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Thought and Character

I came across a little book called “As A Man Thinketh”, by James Allen. James Allen is partly responsible for launching an entire self-improvement industry starting back in late 1800’s. His thoughts that are captured in what he called his “little volume” are inspiring and thought provoking.

Right out of the gate of his book I found the following passage that loaded with insight that I believe we could all use as the foundation of our lives.

As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called “spontaneous” and “unpremeditated” as to those which are deliberately executed.

Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruit; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry.

As I processed these two paragraphs I found a lot of clarity about actions that are made in life. This statement significantly impressed me; “every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought”. What are the hidden seeds of thought that keep producing seeds of suffering for you?

The seeds of thoughts (beliefs) grow over time and become roots that reach deep into the soil of your life. Those roots support the branches of character (values). The branches produce the fruit in our lives. What kind of fruit do you want in your life? If you are not seeing the desired fruit around you, there are some thoughts (beliefs) that need some help!

James goes on to make the following point:

Cause and effect are as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things. A noble and God-like character is not a thing of favor or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort of right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with God-like thoughts. An ignoble and bestial character, by the same process, is the result of the continued harboring of groveling thoughts.

It takes more than just the positive thinking that some will practice. It takes the effort of modifying the core thoughts (beliefs) to eradicate the “ignoble and bestial character” and embrace the God-like character that I believe we all desire, whether we give God the credit or not. Take some time this week to challenge your thoughts (beliefs) that are creating suffering…and remember, we all were created for joy!

For those of you who are like me and are not sure what the word husbandry means, here is the definition: the cultivation and production of edible crops or of animals for food; agriculture; farming.


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