governance of self through difficulties

Governance By the Good Needs Governance of Self

“Often it happens that the governance is given to the good that a restraint may be put upon superfluity of wickedness. To others providence assigns some mixed lot suited to their spiritual nature; some it will plague lest they grow rank through long prosperity; others it will suffer to be vexed with sore afflictions to confirm their virtues by the exercise and practice of patience. Some fear overmuch what they have strength to bear; others despise overmuch that to which their strength is unequal. All these it brings to the test of their true self through misfortune. …

“As to the other side of the marvel, that the bad now meet with affliction, now get their heart’s desire, this, too, springs from the same causes.” ~Boethius

Governance to the Good

If only it were true that only the good get to govern others, either in government positions, or as business leaders. Sadly, it isn’t. In most of the world today, we either have despots who rule by force and by fear, or some form of democracy where we have to choose among those who decide to run for office. In the business field, if it isn’t by inheritance, it is often the most greedy and the most ruthless who rise to the top.

Plato said that those who choose to run for political office prove by doing so that they are unfit for such office. As a general rule, I agree with him. There are rare exceptions, but usually those who run for office do so because they believe they are better than others, more suited to make decisions for them than they can make for themselves. This is almost always an egotistical belief that is not backed by any facts.

Long Prosperity

Boethus says some who achieve great prosperity (wealth), grow rank because of it. This should not be taken literally. Wealthy people generally don’t smell bad. But many of them do become rotten in a figurative way. They start to value money over people. They value man-made luxuries over the gifts of nature. As a result, they have no qualms about destroying the land to get the gems and gold beneath it. They have no concern for the people who are harmed, sometimes even killed, as a result of their greed. That is how they are “rank”. Of course, Boethus may have meant one of the other definitions of “rank”, but I think the one meaning offensive in odor is the most appropriate for what he was implying.

Boethus says that good people may be plagued with difficulties to prevent them from falling into such a state. We should remember that when we have difficulties. Sometimes, it is just demons having fun with us. Other times, we are being taught a lesson. Continue reading “Governance By the Good Needs Governance of Self”

speak truth, spiritual discipline, mystery school students, ancient knowledge, teaching, secret schools, self-governed, Cosmogonies of the great teachers

Self-Governed Yet Disciplined Students Do Best

“In some of the larger schools in England and the United States, certain scholars who have developed and manifested the ability to control themselves and their actions are placed on the roll of a grade called the ‘Self-governed grade.’ Those in this grade act as if they had memorized the following words of Herbert Spencer: ‘In the supremacy of self-control consists one of the perfections of the ideal man. …’

“As a help to the student, we will give a brief course of instruction for the cultivation of one desirable trait of character. … The case we have selected is that of a student who has been suffering from ‘a lack of moral courage … an inability to say “No!”, a feeling of inferiority. … You should fix firmly in your mind that you are the equal of any and every man. You come from the same source. You are an expression of the same one Life.” ~William Walker Atkinson

Self-governed Classes

In the United States, the self-governed class may be largely a thing of the past. There were, and possibly still are, self-governed schools. They are generally called Sudbury schools after the originating school of this type located near Sudbury, Massachusetts. In these schools, student meetings are held periodically in which the students themselves set the curricula. While there are good arguments on both sides of this concept, it is not this type of mass self-governing that interests us. We are concerned with it more on the level of the individual.

Self-governed Persons

While spiritual schools are rarely, if ever, followers of the Sudbury school philosophy, they do encourage a kind of self-governed student in their classes. While the school and its leaders decide what to teach, the student must decide himself what to listen to, and what to practice.

Certain groups today have come to think that certain children deemed “special” and given names like ‘Indigo Children,” “Crystal Children,” and so on, should never be disciplined or told to control their behavior. As a result of this belief, they are raising another kind of special children called spoiled brats.


When I write on this subject, I always thing of the movie Karate Kid (original version). In that film, the young student starts getting upset when the teacher has him washing and waxing cars. He thinks he should be practicing Karate.  He soon learns that he was being taught patience and self-discipline. Both of those are necessary to be a master of karate. They are even more necessary to be a spiritual master. Continue reading “Self-Governed Yet Disciplined Students Do Best”

Peeping Toms of Ourselves

Peeping Toms of Ourselves, Not Others

“Search not out the faults of men; reveal not the sins of thy fellow; the shortcomings of thy neighbors, in speech of the mouth repeat not. Thou art not judge in creation, thou has not dominion over the earth. If thou lovest righteousness, reprove thy soul and thyself. Be thou judge unto thine own sins, and chastiser of thy own transgressions. Make thou not inquiry maliciously, into the misdeeds of men. For if thou doest this, injuries will not be lacking to thee.” ~St. Ephraim the Syrian

Peeping Toms

Many people today have become peeping Toms of a sort. Not to catch our neighbor putting on a bra, but to catch our neighbors doing what we consider wrong and evil. Nearly all of us do it occasionally, but some have made a devoted hobby of it. As St. Ephraim clearly states, this is not the way for a Christian, or a spiritual person of any sort, to live.

Faults of Men

By searching for the faults in others, usually so we can gloat about how much better we are (privately or publicly), we are creating a situation we may not want.

First, because of the laws of Karma and other natural laws, what we do to other, we implicitly give them permission to do to us. If we steal from others, we have no call to complain when we ourselves are robbed. If we lie to others, expect that others will lie to us. And if we spy on others with the intent of finding fault with them, we give them permission to do the same to us.

Second, we have no authority to judge what is good or evil and what our neighbors should or should not do. Our neighbor may not share all of our beliefs. That doesn’t make him or her evil. It doesn’t even make them wrong. To assume that it does is to assume that we are perfect and therefore are the ultimate judge of such things. So let’s clear that up completely None of us on the plain of matter is perfect. It is impossible to live on this low level as a perfected being for more than a very short time. So if we are not perfect, can we possibly know what our imperfections are? In most cases, the answer is no. We may know what some of our faults are, but never all of them. Continue reading “Peeping Toms of Ourselves, Not Others”


Regard Ourselves as We Do Others

“The student must set aside a small part of his daily life in which to concern himself with something quite different from the objects of his daily occupation. … We need only bear in mind how, in ordinary life, we regard the experiences and actions of others quite differently from our own. This cannot be otherwise, for we are interwoven with our own actions and experiences, whereas those of others we only contemplate. Our aim in these moments of seclusion must be to contemplate and judge our own actions and experiences as though they applied not to ourselves but to some other person. … The student must seek the power of confronting himself, at certain times, as a stranger.” ~Rudolf Steiner

Young Buddhist Monk meditating


I have covered before the need for each of us to take a look at our own behavior on a regular basis if we are to make any improvements. Of course, if self-improvement, especially of the spiritual sort, does not interest you, you should probably leave now because that’s what this blog is all about. I haven’t previously mentioned this angle of it that Steiner describes so well. Continue reading “Regard Ourselves as We Do Others”