A most essential question

What convergence is there between the journey of the ascetic Tibetan yogi Milarepa and that of the little-known great French mystic of the Seventeenth Century, Madame Guyon ? between Ramana Maharshi and the famous sufi Al-Hallaj ? What is the common denominator between these extraordinary beings who, in such apparently dissimilar ways, climbed the rungs leading to the ultimate realization ? Is it not a question of the greatest importance, to conjecture about what is essential and what is of incidental value, about what is truly the core of a practice and what relates to a cultural context and epoch ?

Thomas a Kempis : The Imitation of Christ

According to our resolution so is the rate of our progress, and much diligence is needful for him who would make good progress.  For if he who resolveth bravely oftentimes falleth short, how shall it be with him who resolveth rarely or feebly?  But manifold causes bring about abandonment of our resolution,  yet a trivial omission of holy exercises can hardly be made without some loss to us.

Strive as earnestly as we may, we shall still fall short in manythings.  Always should some distinct resolution be made by us; and, most of all, we must strive against those sins which most easily beset us.

If thou canst not be always examining thyself, thou canst at certain seasons, and at least twice in the day, at evening and at morning.  In the morning make thy resolves, and in the evening inquire into thy life, how thou hast sped to-day in word, deed, and thought;

All cannot have one exercise, but one suiteth better to this man and another to that.  Even for the diversity of season different exercises are needed.

Book one – chap XIX

Thomas A Kempis 1380-1471