The Light of Reason
Edited by James Allen
Vol. VIII. February 1st, 1906 No. 2
A good number of orders have already reached us for the "Bryngoleu Cookery Book." It is in the press, and will be ready at the beginning of this month. Copies will be sent to purchasers, immediately on publication.
We take this opportunity of thanking those of our readers whose tokens of kindness and remembrance, in the form of cards, etc., reached us at Christmas time, and express our appreciation of their thoughtfulness and goodwill.
A Sister of the Order, living in West London, wishes to devote a portion of her time to furthering our spiritual work for the benefit of readers and friends residing in her district. She has a room suitable for holding meetings, and will be pleased to hear from any who are interested in our work. Friends should write to Miss Heath, 56, Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square, W.
He who aspires to reach the pure, unselfish and steadfast life should first of all fully realize that he is dealing entirely with himself, not with other people; that it is his own conduct he has to put right, and not the conduct of others. This is one of those simple, logical truths that is not easily understood; and he who does not fully understand it, will not comprehend the purport and meaning of the Book of Discipline, nor will he profit by its rules which are given to enable the individual to guide himself into the path of virtue and peace.
He who would be an apt pupil in the School of Virtue must turn his eyes away from the evil and selfishness of others, ceasing to accuse or condemn any being, and must turn them upon his own evil and selfishness, accusing and condemning it. He must extricate himself from the common vice of dwelling, upon and talking about the selfishness of others, and must devote all his energies to the removal of his own selfishness. This is his divine task. "A hard doctrine," some will say; and so it is in the beginning, but at the end it is rich with strength and happiness and peace.
Let a man give way to the habit of seeing and resenting selfishness in others, and it will grow upon him and possess him until at last he will see selfishness in everybody but himself, becoming totally blind to his own imperfections. In this wretched frame of mind he will read selfishness into the most innocent and unselfish acts of other people; blinded by ignorance and folly, the most spotless purity will appear to him as impurity, virtue he will interpret as vice.
It is a spiritual law that no man can judge of the quality of actions (whether they are pure or impure, selfish or unselfish) until he has himself become pure and unselfish. This is the meaning of the words—"Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" And, truly, when a man removes the beam from his own eye he discovers that the mountains of selfishness which he saw as existing in other people were illusions of his own distorted vision, and that the actual selfishness existing in others is but a tiny mote which wise living on his past will largely help to remove.
What, then, is it that prompts a man to so readily judge and accuse others of being selfish? Is it not, in nearly every instance, because they do something of which he disapproves? or because they do not do something which would add to his comfort? or do not hold his belief? or do not join in his particular work? or say or do something which wounds and offends him? In a word, is it not, nearly always, that he is displeased and embittered because they choose to go their own way which is contrary to his? And because this is so, he who chooses to walk the way of Truth will always be accused of selfishness by those who do not understand him, and whose whims, wishes and desires he refuses to gratify. For he who has chosen the highway of unselfishness, will do that which is right, that which is in accordance with divine principles; and the right—though it will always please the right-minded,—will generally displease those who, in blindness, prefer the crooked ways.
Brothers and Sisters in virtue, let us put away all accusation; let us not think of others as being narrow, bigoted, or selfish, much less condemn them as such, but, putting away all bitterness, envy, and uncharitableness, let us practice kindness, charity, and unselfishness. If others blame us (and no one will escape blame), let us not blame in return, but exercise compassion. If others are selfish, let us over- come them with unselfishness, for the best answer to selfishness is to be unselfish.
The foolish trouble about the selfishness of others; the wise trouble about their own selfishness. He therefore who controls his tongue, abandoning all conversation about the evil in others, knowing his own imperfection, he has entered the highway of virtue; he has found where wisdom dwells.
More Articles by This Author 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.