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Discourse Concerning The Way of Truth

Self-Restraint

What is Truth?
It resides in the silence of Perfect Deeds.
That silence is sufficient for the wise.
I, therefore, discourse not upon Truth,
I discourse upon the Way which leads thither;
For Truth is not of words, but of life,
And though Truth govern the tongue, its seat is not there,
Its seat is in the heart.
What words shall add beauty to the ineffable?
And what man shall glorify Truth?
Let the ineffable give beauty to words,
And let man be glorified by Truth,
I, therefore, point the Way which leads to Truth.
Not by speculation do I point the Way,
But by practice and attainment:
The Way is named Self-conquest.
I write for believers,
For them that believe that self can be overcome.
I write not for them that deny that self can be overcome,
And who thus exalt and give dominion to self.
He who believes, will walk the holy Way,
And, walking it, will reach the highest Truth.
Let him who thus believes, equip himself:—
Helmeted with Faith, Armored with Patience,
And armed with the sharp Sword of Resolution,
He will be prepared to attack the enemies of Truth within himself;
He will enter upon the Practices of Truth.
By practice the artisan becomes accomplished in his craft,
By practice the Truth-lover becomes accomplished in Truth.
The Way of Truth is marked by three Great Practices,—
The first is Self-Restraint,
The second, Self-Examination,
The third, Self-Surrender;
These three include all others,
He who refuses to practice Self-Restraint,
Who says in his heart, —
"I will eat and drink, and make me garlands of pleasure,"
He cannot find the Way which leads to peace.
But he who says within himself,—
"I will dwell with Abstinence,
I will make my abode with Chastity,
Integrity shall be my companion,
And faith shall light up my darkness,
Yea, Virtue shall be my refuge and my stay,"
He will find the Way which leads to Truth,
Lo! he hath already found it,
For the practice of virtue is the entrance to the Way.
The vicious man destroys, but the virtuous man builds;
He slays himself who thinks only of his own pleasure;
He preserves himself who controls himself.
He who renounces pleasure, and restrains his passions,
Preferring steadfastness and integrity to gratification,
Will partake of the joys of virtue:
Pleasant will be his friendships,
Pure his affections,
And long and prosperous his days;
Thus walking with virtue, happiness will wait upon him,
Partial blessedness will be his portion,
And he will reach the first great Resting-Place;
Yet, staying there, he will not reach the Highest.
Self-Examination

He who seeks the Highest will enter upon the practice of Self-Examination.
Searching the inmost recesses of his heart,
Following up the intricate threads of thought,
Rigorously testing the quality of his motives,
He will find out the hidden springs of desire,
He will lay bare the roots of the tree of life,
And finding the Eternal Cause, he will know both Good and evil,
He will see the Highest, and will no more perish.
As a beautiful flower is formed, its growth not being seen,
So will he grow in wisdom, unseen of men.
Yet when wisdom is fully formed,
When the flower of Truth becomes manifest in all its beauty,
Men unacquainted with its silent growth will say.
"This man is wise, whence obtained he his wisdom?
How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?"
As a child in the womb.
As a plant in the earth,
As an object in the eye of the approaching traveler,
So wisdom is formed in the heart,
So knowledge grows in him who diligently examines himself;
Who, having found the roots of evil,
Tears them up with the hands of Renunciation,
And burns them to ashes in the fire of Knowledge.
He who thus examines himself,
Who rectifies his inmost heart,
And rejects all the errors of his mind,
Who, seeking out and humbly acknowledging his own faults,
Refusing to dwell upon the faults of others,
Will make swift progress toward the goal of peace.
He will cleanse his heart;
He will purify his understanding;
Subduing self, he will no longer look through the eye of self;
Apprehending Truth, he will perceive with the unveiled eye of Truth;
He will know both self and Truth.
All his works will prosper, for his acts will be righteous;
His tongue will speak wisdom, for his heart will be pure;
And where his feet have trodden, the flowers of Love and Peace will grow.
He will refuse to dwell with unrighteousness.
Folly and impurity he will reject,
And he will say unto strife and hatred, "Depart ye from me."
Kindling the fire of inward knowledge,
Keeping bright and constant its flame,
And feeding it with patient and loving sacrifice,
Let a man burn up all that is perishable within him,
Only thus will he find the Imperishable;
Let him eliminate the dross of error,
Only thus will he discover the gold of Truth:
Let him destroy all sin, Only thus will he find the Stainless One,
Only thus will he approach the Highest.
Thus seeking out the source within himself.
Passion will not long torment him;
Finding the cause of passion, he will destroy it,
And self-restraint will give way to composure of mind and heart,
Far will he travel on the Way of Peace,
And, reaching the second Resting-Place,
Will taste of fuller joy and blessedness.
Yet, staying there, he will not reach the Highest.
Self-Surrender

Having well restrained himself,
Having deeply examined himself,
Let the lover of Truth now enter upon the practice of Self-Surrender.
He who practices self-restraint travels well;
He who practices self-examination travels better;
He who practices self-surrender travels best.
He only can know the Highest who surrenders self,
Who makes the inward sacrifice complete,
Who holds nothing back,
Who calls nothing his own,
Who refuses to set his heart upon any earthly thing;
Putting aside all his lusts,
Emptying himself of all his vanities,
Divesting himself of all his theories and opinions,
He will become empty, naked, and without possessions;
And having become empty, he will be filled with Truth;
Having become naked, he will be clothed with Righteousness;
Possessing nothing, he will be lord of all.
When self surrender is practiced in its completeness.
Then is the Highest reached,
Then is Truth comprehended,
Then is Perfect Peace enjoyed.
He who has conquered himself can never be brought low,
He who has surrendered himself can never be confounded;
He who has overcome the world can never be disturbed,
The flames of lust will not burn him, for he has quenched them;
Temptation will no more scourge him, for he has destroyed the cause of temptation;
Restraint will no more be needed, for he will be perfect in Truth,
Freed from self, he will be freed from sorrow;
Freed from error, he will no more grieve;
Freed from impurity, he will cease from suffering.
He will enter into the highest joy,
And, reaching the final Resting-Place,
Will partake of perfect bliss and blessedness.
Not valuing that which perishes he can never be robbed;
Not loving himself he can never be wounded;
And though men should slay him he can never be destroyed;
For he is no longer self, but Truth,
And who shall destroy Truth?
All bodies die, but Truth does not die;
Ail things pass away, but Truth remains forever.
He who has surrendered self has become, immortal,
He is no longer separate but has become one with Truth,
And he manifests the Highest, though men perceive it not.
Of self-restraint is born Virtue,
Of self-examination is born Knowledge,
Of self-surrender is born Love.
Happy shall he become who restrains himself,
Blessed shall he become who purifies himself,
Divine shall he become who surrenders himself.
By Virtue one’s life is governed,
By Knowledge one’s life is purified,
By Love one’s life is perfected.
Virtue is the seed, Knowledge the plant, and Love the flower.
The seed knoweth not the plant,
The plant knoweth not the flower,
But the flower knoweth itself, plant, and seed.
By self-restraint passion is slain;
By self-examination false belief is slain;
By self-surrender all illusion is laid low.
Self-restraint leads to strength;
Self-examination leads to wisdom;
Self-surrender leads to holiness.
Perfect in self-restraint, self-examination and self-surrender.
A man has reached the Highest;
He has become one with Truth, and will no more wander.
Unalterable in compassion,
Firmly established in righteousness,
And steadfast in holiness,
His heart thrills in unison with the Heart of all;
He knows the unending joy,
He has found the heavenly peace.
Having stooped to the lowest, he is exalted to the Highest;
Having conquered sin, he is crowned with Holiness;
Having crucified self, he is glorified by Truth.
Willing to be nothing, he has become all;
Yielding up all things, he has become possessed of all;
Giving his life, he is clothed with Immortality.
Altogether virtuous, he is altogether happy;
Altogether righteousness, he is altogether blessed;
Altogether pure, he is altogether peaceful.
Beautiful in Meekness,
Majestic in Love,
And invincible in Innocence,
He will manifest the Ineffable;
He will teach without words.
No more troubled;
No more tormented;
No more afflicted;
Arisen, awakened, healed, and made perfect;
He has unveiled the Face of the Highest;
He knows the Great Rest,
The Deep Silence,
The Profound Peace.
In the Light which knows no darkness he walks,
And it casts no shadow on his pathway.


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James Allen

James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.

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