Principles I find helpful for living piously:
Only fools judge a thing to be true or false without sufficiently understanding it and finding its meaning.
Do not let words or statements go undefined. Ask yourself, what does this word/sentence mean? What is the reality it is describing? What would the world look like if it were true? Always look for meaning of words and don't give up until you've found it. Without uncovering meaning and definition in language, you lose touch of reality and allow your lower nature to rule your perception.
The best thing that any person can do, in order to become good, is to think very hard when speaking or doing a thing-- "what am I doing, and why am I doing this?" We often find we have no answer except raw impulse. Pursue real things for real reasons and you will become good.
To overcome our passions, we must imagine realities.
To understand and grasp any one statement, one reality, in it's fullness, is sufficient to lift one above oneself and to enter into a participation in the true world, bringing joy, peace, love, and wisdom, and dispelling hatred, jealousy, lust, discouragement, and the like. The degree to which we will submit to understanding the true meaning of statements about reality is the degree to which we will overcome our lower natures.
Your first attempts to exercise your true nature, to live by understanding, will be similar to learning to walk or lift heavy weights. You will be powerless and weak at first, for you are still in Plato's Cave. Darkness, or, nonsense, will tempt you and deceive you, words will mean nothing to you, and you will not be able to see the world for what it truly is because of your blindness. You will begin an intense struggle between your two natures. By perseverance only will you emerge from the cave to contemplate reality truly. Do not give in because you cannot see clearly, but allow your perception that there is a clearer sight to be had motivate you even further.
Speak only when you understand what you say, and when you have a good reason to speak. Otherwise, shut your mouth and listen.
Hold on to what you know and have resolved even through the darkest, most hopeless, and helpless moments. You'll find that what seemed so doubtful at the time was actually true all along, and what you resolved was worth resolving, though it seemed worthless. Be strong.
If you find yourself slipping into unreasonable mindsets and can't seem to gain the understanding necessary to motivate yourself to rise above it, assume a posture as close as possible to piety and hold to it stubbornly until understanding comes. This is not the time to give in. Trust in the true world though it is not obvious; surrender your self to it, and you will be crowned with joy, peace, and understanding.
Love, Humility, Wisdom, Temperance, and Joy are gateways towards understanding the fullness of propositions about reality. Without these virtues we are blind to reality. Conversely, if we cannot understand propositions and thus have no relationship with reality, we will be unable to be loving, humble, wise, temperate, and joyful.
No amount of darkness or failure can prevent or disqualify you from entering back into a participation in truth. As long as you are willing to take time to understand, virtue will return to you. Do yourself a favor, and honor what is true by remembering the depths of joy and wisdom and understanding that accompany piety. All it takes is a few minutes of focus on what is real and true, no matter where you're at, and you will be lifted up.
Your soul is constituted by two main types of conscious phenomena: non-sense and sense. Non-sense cannot correspond to reality, whereas sense is a reality-bearer in the mind. Live with sense, by thought, meditation, temperance, joy, justice, love and wisdom, and die to your nature's nonsense-- that of pride, unreasonable appetites, complacency, sloth, jealousy, and impressions.
"Tis Manifest" that a man cannot choose to do anything unless he desires to choose it. Thus, as one would expect, men tend to choose and act upon what they desire, regardless of whether the desiring is a good desiring or a bad desiring. What solution could there be but for men to desire what is good? And how do we desire a thing without reflecting upon it?
The "voices" in your mind that suggest and scream failure, meaninglessness, despair, darkness, and hopelessness are not real. They are real mental phenomena, but they do not correspond to reality. Your two natures are at war and in order to fight for reality, you must give these voices no heed; crushing them with your rational understanding. How? Define them. See them for what they really are. With bravery, ask them questions, and watch them writhe in misery as light penetrates and overwhelms the darkness.
Every moral act one performs brings her closer to the true world, or a conscious understanding of reality. Inversely, every immoral act one performs brings him further away from the true world. Acts which are not performed in respect of reality are immoral, consequently, and the inverse of this statement is true.
Crush your spiritual division between objective reality and subjective life. Make your personal life Ontological, or, fundamentally realistic, and make your Ontological explorations personal. We must learn to live on the basis of reality. But are you willing endure the suffering necessary to become truth?
To be alive, do all things for a reason, and nothing without reason.
The essence of the life lived in truth and goodness is to view the things one considers not as they impress themselves upon our experience, but as they really are. In all things considered, think not, "What is this to me?" but rather, "What is this really?" Humility heals the soul of many wounds.
Goodness is a sensitivity to reality, and a consequent insensitivity to non-sense.
To really know a truth, you must become it. You must enter into a truth, and the truth must enter into you.
How do we understand what we speak and think of unless we consciously define terms according to the realities they represent? Reality is not the words or impressions we use to describe it.
The things that you suspect deep down, despite what others say, are far more likely to be true than anything else. Give yourself permission to believe in them and trust them.
The glory of man is to look away from himself, and to look towards what is true and real.
Submit to truth, not culture; be not afraid when you are rejected for your convictions, if they are true.
The individual must find himself completely and totally alone. Not in a lonely way, but in an epistemological way. People do not give us truth or moral obligations; and thus to submit to their attitudes or claims unless they were true or profitable would defeat all attempts to pursue truth.
Suffering is an inescapable reality of human experience. However, we can suffer in a way that brings strength to our souls. As long as we look to and focus on reality through suffering, rather than focusing on our feelings and pain in self pity, we will grow stronger.
To be moral is to be motivated by real things rather than the non-sense we associate with them.
Love of truth is the root of all virtue: if one loves and trusts truth, they cannot help but be virtuous. For love of truth is humility, and humility is the root of Justice, Love, Wisdom, Joy, Temperance, and many other virtues.
It takes only few moment's intentional and realistic thought on a matter to completely change one's disposition and outlook.
Live a life of definition. In the same way that you cannot understand what words mean without concretely understanding and defining the realities they represent, you also cannot understand reality behind the appearances, sounds, smells, and feelings constantly impressing themselves upon your mind without concretely defining the realities which cause them. Define realistically to yourself everything you experience, and you will have joy and understanding. Define to yourself your every motive, and you will have a true heart.
If you cannot be genuine with your immediate surroundings and life situation, how can you be genuine with God? If you cannot see your two hands before your eyes for what they really are, how can you know the infinite?
If you are perturbed by passions, overwhelmed by emotions, or stabbed with sorrow, remember two things: First, hold on tightly to what is real, and joy will meet you soon. Second, identify what saddens you and see it for what it really is. Let reality lift you outside of yourself.
To grapple with truth is to grapple with reality. To have truth within you is to have a relationship with reality. There is no room for the self in a relationship with reality.