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Methods for Self-improvement

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METHODS FOR SELF-IMPROVEMENT


 
Only the Luminous Way of
Wisdom leads to the Truth.
The Truth holds Life within.

 
Scholars, and especially those occupied with geometry, deal with geometrical figures and bodies. Meanwhile, ordinary and uneducated people do the same in everyday life, only that they are not able to give definitions to these figures. For instance, who, whether learned or ignorant, is not familiar with the circle? Does a farmer’s treshing field not represent a circle itself?
 
However, it is not so important to be acquainted with the properties of the circle as a figure, as it is to know how to apply it. Many have knowledge about coal and its origin, but this knowledge is worthless if they cannot use it as fuel. Many are familiar with the properties of water, but it will be much better if they can transform the aquatic energy into electricity and light. The more transformations a particular type of energy undergoes, the better it gets for humans. For example, we benefit from the sunshine due to the transformation of solar energy into light. You may say that the sunlight comes directly, without being transformed from its source which is a celestial body. Go to the Sun to see what it is in reality and then make your comments. In fact, the light we receive with our eyes does not come from the physical Sun that we see. Really and truly, the physical Sun emits certain energy that is transformed several times until perceived as light. Light is produced by the higher consciousness, so, behind the physical Sun, there is another “Sun,” emitting the Eternal and Unfailing Light. In reality, that is the Light, which is true and genuine, as it never changes or fails. In this sense, we call “real” that which is everlasting. How real are human feelings, beliefs, and decisions? For example, today you are cheerful, the next day you are sorrowful. Which is real: your joy or your sorrow? Today you believe that there is a God, the next day you do not think so. Which of your two views is true? Today you decide to take an exam, the next day you change your mind. Which of these two intentions are you going to fulfill? Reality is everywhere and nowhere. Reality is neither sustained nor denied. Whoever has good sight and sees well will recognize the Sun. But the Sun cannot be recognized by those who cannot see, which is quite normal. The blind people do not acknowledge the Sun, because they cannot see it and no relation is formed to it. Reality becomes knowledgeable by its manifestations. If it does not reveal itself to us, it will remain unknown. What idea could we have of the Sun, if it does not reveal itself to us? We see the Sun as a physical body and as a result, we perceive its light and warmth. That is why we say that the Sun is real for us. Thus we call “real” anything that we can feel, think, and speak about. It is unusual for someone to accept something which is only thinkable as real. Not that it is unusual, but people are simply not aware that thoughts create forms in the same way as feelings and actions do. Forms can be physical as well as mental and emotional - corresponding to the respective worlds and distinguished by the different density of their matter. Physical forms are the densest, emotional are less dense, and mental are the least dense. To a clairvoyant the mental and emotional forms are as real as the physical ones. To a seer, life is uninterrupted and wholesome in all its forms and manifestations. But to those who do not see clearly, life seems to be interrupted and consists, as they say, of different ages as different phases of life, which have no points of contact. They will tell you that what was in youth was quite different from adulthood and disparate from old age. Actually, life is wholesome and uninterrupted. As a child you depend on your mother’s care, as a grown-up you separate from your parents, and finally, when you become an adult, you live entirely on your own. However, these are different phases of one process that is in progress. As long as the apple is green, it is on the branch of the apple tree; but after ripening, it falls on the ground and will eventually become food for a person, bird, or animal. If maiden’s soft, caressing hands take it from the ground, the apple will be happy. But when it goes among the girl’s strong, hard teeth, the apple will wonder at the change: how it is possible for someone with such soft hands to have such hard teeth at one and the same time. As spiritual students, you are required to obtain a clear idea of how all is arranged, and you should apply your knowledge and abilities as methods for self-improvement. With this consideration, you should not be puzzled why a girl may have soft hands, but hard teeth - just put every single thing in its place.
 
When someone is in prison, sentenced to death, his younger sister needs to go to the ruler [pasha - in Turkish] who has passed the sentence and appeal for her brother’s liberation. Which method is advisable in this case: the soft hands or the hard teeth? Definitely, the soft hands are better. If the young woman wants to appeal for her brother’s life, she should be wise enough to apply the softest and kindest attitude toward the person in charge. If the ruler appreciates her kind and tender approach, he may pardon her brother. But if the sister uses the other method - the method of hard teeth, instead of attaining a pardon for her brother, she will quicken his death. So, it is much better to apply the soft and tender approach toward someone who has a heart of stone. In conclusion, the above mentioned forces are equal, but they are acting in opposite directions. What will happen to a body exposed to the effect of two equal, but opposite forces: the heart of stone and the kind attitude? The answer is that this body will remain immobile. In other words, the young woman’s brother will remain alive and healthy as the sentence will not be applied to him.
 
Every young woman who succeeds to release her brother from prison is beautiful and wise; in other words, she has knowledge and power to apply her methods. Beauty represents the Truth in human beings. The ruler cannot withstand the young woman’s knowledge, power, and truth; that is why he yields. The woman has softly touched his heart of stone and as a result, he will discharge her brother. No one can resist Truth. Love is where the Truth is. Where Love reigns, there the relationships are as they should be. Where there is Love, the exchange between two beings is genuine and harmonious: they both give and both receive. When one gives, the other pays in return. The first, for example, is a merchant who offers high quality goods; the other is a buyer who pays for the purchases regularly and generously. The roles then switch: the first buys and the second sells. Therefore, to be able to maintain good relationships, you should pay off your old bills and correct your past mistakes. The old is like a thorn in your foot. It is small, but nevertheless, you need a needle to pick it out. You need to gather your courage and probe with the needle until the torn is removed. If you do not do this, you need to wait for about ten days, so that the thorn may soften and go out by itself. Regardless of which way of treatment you prefer, with or without a needle, the thorn must come out. People of today are afraid to strike their inner balance. For example, someone has a negative opinion of his neighbor, but he is afraid to find out why. It is awful to keep negative thoughts about anyone in your mind. Moreover, you should consider the objectivity of your opinion: is it based on real facts or not? If untrue views accumulate in your consciousness, they will bring you adversity and suffering. Negative thoughts will make you nervous and indisposed. To avoid negative thinking, you should make efforts toward your self-improvement and also learn from experience.
 
What do you understand by “self-improvement? It means unassisted nourishment. On the path of self-improvement you need to try many ways in order to find out the method which is appropriate for you. In this way you will work out the right feelings and thoughts, which will create your own experience. Thoughts, which are attained through personal experience, are genuinely precious. For example, you realize that to become a scientist one must apply persistence and diligence; to become a singer, one needs a properly developed larynx, love for singing, and a good teacher. To be truly beautiful, one must be in touch with lovely images and inspiring people. To become smart, one needs to be in connection with the thoughts of Sublime Beings. To attain the Great Love, one needs to come into communion with God. Divine Love is received through the crown chakra at the upper part of the head. On the other hand, physical love passes through the back side of the head. In general, each brain center is related to certain forces of Nature. When you know this, you should be careful to avoid unconscious touching of the different parts and centers on your head. If you act on some center needlessly, you can cause yourself great harm. But if you treat a given spot on your head with knowledge and when necessary, you can improve your health. This knowledge can be used for self-improvement. As spiritual students, you need to consider the sacredness of your body. Each time you treat it, you should remember that it is a part of the Great cosmos. Therefore, it is through your body that you have a relationship with the Cosmos. That is why every disharmony caused somewhere in your body introduces a discord in the entire Cosmos. For this reason, it is better sometimes not to touch certain body centers, because unintentionally you could produce a whole “explosion” in yourself. Only the initiated know when and how to treat their body centers properly. The control of body language will help you to avoid such unconscious inner “explosions.” So, it is good to avoid any unaware and chaotic movements striving for conscious and thoughtful ones. In this respect, self-improvement is achieved through conscious living. Self-improvement implies to make your movements conscious and give way to your inner wisdom.
 
Let’s say you are observing a young woman making some movements under an apple tree. If she bends down and then straightens up without doing any useful work, you will say that her movements are not conscious and meaningful. But if with each movement, she picks apples and places them in a basket, her movements are conscious and they are also approved by the apple tree. Even when the young woman eats some of the apples, the apple tree does not regret it. The apples would be sorry only if the woman eats them with the seeds, as they are bearing new life. The apples expect their seeds to be sown, so that to grow up again. Good relationships with plants and animals are a sign of good relationships with people and also with God. Only in this way are favorable conditions created for the manifestation and further development of the good that is invested in human beings.
 
As soldiers exercise physically to become stronger, so every person should exercise in doing good. Exercises and efforts are needed for the development of each body center and personal ability. A person may have one or another physical make-up, but by conscious work and self-improvement, the negative features and planetary aspects can be overcome, while the positive ones are strengthened. The crabapple can be grafted in such a way as to bear good fruit. Similarly, the mindful person can be grafted with what is good and valuable. Many say that their living conditions are bad; that they cannot manifest their goodness, and so on. These are only mental beliefs typical for an ignorant person. Whoever is knowledgeable is also responsible to keep on working, practicing, applying, and gradually improving the self. It is not easy, but neither it is impossible. Through intensive conscious practice you can overcome your weaknesses and strengthen your innate good. It is hard to tame an elephant, but it is not impossible. Things can get scary when it gets angry. When this happens, the trainer pushes the elephant to the ground and rolls it over a few times. Getting up, the elephant will become as meek as a lamb. Sentient nature treats humans in the same way. While someone is standing upright on his legs, he is brave and decisive. But when he is thrown on the ground and rolled over and over, he gets tamed and humbled. Thus Life serves Nature. When someone is headstrong and stubborn, Life pushes him down on the ground and rolls him over few times. When this person gets up, he has already learned a lesson and he would probably think before getting angry again. Nature applies the same methods to stubborn, headstrong, and unruly people as to animals. Even the most vicious dog can be tamed, if caught and twirled around and around by its tail. However, Sentient nature can apply on people some other methods as well. She can display her own advanced methods to them and leave them to self-improve. Those who apply her methods will have good results. There are specific methods for the development of any living species - fishes, birds, mammals, and so on. Similarly, there are specific methods for the education and self-improvement of everyone - either learned or ignorant. As a whole, if someone wants to apply proper methods for self-improvement, he needs to apply the methods of sages and saints, who have drawn their knowledge from Sentient nature. Observe their life and see their routines: how they go to bed and get up, how they wash themselves and dress, how they pray and work. By improving yourself you can change your old ways of living and enter a new life, where things are set right. Someone gets angry and thinks that the appropriate way to change oneself and others is by showing power and control. In fact, nothing can be achieved through anger and violence. There is only one kind of anger that could be helpful: only when and if it comes from the power of the Divine source. If the Divine is not taking part in your actions, you will easily fail. A man was walking through the forest when a big bear appeared in the distance. He took a thick stick and said angrily, “May it dare come to me!” Nevertheless, the bear was approaching slowly and calmly toward him. Seeing this, the man threw his stick aside and quickly climbed the nearby tree. What did he do with his anger? First he did get angry with the bear and took a stick to stand against it, but then he quickly changed his mind and backed up. Certainly, you have some reason to be cross and angry with a bear coming toward you, but if you decide to fight it, you should comply with your decision. Therefore, if you have a certain thought, which you can use against evil, do not throw it aside, but make use of it. Because if you throw it aside, it shows that you are a weak person. Always sustain the view that what is imbued in you is meaningful, that Life is meaningful, and that you can use the methods of Nature for your self-improvement. The insufficiency of true knowledge should not bother you, but if you do not make efforts to acquire it - that is what cannot be excused. All people suffer, because they do not utilize the conditions they have. You may say, “But we make errors.” It is not an excuse either. If you have errors, you need to correct them. The Scriptures say that you will give account for every empty word.[1] Every empty word is a debt which you must pay together with interest. If you have collected a debt in the morning, review your accounts during the day, and arrange it all, so that when the night falls, it will find you to be with paid debts, without any due interest. The unpaid debts are nothing else, but the karma that everyone is afraid of. That one who does not pay his debts will fall under karmic law, or in other words, under unfavorable limiting conditions. Under these conditions he will complain of his destiny, get discouraged, and will not be able to develop properly.
 
As students of the Sublime life you need to exclude the word “discouragement.” You should know that even under the most difficult circumstances you can evolve spiritually. The human being is changeable in body, yet steadfast and stable in spirit. Give priority to the Spirit in you in order to avoid mistakes. Ceasing to transgress, the wrongdoer extends his life. And vice versa, if a righteous person begins to transgress, his life is shortened. Do not think that you are king’s sons who have come to Earth for pleasure. You all need to work both for yourselves and for your fellowmen. Work is one of the important methods for self-improvement. If you do not work willingly, you will be ordered to do it, but then you will get different results. True work implies working out of Love and without any force. If you work in this way, you will rejoice at the results achieved. If someone works without Love, the results will be a disaster. Whoever studies with Love rejoices in success. Only such a person can become learned.

Apply Love as a method for your self-improvement and you can develop even the smallest of gifts imparted to you. Love excludes any kind of discouragement. No matter how many times you may fall down, you can stand up again. No matter that you have lost your property or your health, you can gain it anew. The person of Love can lose something only temporarily, but he is going to regain it. There are only gains and achievements in Love.

 
As spiritual students, hold an optimistic view of life. Whatever befalls you, accept it with joy. Address your difficulties consciously to be able to discover the precious gifts hidden in them. Every trial and sorrow will bring you certain blessings. Use the blessings, which joys and sorrows bring to your life. See the manifestations of Great Divine Love, Wisdom, and Truth in all that is. This is the right method to apply for your self-improvement.
 
Only the Revealed Divine Love, Wisdom, and Truth will bring a full and abundant life.
 
Lecture held by the Master Beinsa Douno to the Youth Esoteric Class, February 6, 1931, Sofia, Izgrev.
 
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1. See also Ephesians 5:6, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”

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