This might appear as an odd review for a site like mine. Why review a book on long-term fulfillment? This work by George Leonard was recommended to people interested in the Temple of Set. I can see why. The book, early on, addresses the issues that cause people to fall off a program.
Basically, this work is written by an instructor of a martial art. He found what caused people to fall off a targeted program, and he offers advice on how to stay on target.
I don’t agree with all his sentiment, but I did find some useful information for my own goals. This work is a great read for people on any spiritual path, as it causes one to take into account what is important, what their goals are, and how to stay on path.
3 Types of People
George explains that there are three types of people who fall off their regimes:
The Dabbler is a person who jumps into something, then after they hit a few plateaus they drop off to start something else that’s new.
I hate to admit it, but that description resembles me. There’s a thrill for that new experience and when it wears off, the drudgery can get tiresome.
As an example… I went from Christianity, to Buddhism in 2004. By 2005 I was in the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn. By the end of 2006, I started involvement with Scientology. That didn’t last more than a year, and I was joining the Kabbalah Center, and AMORC. In 2008 I worked with some remote correspondence courses like BOTA’s taro course, as well as Aurum Solis’ coursework. Off and on I had a few mentors along the way. In 2010 I was involved with a Guru based Hindu group called Ananda… and that lasted about 4 years or so, and then I fell out of steam and sat down to take into account everything I did. I stopped joining groups! I started a period of self-reflection… Using Gnosticism as a backdrop, along with some other mystical and magical paths, I studied solo. In time, I felt I had some understanding of where my alignment was….. In 2017 I worked with an agnostic system called Higher Balance – and in 2019 this shifted drastically when I discovered the left-hand-path.
That’s a lot of change. I know what he means when he speaks about that feeling of something new. I averaged 1 year for each group I joined. That 1 year mark is when things got hard and I would end my connection with the group.
Part of the problem for me, was that I started to feel that the work I was learning in a group was ANOTHER person’s path. Ananda was following Yogananda’s path. The Golden Dawn was following the path of Mathers. But where was MY PATH?
Another problem was in the growth cycle of learning. I would get gains, which kept me motivated and then I would hit a plateau. That’s where my time invested seemed to stop generating new rewards… and then I would grow agitated and anxious, looking for the next big thing.
So what’s a plateau? George graphs out a line, that shows a slight increase to the right. This line hits a peak, and then drops a little… leveling off at a new state of learning/experience. This is a plateau. While it is more experience than a person started with, it can feel stagnant. This new experience lasts for some time, then the student gains more experience, it bumps up and drops down to a new level of experience and so on.
A dabbler gives up after a few plateaus. That “newness” wears off and they walk away, attempting to re-experience that feeling in a new project, spiritual path, etc.
Looking to power and own the experience, they have an end goal in mind and push through to reach it. The intensity doesn’t last and this type of person fizzles out quickly.
The so-called hacker, is where I find some contention with the author. The author feels this type of character is also a failure for mastery. They tend to look for what works, and what doesn’t. They grab onto what works and (in the author’s point of view) use the least amount of effort to get what they want.
I disagree here. the hacker (as he describes it) is someone who finds their way through the rough patches and gets the gold. They bypass a lot of unnecessary work… and while sometimes they may miss out, I have a very good example where they really shine:
Computer programmers tend to be of better quality (in my experience) when they are self-taught. Having been in the IT industry since the late 90’s, I’ve seen the best software engineers come from a self-taught background… the best developer (most dedicated to learning and growing) never went to college.
This is a great example of, “why go through the ‘formal education’ if it costs an arm and a leg, and in the end you won’t really get any gain for it?” While college is a great place to broaden a person’s mind, it now costs so much to go to a college, that isn’t affordable (for those reasons.)
Rarely do I meet someone who actually has a degree int he position they fill. I know programmers and software architects that majored in Economics, Astronomy and Physics. Imagine the waste of all that money.
The hacker personality, looks to find a mentor, or a training system – get what they need to know and start their own work… they learn from pitfalls along the way and keep growing, studying and learning.
In part two of the book, George writes about the key attributes someone needs to stay on course… these seem very logical:
- Find a good teacher (books, a person(s), etc.)
- Practice (daily work)
- Surrender (“this means surrendering to your teacher, or the demands of your discipline)
- Will (intentionality)
- Edging/boundaries (moving the student/Initiate out of their boundaries to a new boundary)
What comes up a lot in this book is to embrace the path, and not the end. When the end of the path is the goal, we get into an anxiety driven aspect. I think this is true.
From a LHP perspective, initiation is a Life-Long experience.
As George mentions throughout his work, one needs to reconnect with where you are in the moment. The mind getting caught up in future possibilities, or regrets of the past, just occupy too much of our energy.
Being in the moment, we can touch into the HGA/Daemon/Higher Self… and from there connect with the LHP Deity.
“Ultimately liberation comes through the acceptance of limits. You can’t do everything, but you can do one thing, and then another and another. In terms of energy, it’s better to make a wrong choice than none at all.”Leonard, George. pg. 129