Does one require a spiritual guide?

By means of the Predisposition of his intellect

Now the individual’s thorough grasp of the nature of the Path does not arise in him spontaneously.  It is brought about by means of the predisposition of his intellect.  A close investigation of the situation reveals that God Most High gives three graces in relation to this conceiving and understanding: the very life of the intellectual faculty; the predisposition of the intellect toward perceiving this precious thing; and the act itself of conceiving and grasping it. And all of this occurs in an individual apart from his assistance, power, or enduring worthiness. How few people are endowed with even one of these three graces, let alone all three!

Once the individual has encompassed a knowledge of the things I have been talking about, God Most High has a fourth grace in store for him, greater and more splendid than the others. It is the intimate knowledge that he cannot effect these things by his own conduct. This is the fourth grace. So long as the servant is mindful of this, attentive to it, and intent on arriving at the goal he has conceived in his mind, then what is most obvious to him is his own powerlessness, poverty, lack of ability and cleverness. He is convinced that it is his powerful and glorious Master who is filled with those things and who is in control of him.  The servant sees that only proper conduct in the presence of God, flight from his lower self toward Him, and reliance on God as his sole concern can gain him victory in this arena. Under those circumstances God will supply all of his provisions, ease every difficulty for him, and smooth for him all that is rough.

As a result of his experience of this knowledge and the perspective it gives him, the servant will have the freedom of movement to be transported where God carries him, without having to search anxiously or having to choose where he will go. If he persists in this awareness, he will already have arrived at the station to which all other stations are connected. He will have achieved the object of his desire, by contrast with which every other desideratum is despicable. If, on the other hand, this realization docs not come over him and he is incited to seek out things that cause him to be inattentive to the One who bestows these graces I have been describing-this condition begins with a lack of full understanding and mindfulness-then his misfortune will be greater than the disaster of merely failing to reach his goal. The servant will, in addition, suffer from weariness in searching, and his exertion will lead to the constriction of the core of his being. He must then return to the healing condition in which he was at the outset.  This is the conversion that is the prelude to guidance. Achievement can never dispense with first principles. In the course of his journey the seeker must appropriate to himself all these works of the heart and must make them the foundation of his entire life.

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