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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

As a Man Thinketh, So Is He

Today's Thought from Hazelden: September 7, 2011
"As we think, so we become."

"We can enrich our interior monologue. We can seek the company of people who inspire us with a loving approach to life. We can absorb the written thoughts of writers who encourage our positive emotions. We can decide to be cheerful and optimistic, just for today."

"Whom would you rather be around - someone who chronically complains and talks about what a mess everything is, or someone who finds joy and delight in watching the antics of two squirrels in a tree? You are your constant companion. Your own company can be a pleasure or a drag, depending on the thoughts and feelings you permit to linger in your consciousness."

"We take Steps Four and Five in order to sort out our thoughts, getting rid of those that depress our spirit. In Step Ten, we continue a daily mental housecleaning so that residues of resentment and discouragement are not allowed to accumulate. Then we go on to Step Eleven for an infusion of the kind of thinking that nurtures the person we want to become."

"Today, I will exercise my freedom of thought."
"As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," observes James Allen in his classic work, "As a Man Thinketh." Taken from Proverbs 23:7, this aphorism may at first be a revelation for persons who believe that they have no control over how and what they think. Experience with taking and sharing a moral inventory, with making amends for wrongs done, and, most importantly, with prayer and meditation shows us that this is just not true.

To affect a conscious contact with the God of our own understanding, requires the disciplining of our consciousness itself, and the experience of millions, inside and outside 12 Step recovery groups, show that this is eminently possible using the methodology of the Steps or other disciplines. (Remember, A.A. and its sister organizations "have no monopoly" on spiritual awakening.)
"Man is made or unmade by himself," Allen points out. "(I)n the armory 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. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master."
In the "How It Works" reading, we hear, but perhaps overlook, the warning: "Many of us tried to hold onto our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely." If we are to remain sober and live contented sane lives, we must not only let go of our old ideas, but our entire old way of ego-centric thinking. We must be able to free ourselves from the painful inner dialogue of self-consciousness in order to access the underlying God-consciousness which is the natural basis of our human condition.  And it is by "the right choice and application of thought" that we do so."

Today, have I chosen to let go of the inner dialogue of self in favour of communion with the God of my understanding? Have I taken the quiet time to commune with and rest in the divine? As I go out from my time of quiet meditation will I be attentive to the thoughts of self-consciousness and let them go as they arise? Today, will I manifest the insanity of the ego or will I strive to remain within the sanity of a higher God-consciousness?

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the most wonderful books ever written. James Allen explains in his "easy to read" way, how we are the ones responsible for the present state of our own lives (not someone else or some circumstance in our life). As he says, "Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself". That's why two different people can see the same event and view it in a totally different way. He also stresses that fighting the outer circumstance or "effect", will not help, since the real "cause" is in our hearts. He makes it very clear that if we wish to change the world, we will have to start with ourselves. And a big part of the work, will be to realize that we aren't usually even aware of our thoughts (which means we don't know what we're asking for). If you truly want to change your life, for the better - this book is a good place to start. James Allen wrote several other books, that are sometimes difficult to find, but well worth looking for. "Out From the Heart" is one of my favorites, as it gives "more basic" instuctions for those of us who have a lot to learn about ourselves.