What follows is my favorite James Allen quotes from “As A Man Thinketh,” and how using the visualization that he talks about will boost your fitness results. This is one of the few books worth the time to read stuff over a couple of times so it really sinks in.
I have listed them in the order that they appear in the book as I wrote them down.
“Mind is the master power that moulds and makes, And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes the tool of thought, and, shaping what he wills, brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:– He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: Environment is but his looking-glass.”
Not many jabs coming at you here. James Allen hits you with a right hook right out of the gate. With this quote he tells us that everything we see and experience get filtered through our thoughts of it. We can see things as good or bad depending on our state of mind and to what we reference the experience.
Further to that, many things come at us on a daily basis and the mind filters it for us so we don’t get overloaded. The things we mentally focus on get deemed as important and are let through the filter. Thought, or our mental focus, is what tells the mind what is important. Focus on opportunity and opportunities are exposed… focus on the misery and that takes precedence.
“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.”
Nothing complicated in this quote. Your existence as experienced is a result of what you brain lets through the filter and how the filter colors it.
“The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set.”
Achieving anything beyond your current role requires a change in behaviour. What you have now is a result of who you have been to this point. In order to go elsewhere, you must sacrifice old parts of you. Sometimes parts, sometimes the whole. The obstacle here is that sacrificing self feels wrong. Who you are now does not want to die. Your ego is strong. So new advice and actions are counter intuitive to the person that exists. Killing off the old self that wanted to be alone, leads to a social person that makes business connections for example. But it feels wrong and unnatural at first.
I have been working on several fitness goals – I will handstand, one arm chin, pistol squat, 405 Deadlift, 315 Squat,225 Bench and 2 Mile run in 13:30 at in the next 365 days. So that goal ends on June 20 2020.
I’m focusing on that and because of my body’s alignment through years of activity, I needed massive structural changes fast. These hurt. Subconsciously I threw my back out (while sleeping!) and went through a lot of pain for several weeks. Now my left leg is aligned and I’m ready to move forward unimpeded.
The old me had to die for something better.
“Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the Law of his being. The sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify, to burn out all that is useless and impure. Suffering ceases for him who is pure. There could be no object in burning gold after the dross had been removed, and a perfectly pure and enlightened being could not suffer.”
I’m still working over this one. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments. Intuitively it makes sense but I can’t put it into simple words with a concrete sound bite.
Indigence and indulgence are the two extremes of wretchedness. They are both equally unnatural and the result of mental disorder. A man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy, healthy, and prosperous being; and happiness, health, and prosperity are the result of a harmonious adjustment of the inner with the outer, of the man with his surroundings.
A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of discovering the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.
This being so, man has but to right himself to find that the universe is right; and during the process of putting himself right he 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 effect in the material conditions of his life. Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.
On the other hand, beautiful thoughts of all kinds crystallize into habits of grace and kindliness, which solidify into genial and sunny circumstances: pure thoughts crystallize into habits of temperance and self-control, which solidify into circumstances of repose and peace: thoughts of courage, self-reliance, and decision crystallize into manly habits, which solidify into circumstances of success, plenty, and freedom: energetic thoughts crystallize into habits of cleanliness and industry, which solidify into circumstances of pleasantness: gentle and forgiving thoughts crystallize into habits of gentleness, which solidify into protective and preservative circumstances: loving and unselfish thoughts crystallize into habits of self-forgetfulness for others, which solidify into circumstances of sure and abiding prosperity and true riches.
A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.
“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 delays But wait as one who understands; When spirit rises and commands The gods are ready to obey.”
THE body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes clothed with youthfulness and beauty.
Anxiety quickly demoralizes the whole body, and lays it open to the, entrance of disease; while impure thoughts, even if not physically indulged, will soon shatter the nervous system.
Strong, pure, and happy thoughts build up the body in vigor and grace. The body is a delicate and plastic instrument, which responds readily to the thoughts by which it is impressed, and habits of thought will produce their own effects, good or bad, upon it.
A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts. It may take the form of a spiritual ideal, or it may be a worldly object, according to his nature at the time being; but whichever it is, 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 this will form a new starting-point for future power and triumph. Those who are not prepared for the apprehension of a great purpose should fix the thoughts upon the faultless performance of their duty, no matter how insignificant their task may appear. Only in this way can the thoughts be gathered and focused, and resolution and energy be developed, which being done, there is nothing which may not be accomplished.