Steps to Self Mastery – A Review of an Old Curious Book

Steps to Self-Mastery“Steps to Self-Mastery” is an old curious book written by an equally mysterious author.

I couldn’t find any information about the author online, so I must go by his own introduction.

S. R. Parchment was born in 1881 to an English father and a Caribbean mother.

He was always considered to be a peculiar child, and since young age he was interested in a hidden side of life.

From childhood he considered Bible stories to be illogical and he only found some relief in his young age when he delved into philosophy.

Desire to understand a hidden side of life led him to a wild and dangerous at a time town in Central America. There, after living some time and finding some spiritual knowledge, he got very sick, and was healed in the most interesting way, to his own surprise.

At the same time, S. R. Parchment discovered that a human being leads a dual life. He lives in an ordinary way daytime, and wonders astrally at night, usually without conscious awareness.

The author tried seeking more enlightenment about his astral travels from church leaders, but was told not to pry into the things of the Devil. He even met in his astral travels a man honestly working for the church, yet that man wasn’t conscious of his nocturnal wanderings and just laughed at such a suggestion.

Later on the author learnt that those who eat animal meat (like that man did) cannot become aware of their other side of life.

His nocturnal wanderings continued, but nobody could shed more light on these strange travels; he sought advice from educators and spiritual leaders, but he got no guidance.

Because of his disillusionment with the leaders of the church who were supposed to be most spiritual, he started contemplating living a life of absolute withdrawal. Thankfully, he was saved from this mistake by reading Max Heindel and getting involved with Western Wisdom Teachings.

“Steps to Self-Mastery” is his work on deeper things of life that he was finally able to learn, together with his own experiences and conclusions.

The narrow way of attainment

The author explains in the first chapter of the “Steps to Self-Mastery” book that it’s possible to make greater spiritual progress by staying where you are and working selflessly, than by escaping the world and meditating on some philosophical concept.

High spiritual adepts can be found everywhere – in business life, trade or religious institutions. What makes them known is their selfless work for the good of mankind. The author advises that you should patiently do the best you can in your current circumstances and the spiritual unfoldment must follow.

He beautifully explains that even those who are still asleep are on the path of attainment. Such people try to achieve material things because matter is a necessary stimuli for the young mind which is unable to see the life within.

The time will come when these material things won’t be considered important, because each will evolve to the point where she will do her work as a duty, without the thought of worldly compensation.

If spiritual knowledge is given to youth who are now blinded by wealth and fame, many tragedies and wasted lives could be avoided, and they could give much service to the humanity.

As for those who are awakening, difficulties and poverty will face them until they learn to live by faith and partake of God’s abundance. As he says:

The sooner our young men and women learn to spiritualize their daily lives in the business world, that much sooner will health, comfort, and happiness surround them in the vocations which they have selected as their special ways of attainment.

When people learn to approach their work in such a way, all offices and shops will be not places of drudgery, but places of worship.

We all progress spiritually, although some people make very little progress. Perfection is the aim of all creation, and the path to perfection is a faithful every day performance of our duty. This sentence beautifully illustrates the philosophy of Gita, an ancient spiritual text revered by Hindus.

The work and possessions we have are rightfully ours. We earned them by our evolution. The law of compensation is just, and life gives us what we deserve. Greater avenues will surely open to us if we do greater good in where life places us at this moment.

We can only be happy and feel fulfilled in our work if we serve others and make them happy.

Steps to Self Mastery Conclusion

In this post I summarized the introduction and a Narrow Way of Attainment chapter of the “Steps to Self Mastery” book by S. R. Parchment. There are 9 more chapters, all very useful to the truth seeker and in each one you can find known and unknown esoteric truths.

I love the fact that S. R. Parchment is totally open in his book about his past close-mindedness and spiritual egotism which he managed to overcome later on.

S. R. Parchment weaves in beautiful poems of various awakened authors into his book to illustrate his own understanding about the reality and spirituality, which makes his book even more pleasant to read.

“Steps to Self-Mastery” is a very useful book for those wanting to become masters of themselves and their lives, and gain a deeper understanding of the things spiritual. I really enjoyed reading it – the book is written in simple words, yet contains deep truths.


  1. Thank you again Simona for posting road signs along my path in life. You have enlightened me more than once with your posts and it’s time that I share this with you. I shall order this book today!

  2. Dear Simona, I must thank you so much for your labour of love, the way you help humanity. In this book, you have thought me about selfless service which is rewardi ng. How can I purchase this book? It gives me joy whenever I receive your Post. Many thanks.

  3. Dear Simona

    I really enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. where did you get hold of this book? does this person specifically mention Gita in his book or is it a sub text provided by you?
    i’m already a subscriber. cheers.

  5. Thanks for this eloquent summary, Simona! I just ordered this book on Amazon. I am looking for a way to direct my work life towards the path of selfless service. Or just to being of service, as ACIM says “All that i give, I give to myself”. As a Designer based in pricey NYC, i am always looking for work, and usually compromising my ethics somehow to keep my bills paid!
    I wonder if you might consider writing a post decicated to finding the right path of occupation in the physical world, or perhaps you may have discussed this topic already? I am grateful for your work, i find it comforting, enlightening and inspiring! Thank You!! :)

  6. Another book to add to my reading list. It was really refreshing to read this because I feel that too often in this world we’re looking for ways to escape horrible jobs or move to different places in the hope if better happier things … While it’s good to make changes and push yourself forwards i also think it’s incredibly important to look around right now and appreciate what you do have

    • Yes, Clare, because if you appreciate what you have now, you’re on the vibration that has other good things for you, like opportunities that you otherwise would never notice.

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