As a Man Thinketh…

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything, what we think, we become.

——– Buddha

Let a man strive to purify his thoughts. What a man thinketh, that is he; this is the eternal mystery. Dwelling within his self with thoughts serene, he will obtain imperishable happiness. Man becomes that of which he thinks.

——— Upanishads

A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of his thoughts.

As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them . . . . . . Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits; thus does a man garner in the bitter and sweet fruitage of his own husbandry . . . . . .

A man’s mind maybe likened to a garden, which maybe intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.

Just as the gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding our all the wrong, useless and impure thoughts. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands, with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought forces operate in the shaping of his character and destiny. . . . . .

Man is buffeted by his circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realises that he is a creative power, and that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself. . . . .

Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.

A man will find that as he alters his thoughts towards things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him. . . . Let a man radically alter his thoughts and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will affect in the material conditions of his life. Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. . . . . The divinity that shapes our ends is within ourselves. It is our very self. . . . . . All that a man achieves or fails to achieve are the direct results of his own thoughts. He remains weak and abject and miserable by refusing to lift up his thoughts. . . . . .

A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralising point of his thoughts. . . . . He should steadily focus his thought forces upon the object which he has set before him. He should make this purpose his supreme duty, and should devote himself to its attainment, not allowing his thoughts to wander away into ephemeral fancies, longings and imaginings. This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and tis will form a new starting point of future power and triumph.

Into your hands will be placed the direct results of your own thoughts; you will receive that which you earn; no more, no less. Whatever your present environment maybe you will fall, remain or rise with your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration. . . . .

The thoughtless, the ignorant, and the indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, and fortune, and chance. Seeing a man rich they say, “How lucky he is!’. Observing another becoming intellectual they exclaim, “How highly favoured he is!” And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, they remark, “How chance aids him at every turn!” They do not see the trials and failures and struggles which these men have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience; have no knowledge of the sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have exercised that they might overcome the apparently unsurmountable and realise the Vision of their heart. They do not know the darkness and the heartaches; they only see the light and oy and call it “luck”; do not see the long and arduous journey, but only behold the pleasant goal, and call it “good fortune”; do not understand the process, but only perceive the result and call it “chance”.

In all human affairs, there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. “Gifts”, powers, material, intellectual and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort; they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realised.

The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart —- this you will build your life by. This you will become.

This excerpt has been taken from the famous essay As a Man Thinketh by James Lane Allen.

Though James Lane Allen (1849-1925), who hailed from Lexington, Kentucky, USA, for many years, was a professor of languages, writing had always been his interest and his goal. He was an American novelist and short story writer. He produced a number of important and popular books in his lifetime, but he is best remembered for his essay As a man Thinketh. Many successful people have attributed their success in life to its influence. As a Man Thinketh is still widely read and selections from the famous essay are frequently quoted.

Pearl Jasra
Author: Pearl Jasra