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Self-Deception and Self-Knowledge

In many ways do we deceive ourselves, but perhaps the most common is in adopting views of life which reflection would show to be altogether unreasonable. It is this necessary effort to understand, however, that we seldom put forth until the "buffetings of fate" have left us no other alternative than to "go under." To rely upon constituted authorities saves so much thinking; and from them we obtain spectacles through which life may be seen in the desired color. Our mental attitude creates an expectant attention which attracts the result; and be this result what it may, we delude ourselves into believing that we should be unable to see clearly without our spectacles.

Take, for instance, the pitiable example of the man who will complain to all and sundry that fate and circumstances are against him. When it is pointed out that these articles bear the stamp of his own trademark, he will indignantly repudiate their manufacture. According to him, all his miseries are due to ill-luck, and the attitude of other men. They give him no chance; and best him in every possible way. If only he could have fair treatment and a little help, he would soon make something of life.

Vain delusion! No man can help another. The utmost that can be done is to point out the way by which he may help himself, and to demonstrate by example the efficacy of advice given. Does it not stand to reason if that so-called "help" is futile and defeats its own end, in that, by rendering individual effort unnecessary, it allows the weakness to remain and increase? In relieving another's distress, from an unselfish motive, we do well; but it does not necessarily follow that the other man has been helped.

In order to clear away the mists of self-deception, we must relinquish beliefs and obtain knowledge; we must understand that outward circumstances are determined by the inward state of consciousness; and that we manifest that which we really are. When, by patient self-control and noble aspiration towards the Highest, we have realized the Kingdom of Heaven within, it is impossible that the outward manifestation should be distressful; and, on the other hand, nothing from without could cause us to be what we are not. Therefore, should we each diligently seek to know ourselves, and learn the lessons which our lives demonstrate.

In trusting our own souls utterly, and in asserting the power of God within, we shall come into the light of knowledge, and the darkness of ignorant beliefs shall be dispersed forever.

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J. S. Akehurst

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