Nicholas Yates – Assessments

As a Man Thinketh
Assessment by Nicholas Yates (USA)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

I believe that the idea James Allen was trying to make is that Life is a practice. That our outer worlds are reflections of our inner ones. I think he was trying to say that this is not a life of circumstance, but of opportunity to magnetize our circumstances.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

i. We create Ourselves by way of thought.

This idea gives us the opportunity to seize control over a life that is seemingly uncontrollable. It gives ownership to take responsibility for who and all that we are.

ii. Pain and Pleasure are the same.

This is an idea that has been very present in my life recently. I Believe that the opposite of pain is not pleasure, or vice versa. It is the inability to feel. Pain and Pleasure are polarizations of the same feeling. Care. To seek pleasure is to seek pain. To reject pain, is to reject pleasure. If I have the ability to practice my thoughts, and perceive the world in this way, I believe I will open the door to invite pleasure into my life, without rejecting the pain that comes of it.

iii. Tend to the Gardens of our minds

If we are practicing our thoughts, we have an important responsibility to tend to our minds like gardens. To carefully examine the land of our thinking, to decide what may grow corn for us, and what may just be a pest to our fruit.

iv. We are not creatures of circumstance, but manifestation of our inner worlds.

We may ask for a better environment or circumstance in our lives, but if our very being is not in alignment, then we may create an accidental contradiction from our lively desires. We must first work on ourselves to change the outer world.

v. Imbalance and sickness are a part of life.

I’ll Quote the book on this one. “A man may rise to high success in the world and even to lofty altitudes in the spiritual realms, and still again descend into weakness and rechodness by allowing arrogant, selfish and corrupt thoughts to take possession of him.”
Now tell me, who can’t relate to that one?

vi. The dreamers are the saviors of the world. The world is beautiful because of them.

Thank you John Lennon and River Walker, for being the dreamers of the world. It is a bit heart breaking when dreams die, particularly from childhood. Than God for those of us that hold the dreams, morals and ideals to make the world a better place.

vii. Lives are too complex to judge at surface level.

We may judge others only because we judge ourselves, to condemn the same thing we see in others that we hate about ourselves or to even be jealous of other people’s sovereignty and aloud freedom, because we never gave it to ourselves. When I judge others, because I am human and I do, I ought to remember how little I know.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

Well, these ideas will help me in the most practical of ways. They will lay the foundation of my very being, in order to practice life. The deeper I go, The better I’ll become for myself and hence the rest of the World.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is”

Our inner and outer worlds are an equal exchange. I’ve really come to appreciate this idea in my life. And I even quite remember the moment it really clicked for me, while hiking with my brother.

“If a Man’s mind hath evil thoughts, pain comes on him as comes the wheel the Oxs behind. If one endure purity of thought, Joy follows him, as his own shadow.”

Our thinking is as a seed that grows and flowers into pain or pleasure. May we sow the “Right” seeds.

“Man is made, or unmade, by himself. In the armory of thought he forages the weapons in which he destroys himself. He also fashioned the tool in which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of Joy and thought and peace.”

Our thoughts are our tools. And they are great tools to Destroy, or to build.

“He that seeketh findeth and to he that knocks the door shall be open.”

We will be granted Grace and Fortune if we have the willingness to seek this. That is a relieving thought. I’m knocking on Grace’s door, and it shall be opened.

“The Soul attracts that which it secretly harbors. Which it loves and also, which it fears.”

All things are magnetized into our very being. It is important to recognize when fear comes up. I wonder though, for those who are afraid; is this good advice? Will it only hinder them further?

“Circumstances are the means that which the soul receives its own. Circumstance does not make the man, it reveals him to himself.”

Whoa. This one is powerful. This is an idea in which we must take total responsibility for all that we are. That what we are, is the circumstances we find ourselves in. It seems so simple, yet so profound.

“We do not attract that which we want, but that which we are.”

Who we are, is what we get. Our “wants” are always answered by who we are.

“Blessedness, not material possessions, is the measure of right thought. Rechodness, not lack of material possessions, is the measure of wrong thought. A man may be cursed and rich, a man may be blessed and poor.”

There is a lot of value in the idea that Blessedness does not come from our material possessions. That we may be blessed no matter what resources we have, solely by the way that we perceive ourselves.

“You will be, What you will to be.”

Will is a virtue that exercises possibility. And we have our will. I’ve kept my will close at hand, and do not always remember the power which it holds. This is a very well said statement.

“He who would accomplish little, must sacrifice little. He who would achieve much must sacrifice much.”

I often hear about how little I am responsible for, by those who are responsible for much. Do they think that I have not sacrificed enough? But from the same people, they will recognize my accomplishments. Maybe it is not so clear, this idea that it takes much sacrifice to accomplish much. This is something I will try to remember.

“Peace be Still.”
This is the phrase that ends the book. And what a gracious command it is. It is a clear visualization in my mind when reading this phrase, and is something to remember.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

I can’t say for certain that we are truly the creators of our own lives. There are two beliefs I may go off of. I may believe totally in the single path. I may believe that the future is predestined and there is no such thing as control over it. I may also believe in the randomness and chaos of life. That I have the will to make for myself anything in the realm of possibility. And each of these ideas are valid. It is possible that maybe our lives lay somewhere in the middle.

This idea that the universe is governed by law and not chaos. Justice and not unfairness. It seems that this is true with the right perspective. But also that the opposite is true. That they are the same, just different polarizations of the same spectrum.

There is a part of the book in which the author states that a Man is “unmanly” when succumbing to wrong thought. I must say, even the very worst of man’s virtues and acts are still manly. No matter the Man, good or bad, a Man is still a Man.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Other than to practice thought and thereby life itself, the book did not contain any particular exercises.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

Well I would like to say that I have found this book incredibly inspiring and have actually used its ideas in my own life. It is a relief to give myself the room to practice my thoughts. And practice this life. I’ve even suggested this book to a few friends. I am grateful to have read this one.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 10
C. How easy was it to understand? 7
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 10

 

 

 

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Assessment by Nicholas Yates (USA)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

To me, I’d say that the Author’s main point is to have readers understand the simplicity of Greatness. That Greatness is a practice. That we are all practicing, everyday. Jonathan is a symbol of the Messiah, or enlightened being. Jonathan also makes clear his own faults, he makes clear that he is no different than any other Gull. Just that he simply chose the path that led him to greatness.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

i. Be different than the rest of the other Seagulls, Stand out.

This idea is an important one for each of us. Every person in the world shares the same humanity, but carries personal individual traits that have us stand out. We can be proud of who we are, and respect one another’s differences. May we fly high and follow our passion, no matter what others think we ought to be doing. Even those as close to us as our parents.

ii. There is so much to learn, especially from our failures.

Jonathan keeps learning, keeps practicing, Especially when he fails. This is the key to growth, for what would our growth be without setbacks? I myself am not perfect, nor have I ever experienced perfection in anyone else. Though I do believe there is a certain perfection in imperfection, and this is in our trails. I’ve fallen more times than I can remember, yet here I am.

iii. Oftentimes, the answer comes as soon as we let go.

Jonathan’s experience with terminal velocity left him hopeless. He began to question his own limits in his own body. His questioning led him to give up on changing his physical body and give up on Terminal velocity. He felt ready to throw in the towel, yet as soon as he truly let go, the answer came to him. Sometimes my best ideas come straight out of nowhere, when I least expect it.

iv. You can’t please everyone, no matter how well you do for them and
yourself.

When Jonathan had finally come to understand flight, he thought the Sea Gulls had gathered to congratulate him on his success, but instead received shame for what he had accomplished. And had not only accomplished for himself, but a secret to flying that could bring new quality and value into everyone’s lives. I try to remember when I’m honest about my path in life, that there is no way that I may please everyone for how I move in the world. I have old friends, who now I don’t see eye to eye with. It hurts, but pain is a part of growth. Just as sickness is a part of life.

v. Life is a series of past lives and experiences. We are here to learn a
lesson.

Though I’m not totally convinced that past lives are the way that we operate in the universe, I see the value of the idea that we will live again and again in order for our own Soul Growth. Life is a mystery to me, and I love it. I Do feel as though that I am here to learn and experience what this life has to offer. Death will be the ultimate accomplishment to send me on my next journey.

vi. Those of us who give up on perfection travel slowly, those who believe in it, travel
instantly.

We are on a course of roads. Each one leads to the same place, which ultimately is death. We have the awareness to “Choose” our road and turns. Some of them are harder than others. And some will take us places we never thought imaginable. I believe in an imperfect perfection. I believe that with the ability of awareness that I may be able to structure my life in a way that I travel instantly. That I manifest all that I desire through values such as awareness of cycles in nature and gratitude.

vii. There is a Messiah living in each of us.

Each of us are complex creatures, with the potential for the best and the worst. Every possible quality of life already lives within us. Each of us are a living Messiah… and Devil.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

Each of the ideas listed here will be helpful for the way I experience the world with an open mind. They are ideas to be practiced. And practice is something that may take lifetimes. The more I think about these ideas consciously, the more they will incorporate into my very being. And in return, I may be able to reflect back into the world all that I am. Even if it only makes one person open their hearts and minds. That’s where I will start.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“There is no way around it, I am a SeaGull. I am limited by my nature.”

We are all inside of our own bodies, succumbing to the form of a mysterious universe. While I do believe it is important to understand where we are, I also believe we may find value in the idea that nothing is as it seems.

“One school has finished, and it is time for another one to begin.”

We are in the school of life. Our graduation is Death. In between we will learn many lessons in the curriculum we have. Seasons and cycles are ever present in the role of growth and learning.

“In Heaven, he thought, there should be no limits.”

I can only imagine how boring heaven would be without limits. Without any room to grow, where would we be? What would we have to do? A single moment would be an eternity. Everything would have already been done.

“Heaven is not a place and it is not a time, heaven is being perfect. Perfection doesn’t have limits, perfection is being there.”

We must have a long way to go before we reach Heaven. Or maybe Heaven is already here.

“The Gull sees farthest, who flies highest.”

The further we are ahead, the further others get left behind. We may see what others do not, but is it on our shoulders to carry them there?

“The Son of the Great Gull. The Price of being misunderstood, they think you’re either a Devil or a God”

It is a price to pay to be Great. The opposite of Love is not Hate but indifference. So as long as people care, so long as they love you, they will hate you also.

“Your whole body, from Wingtip to Wingtip is no more than thought itself.”

What a powerful statement. That what we even experience in our bodies is just another illusion of thought. And if that is the case, What are we really? What are we really capable of? Is there a limit?

“To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is, you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived”

This here may be the very key to manifestation itself. Not to believe in our abilities but to know for certain that we are there.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

One idea in the book I tend to disagree with is how in the beginning of our story, Jonathan chooses to practice flight over his parents advice to eat. While I see there is much more to life than just eating for a Sea Gull like Jonathan, I also believe it is important to take care of our physical bodies, so that we may have the stamina to practice our life’s work.

A Question that I have for the story, Where did the Elder Sea Gull go after his disappearance in the second world? Did he go off to heaven after being enlightened? Or did he go to another Third World to keep practicing perfection? Or maybe he simply became one with all things and went nowhere else, for he was already there.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Well I don’t think the book had any exercises specifically to complete, However I do believe the book’s purpose is a lesson in practicing life. And that is what I am doing. Practicing.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

I guess I want to say that we are Not SeaGulls. Haha. We are Human, and so much more than that even. May we remember that this story is very fitting for each one of our lives without binding ourselves to believe that this is really how things function. May we practice.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 7
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 10
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9