Many centuries ago, the world’s greatest mystic posed a question that is still a challenge to all of us:
“What do ye more than others?”
This question implied that those to whom it was addressed were expected to do more than others. We notice that he did not ask: “What think ye more than others?” Neither did he ask: “What say ye?” nor “What know ye more than others?” But, “What do ye more than others?”
The emphasis is on doing.
Rosicrucian students know that one of the most difficult and exacting disciplines within AMORC’s teachings, yet one that is richly rewarding when properly practised, is to translate into our daily conduct those lofty ideals and principles to which we are exposed through our monograph studies.
The conversion of intelligent thought into action is not an accidental or chance process. Such achievement comes only as the result of vigorous and sustained effort.
Any thought, however rich in content and potential in design, must be supported by an active and purposeful endeavour in order to surpass the state of wishful thinking and find expression as a noble realisation.
There have been enough noble thought structures and imaginary courses of action in recent years to transform our sad and darkened world into a utopian paradise. One problem has prevented this. Those fantastic creations of mind, through neglect, have been allowed to stagnate and degenerate into wishful thinking.
Somehow the great thought images were never followed through, and they failed to materialise. In light of these stern facts, it is obvious why Rosicrucians urge students to faithfully practise the principles they study.
In cricket, the batter’s actions after they hit the ball are important to the game. If they just stand there and watch the ball soar away, or if they take time at that critical moment to reflect upon the various laws of physics involved in the ball’s motion, then what might have been a run turns out to be nothing but a failure.
In football, the kick-off is important and must be accomplished expertly to be effective. But regardless of how expertly this initial action is executed, it will be useless unless it is followed by consistent and effective sequences of actions by the other players.
So it is with all those inspiring thoughts we have. They are not the end product.
Rather, they are only the means to an end. And that end becomes the means to another more remote and advanced end in the infinite chain of human progress. Those noble images of the mind are only tools granted to us by the Cosmic for the purpose of erecting great edifices of moral and spiritual excellence.
Not only does a neglected thought fail to advance us, it may even retard us. In his famous book The Screwtape Letters, Carol Lewis represents Screwtape, the senior devil, as writing thirty-one letters to Wormwood, his understudy, and suggesting how to snare men.
While the book abounds in demonology and has some clever humour, it also contains some fundamental facts of psychology. In one letter, Screwtape says:
“Let him do anything but act. No amount of piety in his imagination and affections will harm us if we can keep it out of his will. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”
Discovering the Cause
If a doctor is going to help a patient overcome an illness, he or she must know what causes the disease. In order to exercise any degree of control over our environment we must have some knowledge of causal connections.
It is a widely accepted axiom in our study of nature that events do not happen in isolation. They happen within a context and under specific conditions. The more responsible a person is, the more they will recognise themselves as a causal factor in the general scheme of things.
Logicians make an important distinction between two meanings of the word “cause”.
“Cause” may refer to those conditions that are necessary before an event can take place. This situation is known as a “necessary cause”. For example, the presence of oxygen is necessary before combustion can occur. But while oxygen is a necessary cause of combustion, it is not a sufficient cause.
A sufficient cause is one in whose presence an event must take place. Within themselves, our most inspiring thoughts and noblest ideals are not a sufficient cause of great human achievement. They provide the necessary pattern or blueprint for further active response.
Many great and noble thoughts have been allowed to lie dormant and ineffective simply because they were not related to one’s will and supported by an earnest effort.
The surest way to convert a thought into action is to act while the thought is still fresh and vigorous.
The longer we confine a thought or impression within limits of theory alone, and fail to give it volitional expression, the easier it becomes for us to live with that thought and at the same time, hold it in utter disregard.
That lofty thought or idea which came to us with such vibrant life and creative potency, tends to withdraw from us when neglected and will find a more suitable channel for its release. Whoever ignores the opportunity to make thinking creative loses a measure of respect for both the thought they had and for themselves.
Great thoughts are much like fruit. When ripe, they must be harvested.
This principle of timely action has been recognised and emphasised by leading thinkers of all ages. While they have expressed this concept in different ways, the essence of what they said on the subject was the same. One ancient writer said: “A word spoken in due season, how good it is.”
Another distinguished writer said: “A stitch in time saves nine.” And in a famous Tibetan manuscript of sacred writings we find this admonition: “Whatsoever you resolve to do, do it quickly. Defer not till the evening what the morning may accomplish.”
The conversion of a thought into action involves personal commitment to all the implications of the process.
The thought must be clearly visualised and appreciated. That thought must be supported by a dominant desire to see it materialised. Then the dominant desire must be backed by a strong and determined will toward action. The whole enterprise will succeed in the exact measure in which the agent involved works in harmony with cosmic forces.
Adaptation of “Converting Thought into Action” by William Clark FRC from the Rosicrucian Heritage of September 2003