“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” ~ Marianne Williamson
“As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen is one of my favourite books. I came across it by chance 12 years ago in some huge warehouse, while perusing the shelves. Little did I know at that time, that what I had stumbled upon was a timeless treasure. The book was written in 1904, yet the same principles still apply today. And the principle is this – we become what we think about.
Often people site coincidences, fate, or one’s religious belief as dictators of our lives. However, I’m not sure I completely subscribe to that. What I do know is that there is power in thought. As a Christian, I know we are told that we have been made in the likeness and image of God, therefore making us powerful creatures and benefactors of prayer. But, even if you are not religious there is no denying the power of a thought. A thought provides emotions and can allow us to feel powerful or powerless. As James Allen states:
“The soul attracts that which it secretly harbours – what it loves, and also what it fears. It reaches the height of its cherished aspirations, and it falls to the depth of its recurring, unexamined fears. Circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.” (p. 34)
We are truly powerful creatures. I believe it is possible to experience and live the kind of life we always wanted, but for this to occur we must first shape it in our mind. We know in a given day people have over 50,000 thoughts, but of that how much of it are we truly aware of what we are thinking?
Are we our biggest cheerleader in the recess of our minds, or are we just sabotaging ourselves with doubting thoughts. Sometimes we are shackled by our past experiences and challenges. They become our barrier. Instead of seeing the way, all our eyes can see are the obstacles in the way. Or perhaps we do not believe we deserve or are worthy of having what it is we truly want. Either way we are the result of our thoughts and our thoughts are tricky little creatures.
It’s easy to tell someone, “All you need to do is have positive thoughts,” or “Practice imagery,” but really how do you get someone to truly feel and think a certain way, when their current situation is a dominant influential force. I believe it might have something to do with being more conscious of the thoughts we have. As James Allen suggests, we must garden our mind. Be aware of thoughts we are having, confronting the brutal facts of what we are really thinking while understanding we have the power to choose our thoughts.
I leave you with an excerpt from “As a Man Thinketh.” James Allen does a fabulous job of describing just how thought influences our circumstances:
“A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on our character and circumstances. We cannot directly choose our circumstances, but we can choose our thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely shape our circumstances…
As soon as we cease from our negative and destructive thoughts, all the world softens toward us, and is ready to help us; as soon as we put away our weak and sick thoughts, opportunities spring up on every hand to aid our strong resolve; as soon as we encourage good thoughts, no hard fate shall bind us down to misery and shame. The world is our kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colours it presents to us at every succeeding moment are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of our ever-moving thoughts.You will be what you will to be; Let failure find its false content In that poor word “environment,” But spirit scorns it and is free. It masters time, it conquers space, It cows that boastful trickster, Chance, And bids the tyrant Circumstance Uncrown, and take a servant’s place The human Will, that force unseen, The offspring of a deathless Soul, Can hew a way to any goal, Though walls of granite intervene. Be not impatient in delay, But wait as one who understands; When spirit rises and commands, The gods are ready to obey.”
-James Allen (p.47 -48)