Emerson is quoted as stating “I know of no such unquestionable badge and ensign of a sovereign mind as that tenacity of purpose which, through all changes of companions, or parties, or fortunes, changes never, bates no jot of heart or hope, but wearies opposition and arrives at its port. To come up again and wrest triumph from defeat.”
This is a sentiment which has been shared by men of unconquerable spirit as long as words have been written and tales have been told. If we are to take stock of the various words of great teachers and the tales carried for millennia through the spoken medium of untold languages; we need only research these volumes of instruction and witness the great monuments they have built which last to this day. Great victories of the armies of history and the success of men who have risked their all to protect the ones they love the most. Magnificent tales of exploration and personal sacrifice abound with examples of men and women who get up and try it again. Wendell Phillips asked “What is defeat?” To which he answered “Nothing but the first steps to something higher.”
Why is it then that in todays’ world we find ourselves in such awe and admiration of men who have had the mettle of their being tested by failure and still they have risen to the occasion to succeed? Most of the time where others have failed. To the victor go the spoils but there is much more to it than that. It is the winners and the legends about which much is written hundreds of years after their death. It seems at times that somewhere in the very being of these men there is an innate understanding of the power of men who display an unconquerable will towards a determined endeavor. I would submit to you that; currently, our greatest challenge no longer resides somewhere out there on the horizon, but that we are living in a time where the greatest challenge we might undertake is the mastery of ourselves. Why is it such a great challenge one might ask? Because there is no perception of the immediate gratification everyone has become all too accustomed with.
It appears to be painful and contemptable to scrutinize your life when everything seems to be going to so well. Yet when the great failures of life arrive on the doorstep our thinking has been conditioned to believe that just as the blessing we might receive originates from on high, so too must the bad things have their beginning from someplace down low and we are simply as leaves floating upon the surface of a stream. That we have no conception of the power of our own minds and the spiritual energy we possess is a given in this; the world of today. We have been removed from the driver’s seat of our own lives before we even learned the skill of operating a car.
In looking over our lives we might find abundant mediocrity or bitter disappointment as our constant companions and that our most cherished hope would be that someone would take it all away and help us do better. There are literally billions of people the world over who are perilously close to financial ruin and the loss of everything they own. They only avoid such a state because of the decision of someone else. Someone who is most likely doing his or her best to ensure their own success instead of yours. There are even more who stand at risk of death by starvation, exposure or lack of clean drinking water. How did we arrive at such a state of being when we are in possession of such a powerful attribute as our own minds? The various reasons have filled books of their own, the big question is how do we get out of it and is there a goal worth shooting for.
I have often said that when the gods begin to be involved in the affairs of men, things will head south for just about everyone. But I am beginning to think that it is when men begin to use the latent potential they possess to become godlike without the guidance or even a bearing beyond their own selfish desires that we get the problems we do. In the face of such an overwhelming obstacle, the resentment at feeling powerless sometimes leads men to want to adopt a more savage mentality. Unbeknownst to them; this mindset only plays into the game although it does so at a different level. Passion is always easily manipulated. We will discuss this concept later in the book.
Life is akin to the darkened room. Rushing headlong into such an environment and doing so in an agitated state; will yield a great deal of pain as one encounters various immovable objects or a child’s toy such as a Lego. He will hurt himself in some way. And it is his own fault. At some point; he may have the presence of mind to decide that he needs a light to see where he is going. Or maybe not. “I got this” he may think to himself and continue along his way; albeit but with much less enthusiasm. Treading carefully lest he repeat the mistake, trusting in others that they have not left something else out which might trip him up again.
There are times in life when we may encounter obstacles very much like the ones in the darkened room. We will run headlong into some principle about which we have no understanding. We may end up perplexed, full of sorrow or enduring great pain. Instead of shining the light of wisdom upon it, we will continue along; again, hoping something else will help us out. Although we have exactly what we need to shine a light on these situations and make the necessary corrections instead of fumbling along through the dark. Most people never will. I have heard them extol the virtue of acceptance and forgiveness; which have their place, but not as tools for navigation.
You see most of the obstacles which are in our path are ones we have placed there to begin with. Our attitudes about situations, the situations themselves, our tempers and vices, our obstinacy with regards to the destruction of ourselves can be staggering. These difficulties of life are commonplace to everyone, what is not commonplace to everyone is the understanding that we can remove them en masse with but a change in our thinking. When we apply the wisdom of the ages to our lives, the confusion and fear are removed, we find a refuge from grief in our wisdom and we are afforded the opportunity to walk along a path of our choosing with our head held high. We will have also found something worth defending. And a man who has figured out he has something worth defending is awfully hard to beat. Especially a man who knows instinctively that no one or no thing will do it for him.
There will usually come a time in the life of men, a time we usually refer to as a dark time. When the sorrow and shame of failure appear to be overwhelming. When friends fall by the wayside, when those whom we may have once loved hurl insults and make fun of us, or perhaps when someone we once loved now resides in the halls of our ancestors. Perhaps it is all magnified by addiction or drunkenness. Perhaps not; but in any case, when these life occurrences threaten to overtake you, there will be the stunning revelation that no prayer will save you. That no god or goddess will come to bring you relief. It is in this moment that the nobility of a man is determined. For it is in this moment of the lowest point in our life that we might be ready to develop the process of thinking which will put the ego of man rightly in its place.
If we have what it takes to accept this time of life as our own proving ground and endure it with the strength we possess instead of blaming someone else, we have a shot at something truly great. This is not always an overnight experience. Sometimes people will manage to stagger forward for years nursing an open wound of the spirit as it were, self-medicating and promoting the false bravado which has become commonplace among men in this world. We will recognize them as bitter and angry people with a ready excuse which lays the blame squarely at anyone else’s feet except their own. But at some point, if we wish to enjoy the good life we have seen others live, there will of a necessity be a place from which all men must realize that the cause of this sorrow is our own heart. Hopefully they will have the strength to remove such a shortcoming and learn to stand alone instead of searching for sympathy in every available ear.
There is the chance we have never seen an example of such a noble life. We may well need to figure it out on our own. This is where the lore becomes an invaluable tool with regards to our development. If we can keep an eye open as we study, we will begin perceive an order to these ancient tales. If we have what it takes to step out of our petty little pleasures and brooding over our disappointments which our ego hugs to us though they continue to have any worth, there is the barest of a beginning with regards to our development. Here is the neat thing about life. If we don’t figure it out, we will repeat the process again and again. It is a common definition of insanity in today’s world. Doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results. It may be hard to find an example to follow, mayhap it is your responsibility to become one. It can appear to be a dark room indeed.
Even Odin makes mention of this aloneness when he sacrificed himself to himself, none there were who offered him water or comfort in his time of trial. But this isn’t mentioned to offer him up as a saint or martyr. It is an example. Of handling the outcomes of your own thinking process. Odin underwent this process of his own volition to develop in the manner required to become what he is to become. It is a powerful reminder that while we have what it takes to handle such ordeals, the manner in which we handle it is entirely up to us.
Finally, when Odin had given up at the very doorstep of death did he fall and find the keys to the universe and the songs of his ancestors. How often do you think that tale might have been told to men and women, girls and boys, the elderly and the disabled in ancient times to remind that in the sacrifice of a lesser state of being there might be found a greater one. How much will it take for each of us to give up this recalcitrant manner of thinking which continually cripples us? Instead of blundering around in life; because this kind of nonsensical living is not indicative of forward progress, I think it is high time to grasp such lessons with both hands and learn to endure the hardships with dignity. This type of head held high attitude is only available to those who would understand that it is their perception of the situation which makes anything good or bad. Furthermore; that it was the powerful strength of our minds and the unique process by which the thing we think about the most appears in our life. The wise do not grieve.
Our life is what we make it. It is our state of mind which determines whether we are happy or sad, mad or resentful, strong or weak. If a person is unhappy that state of mind belongs to him and him alone. It may well be a response to outside stimulus, but the cause lies within us. If a man is weak or unhappy it is his thoughts and actions, and the thoughts and actions he is still choosing which have given cause for him to be in this state. A man has no dignity, nobility or life outside of his thoughts and deeds. Fortunately, we have all been gifted with soul, sense, heat and goodly hue to mold and shape the character of our being to follow in the footsteps of the gods and do so standing upright, with nobility, instead of crawling like slaves.
A life of nobility is not for those who are satisfied with such a state of being. It is for those who desire to be more. Who have found a faith in Asatru which encourages us to aspire to a greater state of being. With such a mindset; the noble individual will find himself in possession of a set tools specifically designed to help him carve out the shape of the man he would wish to become. At no point would you use a screwdriver to tighten a bolt and so it is with the tools we may possess to shape the character of our being. Those tools are our thoughts.
All of us are a work in progress. We were given these gifts, which each of us possess, so that we might put them to use. We are not something which is made and considered complete. We are constantly undergoing change. Even if you are sitting and taking no risks whatsoever, still, you would be changing as you grow older minute by minute. Every effort we do undertake changes our mentality. We determine what is acceptable and what is not, we make decisions to continue a course of action or deter from it. To live is to think and act and in this thinking and acting we are changing. The idea that we will arrive at the highest point of life when a certain set of criteria is met is a lie. Most of the time it creates what is referred to as a mid-life crisis. This is when we begin to grasp the idea that we are going to continue changing whether we wish to or not. Regret may creep into ones thinking at this point and it can be a bear of an issue.
It is a commonplace state of mind. Mostly because the mass of humanity has moved its way along the course of developing by blindly following the dominant thoughts of external sources. But once we can begin to grasp the idea of the power of our thoughts we may leave that behind and begin along a path of our own choosing. While the masses may grope about looking for the next great idea to get behind in the hopes that they will advance as much as the mind which promoted the idea; the wise man, full of comprehension, chooses his own path with intelligent thought and a swift course of action. While the masses have succumbed to gratification and immediate pleasures, the wise man has subdued these ego driven ideals of a slavish mindset and commands the future he would wish for himself today.
Each of us are responsible for our thoughts, there is no outside influence which can change our mind for us. We think and act of our own accord. There is no being anywhere which is going to make us happy. That’s our job. When we decide that we have had enough and are tired of aching hearts; you can bet that things will begin to change. The only difference between the wise man and fool is the nature of his thoughts. When the fool decides to quit thinking the thoughts which have made of him a mockery, then and there he will begin his path to becoming a wise man in his own right. His experiences will only lend authority to the words he speaks and the thoughts he thinks. Any man may be well educated in our schools but an absolute fool with regards to life. Learning will aid and accompany wisdom but it does not lead to wisdom. Only the thinking of wise thoughts and the doing of wise deeds leads to wisdom.
The separation between idiocy, ignorance, foolishness and wisdom, love and courage is simply the choosing of your thoughts. From the savage mindset of the junkie or street criminal to the elevated mindset of the wisest sage it is the thought of each man which determines his character, his condition and knowledge and his nobility. To turn the light on, make the decision to turn the light and do it. When you step away from the ego driven idea of who you think you are and all the petty pleasure associated with that train of thought, you will begin to see yourself as you truly are. You will be face to face with reality. Now you may begin to picture yourself as you would wish to be and begin to choose the thoughts one would expect of a new and noble man.
Some folks see the mud puddle after a rain, others change their perception just a little and see a magnificent reflection. Nobility may be purchased here.

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