What Makes Someone Ready For the Inner Work and the Path
When coming into contact with the Gnostic teachings, many people wonder if they are ready for such a form of spirituality. The description of the path and the promise of the lofty rewards that come from it surely sound inspiring, but a lot of folks question their own readiness for it, wondering if they have what it takes to walk upon such a path. Without a doubt, this spiritual path that leads to the final liberation requires a lot of dedication, seriousness and determination, because there are requirements that need to be met in order to successfully tread this path.
I think that everyone who takes up this work seriously, will at one point or another wonder whether they have what it takes to do it. In spirituality in general there is a lot of mentioning of transcendence of things that keeps us away from being spiritual, things such as greed, anger, pride, jealousy, lust, as well as many other things that have their root in the animalistic side of us. But advanced teachers of genuine spiritual traditions knew that the majority of people will not be interested in this form of transformation, so they came up with precepts and ethics by which an average human should live so to make their own lives and of those around them pleasant enough, and to slow down the creation of negative karmic causes and decadence of their minds. But to those who are ready they teach about the potential of the spirit and give instructions on how to reach the salvation from the Wheel of Life.
People have various opinions on what makes someone ready for this type of transformation from human state to spiritual state of being. One of such says that ready is he or she who have reached a point in their spiritual evolution where they, without (much) effort, can let go of their attachments and desires. This opinion insists that because of someone’s esoteric history, they will be able to naturally let go of things that create the strongest bondage for the soul, the tie to this material world. It is true that desires and attachments is what create one of the biggest obstacles in the spiritual evolution. It is also true that through a succession of many lifetimes and experiences, the soul that is ready for “graduation” might be able to more easily let go of the things which would hold back a lot of souls that are new to this material reality.
Nonetheless, for the majority of those “ready souls” it would certainly not be a spontaneous or an “effortless” thing to let go of things that create the strongest bondage, because they too have the same amount of egos as everyone else when starting out with the inner work, and to transform that amount of egos into consciousness is not an easy task for anyone. Even the highest of spiritual beings who are now fallen would struggle to self-realize, as the work on the egos and letting go of desires and attachments is not an easy thing. We might want to let go of our egos and part with them, but they will not just leave us and set free our trapped essence. If we decide to let go of our animal nature, then we need to do the necessary effort to transform it, being willing to fight our egos because they will not go quietly into their death. The animal within us will not just surrender to our yearnings. It will do whatever it takes to survive. But we have to be willing to sacrifice it if we want for the spiritual to takes its place within us. And if we do the necessary steps, then the spiritual will fully integrate within, it will fill up the space where previously the animal dwelled, because that space within us cannot stay empty, it is filled with either one or the other.
In my opinion, we cannot know if we are ready for the inner work and the path until we try it out and see how we do with it. There were many who entered Gnosis by thinking that they were born for this path, that if they aren’t ready for it then nobody is, and there were also those who thought that it is pointless to even begin because the path seems too difficult to even contemplate it. Both of these stances are based on egoic illusion. In the first case the person speaks from their pride, only to later abandon the teachings and replace it with some other form of spirituality which is easier to do, or takes it up as a sort of dogmatic belief comfort zone. And in the second case, their stance is based on the ego of defeatism, a stumbling block that wants us to give up before we have even started. But unless we try it, how could we know if we are ready or not?
When we start doing the Gnostic practices, when we are consistent with them, we gradually start seeing changes taking place within us. Some may see the first concrete results after weeks or a month, and for others it might be several months or a year, all depending on the state in which we were when we entered the teachings, and what virtues our soul already had from before. Nonetheless, the change is eventually clearly seen by everyone who is persistent and dedicated to this work. We could then say that one of the necessary components of the readiness is to be able to be consistent, but even this is something that is developed gradually. Rare are those who start by being dedicated and continue with that same level of dedication. More realistic is that this dedication is build up over a prolonged period of time, as we mature spiritually. Because many were students of Gnosis who had dedication for a first few years, but later when circumstances change or when things become stale, it is only the inner transformation and the willingness to learn and to be free, that keeps us moving along.
Therefore, if you have an interest for the work and the path, it would be beneficial to try it out and see if you are ready for it or not. This is the only way to truly know, allowing for the work to develop the necessary qualities needed to walk upon the path, and then if the path becomes a reality for you, you simply go and always focus on the initiation that you are on, and can gaze at the one that is in front of you. It is fine to set a goal to finish the First Mountain, or the Second Mountain etc., but always staying grounded and work on the initiation that is your current reality, trying to always be in the know about where exactly you are on the path. In that way, the path is not just something that appears as an epic tale reserved for extraordinary humans, but it becomes a reality that anyone who is ready for it can go through, gradually, but surely.