•  SECRETS OF LIFE 9-8-23
    "How nice it is, how pleasant, to be trudging along the rocky path, and as
    you go, notice that every few miles there are fewer rocks than there were
    before. You don't have to go around them so much or jump over them so much
    or bump into them so much, simply because the way in front of you gets a
    little bit clearer as you go along.
    We're going to remove a thousand rocks and boulders at least, by getting
    very specific about a problem that we, by our own old natures , want to keep
    concealed from ourselves. That problem is that of using labels,
    self-flatteries, opinions about personal goodness, using mere
    self-flattering words and labels and making them stand for personal virtue,
    which they do not. What I'm saying, in other words, is that people
    attribute strength, wisdom, maturity to themselves by saying, claiming that
    they have them.
    But the very claiming of a virtue is exactly what prevents the individual
    from growing up into that virtue. Because there is an awful
    self-satisfaction as well as a ton of laziness in saying, 'I've already got
    the knowledge. I'm a settled self-commander saying it,' and then trying to
    believe in what you said. No work to be done. No shocking and alarming
    self-facing of the fact that self-flattery is self-flattery and that's all
    there is. Beneath the label of virtue is its exact opposite.
    No human being has ever been authentically saved, has ever entered the
    Kingdom of Heaven, without shattering the delusion that he is good when he's
    really bad. And to do that, you have to see the illusion as an illusion,
    and then, when you are nothing of yourself, God can give you his virtues."
        from a talk given 7/30/1988
      Vernon Howard's Higher World - MP3 CD Volume 21, talk 530, track 24