Meditation on Virtues
Annie Besant (1)
There being, then, a practically general appreciation of the power of thought, it becomes a matter of great moment to know how to use this power in the highest possible way and to the greatest possible effect. This can best be done by the practice of meditation, and one of the simplest methods—which has also the advantage that its value can be tested by each person for himself—is as follows.
Examining your own character, you pick some distinct defect in it. You then ask yourself, what is its exact opposite, the virtue which is its antithesis. Let us say that you suffer from irritability; you select patience. Then, regularly every morning, before going out into the world, you sit down for from three to five minutes and think on patience—its value, its beauty, its practice under provocation, taking one point one day, another another, and thinking as steadily as you can, recalling the mind when it wanders; think of yourself as perfectly patient, a model of patience, and end with a vow, ‘This patience, which is my true self, I will feel and show today.’
For a few days, probably, there will be no change perceptible; you will still feel and show irritability. Go on steadily every morning. Presently, as you say an irritable thing, the thought will flash into your mind unbidden, ‘I should have been patient’. Still go on. Soon the thought of patience will arise with the irritable impulse, and the outer manifestation will be checked. Still go on. The irritable impulse will grow feebler and feebler, until you find that irritability has disappeared, and that patience has become your normal attitude towards annoyances.
Here is an experiment that anyone can try, and prove the law for himself. Once proven, he can use it, and build virtue after virtue in a similar way, until he has created an ideal character by the power of thought.
Riddle of Life, Chapter X, “Thought-Power And Its Use”