Manly P. Hall’s Lessons of Self-Unfoldment (Part 1): Personal Growth

I wish to share with you selected passages from the book ‘Self-unfoldment by Disciplines of Realization’ written by Manly P. Hall.

This book contains many wise lessons and practical instructions on how we can penetrate deep within ourselves so to understand the Truth of who we are, and how we fit into this universal existence.

The ultimate aim is to attain the self-knowledge for us to grow effortlessly towards wisdom and a blessed life.

I am still in the process of reading this fascinating book, and will endeavor to post more enlightening and insightful passages as I go along.

From ‘Chapter 1 – Theory of Disciplines’:


Growth is natural to man.  No one thinks of a flower trying to bloom, or of a tree trying to grow.  The blossoming of the flower is a manifestation of universal law flowering through the plant; it is the will of the Infinite made manifest in the finite.  Illumination is the blossoming of the soul in man; it is just as natural, simple, and inevitable as the flowing of the rose.  The wise man does not try to be wise; wisdom is as natural to him as folly is common to ordinary mortals.  Man does not have to try to be himself.

Effort is evidence of inconsistency in the individual.  Most religious organizations impose strict rules and regulations upon their members.  These rules and regulations consist principally of “thou shalt nots, ” the purpose being to force man into a state of grace by inhibiting and limiting him.  Any individual who tries to crush out with brute force of will the vices within himself, achieves only inhibition and neurosis.

What can we learn from the previous passage?

You cannot force growth, or more-so, no person or religious organisation (or any other type of ideological organisation for that matter) can teach you how to grow through discipline – in fact, they will instead constrict or stunt your opportunity for growth in life.

You must be absolutely independent, free and rational to plant the seed of wisdom within so that you can then, for yourself, sprinkle the invigorating water of self-knowledge, which is most needed for the seed to burst forth.

How does one then break into blossom?  To encourage continuous growth, you must try to learn from every encounter and every experience in life – good or bad.  Also, I highly recommend you to heighten your awareness and attentiveness to everything around you as much as possible.  The illuminating lessons that can be learnt from this exercise of gaining self-understanding and elevating consciousness will be most rewarding.

This all will ultimately help to strengthen the roots of your mind and spirit in preparation for whatever the unpredictable winds of change brings.

Use your personal growth in a positive way towards:

  • learning to understand yourself so that you have better insight and can become a little more wiser
  • developing maturity of mind
  • improving relationships and connecting with others and nature
  • being able to deal with trials and tribulations in a positive way
  • discovering total contentment and joy

Read part 2 of the series: ‘Manly P. Hall’s Lessons of Self-Unfoldment (Part 2): Truth-Seeker’s Lonely Path To Wisdom’.


  1. Jason,

    Thanks for sharing that pertinent passage. I find it most true.

  2. “Don’t push the river; it flows by itself.” When people try to force changes in their life, it always leaves them spent and broken. What needs to change will change, without our lifting a finger.