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A Treatise on White Magic - Rule Fifteen - A Call to Service
These latent characteristics often do not make their appearance until after the service has been undertaken. That they are there, the watching guides may suspect, but even they have not the right to withhold opportunity. When there is this delayed appearance the tragedy is that many others suffer besides the aspirant concerned. As the human fabric makes itself felt and stands out of the mist of idealism, of lovely plans and much talk and arranging, many are in the meantime attracted by [623] synchronous idealism, and gather around the server. When the hidden weaknesses appear, they suffer as well as he. The method of the Great Ones, which is to seek out those who have trained themselves somewhat in sensitive response and to work through them, carries with it certain dangers. The ordinary well-meaning aspirant is not in such danger as the more advanced and active disciple. He is in danger in three directions and can be swept off his feet in three ways:
  1. His whole nature is under undue stimulation on account of his inner contacts and the spiritual forces with which he is in touch, and this carries with it real danger, for he hardly knows as yet how to handle himself, and is scarcely aware of the risk entailed.
  2. The people with whom he is working, in their turn, make his problem. Their greed, their adulation and praise, and their criticism tend to becloud his way. Because he is not sufficiently detached and spiritually advanced, he walks bemused in a cloud of thought-forms, and knows it not. Thus he loses his way and wanders from his original intent, and again he knows it not.
  3. His latent weaknesses must emerge under the pressure of the work, and inevitably he will show signs of cracking at times, if I may use such a word. The personality faults become strengthened as he seeks to carry his particular form of service to the world. I refer to that service which is self sought and formulated on a background of personal ambition and love of power, even if only partially recognized or not recognized at all. He is under strain naturally, and - like a man carrying a heavy load up a steep hill - he discovers points of strain, and evinces a tendency to break [624] down physically, or to lower his ideal so as to conform to weaknesses.

To all this must be added the strain of the period itself, and the general condition of unhappy humanity. This subconsciously has its effect on all disciples, and upon all who are now working in the world. Some are showing signs of physical pressure, though the inner life remains poised and normal, sane and rightly oriented. Others are breaking up emotionally and this produces two effects according to the point of development of the aspirant to service. He is either, through the strain, learning detachment, and this curiously enough is what might be called the "defense mechanism" of the soul in this present period of world unfoldment, or he is becoming increasingly nervous and is on the way to become a neurotic. Others, again, are feeling the pressure in the mental body. They become bewildered in some cases and no clear truth appears. They then work on without inspiration, and because they know it to be right and they also have the rhythm of work. Others are grasping opportunity as they see it and, to do so, fall back on innate self-assertion (which is the outstanding fault of the mental types) and build up a structure around their service, and construct a form which in reality embodies what they desire, what they think to be right, but which is separative and the child of their minds and not the child of their souls. Some, in their turn, more potent and more coordinated, feel the pressure of the entire personality; the versatile psychic nature responds both to need and to the theory of the plan; they realize their truly valuable assets and know they have somewhat to contribute. They are still, however, so full of what is called personality that their service is gradually and steadily stepped down to the level of that personality, and is consequently colored by their personality reactions, their likes and dislikes, [625] and their individual life tendencies and habits. These eventually assert themselves and there is then a worker, doing good work but spoiling it all by his unrealized separateness and individual methods. This means that such a worker gathers to himself only those whom he can subordinate and govern. His group is not colored by the impulses of the new age, but by the separate instincts of the worker at the center. The danger here is so subtle that much care must be taken by a disciple in self-analysis. It is so easy to be glamored by the beauty of one's own ideals and vision, and by the supposed rectitude of one's own position, and yet all the time be influenced subjectively by love of personal power, individual ambition, jealousy of other workers, and the many traps which catch the feet of the unwary disciple.

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