Thursday, March 5, 2015

Knowing When To Stop 
The following comments below have been previous posted separately and are being placed together as they address the same activity – the use and abuse of idealism in spiritual groups and how to avoid becoming a victim of it.
Far too many religious, spiritual, esoteric, humanitarian, and 'altruistic' organizations and movements are little more than Leviathans that live of the life blood of their true believers and spit out their remains into the waste heap of the qlippoth when they are done digesting them. This is the 'egregore' phenomena that Jean Dubuis warned about. Organizations need to be a means to Illumination, not an end in and of themselves if they are to be true to their ideals. Look for the gap between what is said and what is done. If it is small, or can be crossed in a single step you are very lucky. If the gap requires a stretch to cross, then be alert. If the gap cannot be crossed without building a bridge then wear a parachute for when that bridge of faith you have built collapses, or find another Path.
Often connected to this abuse of students in what I like to call, “Utopia Myopia”.

Simple put, those who can do great things do them.
Those who cannot do great things but wish to, seek to serve a great person. 

Those who want to serve a great person but cannot do so directly seek to serve a great cause. 

Herein lies the Path to Perdition, or as they say, "The path to Hell is paved with good intentions." 

The volunteer is often the 'true believer' and rarely is the volunteer told when to stop and get on with their life, as volunteering for the cause is their life. In fact,... it is more important than life itself. This kind of myopic thinking is often found in spiritual movements, and the greater the idealism, the grander the vision, the more destructive the actions of those who 'serve' it. They often loose sight that all spiritual vehicles are just schools, and it is important that students graduate with real life skills and not just get 'passed through' or 'stay forever'. Many seek to work for or live at spiritual centers, thinking that this is the solution to all of their problems. There they will find people of a 'higher calling' who are without ambition, and seek only to 'serve' whatever the cause happens to be. Of course it rarely works out this way, and he utopian heaven on earth slowly turns into a living hell, or at least a purgatory, wherein their foolish idealism is stripped from them like the sin it is [remember, sin means to miss the point], and they either return to the world wiser than before, or fall victim to a trap of their own making. Walking the fine line between idealism and practicality must not be an excuse for crass manipulation of people. The ability to walk this line is the sign of a good teacher - be they recognized as one or not - or a good student. Pay attention! Be Awake! The goal should be to "know thyself and you will know the gods" first and foremost. Everything after that is about the corporation, be that good, bad, or indifferent.
In Light on the Path – A Study Guide for Alchemy, Qabala & Astrology there is a section of advice on the establishing and running of study groups and independent lodges. Here are two point relevent to the upcoming year.

7. Learn When to Say “No”
It is rare for a group or organizational leader to tell a volunteer to stop. In fact, what often happens is those seeking identity and meaning in their lives become involved in volunteer activities and then let it consume them. Their personal lives, careers, family and even health can break-down through an over abundance of enthusiasm for “the cause” - whatever that cause maybe. Leaders need to pay careful attention to not taking on too much and to delegate duties, and they also need to look out for members to be sure that too much is not being expected of them in return. Go slow, take it easy, check your results, and “make haste slowly” to avoid burnout.

8. Preparing for the Path of the Hermit
No one comes to the Path for the best of reasons, all come, in one form or another, for what they can get from it – power, health, self-confidence, a purpose to their life – and each in turn must learn how to serve and assist others if they are to achieve their goal. Anyone who has participated in an esoteric group, regardless of what it may be, will often tell you that the experiences they had – good, bad or indifferent – were among some of the most important experiences of their life. Intense relationships are formed in the cauldron of ritual. Personal demons are brought to the surface to be exorcised and integrated as latent and potential powers and abilities are recognized and manifested. It is easy to make one's lodge, circle, or group the center point of one's life – and as we have show, to the detriment rather than benefit of the equally important but more mundane aspect of daily living. 

For those who serve as leaders it is easy to become dishearten, cynical and jaded – yet it is enthusiasm, encouragement, and joy that we must constantly cultivate in ourselves and in others. To avoid over identification with one's group and role in that group, it is important to train each member for their inevitable separation from the organization. This separation may be temporary or permanent (such as relocation or death) but it will happen, and for the individual and group to benefit from this separation, it must be planned for and done successfully.
To this end, any member who has been in the group for seven years should take a sabbatical of their choice in their eighth year. They may attend group meetings, but are forbidden to participate in any active role. This is a year of rest and reflection. They may choose not to attend, but will be welcomed back when their year is over. Members who have been active for ten or twelve years are to take the year off from group activities and are to avoid any contact with group members. They are to undertake a magical retreat during this period. This Path of the Hermit will prepare them for being of greater service to their fellow Travelers when they return. 
Of course other possibilities exist and it is up to each group, its leadership and members, to decide who best to meet everyone's needs as they travel the Path of Return together. In this way, the seeds planted now will continue to grow and bear fruit not just for this generation, but for generations to come.”

Please consider the points above and in future posts we will examine additional ones from the material found in Light on the Path

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