conquest of self

Conquest of Self Begins Spiritual Growth

“The Rosicrucian is patient. His first and most important victory is the conquest of his own self. It is the victory over the Lion, who has bitterly injured some of the best followers of the Holy Cross. … The true Rosicrucian tries to overcome his enemies by kindness, and those who hate him by gifts. He heaps not curses, but the burning fire of love upon them. …

“The Rosicrucian is kind. He never appears gloomy or melancholy, or with a scowl or sneer upon his face. He acts kindly and politely towards everybody, and is always ready to render assistance to others. … He has conquered the bear of vulgarity.

“The Rosicrucian knows no envy. Before he is accepted into the order he must go through the terrible ordeal of cutting off the head of the snake of envy, which is a very difficult labor, because the snake is sly, and easily hides itself in some corner. The true Rosicrucian is always content with his lot. … He never worries about the advantages or riches which which others possess, but wishes always the best for everybody. … He expects no favors, but hr distributes his favors without any partiality.” ~Franz Hartmann

The Rosicrucian

Mr. Hartmann’s book is specifically about the Rosicrucian order but applies just as well to any real spiritual school or community. He has explained in a section that I have quoted before that the real Rosicrucians he speaks of are from some time ago, and the current group by that name is not the same. But you can replace “Rosicrucian” in the quote with “Pythagorean,” “Essene,” or any of a dozen or more spiritual schools and it will all still apply. In fact, the students of real spiritual schools are not in competition with each other at all. Truth is truth, and while ceremonies and minor teachings may vary, the basic truths and awakening methods remain the same.

Conquest of Self

It is the first duty of the spiritual student to conquer himself (or herself). It isn’t always clear, however, exactly what that means.

Let’s start with what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean we have to rid ourselves of ego. Nor does it mean we have to rid ourselves of all sense of individuality. Some popular schools of today have simplified the teachings of the ancients schools and say that it does. That makes even less sense than saying that men have to be physically circumcised in order to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Mutilating the body in any way doesn’t help spiritual growth. Mutilating the mind doesn’t either. Destroying the ego, or the sense of self is destroying an important part of what we are.

What conquest of self does mean is that we have to have complete control of ourselves. It means we don’t go berserk when someone does something that injures us in a minor way. We don’t completely lose our self-control and start acting like a five-year-old if we are called out of the audience in a TV game show. We are disciplined, controlled. If we aren’t, we are doomed. People engaging in spiritual development who cannot keep their emotions in check are the easiest targets of the dark beings who want to stop such development. Continue reading “Conquest of Self Begins Spiritual Growth”

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”

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Spiritual Masters, Profound and Subtle

“The ancient masters were profound and subtle. Their wisdom was unfathomable. There is no way to describe it all we can describe is their appearance. They were careful as someone crossing an iced-over stream. Alert as a warrior in enemy territory. Courteous as a guest. Fluid as melting ice. Shapable as a block of wood. Receptive as a valley. Clear as a glass of water.
“Do you have the patience to wait till the mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself? The master doesn’t seek fulfillment. Not seeking, not expecting, she is present, and can welcome all things.” ~Tao Te Ching

Spiritual Masters

The ancient masters were great. Modern masters are just as great. We all have the potential to become a spiritual master. But it won’t happen just because we want it to. It also won’t happen if we do nothing. The spiritual masters are hard-working and sacrifice much that others hold dear. But in sacrificing much, they gain a lot more.

The Wisdom of Spiritual Masters

The wisdom of the masters is unfathomable because it is not earthly wisdom, material wisdom. Being spiritual in nature, it is wisdom that the brain-mind cannot really understand. Only the soul can understand it. That is why the first task of the spiritual student is to awaken the spirit and soul using the light of the spiritual sun.

Attributes of the Spiritual Masters

The Tao Te Ching is correct in saying the attributes and wisdom of the masters can only be described allegorically. That is because we have no words to describe that level of truth and wisdom.

So allegorically speaking, a spiritual master is as careful as someone walking on ice. His means that she makes no move without thinking about it first. Not only does a master consider the immediate effects of his thoughts and action, but also long-term effects. Few of us do that, but it is a wise habit to develop.

The master is alert. He doesn’t have “accidents” because he pays attention to what is going on around him on all levels. The master isn’t surprised because he understands cause and effect. He is spontaneous, yet also a planner because he knows what effect actions will have. Continue reading “Spiritual Masters, Profound and Subtle”

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Patient, Meek, and Kind

“Patience is a peaceful endurance of all things that may befall a man either from God or from creatures. Nothing can trouble the patient man, … for he has abandoned himself in perfect charity to the Will of God. …
“From this patience there springs meekness and kindness, or none can be meek in adversity save the patient man. Meekness gives a man peace and rest in all things. For the meek man can bear provoking words and ways, … and yet, in all things, remain in peace. …
“Out of the same source … springs kindness, for none can be kind save the meek man. This kindness makes a man show a friendly face, and give a cordial response, and do compassionate deeds, to those who are quarrelsome, when he hopes that they will come to know themselves and mend their ways. … A heart full of kindness is like a lamp full of precious oil.” ~John of Ruysbroeck

The Spiritual Person is Patient

Spiritual people are not exempt from the troubles of the world. They get sick, their homes burn down in fires, they have divorces, they have money problems. Nearly all of the problems that materialistic people have, the spiritual person can also have. The difference is in how each reacts to it.

When a fire destroys homes, you see reporters mercilessly interviewing people who have lost their home and they typically start out by saying they have lost everything. They have not. If your worth is based on your car, your home, your job, or the money in your bank account, you are in serious trouble because all those things can be taken from you.

The spiritual person is not affected in the same way. If his home is destroyed, he may be a little upset at first, but he understands that things are just things and can be replaced. More importantly, she understands that letting such things disturb you and control you is consenting to give Satan and his demons power over you, and that they would never do. Continue reading “Patient, Meek, and Kind”