The Prime Requisite for the Path

Copyright July, 1998
by Mark B. Anstendig

One of the first aims of the path is to establish a fulfilling, dependable relationship with God, within which the circumstances that God creates for one’s life are tailored to steer one along one’s Path towards the various goals of self-development. In such a relationship, even the negatives of life are never arbitrarily chosen, but have their clear purpose as God’s own means of teaching the Path (this is also true in life without the Path. But when one is on the Path, the negatives and the teachings through them are specifically tailored to what the candidate has to master at the stage one is at on the Path).

If someone is not dependable, why should the guide trust the candidate and why should the circumstances God creates for that person be dependable? How could they? If the candidate is not thoroughly dependable, he/she could not be trusted to carry them out as explained by the guide or shown him/her by God, and would not be able to follow them anyway. The Path would, at some point have simply gone astray, anyway. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that the candidate quickly develop the ability to be dependable and be so all the time.

The big problem in being dependable is that the built in mechanisms of self-deception are so ingrained in us that they easily cause us to rationalize our lapses and often do not even allow us to see them. It is, therefore, futile for the candidate to only try to be dependable towards God himself, because the habits of exercising those built in blinder-like mechanisms will keep him/her from being aware of lapses towards God. Also, although there is very definite karmic retribution for lapses in one’s dependability, it is impossible for God to create immediate direct retribution after each and every transgression, without giving away much of what he is doing. So the “karma” for one’s lapses often comes later, when the candidate might no longer recognize the relationship between the karma and the lapse.

Nothing in this world is quite the way we want it to be, nor does anything ever happen quite the way we want it to happen. Therefore, fulfilling the requisite of dependability on the path is not done any way one wants or with anyone or anything one chooses. It is practiced on and demonstrated with one’s teacher-guide. And it must be done and made habit all the time with everyone else, unless there is some real danger in doing so.

Besides the problems of recognizing one’s lapses without another person as control, there is good reason for the guide being the practice object on whom one develops one’s dependability. A situation of complete trust is necessary between someone on the path and his/her teacher.

One of the first lessons in developing dependability right at the beginning of the path is that being dependable really means not promising anything more than one is absolutely sure one will be able to carry out. That is not unknown outside of the path. It is taught in college and is part of a good upbringing. Many people understand it, if not in such precisely worded form.

If one is not able to be sure of oneself, which few can, one should make a rule that one will not promise anything one cannot be sure of doing. Life is what we have in our heads. Leaving unnecessary uncertainty in anyone's head is true inconsideration.

But, further, there is need for the guide to be able to trust that the candidate will carry out at least reasonable instructions exactly as given. There are many situations where the guide does not have the time to explain and the possibility of the moment will be lost if the candidate does not simply and explicitly follow instructions.

The bottom line is, if candidate, guide and others are together and a phenomenon or higher experience begins that only the guide knows how to negotiate, everyone must be ready and able to dependably do what is necessary without hesitation, or the moment is lost. Such experiences are so delicate and demand such a delicate balance of influences in the room/space that small dissonances in interaction among participants could ruin everything for that experience.

There are many other things the candidate has to actually have accomplished physically and mentally, before he/she can know their effect and how they fit into the overall picture of the path, as well as life itself. But, by following instructions explicitly, the experiences can be had, along with their benefits to the candidate’s path, without the candidate’s having accomplished that completed insight into all the workings of the experience.

How can the guide trust that the candidate will do as directed, if this trust is not absolutely proven?

Often, the guide can save the candidate much time by guiding her/him through some advanced parts of the path before his/her natural progress would bring the candidate to those steps. To do that, the guide needs regular feedback from the candidate, because the candidate has no chance of finding the next steps by him/herself. Without complete trust, it would become extremely haphazard and undesirable for the candidate to continue with the new instructions, since they lie outside of the step-wise progress of the path.

Obviously, one of the first things, if not the very first thing, to do is to develop and prove this dependability. It is the essential part of a candidate/guide relationship. And it is also the most important thing in the outside, real world, where only a few of the people one knows love one enough to put up with faults like undependability.

Undependability in the real world brings immediate consequences. Why should it be any other way with God? On the Path undependability brings almost immediate karmic retribution in some form or other. And dependability is one of the first prerequisites for a guide to agree to work with anyone. Because, no matter what may be offered the guide, he cannot work with anyone unless he has received clear signs that he should work with that  person. Proof that the candidate is dependable is one of the most important signs. The reason is that the guide knows that the Path cannot and will not happen for anyone, unless the candidate has the necessary prerequisites. Accepting such a candidate, however well-meaning or not, can only lead to failure, bad karma, and grave disappointment for that candidate.

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