Our ThoughtsHandbook 1: Article 70 - A More Excellent Way

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."

Benjamin Franklin

"The aphorism, 'As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,' not only embraces the whole of a man's being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.

As the plant springs from, and could not be without the seed, so every act of man springs forth 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. Man is a growth by law, and not a creation by artifice, and cause and effect is 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 favour or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with God-like thoughts.

Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast.

A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be 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 a 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 out all the wrong, useless and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts.

Every man is where he is by the law of his being; the thoughts which he has built into his character have brought him there, and in the arrangement of his life there is no element of chance, but is all the result of a law which cannot err.

As a progressive and evolving being, man is where he is that he may learn that he may grow; and as he learns the spiritual lessons which any circumstance contains for him it passes away and gives place to other circumstances. And that circumstances grow out of thought every man knows who has for any length of time practised self-control for he will have noticed that the alteration in his circumstance has been in exact ratio with his altered mental condition.

The soul attracts that which it secretly harbours; that which it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires -- and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.

Every thought seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts, bad fruit.

...Thus a particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances. A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances. Life helps every man to the gratification of the thoughts which he most encourages, and opportunities are presented which will most speedily bring to the surface both the good and evil thoughts.

As you think in your heart so are you. 'Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life.' (Proverbs 4: 23)"

James Allen

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Romans 12: 2

"Thinking is a kind of living. To think and be aware that we think is to be conscious. Life without consciousness is but a shadow of life, having no meaning and being of no value to the individual. Our thoughts are the product of our thinking, and since these are of such vast importance to us it is imperative that we learn how to think rightly.

I am dealing here with that kind of thinking done by every normal person every waking moment from birth to death. After all, it is not our heavy thinking that shapes our characters, but the quiet attention of the mind to the surrounding world, day after day, throughout our lives. The incredible mental accomplishments of an Einstein, for instance, had almost nothing to do with the kind of human being he was; the constant, undramatic, moment-by-moment interplay of his mind with his environment, on the other hand, had almost everything to do with it.

We all live in two environments, the one being the world around us, the other our thoughts about that world. The larger world cannot affect us directly; it must be mediated to us by our thoughts, and will be to us at last only what we allow it to be. External things and events are the raw material only; the finished product is whatever the mind makes of these. Judas Iscariot and John the Beloved lived in the same world but how differently they interpreted it. The same may be said of Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, Saul and David. From these we learn that circumstances do not make men; it is their reaction to circumstances that determines what kind of men they will be."

A.W. Tozer

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