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Striving for the Mastery or Brief Lessons in Truth

I—Self Control

Three broad Gateways lead unerringly to the perfect enlightenment wherein is emancipation from error and suffering; the first is Self-control, the second is Self-purification, and the third is Self-mastery. The present object is to open up, to the receptive mind, these three Gateways, briefly expounding the Way which leads to Deliverance.

Truth is realized by the mastery of one's self; emancipation from sin and suffering is enjoyed by the subjugation of self; and by the conquest of self the Eternal Peace is entered.

Self-control is the entrance gate leading, by ever ascending stages, to the final conquest of self; let the seeker for Truth understand this, and act upon it; let him be on his guard, and control himself always.

He who does not practice Self-control is the victim of error and the prey of suffering. His way is blinded, and his understanding is clouded. He cannot think clearly, and is easily confused. If he tries to concentrate his mind, it flies hither and thither, and will not obey his will; if he tries to meditate, his mind wanders aimlessly; if he tries to think pure thoughts, unholy desires take possession of him, and refuse to be ejected. Having no command of himself, he is void of knowledge, and being void of knowledge, he has no peace, and is without a refuge.

Until the unruly tendencies of the mind are restrained, the heart cannot be purified; and until the heart is purged of its impure desires, the mind cannot be mastered so as to centre it effectively on holy things.

The mind of man is like a wild steed which must be curbed and reined in before it can be made to do useful and obedient service under the guiding hand of its master. Therefore he who aspires to that mastery of self which leads to Truth, will commence by restraining those outgoing desires, passions, and impulses which enslave him to the service of temporal things, and carry him away from the Sure Rock of Peace.

Lust and covetousness, impatience and anger, enmity and retaliation, gluttony and pleasure-seeking, vanity and pride—all these are blinding errors which must be restrained, for it is these tendencies within a man, and not anything without, which prevent him from realizing Truth. In so far as the mind is enslaved by any of these tendencies it is confounded and is without knowledge. There is no sin but what springs from the love of self, therefore let the Truth-seeker turn away from the condemnation of evil in others, and let him look to himself; let him watch, restrain, and correct himself; let him exercise his will, not to bend others to his own way, but to bend and break himself into the Way of Peace. Thus putting a strong and manly restraint upon his tongue, his actions, and his mind, daily controlling himself, his mind vigilant and aspiring, he will, after due practice, acquire sufficient command over himself to enable him to successfully concentrate his mind in profitable meditation, and so to purify his heart.

(To be continued)

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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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