There is a story that a Master once had a disciple who was eager to learn the first lesson of Initiation. The Master said to him, ‘Go to the cemetery and insult the dead; tell them how stupid and wicked they are, and then come back and tell me how they reacted.’ The disciple went off to the cemetery and started shouting insults at the dead, but the dead said never a word.
When he went back to his Master and told him this, the Master said, ‘Perhaps you didn’t go about it properly. Perhaps they didn’t hear you. Go back again, but this time, do just the opposite: praise and flatter them.’ So the disciple returned to the cemetery but, once again, the dead responded by silence, even to the most extravagant compliments.
The disciple went back to his Master and said, ‘They still didn’t answer me.’ ‘Excellent’, said his Master; ‘Now you know the first lesson of Initiation: when someone insults you, keep silent, and when someone flatters you, keep silent. Be like the dead: deaf and dumb.’ This is a very important lesson.
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
Complete Works, Vol. 1, The Second Birth, Love, Wisdom, Truth