find interesting about this story is that the student failed to understand that the mentor was indeed testing him, but not in the ways he anticipated. Those new to occultism, and by new I mean even after a few years, still seem to think that the Great Work is generally dramatic and quick. Yet it is quite the opposite. The greatest tests in occultism, at least early on, are not the moments where one must balance a glass of water on one’s head or banish demons to save one’s life, but instead, when one must discipline oneself to simply enter one’s asana every day—glass or no glass. It is the small things that frequently confront us that are true tests of our progress. Eventually bigger tests and tasks will arise, but these trials are impossible to overcome if one lacks the ability to address the smaller, more frequent obstacles.
"Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing." - Andrew Harvey
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