“Let your need for Knowledge not be underestimated. Thus, you need not respond with condemnation or judgment upon those who fail, but realize their great need and your great need. This will only confirm, then, the depth with which you must now prepare yourself. For you prepare yourself not only for your own advancement and fulfillment, but for the advancement and fulfillment of humanity. This is no idle claim or statement. It is absolutely the truth. For every step you take towards Knowledge, you give your accomplishment to the world, and you lessen the burden of all who struggle with their own fantasies and sense of failure.”

When others fail, I am reminded of the need for Knowledge. When I fail, I am reminded of the need for Knowledge. When I look at my life honestly and review choices I have made I see failures. I see places where I made decisions without Knowledge or with ignoring the signs Knowledge gave me. This step has helped me look more closely at the errors and the cost of the those errors. These errors were costly not only to myself but for the other people involved and even others I did not know at the time. Opportunities missed. Rendezvouses unmet. Wrong engagements. It is not easy to look at but it is necessary in order to move forward with clarity regarding where I have been, where I am at and where I have yet to go.

In this step it states that your life becomes your teaching. For me this means that my life can now teach me instead of being a source of regret. It shows me where not to go, where not to make the same mistakes and the great importance of the need to find and follow Knowledge. Beyond a teaching for myself, my life can potentially become a teaching for others. Others have also made mistakes. It is possible to look at these mistakes bravely and become free of the self-condemnation associated with them. It does not excuse or dismiss the error but it brings error into service. It drives home the great need for Knowledge. It is possible no matter where we have been or how we have failed to now respond to Knowledge and make the necessary changes to follow and fulfill our responsibilities in being here in the world at this time. It is a reckoning.

Because this step addresses the failure of others and the need to not respond with condemnation or judgment towards them, it also speaks to the fact that this is extended to me as well. I am not unlike those who have failed or who are still failing to respond. In the past I have failed to live a deeper life beyond seeking security through ambition, wealth, romance, or through fortifying strongly held ideas and beliefs. Today a greater opportunity is available.

This step states that as I become strong with Knowledge my life then demonstrates the presence of Knowledge in the world which is the presence of God.

“In your advancement, all human capabilities are furthered, all human liabilities are dissipated and that which is most true and genuine in individual human life in the world is exalted. …Therefore, another’s failure is a call for your involvement with Knowledge. It is a call for your advancement and strengthening because you have come into the world to give. …Realize the need for Knowledge within their lives and within your life. They are committing errors to spark your commitment to Knowledge. …They are teaching you to value the valuable and to release the meaningless. …As you value Knowledge, the result of your value will be given back to them in return, and they will be strengthened and honored by your accomplishment.”

Freedom is available to those who live with Knowledge and we are all honored when others are strong. Others are honored when we are strong. Knowledge is the means and Steps to Knowledge is the preparation. May I remember the great need for Knowledge today and every day.