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by James Allen
Introduction Chapter 1..........Thought and Character Chapter 2..........Effects of Thought on Circumstances Chapter 3..........Effects of Thought on Health and Body Chapter 4..........Thought and Purpose Chapter ..........The Thought!"actor in #chie$ement Chapter %..........&isions and Ideals Chapter '..........(erenity Mind is the Master-power that molds and makes, And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:-He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: nvironment is !ut his looking-glass"
This little volume $the result of meditation and e%perience& is not intended as an e%haustive treatise on the much-written-upon su!ject of the power of thought" #t is suggestive rather than e%planatory, its o!ject !eing to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the truth that-'They themselves are makers of themselves' !y virtue of the thoughts which they choose and encourage( that mind is the master-weaver, !oth of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness" )ames Allen
Thought #nd Character
The aphorism) *#s a man thin+eth in his heart so is he)* not only em,races the -hole of a man.s ,eing) ,ut is so comprehensi$e as to reach out to e$ery condition and circumstance of his life. # man is literally -hat he thin+s) his character ,eing the complete sum of all his thoughts. #s the plant springs from) and could not ,e -ithout) the seed) so e$ery act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought) and could not ha$e appeared -ithout them. This applies e/ually to those acts called *spontaneous* and *unpremeditated* as to those -hich are deli,erately e0ecuted. #ct is the ,lossom of thought) and 1oy and suffering are its fruit2 thus does a man garner in the s-eet and ,itter fruitage of his o-n hus,andry. 3an is a gro-th ,y la-) and not a creation ,y artifice) and cause and effect are as a,solute and unde$iating in the hidden realm of thought as in the -orld of $isi,le and material things. # no,le and 4od!li+e character is not a thing of fa$or or chance) ,ut is the natural result of continued effort in right thin+ing) the effect of long!cherished association -ith 4od!li+e thoughts. #n igno,le and ,estial character) ,y the same process) is the result of the continued har,oring of gro$eling thoughts. 3an is made or unmade ,y himself. In the armory of thought he forges the -eapons ,y -hich he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools -ith -hich he ,uilds for himself hea$enly mansions of 1oy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought) man ascends to the di$ine perfection. By the a,use and -rong application of thought he descends ,elo- the le$el of the ,east. Bet-een these t-o e0tremes are all the grades of character) and man is their ma+er and master. 5f all the ,eautiful truths pertaining to the soul -hich ha$e ,een restored and ,rought to light in this age) none is more gladdening or fruitful of di$ine
promise and confidence than this!!that man is the master of thought) the molder of character) and the ma+er and shaper of condition) en$ironment) and destiny. #s a ,eing of po-er) intelligence) and lo$e) and the lord of his o-n thoughts) man holds +ey to e$ery situation) and contains -ithin himself that transforming and regenerati$e agency ,y -hich he may ma+e himself -hat he -ills. 3an is al-ays the master) e$en in his -ea+est and most a,andoned state. But in his -ea+ness and degradation he is foolish master -ho misgo$erns his *household.* 6hen he ,egins to reflect upon his condition and search diligently for the la- upon -hich his ,eing is esta,lished) he then ,ecomes the -ise master) directing his energies -ith intelligence and fashioning his thoughts to fruitful issues. (uch is the conscious master) and man can only thus ,ecome ,y disco$ering -ithin himself the la-s of thought. This disco$ery is totally a matter of application) self!analysis and e0perience. 5nly ,y much searching and mining are gold and diamonds o,tained) and man can find e$ery truth connected -ith his ,eing) if he -ill dig deep into the mine of his soul. That he is the ma+er of his character) the molder of his life) and the ,uilder of his destiny) he may unerringly pro$e) if he -ill -atch) control) and alter his thoughts) tracing their effects upon himself) upon others and upon his life and circumstances) lin+ing cause and effect ,y patient practice and in$estigation. #nd utili7ing his e$ery e0perience) e$en the most tri$ial) e$eryday occurrence) as a means of o,taining that +no-ledge of himself -hich is understanding) -isdom) po-er. In this direction is the la- of a,solute that *He that see+eth findeth2 and to him that +noc+eth it shall ,e opened.* "or only ,y patience) practice) and ceaseless importunity can a man enter the door of the temple of +no-ledge.
Effect 5f Thought 5n Circumstances
# man.s mind may ,e li+ened to a garden) -hich may ,e intelligently culti$ated or allo-ed to run -ild2 ,ut -hether culti$ated or neglected) it must) and -ill ,ring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it) then an a,undance of useless -eed!seeds -ill fall therein) and -ill continue to produce their +ind. 8ust as a gardener culti$ates his plot) +eeping it free from -eeds) and gro-ing the flo-ers and fruits -hich he re/uires so may a man tend the garden of his mind) -eeding out all the -rong) useless and impure thoughts) and culti$ating to-ard perfection the flo-ers and fruits of right) useful and pure thoughts. By pursuing this process) a man sooner or later disco$ers that he is the master!gardener of his soul) the director of his life. He also re$eals) -ithin himself) the fla-s of thought) and understands) -ith e$er!increasing accuracy)
ho- the thought!forces and mind elements operate in the shaping of character) circumstances) and destiny. Thought and character are one) and as character can only manifest and disco$er itself through en$ironment and circumstance) the outer conditions of a person.s life -ill al-ays ,e found to ,e harmoniously related to his inner state. This does not mean that a man.s circumstances at any gi$en time are an indication of his entire character) ,ut that those circumstances are so intimately connected -ith some $ital thought!element -ithin himself that) for the time ,eing) they are indispensa,le to his de$elopment. E$ery man is -here he is ,y the la- of his ,eing2 the thoughts -hich he has ,uilt into his character ha$e ,rought him there) and in the arrangement of his life there is no element of chance) ,ut all is the result of a la- -hich cannot err. This is 1ust as true of those -ho feel *out of harmony* -ith their surroundings as of those -ho are contented -ith them. #s a progressi$e and e$ol$ing ,eing) man is -here he is that he may learn that he may gro-2 and as he learns the spiritual lesson -hich any circumstance contains for him) it passes a-ay and gi$es place to other circumstances. 3an is ,uffeted ,y circumstances so long as he ,elie$es himself to ,e the creature of outside conditions) ,ut -hen he reali7es that he is a creati$e po-er) and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his ,eing out of -hich circumstances gro-2 he then ,ecomes the rightful master of himself. That circumstances gro- out of thought e$ery man +no-s -ho has for any length of time practiced self!control and self!purification) for he -ill ha$e noticed that the alteration in his circumstances has ,een in e0act ratio -ith his altered mental condition. (o true is this that -hen a man earnestly applies himself to remedy the defects in his character) and ma+es s-ift and mar+ed progress) he passes rapidly through a succession of $icissitudes. The soul attracts that -hich it secretly har,ors2 that -hich it lo$es) and also that -hich it fears2 it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations2 it falls to the le$el of its unchastened desires and circumstances are the means ,y -hich the soul recei$es it o-n. E$ery thought!seed so-n or allo-ed to fall into the mind) and to ta+e root there) produces its o-n) ,lossoming sooner or later into act) and ,earing its o-n fruitage of opportunity and circumstance. 4ood thoughts ,ear good fruit) ,ad thoughts ,ad fruit. The outer -orld of circumstances shapes itself to the inner -orld of thought) and ,oth pleasant and unpleasant e0ternal conditions are factors -hich ma+e for the ultimate good of the indi$idual. #s the reaper of his o-n har$est) man learns ,oth of suffering and ,liss. "ollo-ing the inmost desires) aspirations) thoughts) ,y -hich he allo-s himself to ,e dominated 9pursuing the -ill!o.!the -isps of impure imaginings or
steadfastly -al+ing the high-ay of strong and high endea$or:) a man at last arri$es at their fruition and fulfillment in the outer conditions of his life. The la-s of gro-th and ad1ustment e$ery-here o,tain. # man does not come to the alms!house or the 1ail ,y the tyranny of fate or circumstance) ,ut ,y the path-ay of gro$elling thoughts and ,ase desires. ;or does a pure!minded man fall suddenly into crime ,y stress of any mere e0ternal force2 the criminal thought had long ,een secretly fostered in the heart) and the hour of opportunity re$ealed its gathered po-er. Circumstance does not ma+e the man2 it re$eals him to himself. ;o such conditions can e0ist as descending into $ice and its attendant sufferings apart from $icious inclinations) or ascending into $irtue and its pure happiness -ithout the continued culti$ation of $irtuous aspirations2 and man) therefore) as the lord and master of thought) is the ma+er of himself and the shaper of and author of en$ironment. E$en at ,irth the soul comes of its o-n and through e$ery step of its earthly pilgrimage it attracts those com,inations of conditions -hich re$eal itself) -hich are the reflections of its o-n purity and impurity) its strength and -ea+ness. 3en do not attract that -hich they -ant) ,ut that -hich they are. Their -hims) fancies) and am,itions are th-arted at e$ery step) ,ut their inmost thoughts and desires are fed -ith their o-n food) ,e it foul or clean. 3an is manacled only ,y himself2 thought and action are the 1ailors of "ate!!they imprison) ,eing ,ase2 they are also the angels of "reedom!!they li,erate) ,eing no,le. ;ot -hat he -ished and prays for does a man get) ,ut -hat he 1ustly earns. His -ishes and prayers are only gratified and ans-ered -hen they harmoni7e -ith his thoughts and actions. In the light of this truth -hat) then) is the meaning of *fighting against circumstances*< It means that a man is continually re$olting against an effect -ithout) -hile all the time he is nourishing and preser$ing its cause in his heart. That cause may ta+e the form of a conscious $ice or an unconscious -ea+ness2 ,ut -hate$er it is) it stu,,ornly retards the efforts of it possessor) and thus calls aloud for remedy. 3en are an0ious to impro$e their circumstances) ,ut are un-illing to impro$e themsel$es2 they therefore remain ,ound. The man -ho does not shrin+ from self!crucifi0ion can ne$er fail to accomplish the o,1ect upon -hich his heart is set. This is as true of earthly as of hea$enly things. E$en the man -hose sole o,1ect is to ac/uire -ealth must ,e prepared to ma+e great personal sacrifices ,efore he can accomplish his o,1ect2 and ho- much more so he -ho -ould reali7e a strong and -ell!poised life< It is pleasing to human $anity to ,elie$e that one suffers ,ecause of one.s $irtue2 ,ut not until a man has e0tirpated e$ery sic+ly) ,itter) and impure thought from his soul) can he ,e in a position to +no- and declare that his sufferings are the result of his good) and not of his ,ad /ualities2 and on the -ay to) yet long
,efore he has reached that supreme perfection ) he -ill ha$e found) -or+ing in his mind and life) the great la- -hich is a,solutely 1ust) and -hich cannot) therefore) gi$e good for e$il) e$il for good. Possessed of such +no-ledge) he -ill then +no-) loo+ing ,ac+ upon his past ignorance and ,lindness) that his life is) and al-ays -as) 1ustly ordered) and that all his past e0periences) good and ,ad) -ere the e/uita,le out-or+ing of his e$ol$ing) yet une$ol$ed self. 4ood thoughts and actions can ne$er produce ,ad results2 ,ad thoughts and actions can ne$er produce good results. This is ,ut saying that nothing can come from corn ,ut corn) nothing from nettles ,ut nettles. 3en understand this la- in the natural -orld) and -or+ -ith it2 ,ut fe- understand it in the mental and moral -orld 9though its operation there is 1ust as simple and unde$iating:) and they) therefore) do not cooperate -ith it. (uffering is al-ays the effect of -rong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the indi$idual is out of harmony -ith himself) -ith the la- of his ,eing. The sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify) to ,urn out all that is useless and impure. (uffering ceases for him -ho is pure. There could ,e no o,1ect in ,urning gold after the dross had ,een remo$ed) and a perfectly pure and enlightened ,eing could not suffer. The circumstances -hich a man encounters -ith suffering are the result of his o-n mental inharmony. The circumstances -hich a man encounters -ith ,lessedness are the result of his o-n mental harmony. Blessedness) not material possessions) is the measure of right thought2 -retchedness) not lac+ of material possessions) is the measure of -rong thought. # man may ,e cursed and rich2 he may ,e ,lessed and poor. Blessedness and riches are only 1oined together -hen the riches are rightly and -isely used. #nd the poor man only descends into -retchedness -hen he regards his lot as a ,urden un1ustly imposed. Indigence and indulgence are the t-o e0tremes of -retchedness. They are ,oth e/ually unnatural and the result of mental disorder. # man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy) healthy) and prosperous ,eing2 and happiness) health) and prosperity are the result of a harmonious ad1ustment of the inner -ith the outer of the man -ith his surroundings. # man only ,egins to ,e a man -hen he ceases to -hine and re$ile) and commences to search for the hidden 1ustice -hich regulates his life. #nd he adapts his mind to that regulating factor) he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition) and ,uilds himself up in strong and no,le thoughts2 ceases to +ic+ against circumstances) ,ut ,eings to use them as aids to his more rapid progress) and as a means of disco$ering the hidden po-ers and possi,ilities -ithin himself. =a-) not confusion) is the dominating principle in the uni$erse2 1ustice) not in1ustice) is the soul and su,stance of life. >ighteousness) not corruption) is the molding and mo$ing force in the spiritual go$ernment of the -orld. This ,eing
so) man has ,ut to right himself to find that the uni$erse is right. #nd during the process of putting himself right) he -ill find that as he alters his thoughts to-ards things and other people) things and other people -ill alter to-ards him. The proof of this truth is in e$ery person) and it therefore admits of easy in$estigation ,y systematic introspection and self!analysis. =et a man radically alter his thoughts) and he -ill ,e astonished at the rapid transformation it -ill effect in the material conditions of his life. 3en imagine that thought can ,e +ept secret) ,ut it cannot. It rapidly crystalli7es into ha,it) and ha,it solidifies into circumstance. Bestial thoughts crystalli7e into ha,its of drun+enness and sensuality) -hich solidify into circumstances of destitution and disease. Impure thoughts of e$ery +ind crystalli7e into ener$ating and confusing ha,its) -hich solidify into distracting and ad$erse circumstances. Thoughts of fear) dou,t) and indecision crystalli7e into -ea+) unmanly) and irresolute ha,its) -hich solidify into circumstances of failure) indigence) and sla$ish dependence. =a7y thoughts crystalli7e into -ea+) ha,its of uncleanliness and dishonesty) -hich solidify into circumstances of foulness and ,eggary. Hateful and condemnatory thoughts crystalli7e into ha,its of accusation and $iolence) -hich solidify into circumstances of in1ury and persecution. (elfish thoughts of all +inds crystalli7e into ha,its of self!see+ing) -hich solidify into distressful circumstances. 5n the other hand) ,eautiful thoughts of all +inds crystalli7e into ha,its of grace and +indliness) -hich solidify into genial and sunny circumstances. Pure thoughts crystalli7e into ha,its of temperance and self!control) -hich solidify into circumstances of repose and peace. Thoughts of courage) self!reliance) and decision crystalli7e into manly ha,its) -hich solidify into circumstances of success) plenty) and freedom. Energetic thoughts crystalli7e into ha,its of cleanliness and industry) -hich solidify into circumstances of pleasantness. 4entle and forgi$ing thoughts crystalli7e into ha,its of gentleness) -hich solidify into protecti$e and preser$ati$e circumstances. =o$ing and unselfish thoughts -hich solidify into circumstances of sure and a,iding prosperity and true riches. # particular train of thought persisted in) ,e it good or ,ad) cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances. # man cannot directly choose his circumstances) ,ut he can choose his thoughts) and so indirectly) yet surely) shape his circumstances. ;ature helps e$ery man to gratification of the thoughts -hich he most encourages) and opportunities are presented -hich -ill most speedily ,ring to the surface ,oth the good and the e$il thoughts. =et a man cease from his sinful thoughts) and all the -orld -ill soften to-ards him) and ,e ready to help him. =et him put a-ay his -ea+ly and sic+ly thoughts) and the opportunities -ill spring up on e$ery hand to aid his strong resol$es. =et him encourage good thoughts) and no hard fate shall ,ind him do-n to -retchedness and shame. The -orld is your +aleidoscope) and the $arying
com,inations of colors -hich at e$ery succeeding moment it presents to you are the e0/uisitely ad1usted pictures of your e$er!mo$ing thoughts.
Effects 5f Thoughts 5n Health #nd Body
The ,ody is the ser$ant of the mind. It o,eys the operations of the mind) -hether they ,e deli,erately chosen or automatically e0pressed. #t the ,idding of unla-ful thoughts the ,ody sin+s rapidly into disease and decay2 at the command of glad and ,eautiful thoughts it ,ecomes clothed -ith youthfulness and ,eauty . ?isease and health) li+e circumstances) are rooted in thought. (ic+ly thoughts -ill e0press themsel$es through a sic+ly ,ody. Thoughts of fear ha$e ,een +no-n to +ill a man as speedily as a ,ullet and they are continually +illing thousands of people 1ust as surely though less rapidly. The people -ho li$e in fear of disease are the people -ho get it. #n0iety /uic+ly demorali7es the -hole ,ody) and lays it open to the entrance of disease2 -hile impure thoughts) e$en if not physically indulged) -ill sooner shatter the ner$ous system. (trong pure) and happy thoughts ,uild up the ,ody in $igor and grace. The ,ody is a delicate and plastic instrument) -hich responds readily to the thoughts ,y -hich it is impressed) and ha,its of thought -ill produce their o-n effects) good or ,ad) upon it. 3en -ill continue to ha$e impure and poisoned ,lood) so long as they propagate unclean thoughts. 5ut of a clean heart comes a clean life and a clean ,ody. 5ut of a defiled mind proceeds a defiled life and a corrupt ,ody. Thought is the fount of action) life and manifestation2 ma+e the fountain pure) and all -ill ,e pure. Change of diet -ill not help a man -ho -ill not change his thoughts. 6hen a man ma+es his thoughts pure) he no longer desires impure food. Clean thoughts ma+e clean ha,its. The so!called saint -ho does not -ash his ,ody is not a saint. He -ho has strengthened and purified his thoughts does not need to consider the male$olent. If you -ould perfect your ,ody) guard your mind. If you -ould rene- your ,ody) ,eautify your mind. Thoughts of malice) en$y) and disappointment) despondency) ro, the ,ody of its health and grace. # sour face does not come ,y chance2 it is made ,y sour thoughts. 6rin+les that mar are dra-n ,y folly) passion) pride. I +no- a -oman of ninety!si0 -ho has the ,right) innocent face of a girl. I +no- a man -ell under middle age -hose face is dra-n into in harmonious contours. The one is the result of a s-eet and sunny disposition2 the other is the outcome of passion and discontent. #s you cannot ha$e a s-eet and -holesome a,ode unless you admit the air
and sunshine freely into your rooms) so a strong ,ody and a ,right) happy) or serene countenance can only result from the free admittance into the mind of thoughts of 1oy and good-ill and serenity. 5n the faces of the aged there are -rin+les made ,y sympathy others ,y strong and pure thought) and others are car$ed ,y passion2 -ho cannot distinguish them< 6ith those -ho ha$e li$ed righteously) age is calm) peaceful) and softly mello-ed) li+e the setting sun. I ha$e recently seen a philosopher on his death!,ed. He -as not old e0cept in years. He died as s-eetly and peacefully as he had li$ed. There is no physician li+e cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the ,ody2 there is no comforter to compare -ith good-ill for dispersing the shado-s of grief and sorro-. To li$e continually in thoughs of ill!-ill) cynicism) suspicion) and en$y) is to ,e confined in a self!made prison hole. But to thin+ -ell of all) to ,e cheerful -ith all) to patiently learn to find the good in all!!such unselfish thoughts are the $ery portals of hea$en2 and to d-ell day ,y day in thoughts of peace to-ard e$ery creature -ill ,ring a,ounding peace to their possessor.
Thought #nd Purpose
@ntil thought is lin+ed -ith purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment. 6ith the ma1ority the ,ar+ of thought is allo-ed to *drift* upon the ocean of life. #imlessness is a $ice) and such drifting must not continue for him -ho -ould street clear of catastrophe and destruction. They -ho ha$e no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty -orries) fears) trou,les) and self!pityings) all of -hich are indications of -ea+ness) -hich lead) 1ust as surely as deli,erately planned sins 9though ,y a diff route:) to failure) unhappyness) and loss) for -ea+ness cannot persist in a po-er! e$ol$ing uni$erse. # man should concei$e of a legitimate purpose in his heart) and set out to accomplish it. He should ma+e this purpose the centrali7ing point of his thoughts. It may ta+e the form of a spiritual ideal) or it may ,e a -orldly o,1ect) according to his nature at the time ,eing. 6hiche$er it is) he should steadily focus his thought!forces upon the o,1ect he had set ,efore him. He should ma+e this purpose his supreme duty and should de$ote himself to its attainment) not allo-ing his thoughts to -ander a-ay into ephemeral fancies) longings) and imaginings. This is the royal road to self!control and true concentration of thought. E$en if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose!!as he must until -ea+ness is o$ercome!!the strength of character gained -ill ,e the measure of his true success) and this -ill form a ne- starting point for future po-er and
triumph. Those -ho are not prepared for the apprehension of a great purpose) should fi0 the thoughts upon the faultless performance of their duty) no matter hoinsignificant their tas+ may appear. 5nly in this -ay can the thoughts ,e gathered and focussed) and resolution and energy ,e de$eloped. 5nce this is done) there is nothing -hich may not ,e accomplished. The -ea+est soul +no-ing its o-n -ea+ness) and ,elie$ing this truth!!that strength can only ,e de$eloped ,y effort and practice!!-ill) thus ,elie$ing) at once ,egin to e0ert itself. #nd) adding effort to effort) patience to patience) and strength to strength) -ill ne$er cease to de$elop and -ill at last gro- di$inely strong. #s the physically -ea+ man can ma+e himself strong ,y careful and patient training) so the man of -ea+ thoughts can ma+e them strong ,y e0ercising himself in right thin+ing. To put a-ay aimlessness and -ea+ness and to ,egin to thin+ -ith purpose is to enter the ran+s of those strong ones -ho only recogni7e failure as one of the path-ays to attainment. 6ho ma+e all conditions ser$e them) and -ho thin+ strongly) attempt fearlessly) and accomplish masterfully. Ha$ing concei$ed of his purpose) a man should mentally mar+ out a straight path-ay to its achie$ement) loo+ing neither to the right nor left. ?ou,ts and fears should ,e rigorously e0cluded. They are disintegrating elements -hich ,rea+ up the straight line of effort) rendering it croo+ed) ineffectual) useless. Thoughts of dou,t and fear can ne$er accomplish anything. They al-ays lead to failure. Purpose) energy) po-er to do) and all strong thoughts cease -hen dou,t and fear creep in. The -ill to do springs from the +no-ledge that -e can do. ?ou,t and fear are the great enemies of +no-ledge) and he -ho encourages them) -ho does not slay them) th-arts himself at e$ery step. He -ho has con/uered dou,t and fear has con/uered failure. His e$ery thought is allied -ith po-er) and all difficulties are ,ra$ely met and o$ercome. His purposes are seasona,ly planted) and they ,loom and ,ring forth fruit that does not fall prematurely to the ground. Thought allied fearlessly to purpose ,ecomes creati$e force. He -ho +no-s this is ready to ,ecome something higher and stronger than a ,undle of -a$ering thoughts and fluctuating sensations. He -ho does this has ,ecome the conscious and intelligent -ielder of his mental po-ers.
The Thought!"actor In #chie$ement
#ll that a man achie$es and all that he fails to achie$e is the direct result of his o-n thoughts. In a 1ustly ordered uni$erse) -here loss of e/uipoise -ould mean total destruction) indi$idual responsi,ility must ,e a,solute. # man.s -ea+ness and strength) purity and impurity) are his o-n and not another man.s. They are ,rought a,out ,y himself and not ,y another2 and they can only ,e altered ,y himself) ne$er ,y another. His condition is also his o-n) and not another man.s. His sufferings and his happiness are e$ol$ed from -ithin. #s he thin+s) so is he2 as he continues to thin+) so he remains. # strong man cannot help a -ea+er unless that -ea+er is -illing to ,e helped. #nd e$en then the -ea+ man must ,ecome strong of himself. He must) ,y his o-n efforts) de$elop the strength -hich he admires in another. ;one ,ut himself can alter his condition. It has ,een usual for men to thin+ and to say) *3any men are sla$es ,ecause one is an oppressor2 let us hate the oppressorA* But there is amongst an increasing fe- a tendency to re$erse this 1udgement and to say) *5ne man is an oppressor ,ecause many are sla$es2 let us despise the sla$es.* The truth is that oppressor and sla$es are cooperators in ignorance) and) -hile seeming to afflict each other) are in reality) afflicting themsel$es. # perfect +no-ledge percei$es the action of la- in the -ea+ness of the oppressed and the misapplied po-er of the oppressor. # perfect lo$e) seeing the suffering -hich ,oth states entail) condemns neither2 a perfect compassion em,races ,oth oppressor and oppressed. He -ho has con/uered -ea+ness and has pushed a-ay all selfish thoughts ,elongs neither to oppressor nor oppressed. He is free. # man can only rise) con/uer) and achie$e ,y lifting up his thoughts. He can only remain -ea+) a,1ect) and misera,ly ,y refusing to lift up his thoughts. Before a man can achie$e anything) e$en in -orldly things) he must lift his thoughts a,o$e sla$ish animal indulgence. He may not) in order to succeed) gi$e up all animality and selfishness) necessarily) ,ut a portion of it must) at least) ,e sacrificed. # man -hose first thought is ,estial indulgence could neither thin+ clearly nor plan methodically. He could not find and de$elop his latent resources and -ould fail in any underta+ing. ;ot ha$ing ,egun to manfully control his thoughts) he is not in a position to control affairs and to adopt serious responsi,ilities. He is not fit to act independently and stand alone. But he is limited only ,y the thoughts that he chooses. There can ,e no progress nor achie$ement -ithout sacrifice) and a man.s -orldly success -ill ,e ,y the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts) and fi0es his mind on the de$elopment of his plans) and the strengthening of his resolution and self!reliance. The higher his he lifts his thoughts) the greater -ill ,e his success) the more ,lessed and enduring -ill ,e his achie$ements. The uni$erse does not fa$or the greedy) the dishonest) the $icious... although
on the mere surface it sometimes may appear to do so. It helps the honest) the magnanimous) the $irtuous. #ll the great teachers of the ages ha$e declared this in $arying -ays) and to pro$e it and to +no- it a man has ,ut to persist in ma+ing himself increasingly $irtuous ,y lifting his thoughts. Intellectual achie$ements are the result of thought consecrated to the search for +no-ledge or for the ,eautiful and true in nature. (uch achie$ements may sometimes ,e connected -ith $anity and am,ition) ,ut they are not the outcome of those characteristics. They are the natural outgro-th of long and arduous effort) and of pure and unselfish thoughts. (piritual achie$ements are the consummation of holy aspirations. He -ho li$es constantly in the conception of no,le and lofty thoughts) -ho d-ells upon all that is pure and selfless) -ill) as surely as the sun reaches its 7enith and the moon its full) ,ecome -ise and no,le in character and rise into a position of influence and ,lessedness. #chie$ement of any +ind is the cro-n of effort) the diadem of thought. By the aid of self!control) resolution) purity) righteousness) and -ell!directed thought a man ascends. By the aid of animality) indolence) impurity) corruption) and confusion of thought a man descends. # may may rise to high success in the -orld) e$en to lofty attitudes in the spiritual realm) and again descend into -ea+ness and -retchedness ,y allo-ing arrogant) selfish) and corrupt thoughts to ta+e possession of him. &ictories attained ,y right thought can ,e maintained only ,y -atchfulness. 3any gi$e -ay -hen success is assured) and rapidly fall ,ac+ into failure. #ll achie$ements) -hether in the ,usiness) intellectual) or spiritual -orld) are the result of definitely directed thought) are go$erned ,y the same la-) and are of the same method. The only difference is in the o,1ect of attainment. He -ho -ould accomplish little need sacrifice little2 he -ould -ould achie$e much must sacrifice much. He -ho -ould attain highly must sacrifice greatly.
&isions #nd Ideals
The dreamers are the sa$iors of the -orld. #s the $isi,le -orld is sustained ,y the in$isi,le) so men) through all their trials and sins and sordid $ocations) are nourished ,y the ,eautiful $isions of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers2 it cannot let their ideals fade and die2 it li$es in them2 it +no-s them as the realities -hich it shall one day see and +no-. Composer) sculptor) painter) poet) prophet) sage!!these are the ma+ers of the after!-orld) the architects of hea$en. The -orld is ,eautiful ,ecause they ha$e li$ed. 6ithout them) la,oring humanity -ould perish. He -ho cherishes a ,eautiful $ision) a lofty ideal in his heart) -ill one day
reali7e it. Colum,us cherished a $ision of another -orld and he disco$ered it. Copernicus fostered the $ision of a multiplicity of -orlds and a -ider uni$erse) and he re$ealed it. Buddha ,eheld the $ision of a spiritual -orld of stainless ,eauty and perfect peace) and he entered into it. Cherish your $isions2 cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart) the ,eauty that forms in your mind) the lo$eliness that drapes your purest thoughts. "or out of them -ill gro- all delightful conditions) all hea$enly en$ironment2 of these) if you ,ut remain true to them) your -orld -ill at last ,e ,uilt. To desire is to o,tain2 to aspire is to achie$e. (hall man.s ,asest desires recei$e the fullest measure of gratification) and his purest aspirations star$e for lac+ of sustenance< (uch is not the =a-. (uch a condition can ne$er o,tainB *#s+ and recei$e.* ?ream lofty dreams) and as you dream) so shall you ,ecome. Cour $ision is the promise of -hat you shall one day ,e2 your ideal is the prophecy of -hat you shall at last un$eil. The greatest achie$ement -as at first and for a time a dream. The oa+ sleeps in the acorn2 the ,ird -aits in the egg. #nd in the highest $ision of a soul a -a+ing angle stirs. ?reams are the seedlings of realities. Cour circumstances may ,e uncongenial) ,ut they shall not remain so if you only percei$e an ideal and stri$e to reach it. Cou can.t tra$el -ithin and stand still -ithout. Here is a youth hard pressed ,y po$erty and la,or. Confined long hours in an unhealthy -or+shop2 unschooled and lac+ing all the arts of refinement. But he dreams of ,etter things. He thin+s of intelligence) or refinement) of grace and ,eauty. He concei$es of) mentally ,uilds up) an ideal condition of life. The -ider li,erty and a larger scope ta+es possession of him2 unrest urges him to action) and he uses all his spare times and means to the de$elopment of his latent po-ers and resources. &ery soon so altered has his mind ,ecome that the -or+shop can no longer hold him. It has ,ecome so out of harmony -ith his mind!set that it falls out of his life as a garment is cast aside. #nd -ith the gro-th of opportunities that fit the scope of his e0panding po-ers) he passes out of it altogether. Cears later -e see this youth as a gro-n man. 6e find him a master of certain forces of the mind that he -ields -ith -orld!-ide influence and almost une/ualed po-er. In his hands he holds the cords of gigantic responsi,ilities2 he spea+s and li$es are changed2 men and -omen hang upon his -ords and remold their characters. (un!li+e) he ,ecomes the fi0ed and uminous center around -hich innumera,le destinies re$ol$e. He has ,ecome the $ision of his youth. He has ,ecome one -ith his ideal. #nd you too) youthful reader) -ill reali7e the $ision 9not 1ust the idle -ish: of your heart) ,e it ,ase or ,eautiful) or a mi0ture of ,oth. "or you -ill al-ays gra$itate to-ard that -hich you) secretly) most lo$e. Into your hands -ill ,e
placed the e0act results of your o-n thoughts. Cou -ill recei$e that -hich you earn2 no more) no less. 6hate$er your present en$ironment may ,e) you -ill fall) remain) or rise -ith your thoughts!!your $ision) your ideal. Cou -ill ,ecome as small as your controlling desire2 as great as your dominant aspiration. The thoughtless) the ignorant) and the indolent) seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themsel$es) tal+ of luc+) of fortune) and chance. (eeing a man gro- rich) they say) *Ho- luc+y he isA* 5,ser$ing another ,ecome s+illed intellectually) they e0claim) *Ho- highly fa$ored he isA* #nd noting the saintly character and -ide influence of another) they remar+) *Hochance helps him at e$ery turnA* They do not see the trials and failures and struggles -hich these men ha$e encountered in order to gain their e0perience. They ha$e no +no-ledge of the sacrifices they ha$e made) of the undaunted efforts they ha$e put forth) of the faith they ha$e e0ercised so that they might o$ercome the apparently insurmounta,le and reali7e the $ision of their heart. They do not +no- the dar+ness and the heartaches2 they only see the light and 1oy) and call it *luc+.* ?o not see the long) arduous 1ourney) ,ut only ,ehold the pleasant goal and call it *good fortune.* ?o not understand the process) ,ut only percei$e the result) and call it *chance.* In all human affairs there are efforts) and there are results. The strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Change is not. 4ifts) po-ers) material) intellectual) and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort. They are thoughts completed) o,1ecti$es accomplished) $isions reali7ed. The $ision that you glorify in your mind) the ideal that you enthrone in your heart!!this you -ill ,uild your life ,y2 this you -ill ,ecome.
Calmness of mind is one of the ,eautiful 1e-els of -isdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self!control. Its presence is an indication of ripened e0perience) and of a more than ordinary +no-ledge of the la-s and operations of thought. # man ,ecomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought!e$ol$ed ,eing. "or such +no-ledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought) and as he de$elops a right understanding) and sees e$er more clearly the internal relations of things ,y the action of cause and effect) he ceases to fuss) fume) -orry) and grie$e. He remains poised) steadfast) serene. The calm man) ha$ing learned ho- to go$ern himself) +no-s ho- to adapt himself to others. #nd they) in turn re$erence his spiritual strength. They feel that they can learn from him and rely upon him. The more tran/uil a man ,ecomes) the greater is his success) his influence) his po-er for good. E$en the ordinary
trader -ill find his ,usiness prosperity increase as he de$elops a greater self! control and e/uanimity) for people -ill al-ays prefer to deal -ith a man -hose demeanor is e/uita,le. The strong) calm man is al-ays lo$ed and re$ered. He is li+e a shade!gi$ing tree in a thirsty land) or a sheltering roc+ in a storm. 6ho does not lo$e a tran/uil heart< a s-eet!tempered) ,alanced life< It does not matter -hether it rains or shines) or -hat changes come to those -ho possess these ,lessings. "or they are al-ays serene and calm. That e0/uisite poise of character that -e call serenity is the last lesson of culture. It is the flo-ering of life) the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as -isdom!!more desira,le than fine gold. Ho- insignificant mere money!see+ing loo+s in comparison -ith a serene life. # life that d-ells in the ocean of truth) ,eneath the -a$es) ,eyond the reach of the tempests) in the eternal calmA Ho- many people -e +no- -ho sour their li$es) -ho ruin all that is s-eet and ,eautiful ,y e0plosi$e tempers) -ho destroy their poise of character and ma+e ,ad ,loodA It is a /uestion -hether the great ma1ority of people do not ruin their li$es and mar their happiness ,y lac+ of self!control. Ho- fe- people -e meet in life -ho are -ell ,alanced) -ho ha$e that e0/uisite poise -hich is characteristic of the finished character.* Ces) humanity surges -ith uncontrolled passion) is tumultuous -ith ungo$erned grief) is ,lo-n a,out ,y an0iety and dou,t. 5nly the -ise man) only he -hose thoughts are controlled and purified) ma+es the -inds and the storms of the soul o,ey him. Tempest!tossed souls) -here$er you may ,e) under -hate$er conditions you may li$e) +no- thisB In the ocean of life the isles of ,lessedness are smiling and the sunny shore of your ideal a-aits your coming. Deep your hands firmly upon the helm of thought. In the core of your soul reclines the commanding 3aster2 He does ,ut sleep2 -a+e Him. (elf!control is strength. >ight thought is mastery. Calmness is po-er. (ay unto your heart) *Peace. Be still.* THE E;?
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