“HUMILITY is a greater virtue than defying death; it triumphs over vanity and conceit; conquer them in yourself first!”
Be sure in addition to my replies to you, also read the feedback to Charles from September 16, 2015 at 2:00 am #3408 Level 1 Lesson 11a Audio Recording 220 The etiquette and decorum for initiates.
Some important points you mentioned include: ” The aspirant is also honoring their Higher Self and the Divine. ” This is important because the issue of etiquette is not only important for showing respect to the temple, the teaching and the teacher, but it is also important to realize that one also needs to show those things respect because in doing so one is showing one’s own respect for one’s own higher self.
If you want someone to like you, be close to you, share with you and love you, can you achieve that by dissing them? Even if we say that there are some people who are like animals who get beaten and mistreated but keep coming back to the owner, those people are suffering from codependency, the lack of self-respect and independence born of sanity and inner support. A relationship between two codependent personalities will tend towards setian (egoistic) and apepian (destructive) energies. So coming to the temple and having the goddess like one is important so she will want to be close to one and share her knowledge and feelings with the aspirant and thereby enlighten the aspirant. A teacher cannot teach one who is degraded, lacking self esteem, bitter, having fault finding nature, traumatized, seeking validation constantly so as to feel worthy, etc. That is not what we call a well adjusted ego; it is rather a troubled (imbalanced) ego suffering from internal turmoil, insecurity and ignorance of the knowledge of Self. This is far from an ideal of a spiritual aspirant and more like an ordinary troubled worldly personality albeit with delusions of being a spiritual aspirant-even though the delusion escapes them; they may even think they are model aspirants. Just as regular human being cannot have a balanced relationship with such a imbalanced person on a human level, what can we say of God being able to have a spiritual relationship with such a person? -not happening.
Having said that, the spiritual journey has to begin somewhere. Some people who have worked through many issues are starting in a more balanced place and with less issues or with issues that can be handled, and through the practice of the disciplines of shedy the existing issues get resolved and sublimated. Others start in a more troubled place and their efforts and capacities are more imbalanced, intermittent and insecure. Nevertheless, it is true that such a troubled person should make the best effort through ritual, devotional and ethical (Maatian) practices so as to cleanse the gross aspects of the personality and bring the personality to a modicum of balance sufficient enough to be able to have a higher spiritual relationship which is facilitated through the temple that will work to cleanse the subtler impurities. If the gross impurities are too strong then the chance to move beyond them is limited; so they have to be worked on first, again, through through ritual, devotional and ethical (Maatian) practices and this is why these areas are so important at the beginning of the spiritual journey. Without handling those deep seeded impurities (aryu) and developing that health and balance of the personality, what the temple and all of its clergy and even the gods and goddesses can do, will be limited. So an aspirant needs to develop that self-esteem and resolve the gross psycho-spiritual issues if there is to be a pathway to spiritual enlightenment. The etiquette promotes respect and respect promotes will to do what builds ethical conscience and self-esteem and pure regard (devotion) for the Divine that cleanses the heart and is reciprocated by the Divine with true enlightening feeling and wisdom.
This reverence demonstrated through proper etiquette trains the personality to have a higher respect for the temple and it also means -if practiced with the correct understanding and attitude, then there will also be respect for self as well since the temple and its teaching are reflections of one’s own higher existence. If people practice respect for the teaching in the form of outward genuflections and rituals but not for inner transformation, by honestly working to cleanse their personality and resolve issues as well as follow the recommendations of the teaching, then their respect in the temple is virtually hollow and their progress will be minimal if at all; and perhaps there may even be backward movement, the evidence of which is ample in the world around us from people who follow partial religions like Christianity and Islam and Judaism wherein there is outward ritual but no substantive following of precepts of ethical conscience in their religion which is why they can easily claim to be devout followers and at the same time make wars and live in constant fear and thereby rationalize their superiority and justify violence, slavery and financial malfeasance of all kinds to amass power to maintain their positions.
An aspirant of any mystery teaching including Neterianism, should move away from such a degraded perspective, recognizing it as a failed spiritual effort in an incoherent spiritual path that is to be avoided, relinquished in favor of a path that is coherent, humble, and effective.