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Essay I: Thought as Power

An Explanation and a Prophecy

Recently, at my class, we tried an experiment, old to me, and yet then and there it burst upon my comprehension that in this experiment lay Power. Later, I saw that this discovery of Power was man's greatest discovery; that more lay in it for the good of the race than in any previous discovery. This revelation grows upon me, and no surer has any scientist been of the worth of his discovery than I am of this. Here is the experiment:—

Five persons were concerned in it. One sat on a stool. Two stood at the side of the person at the knees, two behind the shoulders, all breathed in unison, and all raised their hands together, palms pressing together, all except index fingers closed. As their hands came up the fourth time, the fingers were placed under arms and knees and the person was lifted without any sense of weight. This was also done with a person lying down, and with a table. With a friend, I have lifted a heavy stone thus. I am sure that a few persons, by practice in breathing and moving in unison can in this way practically annihilate, in any given case, the law of gravity.

I call attention to this experiment because I am sure that it means more for the welfare and development of the race than Franklin's discovery, with his kite, of the identity of lightning with the electricity in the Lyden jar—means more than the discovery of the North pole will mean—more than the invention of the spinning jenny, the invention of the steam engine or the electric motor; than the discovery of ether, or the marvels of modern surgery have meant in civilization. This is a tremendous claim. But from years of study of the significance of certain allied mental and psychical phenomena, I am free to make the claim and to prophesy that FROM THIS EXPERIMENT WILL COME THE GREATEST SCIENTIFIC APPLICATION OF POWER THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN. It may be that in it we have a key to a lost art, that of the Egyptians in transporting their huge stones and the silent building of Solomon's Temple. I can no more tell what it has for the future than Watts, when he toyed with steam and found it force, could foresee the engine of today; or the chemist who first found that there was explosive power in niter, charcoal and sulfur, could foresee the use of it in modern battleship; or he who first found power in electricity could foresee the present wireless telegraphy. POWER is what a man is seeking. Found, it is to be applied. The first is Discovery; the next is Invention. These two make human progress.

The discoverer of power is the world's benefactor. To apply this is Progress. Every new discovery of power marks an epoch in human history. Fire, wind, water, steed, steam, caloric, electricity, have each marked great epochs of civilization. Of all the past discoveries, the greatest was that of fire.

Through fire, man has been enabled to conquer the world of external vibrations, known as the world of matter. Imagine a world where fire should be unknown. Suppose the secret of fire was lost today beyond recovery. What death and desolation would follow. Fire was the beginning of human development. From it, all our science, art, and religion have sprung. Fire is Power. Up to that time, savage man had known only the power of his own brawn. Club and stone were the instruments through which Power within made itself manifest. Ages have passed. Power has been developed; Power has been controlled; Power has been discovered; Power has been harnessed.

Through the mastery and application of Power, man has conquered all the Without. He has used external Power. Is there other Power? What is the Power that has thus found, developed, and harnessed, this external Power? Where does it dwell? It is the Power IN man. It is the Power of Ideas. This is recognized. Ideas rule the world. But that they are any kin to these external forces has scarcely been conceived, much less believed, until the last century. The greatest gift that the nineteenth century gave the twentieth, was the demonstration that Thought is a Form of Energy. This is the greatest gift of all the centuries. It is Man's Greatest Discovery and marks the beginning of the Psychic Era:—the Dawn of the Millennium. Today it is known, among thinkers and investigators, that Thought is Power. It is THE Power that controls all other Power.


This is the greatest discovery—that of fire comes next. This is destined to make as great an advance in human progress as fire made in the ages past. Thought will be consciously used as Power. Its possibilities are unlimited. No imagination can picture what man and his world will be after a century, ten centuries, of the conscious use of Thought. Thought is as tamable as lightning, as easily controlled as steam, and as unerring as gravity.

Let me quote from one of the great books of the last century upon the other great discovery of that century—Prof. E. L. Youmans' work upon "The Conservation and Correlation of Force," published in 1864. In speaking of the law of Conservation of Force, Prof. Youmans says:—

Thus the law characterized by Farady as the highest in physical science which our faculties enable us to perceive, has a far more extended sway; it might well be proclaimed the highest law of all sciences; the most far-reaching principle that adventurous reason has discovered in the Universe. Its stupendous reach spans all orders of existence. Not only does it govern the movements of the heavenly bodies, but it presides over the genesis of constellation; not only does it control those radiant floods of power that fill eternal spaces, bathing, illumining, and vivifying, our planet, but it rules the actions and relations of men and regulates the march of terrestrial affairs. Nor is its domain limited to physical phenomena; it prevails equally in the world of mind, controlling all the faculties and processes of thought and feeling. Star and nerve tissue are parts of the same system—stella and nervous forces are correlated. Nay, more! Sensation awakens thought and kindles emotion, so this wondrous dynamic chain binds into living Unity the realms of matter and mind through limitless amplitudes of space.

Thus early did a far-reaching scientist perceive the fact that has since been demonstrated:—that the realm of Life is one and that it is all Force. Telepathy has verified this statement. It is the link connecting the hitherto divided parts of life, called matter and mind, into one, and making of Nature a Unity. No fact in all the history of human life is more potent than this. Telepathy is the missing link in science. Mind and Matter are by it wed, never to be divorced, and henceforth we shall deal with Mind as we have with matter, and with thought as we have with electricity. We shall learn the power, the laws, of thought, and shall harness it to Human Will and Desire. Thought as Force means the Redemption of the world from all old conditions. Almighty Power lies in thought, and, unlike all other power, it cannot be monopolized.

It is open alike to all men. Its only limit is human ignorance. As the Without has been made to serve man's will through knowledge, so now will the Within become subject to him. The mighty realm of Mind will become the theater of human activity and all its power be consciously used to bless.

All this lies in that simple experiment. What is the power that lifts the person? It is that which lifts our feet and hands; which is subject to our will in all our conduct:—THOUGHT. It is the first demonstration we have that Thought is not only Force to move through space without visible conductors, but that* Thought is also Force to lift ponderable bodies. We fill up with Thought by unison in breathing and movement. The same thought fills the five persons as five lamps are filled from one dynamo. Thought fills us. We use it as we will and it lifts the man. This simple statement is more eloquent than all rhetoric can be. I cannot think of the greatness of the fact without tears. It means more than all other facts to the race. Thought is force that can be made to affect ponderable matter. "Chalk marks don't draw cars!" said a railroad man. Chalk marks will draw cars, when thought is put into them to do so. This is the Prophecy:—Thought will in the future become subject to conscious control. We shall yet intelligently do all that the Hindus are now credited with doing.

Life is subject to will. Thought is a manifestation of Infinite Life. Thought is Infinite. We know it is Power. It is one with all other forms of power. Its source is limitless. It will flow through us in any required amount. We can direct it to any desired end. This is demonstrated by telepathy; by bodily renovation; by the building of body to will. Thought will be used to control all the lesser forms of force; to direct fire, water, wind, wave, light, electricity and gravity. The fire will cease to burn at command. "The wind and the wave obey him." Plant and animal life will come at his thought—to him willing servants. Dream! Illusion! Rhapsody! all this may be called. It is only the calm reasoning from present scientific knowledge. Let it stand for future generations to verify. The time is now for us to begin this dominion of Mind over Nature. Beginning with our own body, we will progress until even the largest of our environments is subject to our will.

Would you win? Begin now to control SELF manifestations by controlling Thought, and by recognizing that it does the work. As you have used in the past other power, now use this. NEVER BEGIN TO DO A THING UNTIL YOU ARE READY. And you are not ready until, like the engine on the track, you are filled with Power. The hasty, the worried, the fearful, the irritable, the impatient, the doubtful, the fault-finding, are all like the engine that has punctures in the boilers, or has no fire. They are not ready. Get ready by first filling up with Thought. As in the experiment, breathe and think. Consider what to do; think of it; and breathe slowly, with this concentrated thought. All calm, patient, concentrated persons do this.

All happy, healthful and successful persons do this. It is the secret of their success. Before they move to do, they let the Thought fill them possess them. The Suggestion and the Affirmation must have time and opportunity to fill the organism with its power. This done, then this Power, this Thought, does the work. Think and breathe before you act! This is the Law of Power.

This is the conquering force in man that will give him dominion over all things. Its scientific demonstration is in the simple experiment given above. I challenge the world upon this. Try it. Learn that by concentration, Thought will, through the individual, accomplish any Desire. Emerson said this long ago, but we have just learned it: "From within or from behind, a Light shines through man upon things. The man is nothing, but the Light is All."

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Henry Harrison Brown

  • Born in 1840
  • An early leader in the New Thought movement
  • Published NOW magazine which was "...a Monthly Journal of Positive Affirmations, devoted to Mental Science and the Art of Living."
  • Unitarian Minister
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