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About James Allen
1. From poverty to power (1901)
I. The path of prosperity
1. The lesson of evil
2. The world a reflex of mental states
3. The way out of undesirable conditions
4. The silent power of thought: controlling and directing one’s forces
5. The secret of health, success and power
6. The secret of abounding happiness
7. The realization of prosperity
II. The way of peace
8. The power of meditation
9. The two masters, self and truth
10. The acquirement of spiritual power
11. The realization of selfless love
12. Entering into the infinite
13. Saints, sages, and saviors: the law of service
14. The realization of perfect peace
2. As a man thinketh (1902)
1. Thought and Character
2. Effect of Thought on Circumstances
3. Effect of Thought on Health and the Body
4. Thought and Purpose
5. The Thought-Factor in Achievement
6. Visions and Ideals
3. All These Things Added (1903)
I. Entering the Kingdom
1. The Soul’s Great Need
2. The Competitive Laws and the Law of Love
3. The Finding of a Principle
4. At Rest in the Kingdom and All Things Added
II. The Heavenly Life
5. The Divine Centre
6. The Eternal Now
7. The "Original Simplicity"
8. The Unfailing Wisdom
9. The Might Of Meekness
10. The Righteous Man
11. Perfect Love
12. Perfect Freedom
13. Greatness And Goodness
14. Heaven In The Heart
4. Through the Gates of Good (1903)
1. The Gate And The Way
2. The Law And The Prophets
3. The Yoke And The Burden
4. The Word And The Doer
5. The Vine And The Branches
6. Salvation This Day
5. Byways to Blessedness (1904)
1. Right Beginnings
2. Small Tasks and Duties
3. Transcending Difficulties and Perplexities
5. Hidden Sacrifices
8. Seeing No Evil
9. Abiding Joy
12. Standing Alone
13. Understanding the Simple Laws of Life
14. Happy Endings
6. Out from the Heart (1904)
1. The Heart and The Life
2. The Nature and Power of Mind
3. Formation of Habit
4. Doing and Knowing
5. First Steps in The Higher Life
6. Mental Conditions and Their Effects
7. Poems of peace including the lyrical dramatic poem Eolaus (1907)
3. If men only understood
4. Practice and perception
6. Long I sought thee
8. To-morrow and to-day
9. Star of wisdom
10. Would you scale the highest heaven
11. To them that seek the highest good
12. One thing lacking
14. The lowly way
15. The music of the sea
16. Love’s conquest
17. To my daughter Nora on her tenth birthday
18. The inward purity
20. I take refuge in truth
21. I, truth, am thy redeemer
22. The white robe
23. The righteous man
25. Truth triumphant
26. O thou who would’st teach!
27. If thou would’st right the world
28. What of the night?
30. The end of evil
31. Man divine
34. On releasing a captive bird
35. Art thou in sorrow?
36. When I am pure
38. Are you searching?
8. The Life Triumphant: Mastering the heart and mind (1908)
1. Faith and Courage
2. Manliness, Womanliness and Sincerity
3. Energy and Power
4. Self-Control and Happiness
5. Simplicity and Freedom
6. Right Thinking and Repose
7. Calmness and Resource
8. Insight and Nobility
9. Man the Master
10. Knowledge and Victory
9. Morning and evening thoughts (1909)
10. The Mastery of Destiny (1909)
1. Deeds, Character, and Destiny
2. The Science of Self-Control
3. Cause and Effect in Human Conduct
4. Training of the Will
6. Mind-Building and Life-Building
7. Cultivation of Concentration
8. Practice of Meditation
9. The Power of Purpose
10. The Joy of Accomplishment
11. Above Life’s Turmoil (1910)
1. True Happiness
2. The Immortal Man
3. The Overcoming of Self
4. The Uses of Temptation
5. The Man of Integrity
7. Belief, the Basis of Action
8. The Belief that Saves
9. Thought and Action
10. Your Mental Attitude
11. Sowing and Reaping
12. The Reign of Law
13. The Supreme Justice
14. The Use of Reason
17. The Glorious Conquest
18. Contentment in Activity
19. The Temple of Brotherhood
20. Pleasant Pastures of Peace
12. From Passion to Peace (1910)
13. Eight pillars of prosperity (1911)
1. Eight Pillars
2. First pillar – Energy
3. Second pillar – Economy
4. Third pillar – Integrity
5. Fourth pillar – System
6. Fifth pillar – Sympathy
7. Sixth pillar – Sincerity
8. Seventh pillar – Impartiality
9. Eighth pillar – Self-reliance
10. The temple of prosperity
14. Man: king of mind, body, and circumstance (1911)
1. The inner world of thoughts
2. The outer world of things
3. Habit: its slavery and its freedom
4. Bodily conditions
6. Man’s spiritual dominion
7. Conquest: not resignation
15. Light on life’s Difficulties (1912)
1. The Light That Leads to Perfect Peace
2. Light on Facts and Hypotheses
3. Light on the Law of Cause and Effect in Human Life
4. Light on Values— Spiritual and Material
5. Light on the Sense of Proportion
6. Light on Adherence to Principle
7. Light on the Sacrifice of the Self
8. Light on the Management of the Mind
9. Light on Self-Control: The Door of Heaven
10. Light on Acts and Their Consequences
11. Light on the Way of Wisdom
12. Light on Disposition
13. Light on Individual Liberty
14. Light on the Blessing and Dignity of Work
15. Light on Good Manners and Refinement
16. Light on Diversities of Creeds
17. Light on Law and Miracle
18. Light on War and Peace
19. Light on the Brotherhood of Man
20. Light on Life’s Sorrows
21. Light on Life’s Changes
22. Light on the Truth of Transitoriness
23. The Light That Never Goes Out
16. Foundation stones to happiness and success (1913)
1. Right principles
2. Sound methods
3. True actions
4. True speech
6. Good results
17. James Allen’s book of meditations for Every Day in the Year (1913)
18. Men and systems (1914)
1. Their correlations and combined results
2. Work, wages, and well-being
3. The survival of the fittest as a divine law
4. Justice in evil
5. Justice and love
6. Self-protection: animal, human, and divine
7. Aviation and the new consciousness
8. The new courage
19. The Shining Gateway (1915)
1. The shining gateway of meditation
4. Actions and motives
5. Morality and religion
6. Memory, repetition, and habit
7. Words and wisdom
8. Truth made manifest
9. Spiritual humility
10. Spiritual strength
20. The Divine Companion (1919)
I. The Divine Companion
1. Truth as Awakener
2. Truth as Consoler
3. Truth as Redeemer
4. Truth as Reconciler
5. Truth as Protector
II. The Divine Dialogue
6. Of Seeking and Finding
7. Of Entering the Way
8. Of Discipline and Purification
9. Of Renunciation
10. Of Purity of Heart
11. Of Righteousness
12. Of Knowledge of the Law
III. The Divine Messages
14. The First Prophecy, called the Awakening
15. The Second Prophecy, called the Messiah
16. The Third prophecy, called the All - One
17. The Fourth Prophecy, called Unrest
18. The Fifth Prophecy, called Transition
19. The Sixth Prophecy, called Peace
20. The First Exhortation, concerning Purity
21. The Second Exhortation, concerning Humility
22. The Third Exhortation, concerning Love
23. Instruction, concerning the Master
24. Instruction, concerning the Law
25. Instruction, concerning The Great Reality
26. Discourse Concerning The Way of Truth
James Allen (28 November 1864 – 24 January 1912) was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement. His best known work, As a Man Thinketh, has been mass-produced since its publication in 1903. It has been a source of inspiration to motivational and self-help authors.
Born in Leicester, England, into a working-class family, Allen was the elder of two brothers. His mother could neither read nor write. His father, William, was a factory knitter. In 1879 following a downturn in the textile trade of central England, Allen's father travelled alone to America to find work and establish a new home for the family. Within two days of arriving his father was pronounced dead at New York City Hospital, believed to be a case of robbery and murder. At age fifteen, with the family now facing economic disaster, Allen was forced to leave school and findwork.
For much of the 1890s, Allen worked as a private secretary and stationer in several British manufacturing firms. In 1893 Allen moved to London and later to South Wales, earning his living by journalism and reporting. In South Wales he met Lily Louisa Oram (Lily L. Allen) who he then wed in 1895. In 1898 Allen found an occupation in which he could showcase his spiritual and social interests as a writer for the magazine The Herald of the Golden Age. At this time, Allen entered a creative period where he then published his first of many books, From Poverty to Power (1901). In 1902 Allen began to publish his own spiritual magazine, The Light of Reason, later retitled The Epoch.
In 1903 Allen published his third and most famous book As a Man Thinketh. Loosely based on the Biblical passage of Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," the small work eventually became read around the world and brought Allen posthumous fame as one of the pioneering figures of modern inspirational thought. The book's minor audience allowed Allen to quit his secretarial work and pursue his writing and editing career. In 1903, the Allen family retired to the town of Ilfracombe where Allen would spend the rest of his life. Continuing to publish the Epoch, Allen produced more than one book per year until his death in 1912. There he wrote for nine years, producing 19 works.
Following his death in 1912, his wife continued publishing the magazine under the name The Epoch. Lily Allen summarised her husband's literary mission in the preface to one of his posthumously published manuscripts, Foundation Stones to Happiness and Successsaying:
"He never wrote theories, or for the sake of writing; but he wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it out in his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by practice."
I looked around upon the world, and saw that it was shadowed by sorrow and scorched by the fierce fires of suffering. And I looked for the cause. I looked around, but could not find it; I looked in books, but could not find it; I looked within, and found there both the cause and the self-made nature of that cause. I looked again, and deeper, and found the remedy.
I found one Law, the Law of Love; one Life, the Life of adjustment to that Law; one Truth, the truth of a conquered mind and a quiet and obedient heart. And I dreamed of writing a book which should help men and women, whether rich or poor, learned or unlearned, worldly or unworldly, to find within themselves the source of all success, all happiness, all accomplishment, all truth. And the dream remained with me, and at last became substantial; and now I send it forth into the world on its mission of healing and blessedness, knowing that it cannot fail to reach the homes and hearts of those who are waiting and ready to receiveit.
Unrest and pain and sorrow are the shadows of life. There is no heart in all the world that has not felt the sting of pain, no mind has not been tossed upon the dark waters of trouble, no eye that has not wept the hot blinding tears of unspeakable anguish.
There is no household where the Great Destroyers, disease and death, have not entered, severing heart from heart, and casting over all the dark pall of sorrow. In the strong, and apparently indestructible meshes of evil all are more or less fast caught, and pain, unhappiness, and misfortune wait upon mankind.
With the object of escaping, or in some way mitigating this overshadowing gloom, men and women rush blindly into innumerable devices, pathways by which they fondly hope to enter into a happiness which will not passaway.
Such are the drunkard and the harlot, who revel in sensual excitements; such is the exclusive aesthete, who shuts himself out from the sorrows of the world, and surrounds himself with enervating luxuries; such is he who thirsts for wealth or fame, and subordinates all things to the achievement of that object; and such are they who seek consolation in the performance of religious rites.
And to all the happiness sought seems to come, and the soul, for a time, is lulled into a sweet security, and an intoxicating forgetfulness of the existence of evil; but the day of disease comes at last, or some great sorrow, temptation, or misfortune breaks suddenly in on the unfortified soul, and the fabric of its fancied happiness is torn to shreds.
So over the head of every personal joy hangs the Damocletian sword of pain, ready, at any moment, to fall and crush the soul of him who is unprotected by knowledge.
The child cries to be a man or woman; the man and woman sigh for the lost felicity of childhood. The poor man chafes under the chains of poverty by which he is bound, and the rich man often lives in fear of poverty, or scours the world in search of an elusive shadow he calls happiness.
Sometimes the soul feels that it has found a secure peace and happiness in adopting a certain religion, in embracing an intellectual philosophy, or in building up an intellectual or artistic ideal; but some overpowering temptation proves the religion to be inadequate or insufficient; the theoretical philosophy is found to be a useless prop; or in a moment, the idealistic statue upon which the devotee has for years been laboring, is shattered into fragments at hisfeet.
Is there, then, no way of escape from pain and sorrow? Are there no means by which bonds of evil may be broken? Is permanent happiness, secure prosperity, and abiding peace a foolish dream?
No, there is a way, and I speak it with gladness, by which evil can be slain for ever; there is a process by which disease, poverty, or any adverse condition or circumstance can be put on one side never to return; there is a method by which a permanent prosperity can be secured, free from all fear of the return of adversity, and there is a practice by which unbroken and unending peace and bliss can be partaken of and realized.
And the beginning of the way which leads to this glorious realization is the acquirement of a right understanding of the nature ofevil.
It is not sufficient to deny or ignore evil; it must be understood. It is not enough to pray to God to remove the evil; you must find out why it is there, and what lesson it has foryou.
It is of no avail to fret and fume and chafe at the chains which bind you; you must know why and how you are bound. Therefore, reader, you must get outside yourself, and must begin to examine and understand yourself.
You must cease to be a disobedient child in the school of experience and must begin to learn, with humility and patience, the lessons that are set for your edification and ultimate perfection; for evil, when rightly understood, is found to be, not an unlimited power or principle in the universe, but a passing phase of human experience, and it therefore becomes a teacher to those who are willing to learn.
Evil is not an abstract some thing outside yourself; it is an experience in your own heart, and by patiently examining and rectifying your heart you will be gradually led into the discovery of the origin and nature of evil, which will necessarily be followed by its complete eradication.
All evil is corrective and remedial, and is therefore not permanent. It is rooted in ignorance, ignorance of the true nature and relation of things, and so long as we remain in that state of ignorance, we remain subject toevil.
There is no evil in the universe which is not the result of ignorance, and which would not, if we were ready and willing to learn its lesson, lead us to higher wisdom, and then vanish away. But men remain in evil, and it does not pass away because men are not willing or prepared to learn the lesson which it came to teachthem.
I knew a child who, every night when its mother took it to bed, cried to be allowed to play with the candle; and one night, when the mother was off guard for a moment, the child took hold of the candle; the inevitable result followed, and the child never wished to play with the candle again.
By its one foolish act it learned, and learned perfectly the lesson of obedience, and entered into the knowledge that fire burns. And, this incident is a complete illustration of the nature, meaning, and ultimate result of all sin andevil.
As the child suffered through its own ignorance of the real nature of fire, so older children suffer through their ignorance of the real nature of the things which they weep for and strive after, and which harm them when they are secured; the only difference being that in the latter case the ignorance and evil are more deeply rooted and obscure.
Evil has always been symbolized by darkness, and Good by light, and hidden within the symbol is contained the perfect interpretation, the reality; for, just as light always floods the universe, and darkness is only a mere speck or shadow cast by a small body intercepting a few rays of the illimitable light, so the Light of the Supreme Good is the positive and life-giving power which floods the universe, and evil the insignificant shadow cast by the self that intercepts and shuts off the illuminating rays which strive for entrance.
When night folds the world in its black impenetrable mantle, no matter how dense the darkness, it covers but the small space of half our little planet, while the whole universe is ablaze with living light, and every soul knows that it will awake in the light in the morning.
Know, then, that when the dark night of sorrow, pain, or misfortune settles down upon your soul, and you stumble along with weary and uncertain steps, that you are merely intercepting your own personal desires between yourself and the boundless light of joy and bliss, and the dark shadow that covers you is cast by none and nothing but yourself.
And just as the darkness without is but a negative shadow, an unreality which comes from nowhere, goes to nowhere, and has no abiding dwelling place, so the darkness within is equally a negative shadow passing over the evolving and Lightbornsoul.
“But,” I fancy I hear someone say, “why pass through the darkness of evil at all?” Because, by ignorance, you have chosen to do so, and because, by doing so, you may understand both good and evil, and may the more appreciate the light by having passed through the darkness.
As evil is the direct outcome of ignorance, so, when the lessons of evil are fully learned, ignorance passes away, and wisdom takes its place. But as a disobedient child refuses to learn its lessons at school, so it is possible to refuse to learn the lessons of experience, and thus to remain in continual darkness, and to suffer continually recurring punishments in the form of disease, disappointment, and sorrow.
He, therefore, who would shake himself free of the evil which encompasses him, must be willing and ready to learn, and must be prepared to undergo that disciplinary process without which no grain of wisdom or abiding happiness and peace can be secured.
A man may shut himself up in a dark room, and deny that the light exists, but it is everywhere without, and darkness exists only in his own littleroom.
So you may shut out the light of Truth, or you may begin to pull down the walls of prejudice, self-seeking and error which you have built around yourself, and so let in the glorious and omnipresent Light.
By earnest self-examination strive to realize, and not merely hold as a theory, that evil is a passing phase, a self-created shadow; that all your pains, sorrows and misfortunes have come to you by a process of undeviating and absolutely perfect law; have come to you because you deserve and require them, and that by first enduring, and then understanding them, you may be made stronger, wiser, nobler.
When you have fully entered into this realization, you will be in a position to mould your own circumstances, to transmute all evil into good and to weave, with a master hand, the fabric of your destiny.
What of the night, O Watchman! see’st thou yet The glimmering dawn upon the mountain heights, The golden Herald of the Light of lights, Are his fair feet upon the hilltopsset?
Cometh he yet to chase away the gloom, And with it all the demons of the Night? Strike yet his darting rays upon thy sight? Hear’st thou his voice, the sound of error’sdoom?
The Morning cometh, lover of the Light; Even now He gilds with gold the mountain’s brow, Dimly I see the path whereon even now His shining feet are set toward the Night.
Darkness shall pass away, and all the things That love the darkness, and that hate the Light Shall disappear for ever with the Night: Rejoice! for thus the speeding Herald sings.
What you are, so is your world. Everything in the universe is resolved into your own inward experience. It matters little what is without, for it is all a reflection of your own state of consciousness.
It matters everything what you are within, for everything without will be mirrored and colored accordingly.
All that you positively know is contained in your own experience; all that you ever will know must pass through the gateway of experience, and so become part of yourself.
Your own thoughts, desires, and aspirations comprise your world, and, to you, all that there is in the universe of beauty and joy and bliss, or of ugliness and sorrow and pain, is contained within yourself.
By your own thoughts you make or mar your life, your world, your universe, As you build within by the power of thought, so will your outward life and circumstances shape themselves accordingly.
Whatsoever you harbor in the inmost chambers of your heart will, sooner or later by the inevitable law of reaction, shape itself in your outwardlife.
The soul that is impure, sordid and selfish, is gravitating with unerring precision toward misfortune and catastrophe; the soul that is pure, unselfish, and noble is gravitating with equal precision toward happiness and prosperity.
Every soul attracts its own, and nothing can possibly come to it that does not belong to it. To realize this is to recognize the universality of DivineLaw.
The incidents of every human life, which both make and mar, are drawn to it by the quality and power of its own inner thought-life. Every soul is a complex combination of gathered experiences and thoughts, and the body is but an improvised vehicle for its manifestation.
What, therefore, your thoughts are, that is your real self; and the world around, both animate and inanimate, wears the aspect with which your thoughts clotheit.
“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 doso.
You are swayed by circumstances because you have not a right understanding of the nature, use, and power of thought.
You believe (and upon this little word belief hang all our sorrows and joys) that outward things have the power to make or mar your life; by so doing you submit to those outward things, confess that you are their slave, and they your unconditional master; by so doing, you invest them with a power which they do not, of themselves, possess, and you succumb, in reality, not to the mere circumstances, but to the gloom or gladness, the fear or hope, the strength or weakness, which your thought-sphere has thrown aroundthem.
I knew two men who, at an early age, lost the hard-earned savings of years. One was very deeply troubled, and gave way to chagrin, worry, and despondency.
The other, on reading in his morning paper that the bank in which his money was deposited had hopelessly failed, and that he had lost all, quietly and firmly remarked, ‘’Well, it’s gone, and trouble and worry won’t bring it back, but hard workwill.”
He went to work with renewed vigor, and rapidly became prosperous, while the former man, continuing to mourn the loss of his money, and to grumble at his ‘’bad luck,” remained the sport and tool of adverse circumstances, in reality of his own weak and slavish thoughts.
The loss of money was a curse to the one because he clothed the event with dark and dreary thoughts; it was a blessing to the other, because he threw around it thoughts of strength, of hope, and renewed endeavor.
If circumstances had the power to bless or harm, they would bless and harm all men alike, but the fact that the same circumstances will be alike good and bad to different souls proves that the good or bad is not in the circumstance, but only in the mind of him that encountersit.
When you begin to realize this you will begin to control your thoughts, to regulate and discipline your mind, and to rebuild the inward temple of your soul, eliminating all useless and superfluous material, and incorporating into your being thoughts alone of joy and serenity, of strength and life, of compassion and love, of beauty and immortality; and as you do this you will become joyful and serene, strong and healthy, compassionate and loving, and beautiful with the beauty of immortality.
And as we clothe events with the drapery of our own thoughts, so likewise do we clothe the objects of the visible world around us, and where one sees harmony and beauty, another sees revolting ugliness.
An enthusiastic naturalist was one day roaming the country lanes in pursuit of his hobby, and during his rambles came upon a pool of brackish water near a farmyard.
As he proceeded to fill a small bottle with the water for the purpose of examination under the microscope, he dilated, with more enthusiasm than discretion, to an uncultivated son of the plough who stood close by, upon the hidden and innumerable wonders contained in the pool, and concluded by saying, ‘’Yes, my friend, within this pool is contained a hundred, nay, a million universes, had we but the sense or the instrument by which we could apprehend them.” And the unsophisticated one ponderously remarked, "I know the water be full o’ tadpoles, but they be easy to catch.”
Where the naturalist, his mind stored with the knowledge of natural facts, saw beauty, harmony, and hidden glory, the mind unenlightened upon those things saw only an offensive mud-puddle.
The wild flower which the casual wayfarer thoughtlessly tramples upon is, to the spiritual eye of the poet, an angelic messenger from the invisible.
To the many, the ocean is but a dreary expanse of water on which ships sail and are sometimes wrecked; to the soul of the musician it is a living thing, and he hears, in all its changing moods, divine harmonies.
Where the ordinary mind sees disaster and confusion, the mind of the philosopher sees the most perfect sequence of cause and effect, and where the materialist sees nothing but endless death, the mystic sees pulsating and eternallife.
And as we clothe both events and objects with our own thoughts, so likewise do we clothe the souls of others in the garments of our thoughts.
The suspicious believe everybody to be suspicious; the Liar feels secure in the thought that he is not so foolish as to believe that there is such a phenomenon as a strictly truthful person; the envious see envy in every soul; the miser thinks everybody is eager to get his money; he who has subordinated conscience in the making of his wealth, sleeps with a revolver under his pillow, wrapped in the delusion that the world is full of conscienceless people who are eager to rob him, and the abandoned sensualist looks upon the saint as a hypocrite.
On the other hand, those who dwell in loving thoughts, see that in all which calls forth their love and sympathy; the trusting and honest are not troubled by suspicions; the good- natured and charitable who rejoice at the good fortune of others, scarcely know what envy means; and he who has realized the Divine within himself recognizes it in all beings, even in the beasts.
And men and women are confirmed in their mental outlook because of the fact that, by the law of cause and effect, they attract to themselves that which they send forth, and so come in contact with people similar to themselves.
The old adage, “Birds of a feather flock together,” has a deeper significance than is generally attached to it, for in the thought-world as in the world of matter, each clings to itskind.
Do you wish for kindness? Be kind. Do you ask for truth? Be true. What you give of yourself you find; Your world is a reflex ofyou.
If you are one of those who are praying for, and looking forward to, a happier world beyond the grave, here is a message of gladness for you, you may enter into and realize that happy world now; it fills the whole universe, and it is within you, waiting for you to find, acknowledge, and possess. Said one who knew the inner laws of Being,”
When men shall say Io here, or Io there, go not after them; the kingdom of God is withinyou.”
What you have to do is to believe this, simply believe it with a mind unshadowed by doubt, and then meditate upon it till you understandit.
You will then begin to purify and to build your inner world, and as you proceed, passing from revelation to revelation, from realization to realization, you will discover the utter powerlessness of outward things beside the magic potency of a self-governedsoul.
If thou would’st right the world, And banish all its evils and its woes, Make its wild places bloom, And its drear deserts blossom as the rose,- Then right thyself.
If thou would’st turn the world From its long, lone captivity in sin, Restore all broken hearts, Slay grief, and let sweet consolation in,- Turn thou thyself.
If thou would’st cure the world Of its long sickness, end its grief and pain; Bring in all-healing joy, And give to the afflicted rest again,- Then cure thyself.
If thou would’st wake the world Out of its dream of death and dark’ning strife, Bring it to Love and Peace, And Light and brightness of immortal Life,- Wake thou thyself.
Having seen and realized that evil is but a passing shadow thrown, by the intercepting self, across the transcendent Form of the Eternal Good, and that the world is a mirror in which each sees a reflection of himself, we now ascend, by firm and easy steps, to that plane of perception whereon is seen and realized the Vision of theLaw.
With this realization comes the knowledge that everything is included in a ceaseless interaction of cause and effect, and that nothing can possibly be divorced fromlaw.
From the most trivial thought, word, or act of man, up to the groupings of the celestial bodies, law reigns supreme. No arbitrary condition can, even for one moment, exist, for such a condition would be a denial and an annihilation oflaw.
Every condition of life is, therefore, bound up in an orderly and harmonious sequence, and the secret and cause of every condition is contained within itself, The law, “Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap,” is inscribed in flaming letters upon the portal of Eternity, and none can deny it, none can cheat it, none can escapeit.
He who puts his hand in the fire must suffer the burning until such time as it has worked itself out, and neither curses nor prayers can avail to alterit.
And precisely the same law governs the realm of mind. Hatred, anger, jealousy, envy, lust, covetousness, all these are fires which bum, and whoever even so much as touches them must suffer the torments of burning.
All these conditions of mind are rightly called “evil,” for they are the efforts of the soul to subvert, in its ignorance, the law, an they, therefore, lead to chaos and confusion within, and are sooner or later actualized in the outward circumstances as disease, failure, and misfortune, coupled with grief, pain, and despair.
Whereas love, gentleness, good-will, purity, are cooling airs which breathe peace upon the soul that woes them, and, being in harmony with the Eternal Law, they become actualized in the form of health, peaceful surroundings, and undeviating success and good fortune.
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 thatLaw.
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 conditions 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.
Such an obedient one is working in harmony with the law, has in fact, identified himself with the law, and whatsoever he conquers he conquers for ever, whatsoever he builds can never be destroyed.
The cause of all power, as of all weakness, is within; the secret of all happiness as of all misery is likewise within.
There is no progress apart from unfoldment within, and no sure foothold of prosperity or peace except by orderly advancement in knowledge.
You say you are chained by circumstances; you cry out for better opportunities, for a wider scope, for improved physical conditions, and perhaps you inwardly curse the fate that binds you hand andfoot.
It is for you that I write; it is to you that I speak. Listen, and let my words burn themselves into your heart, for that which I say to you is truth:
You may bring about that improved condition in your outward life which you desire, if you will unswervingly resolve to improve your innerlife.
I know this pathway looks barren at its commencement (truth always does, it is only error and delusion which are at first inviting and fascinating,) but if you undertake to walk it; if you perseveringly discipline your mind, eradicating your weaknesses, and allowing your soul-forces and spiritual powers to unfold themselves, you will be astonished at the magical changes which will be brought about in your outwardlife.
As you proceed, golden opportunities will be strewn across your path, and the power and judgment to properly utilize them will spring up within you. Genial friends will come unbidden to you; sympathetic souls will be drawn to you as the needle is to the magnet; and books and all outward aids that you require will come to you unsought.
Perhaps the chains of poverty hang heavily upon you, 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 andease.
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.
The very fact that you are a complainer, shows that you deserve your lot; shows that you lack that faith which is the ground of all effort and progress.
There is no room for a complainer in a universe of law, and worry is soul-suicide. By your very attitude of mind you are strengthening the chains which bind you, and are drawing about you the darkness by which you are enveloped, Alter your outlook upon life, and your outward life will alter.
Build yourself up in the faith and knowledge, and make yourself worthy of better surroundings and wider opportunities. Be sure, first of all, that you are making the best of what youhave.
Do not delude yourself into supposing that you can step into greater advantages whilst overlooking smaller ones, for if you could, the advantage would be impermanent and you would quickly fall back again in order to learn the lesson which you had neglected.
As the child at school must master one standard before passing onto the next, so, before you can have that greater good which you so desire, must you faithfully employ that which you already possess.
The parable of the talents is a beautiful story illustrative of this truth, for does it not plainly show that if we misuse, neglect, or degrade that which we possess, be it ever so mean and insignificant, even that little will be taken from us, for, by our conduct we show that we are unworthy ofit.
Perhaps you are living in a small cottage, and are surrounded by unhealthy and vicious influences.
You desire a larger and more sanitary residence. Then you must fit yourself for such a residence by first of all making your cottage as far as possible a little paradise. Keep it spotlessly clean. Make it look as pretty and sweet as your limited means will allow. Cook your plain food with all care, and arrange your humble table as tastefully as you possiblycan.
If you cannot afford a carpet, let your rooms be carpeted with smiles and welcomes, fastened down with the nails of kind words driven in with the hammerof
patience. Such a carpet will not fade in the sun, and constant use will never wear itaway.
By so ennobling your present surroundings you will rise above them, and above the need of them, and at the right time you will pass on into the better house and surroundings which have all along been waiting for you, and which you have fitted yourself to occupy.
Perhaps you desire more time for thought and effort, and feel that your hours of labor are too hard and long. Then see to it that you are utilizing to the fullest possible extent what little spare time youhave.
It is useless to desire more time, if you are already wasting what little you have; for you would only grow more indolent and indifferent.
Even poverty and lack of time and leisure are not the evils that you imagine they are, and if they hinder you in your progress, it is because you have clothed them in your own weaknesses, and the evil that you see in them is really in yourself. Endeavor to fully and completely realize that in so far as you shape and mould your mind, you are the maker of your destiny, and as, by the transmuting power of self-discipline you realize this more and more, you will come to see that these so-called evils may be converted into blessings.
You will then utilize your poverty for the cultivation of patience, hope and courage; and your lack of time in the gaining of promptness of action and decision of mind, by seizing the precious moments as they present themselves for your acceptance.
As in the rankest soil the most beautiful flowers are grown, so in the dark soil of poverty the choicest flowers of humanity have developed and bloomed.
Where there are difficulties to cope with, and unsatisfactory conditions to overcome, there virtue most flourishes and manifests its glory.
It may be that you are in the employ of a tyrannous master or mistress, and you feel that you are harshly treated. Look upon this also as necessary to your training. Return your employer’s unkindness with gentleness and forgiveness.
Practice unceasingly patience and self-control. Turn the disadvantage to account by utilizing it for the gaining of mental and spiritual strength, and by your silent example and influence you will thus be teaching your employer, will be helping him to grow ashamed of his conduct, and will, at the same time, be lifting yourself up to that height of spiritual attainment by which you will be enabled to step into new and more congenial surroundings at the time when they are presented toyou.
Do not complain that you are a slave, but lift yourself up, by noble conduct, above the plane of slavery. Before complaining that you are a slave to another, be sure that you are not a slave toself.
Look within; look searchingly, and have no mercy upon yourself. You will find there, perchance, slavish thoughts, slavish desires, and in your daily life and conduct slavish habits.
Conquer these; cease to be a slave to self, and no man will have the power to enslave you. As you overcome self, you will overcome all adverse conditions, and every difficulty will fall beforeyou.
Do not complain that you are oppressed by the rich. Are you sure that if you gained riches you would not be an oppressor yourself?
Remember that there is the Eternal Law which is absolutely just, and that he who oppresses today must himself be oppressed tomorrow; and from this there is no way of escape.
And perhaps you, yesterday (in some former existence) were rich and an oppressor, and that you are now merely paying off the debt which you owe to the Great Law. Practice, therefore, fortitude and faith.
Dwell constantly in mind upon the Eternal justice, the Eternal Good. Endeavor to lift yourself above the personal and the transitory into the impersonal and permanent.
Shake off the delusion that you are being injured or oppressed by another, and try to realize, by a profounder comprehension of your inner life, and the laws which govern that life, that you are only really injured by what is within you. There is no practice more degrading, debasing, and soul-destroying than that of self-pity.
Cast it out from you. While such a canker is feeding upon your heart you can never expect to grow into a fullerlife.
Cease from the condemnation of others, and begin to condemn yourself. Condone none of your acts, desires or thoughts that will not bear comparison with spotless purity, or endure the light of sinlessgood.
By so doing you will be building your house upon the rock of the Eternal, and all that is required for your happiness and well-being will come to you in its owntime.
There is positively no way of permanently rising above poverty, or any undesirable condition, except by eradicating those selfish and negative conditions within, of which these are the reflection, and by virtue of which they continue.
The way to true riches is to enrich the soul by the acquisition of virtue. Outside of real heart-virtue there is neither prosperity nor power, but only the appearances of these. I am aware that men make money who have acquired no measure of virtue, and have little desire to do so; but such money does not constitute true riches, and its possession is transitory and feverish.
Here is David’s testimony:- For I was envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked...... Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart could wish. - Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence... When I thought to know this it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God, then understood I theirend.”
The prosperity of the wicked was a great trial to David until he went into the sanctuary of God, and then he knew theirend.
You likewise may go into that sanctuary. It is within you. It is that state of consciousness which remains when all that is sordid, and personal, and impermanent is risen above, and universal and eternal principles are realized.
That is the God state of consciousness; it is the sanctuary of the Most High. When by long strife and self-discipline, you have succeeded in entering the door of that holy Temple, you will perceive, with unobstructed vision, the end and fruit of all human thought and endeavor, both good andevil.
You will then no longer relax your faith when you see the immoral man accumulating outward riches, for you will know, that he must come again to poverty and degradation.
The rich man who is barren of virtue is, in reality, poor, and as surely, as the waters of the river are drifting to the ocean, so surely is he, in the midst of all his riches, drifting towards poverty and misfortune; and though he die rich, yet must he return to reap the bitter fruit of all of his immorality.
And though he become rich many times, yet as many times must he be thrown back into poverty, until, by long experience and suffering he conquers the poverty within.
But the man who is outwardly poor, yet rich in virtue, is truly rich, and, in the midst of all his poverty he is surely traveling towards prosperity; and abounding joy and bliss await his coming. If you would become truly and permanently prosperous, you must first become virtuous.
It is therefore unwise to aim directly at prosperity, to make it the one object of life, to reach out greedily for it, To do this is to ultimately defeat yourself.
But rather aim at self-perfection, make useful and unselfish service the object of your life, and ever reach out hands of faith towards the supreme and unalterableGood.
You say you desire wealth, not for your own sake, but in order to do good with it, and to bless others. If this is your real motive in desiring wealth, then wealth will come to you; for you are strong and unselfish indeed if, in the midst of riches, you are willing to look upon yourself as steward and not as owner.
But examine well your motive, for in the majority of instances where money is desired for the admitted object of blessing others, the real underlying motive is a love of popularity, and a desire to pose as a philanthropist or reformer.
If you are not doing good with what little you have, depend upon it the more money you got the more selfish you would become, and all the good you appeared to do with your money, if you attempted to do any, would be so much insinuating self-laudation.
If your real desire is to do good, there is no need to wait for money before you do it; you can do it now, this very moment, and just where you are. If you are really so unselfish as you believe yourself to be, you will show it by sacrificing yourself for othersnow.
No matter how poor you are, there is room for self-sacrifice, for did not the widow put her all into the treasury?
The heart that truly desires to do good does not wait for money before doing it, but comes to the altar of sacrifice and, leaving there the unworthy elements of self, goes out and breathes upon neighbor and stranger, friend and enemy alike the breath of blessedness.
As the effect is related to the cause, so is prosperity and power related to the inward good and poverty and weakness to the inwardevil.
Money does not constitute true wealth, nor position, nor power, and to rely upon it alone is to stand upon a slippery place.
Your true wealth is your stock of virtue, and your true power the uses to which you put it. Rectify your heart, and you will rectify your life. Lust, hatred, anger, vanity, pride, covetousness, self-indulgence, self-seeking, obstinacy,- all these are poverty and weakness; whereas love, purity, gentleness, meekness, compassion, generosity, self- forgetfulness, and self-renunciation,- all these are wealth and power.
As the elements of poverty and weakness are overcome, an irresistible and allconquering power is evolved from within, and he who succeeds in establishing himself in the highest virtue, brings the whole world to hisfeet.
But the rich, as well as the poor, have their undesirable conditions, and are frequently farther removed from happiness than the poor. And here we see how happiness depends, not upon outward aids or possessions, but upon the inwardlife.
Perhaps you are an employer, and you have endless trouble with those whom you employ, and when you do get good and faithful servants they quickly leave you. As a result you are beginning to lose, or have completely lost, your faith in human nature.
You try to remedy matters by giving better wages, and by allowing certain liberties, yet matters remain unaltered. Let me adviseyou.
The secret of all your trouble is not in your servants, it is in yourself; and if you look within, with a humble and sincere desire to discover and eradicate your error, you will, sooner or later, find the origin of all your unhappiness.
It may be some selfish desire, or lurking suspicion, or unkind attitude of mind which sends out its poison upon those about you, and reacts upon yourself, even though you may not show it in your manner or speech.
Think of your servants with kindness, consider 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 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 workpeople.
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.” Herein lies the secret by which all desirable conditions are secured, and all that are undesirable are overcome.
Do you say that you are lonely and unloved, and have “not a friend in the world”? Then, I pray you, for the sake of your own happiness, blame nobody but yourself.
Be friendly towards others, and friends will soon flock round you. Make yourself pure and lovable, and you will be loved byall.
Whatever conditions are rendering your life burdensome, you may pass out of and beyond them by developing and utilizing within you the transforming power of self- purification and self-conquest.
Be it the poverty which galls (and remember that the poverty upon which I have been dilating is that poverty which is a source of misery, and not that voluntary poverty which is the glory of emancipated souls), or the riches which burden, or the many misfortunes, griefs, and annoyances which form the dark background in the web of life, you may overcome them by overcoming the selfish elements within which give themlife.
It matters not that by the unfailing Law, there are past thoughts and acts to work out and to atone for, as, by the same law, we are setting in motion, during every moment of our life, fresh thoughts and acts, and we have the power to make them good orill.
Nor does it follow that if a man (reaping what he has sown) must lose money or forfeit position, that he must also lose his fortitude or forfeit his uprightness, and it is in these that his wealth and power and happiness are to be found. He who clings to self is his own enemy and is surrounded by enemies.
He who relinquishes self is his own savior, and is surrounded by friends like a protecting belt. Before the divine radiance of a pure heart all darkness vanishes and all clouds melt away, and he who has conquered self has conquered the universe.
Come, then, out of your poverty; come out of your pain; come out of your troubles, and sighings, and complainings, and heartaches, and loneliness by coming out of yourself.
Let the old tattered garment of your petty selfishness fall from you, and put on the new garment of universal Love. You will then realize the inward heaven, and it will be reflected in all your outwardlife.
He who sets his foot firmly upon the path of self-conquest, who walks, aided by the staff of Faith, the highway of self-sacrifice, will assuredly achieve the highest prosperity, and will reap abounding and enduring joy and bliss.
To them that seek the highest good All things subserve the wisestends;
Nought comes as ill, and wisdom lends Wings to all shapes of evil brood.
The dark’ning sorrow veils a Star That waits to shine with gladsome light; Hell waits on heaven; and after night Comes golden glory fromafar.
Defeats are steps by which we climb With purer aim to nobler ends; Loss leads to gain, and joy attends True footsteps up the hills oftime.
Pain leads to paths of holy bliss, To thoughts and words and deeds divine-, And clouds that gloom and rays that shine, Along life’s upward highwaykiss.
Misfortune does but cloud the way Whose end and summit in the sky Of bright success, sunkiss’d and high, Awaits our seeking and ourstay.
The heavy pall of doubts and fears That clouds the Valley of our hopes, The shades with which the spirit copes, The bitter harvesting of tears,
The heartaches, miseries, and griefs, The bruisings born of broken ties, All these are steps by which we rise To living ways of sound beliefs.
Love, pitying, watchful, runs to meet The Pilgrim from the Land of Fate; All glory and all good await The coming of obedientfeet.
The most powerful forces in the universe are the silent forces; and in accordance with the intensity of its power does a force become beneficent when rightly directed, and destructive when wrongly employed.