In this work, you talk about the importance of relying on your own experience but you also have a lot to say and your ideas obviously set us up for some experiences and not others. Is this not a contradiction?
Yes, it is a contradiction. The issue is authority. Does what I say about the work and my experience of it have validity? Can you rely on it to guide your own experience?
First, let’s be clear that work on self must be experienced. Collecting ideas about it and thinking about these ideas has no value. The ideas can easily become a substitute for real work. As a philosophy, the fourth way leaves a lot to be desired. You can do much better. The fourth way is not exciting, not emotionally evocative or satisfying; it is somewhat dull and depressing. The world is asleep, so is each of us, and there is no certainty any of us will wake up and make a difference to ourselves or anyone else. So if you do not find any practical value in these ideas, you should leave now, while the getting is good.
If you do have experiences in this work, they may not be the same as mine. You may describe them differently or your perception may be so different that we can never know if we have gone down the same road. I can question what you say but I cannot question your state or the quality of your insights and realizations. Only you can do that.
What I say about the work is to the best of my knowledge. It reflects what I feel I know and what I am able to say about my experience. It may be wrong, it is certainly incomplete and it may not be right for you.
Would it be better not to have a school, these meetings and these discussions? Perhaps. Talking about these ideas shapes subsequent experience at least to some extent. Unconscious expectations are bound to arise. My words will certainly be interpreted differently from my intentions.
All I can say is that I have worked with these ideas and I have found them to be useful. Many of my insights have initially come from others. Because of this, I have assumed that there is benefit to you in hearing them from me. There is benefit to me in working in this way because I am forced to make the effort to be clear and honest in my communication. I feel that I am accountable for the integrity of my efforts and this benefits me.
I have been in a number of schools and followed other paths. I wanted to find an authority who could tell me what I needed to know. I found none. I found many useful insights and even inspiration but no earthly authority that was valid for me. I do not think there is one. Most of the paths are corrupted and they require far too much loss of autonomy. On the other hand, I do not know anyone who has advanced on a spiritual path without the ongoing help of others. Group work, to me, is essential. It holds you to work and it confronts you with yourself.
Every day, you should question why you are here. Question what I say. Understand that I cannot be responsible for you and your evolution. I can point. I can invoke and give you a taste of other realms. But ultimately, it’s entirely up to you and your relationship to God, if you are fortunate enough to know that you have one.