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From Methods for Self-improvement





Everyone talks about their unattained ideal, yet they continue to strive toward it. The child attends school in order to learn read ing and writing. Passing unnoticeably from one grade to the next, the boy becomes a young man and finishes the university. Then you will hear him saying. "I finally achieved my ideal and graduated from the university." What has he achieved? He has just learned the alphabet and the usage of letters for making syllables, words, and sentences. If a young man has finished a musical academy, he would say, "I have reached my ideal by learning to sing and play an instru ment." What has he learned? The musical notes and their combinations.


Ask yourself, everyone of you, "What is the ideal of my life?" If all people have an ideal, why are they unhappy? Someone is not happy with being short, so he strives to become taller and that is his ideal in life Why is he short? It is because he did not eat enough. Can a drop of water make a river? Can a thread make a whole rope? The tall person is not happy with his height as well, so he wants to become shorter. Why has he become tall? It is mostly because his nour ishment was plentiful. Has anyone experiment ed to find out the number of spider web strands needed to form a thick regular rope? Even if one's wish of being the desired height is ful filled, this person will be not satisfied either.


Why are people discontent? It is because they have a very monotonous life. Without be ing aware of it, they repeat things until getting quite bored at the end. Nature does not allow any repetition whatsoever. As much as you might repeat a song, you cannot sing it twice in the same manner. Why? The reason is that everything has changed: you, the audience, and the surroundings too. When you are hungry, you sing in one way; when you are full, you sing in another way. When you are young, you sing in one way; when you are grown up, you sing in another way; and when you are old - you sing in a very ditl'erent way. It is good to have diver sity in your life, otherwise you would have died untimely. The monotonous existence does not bring Life, but debases it leading to premature aging. Only the new brings Life.


Remember: as long as you live on Earth, you should move in all directions: east, west, north, and south. If you build a house, which side will you place the front doorry The house facing north will be lit by the Sun from above where the Sun is; the house facing south will be lit from be low; if the house is facing east, it will again be lit from above; and lastly if it is facing west, it will be lit from below, too. In houses facing east the Sun is always rising, and in those fac ing west - the Sun is always setting. What do you prefer: the ever rising or the ever setting Sunry If you should get your money back from someone, you would prefer the Sun to shine in order to find your debtor. But in case you owe someone money, you would like the Sun to set so that your creditor could not find you.


And so, regarding the four directions of the world, we have in mind the four stages, or in other words, the four key points of conscious ness. The necessity of the moment dictates which point to choose. How will you determine the priority of each bounty: bread, water, air, or light? If you are hungry, you will want bread; if you are thirsty, you will choose water; if you are suffocating, you will strive for air, and if you are in darkness, you will need light Which is the must for a person in a sinking ship? Life vest What does one need in the winter? To go out, one needs warm clothes and shoes.


What is the difference between the four di rections of the world - or the four points of con sciousness? East refers to the good conditions of life; the Sun rises in the east to bring Life. West is related to the night, when the Moon is shining. East implies a sunlit - house; west - a moonlit house; north - a house placed on a vis ible place; and south - a house placed on a well traveled road, where many people will stop by, eat, and drink. Some of them will pay, while others will not, which may cause quarrels and misunderstandings. Therefore, the human be ing lives in four houses simultaneously in the houses of one's mind, heart, soul, and spirit. The houses of all people differ from one another lf you are in the physical world, you live in your physical body. Going into the mental world you leave your physical body and enter the mental one. In this manner one moves in four bodies: physical, emotional or astral, mental, and caus al, in other words - one lives in the mind and heart, in the soul and spirit.


The four directions of the world represent the four homes in which people live. If you con nect these four points, you form a square. As the square is in constant motion, the four points trace a circle. To move from one home to anoth er is a natural process. You cannot remain at the same point forever; neither can you keep your wealth forever Sometimes you will be rich, sometimes - poor When passing through those varying conditions, you constantly bend down and rise again. If someone says that he does not want to bend down, it shows that he does not understand life. If you are poor and you have been hungry for a few days, when you see a golden coin in front of you, will you not bend down to take it? You will certainly bend down, pick up the coin and then rise. Therefore, reach ing for the coin on the ground means bending. Bending is appropriate, only when one attains something precious. Otherwise, to bend down for a trifle makes no sense. What will happen, if two people see the golden coin at the same time? They will both bend down: the first will grab the one end of the coin and the second one - the other. As long as the coin has not been shared, both will stand close to each other. Dividing the coin, they will immediately move apart: the first will take one direction, the second - another, continuing on their ways. Therefore, people are close to one another until they divide their life provided bounties. After distributing the goods among themselves, they move apart and follow their own paths.


How many are the blessings of Life. They are mainly four: bread, water, air, and light Which one will you prefer at any given momentIf you are hungry, you will ask for bread; if you are thirsty, you will ask for water; if you lack air and suffocate, you will ask for air; and if you are in darkness, you will ask for light Which part of the human body is food related toMouth is related to food and it is a symbol of, the word owisdom. Water along with the food or bread passes through the mouth and goes to the stom ach. Thus bread and water go to the same place and act together. Air is in relation with the nose and lungs: it passes through the nose and goes to the lungs. Light, on its turn, is related to the eyes.


People often get depressed; they feel indis posed and do not know how to help themselves. They are surrounded by bounties, yet they do not know how to make use of them. For such cases the Bulgarians have a proverb, "He is wading into water and he is walking thirsty." Four elements can change the indisposition and transform it from negative into positive. These are: light, air, water, and bread. When you know the reason for the indisposition, you can apply one of the four elements corresponding to the current situation. The reasons for one's indispo sitions may vary - they could be hidden in the physical, emotional, mental, or causal world.


Imagine that you meet an elementary school teacher. You speak to him, but you feel that he is dissatisfied with something. What is the reason for this discontent? He wants to get a higher position and become a high school teacher. What is the difference between an elementary school teacher, high school teacher, and a professor? I think that the position of an elementary school teacher has an advantage in one particular as pect. Which is this aspectry It is the highest level of trust of the students in the first grade. In the middle school the students trust their teachers much less. The trust of students in their teach ers goes down even more in the high school; whereas the university students often criticize their professors and argue with them.


What is the criticism like? It is like skin rub bing. When you visit a public bath of Turkish type it is good for you to be "criticized," in oth er words, to have someone who will exfoliate your dead skin and remove the dirt from you. However, after getting a good bath you are clean and you do not need blunt criticism anymore, so if you are still criticized, this will cause you pain. Nature also uses such "massages," but she knows when and how to apply them. When she meets someone who is not clean, she takes out the exfoliating sponge and says, "Come to me, my child, I am going to clean you now - you need this." She massages and cleans him well, and then let him go free. Therefore, criticism is useful only when it is coming from a wise, just, and loving source.


People of today are not happy with their life, because they cannot achieve their wish es. Nevertheless, they should still be happy. Why? lt is because they have the opportunity to work more. By working and working, they will eventually have some achievements. ln reality, people become unhappy when the good things in their life are not repeated. However, this is impossible. Nature does not like monotony and repetition. You cannot sing a song in the same way second and third time. If the first time you have sung it well, the second time you will sing it either better or worse as the situation and the moment will differ. For example, you can make bread if you have flour, water, and salt. If you are given flour, cheese, water, and salt next time, you will not make bread again, but you will prepare banilsa[1] instead. This is what you will usually do as you tend to avoid repeti tions. Then, why should you be discontent with Life and Nature, when they do not allow you to repeat the same things over and over?


You say that these are ordinary things. You are not suffering because you do not have bread and banitsa, but because you have not fulfilled some great idea or sublime desire of yours. For example, someone might be unhappy, because he has not become knowledgeable. And yet, what is the essence of knowledge? ls someone with a big mental baggage considered to be knowl edgeable? He is telling how the world was cre ated, how the plates of Earth were folded, how life came into existence, and so on. His head is full of theories, but after him comes another scientist who disputes his theories and creates new ones. Who of them is closer to the Truth? Genuine scientist is the one who brings forth the absolute and never - changing knowledge.


There were two scientists who often had sci entific discussions. One of them was very self respecting and did not allow to be criticized. One day, he unwittingly put his vest on with the wrong side out He met the second scientist who told him, "Dear colleague, your vest is inside out." As that one did not like remarks, he did not acknowledge the fact as it is, but looked at himself and said, "I did this on purpose. So far I have worn my vest with the face out, but today I turned it with its back out to see how I would look like." His friend was a delicate person and did not want to argue anymore, so he replied, "Yes, this can be a kind of research." In reality, the first scientist put his vest on the wrong side by mistake as he was absent minded. As he did not think about any scientific experiments, his mind was preoccupied with finding some way to pay his pending debt.


In one of the American universities there was a very strict professor with whom the students often joked in order to provoke him. One day they rearranged the wheels of his carriage plac ing the front gears on the back and the back gears - on the front. When the professor mount ed his carriage, he noticed that something was wrong, but did not want to look fool before the students and said, "My carriage was for a repair the previous days and obviously the mechanic had made some mistake." He knew that the stu dents had done the prank, but did not want to acknowledge this.


Such displacements happen in everyone's life. When they are in the physical world, it is easy to be corrected. However, displacements in the spiritual world are difficult to be put right and comprehended. That is the reason why peo ple suffer, face difficulties, and fail to solve their assignments. Someone may suffer because he is behind in his development and everyone has gone ahead of him. In reality, he does not un derstand the Law. If twenty strong people come to wrestle, who will begin first? The weakest will be first on the stage against another weak. Afterward the stronger wrestlers will show and the strongest will go at the end. It means that the strongest ones, or the heroes, remain behind and they are the last The true hero remains the last, so that his strength could be tested. Nature acts in the same way. She lets the weak wrestlers go first to the stage and keeps the strong ones for the final Nature does not hurry, neither she gives things the moment when someone wants them. The strong person remains last, behind all others. As he comprehends the Law, he awaits patiently his time to come.

And so, when you know all this, do not criticize Nature. Whatever she does, it is for the highest good. She does not promote or debase anyone, but places all and each of, the living be ings in their places. The one who comes to un derstand her, waits for his time and enjoys his achievements. The one who does not understand her, suffers and faces a lot of difficulties. Nature looks at him and whispers: wait a bit more, your hour has not come yet. When a mother nourishes her children, which one will she give food first? The youngest because this infant needs only little food. The little one will be satisfied with just little milk or bread. When the older are con cerned, things get more complicated: you need to set a table with glasses, plates, to serve more bread, more food, and so on. The older ones eat more and are more pretentious. Which is better: to have a laid table before you or to eat without a table like an infant or traveler? If, you are in the mountains and you are hungry, will you be looking for a table?


You are travelers who visit the Earth for some studies. When you are aware of this, you will not require to have a table in order to eat. Strive not for the first place either. There are no leaders while traveling. Having made just one step and the first position could become the last. What is before you - that is the first position, what you have already passed - that is the last position. Rejoice that you have walked a certain path and have acquired some experience in the process. And do not consider that the place you are at present is not good as this is only for a moment Once you move a step forward a new, better place is waiting for you. The future usually brings something better, brighter, and greater. You need to have the appropriate knowledge to be able to see the good side everywhere in life If you have a long journey ahead, it is prefer able to have with you saccharin instead of sug ar. One kilogram of saccharin is equal to five hundred kilograms of sugar. However, sugar is more nutritious than saccharin.

People often strive for some exquisite things and great ideas without realizing that this is sac charin, not sugar. A silk dress is beautiful, but it is not appropriate for the winter. If you wear it in the winter, you will catch cold. A silk dress flows elegantly around the body, but it should be put on in the summer. A dress which cannot preserve the warmth of the body is not good for your health; a dress which cannot preserve the light is not good for your health either, and if it is not clean, it is not hygienic to wear it. A good dress is that one, which has the qualities of all elements: of the solid matter like thickness, as well as the qualities of water, air, and light. For the same reason I say that every thought, ev ery feeling, and every action should have four qualities: the quality of bread - to satisfy hun ger; the quality of water - to quench thirst; the quality of air - to improve breathing and the blood circulation; and the quality of light - to illuminate even the most hidden places of the human body, to open your path, and to liberate you from delusions and contradictions. Every food that does not have the qualities of solid, liquid, air - like, and light - like matter [earth, wa ter, air, and light] is not healthy.


Choose healthy foods and strive for healthy thoughts, feelings, and actions.


Only the Luminous Path of Wisdom leads to the Truth.


The true life is hidden in the Absolute Truth.


Lecture given by the Master Beinsa Douno, August 27. 1943, lzgrev. Sotla.



[1] A traditional Bulgarian baked pastry prepared by layering a cnunbled feta cheese and other optional ingredients between brushed with butter or vegetable oil filo pastry sheds.

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