In an age where knowledge is evaluated in terms of its usefulness in everyday life, it is tempting to approach spiritual teachings as a way to improve our life in the world. This would be fine but for the fact that life in the world is all about getting, about advancing oneself, about gaining competitive advantage for the sake of survival and setting oneself apart as important or superior. While obtaining knowledge for these purposes is appropriate to life in the world, it is highly inappropriate and even harmful to healthy soul-development. The only appropriate approach to spiritual knowledge is the path of service – the betterment of the world and the the full expression of the highest human potential.
Unless this orientation is present in the fiber of our soul, the power made available through awakening to higher spiritual truths serves only to strengthen our sense of self-importance, separating us from the realization of oneness with life and deadening our capacity for compassion. It would be better to stay away from spiritual teachings altogether than to use them as a means to increase our competitive advantage over others.
It is for this reason that Mary stands prominently at the entrance to the path of the Western Esoteric Tradition. She typifies the proper orientation of heart, mind, and will of the spiritual aspirant on the road to Self-realization. The themes of her life – humility, service, obedience, purity – serve as the eye of the needle through which the spiritual aspirant must pass before the Higher Intelligence will grant illumination of the secrets of life and entrance into the heavenly realms. For it would be the antithesis of compassion to allow one whose primary goal is self-aggrandizement to participate in the powerful teachings and practices of the Sacred Way. To do so would be to condemn that person to a fruitless, downward spiraling path into greater and greater egotism, leading him or her farther and farther away from God.
Mary’s surrender to God, opening herself up to the influx of Spirit, enabled her to give birth to the Christ Being within her. Her one-pointed desire to live to see the Light of the World dawn upon the earth showed her ability to let go of all earthly desires and to focus single-mindedly on the higher ideal, thus proving herself to be a suitable vessel for the Consciousness of God. If we are to consider ourselves students of the Christ Way, then we must do all we can to cultivate this attitude of being so perfectly illustrated in the life of Mary.
Raising Mary to such a level of perfection can only be properly understood by one who has herself achieved a level of humility, because the last thing any of us want to do is glorify an individual human personality. Mary is all women. And she is more than this, because we recognize that human beings are composite creatures. We express predominantly through a particular gender in any given life, but we have both aspects, masculine and feminine, within us. The marriage of these two inner qualities is the goal of the spiritual path and the fulfillment of the Way. So, it is to be understood that we are not talking about a cult of personality but rather a divine ideal. It is because this ideal is shown in human form that we know that it is reachable by all humans.