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As students in the School for Esoteric Studies move through their esoteric studies, there are some common challenges that arise. We have provided below a list of such issues along with links to either relevant parts of the School’s website or short articles that might be helpful. If there are other issues that you would like to have addressed here, please let the School know.
The challenge of focus
The key to esoteric work is the ability to work with energy effectively. For this, we need to be able to focus our attention and hold that focus without becoming distracted. Meditation is the mechanism that we use for developing that focus as well as for energy work itself. See Our Work as a Group for a more detailed discussion.
The challenge of limited time for meditation
It is easy to assume that “more is better”; however, in meditation work, it is quality not quantity that matters. Indeed, the ultimate objective is to have a meditative attitude throughout the day. SES assumes that meditation work can be kept to 10-15 minutes. See Meditation Techniques for a description of the meditative process, regardless of length.
Learning to meditate with a seed thought
The School uses a form of meditation known as Raja Yoga for developing mental focus and the ability to sense deeper meanings through the use of aspirational passages. Studying the attached article on Meditation with Seed Thought can help you enhance your meditation practice.
Help with visualization
The ability to visualize constructively is fundamental to working with energy. The attached article on Visualization can help you become more proficient in the practice of visualization.
Establishing the habit of recollection
One of the challenges in spiritual development is maintaining an inner Soul alignment while engaged in external activities. The attached article on Recollection gives some suggestions for developing this critical habit.
The challenge of written work
A number of students mention that they find it difficult to complete the written assignments, not because of the topics but because of difficulty with writing. We recognize that the type of writing required by the School is becoming less common in everyday life; however, it is a critical method for honing focus. Putting concepts down in writing promotes deeper thinking and requires clarifying to yourself what the key points are, what the most meaningful sequence is, and what is and is not relevant. See Three Training Components for a more detailed discussion.
Help with the Evening Review
The Evening Review is a key practice for consolidating our spiritual development and gaining perspective on our activities in the context of the Whole. The attached short summary, Establishing the Habit of a Daily Review, addresses questions students have raised in order to help you make effective use of this practice.
A sense of loneliness
With the increase in conferences and in-person spiritual group activities, some students report that they feel lonely studying on their own. What is important to keep in mind is that the Soul is our teacher and, in order to “listen to” the Soul, we need to develop the discipline of contemplation and the ability to remain still and internally focused. See The Illusion of Loneliness for a more detailed discussion.
The nature of a "subjective group"
We know both from physics and metaphysics that we are energetic beings interconnected within a vast cosmic energy field. While much of our daily activity involves external group interactions, lasting change must involve change in that energetic field. The School is a conscious experiment in working together as a subjective group, connected through meditative initiatives that link members at all levels of spiritual development. See Our School Group Project for a more detailed discussion.
Handling the stress of change
Spiritual development of necessity involves change, and sometimes that change process can feel painful. It may help to remember the cycle of growth that occurs both individually and for groups. See Understanding the Rhythm of Creation for a more detailed discussion.
Understanding esoteric service
Service, in the context of spiritual growth, is an expression of the Soul rather than a series of good works. See The Nature of Service for a more detailed discussion. One specific way in which we can participate in group esoteric service is through the daily meditations or mantras that comprise the weekly Service Meditation Sequence.
Focusing on consciously constructive efforts
Students often have initial difficulty understanding why they are asked to focus on constructive efforts of world servers and identifying such efforts. The attached article, A Focus on Consciously Constructive Efforts, may be helpful.