Let a man abandon self, let him overcome the world, let him deny the personal; by this pathway only can he enter into the heart of the Infinite.
"Goodwill gives insight," and only he who has so conquered his personality that he has but one attitude of mind, that of goodwill, is possessed of divine insight, and is capable of distinguishing the true from the false. The supremely good man is, therefore, the wise man, the divine man, the enlightened seer, the knower of the Eternal. Where you find unbroken gentleness, enduring patience, sublime lowliness, graciousness of speech, self-control, self-forgetfulness, and deep and abounding sympathy, look there for the highest wisdom, seek the company of such a one, for he has realized the Divine, he lives with the Eternal, he has become one with the Infinite. Those who are spiritually awakened have alone comprehended the Universal Reality where all appearances are dispersed and dreaming and delusion are destroyed.
To center one’s life in the Great Law of Love is to enter into rest, harmony, peace.
Man is; and as he thinks, so he is.
Man's life is actual; his thoughts are actual; his deeds are actual. To occupy ourselves with the investigation of things that are, is the way of wisdom. Man, considered as above, beyond, and separate from, mind and thought, is speculative and not actual, and to occupy ourselves with the study of things that are not, is the way of folly.
Man cannot be separated from his mind; his life cannot be separated from his thoughts. Mind, thought, and life are as inseparable as light, radiance, and color. The facts are all-sufficient, and contain within themselves the ground-work of all knowledge concerning them.
To live is to think and act, and to think and act is to change.
Man as mind is subject to change. He is not something "made" and finally completed, but has within him the capacity for progress.
The purification of the heart, the thinking of right thoughts, and the doing of good deeds—what are they but calls to a higher, nobler mode of thought energizing forces urging men to effort in the choosing of thoughts which shall lift them into realms of greater power, greater good, greater bliss?
Aspiration, meditation, devotion—these are the chief means which men in all ages employ to reach up to higher modes of thought, wider airs of peace, vaster realms of knowledge, for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he; he is saved from himself—from his own folly and suffering by creating within, new habits of thought; by becoming a new thinker, a new man.
Man’s being is modified by every thought he thinks. Every experience affects his character.
Self and error are synonymous.
Error is involved in the darkness of unfathomable complexity, but eternal simplicity is the glory of Truth.
Love of self shuts men out from Truth, and seeking their own personal happiness they lose the deeper, purer, and more abiding bliss. Says Carlyle, " There is in man a higher than happiness. He can do without happiness, and instead thereof find blessedness...Love not pleasure, love God. This is the Everlasting Yea, wherein all contradiction is solved; wherein whosoever walks and works, it is well with him."
He who has yielded up that self, that personality that most men love, and to which they cling with such fierce tenacity has left behind him all perplexity, and has entered into a simplicity so profoundly simple as to be looked upon by the world, involved as it is in a network of error, as foolishness.
At rest in the Infinite.
The region of Reality. Unchanging principle.
When a man has yielded up his lusts, his errors, his opinions and prejudices, he has entered into possession of the knowledge of God, having slain the selfish desire for heaven, and along with it the ignorant fear of hell; having relinquished even the love of life itself, he has gained supreme bliss and Life Eternal, the Life which bridges life and death, and knows its own immortality. Having yielded up all without reservation, he has gained all, and rests in peace on the bosom of the Infinite.
Only he who has become so free from self as to be equally content to be annihilated as to live, or to live as to be annihilated, is fit to enter into the Infinite. Only he who, ceasing to trust his perishable self, has learned to trust in boundless measure the Great Law, the Supreme Good, is prepared to partake of undying bliss.
By the surrender of self all difficulties are overcome.
There is no more regret, nor disappointment, nor remorse, where all selfishness has ceased.
The spirit of Love which is manifested as a perfect and rounded life is the crown of being and the supreme end of knowledge upon this earth. How does a man act under trial and temptation? Many men boast of being in possession of Truth who are continually swayed by grief, disappointment, and passion, and who sink under the first little trial that comes along. Truth is nothing if not unchangeable, and in so far as a man takes his stand upon Truth does he become steadfast in virtue, does he rise superior to his passions and emotions and changeable personality.
Men formulate perishable dogmas, and call them Truth. Truth cannot be formulated; it is ineffable, and ever beyond the reach of intellect. It can only be experienced by practice; it can only be manifested in a stainless heart and a perfect life.
He who is patient, calm, and forgiving under all circumstances manifests the Truth.
Practice heart-virtue, and search humbly and diligently for the Truth.
Truth will never be proved by wordy arguments and learned treatises, for if men do not perceive the Truth in infinite patience, undying forgiveness, and all-embracing compassion, no words can ever prove it to them.
It is an easy matter for the passionate to be calm and patient when they are in the midst of calmness, or when they are alone. It is equally easy for the uncharitable to be gentle and kind when they are dealt kindly with, but he who retains his patience and calmness under all trial, who remains sublimely meek and gentle under the most trying circumstances, he, and he alone, is possessed of the spotless Truth. And this is so because such lofty virtues belong to the Divine, and can only be manifested by one who has attained to the highest wisdom, who has relinquished his passionate and self-seeking nature, who has realized the supreme and unchangeable Law, and has brought himself into harmony with it.
There is one great all-embracing Law which is the foundation of the universe, the Law of Love.
To become possessed of a knowledge of the Law of Love, to enter into conscious harmony with it, is to become immortal, invincible, indestructible.
It is because of the effort of the soul to realize this Law that men come again and again to live, to suffer, and to die; and when realized, suffering ceases, personality is dispersed, and the fleshly life and death are destroyed, for consciousness becomes one with the Eternal.
The Law is absolutely impersonal, and its highest manifested expression is that of Service. When the purified heart has realized Truth, it is then called upon to make the last, the greatest, and holiest sacrifice, the sacrifice of the well-earned enjoyment of Truth. It is by virtue of this sacrifice that the divinely-emancipated soul comes to dwell amongst the lowliest and least, and to be esteemed the servant of all mankind.
The Spirit of Love is alone singled out as worthy to receive the unstinted worship of posterity.
Truth cannot be limited.
The glory alike of the saint, the sage, and the savior is this—that he has realized the most profound lowliness, the most sublime unselfishness; having given up all, even his own personality, all his works are holy and enduring, for they are freed from every taint of self. He gives, yet never thinks of receiving; he works, yet without regretting the past or anticipating the future, and never looks for reward.
When the farmer has tilled and dressed his land and put in the seed, he knows that he has done all that he can possibly do, and that now he must trust to the elements, and wait patiently for the course of time to bring about the harvest, and that no amount of expectancy on his part will affect the result, liven so, he who has realized the Truth goes forth as a sower of the seeds of goodness, purity, love, and peace, without expectancy, and never looking for results, knowing that there is the Great Over-ruling Law which brings about its own harvest in due time, and which is alike the source of preservation and destruction.
Every holy man became such by unremitting perseverance in self-sacrifice.
He who enters upon the holy way begins by restraining his passions.
What the saints, sages, and saviors have accomplished, you likewise may accomplish if you will only tread the way which they trod and pointed out, the way of self-sacrifice, of self-denying service. Truth is very simple. It says, "Give up self," " Come unto Me" (away from all that defiles) "and I will give you rest." All the mountains of commentary that have been piled upon it cannot hide it from the heart that is earnestly seeking for righteousness. It does not require learning; it can be known in spite of learning. Disguised under many forms by erring, self-seeking men, the beautiful simplicity and clear transparency of Truth remains unaltered and undimmed, and the unselfish heart enters into and partakes of its shining radiance. Not by weaving complex theories, not by building up speculative philosophies, is Truth realized; but by weaving the web of inward purity, by building up the Temple of a stainless life, is Truth realized.
Saintship is the beginning of holiness.
Only when you identify yourself with the Divine can you be said to be "clothed and in your right mind."
The divine within is the abode of peace, the temple of wisdom, the dwelling-place of immortality. Apart from this inward resting-place, this Mount of Vision, there can be no true peace, no knowledge of the Divine, and if you can remain there for one minute, one hour, or one day, it is possible for you to remain there always.
All your sins and sorrows, your fears and anxieties, are your own, and you can cling to them or you can give them up. Of your own accord you cling to your unrest; of your own accord you can come to abiding peace. No one else can give up sin for you; you must give it up yourself. The greatest Teacher can do no more than walk the way of Truth for himself, and point it out to you; you yourself must walk it for yourself. You can obtain freedom and peace alone by your own efforts, by yielding up that which binds the soul, and which is destructive of peace.
Give up all self-seeking; give up self, and lo! the Peace of God is yours.
Come out of the storms of sin and anguish.
O thou who wouldst teach men of Truth! Hast thou passed through the desert of doubt? Art thou purged by the fires of sorrow?
Hath truth the fiends of opinion cast out of thy human heart? Is thy soul so fair that no false thought can ever harbor there?
O thou who wouldst teach men of Love! Hast thou passed through the place of despair? Hast thou wept through the dark night of grief? Does it move (now freed from its sorrow and care) thy human heart to pitying gentleness, looking on wrong, and hate, and ceaseless stress?
O thou who Wouldst teach men of Peace! Hast thou crossed the wide ocean of strife? Hast thou found on the Shores of the Silence release from all the wild unrest of life? From thy human heart hath all striving gone, Leaving but Truth, and Love, and Peace alone?
Enter the inward resting-place.
Make yourself pure and lovable, and you will be loved by all.
Think of your servants with kindness, consider their happiness and comfort, and never demand of them that extremity of service which you yourself would not care to perform were you in their place. Rare and beautiful is that humility of soul by which a servant entirely forgets himself in his master’s good; but far rarer, and more beautiful with a divine beauty, is that nobility of soul by which a man, forgetting his own happiness, seeks the happiness of those who are under his authority, and who depend upon him for their bodily sustenance. And such a man’s happiness is increased tenfold, nor does he need to complain of those whom he employs. Said a well-known and extensive employer of labor, who never needs to dismiss an employee: "I have always had the happiest relations with my work people If you ask me how it is to be accounted for, I can only say that it has been my aim from the first to do to them as I would wish to be done by."
Be friendly towards others, and friends will soon flock round you.
To dwell continually in good thoughts is to throw around oneself a psychic atmosphere of sweetness and power which leaves its impress upon all who come in contact with it.
As the rising sun puts to rout the helpless shadows, so are all the impotent forces of evil put to flight by the searching rays of positive thought which shine forth from a heart made strong in purity and faith.
Where there is sterling faith and uncompromising purity there is health, there is success, there is power. In such a one, disease, failure, and disaster can find no lodgment, for there is nothing on which they can feed.
Even physical conditions are largely determined by mental states, and to this truth the scientific world is rapidly being drawn. The old, materialistic belief that a man is what his body makes him is rapidly passing away, and is being replaced by the inspiring belief that man is superior to his body, and that his body is what he makes it by the power of thought.
There is no evil in the universe but has its root and origin in the mind.
If you are given to anger, worry, jealousy, greed, or any other inharmonious state of mind, and expect perfect physical health, you are expecting the impossible, for you are continually sowing the seeds of disease in your mind. Such conditions of mind are carefully shunned by the wise man, for he knows them to be far more dangerous than a bad drain or an infected house. If you would be free from all physical aches and pains, and would enjoy perfect physical harmony, then put your mind in order, and harmonize your thoughts. Think joyful thoughts; think loving thoughts; let the elixir of goodwill course through your veins, and you will need no other medicine. Put away your jealousies, your suspicions, your worries, your hatreds, your selfish indulgences, and you will put away your dyspepsia, your biliousness, your nervousness and aching joints.
If you would secure health, you must learn to work without friction.
Order your thoughts and you will order your life.
Pour the oil of tranquility upon the turbulent waters of the passions and prejudices, and the tempests of misfortune, however they may threaten, will be powerless to wreck the barque of your soul, as it threads its way across the ocean of life. And if that barque be piloted by a cheerful and never-failing faith, its course will be doubly sure, and many perils will pass it by which would otherwise attack it. By the power of faith every enduring work is accomplished. Faith in the Supreme; faith in the over-ruling Law; faith in your work, and in your power to accomplish that work—here is the rock upon which you must build if you would achieve, if you would stand and not fall.
Follow, under all circumstances, the highest promptings within you.
Let your heart grow large and loving and unselfish, and great and lasting will be your influence and success.
Cultivate a pure and unselfish spirit, and combine with purity and faith singleness of purpose, and you are evolving from the elements enduring success of greatness and power.
If your present position is distasteful to you, and your heart is not in your work, nevertheless perform your duties with scrupulous diligence; and whilst resting your mind in the idea that the better position and greater opportunities are waiting for you, ever keep an active mental outlook for budding possibilities, so that when the critical moment arrives, and the new channel presents itself, you will step into it with your mind fully prepared for the undertaking, and with that intelligence and foresight which is born of mental discipline.
Whatever your task may be, concentrate your whole mind upon it, throw into it all the energy of which you are capable. The faultless completion of small tasks leads inevitably to larger tasks.
Learn by constant practice how to husband your resources, and to concentrate them, at any moment, upon a given point.
Passion is not power; it is the abuse of power, the dispersion of power.
When that young man, whom I knew, passing through continual reverses and misfortunes, was mocked by his friends and told to desist from further effort, and he replied, "The time is not far distant when you will marvel at my good fortune and success," he showed that he was possessed of that silent and irresistible power which has taken him over innumerable difficulties, and crowned his life with success.
If you have not this power, you may acquire it by practice, and the beginning of power is likewise the beginning of wisdom. You must commence by overcoming those purposeless trivialities to which you have hitherto been a willing victim. Boisterous and uncontrolled laughter, slander and idle talk, and joking merely to raise a laugh—all these things must be put on one side as so much waste of valuable energy.
Be of single aim; have a legitimate and useful purpose, and devote yourself unreservedly to it.
Happiness is that inward state of perfect satisfaction which is joy and peace.
The satisfaction which results from gratified desire is brief and illusionary, and is always followed by an increased demand for gratification. Desire is insatiable as the ocean, and clamors louder and louder as its demands are attended to. It claims ever-increasing service from its deluded devotees, until at last they are struck down with physical or mental anguish, and are hurled into the purifying fires of suffering. Desire is the region of hell, and all torments are centered there. The giving up of desire is the realization of heaven, and all delights await the pilgrim there.
"I sent my soul through the invisible, Some letter of that after life to spell, And by and by my soul returned to me, And whispered, ’I myself am heaven and hell.’"
Heaven and hell are inward states.
To seek selfishly is only to lose happiness.
Sink into self and all its gratifications, and you sink into hell; rise above self into that state of consciousness which is the utter denial and forgetfulness of self, and you enter heaven. Self is blind, without judgment, not possessed of true knowledge, and always leads to suffering. Correct perception, unbiased judgment, and true knowledge belong only to the divine state, and only in so far as you realize this divine consciousness can you know what real happiness is. So long as you persist in selfishly seeking for your own happiness, so long will happiness elude you, and you will be sowing the seeds of wretchedness. In so far as you succeed in losing yourself in the service of others, in that measure will happiness come to you, and you will reap a harvest of bliss.
Abiding happiness will come to you when, ceasing to selfishly cling, you are willing to give up.
Whatsoever you constantly meditate upon you will not only come to understand, but will grow more and more into its likeness.
Spiritual meditation is the pathway to Divinity. It is the mystic ladder which reaches from earth to heaven, from error to Truth, from pain to peace. Every saint has climbed it; every sinner must sooner or later come to it, and every weary pilgrim that turns his back upon self and the world, and sets his face resolutely towards the Father’s Home, must plant his feet upon its golden rounds. Without its aid you cannot grow into the divine state, the divine likeness, the divine peace, and the fadeless glories and unpolluted joys of Truth will remain hidden from you.
If you constantly dwell upon that which is selfish and debasing, you will ultimately become selfish and debased.
If you would enter into possession of profound and abiding peace, come now and enter the path of meditation.
Select some portion of the day in which to meditate, and keep that period sacred to your purpose. The best time is the very early morning when the spirit of repose is upon everything. All natural conditions will then be in your favor; the passions, after the long bodily fast of the night, will be subdued, the excitements and worries of the previous day will have died away, and the mind, strong and yet restful, will be receptive to spiritual instruction. Indeed, one of the first efforts you will be called upon to make will be to shake off lethargy and indulgence, and if you refuse you will be unable to advance, for the demands of the spirit are imperative.
The sluggard and the self-indulgent can have no knowledge of Truth.
The direct outcome of your meditations will be a calm, spiritual strength.
If you are given to hatred or anger, you will meditate upon gentleness and forgiveness, so as to become acutely alive to a sense of your harsh and foolish conduct. You will then begin to dwell in thoughts of love, of gentleness, of abounding forgiveness; and as you overcome the lower by the higher, there will gradually, silently steal into your heart a knowledge of the divine Law of Love with an understanding of its bearing upon all the intricacies of life and conduct. And in applying this knowledge to your every thought, word, and act, you will grow more and more gentle, more and more loving, more and more divine. And thus with every error, every selfish desire, every human weakness; by the power of meditation is it overcome; and as each sin, each error, is thrust out, a fuller and clearer measure of the Light of Truth illumines the pilgrim soul.
Great is the overcoming power of holy thought.
Meditation will enrich the soul with saving remembrance in the hour of strife, of sorrow, or of temptation.
As, by the power of meditation, you grow in wisdom, you will relinquish, more and more, your selfish desires which are fickle, impermanent, and productive of sorrow and pain; and will take your stand, with increasing steadfastness and trust, upon unchangeable principles, and will realize heavenly rest.
The use of meditation is the requirement of a knowledge of eternal principles, and the power which results from meditation is the ability to rest upon and trust those principles, and so become one with the Eternal. The end of meditation is, therefore, direct knowledge of Truth, God, and the realization of divine and profound peace.
Strive to rise, by the power of meditation, above all selfish clinging to partial gods or party creeds; above dead formalities and lifeless ignorance.
Remember that you are to grow into Truth by steady perseverance.
Believe that a life of perfect holiness is possible.
So believing, so aspiring, so meditating, divinely sweet and beautiful will be your spiritual experiences, and glorious the revelations that will enrapture your inward vision. As you realize the divine Love, the divine Justice, the Perfect Law of Good, or God, great will be your bliss and deep your peace. Old things will pass away, and all things will become new. The veil of the material universe, so dense and impenetrable to the eye of error, so thin and gauzy to the eye of Truth, will be lifted and the spiritual universe will be revealed. Time will cease, and you will live only in Eternity. Change and mortality will no more cause you anxiety and sorrow, for you will become established in the unchangeable, and will dwell in the very heart of immortality.
He who believes climbs rapidly the heavenly hills.
Where self is, Truth is not; where Truth is, self is not.
Upon the battlefield of the human soul two masters are ever contending for the crown of supremacy, for the kingship and dominion of the heart; the master of self, called also the "Prince of this world," and the master of Truth, called also the Father God. The master self is that rebellious one whose weapons are passion, pride, avarice, vanity, self-will, implements of darkness; the master Truth is that meek and lowly one whose weapons are gentleness, patience, purity, sacrifice, humility, love, instruments of Light.
In every soul the battle is waged, and as a soldier cannot engage at once in two opposing armies, so every heart is enlisted either in the ranks of self or of Truth. There is no half-and-half course. Jesus, the manifested Christ, declared that " No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."
You cannot perceive the beauty of Truth while you are looking out through the eyes of self.
The lovers of Truth worship Truth with the sacrifice of self.
Do you seek to know and to realize Truth? Then you must be prepared to sacrifice, to renounce to the uttermost, for Truth in all its glory can only be perceived and known when the last vestige of self has disappeared.
The eternal Christ declared that he who would be His disciple must "deny himself daily." Are you willing to deny yourself, to give up your lusts, your prejudices, your opinions? If so, you may enter the narrow way of Truth, and find that peace from which the world is shut out. The absolute denial, the utter extinction of self is the perfect state of Truth, and all religions and philosophies are but so many aids to this supreme attainment.
As you let self die, you will be reborn in Truth.
Every holy man is a savior of mankind.
When men, lost in the devious ways of error and self, have forgotten the "heavenly birth" the state of holiness and Truth, they set up artificial standards by which to judge one another, and make acceptance of, and adherence to, their own particular theology the test of Truth; and so men are divided one against another, and there is ceaseless enmity and strife, and unending sorrow and suffering.
Reader, do you seek to realize the birth into Truth? There is only one way: Let self die. All those lusts, appetites, desires, opinions, limited conceptions, and prejudices to which you have hitherto so tenaciously clung, let them fall from you. Let them no longer hold you in bondage, and Truth will be yours. Cease to look upon your own religion as superior to all others, and strive humbly to learn the supreme lesson of charity.
To be in the world and yet not of the world is the highest perfection.
The cause of all power, as of all weakness, is within.
A thorough understanding of this Great Law which permeates the universe leads to the acquirement of that state of mind known as obedience. To know that justice, harmony, and love are supreme in the universe is likewise to know that all adverse and painful conditions are the result of our own disobedience to that Law. Such knowledge leads to strength and power, and it is upon such knowledge alone that a true life and an enduring success and happiness can be built. To be patient under all circumstances, and to accept all circumstances as necessary factors in your training, is to rise superior to all painful conditions, and to overcome them with an overcoming which is sure, and which leaves no fear of their return, for by the power of obedience to law they are utterly slain.
There is no progress apart from unfoldment within.
There is no sure foothold in prosperity or peace except by orderly advancement in knowledge.
Perhaps the chains of poverty hang heavily upon yon, and you are friendless and alone, and you long with an intense longing that your load may be lightened; but the load continues, and you seem to be enveloped in an ever-increasing darkness. Perhaps you complain, you bewail your lot, you blame your birth, your parents, your employer, or the unjust Powers who have bestowed upon you so undeservedly poverty and hardship, and upon another affluence and ease. Cease your complaining and fretting; none of these things which you blame are the cause of your poverty; the cause is within yourself, and where the cause is, there is the remedy.
There is no room for a complainer in a universe of law, and worry is soul-suicide.
What your thoughts are, that is your real self.
The world around, both animate and inanimate, wears the aspect with which your thoughts clothe it. "All that we are is the result of what we have thought; it is founded on our thoughts; it is made up of our thoughts." Thus said Buddha, and it therefore follows that if a man is happy, it is because he dwells in happy thoughts; if miserable, because he dwells in despondent and debilitating thoughts. Whether one be fearful or fearless, foolish or wise, troubled or serene, within that soul lies the cause of its own state or states, and never without. And now I seem to hear a chorus of voices exclaim, "But do you really mean to say that outward circumstances do not affect our minds?" I do not say that, but I say this, and know it to be an infallible truth, that circumstances can only affect you in so far as you allow them to do so.
You are swayed by circumstances because you have not a right understanding of the nature, use, and power of thought.
More from James Allen
James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.