Saturday, May 27, 2017

"As A Man Thinketh"

Shortly before my mission, my grandfather and I talked about what it is like to serve a mission and the importance of giving God your whole heart, mind, and soul.  I don't remember much of that conversation but for some reason, the one thing that I do recall is that he gave me a book called "As A Man Thinketh" by James Allen. Out of all the book, talks, mementos that a proud grandfather could give to his oldest and first grandson to serve a mission, he handed me his personal copy of "As A Man Thinketh".  

For years I didn't understand why he gave me this book out of all the others to help me get ready for my mission. What I didn't understand was that this book wasn't intended to only help me during my mission but for the rest of my life. 

If I had understood the teaching of this book earlier in my life, things would be so much different today.  
I used to think that my thoughts were mine and mine alone and as long as I kept them to myself I wasn't hurting anyone and I could live my pretend life. 

Here are some of the important parts of this book and what them meant to me.

Every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them.  

All acts, done by me whether they were good or bad, intentional or not, stemmed from my thoughts. There was a part of my life where I gave no thought or worry to my thoughts. I allowed my thoughts to wander as free as the wind, I allowed my mind to think inappropriate thoughts and fantasies. Now being able to look back at the mistakes I have done, I see the results of an unbridled mind.  

Godlike character is not a thing of favor or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with Godlike thoughts.

This really rings true to me today. After spending the past weekend watching the most remarkable men that God has on this earth (conference weekend), I wondered to myself “could I ever be one of them? Why them? What did they do to prepare?”  The answer is they all lived a life full of Godlike thoughts.  They focused their thinking, teaching and act like the Savior. They listened to not just some but all of the council of the prophets and apostles.  They lived their entire lives in a mind set that was God like.

As a being of Power, Intelligence, and Love, and the lord of his own thoughts, man  holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills.

I was created after my Father’s countenance and image.  I have complete control and accountability over my thoughts.  That being said, I also have full control over my ability to change, repent and become the man that my Father in Heaven knows I am capable of becoming.

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.

What a powerful statement.  If there is one thing I wish I could do would be to stand like the prophet Samuel and teach to the people this once principle.  Maybe, just maybe if I learned this principle earlier in my life, I would have been to able to change the outcome. I lost my family because I allowed it to happened, I spent 25 days jail because I put myself there thought the principles of this law.  I thought this way, there for I was. is where he is that he may learn that he may grow; and as he learns the spiritual lesson which any circumstance contains for him, it passes away and gives place to other circumstances.

I am here right now and there is nothing I can do about it.  I can either pout, cry, throw a fit, or I can learn from it and take from the spiritual and temporal lessons that I can learn in order to become a better man and to be in the service of others.

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.

This is one of the most important lessons I can learn from this book.  Every thought I allow to enter into my mind, will eventually take root and produce an action.  This explains so clearly what happened in my life when as I indulged in my addictions to porn and allowed these thoughts to take root.  Why did I allow this? Why didn’t I understand or see the damage it was inevitably cause at some point in my life?

Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns.  His wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.

This is looking beyond God’s influence in our life. This goes back to the law that all thoughts lead to actions.  I may wish and pray to be a good person, but just because I wish or pray about it, doesn’t mean that I am a good person. It’s a good start, but where do I allow my thoughts to wander?  What do I think about throughout the day?  Are my thoughts harmonized with my actions?

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.

I consider this time in my life a time to suffer and definitely a time to be purified.  There has never been a time in my life where I have been able to focus so much of my energy on me than now. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that this programs doesn’t allow me to be with my family.  I need to be focused on purifying my soul and my mind.  I pray that I can maintain strong in my faith and actions after this time of suffering has past.

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.

I have been thinking a lot of about making a huge effort this week to alter my thoughts. To be more aware of my thoughts and have more control over them.  I have already seen how my thoughts over the past month have changed and how I see things so differently. I use to be the guy that had to have the best of everything.  I spent money on things that really didn’t hold value.  I took away from my family so that I could have what I wanted.  Now, my thoughts are changing.  I don’t care about my material status in life. I don’t care how nice the things I own are. I would give it all away in a blink of an eye, just to be back with my family.  I will make a greater effort to control my thoughts, little at a time, I will learn to be my own master.

A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly , yet surely, shape his circumstances. 

You are right, I didn’t choose to get a divorce or go to jail.  But I did chose my thoughts and my actions long before all this happen, in fact - years before it happened, I did choose my thoughts that lead me to my present circumstances.

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.

I wrote this one down so that I could be accountable for my own well being.  Yes I am dealing with a lot of anxiety and frequent panic attacks but if I do what I know is right and get up early every morning and work out, and before I go to bed each night, take the time to do yoga, I will be taking care of my body and allowing my mind to be stronger.  No more staying up late, get up and do 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.

So I have to legitimate purposes that I would like to work on but one is beyond my control so I don’t think it should be included here. But what I do have control over is learning to be a disciple of Christ. That should be my purpose in my heart.  I will set out and do the things I know I need to do in order to accomplish it.

A strong man cannot help a weaker unless that weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the weak man must become strong of himself; he must, by his own  efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another.  None but himself can alter his condition.

I had to read this over and over today when I came a crossed it. I think this is one of those statements that will have different meaning as life’s circumstances changes. Right now, I see as those that are trying to help me, cannot help me become strong, unless I become strong myself on my own efforts.  I must look to others that I admire, use their examples and focus on their strengths, but it’s me that has to do the work.  

This partly why I can't be married right now.  If I make the necessary changes in my life because I know my best friends wants me to make them, then I am not truly changing. That is not what Godly Sorrow is. 

He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little, he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice highly.

This all goes back to how we all sew our own reward.  If I want to achieve great things in my life and become a great person, and a disciple of Christ, I must be willing to sacrifice equally.  What that looks like, I don’t know but I imagine, that if I keep my thoughts focused on my purpose, when I am asked or expected to sacrifice, I will know and be willing to do whatever it takes.

Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.  It is the result of long and patient effort in self control.

I have had an intense desire for the past year to learn how to calm my mind. I think that is why I have started to lean toward yoga.  I want to learn how to meditate, call my breathing and really learn to focus on my inner self. I don’t know how to do this but I would like to make it a goal in my life to learn to calm my mind.

Get this book on Amazon, read it carefully and it will help you understand that each and every thought you have is a seed that grows into an action and a consequence. When you allow yourself to view or think of pornography or impure thoughts you plant seeds in your future that will result in an equal action and consequence. 

Be the master of your thoughts.

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