At first he will find nothing more on the path than what his efforts can secure for him. This is why the earlier years often seem so long, so sterile, and so monotonous. But during the next period grace mingles with his efforts and encouraging results then appear. The third and last stage witnesses the gifts of the Overself falling like ripe plums into his lap without any further efforts on his part. Here all is done by the simple working of grace. Then the major virtues of life will come into his possession, not as arbitrary compulsions of an unwilling ego, but as ripe fruit falling into his hands from a sap-filled tree. For although it is often said that the spiritually evolved man undergoes a profound self-loss, which penetrates his whole nature and affects his whole expression, the truth is that he does not really lose himself in the new consciousness which has taken possession of him. He loses only his frailty and ignorance, his egoistic pettiness and mental distractedness, his body-based materialism and useless sorrow.
-- Notebooks Category 2: Overview of Practicies Involved > Chapter 2: The Measure of Progress > # 117