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Striving for the Mastery or Brief Lessons in Truth

II—Self-Purification

Having acquired a due degree of self-control by constant watchfulness and self-denial, the mind has become steady, and is ripe for that silent meditation by which alone the heart can be purified and made a fit receptacle for Truth.

The pupil of Truth should select a time for daily meditation. He should give the same hour each day to his holy task. If in the morning, then always in the morning. If at night, then always at night. If at midday, then always at midday. The observance of this rule is of supreme importance, as the pupil will find as he proceeds.

The very early morning is, of all times, the best for meditation, and he who selects this time of the day will make the greatest progress. All excuses for lying in bed should be put aside at once as weak and unmanly, He who makes excuses for the practice of self-indulgence is as yet unprepared for self-searching and self-purification.

During his meditation, the pupil must be alone and in a quiet place. The open air is preferable. He should assume an easy posture, so as to relieve the body of all strain, and leave the mind free. The sitting attitude is best. He should not allow either heat or cold to interfere with his meditation. When, in the act of meditating, he has gained full possession of his mind, he will become oblivious to both heat and cold. He should neither eat nor drink before meditating. After a few weeks practice he will not experience hunger until his meditation is completed.

The object of meditation is the purification of the heart. By it, a man is revealed to himself. He stands face to face with all his sins, errors, weaknesses, and imperfections, and resolves that he will not rest until they are purged away. He is no longer satisfied to remain hidden from what he really is, no longer wishes his vices to be concealed, but resolves to know and understand himself, and seeks to uncover all his faults so that he may put them away forever.

The process of purification is two-fold, as follows:—

Cessation from evil,
The practice of good.
When, by meditation the evil in oneself is recognized, and that which is good is revealed, then the evil is abandoned, and the good is embraced.

As a man eliminates the evil and acquires the good, he ceases from sin, and practices righteousness.

When a man's heart is purged of evil, his words will be pure, and his acts free from defilement.

Before a vessel can be used it must be cleansed; and before a man can enter the service of Truth, his heart must be cleansed from the stains of self.

While a man is eager to gratify his personal desires, he cannot perceive Truth, but follows the leading of his desires.

Therefore, lust and covetousness, impatience and anger, enmity and retaliation, gluttony and pleasure—seeking, vanity and pride, after being restrained and governed must be put away; their dominion in the heart must cease; they must no longer exist even in thought.

Let the angry man forego his anger, and the covetous man his greed; let the pleasure-seeker purge his heart of lusts, the hater abandon resentment, and the vain and proud forget their self-importance. This is the way of self-purification.

If a man rightly meditates and rightly acts, acknowledging his faults and striving after virtue, he will, day by day and little by little, purify his heart and conquer himself. Thus the impure man will become pure; the impatient, patient; the greedy, generous; the gluttonous, abstemious; the vindictive, kind and forgiving; the vain and proud, humble and self-forgetful; and the violent and quarrelsome, gentle and peaceful.

As the heart is purged of its impurities, Truth is revealed. Each sin eradicated, each error cast out, leads to a fuller revelation of Truth, opens up a new life, and bestows new powers and deeper joys.

He who is faithful and diligent in meditation, who is watchful over his thoughts, words and acts, who daily exerts himself in abstinence from evil, and in the increase of good, and who pursues his search for Truth with unabated zeal and unflinching determination, such a man will conquer himself, and, strong and serene, will at last reach the secure gate of self-mastery.

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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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