This is something i have been meaning to post for a while, and just found in my backup. We have used similar things in groups and courses to great effect.
These points summarize several of the key values, ideas and perceptions esoteric students must develop to be successful upon the esoteric path. If you have any consistent and strong trouble with any of these points, then the esoteric may not be the right path for you at the present.
The word esoteric means ‘inner’, referring to the inner aspects of ourselves and the universe, the two being ultimately one. What unites the two is active engagement with the inner dimensions of the various symbols, myths and motifs of our path.
In the union (however brief from our temporal perspective) of limited self and the eternal we are remade. We become aware not only of our own eternal, unchanging self but also of the unity and interconnection of all beings. The outer world expression of such a realisation is active service. In focusing attention away from our limited selves we mimic and promote the Unity, where all beings are one. Through expanding the concept of self we defeat the lies of the ego. All authentic esoteric traditions are paths of service; all authentic esoteric experiences promote service within the individual.
Cultivation of Value
With the realisation of our ultimate identification with all, we become aware of how much suffering and restriction most beings undergo. We re-evaluate our own lives and recognise the incredible blessings we have; as conscious human beings and as westerners living in affluence, having time to practice a spiritual path and having opportunities to be part of an esoteric tradition. We therefore learn to value and hold dear all esoteric symbols and paths for they are the bridge between our limited self and the unborn, real and eternal self. We consciously cultivate respect for the path and the avenues whereby we may walk along it – the various teachers, teachings, books and wisdom so freely given to us.
To touch the esoteric, the inner reality both within and without us is to transform utterly. As we practice our path we change completely. By its very nature spiritual unfoldment is unpredictable. We consciously choose to live with change, recognising also that only that which is born can change or die. The unborn, uncreated aspect of self never changes or dies. We learn more and more to identify with that self and to hold loosely all thoughts and ideas, identities and opinions.
The esoteric path is one of relentless honesty. We recognise that we are rife with resistance to change and imbued with negative, self-serving patterns of action and behaviour. We do not deny our addictions to the self. Nor do we simply accept them without seeking change. We honestly hold them clear in our minds and choose not to act from them much as we can. We are bound to fail, but we know this is no reason to avoid the attempt. Not even the Masters are free of the petty distractions of the human ego. Their power of choice however, is such they may choose to act solely from the Good.
Disruption and Disturbance
Like a child whose toy is removed from them, when our esoteric work threatens our ego identity, we will storm and tantrum. We know this happens to everyone. This will affect our work and our lives and therefore we make preparations. These include cultivating habits of decent and moral behaviour so that when we are possessed by our lower self we still act in the way our higher would choose. We know we may, through our storming, disrupt our groups, families, friends and teachers. We therefore take great care to develop means by which we limit our tantrums to avoid damaging those who have given us so much.
Practice and Perfection
We know that every esoteric symbol, icon, ritual and practice is a gift from the One and a link to an infinite source of divine blessings. Each of these gifts is a universe unto itself and therefore cannot be exhausted. We know we can never partake fully of that which is transcendent and therefore acknowledge that all practices and rituals – even after we may think we have mastered them – are gifts and teachers for us. We therefore rejoice in every opportunity to learn through repetition and practice. We know that the esoteric path of magic is the Yoga of the West and therefore can learn from the conduct of yogis, who practice the same asanas each class, gaining every time. We know that if we are reluctant to repeat an action of divinity (such as ritual or meditation) it is our thinking that is in error.
The Internal and the Ego
We know that spiritual unfoldment takes place inwardly and has no unique outer sign recognized by our finite perception (service can be ‘faked’). We also recognize our own self identified egos are sources of delusion. We therefore honestly acknowledge that our damage and patterns will distort our inner perceptions of the eternal verities the esoteric path points toward. Our own ego security can become bound up with our perceived success or failure of esoteric activities and practices, knowing that these cannot be ascertained or questioned by all but the true adept (or Master). We therefore may feel bolstered or put down, whichever serves our purpose, by our experiences of esoteric techniques. If our egos need reinforcement, either through positive or negative perceptions, we can create an unconscious pattern that traps us and which uses the esoteric as a tool, simply because only ourselves (other than a Master) knows our inner experience. To avoid this we seek and honestly accept feedback and criticism from those we acknowledge as teachers and adept in the paths we wish to travel.