The secret of all attainment is centered in reserve. Spiritual or material, when a person has told his plans to others, he has let out the energy that he should have kept as a reservoir of power for the accomplishment of his object. The teaching, ‘Be wise as a serpent,’ may be interpreted, ‘Be quiet as a serpent.’ It is quietude that gives wisdom and power. The thought held in mind speaks to the mind of another, but the thought spoken out most often only reaches the ears of a person. Every plan has a period of development; and if man has power over his impulse, by retaining the thought silently in mind, he allows the plan to develop and to take all necessary changes that it may take for its culmination. But when the impulse expresses the thought, it so to speak ‘puts out the flame,’ thus hindering the development of the plan. The wise speak with their mind many times before they speak about it to anybody.
Spiritual knowledge, the knowledge of life, is so intoxicating, so exalting, it gives such a great joy, that one begins to pour out one’s knowledge before anyone who comes along as soon as this knowledge springs up. But if at that time the disciple could realize that he should conserve that kindling of the light, reserve it, keep it within himself and let it deepen, then his words would not be necessary and his presence would enlighten people. As soon as the spring rises and he pours forth what comes out of that spring in words, although on the one side his vanity will be satisfied, on the other side his energy will be exhausted. The little spring that had risen, he has poured out before others and he remains without power. This is why reserve is taught to the true disciple, the conserving of inspiration and power. The one who speaks is not always wise; it is the one who listens who is wise.