The Role and Purpose of an Esoteric School in Spiritual Awakening
In this age of information, discussions about whether a spiritual school or group is necessary for awakening are not uncommon. There are many who wonder how important it is to be in such an organized environment when it comes to spiritual development. It seems to me that majority of people in spiritual circles still prefer a group or school learning environment, though more and more people adhere to the mindset of not taking part in any group, but rather studying alone and creating one’s own spiritual direction. Both options are valid and have value, depending also on what one wants to achieve with spirituality. Having said that, there is a concrete purpose that a spiritual school has in someone’s awakening.
Today, there are many schools and groups that deal with the topic of spiritual self-realization. From one side, it is good that there is such a large range of options, since not all schools are the same, and their differences resonate with different types of people. Though, looking at it from another angle, not all schools provide the necessary tools for awakening. This is fine if a purpose of someone attending such environments is a general introduction to spirituality rather than complete awakening, though if someone seeks the latter and ends up in one of such schools, this could create an obstacle for that person. Having said that, it seems to me that people are where they need to be, regardless if there is a karmic process taking place or their own unconscious choice, but they likely are where they need to be for a time, until circumstances allow them to reach other forms of teachings. There are many people whose soul thirsts for and is ready for a higher spiritual teaching, but due to karmic reasons, they are unable to discover or attend it.
Out of all the schools there are, it is obvious that some are more advanced than others. In fact, in today’s age of capitalism spiritual schools range from completely materialistic ones with very low spiritual level, to those that are supported in the higher planes by the beings of light. Based on what the person gravitates towards, they find the school they require, however it is not always easy to find the one that teaches techniques for profound inner transformation.
Spiritual schools of a high caliber are normally always supported by the beings of light; the group of such beings are known by various names, such as the Brotherhood of Light, the Chain of Immortals, the White Lodge, the Initiatory College etc. Those great beings are behind the furthering of the spiritual evolution of mankind. In order for such a support to be there, the founder of that type of school (or a group of founders) would have to be on a certain spiritual level; this entails the awakening of consciousness and incarnation of some parts of their inner Being. It is those parts that give the founder or the teacher the necessary spiritual light to be able to guide his or her students towards awakening. The more of this light he has, the more capable he is of guiding others along the Path. Generally, the standard is to be at least on the second stage of the Path (the Second Mountain) before one could start with their own school, which would be truly connected with the Initiatory College. If such inner light within the teacher is missing, we more or less have the case of blind leading the blind. The more one advances on the Path, the more light he has, and thus the more he sees and feels. When we incarnate the Being, it is not just that we have his peace and happiness, but also his guidance, because the light of the Being that is happiness and peace, is also guidance.
A living master that is behind a school is a great thing for that school, because everyone in it who work truly on oneself have connection both to him and to the beings of light (the Initiatory College) that reside in the higher dimensions and work for our awakening. This means that, should the people from that school be ready for it, they can usually progress more rapidly on the Path than if they would be of the same spiritual readiness but studying alone. Such a school or group would provide with a certain momentum that carries along everyone in it, just like a train does. That’s why the Gnostic movement of Samael Aun Weor was often compared to a train that stops on different stations along the way, on which some people enter and other leave, but it is always in motion. The result of this motion in practical life is in having a heightened energy throughout the day and increased ability to do the practices necessary for awakening, such as being in the state of self-remembrance, self-observation, meditation, etc.
The difference between an esoteric school and a spiritual school is in the level of depth that they have, and in the level of support from the higher beings. Both genuine esoteric and spiritual schools are spiritual in their essence, but a distinction could be made based on their depth. The word “esoteric” refers to something secret and profound, which can be justly applied to environments in which are taught profound means of spiritual transformation. What is esoteric is secret because it is inner and personal, and deeply spiritual. When we are part of such a learning environment, we will eventually discover that our school or group has a counterpart in the higher dimensions, which we often visit during sleep.
An esoteric school or group provides a great opportunity for self-knowledge, both through the development of situations within the group itself, but also because its strong focus on learning is a such a powerful force that expands into everyday life. The latter is of course also generated when studying alone, but not to the same extent.
In the past, there have been many genuine esoteric spiritual schools, some of which had several spiritual masters behind them. Today, they are not as common; in fact, they are very rare. It is not so rare to have schools that are based on the teachings of some spiritual masters; on the contrary, such are plentiful, but a problem is that behind many of those are people without much (or any) experience of the Path, and thus they have to rely on the written word of a master, which often leads to orthodoxy, rigidity and error. To have a genuine living master behind them is much rarer. This is not to say that spiritual progress is impossible without the latter, it is just that advance would not be the same. Having said that, there are other benefits by being in a group or school that consists of students who genuinely practice spiritual teachings, and that is a group strength that is generated and that support the students to maintain the momentum and go through different obstacles of the Path with more ease. Combining this with connection with the Initiatory College is a great way to learn and progress on the Path.
HDP, November 2021.