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At first, the searcher for such knowledge has before him a universe of things: these things he does not 
understand; many of them, indeed, seem to be irreconcilably opposed one to the other, and there is 

apparent confusion; but by patiently and laboriously pursuing these five processes, he discovers the 

order, nature, and essences of things; perceives the central law or laws which bind them together in 

harmonious relationship, and so puts an end to confusion and ignorance.

As with the natural scientist, so with the divine scientist; he must pursue, with the same self-sacrificing 

diligence, five progressive steps in the attainment of self-knowledge, self-control. These five steps are 

the same as with the natural scientist, but the process is reversed, the mind, instead of being centered 
upon external things, is turned back upon itself, and the investigations are pursued in the realm of mind 

(of one‘s own mind) instead of in that of matter.


At first, the searcher for divine knowledge is confronted with that mass of desires, passions, emotions, 
ideas, and intellections which he calls himself, which is the basis of all his actions, and from which his 

life proceeds.


This combination of invisible, yet powerful, forces appears confusedly;

some of them stand, apparently, in direct conflict with each other, without any appearance or hope of 

reconciliation; his mind in its entirety, too, with his life which proceeds from that mind, does not seem 

to have any equitable relation to many other minds and lives about him, and altogether there is a 
condition of pain and confusion from which he would fain escape.


Thus, he begins by keenly realizing his state of ignorance, for no one could acquire either natural or 

divine knowledge, if he were convinced that without study or labor he already possessed it.

With such perception of one‘s ignorance, there comes the desire for knowledge, and the novice in self- 

control enters upon the ascending pathway, in which are the following five steps:

1. Introspection. This coincides with the observation of the natural scientist. The mental eye is turned 

like a searchlight upon the inner things of the mind, and its subtle and ever varying processes are 

observed and carefully noted. This stepping aside from selfish gratifications, from the excitements of 

worldly pleasures and ambitions, in order to observe, with the object of understanding, one‘s nature, is 
the beginning of self-control. Hitherto, the man has been blindly and impotently borne along by the 

impulses of his nature, the mere creature of things and circumstances, but now he puts a check upon his 

impulses and, instead of being controlled, begins to control.

2. Self-analysis. Having observed the tendencies of the mind, they are then closely examined, and are 

put through a rigid process of analysis. The evil tendencies (those that produce painful effects) are 

separated from the good tendencies (those that produce peaceful effects); and the various tendencies, 
with the particular actions they produce, and the definite results which invariably spring from these 

actions, are gradually grasped by the understanding, which is at last enabled to follow them in their 

swift and subtle interplay and profound ramifications. It is a process of testing and proving, and, for the 

searcher, a period of being tested and proved.

3. Adjustment. By this time, the practical student of things divine has clearly before him every tendency 

and aspect of his nature, down to the profoundest promptings of his mind, and the most subtle motives 

of his heart. There is not a spot or corner left, which he has not explored and illuminated with the light 
of self-examination.


He is familiar with every weak and selfish point, every strong and virtuous quality. It is considered the 

height of wisdom to be able to see ourselves as others see us, but the practitioner of self-control goes 
far beyond this: he not only sees himself as others see him, he sees himself as he is. Thus, standing face 

to face with himself, not striving to hide away from any secret fault; no longer defending himself with









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