James Allen (1864 – 1912) was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational, self-help works. As a Man Thinketh is perhaps his best-known work; that literary essay builds upon the aphorism, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” James explained that with the right direction of thought, an individual can enjoy a higher existence – financially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually – and obtain the “knowledge of himself which is Understanding, Wisdom, Power.”
James wrote the following about his search for spiritual understanding:
“I looked around upon the world, and saw that it was shadowed by sorrow and scorched by the fierce fires of suffering. And I looked for the cause. I looked around, but I could not find it; I looked in books, but I could not find it; I looked within, and found there both the cause and the self-made nature of that cause. I looked again, and deeper, and found the remedy. I found one Law, the Law of love; one life, the life of adjustment to that Law; one Truth, the Truth of a conquered mind and a quiet and obedient heart.”
James further described love as “the moulding, sustaining, protecting, and perfecting Power immanent in all things animate and inanimate.” He wrote of the mystical freedom that can be enjoyed through love and purity of heart:
“When I am pure
I shall have solved the mystery of life,
I shall be sure
(When I am free from hatred, lust and strife)
I am in truth, and Truth abides in me.
I shall be safe and sane and wholly free
When I am pure.”
Quoted from Mind is the Master: The Complete James Allen Treasury (2009).
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