As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

19 Jun

  I got introduced to this short essay by English born philosopher  James Allen (1864-1912) through’s Philosopher’s Notes, and as I have been trying to plan out my ‘wellbeing’ program I stumbled upon it again in relation to the first section of my intended program (‘Foundations’). It seemed like a very good springboard for a discussion on the relationship between our thoughts and who we are. Maybe a very good place for a program to begin??? As Allen quotes ‘As a man thinketh in his heart so  is he’.

Reading this essay allows us to address and explore some of the following areas

  •   The relationship between thoughts and  habits, and in turn the  development unhealthy behaviours
  • The importance and power of thought linked to a notion of purpose…without the two connected, Allen says, nothing grows…; the importance of trying things, keeping on going, following your vision, and the strength of purpose that this needs and cultivates.
  • The idea that thought linked to purpose becomes a creative force.

(This one rings really true for me. If I hadn’t have had 100% belief in the power of people’s creative potential, and didn’t feel (and know through thought) that my ability to help people access this was one of my key underpinnings and gifts, I would have never had the courage or the conviction to start ArtiPeeps  or be on the path that I am. And out of this conviction and intent has come a flow of creativity, which is taking me in all sorts of different directions. And as long as I’m listening and I am saying  yes to everything that feels right, and fills me with integrity,  than only good can come of it…. My thoughts and my purpose are in 100% alignment and all I have to do is baby-step through it. It’s that easy (?!)- but it involves so much trust that it’s going to be okay, and believing in trust when you don’t quite have it yet… )

  • The notion that strength is developed by effort and practice

(This one rings true for me too…The notion of practice and practicing is a biggie for me. Everyday I get up and I say ‘I practice compassion’, but someday’s it’s difficult, but I do always manage some sort of  attempt at it. And the day after and the day after…..And it’s that-attempting to be like that, practising compassion, or happiness or kindness day-in-day-out that’s the key; that’s your commitment to yourself and your beliefs. It’s having that intention everyday, the will, to attempt to be like that. And anything you practice (generally) you get better at. And slowly day by day things build into your life and into your mindset, and that’s just the way it goes- but you have to want it and have the intention. It takes effort and commitment. Change always does….)

  • that an Individual has Responsibility for his Thoughts; and, that thought and character are one
  • the wonder of everybody having a beautiful vision in their heart

“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.” 

“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.”

What are your greatest dreams?

  • the notion of a man’s mind being like a garden- you can cultivate your plot, keep it weed free, and plant healthy seeds; or you can not tend the growth, let the weeds multiply and watch any sight of loose, fresh soil vanish. What sort of plot are you cultivating?
  • The notion that suffering is the consequence of some wrong thought in some direction

There is lots to think about here, I think, and a good introduction to many ideas and concepts behind the purpose of self-development and self-expression.

Here is a link to the full essay:

As A Man Thinketh

Here’s the wiki-link as well..more about Mr Allen

James Allen

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