As a Man Thinketh is a literary essay of James Allen, published in 1902.
Basis of the book
The title is influenced by a verse in the Bible from the Book of Proverbs chapter 23 verse 7, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
The full passage, taken from the King James Version, is as follows:
"Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words."
The passage seems to suggest that one should consider the true motivations of a person who is being uncharacteristically generous before accepting his generosity - while in the title and content of James Allen's work the passage is in a different context; In the Bible the passage is referring to another person, and in James Allen's work the passage is adopted to primarily refer to the reader himself.
It is now in the public domain within the United States and most other countries. It was released the 1st of October 2003 as a Project Gutenberg eText edition.
About the book
This book is written in terms of responsibility assumption.
The book opens with the statement:
- 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.
Chapter 1 starts with the quote from Dhammapada where effect of karmas is explained.
Quotes From As a Man Thinketh
- Men do not attract what they want, but what they are.
- A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
- Cherish your visions. Cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment, of these, if you but remain true to them your world will at last be built.
- The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors, 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.
- Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves, they therefore remain bound.
- Every action and feeling is preceded by a thought.
- Right thinking begins with the words we say to ourselves.
- Circumstance does not make the man, it reveals him to himself.
- You cannot travel within and stand still without.
- As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts, can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.
- 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 all is the result of a law which cannot err
The lyrics to the song Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts by Funkadelic are loosely based on this book.
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