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EdwardStephenson
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Lesson 12 Reading Assignment

When does maturity to succeed in the teachings occur?
Maturity to succeed in the teachings occur when one is able to practice dispassion resulting from ones realization of the futility of trying to fulfill egoistic desires through worldly pleasures. Without dispassion one is not able to successfully reflect on and assimilate the teachings and subsequently meditate on it to attain the deeper meaning of the teaching in one’s own experience. Dispassion is the gradual freedom achieved when the mind becomes released from the mood swings caused by desire and hatred due to ignorance about the world and passionate desire to fulfill desires through the world of time and space. The movement of the mind cloud the intellect and prevent right thinking. The ignorant concepts acts as a veil in which one perceives the world, not as it is, but as a deluded notion of reality based on internal egoistic notions and desires. This deluded notion renders the mind incapable of assimilating the teachings in a proper way.

Divine love towards God allows the depth of the teachings to be approached
The teaching must be felt as well as known. Intellectual knowledge must be augmented by feeling the teaching. Devotional exercises and rituals allow the intellectual teaching to be experienced as well as thought. Practicing devotion to God has the effect of turning the mind towards the divine and this leads to purity of feeling and thinking. It is a worship of the divinity within oneself. When the divinity within is worshiped as opposed to the world, it allows that divinity to emerge as the preeminent aspect of life and the mind awakens to its presence and the true nature of the personality which is not the egoistic notion but the heretofore unknown divine spirit God within.

The desire for worldly attainment should be replaced by the desire for spiritual attainment in the form of increasing Divine love, increasing dispassion and increasing peace and the desire to study the teachings and be in the company of those who espouse it. Thus, spiritual evolution entails turning away from worldly desire and towards the desire to attain spiritual awakening.

An important tool used in facilitating this process of spiritual awakening is meditation which serves to cleanse the mind and personality of delusion, passion, and the attachment to worldly objects and desires. This purity leads to spiritual strength and spiritual strength allows for concentration and extended practice of mental focus this constituting the highest meditative state.

Those who want to practice salad bar spirituality or seek advice of oracles or create their own independent classes should do so on their own.
As a Shemsu one has to embrace the teachings in a pure manner and not mix with it other philosophies and ideologies. One must not come to the teaching with one’s cup half full. Aspirants have no choice as to what the practice of the teachings needs to be in order to attain success. Here, success is based on the intensity and consistency of one’s practice

How should an aspirant think about their spiritual path when they encounter failure to meet the instructions of the teachings or they fail to execute their own desired level of practice?
They should try to be as consistent and intense as possible in their engagement with the practice of the teachings. When they do fall of they should not become bewildered but instead pick themselves us and keep going until they reestablish the equilibrium they may have previously had. “Determined aspirants must see the endeavor of spiritual awakening to its end”.

How should an aspirant think about their spiritual checklist and how diligent should they try to be with it?
The spiritual checklist, which contains the spiritual practices and disciplines, allows the aspirant to monitor their progress, knowing when they are being consistent and when they are falling of their practice. It is important to practice the disciplines daily since regular practice is most effective to transform the mind. If one’s practice is irregular one should then make adjustments before calling one’s preceptor. If assistance is still needed one may then call for advice.

An aspirant should keep a spiritual diary
The diary allows one to see how one’s personality is changing over time and allows one to make necessary modifications that leads towards improvements.