The Path of the Just: Divisions of Watchfulness II
He who has not yet achieved dominion over his evil inclination is in the midst of the paths and cannot distinguish between them. But those who rule their evil inclination, those who have reached the portico, who have already left the paths and who clearly see all of the ways before their eyes – they can advise him who is willing to listen, and it is to them that we must trust.
And what is the advice that they give us’? – ‘Let us enter into an accounting.’ Let us come and compute the world’s account.” For they have already experienced, and seen, and learned that this alone is the true path by which a man may reach the good that he seeks, and that there is none beside this.
What emerges from all this is that a man must constantly – at all times, and particularly during a regularly appointed time of solitude – reflect upon the true path (according to the ordinance of the Torah) that a man must walk upon. After engaging in such reflection he will come to consider whether or not his deeds travel along this path. For in doing so it will certainly be easy for him to cleanse himself of all evil and to correct all of his ways. As Scripture states (Proverbs 4:26), “Consider the path of your feet and all of your paths will be established,” and (Lamentations 3:40), “Let us seek out our ways and examine them, and we will return to God.”