Great minds, indeed, think alike! Besides the remarkable similarity between the observation of Bhagavad Gita (6,6) and that of A J Cronin on ‘victory over oneself’, a powerful reminder of James Allen is also very much akin to the earlier stanza of the Gita.
This exhortation of Allen, reflecting the message of the Gita that one is, in the final analysis, his own friend or his own enemy, reiterates that if one were authentic, clear and skilful in his actions and thoughts, no one else can ever cause him any damage.
Dealing incisively and candidly about various aspects concerning right approach and attitude, Allen talks thus of the right thinker, “He perceives that no wrong can reach him but by his own ill deeds. He understands that his welfare is in his own hands and that none but himself can rob him of repose” (extracts from his article, Are You Troubled?).
The art of right reaction to matters, which would ensure one is not damaged by situations, transactions or developments, is also summed up in these immortal lines of Ella Wheeler Wilcox in her poem, Worthwhile, “’Tis easy enough to be pleasant,/ When life flows along like a song;/ But the man worthwhile is the one who will smile/ When everything goes dead wrong.”
Retaining one’s cheer and thus his presence of mind too, is, thus, a vital stage in attaining that sublime ‘victory over oneself’.
This is brought about by being watchful and aware of one’s instincts and impulses (those ‘fight and flight’ responses) and thus refining them by and by (shanihi, shanihi). This verily, also, is the art of transition from being reactive to being ‘proactive’.
In this process of ensuring that one’s base self is always guided and corrected by one’s own evolved self within, is naturally inbuilt that self-honesty and self-responsibility, whereby one divines the existence of those causes for his problems within his own self.
This ‘change management’, which is thus also applicable to one’s searching self, serves to bring about the needed changes in various aspects without too — situations, transactions and relationships.
Practical application to the guidance as in the Gita, in the manner elaborated by James Allen, would thus serve as the external manifestation of the tangible progress within towards ‘victory over oneself’. And attaining this, one, indeed, can ‘never know defeat’!
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