My recovery is built on the foundation of the truth of cause and effect. I’ve tried, though admittedly without much eloquence, to illuminate this truth in previous posts like Karma or Sartre. I should have just sifted through the endless self-help books on my shelf until I found James Allen, author of, As A Man Thinketh. Needless to say, I have a revised version entitled, As You Think, which I strongly recommend. To drive home the fact that cause & effect is a universal law and crosses all realms of life whether physical, mental or spiritual, we must quote Allen extensively.
From ‘Thought & Character’:
“What we are was designed and built by our own thoughts in our minds. If we nurture ignorant or evil thoughts, pain will soon follow. If our thoughts are healthy and beneficial, joy will follow us as surely as our shadows follow us on a sunny day. “
Naturally, an addict’s mind is so demented that while Allen suggests that right thinking begets right action, which is true, we may also simply begin to act right, and our minds will follow, healing and becoming purer. As the mind and body are one, we must be able to rely on some reciprocity.
“A man or woman is a growth by law, not a creation by artifice, and such cause-and-effect is as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things. A noble and 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.”
Beautiful. Reminds me of Sartre’s assertion that our ‘existence precedes our essence’ – that we make ourselves who we are (by our thoughts and actions, by the choices we make). We have no one to blame for who and what we’ve become but ourselves. God is there for us if we reach for Him with everything we have and if we work hard. Addicts need to pound this truth into their heads until they can think no other way.
Allen drills it home for us:
“We are made or unmade by ourselves; in the armory of thought we forge the weapons we use to destroy ourselves, and we also fashion the tools we use to build ourselves heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace…
Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results…
Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that we are out of harmony with ourselves, with the law of our being.”
With addiction, we must often parallel Allen’s thoughts on thought with action, for the addict simply acts without even thinking. If we are doing the wrong thing without a preceding thought, we are off the rails, so to speak. This is why I counter CBT for the addict with ACTION THERAPY – just start doing the right thing, for right action alone will also begin to build us “mansions of joy and strength and peace.”
As You Think
by James Allen
(revised and updated by Marc Allen)
God, help me to think right, speak right and act right, that I may be in harmony with You and Others…