Begin by trying to conquer the habit, almost universal, of pushing yourself forward. This arises from personality. Do not monopolize the conversation. Keep in the background. If some one begins to tell you about himself and his doings, do not take first chance to tell him about yourself, but listen to him and talk solely to bring him out. And when he has finished, suppress in yourself the desire to tell about yourself, your opinions and experiences.
Do not ask a question unless you intend to listen to the answer and inquire into its value. Try to recollect that you are a very small affair in the world, and that the people around do not value you at all and grieve not when you are absent. Your only true greatness lies in your inner true self and it is not desirous of obtaining the applause of others. If you will follow these directions for one week you will find they will take considerable effort, and you will begin to discover a part of the meaning of the saying, “Man, know thyself.”
It is not necessary to be conscious of the progress one has made. Nor is the date in any sense an extinguisher, as some have styled it*. In these days we are too prone to wish to know everything all at once, especially in relation to ourselves. It may be desirable and encouraging to be thus conscious, but it is not necessary. We make a good deal of progress in our inner, hidden life of which we are not at all conscious. We do not know of it until some later [p 114] life.
So, in this case, many may be quite beyond the obstacles and not be conscious of it. It is best to go on with duty, and to refrain from this trying to take stock and measuring of progress. All of our progress is in the inner nature, and not in the physical where lives the brain, and from which the present question comes. The apparent physical progress is evanescent. It is ended when the body dies, at which time, if the inner man has not been allowed to guide us, the natural record against us will be a cipher, or failure.”
Now, as the great Adepts live in the plane of our inner nature, it must follow that they might be actively helping every one of us after the date referred to, and we, as physical brain men, not be conscious of it on this plane.
…I strongly advise you to give up all yoga practices, which in almost all cases have disastrous results unless guided by a competent teacher. The concussions and explosions in your head are evidences that you are in no fit condition to try yoga practices, for these effects result from lesions of the brain, i.e., from the bursting of the very minute brain cells.
I am glad you have written to me upon this matter, that I may have an opportunity of warning you. Also, I advise you to discontinue concentration on the vital centres, which again may prove dangerous unless under the guidance of a teacher. You have learnt, to a certain degree, the power of concentration, and the greatest help will now come to you from concentration upon the Higher Self, and aspiration toward the Higher Self. Also, if you will take some subject or sentence from the Bhagavad Gîtâ, and concentrate your mind upon that and meditate upon it, you will find much good result from it, and there is no danger in such concentration.
* The “date” rumored (wrongly) to be the “extinguisher” was 1897. (Compare LETTERS, p. 97.) See two articles by Mr. Judge: “Will Master’s Help be Withdrawn in 1898 till 5975?” in the Path, November, 1894. and “The Closing Cycle,” in the Irish Theosophist, January, 1895. Both articles were republished, under the second title, in Theosophy, XXXII, 81.—Eds.