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Adapted (slightly) from As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. SpiritSite.com adaptation is copyright © by SpiritSite.com. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com. Please note: the "Buy the Book" link links to the original text, not the SpiritSite.com adaptation.
"Man can find every truth connected with his being if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul."
As a Man Thinketh, Part 1
Thought and Character
The aphorism, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," (Proverbs 23:7) not only describes a manís inner character, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
As the plant springs from the seed, and could not be without it, so every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts which are called "spontaneous" as to those which are deliberately executed.
Actions are the blossoms of thought, and both joy and suffering are their fruits; thus does a man gather the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own choices.
"If a man's mind has evil thoughts, pain comes on him as the wheel comes behind the ox...but if one endures in purity of thought, joy follows him as surely as his own shadow." (Buddhist scripture)
Man grows according to high laws; he is not a creation of chance. Cause and effect are as stable in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things. A noble and God-like character is not a thing of favor or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with God-like thoughts. A low and bestial character, by the same process, is the result of the continued harboring of groveling thoughts.
A manís life is made or unmade by his thinking. In the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he can build heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the divine perfection. By the abuse and wrong application of thought he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their chooser and master.
Of all the beautiful truths 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: man is the master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.
As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, man holds a key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may bring himself to peace.
Man is always the master, even in his weakest and most abandoned state. But in his weakness and degradation he is foolish master who misgoverns his house. When he begins to reflect upon his condition and search diligently for the law upon which his being is established, he then becomes the wise master, directing his energies with intelligence and fashioning his thoughts to inspired aims. Such is the conscious master, and man can only become this by discovering within himself the laws of thought. This discovery is simply a matter of application, self-discovery and experience.
Only by much searching and mining are gold and diamonds obtained, and man can find every truth connected with his being if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul. That he is the maker of his character, the molder of his life, and the builder of his destiny, he may unerringly prove, if he will watch, control, and alter his thoughts, tracing their effects upon himself and his life and circumstances.
And using his every experience--even the most trivial, everyday occurrence--as a means of obtaining knowledge, he will at last find understanding, wisdom, power. And he will see the working of the absolute law that "He that seeks shall find; and to him that knocks it shall be opened." (Matthew 7:8) For only by patience, practice, and ceaseless effort can a man enter the door of the temple of knowledge.