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When one begins to study the Fourth Way there are so many pitfalls it’s a wonder that anyone makes much progress. There is much one needs to know in the beginning. Due to the nature of the system and the human condition it simply can’t all be grasped at once. Add to this that the Fourth Way is not for everyone and the mortality rate quickly rises. This isn’t a lament but rather an acknowledgment of the facts. It’s the nature of esoteric teachings.

While I was meditating this morning I thought about some of my teachers over the past forty years. Only one of them had ever authored a book. Though he had a tremendous impact on my early development we didn’t spend much time together. The rest of them were virtually unknown to the rest of the world. From the teacher/student relationship I garnered what I needed to progress along this path. Now, as I look back, I see that what they taught in an outer way wasn’t nearly as important as who they were. And who they were couldn’t be determined by what they had done in life. Compared with the rich and famous of the world they were obscure nobodies. It wasn’t that they didn’t fit in society. Some fit better than others, but none of them seemed to care much about what society thought about them, if they ever considered it at all.

Most of them are dead now. But their influence on me has only increased over the years as I’ve learned to value who they were. In a sense I was not worthy of them, though not one of them would have ever said or thought such a thing. They taught me what is valuable. But they didn’t teach it directly. In fact, often I didn’t learn it until after I moved on to some other field and all but forgot about them. They planted seeds while I slept. Seeds that even now are growing and bearing fruit while others still lie dormant waiting for the proper conditions to germinate. My love and appreciation for each of them has grown over the years. To what I owe the good fortune I had to meet them, recognize them, and learn from them is beyond the scope of this essay. That I realize my good fortune is all that matters, because it fills me with the gratitude necessary to practice this Work. I’m a long-term investor looking back over decades, rather than the get-it-now person I started out being.

Everyone is a teacher in one sense of the word because we all teach what we are by being. But there are teachers in a fuller, more conscious sense. They are men and women who have learned that the highest a Man can reach is through service to his fellows. From where I stand now there doesn’t appear to be any such thing as selfless service because the Universe will not allow it. One learns, over time, that what we sow we will reap. So there can be no giving where one gets nothing in return. But there can be giving with no expectation for what one gets in return. The simple act of sharing rewards instantly. My teachers gave to me not because I was worthy but because they were. They received, and their response was to give freely and fully with no thought of return. Because of them I am able to share what they shared with me. And so the torch is passed from one generation to another and the Truth of esotericism moves through the centuries from heart to heart.

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About Esoteric Talks

"No good deed goes unpunished."

The person most frequently credited as the originator of the phrase is playwright Clare Boothe Luce. Also credited have been playwright Noel Coward, writer Oscar Wilde, journalist Walter Winchell and the late Washington Post writer Bill Gold. The original idea is probably an ancient proverb.

Appearing cynical on the surface, a closer examination of human nature reveals the False Personality to be incredibly vengeful and petty due to its hubris.

Plato has Socrates say, "An unexamined life is not worth living." The reason no good deed goes unpunished is because most people are living lives not worth living. If you feel a sting, that probably means you are spending more time and energy examining the lives of others than you are examining your own.