Three distinct paths are walked by men in their search for Truth, and along which they seek spiritual guidance, and these paths I will call:—
He who is walking the pathway of Phenomena seeks guidance from external things, whether visible or invisible, such as Priests, spirits, angelic beings, or some supposed arbitrary power outside himself. On these he relies, and to these he resorts in his hour of difficulty or affliction, not having yet acquired the power of self-reliance, nor attained to the dignity of an independent judgment.
The follower of the path of Mysticism abandons all outside aids, and depends for guidance entirely on the "inner voice," and in all his undertakings he listens for, and obeys, the admonitions of this intuitive guide. He follows this "leading of the Spirit" more or less blindly, and does not walk in the full light of knowledge.
The disciple who is walking the path of Wisdom relies upon knowledge only; not leaning upon outward appearances which may at any moment fail him, nor following blindly a voice not knowing whether it is taking him, he rests upon that which is sure, and walks, with opened and seeing eyes, a pathway flooded with light. Day by day that light increases as he increases in knowledge, he sees the full consequences of every step he takes, knows whether he is travelling, and perceives before him the full length of the road leading to his destination. Nor can he be taken unawares by any spiritual enemy, being armed and fully prepared to meet them. He relies upon himself. He has become his own guide and teacher and savior.
Phenomena change and pass away; intuition is involuntary and uncertain, but Wisdom is a lamp which cannot be exhausted, a light which can never be extinguished.
for I seek the truth, by which no man was ever injured.
More from 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.