The spiritual kind of self-reliance is based upon an inner realization that one is forever able to create oneself anew to meet life’s challenges and opportunities. It has little to do with the egocentric and ambitious pride of the individual whose physical vitality and intellectual cunning assure him of a successful type of one-upmanship in social encounters. Spiritual self-reliance does not mean blatant or ruthless ego-assertion. It is rather a quiet, but steady sense of ineradicable trust in the power of the spirit within to work toward what ultimately is cosmic or divine ‘rightness’, whatever superficial or temporary weaknesses or disappointments may arise. It is a deep incontrovertible feeling that God’s will – or the vast movement of planetary and human evolution – will be fulfilled when the proper season comes. It is the realization within the seed covered by wintry snow of the Capricorn season that spring must come; and it is an utter reliance upon the validity of such a realization.
The important factor in this kind of spiritual self-reliance is an unwillingness to DEPEND on intermediaries between oneself and the Divine. One certainly can and should readily and gratefully accept the help of others in limited and well-defined circumstances, and particularly during crisis of growth; but one should not allow one’s emotions – fear or despondency – to cling to such help. Assistance should rather be considered an act of Providence, a focusing of divine love and compassion operating THROUGH another person much more than FROM this person. The intermediary is not the essential factor; the source of the down flow of ‘grace’ is what alone counts, what alone one should depend upon.
The tragedy of the (strictly speaking) ‘religious’ life is that it fosters a dependence upon the intermediary; and the present upheaval in the Roman Catholic world is, in its deepest meaning, a spiritual revolt against the feeling that one must depend upon intermediaries in order to reach God or even to be ‘saved’. Indeed all religious institutions are to some extent experiencing such an upheaval; and the same is true in a different context of political and social institutions. Such is the great revolution underneath many superficial revolts – often premature, always emotional and dependent upon some form of violence. The truly self-reliant man – the highest Capricorn type of person – is at peace with himself and the universe, even as he struggles against the inertia of institutionalized dependence on all types of ‘middle men’.