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See Flight of Hermes for the complete article:
From Action to Being - The Stages of Self-Sacrifice
"For while he willingly puts himself under it, all the burden of tribulation is turned into confidence of divine comfort. And the more the flesh is wasted in affliction, the more the spirit is made strong by inward grace"- Kempis
The value of self-sacrifice; it's an oft talked about subject in the esoteric community, especially amongst alchemists and hermeticists. The notion of sacrificing the lower mundane material needs, the primal urges of the body and the ego so that one can rise to a higher, more spiritual state of grace and fulfillment sparks many debates. When one thinks about it, it is quite paradoxical. On one hand there is the notion that as a child of God, a spark of the Divine, one is worthy of consolation, fulfillment, and happiness even being blessed with having dominion over the land and animals of the earth. But at the same time, in order to have this in its truest form we must humble ourselves, thinking nothing of ourselves in order to rise up. This is difficult to not only imagine, but to practice.
We are so attached to our egos and lower natures that we immediately feel pain when we begin to withdraw from those things of which bring us comfort. Correspondingly the ego reacts beginning to question the point of pain and suffering...God is abundance why should we not live and enjoy this abundance? But here again is the paradox discussed in almost every major mystery and religious tradition, "to humble oneself is to be exalted", "the meek will inherit the earth."
We can look at this philosophically and easily see that in order to be truly one with God the Divine from the perspective of the direct knowledge of our consciousness we must overcome the small self (the Ruach, Nephesh, and Guf) so that we can transcend into the Unity consciousness of the big Self. But how does this translate into our practice and experience as spiritual people and magicians?
On its grossest level it begins with an understanding of its importance and a trust that self-sacrifice will bring us the fruits we seek. It is hard when we are young in the Work and so addicted to the world around us not to doubt its effectiveness and essential rightness as all we have ever known to be right has come in the security of things in our environment. But we seek now to move from beyond the security of eat, sleep, clothe, love, to a security of the spirit and in fact we will see as we travel along in our path that unhappiness comes from these terrestrial things as they are always transient and never lasting. Just like a jilted lover we endlessly seek to fill a hole when we see permanence in the impermanent nature of the lower plane. This is of course why we yearn for spiritual things, because our true nature is permanence and until we know it we always feel something is missing.
"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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