“The true Adept, the developed man, must, we are always told, become—he cannot be made. The process is therefore one of growth through evolution, and thus must necessarily involve a certain amount of pain. The main cause of pain lies in our perpetually seeking the permanent in the impermanent and not only seeking, but acting as if we had already found the unchangeable in a world of which the one certain quality we can predict is constant change. …
“Again, the idea of growth involves also the idea of disruption: the inner being must continually burst through its confining shell or encasement, and such a disruption must also be accompanied by pain, not physical but mental and intellectual.” ~H. P. Blavatsky
The True Adept
I would call the true adept the developing man rather than the developed. An adept has reached a certain level of consciousness that is higher than that of the initiate, but is still on the road of spiritual growth with every expectation of achieving more. Ms. Blavatsky is correct, though, in saying that such an adept cannot be made, by which she means that someone else cannot make you an adept. If you become an adept, is through your own effort. Others can guide you, and probably should, but they can’t make you an adept like an artist carving a statue out of a lump of rock. It is mostly up to you.
Growth Through Evolution
The spiritual path of the true adept is one of evolutionary growth, even if it doesn’t fit into Darwinian concepts of evolution. It is, in fact, a strange kind of evolution, as it is really a matter of stopping a process of devolution, turning around, and heading back in the other direction to become once again what we were many millions of years ago. It is largely a matter of remembering our true self and experiencing those advanced states of being again.
While Darwinian evolution works well when limited to the purely physical plane of existence, it fails to account for the fact that man existed as a spiritual being long before he descended into matter. The true adept and true initiate seek to reverse that process.
Pain of Growth
As babies and infants, we experienced considerable pain as part of the growth process. The pain of teeth growing out. The pain of falling frequently as we tried to walk, and so on. Few of us remember that pain because it produced growth, and was therefore acceptable (that doesn’t mean all pain results in growth, so don’t go down that warped path).
As we get older we tend to forget this relationship between pain and growth. As a result, most of us develop a desire to avoid pain as much as possible. The corporate world loves us for that because it give them a great marketing opportunity. This pill relieves your stomach pain when you eat things you should have avoided. These comfortable shoes keep your feet from the pain of walking and standing, but keep your feet from breathing and may, according to some, damage foot growth, especially the toes.
Spiritual growth is no different, though as Blavatsky says, the pain is mostly mental. The pain comes when you learn that you have to give up some favorite food because it adversely affects your spiritual growth. The pain comes when people you thought were friends laugh at you for getting involved in spiritual things. The true adept accepts these pains, and more, as necessary for spiritual growth.
Some highly advanced spiritual people do feel physical pain. They may get headaches, back pains, and worse, when in the presence of very negative or materialistic people. This is why they will usually withdraw from heavily populated areas and stay in a wilderness surrounded only by students and other true adepts. Some do learn to shield themselves when out in the world, but can usually only do so for a few hours at a time.
Blavatsky says the growth of the true adept involves disruption, and it is sometimes this which is a cause of mental pain. It is an unfortunate condition of life that young people who are more likely to be looking for new things to learn, often have little interest in the spiritual. Older people, who do take interest in spiritual matters, often have become set in their ways and don’t really want to go back to school and start studying again. Of course the wise person knows that education can never end, spiritual or otherwise.
The true adept has to accept that no matter how old she is, she must continue to learn, to study, and to grow, especially on a spiritual level. Even death doesn’t end it for the true adept, for they will continue on the path as a purely spiritual being.