“Upon the battlefield of the human soul two masters are ever contending for the crown of supremacy, for the kingship and dominion of the heart; the master of self, called also the Prince of this world, and the master of truth, called also the Father God.” – The Two Masters: Self and Truth, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901), p145-6
“Truth is the one reality in the universe, the inward harmony, the perfect justice, the eternal love. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. You cannot perceive the beauty of truth while you are looking out through the eyes of self. … If you are proud and opinionated, you will see nothing in the whole universe except the magnitude and importance of your own opinions.” – The Two Masters, Self and Truth, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901), p153
“All nature in its myriad forms of life is changeable, impermanent, unenduring. Only the informing principle of nature endures. Nature is many and is marked by separation. The informing principle is one and is marked by unity. By overcoming the senses and the selfishness within, which is the overcoming of nature, we emerge from the chrysalis of the personal and illusionary and fly into the glorious light of the impersonal, the region of universal truth, out of which all perishable forms come.” – Entering Into the Infinite, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901), p183
“The world, the body, the personality, are mirages upon the desert of time, transitory dreams in the dark night of spiritual slumber, and those who have crossed the desert, those who are spiritually awakened, have alone comprehended the universal reality where all appearances are dispersed and dreaming and delusion are destroyed.” – Entering Into the Infinite, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901), p184
“The difference between people of weakness and people of power lies not in the strength of the personal will (for stubborn people are usually weak and foolish) but in that focus of consciousness which represents their states of knowledge. The pleasure-seekers, the lovers of excitement, the hunters after novelty, and the victims of impulse and hysterical emotion lack that knowledge of principles which gives balance, stability, and influence. People commence to develop power when, checking their impulses and selfish inclinations, they fall back upon the higher and calmer consciousness within them and begin to steady themselves upon a principle.” – The Acquisition of Spiritual Power, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901), p158
“To be swayed by your fluctuating thoughts and impulses is to be weak and powerless; to rightly control and direct those forces is to be strong and powerful. People of strong animal passions have much of the ferocity of the beast, but this is not power. The elements of power are there; it is only when this ferocity is tamed and subdued by the higher intelligence that real power begins; and people can only grow in power by awakening themselves to higher and ever higher states of intelligence and consciousness.” – The Acquisition of Spiritual Power, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901), p158
< Contents >
1. What is Truth?
2. What Is Real Power?
3. What Endures and What Perishes
4. Living in Real Power: the Art of Existence
“Evolution is the single greatest force in the universe; It is the only thing that is permanent and it drives everything.” 1 – Ray Dalio
Dalio is a truth seeker.
We have had a glimpse of this through his understanding of reality within the context of overarching universal laws. His perception of the law of reality is based upon the universal laws that are permanent and true for all existence not just for men.
Also, his philosophy on life clearly reflects this: “For me, there is really only one big choice to make in life: Are you willing to fight to find out what’s true? Do you deeply believe that finding out what is true is essential to your well-being?” 2
What is Truth?
If we contemplate on James Allen’s passages above, truth is a principle that is eternal, enduring, permanent and that doesn’t perish. He calls it the universal reality, or the universal truth.
As Dalio mentioned, under the informing principle of evolution, everything from the smallest subatomic particle to the entire galaxy is reconfigured in evolving forms by such process of death and dissolution in time. 3
In this understanding of the universal truth, every existence, including our own, is a passing phenomenon. All nature in its myriad forms of life is changeable, impermanent, unenduring. The world, the body, the personality as part of nature, are mirages and transitory dreams. 4
If truth refers to an enduring and permanent principle of the universal reality, then our self (our egoic mind) is not truth, for it is nothing but a perishable form.
And this recognition is what James Allen and Eckhart Tolle – whose existence is one century apart – share: Our ‘Self’ (our personality, which is our egoic mind) as an outward manifestation out of ‘the unmanifested’ (the impersonal and eternal universal truth) is impermanent and transitory.
Our role then is to recognize this passing nature of our existence and rise beyond. For James Allen, this is done by overcoming nature (which includes the senses and the selfishness within). We then can emerge from the personal and illusionary and fly into the impersonal universal truth out of which all perishable forms originate.
It is our senses and selfishness within that we cling to, hence why we are swayed by our fluctuating thoughts and emotion as a result. What Allen implies by ‘overcoming nature’ is synonymous with Tolle’s ‘rising beyond our mind-identified egoic state of consciousness.’ And this is also Dalio’s point in dealing with our reality for our personal evolution.
What Is Real Power?
“If you choose to push through this often painful process of personal evolution, you will naturally “ascend” to higher and higher levels. As you climb above the blizzard of things that surrounds you, you will realize that they seem bigger than they really are when you seeing them up close; that most things in life are just” another one of those.” The higher you ascend, the more effective you become at working with reality to shape outcomes toward your goals. What once seemed impossibly complex becomes simple. – 1.7. Pain + Reflection = Progress, Chapter 1. Embrace Reality and Deal with It, Part II. Life Principles, PRINCIPLES (Ray Dalio 2017), p153
By pushing our limits through and putting pains into perspective in every adversity, we rise higher and higher in our personal evolution. We remember what state ‘a fully conscious person’ resides at, according to Tolle. And I believe this certainly requires our ability not to be swayed by your fluctuating thoughts and impulses along our journey called life. And through this process, do we reach the highest level of consciousness.
What is power? If we contemplate on the worldly power, by now, we recognize that it’s a perception and just like our existence, it is transitory by nature. It’s an outward manifestation that perishes. This is not real power. Then what is real power?
According to Allen, our real power resides within us. Real power begins when we check our impulses and selfish inclinations, fall back upon the higher and calmer consciousness within ourselves and begin to steady ourselves upon a principle. Surprisingly, or maybe not, Allen’s description of this unbiased, tranquil, blessed state of mind and heart, the state of truth much resembles Tolle’s description of Being. This confirms truth is eternal and one principle that transcends time.
“When you live in complete acceptance of what is, that is the end of all drama in your life. Nobody can even have an argument with you, no matter how hard he or she tries. You cannot have an argument with a fully conscious person. An argument implies identification with your mind and a mental position, as well as resistance and reaction to the other person’s position. The result is that the polar opposites become mutually energized. These are the mechanics of unconsciousness. You can still make your point clearly and firmly, but there will be no reactive force behind it, no defense or attack. So it won’t turn into drama. When you are fully conscious, you cease to be in conflict.” – The End of Your Life Drama, Chapter 9. Beyond Happiness and Unhappiness There Is Peace, THE POWER OF NOW (Eckhart Tolle, 1999), p151
“As you succeed in overcoming self, you will begin to see things in their right relations. Those who are swayed by any passions, prejudice, like or dislike, adjust everything to that particular bias and see only their own delusions. Those who are absolutely free form all passion, prejudice, preference, and partiality see themselves as they are; see all things in their proper proportions and right relations. Having nothing to attack, nothing to defend, nothing to conceal, and no interests to guard, they are at peace. They have realized the profound simplicity of truth, for this unbiased, tranquil, blessed state of mind and heart is the state of truth.” – The Two Masters, Self and Truth, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901), p153
A fully conscious person is someone who has risen beyond the transitory ego(egoic mind). He/she would not be swayed by fluctuating thoughts and impulses. According to James Allen, to be swayed by fluctuating thoughts and impulses is to be weak and powerless; to rightly control and direct those forces is to be strong and powerful.
You may remain just where you are, performing all your duties, and yet renounce the world, the inward enemy. To be in the world and yet not to be of the world is the highest perfection, the most blessed peace, is to achieve the greatest victory. The renunciation of self is the way of truth. 5
‘We are not of this world but in this world,’ said Wayne Dyer. Every form of this world is an outward manifestation from the un-manifest. To recognize the transitory nature of every existing form (that includes our thoughts and emotions) and not to be identified with it are ways to reach truth and to real power. That is exactly what Allen means by ‘To be in the world and yet not to be of the world is the highest perfection.’
Real power is contingent on our state of consciousness. This is the only thing that matters to us. As Allen suggests, people can only grow in power by awakening themselves to higher and ever higher states of intelligence and consciousness.
Then, ‘Why is real power the only thing that matter to us?,’ you might ask.
What Endures and What Perishes
It comes from the Law of Life: ‘Cause and Effect must balance.’ (I have discussed about this law in MIND ON WEALTH, HEALTH, AND SUCCESS  – There’s No Such Notion Called Suffering: Reaching Back to Our Essence). People who are coming from the eternal truth – an enduring principle – only can build enduring substances through generations, whereas people who are coming from selfish ground – i.e. transitory egoic desires – cannot.
And I believe this is one reason Ray Dalio was able to accomplish much in the form of great business success: His goal is based on the understanding of the eternal principle of the universal law: “As an unbelievably tiny and short-lived being, my instinctual and intellectual goal is to simply evolve and contribute to evolution in some tiny way, because it’s all those tiny bits that add up to drive the evolution of the universe.”
“In other words, we are unbelievably tiny and short-lived and no matter what we accomplish, our impact will be insignificant. At the same time, we instinctually want to matter and to evolve, and we can matter a tiny bit – and it’s all those tiny bits that add up to drive the evolution of the universe. … For me personally, I now find it thrilling to embrace reality, to look down on myself through nature’s perspective, and to be an infinitesimally small part of the whole. My instinctual and intellectual goal is simply to evolve and contribute to evolution in some tiny way while I’m here and while I am what I am. – d. Realize that you are simultaneously everything and nothing – and decide what you want to be, 1.4. Look to Nature to Learn How Reality Works, Chapter 1. Embrace Reality and Deal with It, Part II. Life Principles, PRINCIPLES (Ray Dalio 2017), p149-150
What are the characteristics of people of real power whose works and words endure? Allen briefly compares people of real power with self-centered people, and describes how their works differ.
“Self-centered people regard the loss of their wealth, their comforts, or their lives as the greatest calamities which can befall them. People of principle look upon these incidents as comparatively insignificant and not to be compared with loss of character and loss of truth. To desert truth is, to such people, the only happening which can really be called a calamity. … Those who do not desert their principles when threatened with the loss of every earthly thing, even to the loss of reputation and life, are the people of power. They are the men and women whose every word and work endures. They represent the leaders whom the afterworld honors, reveres, and worships. There is no way to the acquisition of spiritual power except by that inward illumination and enlightenment which is the realization of spiritual principles; and those principles can be realized only by constant practice and application.” – The Acquisition of Spiritual Power, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901), p160-161
Character and truth are enduring principles of people of real power. This spiritual power is acquired only through inward illumination and enlightenment which is the realization of spiritual principles, which can be realized only by constant practice and application. As Dalio states, we can only evolve higher and higher through practice.
And why and how self-centered people cannot build enduring works? It’s because they cling to the perishable form called ‘mind-identified ego’ as their driving principle. The law of life works in exact certitude.
“People governed by self and not by a principle change their front when their selfish comforts are threatened. Deeply intent upon defending and guarding their own interests, they regard all means as lawful that will serve the end. They are continually scheming as to how to protect themselves against enemies, being too self-centered to perceive that they are their own enemies. Such people’s work crumbles away, for it is divorced from truth and power. All effort that is grounded upon self perishes; only that work endures that is built upon an indestructible principle.” – The Acquisition of Spiritual Power, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901), p159
Living in Real Power: the Art of Existence
Allen states that the pleasure-seekers, the lovers of excitement, the hunters after novelty, and the victims of impulse and hysterical emotion lack that knowledge of principles which gives balance, stability, and influence. 6
On the other hand, people who can check their impulses and selfish inclinations, and fall back upon the higher and calmer consciousness within them commence to develop power and begin to steady themselves upon a principle. 7
This is exactly what we’ve been discussing throughout this series: Mind and Beyond Mind. Coincidentally, Ray Dalio’s book that motivated me to write this long and intensive series also carries the word ‘principle.’ So I decided to make a simple conclusion that Dalio probably wanted his life and work principles to be something valuable that can last through generations. And why not!
Allen states that it’s this ‘realization of unchanging principles in consciousness’ that separates people with highest power from others, for those who have realized such a principle, therefore, cease to wander and remain poised and self-possessed. 8
I, upon contemplation on this, would like to conclude that ‘living in this real power’ can be the ‘art of our existence’ for us due to its spiritual nature.
We are in this world not of this world. Things which are of this world are outward manifestations that include our mind. Upon realizing the passing and transitory nature of our mind (Self, the ego), our art of existence should rather be rise beyond the level of our ego and base our existence on the permanent universal principle – higher consciousness.
Poised and self-possessed, calmness and peace will be part of our nature then. Also, ideally, we may leave behind some works of permanence in our impermanent world. Just as Dalio’s book and those of other great leaders in every area are doing just that.
“Yet such people have realized the highest wisdom and are at rest in the Infinite. They “accomplish without striving,” and all problems melt before them, for they have entered the region of reality. They deal not with changing effects but with the unchanging principles of things.” 9 – James Allen
PRINCIPLES (Ray Dalio 2017)
THE POWER OF NOW (Eckhart Tolle 1999)
THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901) *
*Note: James Allen published From Poverty to Power that is comprised of two books in 1901 before As a Man Thinketh. The Way of Peace is the second component. First one is the Path to Prosperity which I have quoted several times in the series MIND ON WEALTH HEALTH AND SUCCESS.
The book I have was published by Tarcher Penguin in 2008 edited by Dr. Pell and included all three books, so I am using The Way of Peace for this piece of writing. Pages quoted are from this book. Jay
- (p142), Chapter 1. Embrace Reality and Deal with It, Part II. Life Principles, PRINCIPLES (Ray Dalio 2017)
- (p202), Chapter 3. Be Radically Open-Minded, Part II. Life Principles, PRINCIPLES (Ray Dalio 2017)
- (p142), Chapter 1. Embrace Reality and Deal with It, Part II. Life Principles, PRINCIPLES (Ray Dalio 2017)
- (p184), Entering Into the Infinite, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901)
- (p152), The Two Masters, Self and Truth, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901)
- (p158), The Acquisition of Spiritual Power, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901)
- (p158), Ibid
- (p159), Ibid
- (p188), Entering Into the Infinite, THE WAY OF PEACE (James Allen 1901)