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After having studied classic guitar for a number of years, I observed something interesting about Parkinson. If he wanted to do something he would read a book about it. It seems odd to write that now, because the idea of reading a book to learn how to do something appears to be contradictory. If you want to learn how to fly a Boeing 747, you can’t learn how by reading a library full of books about doing it. Sooner or later you would have to get in the cockpit and begin to practice the skills to operate the airplane. It was the same way with the guitar. Studying diagrams in books showed me where to put my fingers, but that didn’t help my fingers get there. I increased my knowledge by reading books, but that didn’t mean I could do what I knew. The great master of classic guitar, Andre Segovia, once said, The guitar is the easiest instrument in the world to play–badly. His point, I think, was that we have a tendency to imagine that because we can strum a few chords we can play the guitar. When one’s knowledge of the guitar, or anything else for that matter, increases we begin to become aware that there is more to it than we imagined.

How does this apply to the idea of esoteric development? If one has Magnetic Center he could see that life can’t be explained by itself. His belief in life would begin to wane. Eventually he would no longer believe that life was able to give him what he desired. He might wonder, There must be something more to life than what life offers in and of itself. Thus the journey to find meaning and develop understanding begins. Because life has hypnotized us to make us believe in it, we are in a state of waking sleep. How to awaken from this sleep?

First we must hear that we are asleep. This knowledge falls on our Intellectual Center. It can be quite a shock! But the shock isn’t enough to keep us awake. We must remember that we fall asleep again and again. And just like learning to fly the plane or play the guitar there are so many things to learn and remember. To do what we wish to do we must know all these small things simultaneously. But they aren’t learned simultaneously. Instead, we learn one or two things at a time. Some folks learn, and learn, and learn. They’re learning machines. Others practice and practice and practice but never learn any more. When I studied guitar my teacher would tell me how, show me how, and then watch me try to do it.

It seems to me this same process is necessary with the Fourth Way. We must first hear the ideas. They must fall on a place in us that can receive them without too much resistance. The parable of the sower* comes to mind where Jesus says the seeds fall on different places. Some on the road, some among the weeds, some on rocky soil, and some on good soil. But it’s not enough to hear the ideas. It doesn’t matter how many times you listen to a podcast or read a book. Eventually the ideas you learn through the Intellectual Center must be applied to other Centers if they are to become manifest in your life as development, self-change. It’s good to hear the ideas over and over because spaced repetition is a valid way to learn. It’s also good to practice the ideas over and over for the same reason. We have to get these ideas into the other Centers as well as the Intellectual Center. We must have a certain love for the ideas and that will come from valuing them in the Emotional Center. The Work says that the Emotional Center is harder to awaken. To get the Emotional Center working we begin by practicing with the Intellectual Center and the Moving Center together. From the proper union of these two Centers the Emotional Center will begin to awaken. It takes time, just like learning to fly a plane or play classic guitar, but the payoff is something you will never lose. No conscious effort is ever lost to you.

*Matthew chapter 13.

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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.