“Evil is often the result of over-anxiety, and men are always trying to do too much, they are not content to leave well alone, to do always just what the occasion demands and no more; … One of the subtlest forms of this evil is the hope and desire of reward. Many there are who, albeit often unconsciously, are yet spoiling all their efforts by entertaining the idea of reward. …
“The goal of the aspirant for spiritual wisdom is entrance upon a higher plane of existence; he is to become a new man, more perfect in every way. …This is how that Adept becomes endowed with marvelous powers that have been so often described, but the main point to be remembered is, that these powers are the natural accompaniments of existence on a higher plane of evolution … The only mission is to rekindle the torch or truth, so long extinguished all but the very few, and to keep that truth alive by the formation of a fraternal union of mankind.” ~H. P. Blavatsky
Doing Too Much
While this may have been true when Blavatsky wrote it, I don’t think it is today. I don’t think we really see people trying to do too much and refusing to let well enough alone. On the contrary, we have a society that seeks every possible way to make life as easy as possible, then join a health club because they are not getting any exercise.
Where we do fit this description is that we have this idea that if we work harder and longer at something, we will complete the task sooner. This approach work with some things, but not with others. You can’t have a baby in three months instead of nine by trying harder. Likewise, you can’t achieve spiritual enlightenment in a week or two just by trying really hard. Some things just have to unfold slowly, and spiritual growth is one of them. If too much truth is revealed too quickly, it can cause the student to go mad, and has done so to some.
Change, not Reward
On the other hand, the idea that everything is done with the intent of getting a reward for doing it is far more prevalent today than ever before. People used to help their neighbors build a barn or harvest crops without the slightest thought of reward. Now we have people and companies that won’t donate to the worthiest of charities unless that charity promises to reward them with much publicity.
If you like warm weather, but you live in an area where it is cold most of the year, you may decide to move. If you move to Hawaii, for example, you will experience a warmer climate. That warmer climate is not a reward for you being smart, or handsome, or wealthy. It is the natural result of moving to Hawaii.
The spiritual aspirant achieves greater heath, greater knowledge and wisdom, and greater peace. But those are not rewards for a job well done, they are the natural result of climbing to a higher plane of existence. While that may seem like splitting hairs, it isn’t.
A wise business person, I’m not sure who, once said that if you run a company with the intent of making a profit, you will eventually fail. But if you run a company with the idea of providing goods and services that people actually need, and at a reasonable cost, you will succeed and make a profit.
The same idea applies to the spiritual student. If you approach it with the idea of gaining power, of being smarter than others, of controlling others, you will fail. If you approach it with the idea of advancing and growing rather than getting a reward, the reward will come simply because it will be a natural part of that new environment you have advanced to. It is much like the spell Dumbledore put on the Sorcerer’s Stone in the first Harry Potter tale. The spell allowed only someone who was seeking the stone, but did not wish to use it, to find it. The evil Valdemort wanted to use the stone to reward himself with a new life, so he failed to get it. Harry simply wanted to keep it from Valdemort, so it mysteriously appeared in his pocket.
So instead of seeking a reward, the spiritual student should seek growth and entrance into higher realms, and the rewards will just happen.