By Alan on Aug 27 in Blog tagged As a man thinketh, become what he thinks, black is white, darkness is light, evil is good, good is evil, Miracle of Forgiveness, sins of omission, Spencer W. Kimball, The Family, theFamily, thought cannot be kept secret, thoughts are things, thoughts govern acts and attitude, thoughts mold character, thoughts shape our lives | Comments Off
As A Man Thinketh
. . . Filthy dreamers defile the flesh . . .
. . . . . . . . . Thoughts are the seeds of acts. Jude 8
A KIN TO SINS OF OMISSION ARE “THOUGHT SINS.”
We learn from one of the proverbs: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23: 7
Thoughts Shape Our Lives
A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts. On this theme Henry Van Dyke gave us this following verse:
Thoughts Are Things
I hold it true that thoughts are things.
They’re endowed with bodies and breath and wings;
And that we send them forth to fill
The world with good results, or ill.
That which we call our secret thought
Spends forth to earth’s remotest spot,
Leaving its blessings or its woes
Like tracks behind it as it goes.
We build our future, thought by thought,
For good or ill, yet know it not.
Yet, so the universe was wrought.
Thought is another name for fate;
Choose, then, thy destiny and wait.
For love brings love and hate brings hate.
Not only does a person become what he thinks, but often he comes to look like it. If he worships the God of War, hard lines tend to develop on his countenance. If he worships the God of Lust, dissipation will mark his features. If he worships the God of Peace and Truth, serenity will crown his visage. A thoughtful poet gave us this:
A human face I love to view
And trace the passions of the soul,
On it the spirit writes anew
Each thought and feeling on a scroll,
There the mind its evil doings tells,
And there its noblest deeds do speak;
Just as the ringing of the bells
Proclaims a knell or wedding feast.
Inescapably we reap what we sow. If a farmer wants to raise wheat he must sow wheat, if he wishes fruits he must plant fruit trees, and so with any other crop. The principle is equally binding in the mental and spiritual spheres, as James Allen has expressed it in his well-known book, ‘As a Man Thinketh’.
“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. This applies equally to those acts called “spontaneous” and “unpremeditated” as to those which are deliberately executed. . .
. . . In the armory of thought [man] 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 . . . Between these two extremes are all grades of character, thought, the moulder of character, and the maker and shapes of condition, environment and destiny.”
Cumulative Effect of Thoughts
This relationship of character to thought cannot be too strongly emphasized. How could a person possibly become what he is not thinking? Nor is any thought, when persistently entertained, too small to have its effect. The “divinity that shapes our ends” is indeed in ourselves. It is one’s very self. In speaking of carving out a character, President David O. McKay has said:
“Your tools are your ideals. The thought in your mind at the moment is contributing, however infinitesimally, almost imperceptibly to the shaping of your soul, even to the lineaments of your countenance . . . even passing and idle thought leave their impression. Trees that can withstand the hurricane, sometimes yield to destroying pests that can scarcely be seen except with the aid of a microscope. Likewise, the greatest foes of the individual are not always the glaring evils of humanity but subtle influences of thought and of continual association with companions.”
The cumulative effect of our thinking, and its power over life’s circumstances, is strikingly expressed by James Allen:
“A man does not come to the almshouse or the jail by the tyranny of fate or circumstance, but by the pathway of groveling thoughts and base desires. Not does a pure-minded man fall suddenly into crime by stress of mere external force; the criminal thought had long been secretly fostered in the heart, and the hour of opportunity revealed its gathered power. Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself. No such conditions can exist as descending into vice and its attendant sufferings apart from vicious inclination, or ascending into virtue and its pure happiness without the continued cultivation of virtuous aspirations, and man, therefore, as the lord and master of his thoughts is the maker of himself, the shaper and author of environment . . . 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.”
This “solidifying into circumstance” is the key to most of the success stories we read. The successful man thinks he can. As someone expressed it briefly and pointedly, Allen enlarges on this idea:
“He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it. Columbus cherished a vision of another world, and he discovered it; Copernicus fostered the vision of a multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it; Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered into it.”
Thoughts Govern Acts and Attitudes
The statement, “As a man thinketh, so is he,” could equally well be rendered “As a man thinketh, so does he.” If one thinks it long enough he is likely to do it. A minister acquaintance of mine, whom I knew rather well, was found by his wife hanging in the attic from the rafters. His thoughts had taken his life. He had become morose and despondent for two or more years. Certainly he had not come to suicide in a moment, for he had been a happy, pleasant person as I had known him. It must have been a long decline, ever steeper, controllable by him at first and perhaps out of hand as he neared the end of the trail. No one in his “right mind.” And especially if he has an understanding of the gospel, will permit himself to arrive at this “point of no return.”
Not only acts but attitudes rest on the thoughts we feed our minds. A young couple bickered and quarreled until their marriage was ended and divorce was final. They had been involved romantically with another erring couple. The man and woman both wrote me, trying to smooth out the wrinkles and to make me feel justified and reconciled to their false conclusions. I acknowledged their letters in these terms:
“Old man rationalization finally has convinced two basically good people that “evil is good, and good evil,” and threads are now broken and solemn contracts are voided and solemn promises are abrogated when minds became incubators in which little thoughts grew to become vicious thoughts, and small acts of impropriety become near unforgivable acts affecting adversely the lives of four adults and many children. You have fallen in step with the world which seems intent on believing that good is evil and evil is good, and that black is white and darkness is light.”
“Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.” 2 Ne. 10: 23
Spencer W. Kimball
His book – ‘Miracle of Forgiveness’
For The Family