It is the mind that maketh good or ill, that maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor Edmund Spenser
IMAGINATION – The creative process does not end with an idea. It’s what you do with the idea – what you allow your IMAGINATION to do with the idea. If you want it, you have to work at it. If you fail, you go again. You don’t let doubt win. You let your imagination put your knowledge to work. Knowledge is far more powerful when creatively applied.
This morning I came across my copy of a small sized book with a huge impact, AS A MAN THINKETH, by James Allen, and I decided to put it to work.
“Thought and character are one”, writes James as he explores the many ways thoughts lead to action. Men do not attract what they want, but what they are.” He insists upon the power of the individual to form his own character and create his own happiness.
LITERARY MYSTERY Because so little is known about him, Allen is considered a Literary Mystery – a quiet unrewarded genius – though he wrote 19 books.”Did he”, asked David Thoreau “hear a different drummer.”
Obviously, the “different drummer” was his imagination which he daily put to work. After an early morning wakeup, he walked to a nearby hillside and spent an hour in meditation – then returned home to spend his mornings writing. Afternoons he gardened, evenings he talked with those who were interested in his work.
He was born in Leicester, England, on November 28, but after his first book moved to the little resort town of Ilfracombe. In 1902, he decided to devote all of his time to writing – a career that lasted only nine years for he died in 1912. In that short time he wrote those 19 books. His first book, From Poverty to Power, was followed by As A Man Thinketh – which his wife had to persuade him to publish. Luckily – for it was the book that led him to us. He did not bother to copyright his books outside England.
His philosophy became possible when Protestantism discarded the dogma that man is sinful by nature – which William James called the greatest revolution of the 19th century. Allen’s work included Protestant liberalism as well as Buddhist thought.
CREATIVE ACT – Obviously, for Allen, writing was a creative act – the fuel for his imagination. Says Arnold Bennett about writing – it is “an indispensable part of any genuine effort towards mental efficiency.” Allen was not “born” a writer. His father’s murder resulted in a financial crisis, forcing Allen to leave school at age 15. He eventually became an administrative assistant for several British manufacturers – that ending with his decision to write full time in 1902.
This time lapse is often the case of many famed writers – long years spent at other jobs before careers as writers. Joseph Conrad sailed for 16 years before using his knowledge to become a novelist. Herman Melville was an obscure customs official for 20 years. Until he was nearly 50,
Oliver Wendall Holmes was an unknown physician and professor. It was with his book, book, The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, his fame began. Between then and his writing the biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson, his creativity never faltered. In 1934 at age 42,
Henry Miller published his first book in Paris, which was finally published in 1961 in his native land. He tells of his adventures in Paris in the 1930’s in The Tropic of Cancer. (Sorry, I do not have enough information about previous careers of famed female writers).
Put yourself in the shoes of such great authors. How did they keep going after many, many rejections? They were once beginners with only a belief in themselves and their imaginations to carry them forward.
So, we come back to Albert Einstein – “Imagination is more important than knowledge” Yet always remembering that it is your knowledge that must be put to work.
DON’T RUSH IT – If you wish for too much too soon, you may not make it. That first “AHA” may take a long time coming. Repugnant though rejection slips are, they are an important part of the learning process.
DREAMERS – Allen calls creators “dreamers” – saviors of the world. Be you a composer, scientist, sculptor, painter poet, prophet, sage – don’t allow your ideals to fade and die. “The world is beautiful because they have lived, without them labouring humanity would perish.”
When it comes to art, ‘creativity’ is not a rarity. Everybody is an original. Everybody can design. Rely on your artistic self (personality) to take over. Whatever your career, writing is an indispensable part of mental efficiency.
In the Magic Power of your Mind, author Walter M. Germain reminds us that numerous personalities dwell within each of us. For instance, Robert Louis Stevenson brought on duel personalities in Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Jekyll an honorable -physician, Hyde a loathsome criminal.
FOR FUN’S SAKE – and a very imaginative trip – how about writing a chapter (it can be very short) about a man/woman with multiple personalities, following through with who he/she becomes when the next personality takes over. Who knows – you could have a best seller. Be that or not, you certainly will put your imagination to the test – get a glimpse of how much you didn’t know you knew.
Go ahead. Try it – or some other fun writing (perhaps about a monster on your doorstep). .
When it comes to writing, Germain tells of a split personality case – way back in 1916 – a Mrs. John H. Curran (a middle class young woman with limited advantages) and her alter personality, Patience Worth ( author of many books plus volumes of poetry). Patience could apparently live in the century of her choice using the detailed storehouse of her “collective unconscious”. Potentially, within your brain (the mind) lies the power to make use of all your untapped resources.
Be sure to read all my back blogs on the IMAGINATION. There is a great deal of information re its use. Put your ‘thinketh’ to work.
YOUR FATE IS IN YOUR HANDS
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought” is a Buddhist teaching. Influenced by Buddhism, James Allen’s biblical text asserts “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”