Except for those who are totally disabled, every human being has a purpose to serve in life; the difficult thing is to know what that purpose is.

If there is something truly important in this world, it is to know ourselves; yet, rare are those who know themselves. Moreover, even if the following statement seems incredible, in this life it is difficult to find a single person who has his vocational sense developed.

When someone is totally convinced about the role that he has to perform in his existence, he then makes an apostleship, a religion out of his vocation, thus, becoming—as a fact and by his own right—an apostle for humanity.

The one who knows his vocation, that is, the one who manages to discover it by himself, passes through a tremendous change. That one no longer seeks for success; little is his interest in money, fame, and gratitude. He finds bliss in the enjoyment granted by the fact of having responded to an intimate, profound, and unknowable call of his own internal Essence.

The most remarkable fact of all this is that the vocational sense has nothing to do with the “I,” and even if this seems to be strange, the fact is that the “I” abhors our own vocation, because the “I” only craves for lucrative monetary earnings, position, fame, etc.

The sense of vocation is something that belongs to our own inner Essence; it is something very internal, very profound, very intimate.

Through the vocational sense, the Essence undertakes with true boldness and disinterest the most tremendous projects, risking all types of sufferings and Calvaries. Thus, this is why, it is hardly unusual that the “I” abhors the true vocation.  

Indeed, it is through the sense of vocation that we march along the path of legitimate heroism, even when we have to stoically endure all types of infamies, treacheries, and slander.

When a human being can truthfully say, “I know who I am and what my true vocation is,” from that moment that individual will begin to live with true uprightness and love. Such types of people live in their work, and their work lives in them.

Indeed, the people who with true sincerity of heart can talk like this are very few, since those who talk like this are the selected, the chosen ones, who developed their sense of vocation in a superlative degree.

Thus, to find our true vocation is indubitably the most serious social problem; this indeed is the problem at the very foundation of all the problems of our society.

To find or to discover our true, individual vocation is factually equal to the discovery of a very precious treasure.

When with complete certainty and without the slightest doubt a citizen finds his true and legitimate occupation, he becomes—because of this sole fact—irreplaceable.

When our vocation corresponds in a total and absolute manner to the occupation we fulfill in life, we then perform our job as a true apostleship, without any covetousness and without any drive for being in command. Thus, when the job does not give rise within us to covetousness, boredom, or a desire to change our occupation, it brings us instead, true, profound, intimate bliss even when we have to patiently undergo a painful Via Crucis.

In practicality, we have been able to verify that when the occupation does not correspond to the vocation of the individual, then this one only thinks in terms of “more than.”

The “I” uses the mechanism of “more than:” “More money than, more fame than, more projects than,” etc., and as is hardly natural, it usually twists the subject into an hypocritical, exploitative, cruel, merciless, and intransigent person, etc.

If we study bureaucracy in detail, we can then provide evidence that very seldom does a government job correspond to the vocation of the individual.

If we study in detail the proletariat’s different trade unions, we can then confirm that only on very rare occasions does a job correspond to the individual’s vocation.

When we carefully observe the privileged classes—whether from the East or West of the world—we can then see their total lack of a vocational sense. These so-called “rich kids”—in order to kill boredom—now perform armed assaults and rape defenseless women, etc. Not having found their place in life, they go around disoriented and become rebels without a cause “just to pass the time.”

The chaotic state of humanity in these times of world crisis is frightful.

No one is happy with their work because their positions do not correspond to their vocations. Job applications might pour like rain because no one in particular wants to starve to death, nevertheless the applications do not correspond to the vocations of those who apply.

Presently, many drivers should be doctors or engineers. Many lawyers should be ministers, and many ministers should be tailors. Many shoe-shiners should be ministers, and many ministers should be shoe-shiners, etc.  Yes, many people are in occupations that do not correspond to them—that is, their occupation has nothing to do with their true, individual vocation. This is why the social mechanism is functioning in an awfully wrong way. It is similar to an engine manufactured with parts that do not correspond to it, thus, inevitably, the outcome has to be disaster, failure, an absurdity.

In practicality, we have been able to completely verify that when someone does not have the vocational disposition in order to be a guide, religious instructor, political leader, or a director of some spiritualist, scientific, literary, or philanthropic association, then that one only thinks in terms of “more than” and is only dedicated to organize projects and more projects with reprehensible secret purposes.

It is obvious that when the position does not correspond to the individual vocation, the outcome is exploitation.

In these terribly materialistic times in which we live, the teacher’s occupation is being arbitrarily occupied by many merchants who do not even remotely have the vocation for the teaching profession. Thus, the outcome of such infamy is exploitation, cruelty, and a lack of true love.

Many people practice the teaching profession with the exclusive purpose of earning money so that they can pay for their studies in the school of medicine, law, or engineering—or simply because they cannot find anything else to do. The victims of this intellectual fraud are the students.

The greatest joy that students of schools, colleges, and universities can ever have is true vocational teachers, yet in this day and age they are very difficult to find.

The vocation of a teacher is wisely translated by a verse of moving prose by Gabriela Mistral, entitled “The Prayer of the Teacher.” This rural teacher stated the following when addressing the Divine, the Secret Master:

“Grant me solely the love of my school; may—at all moments—not even the blazing of beauty be capable of stealing my tenderness to it. Master, make my fervor be everlasting and my disenchantment transitory. Yank from within me this impure desire of misjudged justice that still disturbs me, the wretched insinuation of protest that rises from within me when they hurt me. May not the incomprehension of those whom I taught wound me; may not their forgetfulness sadden me.

“Make me more motherly than mothers so that I will be able to love and defend like them what is not flesh of my flesh. Give me the needed talent to make of one of my girls my perfect verse, thus endowing within her my most penetrating melody, to be uttered when my lips can sing no more.

“Expound the possibility of your Gospel in my time, so that —for it—I will not renounce the daily and hourly battle.”

Who is capable of measuring the marvelous psychic influence of a teacher like this, who because of the sense of her vocation became inspired with so much tenderness?

An individual finds his vocation by means of one of three ways:

First, the self-discovery of a special capacity.

Second, the vision of an urgent necessity.

Third, (though very seldom) the guidance of parents and teachers who discovered the vocation of a pupil through the observation of his aptitudes.

Many individuals have discovered their vocation when facing a serious situation that demanded an immediate action in a specific and critical moment of their life.

I.e., Gandhi was an ordinary lawyer, yet, because of an attempt against the rights of the Hindus in South Africa, he cancelled his return trip to India and stayed to defend the cause of his compatriots. Thus, this momentary need led him towards the vocation of his entire life.

The great benefactors of humanity have found their vocation when facing a critical situation that demanded immediate action. Let us remember Oliver Cromwell, the father of English liberties; Benito Juarez, the founder of modern Mexico; Jose De San Martin and Simon Bolivar, fathers of South American independence, etc.

Jesus the Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Hermes, Zoroaster, Confucius, Fu-Xi, etc., were men who, in a specific moment of history, knew how to comprehend their true vocation and felt the call of that internal voice that emanates from their Innermost.

A fundamental education is required to discover by means of diverse methods the latent capacity of students.

Indubitably, in this day and age, the methods used by obsolete pedagogy to discover the vocation of pupils are cruel, absurd, and merciless.

The vocational questionnaires have been created by merchants who arbitrarily occupy the position of teachers.

In some countries, before entering primary and vocational colleges, pupils are submitted to the most horrible psychological cruelties. They are asked questions on mathematics, civics, biology, etc.

The most cruel aspect amongst these methods are the famous psychological tests, the index of IQ, which are intimately related with mental swiftness.

Thus, according to the type of answer and how these are graded, the student is then bottled up into one of three baccalaureates:

First: Physics-Mathematics.

Second: Biological Sciences  

Third: Social Sciences.

1.    Engineers, architects, astronomers, pilots etc. come from Physics-Mathematics.

2.    Pharmacists, nurses, biologists, physicians, come from Biological Sciences.

3.    Lawyers, writers, doctors of philosophy, managing directors come from Social Sciences.

The program of study in each country is different, and it is clear that the three different baccalaureates do not exist in all countries. In many countries, there exists only one baccalaureate, and the student enters into the university upon completion of it.

In some nations, the vocational ability of students is not tested, thus they enter into any school with the desire of having a profession in order to earn a living, even when this profession does not coincide with their innate predispositions, that is, with their vocational sense.

So, there are countries where the vocational ability of the students is examined, and there are nations where it is not examined. It is an absurdity to not know how to guide students vocationally. It is an absurdity to not test their genuine abilities and innate tendencies.

Vocational questionnaires and all the jargon of questions, psychological tests, IQ indexes, etc., are stupid.  Yes, those methods for vocational examinations are useless, because the mind has its moments of crisis and if the examination is performed in one of those moments, the outcome is failure and disorientation for the student.

Teachers have been able to verify that a student’s mind has, like the sea, its high and low tides, its plus and its minus. As a biorhythm in masculine and feminine glands exists, likewise a biorhythm for the mind also exists.

At specific times, the masculine glands are found in plus and the feminine glands in minus, or vice-versa. Likewise, the mind has also its plus and its minus.

We suggest to those who want to know about the science of biorhythm to study the famous book entitled “Biorhythm” written by the eminent Rosicrucian Gnostic sage, Dr. Arnold Krumm-Heller, Colonel-Physician of the Mexican Army and Professor at the School of Medicine in Berlin.

We emphatically affirm that when facing the difficult situation of a vocational exam, an emotional crisis or a state of psychic nervousness can lead the student to failure during the prevocational exam.

We affirm that any abuse of the motor center—produced perhaps by sports or by an excessive walk or by an arduous physical work, etc.—can originate an intellectual crisis, even if the mind is found in plus, thus it can lead the student to failure during the prevocational exam.

We affirm that any crisis related with the instinctual center, perhaps in combination with sexual pleasure or with the emotional center, etc. can lead the student to failure during a prevocational exam.

We affirm that any sexual crisis, i.e. a stressful event of suppressed sexuality, or sexual abuse, etc., can exert its disastrous influence over the mind, taking it to failure during a prevocational exam.

A fundamental education teaches that the vocational source or seeds are not only found deposited within the intellectual center, but also within each of the other four centers of the psycho-physiology of the organic machine.

It is essential to take into account the five psychic centers called Intellect, Emotion, Movement, Instinct, and Sex, since it is an absurdity to think that the intellect is the only center of cognition.

If only the intellectual center is examined, with the sole purpose of discovering the vocational attitudes of a specific individual—besides committing a grave injustice that factually becomes a serious damage to the individual and to society—another error is incurred, because the vocational source seeds are not only contained in the intellectual center, but also within each one of the other four psycho-physiological centers of the individual.

The only logical path to discover the authentic vocation of pupils is true love.

Thus, if parents and teachers, by mutual agreement, join together to investigate at home and at school, to observe, in detail, all the actions of the students, then they would able to discover the innate tendencies of each student.

So, this is the only logical path that will allow parents and teachers to discover the vocational sense of students.

This demands true love from parents and teachers, thus it is obvious that if true love does not exist within the parents, and if there are no authentic vocational teachers who are capable of truly sacrificing themselves for their disciples, then such an enterprise is impractical.

If governments truly want to save society, then they need to expel the merchants from the temple with the whip of willpower.

A new cultural age must be initiated by diffusing everywhere the doctrine of the fundamental education.

Students must defend their rights courageously and demand from governments true vocational teachers. Fortunately, there exists the formidable weapon of strikes, and students have this weapon.

In some countries, within schools, colleges, and universities, there already exist guidance counselors who are not truly in their own vocation; because the position that they occupy does not coincide with their innate tendencies. Therefore, how can these teachers orientate the students if they were unable to orientate themselves?

True vocational teachers capable of intelligently guiding students are urgently needed.

It is necessary to know that because of the plurality of the “I,” the human being automatically plays diverse roles in the theater of life. The youngsters perform a role at school, another at the street, and another at home.

Therefore, if we want to discover the vocation of a young person, then they need to be observed at school, at home, and even in the street.

This work of observation can only be performed by the youngster’s parents and true teachers in intimate partnership.

Within the antiquated pedagogy there also exists the system of observing grades in order to deduce vocation. Thus, the student that excels with the highest grades in civics is then classified as a possible lawyer, and the one who excels in biology is defined as a potential physician, and the one who excels in mathematics as a possible engineer. However, this system to deduce vocations is absurd: it is extremely empirical, because the mind has its highs and lows, not only in its already known vigil state, but also in certain, unknown particular, special states.

Many writers who at school were terrible students of grammar excelled in life as true masters of the language. Many noteworthy engineers always had the worst grade in mathematics at school, and multitudes of physicians failed in biology and natural sciences at school.

It is unfortunate that many parents—instead of studying their children’s aptitudes—only see in them the continuation of their ego, their beloved psychological “I,” their “myself.”

Many parents who are lawyers want their children to continue at the lawyer’s desk, and many business owners want their children to continue handling their egotistical interests without caring a bit for the vocational sense of their children.

The “I” always wants to ascend, to climb to the top of the ladder in order to boast about himself, thus when the ambitions of the “I” of the parents fail, it wants then, through their offspring, to attain the ambitions that they could not attain themselves. These ambitious parents place their children into careers and positions that have nothing to do with their children’s vocational sense.

Fundamentals of Gnostic EducationThis chapter is from Fundamentals of Gnostic Education (1970) by Samael Aun Weor. The print and ebook editions by Glorian Publishing (a non-profit organization) are illustrated to aid your understanding, and include features like a glossary and index. Buy the book, and you benefit yourself and others.