Those who hope to better themselves and humanity constantly aim for an attitude of mind that is a blessing to themselves and others. To accomplish this, we put ourselves mentally and sympathetically in the place of others, learning about their experience, understanding their particular frame of mind, and feeling for them instead of harshly and falsely judging them, since judging others makes us unhappy and takes away their happiness as well.
One of the great obstacles to the attainment of such an attitude of mind is prejudice, and until that’s removed, it’s impossible for us to act toward others as we wish others to act toward us. As long as people are determined to cling to their preconceived opinions, mistaking them for Truth and refusing to consider dispassionately the positions of others, they can neither escape hostility nor arrive at blessedness.
Prejudice destroys kindness, sympathy, love, and true judgment. The strength of someone’s prejudices determines their harshness and unkindness toward others.
Those who strive for gentleness and aim to act unselfishly toward others will put away all their delusional prejudices and petty opinions. In doing so, they’ll gradually acquire the power of thinking and feeling for others, of understanding their particular state of ignorance or knowledge. They will, in time, enter fully into the others’ hearts and lives, sympathizing with them and seeing them as they are.
People who make this effort seek to undo prejudice by introducing sympathy and love into the situation. They’ll strive to bring out all that’s good in others, encouraging the good by appealing to it and discouraging the harm by ignoring it. Moreover, they’ll realize the good in the unselfish endeavors of others, though their methods may be very different from their own, and will thus rid their hearts of hostility and fill them instead with love and blessedness.
Those who are prone to harshly judge and condemn others would benefit from asking how far they themselves fall short. They might also remember their own suffering when they were misjudged and misunderstood. Then, gathering wisdom and love from their own bitter experiences, they can studiously avoid piercing hearts that are still too weak to ignore the thrust and too immature and uninstructed to understand.
Before condemning others, people need to ask themselves whether they really are better than the people they’ve singled out as the object of their bitterness. If they are, let them instead feel sympathy for the less-developed souls. If they aren’t, let them show reverence for those who’ve gone beyond them, lifting themselves up to the purer level.
For thousands of years the great spiritual teachers have taught that evil is only overcome by good, yet still most people haven’t learned the lesson. It’s profound in its simplicity but difficult to learn, because people are blinded by the illusions of the small egoic self.
All over the world, people are still resenting, condemning, and fighting what they see as evil in others. In the process, they increase the delusion in their own hearts that evil has any power while they add to the world’s sum of misery and suffering. When they find out that their own resentment is all that must be eradicated and begin to put love in its place, the appearance of evil will dissolve for lack of sustenance.
Dislike, resentment, and condemnation are all forms of hostility, and the appearance of evil will not end until these are taken out of the heart. But obliterating the idea of injuries from the mind is merely one of the beginnings in wisdom. There’s a still higher and better way, and that way is to purify the heart and enlighten the mind so that instead of having to forget injuries, there are none to remember. For only pride and the small self can be injured and wounded by the actions and attitudes of others, and those who take pride and self out of their hearts can never think the thought, I have been injured by another or I have been wronged by another.
Those who think, This person has injured me, have not perceived the Truth in life; they fall short of enlightenment, spreading about the untrue idea that evil is a thing to be hated and resented. Those in whose hearts the flames of resentment burn cannot know peace nor understand Truth; those who banish resentment from their hearts can know and understand.
Those who have taken the belief in evil out of their hearts cannot resent or resist it in others, for they understand its origin and nature and know it as a manifestation of ignorance. Those who understand do not act immorally or maliciously, for from a purified heart proceeds an accurate understanding of how things work, and from accurate understanding proceeds a life that is peaceful, freed from bitterness and suffering, calm, and wise.
Blessed are those who have no wrongs to remember and no injuries to forget, in whose loving hearts no hostile thought about another can take root and flourish. The loving maintain their tenderness of heart toward those who ignorantly imagine they can do them harm. The attitude of others toward them does not trouble them. Their hearts are at rest in compassion and love.
For those who aim at a life built on the ten divine qualities, who believe that they love Truth, let them stop opposing others and let them strive to calmly and wisely understand them. In so acting toward others, they will be conquering their own lesser selves. And while sympathizing with others, their own souls will be fed with the heavenly dews of kindness and their hearts will be strengthened and refreshed in the pleasant pastures of peace.
*subtitles by InnerSelf
© 2012 by Ruth L. Miller. Reprinted with permission
from Atria Books/Beyond Words Publishing.
All Rights Reserved. www.beyondword.com
This article adapted with permission from the book:
As We Think, So We Are: James Allen's Guide to Transforming Our Lives
by James Allen (edited by Ruth L Miller)
Dr. Ruth Miller offers modern translations of three of Allen’s most insightful essays. Using clear, concise language paired with practical applications, she creates an accessible way to delve into and explore the fundamental processes that determine how we interact with — and understand — the world. James Allen’s seminal theories in metaphysics introduced millions in the last century to the Law of Attraction. In As We Think, So We Are, we find Allen’s writing to be as important and life changing today as it was a hundred years ago.
James Allen was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement. His best known work, As a Man Thinketh, has been mass produced since its publication in 1902.
Ruth L. Miller, Ph.D. has interpreted the works of some of the greatest thinkers of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Charles F. Haanel. She expertly integrates scientific, spiritual, and cultural understanding to clarify metaphysical principles for a modern audience. An ordained New Thought minister, Ruth serves in Unity, Science of Mind, and Unitarian churches of the Pacific Northwest and is director of the Portal Center for Studies of Spirit in Oregon. Visit her website atwww.rlmillerphd.com