The true student is drawn to spiritual work because, during her formative years, she has suffered, mildly or severely, and that suffering has been punctuated by a handful of very intense experiences of bliss or epiphany. These experiences – true events – have always occurred because for some reason her mind became momentarily quiet, allowing her to glimpse the world of energy and spirit operating behind the material world. The student realises, with all her being, that these experiences constitute reality and everything else is a superficial mirage. So she takes up a discipline that she hopes will increase the frequency of such events. The events are, on the one hand, yearned for because they are life-giving and life-sustaining but, on the other hand, they are feared and kept at bay because they are too much – too intense. Eventually though, as the years pass by and the work accrues, the student becomes strong and humble enough for the next stage – working for continuity of the event – for which she needs to detach completely from the material world. In my own experience, and that of my teacher and his teacher, these two life changes: taking up spiritual work and then drastically shifting the emphasis of that work to effectuate continuity, occur roughly at the Saturn-returns – the ages of 25-30 and 52-60 ("You don't get much change from thirty years!" he once grumbled to me).

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