The wise man is always anxious to learn, but never anxious to teach.
All strength and wisdom and power and knowledge a man will find within himself, but he will not find it in egotism; he will only find it in obedience, submission, and willingness to learn. He must obey the higher and not glorify himself in the lower. He, who stands upon egotism, rejecting reproof, instruction, and the lessons of experience, will surely fall; yea, he is already fallen. Said a great teacher to his disciples, "Those who shall be a lamp unto themselves, relying upon themselves only, and not relying upon any external help, but holding fast to the Truth as their lamp, and, seeking their salvation in the Truth alone, shall not look for assistance to any beside themselves, it is they among my disciples who shall reach the very topmost height!”
But they must be willing to learn. "The true Teacher is in the heart of every man."
Dispersion is weakness; concentration is power.
Things are useful and thoughts are powerful in the measure that their parts are strongly and intelligently concentrated. Purpose is highly concentrated thought. All the mental energies are directed to the attainment of an object, and obstacles which intervene between the thinker and the object are, one after another, broken down and overcome. Purpose is the keystone in the temple of achievement. It binds and holds together in a complete whole that which would otherwise lie scattered and useless. Empty whims, ephemeral fancies, vague desires, and half-hearted resolutions have no place in purpose. In the sustained determination to accomplish there is an invincible power which swallows up all inferior considerations and marches direct to victory.
All successful men are men of purpose.
Know this—thou makest and unmakest thyself.
Doubt, anxiety, and worry are unsubstantial shades in the underworld of self, and shall no more trouble him who will climb the serene altitudes of his soul. Grief, also, will be forever dispelled by him who will comprehend the Law of his being. He who so comprehends shall find the Supreme Law of Life, and he shall find that it is Love, that it is imperishable Love. He shall become one with Love, and loving all, with mind freed from all hatred and folly, he shall receive the invincible protection which Love affords. Claiming nothing, he shall suffer no loss; seeking no pleasure, he shall find no grief; and employing all his powers as instruments of service, he shall evermore live in the highest state of blessedness and bliss.
Thou art a slave if thou preferrest to be; thou art a master if thou wilt make thyself one.
He who has found Meekness has found divinity.
The mountain bends not to the fiercest storm, but it shields the fledgling and the lamb; and though all men tread upon it, yet it protects them, and bears them up upon its deathless bosom. Even so is it with the meek man who, though shaken and disturbed by none, yet compassionately bends to shield the lowliest creature, and, though he may be despised, lifts up all men, and lovingly protects them.
As glorious as the mountain in its silent might is the divine man in his silent Meekness; like its form, his loving compassion is expansive and sublime. Truly his body, like the mountain’s base, is fixed in the valleys and the mists; but the summit of his being is eternally bathed in cloudless glory, and lives with the Silence.
The meek man has realized the divine consciousness and knows himself as divine.
He who lives in meekness is without fear, knowing the highest, and having the lowest under his feet.
The meek man shines in darkness, and flourishes in obscurity. Meekness cannot boast, nor advertise itself, nor thrive on popularity. It is practiced, and is seen and not seen; being a spiritual quality it is perceived only by the eye of the spirit. Those who are not spiritually awakened see it not, nor do they love it, being enamored of, and blinded by, worldly shows and appearances. Nor does history take note of the meek man. Its glory is that of strife and self-aggrandizement; his is the glory of peace and gentleness. History chronicles the earthly, not the heavenly acts. Yet though he lives in obscurity, he cannot be hidden (how can light be hid?); he continues to shine after he has withdrawn himself from the world, and is worshiped by the world which knew him not.
The meek man is found in the time of trial; when other men fall he stands.
The meek man resists none, and thereby conquers all.
He who imagines he can be injured by others, and who seeks to justify and defend himself against them, does not understand Meekness, does not comprehend the essence and meaning of life. "He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, and he robbed me." In those who harbor such thoughts hatred will never cease...for hatred ceases not by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by love." What sayest thou? Thy neighbor has spoken thee falsely? Well, what of that? Can a falsity hurt thee? That which is false is false, and there is an end of it. It is without life, and without power to hurt any but him who seeks to be hurt by it. It is nothing to thee that thy neighbor should speak falsely of thee, but it is much to thee that thou shouldst resist him, and seek to justify thyself, for, by so doing, thou givest life and vitality to thy neighbor’s falseness, so that thou art injured and distressed.
Take all evil out of thine own heart, then shalt thou see the folly of resisting it in another.
Great is the power of purpose.
Purpose goes with intelligence. There are lesser and greater purposes, according with degrees of intelligence.
A great mind will always be great of purpose. A weak intelligence will be without purpose. A drifting mind argues a measure of undevelopment.
The men who have molded the destinies of humanity have been men mighty of purpose. Like the Roman laying his road, they have followed along a well-defined path, and have refused to swerve aside even when torture and death confronted them. The Great Leaders of the race are the mental road-makers, and mankind follows in the intellectual and spiritual paths which they have carved out and beaten.
Inert matter yields to a living force, and circumstance succumbs to the power of purpose.
All things at last yield to the silent, irresistible all-conquering energy of purpose.
The weak man, who grieves because he is misunderstood, will not greatly achieve; the vain man, who steps aside from his resolve in order to please others and gain their approbation, will not highly achieve; the double-minded man, who thinks to compromise his purpose, will fail. The man of fixed purpose who, whether misunderstandings and foul accusations, or flatteries and fair promises, rain upon him, does not yield a fraction of his resolve is the man of excellence and achievement; of success, greatness, and power.
Hindrances stimulate a man of purpose; difficulties nerve him to renewed exertion; mistakes, losses, pains, do not subdue him; and failures are steps in the ladder of success, for he is ever conscious of the certainty of final achievement.
The intensity of the purpose increases with the growing magnitude of the obstacles encountered.
Joy is always the accompaniment of a task successfully accomplished.
Of all miserable men, the shirker is the most miserable. Thinking to find ease and happiness in avoiding difficult tasks, which require the expenditure of labor and exertion, his mind is always uneasy and disturbed, he becomes burdened with an inward sense of shame, and forfeits manliness and self-respect. "He who will not work according to his faculty, let him perish according to his necessity," says Carlyle; and it is a moral law that the man who avoids duty, and does not work to the full extent of his capacity, does actually perish, first in his character, and last in his body and circumstances. Life and action are synonymous, and immediately a man tries to escape exertion, either physical or mental, he has commenced to decay.
An undertaking completed, or a piece of work done, always brings rest and satisfaction.
The price of life is effort.
Every successful accomplishment, even in worldly things, is repaid with its own measure of joy; and in spiritual things the joy which supervenes upon the perfection of purpose is sure, deep, and abiding. Great is the heartfelt joy (albeit ineffable) when, after innumerable and apparently unsuccessful attempts, some ingrained fault of character is at last cast out, to trouble its erstwhile victim and the world no more. The striver after virtue—he who is engaged in the holy task of building up a noble character—tastes, at every step of conquest over self, a joy which does not leave him again, but which becomes an integral part of his spiritual nature.
The reward of accomplishment is joy.
Everything that happens is just.
As you think, you travel; as you love, you attract. You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you. You cannot escape the results of your thoughts, but you can endure and learn, can accept and be glad.
You will always come to the place where your love (your most abiding and intense thought) can receive its measure of gratification. If your love be base, you will come to a base place; if it be beautiful, you will come to a beautiful place.
You can alter your thoughts, and so alter your condition. You are powerful, not powerless.
Nothing is fated, everything is formed.
The man whose thoughts, words, and acts are sincere is surrounded by sincere friends; the insincere man is surrounded by insincere friends.
Every fact and process in Nature contains a moral lesson for the wise man. There is no law in the world which is not to be found operating with the same mathematical certainty in the mind of man and in human life. All the parables of Jesus are illustrative of this truth, and are drawn from the simple facts of Nature. There is a process of seed-sowing in the mind and life, a spiritual sowing which leads to a harvest according to the kind of seed sown. Thoughts, words, and acts are seeds sown, and, by the inviolable law of things, they produce after their kind.
The man who thinks hateful thoughts brings hatred upon himself. The man who thinks loving thoughts is loved.
When you know yourself you will perceive that every event in your life is weighed in the faultless balance of equity.
He, who would be blessed, let him scatter blessings.
The farmer must scatter all his seed upon the land, and then leave it to the elements. Were he to covetously hoard his seed, he would lose both it and his produce, for his seed would perish. It perishes when he sows it, but in perishing it brings forth a greater abundance. So in life, we get by giving; we grow rich by scattering. The man who says he is in possession of knowledge which he cannot give out because the world is incapable of receiving it either does not possess such knowledge, or, if he does, will soon be deprived of it—if he is not already deprived of it. To hoard is to lose; to exclusively retain is to be dispossessed.
He who would be happy, let him consider the happiness of others.
Men reap that which they sow.
If a man is troubled, perplexed, sorrowful, or unhappy, let him ask:
"What mental seeds have I been sowing?" "What seeds am I sowing?" "What is my attitude towards others?" "What seeds of trouble and sorrow and unhappiness have I sown that I should thus reap these bitter weeds?"
Let him seek within and find, and having found, let him abandon all the seeds of self, and sow, henceforth, only the seeds of Truth.
Let him learn of the farmer the simple truths of wisdom, and sow the seeds of kindness, gentleness, and love.
The way to obtain peace and blessedness is to scatter peaceful and blessed thoughts, words, and deeds.
Destroying the idols of self, we draw nearer to the great, silent Heart of Love.
We have reached one of those epochs in the world’s progress which witnesses the passing of the false gods; the gods of human selfishness and human illusion. The new-old revelation of one universal impersonal Truth has again dawned upon the world, and its searching light has carried consternation to the perishable gods who take shelter under the shadow of self.
Men have lost faith in a god who can be cajoled, who rules arbitrarily and capriciously, subverting the whole order of things to gratify the wishes of his worshipers, and are turning, with a new light in their hearts, to the God of Law. And to Him they turn, not for personal happiness and gratification, but for knowledge, for understanding, for wisdom, for liberation from the bondage of self.
Enter the Path of obedience to the Law.
Perfection, which is knowledge of the Perfect Law, is ready for all who earnestly seek it.
Entering that Path—the Path of the Supreme Law—men no longer accuse, no longer doubt, no longer fret and despond, for they know now that God is right, the universal laws are right, the cosmos is right, and that they themselves are wrong, if wrong there is, and that their salvation depends upon themselves, upon their own efforts, upon their personal acceptance of that which is good, and deliberate rejection of that which is evil. No longer merely hearers, they become doers of the Word, and they acquire knowledge, they receive understanding, they grow in wisdom, and they enter into the glorious life of liberation from the bondage of self.
Adopt the life of self-obliteration.
God does not alter for man, for this would mean that the perfect must become imperfect; man must alter for God.
The Children of Truth are in the world today; they are thinking, writing, speaking, and acting; yea, even prophets are amongst us, and their influence is pervading the whole earth. An undercurrent of holy joy is gathering force in the world, so that men and women are moved with new aspirations and hopes, and even those who neither see nor hear, feel within them strange yearnings after a better and fuller life.
The Law reigns, and it reigns in men’s hearts and lives; they have come to understand the reign of Law who have sought out the Tabernacle of the true God by the fair pathway of unselfishness.
The Law cannot be broken for man, otherwise confusion would ensue; this is in accordance with harmony, order, justice.
There is no more painful bondage than to be at the mercy of one’s inclinations.
The Law is that the heart shall be purified, the mind regenerated, and the whole being brought in subjection to Love, till self be dead and Love is all in all, for the reign of Law is the reign of Love. And Love waits for all, rejecting none. Love may be claimed and entered into now, for it is the heritage of all.
Ah, beautiful Truth! To know that now man may accept his divine heritage, and enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Oh, pitiful error! To know that man rejects it because of love of self!
Obedience to one’s selfish inclinations means the drawing about one’s soul clouds of pain and sorrow which darken the light of Truth; the shutting out of oneself from all real blessedness; for "whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap."
There is no greater liberty than utmost obedience to the Law of Being.
The moral universe is sustained and protected by the perfect balance of its equivalents.
Is there, then, no injustice in the universe? There is injustice, and there is not. It depends upon the kind of life and the state of consciousness from which a man looks out upon the world and judges. The man who lives in his passions sees injustice everywhere; the man, who has overcome his passions, sees the operations of Justice in every department of human life.
Injustice is the confused feverish dream of passion, real enough to those who are dreaming it; Justice is the permanent reality in life, gloriously visible to those who have wakened out of the painful nightmare of self.
As in the physical world Nature abhors a vacuum, so in the spiritual world disharmony is annulled.
The Divine Order cannot be perceived until passion and self are transcended.
The man who thinks, "I have been slighted, I have been injured, I have been insulted, I have been treated unjustly," cannot know what justice is; blinded by self, he cannot perceive the pure Principles of Truth, and, brooding upon his wrongs, he lives in continual misery.
In the region of passion there is a ceaseless conflict of forces causing suffering to all who are involved in them. There is action and reaction, deed and consequence, cause and effect; and within and above all is the divine Justice regulating the play of forces with the utmost mathematical accuracy, balancing cause and effect with the finest precision.
Justice is not perceived—cannot be perceived—by those who are engaged in conflict.
Having no knowledge of cause and effect in the moral sphere, men do not see the exacting process which is momentarily proceeding.
Men blindly inflict suffering upon themselves, living in passion and resentment, and not finding the true way of life. Hatred is met with hatred, passion with passion, strife with strife. The man who kills is himself killed; the thief who lives by depriving others, is himself deprived; the beast that preys on others is hunted and killed; the accuser is accused, the condemner is condemned, the denouncer is persecuted. "By this the slayer’s knife doth stab himself; the unjust judge has lost his own defender, the false tongue dooms its lie, the creeping thief and spoiler rob to render. ”Such is the Law."
Ignorance keeps alive hatred and strife.
Cause and effect cannot be avoided; consequence cannot be escaped.
The good man, having put away all resentment, retaliation, self-seeking, and egotism, has arrived at a state of equilibrium, and has thereby become identified with the Eternal and Universal Equilibrium. Having lifted himself above the blind forces of passion, he understands those forces, contemplates them with a calm penetrating insight, like the solitary dweller on a mountain who looks down upon the conflict of the storms beneath his feet. For him, injustice has ceased, and he sees ignorance and suffering on the one hand, and enlightenment and bliss on the other. He sees that not only do the fool and the slave need his sympathy, but that the fraud and the oppressor are equally in need of it, and so his compassion is extended towards all.
Unerring Justice presides over all.
They who refuse to trim their lamps of reason will never perceive the Light of Truth.
He, who will use the light of reason as a torch to search for Truth, will not be left at last in comfortless darkness.
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."
Many men and women pass through untold sufferings, and at last die in their sins, because they refuse to reason; because they cling to those dark delusions which even a faint glimmer of the light of reason would dispel; and all must use their reason freely, fully, and faithfully, who would exchange the scarlet robe of sin and suffering for the white garment of blessedness and peace.
They, who despise the light of reason, despise the Light of Truth.
A man does not live until he begins to discipline himself; he merely exists.
Before a man can accomplish anything of an enduring nature in the world he must first of all acquire some measure of success in the management of his own mind. This is as mathematical a truism as that two and two are four, for "out of the heart are the issues of life." If a man cannot govern the forces within himself, he cannot long hold a firm hand upon the outer activities which form the visible life. On the other hand, as a man succeeds in governing himself he rises to higher and higher levels of power and usefulness and success in the world. Hitherto his life has been without purpose or meaning, but now he begins to consciously mould his own destiny; he is "clothed and in his right mind."
With the practice of self-discipline a man begins to live.
In the process of self-discipline there are three stages—control, purification, and relinquishment.
A man begins to discipline himself by controlling those passions which have hitherto controlled him; he resists temptation, and guards himself against all those tendencies to selfish gratifications which are so easy and natural, and which have formerly dominated him. He brings his appetite into subjection, and begins to eat as a reasonable and responsible being, practicing moderation and thoughtfulness in the selection of his food, with the object of making his body a pure instrument through which he may live and act as becomes a man, and no longer degrading that body by pandering to gustatory pleasure. He puts a check upon his tongue, his temper, and, in fact, his every animal desire and tendency.
There is in the heart of every man and woman a selfless center.
The Rock of Ages, the Christ within, the divine and immortal in all men!
As a man practices self-control he approximates more and more to the inward reality, and is less and less swayed by passion and grief, pleasure and pain, and lives a steadfast and virtuous life, manifesting manly strength and fortitude. The restraining of the passions, however, is merely the initial stage in self-discipline, and is immediately followed by the process of Purification. By this a man so purifies himself as to take passion out of the heart and mind altogether; not merely restraining it when it rises within him, but preventing it from rising altogether. By merely restraining his passions a man can never arrive at peace, can never actualize his ideal; he must purify these passions.
It is in the purification of his lower nature that a man becomes strong and godlike.
Purification is affected by thoughtful care, earnest meditation, and holy aspiration.
True strength and power and usefulness are born of self-purification, for the lower animal forces are not lost, but are transmuted into intellectual and spiritual energy. The pure life (pure in thought and deed) is a life of conservation of energy; the impure life (even should the impurity not extend beyond thought) is a life of dissipation of energy. The pure man is more capable, and therefore more fit to succeed in his plans and to accomplish his purposes than the impure. Where the impure man fails, the pure man will step in and be victorious, because he directs his energies with a calmer mind and a greater definiteness and strength of purpose.
With the growth in purity, all the elements which constitute a strong and virtuous manhood are developed.
By self-discipline a man rises higher and higher, approximating more and more nearly to the divine.
As a man grows purer, he perceives that all evil is powerless, unless it receives his encouragement, and so he ignores it, and lets it pass out of his life. It is by pursuing this aspect of self-discipline that a man enters into and realizes the divine life, and manifests those qualities which are distinctly divine, such as wisdom, patience, non-resistance, compassion, and love. It is here, also, where a man becomes consciously immortal, rising above all the fluctuations and uncertainties of life, and living in an intelligent and unchangeable peace.
By self-discipline a man attains to every degree of virtue and holiness, and finally becomes a purified son of God, realizing his oneness with the central heart of all things.
A life without resolution is a life without aims, and a life without aims is a drifting and unstable thing.
When a man makes a resolution, it means that he is dissatisfied with his condition, and is commencing to take himself in hand, with a view to producing a better piece of workmanship out of the mental materials of which his character and life are composed, and in so far as he is true to his resolution he will succeed in accomplishing his purpose.
The vows of the saintly ones are holy resolutions directed toward some victory over self, and the beautiful achievements of holy men and the glorious conquests of the Divine Teachers were rendered possible and actual by unswerving resolution.
Resolution—the companion of noble aims and lofty ideals.
True resolution is the crisis of long thought.
Half-hearted and premature resolution is no resolution at all, and is shattered at the first difficulty.
A man should be slow to form a resolution. He should searchingly examine his position and take into consideration every circumstance and difficulty with his decision, and should be fully prepared to meet them. He should be sure that he completely understands the nature of his resolution, that his mind is finally made up, and that he is without doubt in the matter. With the mind thus prepared, the resolution that is formed will not be departed from, and by the aid of it a man will, in due time, accomplish his strong purpose.
Hasty resolutions are futile.
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.