The aspirant for illumination must first lift himself out of the quagmire of desire, passion, selfishness, and materialism in which he is sunk. To achieve this purpose, he must undergo a purificatory discipline. It is true that some individuals blessed by grace or karma spontaneously receive illumination without having to undergo such a discipline. But these individuals are few. Most of us have to toil hard to extricate ourselves from the depths of the lower nature before we can see the sky shining overhead.
-- Perspectives > Chapter 2: Practices for the Quest > # 3