From these reasons alone, we may see why philosophy declares that the mystical achievement of peace is not enough and why we have to go much farther than that and unfold wisdom also. The mystic's peace does not protect him from the path's pitfalls, which are set at intervals along its sides.
The glamour which surrounds occultism, continues, even as in remote antiquity and in medieval Europe, to draw numerous human moths. They flutter agitatedly around its cheap sensationalism and want to become twentieth-century wizards or wonder-working Oriental fakirs--only to live for years self-hypnotized in vain hope rather than in actual satisfaction. Would-be mystics have thus been sidetracked from their original purpose, have gradually lost sight of the diviner destination which once formed their goal, and have bestowed the time and energy of half a lifetime, perhaps, in dangerous dabbling and futile striving to attain (for them) unattainable powers--an effort which, if put forth towards loftier aims, might have brought worthwhile mental possessions such as inward serenity. There are even cases where people have spent twenty years trying to find out pseudo-secrets that are not worth the trouble of learning or which are even utterly non-existent, when they might have gathered imperishable life-giving truths into the nets of their minds within as many months. The wise seeker will leave this tempting but dubious pursuit alone--not all are fit to pry into dark occult corners or to grapple with shadowy, eerie forces, which Nature has wisely veiled from the unready.
Many waste their time and energies seeking extraordinary states of consciousness when they have not done the requisite preparatory work upon their ordinary state of consciousness. Without such preparation, it is either impossible to achieve their goal or, if partly achieved, it will be in so unbalanced a form that they will harm themselves and spread error amongst others. Instead, therefore, of meditating upon the higher consciousness, let them look to their lower faults of conduct, their undeveloped intelligence and unawakened intuition, their ungoverned passions and uncontrolled thoughts. Let them ruminate over the causes and consequences of these defects, meditate over the proper remedies, and cultivate the opposite qualities. They must improve self before they can really illumine self. They may not shirk this duty, which is nothing less than a full-time job in human engineering. Just as some of the alluring temptations will try their sincerity of purpose to the uttermost, just so some of the inevitable tragedies of life will test the quality of their character to the limit. Just as they will have to learn how to overcome temptation, so will they have to learn how to endure tribulation.
-- Notebooks Category 2: Overview of Practicies Involved > Chapter 3: Uncertainties of Progress > # 75