Very few human beings achieve identification with their higher Self, for the amount of work involved is huge. This is why certain Initiates abandon everything and retire to a forest, a cave or the desert so as to free themselves from all distractions and everything that might absorb their energies and turn them from their goal.
I do not recommend withdrawing from the world
But conditions are different here in Europe and, apart from very exceptional cases, this is not something I recommend. It is one thing to make a retreat for a short time in order to work better afterwards, but to decide to withdraw from the world for the rest of one’s life and never be available to give others the help or comfort they need seems to me to be very selfish. It is preferable to achieve a balance between the material life and the spiritual life.
Eastern exercises can destroy the balance of Westerners
Many Eastern spiritual masters have come to teach in the West – there is no point in naming them – but the exercises they teach their disciples have often destroyed their health or their psychic balance.
These exercises are excellent in themselves and have long been practised in the monasteries of Mongolia, Tibet or India, so these teachers see no reason why they should not teach them also in Europe and America.
Very few Westerners have achieved truly sublime results
But Westerners need other methods. Many of them have gone out of their minds or become the victims of grave sexual disorders because of the inner tornadoes triggered by these exercises; they were incapable of controlling them and had not learned how to use them.
There are thousands of different exercises and practises in use in the East, but I have rarely met a Westerner who has achieved a truly sublime result by using them.
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
Sèvres, 17 January, 1971
Complete Works, Volume 17, Know Thyself – Jnana Yoga Volume 1