The First Imperative . . . a letter

…You want a response from me on the work of Z, but I am afraid that I have no direct knowledge and therefore I cannot make any comment. However, what I can discuss is something perhaps more important and relevant. It is this question of an unending stream of different techniques, methods, paths, belief systems, and all the rest that is the American experience now. Z is only one more in this stream. At this point and for the question at hand, it matters little what the teaching is. Today people flock to her, tomorrow it is to something else, the day after another method. And so on it goes.

My question is, What is it that people are really seeking? In my experience, the only thing is a desire for continuous stimulus – both for the mind and the vital. We have now reached the point where our minds and vitals have become dulled because of the constant onslaughts they have been receiving. Now more and more is needed.

Previously this was confined to the so-called materialistic lifestyle. But as of the past fifteen years it is the ‘spiritual’ world that is now experiencing this same over-stimulation. This strategy has been the most clever means to undermine the serious spiritual endeavour. It is now virtually impossible for people to realise their souls in that environment, mainly because to do so requires a one-pointed­ effort. The result is a lot of noise – but no realisation. The result is a familiarity with ‘new age’, ‘new consciousness’ jargon – but jargon does not make the man!

From ancient times it is known that the seeker must make a serious effort to first of all find his path, the one that suits his temperament and corresponds to his destiny. Sometimes many lifetimes are passed in just this quest – weeding out and seeking to hew one’s way through a jungle of mixed experiences until one comes to the way suited to the seeker. Once he finds that he must concentrate entirely on pursuing his quest along those lines. Any distraction at that point defeats the purpose of his quest.

Prior to this 15-year period which saw this undermining strategy come into being, there was little real difficulty in this. The spiritual world was not the focus of invading forces bent upon destroying any higher purpose in the seeker. Once he found his way he pursued it undisturbed, with no temptations, really speaking, from other quarters.

Not so now. It is virtually impossible in the West for a seeker to come upon his true path and be allowed to follow it until he reaches fulfillment therein. And the fact is that unless this one-pointed focus exists, any ideas about attainment, realisation, etc, are simply illusory. On top of it all, to hide this truth the modern western seeker has to keep running in the labyrinth, so to speak. He requires more and more vital and mental stimulus so that he has no time to STOP and objectively assess the trap he has been caught in. If he ever did he would see that he has been kept hopping from one guru to another, one path to another, one technique, one method to another. All of this is done to effectively keep him from true enlightenment. At the same time the illusion is nurtured that one is on the way to a new consciousness, or even in it already. But, I repeat, this is just a familiarity with the jargon. Nothing more.

What I am discussing, let us be clear, is the real thing: realisation – of whatever the chosen way, but the true attainment. For that it is indispensable that one keep one’s energies concentrated and one’s attention focussed solely on that endeavour. If the intention is, however, to fill up one’s life with something ‘spiritual’ and ‘new Agey’, then this hopping around is the way to do it. It is a new lifestyle, one among many. But it has nothing to do with true spirituality of whatever path.

People who are serious have to ask themselves what it is that they really want. Is it power – occult powers? Is it peace? Is it transformation and the establishment of a new consciousness? The questions could be numerous. But once they realise what their souls are aspiring for, then they have to attain a concentration of energy which permits them to find their way to the source that can help them to achieve the fulfillment of their aspirations. IF such serious questioning is done then one thing will be very clear: one must at all costs avoid distraction and dispersal of that precious energy.

Your case is an interesting example. Since I have known you you have been doing some wonderful hopping! You have gone from Raja Yoga to Sri Aurobindo to X and now to Z’s work – and perhaps a number of other fillers-in along the way. I think it would be immensely fruitful at this point for you to assess the condition of your quest. What has been effectively gained in this past year? What have been the concrete achievements, if any at all?

You see, the moment you get close to starting a serious endeavour, a ‘new technique’ catches your interest and the original concentration is lost. This effort has to be made by you. You cannot rely on an outside stimulus to consolidate this initial poise that would permit you to make real progress thereafter. That is precisely the point: You, as everyone else in America, are now accustomed to these external stimuli. Without that there is nothing but an emptiness inside. You have lost touch with that capacity to turn inward and from there to extend the consciousness outward in the process of transformation. If the external stimulus is absent, so is the quest. But for any true spiritual attainment the first indispensable ingredient is this capacity to hold inwardly to the central aspiration of the soul and let that become the centre of one’s life. This does not depend on outer stimuli or circumstances. Rather it creates its own conditions for progress and realisation. In this path we call that the Yoga Shakti, the Divine Mother who takes up the yoga from within once this contact has been made.

But hopping about will never allow this to come into being. When you were following the study circle you had the other stimulus which kept you involved. But then the end of that exercise came and I set things in motion to allow you and the others to move to another level as far as the yoga is concerned. At the end of the study circle conditions were exceptionally propitious, though not apparent to you all, for the plunge into the true inner dimensions of the Work. You were offered entry into the sacred precincts of ‘the Mother’s Temple’, which is a symbol for the soul dimension – your own and the Earth’s as well. But being so accustomed to outer stimuli, once that came to an end so did the interest. The book distribution has simply been a means to observe the mechanism and see and experience the drift without masks. Whether you participate or not in book distribution, or whatever other organisational aspect of this work, is immaterial. It is just a means to see yourself and this process.

Well and good. Now where do you stand? To me it is very clear, and so I have some sound advice. It is time to stop hopping, and stop justifying this hopping by trying to see a ‘connection’ between these different stimuli being offered. Believe me, in terms of this work there is none. But that too is immaterial. The only really important matter at hand is that you find the way suited to you and that you stick to it. Allow it to develop and carry you to the point of real entry into the inner chamber of that particular work.

It seems to me that in Z’s work you may have found what you have been seeking. Just the fact that you have willingly paid for her ‘ridiculously expensive’ course is an indication that what she has to teach and the inner fibre of her being have struck a very deep chord. Therefore my advice to you is to put everything else aside and to plunge into her teachings wholeheartedly.

From your letter I gather that you are not doing this. You are approaching the whole matter diffidently, holding back, harbouring reservations about her. In this way you are preparing yourself for another hop! In my last letter I wrote you that in this sort of work you get out of it what you put in. If you go to your classes with an open heart and confident of learning what is truly necessary for your soul, you will surely attain what you appear to be seeking. You want to ‘erase the memory of the cells’ and have paid a ‘ridiculous’ amount to do so. Then you owe it to yourself to approach the task in the right poise. And you owe it to your teacher as well. She cannot enjoy teaching people who harbour reservations, who hold back, who are critical and all the rest. But this too comes as a result of over-stimulus, – a form of cynicism really. Gone is that childlike openness and joyous anticipation. The whole thing has lost its ‘wonder’. But believe me, there is no wonder greater than to learn from a realised soul. One must approach such a person with great reverence and respect, for they are very, very few. And to teach matters of the soul and spirit the only credentials that make this possible are those the true and actual Realisation grants.

So, go into your new quest with this childlike wonder in your heart. Go into it putting everything else aside and out of your mind. Go into it with one-pointed determination. Only then will you receive from your Teacher what she has to give.

June, 1987

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