FOOTSTEPS ON THE PATH
This file contains lists of steps required of a student on
the path to spiritual enlightenment. The yogic, buddhic, western
magickal, hermetic, and modern western traditions are given
for use in study and comparison.
Excerpt from the poem
"A Psalm of Life"
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of Time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
The 8 steps on the Noble Path to Enlightenment
1. Right knowledge
2. Right aims
3. Right speech
4. Right conduct
5. Right means of livelihood
6. Right effort
7. Right attention
8. Right concentration
Mastery of: Leads to control of: Yoga:
breath physical body hatha
will powers of mind laya
love divine love bhakti
energy powers of nature shakti
sound sound vibrations mantra
form powers of geometric forms yantra
thought powers of thought processes dhyana
method powers of discrimination raja
knowledge intellect jnana
activity actions karma
kundalini psychic nerve force kundalini
self ecstasy samadhi
Western Magickal Tradition
Asana - stills body, sense shut-down, chakras bud
Pranayama - stills emotions, appetites, breath energizes chakras
Mantrayoga - stills mind
Yama - moral qualities attained & Niyama - good works
both of these function to still the life
(so as not to excite the mind) and to
still the emotions and passions
(so as not to excite the mind)
Pratyahara - inhibitory power over thoughts
(similar to asana but power over mind/
thoughts rather than body)
The next 3 are inter-related:
Dharana - direction of thought/mind to a single point
Dhyana - annihilation of the ego
the contents of the mind consist of 2 things
which become one; thought, time, space are
Samadhi - the ideal is experienced
becoming of the object (taste, sound, etc.)
1. Control of thoughts
You must be able to decide what you think and when, to
determine which thoughts are YOURS and which are garbage,
to have the ability to turn your thoughts on one thing only
and the ability to keep out stray thoughts. Also, develop the
ability to discriminate between the essential and the non-
essential. This leads to the ability to discriminate
between truth and appearance (thought independent of
sense distortion). This also leads to logical and
sensible thought following upon thought.
2. Control of actions
Realize the effects of karma in your life. All actions
should become less automatic re-actions. Work to eliminate
Do not be easily discouraged by delays on the path of
spiritual progress. If you make a vow, think carefully
about it. To plan, will, and NOT DO is Will-depleting.
You must develop tolerance of others, tolerance
of circumstances, and tolerance for Self.
Try to have faith and trust in all you meet. Have
faith in self, in your connectedness to all things, and
in the rightness of life. You will learn that if you
do X then Y will follow...this develops faith in the
power of your intentions.
6. Inner balance
You must maintain balance in ALL things or...that balance
will be restored for you like it or not. Try to retain
composure in joy and sorrow. Be ready armed for all life
7. Love of Inner Freedom
You must be free from an ego-centric view of life (even
regarding your own life!)
Modern Western Tradition
Be aware that thoughts are things and use them with care.
Everything which exists began as a thought.
Develop your imagination and use it to create goals
because the creation of goals generates energy.
Learn to recognize the various parts of the mind,
especially the ego which often depletes energy.
Take responsibility for all your thoughts and
work at maintaining a positive attitude. Remember
that your environment is a reflection of your
Develop self-discipline...when you say you will do
something know that you will. Become a reliable
person. Learn to trust yourself, this will lead to
self-awareness. Be enthusiastic about life and
your plans. This will help you to accomplish both.
Work on developing patience in all things.
Make yourself useful in daily life to self and others.
Always finish what you start and take care of
everyday tasks including the mundane ones.
Try to keep your eye on your goals and not get
lost in the process of trying to attain them.
Learn to plan what you do with your time. Make
lists of what must be done and do it. Make sure
your priorities are correctly ordered.
Crowley, Aleister, Magick, Part I, Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1973
Sadhu, Mouni, The Tarot, Wilshire Book Co., 1978
Steiner, Rudolf, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment,
Anthroposophic Press, 1986
Torrens, R.G., The Golden Dawn, Samuel Weiser, 1980