do your best, spiritual task of man

“The more thou dost advance the more thy feet pitfalls will meet. The path that leadeth on is lighted by one fire—the light of daring, burning in the heart. The more one dares, the more he shall obtain. The more he fears, the more the light shall pale—and that alone can guide. … When out it goes, a dark and threatening shade will fall from thine own heart upon the path, and root thy feet in terror to the spot. Beware, disciple, of that lethal shade.” H. P. Blavatsky

As a baby, we first learn to crawl, then to walk, then to run. In and sport, you learn the basics first, then the more advanced things. The same is true of almost any activity and that includes spiritual enlightenment.

It would be nice, we think, if after the first initial effort to awaken our spiritual self, we could just coast the rest of the way, but the path is an uphill climb and gets ever steeper and more perilous as the journey continues. This is the way it must be. As with everything else, you learn the basics first, then move on to the more advanced lessons which, being more advanced, are generally more difficult and dangerous.

The good news is that just as that baby develops his muscles with crawling so that eventually he can walk, the spiritual student strengthens his spiritual faculties with the basics so that when he is ready to move on to the more advanced lessons, he is strong enough, mentally, physically, and spiritually, to do so. If you tried to do the advanced lessons right away, you would almost certainly fail and probably give up trying. But by climbing the mountain one step at a time instead of trying to jump straight to the top, one has a much better chance of reaching the top, and is much stronger when he gets there.

When I go to a fitness center to do a workout, I see that most people there fall into two groups. I think of them as the ones going there to workout and the ones going there to hang out. The one there to workout push themselves to work hard and long, limit their breaks to what is truly needed, and force themselves to make regular progress by lifting heavier weights, doing more sets, or just working out for a longer time. The ones who are there to hang out lift only as much weight as they can handle easily without ever sweating, and take four or five minute breaks after each thirty seconds of exercise, even though they are not at all exhausted. Which group do you think will lose the weight they want to lose? Which group will gain strength and muscle size? I think we all know the answer. The same is true of spiritual growth.

The person who declares himself spiritual without doing anything to make it so is being as foolish as the one who thinks he can become a super athlete or bodybuilder without any practice or workouts. It is just a fantasy. Real spiritual growth requires activity, hard activity, regularly practiced. So if your serious about wanting to grow your spiritual side to the maximum, get working.

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