The Importance of Not giving up when Failing
A transformation from an intellectual animal into a true human being, and from a true human being into a divine being, is not easy. Nonetheless, it is achievable. On the Path to Liberation, there are always obstacles that prevent us from reaching the next stage in our work, and sometimes these obstacles make us fail. Failing in the work means giving in to the animalistic side of our nature, feeding it through identification with it and actions that we take, but also it means neglecting the inner work and doing things that go against it.
The first stage of the above-mentioned transformation may seem especially difficult, because when we start the work we find ourselves immersed in our animal nature, and from that point shacking off the heaviness that continuously pulls us back to psychological sleep. Determination and consistency with esoteric exercises is what helps us pass this stage successfully, so that Kundalini can be awakened, providing us with the first steady feelings of divinity. From that point until becoming a true human, there are many traps into which the student can fall and get stuck in, or even permanently leave the work.
In his book The Masters and the Path, a notable Theosophist Charles Leadbeater encouraged us by saying the following about the topic of failing in the work:
“The pupil must make up his mind that with regard to his efforts towards self-improvement he will never allow himself to be discouraged by failure, even though it be often repeated. However, many times he may have failed in his effort, however many falls he may have on the path which he sets before himself, there is exactly the same reason for getting up and going on after the thousandth fall that there was after the first.
In the physical plane there are many things which are frankly impossible; but that is not the case in the higher worlds. We cannot lift a ton weight without machinery, but in the higher worlds it is possible with perseverance to lift the weight of our many imperfections.
The reason for this is obvious if we think. Human muscles are not so constructed as to be able to lift a ton, and no conceivable training of them could enable them to do it, because the force behind them is limited. In spiritual matters, the man has behind him the whole divine power on which he can draw, and so little by little and by repeated efforts he will become strong enough to overcome any obstacle.”
I think Mr. Leadbeater has raised a really good point there. Unfortunately, most people that leave Gnostic teachings do it because they are discouraged and demoralized due to failing in the work; feeling that completing larger stages of the Path is impossible. Even though they might have already experienced high conscious states that come from cleansing the consciousness (the qualities such as peace, happiness and love), they feel it is a waste of time to continue on this road because they are continuously knocked down by the egos.
However, if we take the above statement of Mr. Leadbeater, as well as what many masters who reached far have said, we can see that there is much more to the Path than meets the eye. We are not dealing here with just a success dependent on physical factors, like it is with sports for example, but rather there are many unseen factors that affect our success, such as our esoteric history, the determination of our Being, the help we receive from him and from other higher beings etc.
It is important to understand that the work we do is not only done by ourselves alone, but rather we receive help from various non-physical sources. On our own we would not be able to do it, so we need to step back from our prideful “I” and be open for help to take place; we need to ask for help. When asking for it, it will come, especially if we take the inner work seriously and not just as a casual interest. And once we become established in our work and in the higher form of living, we have access to qualities from which we can draw whenever we need to, and we also have access to help that can give us a strong push to overcome any obstacles. The latter are there as part of the Path; they are part of the learning process that is necessary to go through in order to dissolve the ego and incarnate the Being.
HDP, August 2021.