Change the mind, change the man

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
~ 13 ~
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 contemptible 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 repeats 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 to 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.

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