"As a Man Thinketh is written for all those seeking wisdom and tranquility in a turbulent, complex world," suggests its author James Allen.
This clear, concise book has been one of the world's best-selling and most widely loved inspirational works. Allenâ€˜s words have helped millions for more than a century-and they continue to point the way to a better life for all people.
As a Man Thinketh is birthed by the Bible verse from Proverbs chapter 23 verse 7, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is." As Allen expresses it, "Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruit; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry."
Allen explains that what a person thinks about is what he or she becomes. He likens the mind to a garden. What is planted will infallibly be grown into the condition of life. The soil does not care whether the seeds are weeds or flowers. Nature will render whatever is planted. So it is with the mind. Positive thoughts will grow positive results, negative thoughts will spawn negative results:
Allen's words are carefully chosen to speak directly to our innate awareness of our authorship of our own destiny: "He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it. Columbus cherished a vision of another world and he discovered it. Copernicus fostered the vision of a multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it. Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered into it.
"Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts. For out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built. Mind is the master-weaver, both 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."
Thought Creates our Character
Allen declares that our character is the product of our thinking: "A noble and Godlike 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 Godlike thoughts."
Thought Determines Our Circumstances
Allen writes, "Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself."
The author concedes "A man cannot directly choose his circumstances," but Allen submits that "he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances. Nature helps every man to the gratification of the thoughts which he most encourages, and opportunities are presented which will most speedily bring to the surface both the good and evil thoughts."
He offers the example of "a rich man who is the victim of a painful and persistent disease as the result of gluttony. He is willing to give large sums of money to get rid of it, but he will not sacrifice his gluttonous desires. He wants to gratify his taste for rich and unnatural foods and have his health as well. Such a man is totally unfit to have health, because he has not yet learned the first principles of a healthy life."
Thought Establishes Our Health
"The body is the servant of the mind," Allen succinctly asserts. "It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes clothed with youthfulness and beauty. Change of diet will not help a man who will not change his thoughts. When a man makes his thoughts pure, he no longer desires impure food."
Purpose Is Necessary
The author advises, "Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment. They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to worries, fears, troubles, and self-pityings, all of which lead to failure, unhappiness, and loss. Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force."
"The dreamers are the saviors of the world."
Allen emphasizes that "Humanity cannot forget its dreamers. It cannot let their ideals fade and die. It lives in them. It knows them in the realities which it shall one day see and know. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, laboring humanity would perish.
He encourages us to "Dream lofty dreams. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be. Your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil. The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities."
Allen gives the example of "a youth hard pressed by poverty and labor; confined long hours in an unhealthy workshop; unschooled, and lacking all the arts of refinement. But he dreams of better things. Very soon so altered has his mind become that the workshop can no longer hold him. It has become so out of harmony with his mentality that it falls out of his life as a garment is cast aside, and with the growth of opportunities which fit the scope of his expanding powers, he passes out of it forever."
Wisdom Leads to Peace
"As man develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Even the ordinary trader will find his business prosperity increase as he develops a greater self-control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a man whose demeanor is strongly equable."
James Allen shares a powerful call to action: "Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep; wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, â€˜Peace, be still!'"
In the end, he reminds us, "Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are."