Such a man is altogether unfitted for prosperity, and when he finds himself bankrupt, both as regards reputation and riches, he blames circumstances, not knowing that he is the sole author of his condition. I have introduced these three cases merely as illustrative of the truth that man is the causer though nearly always is unconsciously of his circumstances, and that, whilst aiming at a good end, he is continually frustrating its accomplishment by encouraging thoughts and desires which cannot possibly harmonize with that end. Such cases could be multiplied and varied almost indefinitely, but this is not necessary, as the reader can, if he so resolves, trace the action of the laws of thought in his own mind and life, and until this is done, mere external facts cannot serve as a ground of reasoning.
Circumstances, however, are so complicated, thought is so deeply rooted, and the conditions of happiness vary so vastly with individuals that a man's entire soul-condition although it may be known to himself cannot be judged by another from the external aspect of his life alone. A man may be honest in certain directions, yet suffer privations; a man may be dishonest in certain directions, yet acquire wealth; but the conclusion usually formed that the one man fails because of his particular honesty, and that the other prospers because of his particular dishonesty, is the result of a superficial judgment, which assumes that the dishonest man is almost totally corrupt, and the honest man almost entirely virtuous.
In the light of a deeper knowledge and wider experience such judgment is found to be erroneous. The dishonest man may have some admirable virtues, which the other does, not possess; and the honest man obnoxious vices which are absent in the other.
The honest man reaps the good results of his honest thoughts and acts; he also brings upon himself the sufferings, which his vices produce. The dishonest man likewise garners his own suffering and happiness. It is pleasing to human vanity to believe that one suffers because of one's virtue; but not until a man has extirpated every sickly, bitter, and impure thought from his mind, and washed every sinful stain from his soul, can he be in a position to know and declare that his sufferings are the result of his good, and not of his bad qualities; and on the way to, yet long before he has reached, that supreme perfection, he will have found, working in his mind and life, the Great Law which is absolutely just, and which cannot, therefore, give good for evil, evil for good.
Possessed of such knowledge, he will then know, looking back upon his past ignorance and blindness, that his life is, and always was, justly ordered, and that all his past experiences, good and bad, were the equitable outworking of his evolving, yet unevolved self. Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles. Men understand this law in the natural world, and work with it; but few understand it in the mental and moral world though its operation there is just as simple and undeviating , and they, therefore, do not cooperate with it.
Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the Law of his being.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen: Summary & Quotes
The sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify, to burn out all that is useless and impure. Suffering ceases for him who is pure. There could be no object in burning gold after the dross had been removed, and a perfectly pure and enlightened being could not suffer. The circumstances, which a man encounters with suffering, are the result of his own mental in harmony.
The circumstances, which a man encounters with blessedness, are the result of his own mental harmony. Blessedness, not material possessions, is the measure of right thought; wretchedness, not lack of material possessions, is the measure of wrong thought. A man may be cursed and rich; he may be blessed and poor. Blessedness and riches are only joined together when the riches are rightly and wisely used; and the poor man only descends into wretchedness when he regards his lot as a burden unjustly imposed.
Indigence and indulgence are the two extremes of wretchedness. They are both equally unnatural and the result of mental disorder. A man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy, healthy, and prosperous being; and happiness, health, and prosperity are the result of a harmonious adjustment of the inner with the outer, of the man with his surroundings. A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of discovering the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.
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- As a Man Thinketh / The Path of Prosperity by James Allen.
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- As A Man Thinketh.
- Effect of Thought on Circumstances.
Law, not confusion, is the dominating principle in the universe; justice, not injustice, is the soul and substance of life; and righteousness, not corruption, is the molding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world. This being so, man has but to right himself to find that the universe is right; and during the process of putting himself right he will find that as he alters his thoughts towards things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him.
The proof of this truth is in every person, and it therefore admits of easy investigation by systematic introspection and self-analysis. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. So if you are not pleased with the results you are getting, see what you can learn by assessing and better understanding your thoughts.
In these chapter summaries where I solely utilize quotes from Allen's work it is because I could not think of a different way to express his points or because I felt that they stood very well on their own.
As a Man Thinketh - Wikipedia
Contact us at Book Summaries Looking for a good book? Thought and Character Allen writes that " A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all of his thoughts. Effect of Thought on Circumstances Allen writes that "The outer conditions of a person's life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state. Effects of Thoughts on Health and Body "The body is the servant of the mind.
Thought and Purpose Select quotes: The Thought-Factor in Achievement Allen's opening statement in this chapter: Visions and Ideals "To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to achieve. Serenity "That exquisite poise of character that we call serenity is the last lesson of culture. Previous article - Next article. We aren't responsible for their content. The price of the book is only one shilling, and it can be carried in the pocket. The title is influenced by a verse in the Bible from the Book of Proverbs , chapter 23, verse 7: The full passage, taken from the King James Version , is as follows:.
While the passage suggests that one should consider the true motivations of a person who is being uncharacteristically generous before accepting his generosity, the title and content of Allen's work refer to the reader himself. Allen's essay is now in the public domain within the United States and most other countries. It was released October 1, as a Project Gutenberg e-text edition.
This book, written in terms of the responsibility assumption , opens with the statement:. Chapter 1 starts with the quote from Dhammapada that explains the effect of karma. In the film Rumble Fish the character 'Motorcycle Boy' is reading pages 36—7 in the kitchen.
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