Circumstance Does Not Make The Man …

By Anthony Gold

Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.

When James Allen penned this insightful quote in 1902, he glimpsed the true nature of causality and the means by which unmitigated happiness could be experienced.

We have been so conditioned and habituated to believe that our circumstances are the result of external factors such as the benevolence or cruelty of others – or the nebulous accordance of fate, randomness, and luck.

“Why me?” is our collective plaintive wail. That question keeps all of us rooted in the blind acceptance that things happen to us from which we subsequently react.

In fact, the diametric opposite is true.

Allen’s awareness that circumstances don’t shape us – rather they demonstrate for us precisely those thoughts we hold in our mind – reflects the integrated premise from which the entire experiential universe originated.

There is no world apart from what you wish. Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly. (W-pI.132.5)

Thus from a right-minded perspective, our experiences in the world – circumstances – enable us to recognize the thoughts we have chosen. And if we want to have a different (better) experience, then we need simply change the source of our thoughts – which is nothing more than the choice between ego and oneness.

This is why attempting to change the form (circumstance) is fruitless. It’s like trying to directly alter a shadow without realizing what causes the projected image to appear.

Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. (

Perception is a result and not a cause. The world we perceive is the result of the thoughts we have chosen – not the cause of our happiness or lack thereof. As Allen’s seminal essay As A Man Thinketh posits, what do our circumstances reveal about the thoughts we have chosen?

Join us in Monday’s class where we will explore these concepts as well how we can change our thoughts by changing our mind. I look forward to seeing you then.

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