Sunday 25 February 2018


2018 0225 08  James Allen: Byways of Blessedness Contd: Abiding Joy

Abiding joy! Is there such a thing? Where is it? Who possesses it? Yea; there is such a thing. It is where there is no sin. It is possessed by the pure hearted. As darkness is a passing shadow, and light is substance that remains, so sorrow is fleeting, but joy abides forever. 

No true thing can pass away and become lost; no false thing can remain and be preserved. Sorrow is false, and it cannot live; joy is true, and it cannot die. Joy may become hidden for a time, but it can be always be recovered; sorrow may remain for a period, but it can be transcended and dispersed. 

Awake! arise! Be holy and Joyful! You are the creator of your own shadows; you desire and then you grieve; renounce and then you all rejoice. When sin and self are abandoned, when the clinging to things for personal pleasure is put away, then the shadows of grief disappear, and the heart is restored to its Imperishable Joy. 

Joy comes and fills the self-emptied heart; it abides with the peaceful; its reign is with the pure. Joy flees from the selfish; it deserts the quarrelsome; it is hidden from the impure. 

Joy is as an angel so beautiful and delicate and chaste that she can only dwell with holiness. She cannot remain with selfishness; she is wedded to Love. Every man is truly happy in so far as he is unselfish; he is miserable in so far as he is selfish. All truly good men, and by good men I mean those who have fought victoriously the battle against self, are men of joy. 

Joy is the companion of righteousness. In the divine life tender compassion fills the place where weeping sorrow sat. During the process of becoming unselfish there are periods of deep sorrow. Purification is necessarily severe. 

All the saints and prophets and saviours of the race have proclaimed with rejoicing the “Gospel” or the “Good News”.  What is the “Good News” of the saintly ones? 

This: that there is peace for the troubled, healing for the afflicted, gladness for the grief-stricken, victory for the sinful, a homecoming for the wanderer, and joy for the sorrowing and broken-hearted. Not that these beautiful realities shall be in some future world, but they are here and now, that they are known and realized and enjoyed; and are, therefore, proclaimed that all may accept them who will break the galling bonds of self and rise into the glorious liberty of unselfish love. 

Seek the highest Good, and as you find it, as you practice it and realize it, you will taste the deepest, sweetest joy. As you succeed in forgetting your own selfish desires in your thoughtfulness for others, in your care for others, in your service for others, just so far and no further will you find and realize the abiding joy in life. 

Knowing this—that selfishness leads to misery, unselfishness to joy, not merely for one’s self alone, but for the whole world and because all with whom we live and come in contact will be the happier and truer for our unselfishness; because Humanity is one, and the joy of one is the joy of all—knowing this, let us scatter flowers and not thorns in the common ways of life—yea, even in the highway of our enemies let us scatter the blossoms of unselfish love—so shall the pressure in their footprints fill the air with the perfume of holiness and gladden the world with the aroma of joy.


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Sunday 18 February 2018


2018 0218 07  James Allen: Byways of Blessedness Contd: Hidden Sacrifices

Hidden Sacrifices

A man must be willing to humbly sacrifice his selfish habits and practices because they are untrue and unworthy, and for the happiness of those about him, without expecting any reward or looking for any good to accrue to himself; nay, he must be prepared to lose for himself, to forfeit pleasure and happiness, even life itself, if by so doing he can make the world more beautiful and happy. 

All true sacrifice is within; it is spiritual and hidden, and is prompted by deep humility of heart. Nothing but the sacrifice of self can avail, and to this must all men come sooner or later during their spiritual evolution. But in what does this selfabnegation consist? How is it practised? Where is it sought and found? It consists in overcoming the daily proneness to selfish thoughts and acts; it is practised in our common intercourse with others; and it is found in the hour of tumult and temptation.

There are hidden sacrifices of the heart which are infinitely blessed both to him that makes them and those for whom they are made, albeit their making costs much effort and some pain. Men are anxious to do some great thing, to perform some great sacrifice which lies beyond the necessities of their experience, while all the time, perhaps, they are neglecting the one thing needful, are blind to that sacrifice which by its very nearness is rendered imperative. 

If you are given to anger or unkindness offer it up. These hard, cruel, and wrong conditions of mind never brought you any good; they can never bring you anything but unrest, misery, and spiritual blindness. Nor can they ever bring to others anything but unhappiness. 

Offer up all unkindness, all anger. “It takes two to make a quarrel;” don’t be the “other one.” If one is angry or unkind to you try to find out where you have acted wrongly; and, whether you have acted wrongly or not, do not throw back the angry word or unkind act. Remain silent, self-contained, and kindly disposed; and learn, by continual effort in right-doing, to have compassion upon the wrongdoer.

Give up your impatience. Overcome it there where it is wont to assert itself. Resolve that you will yield no longer to its tyrannical sway but will conquer it and cast it out. It is not worth keeping a single hour, nor would it dominate you for another moment if you were not labouring under the delusion that the follies and perversities of others render impatience on your part necessary. 

There is no blessedness anywhere until impatience is sacrificed; and its sacrifice means the development of endurance, the practice of forbearance, and the creation of a new and gentler habit of mind. When impatience and irritability are entirely put away, are finally offered up on the altar of unselfishness, then is realised and enjoyed the blessedness of a strong, quiet, and peaceful mind.

Then there are little selfish indulgences, some of which appear harmless, and are commonly fostered; but no selfish indulgence can be harmless, and men and women do not know what they lose by repeatedly and habitually succumbing to effeminate and selfish gratifications. If the God in man is to rise strong and triumphant, the beast in man must perish. 

Sacrifice your cherished and coveted indulgence; fix your mind on something higher, nobler, and more enduring than ephemeral pleasure; live superior to the craving for sense-excitement, and you will live neither vainly nor uncertainly.

Then there is the sacrifice of greed and all greedy thoughts. The willingness that others should possess rather than we; the not-coveting of things for ourselves but rejoicing that they are possessed and enjoyed by others, that they bring happiness to others; the ceasing to claim one’s “own”, and the giving up to others, unselfishly and without malice, that which they exact. 

Another hidden sacrifice, one of great spiritual beauty and of powerful efficacy in the healing of human sorrows, is the sacrifice of hatred - the giving up of all bitter thoughts against others, of all malice, dislike, and resentment. Bitter thoughts and blessedness cannot dwell together. Hatred is a fierce fire that scorches up, in the heart of him who harbours it, all the sweet flowers of peace and happiness, and makes a hell of every place where it comes.

Sacrifice all hatred, slay it upon the holy altar of of devotion - devotion to others. Think no more of any injury to your own petty self, but see to it that henceforth you injure and wound no other. Open the flood gates of your heart for the inpouring of that sweet, great, beautiful love which embraces all with strong yet tender thoughts of protection and peace, leaving not one, nay, not even he who hates or despises or slanders you, out in the cold.

Then there is the hidden sacrifice of impure desires, of weak self-pity and degrading self-praise, of vanity and pride, for these are unblest attitudes of mind, deformities of heart. He who makes them, one by one, gradually subduing and overcoming them, will, according to the measure of his success, rise above weakness and suffering and sorrow, and will comprehend and enjoy the perfect and imperishable blessedness. 

He who each day accomplishes some victory over himself, who subdues and puts behind him some unkind thought, some impure desire, some tendency to sin, is everyday growing stronger, purer, and wiser, and every dawn finds him nearer to that final glory of Truth which each self-sacrificing act reveals in part.

Look not outside thee nor beyond thee for the light and blessedness of Truth, but look within; thou wilt find it within the narrow sphere of thy duty, even in the humble and hidden sacrifices of thine own heart.



Sunday 11 February 2018


2018  0211 06  James Allen: Byways of Blessedness Contd: Right Beginnings
Life is full of beginnings. They are presented every day and every hour to every person. Most beginnings are small, and appear trivial and insignificant, but in reality they are the most important things in life.

In aiming at the life of Blessedness one of the simplest beginnings to be considered and rightly made is that which we all make everyday - namely, the beginning of each day's life. How do you begin each day? At what hour do you rise? How do you commence your duties? In what frame of mind do you enter upon the sacred life of a new day? 

What answer can you give your heart to these important questions? You will find that much happiness or unhappiness follows upon the right or wrong beginning of the day, and that, when every day is wisely begun, happy and harmonious sequences will mark its course, and life in its totality will not fall far short of the ideal blessedness.

Begin the day, then, by rising early. If you have no object in doing so, never mind; get up, and go out for a gentle walk among the beauties of nature, and you will experience a buoyancy, a freshness, and a delight, not to say a peace of mind, which will amply reward you for your effort. 

One good effort is followed by another; and when a man begins the day by rising early, even though with no other purpose in view, he will find that the silent early hour is conducive to clearness of mind and calmness of thought, and that his early morning walk is enabling him to become a consecutive thinker, and so to see life and its problems, as well as himself and his affairs, in a clearer light; and so in time he will rise early with the express purpose of preparing and harmonising his mind to meet any and every difficulty with wisdom and calm strength.

The right beginning of the day will be followed by cheerfulness at the morning meal, permeating the house-hold with a sunny influence; and the tasks and duties of the day will be undertaken in a strong and confident spirit, and the whole day will be well lived.

Another beginning which is of great importance is the beginning of any particular and responsible undertaking. How does a man begin the building of a house? He first secures a plan of the proposed edifice and then proceeds to build according to the plan, scrupulously following it in every detail, beginning with the foundation. 

A seed put into the ground is the beginning of a plant or tree; the seed germinates, the plant or tree comes forth into the light and evolves. A thought put into the mind is the beginning of a line of conduct: the thought first sends down its roots into the mind, and then pushes forth into the light in the forms of actions or conduct, which evolve into character and destiny.

Hateful, angry, envious, covetous, and impure thoughts are wrong beginnings, which lead to painful results. Loving, gentle, kind, unselfish and pure thoughts are right beginnings, which lead to blissful results. This is so simple, so plain, so absolutely true! and yet how neglected, how evaded, and how little understood!

None but right acts can follow right thoughts; none but a right life can follow right acts - and by living a right life all blessedness is achieved.

Many are the right beginnings which a man must discover and adopt on his way to wisdom; but that which is first and last, most important and all embracing, which is the source and fountain of all abiding happiness, is the right beginning of the mental operations - this implies the steady development of self-control, will-power, steadfastness, strength, purity, gentleness, insight, and comprehension. It leads to the perfecting of life, for he who thinks perfectly has abolished all unhappiness, his every moment is peaceful, his years are rounded with bliss - he has attained to the complete and perfect blessedness.


For the Full text of 'Byways of Blessedness' by James Allen: [Click Here]



Sunday 4 February 2018


2018 0204 05  James Allen: Byways of Blessedness: Rest-Houses of Peace

James Allen [1864-1912]
James Allen (1864–1912) was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement. 

Allen was forced to leave school at the age of fifteen and
worked as a private secretary and stationer in several British manufacturing firms. In 1893 Allen moved to London and started earning his living by journalism and reporting. 
Allen entered a creative period and published his first of his nineteen books, From Poverty to Power (1901). 
In 1903 Allen published As a Man Thinketh loosely based on the Biblical passage, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," [Proverbs 23:7] which brought him world-wide fame. 

Byways of Blessedness

Along the highways of Burma there is placed, at regular distances away from the dust of the road, and under the cool shade of a group of trees, a small wooden building called a "rest-house", where the weary traveller may rest a while, and allay his thirst and assuage his hunger and fatigue by partaking of the food and water which the kindly inhabitants place there as a religious duty.

Along the great highway of life there are such resting places; away from the heat of passion and the dust of disappointment, under the cool and refreshing shade of lowly Wisdom, are the humble, unimposing "rest-houses" of peace, and the little, almost unnoticed, byways of blessedness, where alone the weary and footsore can find strength and healing.

Nor can these byways be ignored without suffering. Along the great road of life, hurrying, and eager to reach some illusive goal, presses the multitude, despising the apparently insignificant "rest-houses" of true thought, not heeding the narrow little byways of blessed action, which they regard as unimportant; and hour by hour men are fainting and falling, and numbers that cannot be counted perish of heart-hunger, heart-thirst, and heart-fatigue.

But he who will step aside from the passionate press, and will deign to notice and to enter the byways which are here presented, his dusty feet shall press the incomparable flowers of blessedness, his eyes be gladdened with their beauty, and his mind refreshed with their sweet perfume. Rested and sustained, he will escape the fever and the delirium of life, and, strong and happy, he will not fall fainting in the dust, nor perish by the way, but will successfully accomplish his journey.


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