As A Man Thinketh by James Allen (Part 1 of 2)

[amazon-product align=”right” alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″ region=”us” tracking_id=”varsblah-20″]1936041049[/amazon-product]“As a man thinketh, in his heart so is he”. That’s pretty much the essence of this book. Right upfront, the author acknowledges that his short text is not intended as an in-depth analysis on the power of thought; the subject had already been covered extensively when the book was published in 1902. And so instead of trying to explain the phenomena, his aim is to help us realise a simple truth: “Man is the master of thought, the moulder of character, and maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.” That means we have the power to stop living lives of ignorance and pain and start living lives of enlightenment and happiness. We have the power to make or break ourselves and we do so every single day.

Thought and Character

“Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”

We are what we think and our character is the sum of our thoughts. Simply put, good thoughts create good results while bad thoughts create bad results. This means that good character is not random; it is cultivated by consistent effort in thinking good thoughts. This is a law we must understand and cooperate with, much like we do with natural phenomena in the physical world.

Like a sentry guarding a city, we must patiently practice introspection and self-analysis as we watch, control, and alter all our thoughts. This is especially true of the subconscious ones that tend to slip through. By observing their effect on our lives, we finally understand that “man holds the key to every situation and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills”.

Effect of Thought on Circumstances

“Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions. But when he realises that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.”

We all want to have better lives but few of us are willing to work on ourselves to do so. As long as we keep turning outward to blame other people and other circumstances beyond our control, we remain trapped. That’s because the true inner causes continue to fester and sabotage our efforts. We need to realise that “a man does not come to the almshouse or the jail by the tyranny of fate of circumstance, but by the pathway of grovelling thoughts and base desires”. In other words, we need to turn inward in order to bring about change.

Think of your mind as a garden that can either be carefully cultivated or left to run wild. You can either consciously plant the right seeds to eventually bring about the ‘fruits’ you desire or do nothing and let the weeds multiply. And since the inner world of thought and character can only show itself in the outer world of environment and circumstance, we’ll soon discover that the conditions of our lives reflect the dominant nature our minds.

Effect of Thought on Health and Body

“As you cannot have a sweet and wholesome abode unless you admit the air and sunshine freely into your rooms, so a strong body and a bright, happy, or serene countenance can only result from the free admittance into the mind of thoughts of joy and good will and serenity.”

Much like our external experiences are crafted by our inner thoughts, the body is the servant of the mind. Consciously or not, the thoughts we have affect our health. That’s because “the body is a delicate and plastic instrument, which responds readily to the thoughts by which it is impressed, and habits of thought will produce their own effects, good or bad, upon it”.

Again, simply put, good thoughts bring about beauty and youth while bad thoughts bring about disease and decay. It’s the reason some people look worn down and decrepit at thirty while others two or three times that age glow like the setting sun. It certainly brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘food for thought’!

Thought and Purpose

“To put away aimlessness and weakness, and to begin to think with purpose, is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognise failure as one of the pathways to attainment; who make all conditions serve them, and who think strongly, attempt fearlessly, and accomplish masterfully.”

Most people wander through life as zombies with no idea where they’re going from one day to the next. This drifting leads to destruction. True accomplishment is only possible once thoughts are given direction. That’s why we all need to determine a centralising purpose for our lives, whether spiritual or worldly, and set out to achieve it. We need to consistently focus our thoughts on this attainment above all “ephemeral fancies, longings, and imaginings”.

As we progress, we’re likely to come across doubts. But these must be excluded as they can do nothing but weaken our resolve. The same applies to the occurrence of failure, which doubtful thoughts guarantee. As we continue to remember all we are capable of achieving and continue to perform all duties to the best of our ability, our characters grow stronger. From there it won’t be long before amazing things happen.

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