As the Man Thinketh: Serenity
“Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power.”
~ James Allen
In 1902, James Allen wrote a small book, As the Man Thinketh and introduced the philosophy that thoughts are the sum of man’s character. His book received great acclaim. Just as the New Thought movement, his book focused on positive thinking as a way to understand the human condition. The connection between the mind and body was phenomenal in regard to his findings and experiments.
In the last section, “Serenity,” Allen discusses the characteristics of an “ideal” man. This is a man who reaches complete wisdom and awareness of self and others. In his words, [serenity] is “the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.”
Throughout his book, Allen discusses the importance of “right thinking.” Man must be in “right thinking” in order to lift his thoughts. Otherwise, he cannot hope to understand himself, others, let alone have any positive effect on his circumstances, aspirations, or reach his vision.
However, calmness is the key to reaching serenity. As Allen explains “As he develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene. This process enables man to evolve and adapt to others needs.
A serene man is a spiritual man. In this way, he is someone who others look to for guidance, assurance, and wisdom. Others will seek his advice for business endeavors because he is amicable and easy to deal with.
Also, Allen compares the serene man to those who have done the opposite with their lives. As he exclaimed, “"How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that is sweet and beautiful by explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character, and make bad blood!” While there may truth in that statement, many people place somewhere in the middle. A “work-progress.” It is difficult to achieve absolute serenity in one’s lifetime. Though, it is indeed, a noble vision.