The probationary path preceds the Path of Initiation or Holiness, and marks that period in the life of a man when he definitely sets nhimself on the side of the forces of evolution., and works at the building of his own charac ter. He takes himself in hand , cultivates the qualities that are lacking in his disposition, and seeks with diligence to bring his personality under control.
He is building the causal body with delinerate intent, filling any gaps that may exist, and seeking to make it a fit receptacle for the Christ Principle. The analogy between the prenatal period in the history of the human being and that of the development of the indwelling spirit is curiously interesting.
The moment of concetion, corresponding to that of in dividualisation.
Nine Month's gestation, corresponding to the birth hour
The Probationary Path corresoponds to the latter period of gestation, to the building in the heart of the babe in Christ. At first initiation this babe starts on the pilgrimage of the Path/ The first initiation stands simply for commencement. A certain structure of right living, thinking, and conduct has been built up. That form we call character. It has now to be vivified and indwelt. Thackeray has well described this process of building, in the words so often quted:
"Sow a thought and reap an action: sow an action and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a charac ter;so character and reap destiny."
The immortal destiny of each and all of us is to attain the consciousness of the higher self, and subsequently that of the Divine spirit. when the form sis ready, when the solomon's temple has been built in the quarry of the personal life, then the Christ-life enters, and the glory of the Lord overshadows his temple.
The form becomes vibrant. Therein lies the difference between theory and making that theory part of oneself. One can have a perfect image of a picture, but it lacks life. The life can be modelled on the divine as far as may be; it may be an excellent copy but lacks the indwelling Christ principle.The germ has been, but it has lain dormant. Now it is fostered and brought to the birth and the first initation is attained.
Whilst the man is on the Probationary Path he is taught principally to know himself, to ascertain his weaknesses and to correct them. He is tqaught to work as an invisible helper at first and for severlal lives is generally kept at this kind of work. Later, as he makes progress, he may be moved to more selected work. He is taught the rudiments of the Divine Wisdom and is entered into the final grades in the Hall of Learning. He is known to a Master, and is in the care ( for definite teaching) of one of the disciples of that Master, or, if of rare promise, of an initiate.