Monday, November 1, 2010

As A Man Thinketh

A man literally is a consummation of his thoughts. Mr. Allen wrote his short book in 1902 as one of his first works. With it, he has influenced modern writers like Norman Vincent Peale, Earl Nightingale, Denis Waitley, and Anthony Robbins.

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“Of all the beautiful truth pertaining to the soul which have been restored and brought to light in this age, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this – that man is the master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.”  James Allen
Mr. Allen compares man’s mind to a gardener who cultivates his plot. He likens weeding out the garden, and growing beautiful flowers, vegetables, and fruits to nurturing your mind by focusing on positive thoughts and feelings. He suggested that man’s character is built by the vital thought-element which can be corrected by watching the external circumstances of one’s life. As long as we believe that our circumstances are determined by external influences, we will always struggle. He hints that the outer world shapes itself to the inner world of thought. When we look at the harvest of our garden (character) we can determine how we did, and learn about both suffering or bliss.

“Man doesn’t get what he wants but what is he is.”  James Allen

Man are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improves themselves, and get stuck. Mr. Allen warns us of superficial judgment. Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; or vice versa, bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is a natural law. Corn can only produce corn, or an acorn will grow into an oak tree. He warns that suffering is always the effect of wrong thoughts in some direction. He discovered that our circumstances are therefore the result of our own mental disharmony.

Law is the dominating principle of the universe. When we cease to whine and complain, and start searching for the hidden justice that regulates our lives, we will discover the righteousness which is a moving fore in the spiritual government of the universe. James Allen knew that the proof of this truth is in every person, which can be discovered by going inward through prayer and meditation.

Therefore, thoughts of fear, doubt and indecision create weak and irresolute habits which end us is failure and dependency. While beautiful thoughts will lead us into habits of grace and kindliness. And loving and unselfish thoughts bring us prosperity and true riches.

He concludes that man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts and attitudes, and influence and shape his circumstances.

The same is true in regards to health. Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought. When we focus on negativity and sickness, our body can only respond in the same way. Out of a clean heart comes a clean life and a clean body. He suggests that just changing our diet will do no good unless we can change our thoughts, too. When we have clean thinking, impure foods don’t appeal the same. The best physician is to have a cheerful and grateful disposition.

James Allen knew that we need a strong focus. Therefore, he suggested to have a legitimate purpose and clear vision for one’s life. With that kind of aim it is easier to push away fears and doubts and keep on going when the going get rough. Then, even temporary failure is not the end but rather a stepping stone to greater heights.

Over and over, Mr. Allen reminds us that our own thoughts direct us to achievement or failure. Someone who has achieved results can only help another when he is willing to be helped. To continue on the path of achievement that person has to become strong himself. He has to develop the same strength he has admired in the other person. It is not in the having but in the becoming that he can help himself. That achievement cannot be reached without sacrifice, without letting go of the “lower thoughts.” The higher he lifts his thoughts, the greater will be his success, the more blessed and lasting will be his accomplishments. He concludes that achievement of any kind comes from effort, self-control, resolution, purity, and righteousness. Definitely directed thought and focus will bring achievement in any area of life: business, intellectual, or spiritual.

Poets, artists, musicians, explorers, scientists, and sages are the creators of heaven. The world became more beautiful and substantial because of the way they lived. Without their visions and ideals, we would still live in caves. Because they followed the ancient directions of ask and you shall receive, they discovered new worlds for us. Mr. Allen reminds us to keep on dreaming, following our deepest desires, and pursue those dreams. Don’t just wish or dream lofty dreams, but follow through with your ideas: imagine the unimaginable; and never, never give up. Everything started first with an idea. Just talking about it would not realize that dream, it needs action, perseverance, and nurturing. Once you have achieved your goal, people may call you lucky or fortunate. It was not just chance or luck, but hard work and effort what brought you to your target.

To follow your passions you may have to separate yourself at times from others. You need peace and quietness to replenish your strength. Mr. Allen suggests to seek serenity and stillness to understand yourself and the true sources of your blessings. Self-control, self-discipline and true passion come from the inside, and only the wise man can master them all. He concludes his essay by saying: “Peace, be still!”

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