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A Treatise on White Magic - Rule Fifteen - The New Age Groups and Training
The second great test of the sensitive disciple is fear of failure. This is based on past experience (for all have failed), on a realization of the immediate need and opportunity, and on an acute appreciation of individual limitation and deficiency. It is the result oft times of a response to the lowered spiritual and physical vitality of the race today. Never before has there been a time when fear of failure has more widely haunted the human family. Another cause of this reaction is to be found in the fact that mankind as a whole and for the first time in the history of the race, senses the vision and has therefore a truer sense of relative values than ever before. Men know themselves to be divine, and this is becoming increasingly a universal realization. Hence the present unrest and revolt from trammeling conditions. It is however a serious waste of time for a disciple to ponder upon a failure or to fear failing. There is no such thing as failure; there can only be loss of time. That in itself is serious in these days of dire world need, but the disciple must inevitably some day make good and retrieve his past failures. I need not point out that we learn by failure, for that is a well known truth, and is known as such by all who are attempting to live as souls. Nor need the disciple sorrow over the failures, apparent or real, of his fellow disciples. The sense of time produces glamor and disappointment, whereas the work goes truly [635] forward and a lesson learnt by failure acts as a safeguard for the future. Thus it leads to rapid growth. An honest disciple may be momentarily glamored, but in the long run nothing can really deter him. What are a few brief years in a comparative cycle of aeons? What is a second of time in a span of man's allotted seventy years? To the individual disciple they appear most important; to the onlooking soul, they seem as nothing at all. For the world perhaps, a temporary failure may connote delay in expected help, but that again is brief, and help will come from other sources, for the Plan goes unerringly forward.

May I in all earnest offer to you the paradoxical injunction to work with utter earnestness, and yet at the same time to refuse to work with such earnestness, and not to take yourself so earnestly? Those who stand on the inner side and study the work of the world aspirants today see an almost pitiful distress of individual deficiency, a sustained and strenuous effort on their part to "make themselves what they ought to be", and yet at the same time a distressing lack of proportion, and no sense of humor whatsoever. I urge upon you to cultivate both these qualities. Do not take yourself so seriously, and you will find that you will release yourself for freer and more potent work. Take the Plan seriously and the call to serve, but waste not time in constant self-analysis.

Therefore the immediate goal for all aspiring disciples at this time can be seen to be as follows:

  1. An achievement of clarity of thought as to their own personal and immediate problems and primarily the problem as to their objective in service. This is to be done through meditation.
  2. The development of sensitivity to the new impulses which are flooding the world at this time. This is [636] to be brought about by loving all men more and through love and understanding contacting them with greater facility. Love reveals.
  3. The rendering of service with complete impersonality. This is done by eliminating personal ambition and love of power.
  4. The refusal to pay attention to public opinion or to failure. This is done by the application of strict attention to the voice of the soul, and by an endeavor to dwell ever in the secret place of the Most High.

We have merged our first point as to the immediate goal and the steps to be taken to reach it with our second point as to conduct and the factors which must be eliminated. It only remains therefore to point out the penalties which will overtake the probationary disciple and the trained worker should he give way to the glamor and to the faults inherent in his nature and permit them to hinder his work and come between him and the visioned goal.

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