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Self-Development and the Way To Power

L. W. Rogers

Written in 1922. The electronic version is courtesy of Project Gutenberg


There are three things
that a person must possess to be successful in
These three things are

(1) an ardent desire, (2) an iron will and (3) an alert intelligence.


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The third necessity is keen intelligence. The force of desire, directed by the will, must be supplemented by an alert mind. There is a popular notion that good motives are sufficient in themselves and that when one has the desire to attain spiritual illumination, plus the will to achieve, nothing more is needed but purity of purpose. But this is a misconception. It is true that the mystic makes devotion the vital thing in his spiritual growth; and it is also true that the three paths of action, knowledge and devotion blend and become one at a higher stage. But while there are methods of development in which intellect is not at first made a chief factor it can by no means be ignored in the long-run; nor are we now considering those methods. A good intellect, therefore, is a necessary part of the equipment.


Good motives play a most important part, indeed, in occult progress. They safeguard the aspirant on his upward way. Without pure motives, without a large measure of unselfishness, the greatest dangers would encompass him. But good motives cannot take the place of good sense and relieve him of the necessity of thinking. He must develop judgment and discrimination.

There are things he must know, and he must use his knowledge, or difficulties will follow no matter how noble may be his intentions. Suppose, for illustration, that two men set out upon a dark might to cross a wild and rugged piece of ground--one with bad motives and the other with good. One is going out to rob a house and if need be, to kill anybody who might try to interfere with his plans. His motives are very bad but he has perfect knowledge of the dangerous ground he is to cross and he will therefore travel over it in safety. The other man has the best of motives. He is going to spend the night with a sick and helpless neighbor. But he has no knowledge of the rough and treacherous ground he must cross in the darkness and his good motives will not insure him against stumbling over the stones or falling into a ditch and breaking his arm. Good motives are not enough. We must know! Progress in occultism is impossible without knowledge.

But how is a keen, alert intelligence to be acquired if we do not possess it? Like any other latent faculty or power it may be evolved. As the physical strength may be steadily increased by constant exercise of the muscles, so mind may increase in power by systematic work. It should be exercised in original thinking.

A stated period, if only a quarter of an hour daily, can be set aside for the purpose.

A book on a serious subject will furnish material but the too common method of reading, of following the author lazily and accepting whatever he sets forth as a matter of course, is of little value. One must read with discrimination, receiving the ideas offered as a juryman would receive testimony from a witness, considering it from every possible viewpoint, examining it in the light of known facts, turning it over in the mind, weighing it thoughtfully, and accepting or rejecting according to its reasonableness or its lack of reason. In such mental work for intellectual growth each paragraph can be considered by itself and only a small portion of the time should be given to the reading while the remainder is devoted to pondering over what has been read. Of course a specific study is an advantage and perhaps nothing is better than to study occultism, thinking deeply upon the problems of human evolution.

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