CHAPTER IV - The Power of
THE KEY OF PROGRESS “
As a man thinks, so is he.”
There is a
widespread belief that thoughts, being flimsy things, like dreams, do
not matter, provided our actions are correct. This idea, however, is
entirely erroneous, for the simple reason that actions are the outcome of thought and are in
fact materialized thought.
It is well known
that wrong thought cannot tend to produce right action, any more than right thought can
result in crime. For instance, if envious or covetous thoughts be indulged in
long enough, they may, when a favourable opportunity occurs, result in
dishonesty. If thoughts are habitually of a kindly nature it is quite
impossible to carry out unkindly acts. So it is clear that the thoughts
we harbour, and especially those we frequently repeat, are of practical
difference between mankind and the lower animals lies in thought power,
which, though undeveloped in the animal kingdom, is possessed in varying
degree by the human race and causes one of the principal differences
If we look at
success or failure purely from the physical standpoint of the
accumulation of riches, or possessions, we notice that those who obtain
great success in life without the assistance of interest or fortune are
individuals who invariably possess a remarkable amount of thought power.
Whereas those who do not succeed are equally remarkable for lack of this
is therefore very desirable from the
plane point of view. Equally so is
it from spiritual
If we ask the
question: For what purpose are we in this world? or, What is the meaning
of it all? the answer in as few words as possible is that life is a great opportunity. We are
immortal spirits come here clothed in mortal bodies, with more or less
indifferent characters, and in undergoing the events of everyday life
pass through a course of training - the object of which, if we take
advantage of the opportunities, is to improve our character and evolve the
powers which are latent in all.
Now it is possible
for a boy sent to a first-rate school to finish his school days
practically as ignorant as when he joined; in like manner we may pass through life with little
advantage to ourselves from the experiences we have undergone. Success at school
as well as improvement of
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depends on personal effort, which can only be successful through the
cultivation of thought power. Thought power is therefore both important
Let us look at
this matter from another point of view. Suppose one went about asking,
What is the greatest force in the world? The replies would probably be
electricity, steam, water power, or that of high explosives. I do not
suppose one in a thousand would give the correct answer - Thought power.
Yet it is by thought we control and utilize Nature's forces.
Why is it that in
many parts of the world you do not find trains, machinery, or other
mechanical contrivances? Is it because Nature has omitted to supply her
forces to these countries? Of course not; the forces are there right
enough, but the inhabitants have not yet evolved the master force of
thought power by which to call up and use the others.
Again, we know
that steam, electricity and other forces are very dangerous unless used
in accordance with knowledge of physical laws. Still more dangerous is
the spiritual force called thought power if used without regard to
spiritual law. Of this there is a terrible illustration in the present
state of affairs.
What is the cause that produced the
catastrophe of European war?
To my mind the
answer is extremely plain. For a great many years a wave of
materialistic ideas has spread over Europe, numbers holding and teaching that there is no law
higher than scientific law, and no force superior to physical force - that
belief in spiritual ideas and consequences is foolishness and
unworthy of practical people.
During this period
it is noticeable that although enormous advance has been made in
scientific knowledge, with its application to machinery and all sorts of
convenient inventions, the kindly feelings which should exist between
capital and labour, masters and men, classes and masses, became
In the case of
European politics, after a mad race in armaments universal war was
arrived at. The experiment of running Europe on material lines has been given a
generous trial and failed most dismally.
The fact of the
matter is that this world is controlled by two sets of forces acting
under their respective laws, one physical, the other
these much attention has been paid to Nature's physical forces and the
laws under which they may be used in safety. In this investigation and
in other worldly matters, Business for example, the spiritual force
called thought power has been freely used, but most unfortunately
without any regard to spiritual law, We have learnt by bitter experience
that to ignore physical law causes “ accident” ; shall we now realize
that to use spiritual force in ignorance of spiritual law produces “
have ignored the spiritual law of Brotherhood, and through war,
desolation and ruin, we reap the consequence. Thought power, therefore,
is not only important and desirable, but very dangerous if used without due regard
to spiritual law.
Now because a
force is dangerous it does not follow that we need to refuse to make use
of it. We do not object to electric light in our houses because electricity is dangerous;
on the contrary, the greater the danger the more trouble do we take to find
out the conditions under which the force may be used in safety.
In the case of
thought power the conditions under which this spiritual force may be
used in safety are: that it is only used in strict accordance with
spiritual Laws, which may be found at the' root of all great religions.
Such are the laws of “ Truth,” “ Honesty,” “ Brotherhood,” etc., or as
they are summed up in Scripture, “ To love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart and with all thy strength, and to love thy neighbour as thyself “
(Matthew xxii. 36-40).
It is very
difficult to realize how much more damaging it is to transgress a
spiritual law than a physical one.
example, the law of heat is ignored and the hand thrust into the fire.
Pain immediately follows, calling attention to the fact that a law has
been overlooked, and the memory of the pain will in future help to
prevent similar foolish action.
Now suppose a
spiritual law is ignored, say the law of truthfulness. A lie is told and in all probability
nothing happens to indicate that anything is wrong; the lie even may be accepted
as truth. In which case there is a strong tendency for the ignorant to
imagine that lying is clever.
The real results,
however, were not only to generate and store up bad Karma, but the
character of the one who lied was actually injured, making it more
difficult for him to speak the truth in the future.
In everyday life
we have constantly to decide whether we will act with or against these
laws. Each time we decide to work with them it becomes increasingly easy
to continue to do so. But if we go against the law it becomes increasingly difficult to
Very many people
unconsciously obey to some extent spiritual laws, but these laws can be
used to far greater effect if their way of working is understood.
The apparatus of
thought consists of two parts, the brain and the mental body. It may well be compared with
the apparatus for the production of music, the brain corresponding to
the musical instrument, the mental body to the musician. To obtain good
results the combination of a good brain with a good mental body is
One of the
commonest causes of feeble intellect is malnutrition of the brain, so
the quality and condition of the substances which feed the brain are
important. The brain is nourished by the blood, which is formed from our
food and drink, and also varies in condition with the state of general
health. To possess a healthy brain it is therefore necessary to pay attention to the
laws of health, not only as regards pure food, but also exercise, fresh air,
correct breathing, etc. The brain also must be exercised, experience
having proved that the more it is used within reason, the more capable
does it become; this means that each must do his own thinking and not
get in the habit of allowing others to think for him.
The appearance of
the mental body cannot be described, for it is constructed of materials
not of this world, spirit matter, or fourth dimension stuff, for which
we have no words; yet we know a little of its capabilities. It is quite
independent of restrictions such as time and space; when fully developed
it has many wonderful properties as little understood by the majority
to-day as were the possibilities of electricity one hundred years ago.
Though we cannot
see the mental body, a good deal of information can be obtained about it
from the appearance of its aura, the name given to the luminous mist,
visible to some, which surrounds it. With a healthy and developed mental
body the aura would show regular and bright bands of colour, as described on
page 55 (in the book).
One skilled in
reading the colours would, on viewing an aura, at once understand the
character which produced it
- an interesting consideration when it is remembered
that after the death of the physical
developed people will have this power of sight, and the hiding of
character will be impossible.
quality of the aura is that it repels all vibrations that are not
harmonious to it. A good aura therefore acts as a protection from evil.
How thought acts. Thoughts are
things. Given a good brain in combination with a developed mental body,
the act of thinking creates thought forms, which take shape and colour
according to the type of the thought; these, like the aura, are at
present only visible to a comparatively small number of people, but are
just as real, or perhaps more so, than physical objects.
If the thought is
vague, the thought form would be merely an undefined sort of cloud or
coloured mist. Definite thought, however, produces very clear forms, in
general shape something like flowers, sea shells, or geometrical figures
which would be recognized and understood by one skilled in such matters.
Good thought produces forms that are very beautiful and useful. Evil
thought gives birth to horrible and dangerous forms. The length of time
that these persist varies with the strength of the thought and frequency
has four chief results. Firstly, it sends out thought waves in all
directions, which improve or make worse the mental atmosphere. Secondly,
a more or less permanent thought form is created in the aura and affects
the character of the thinker for good or evil. Thirdly, there is an
attractive effect on similar thought forms of others. Fourthly, a
travelling thought form goes out and endeavours to affect the one
thought of. (For further details see pages 56-57 (in the book).)
Here is the
explanation how it is that a good aura acts as invisible armour against
We see, then, that
the act of thinking has two effects on others, and two on the thinker,
one of which causes a gradual change of character. Very true is the
saying, “ As a man thinks, so is he.”
The question is
often asked: “ Should we hate?” Obviously the answer is No. If we are
not sufficiently developed to be able to follow the directions given in
the New Testament as to how enemies are to be treated, we may perhaps
realize that to send damaging thought forms of hatred not only tends to
make the character of the person thought of
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causes injury to ourselves and those about us. For hatred is a weapon that injures him who uses it
- both mentally and physically.
Fear thoughts are
a very great mistake, and frequently cause unnecessary harm to our friends.
Take the case of a mother who, having a son exposed to danger, lives in a
continual state of anxiety about his safety. Unwittingly she is doing
the very last thing she would wish, for her fear thoughts reaching her
son's aura will, if he has any fear in his composition (and who has
not?), tend to further increase that quality; and though the mother's
fears would not actually lead him into danger, they might indirectly do
so by tending to cause him to make wrong decisions at critical moments.
The way to help a
friend in any position of danger is to send strong helpful thoughts,
such as, that he or she is carrying out duty with confidence, bravely
and successfully - that in due time, having accomplished
the work, will return home in honour and safety.
At funerals or
death-beds it is most desirable that the one who is passing should not
be disturbed by selfish wishes for his return to earth life, for such
wishes are most harmful and disturb him at a time when quiet and helpful thoughts from
those still on earth are most needed.
on the part of the mourners only retards his progress when loving
thoughts are required to help the traveller on his way in the new world
to the bright and happy life that lies before him.
How to cultivate
1. Take the
physical body in hand, and by personal attention to the laws of hygiene
make it healthy.
2. Obtain control of the physical
body - make it do what you order.
3. Think only
thoughts of which you approve. Turn out all others.
4. Practise daily sending out good
and kindly thoughts to other people. 5. Practise improvement of memory -
and the habit of noticing things.
concentration - that is thinking steadily on one selected subject.
7. Practise daily
remembering all events, trivial or otherwise, in the reverse order to
which they happened. Apply this when something is lost. The usual method
is to search in likely places; a tedious and uncertain method. Instead,
sit comfortably in your room, quiet the mind, and go over in memory
(backwards) all previous incidents until
you come to the
occasion when the lost article was in use; you will then remember what you
did with it.
Another useful and satisfactory
practice is, when someone is unfriendly, or you have had a quarrel,
bombard that person regularly every day with kindly thought forms. Use
thoughts such as, how foolish it is for us to quarrel; the matter is a
trifle and not worth it; it is merely a misunderstanding; we are really
good friends, etc. When next you meet you will be astonished how friendly
you find yourselves.
In conclusion, there are two necessary
cautions. When you practise concentration, first place your physical body
in a place of safety; do not concentrate in the streets, or anywhere where
the body, not being looked after by the mind, might be injured. The best
place is a room where you will not be suddenly disturbed. Secondly, do not
concentrate too long; a few
minutes at a time at first is ample. In these ways you may learn the “ Power of Thought.”