Many people say, "I think the New Thought is a good thing, and I would like to share in its benefits if I only knew how to begin. I have heard and read about it but that is not being in it." They are quite right, for indeed it is a very different matter.
Very likely they have some relative or friend who has been healed from a severe chronic ailment after a long and vain trial of conventional systems, and such a demonstration arouses interest and desire. But perhaps, after a little effort, they give up the pursuit, and except for some slight intellectual appreciation drop back into the old rut. There is no half-way work about the New Thought.
Can one get the full benefit of a strong life-giving current by simply wetting his feet in the shallows? One is reminded of an occasional timid bather who stands dancing and shivering on the sea-beach, for fear of a chill, when a bold plunge would dispel the imagined sensations and bring a refreshing glow. Could one develop a broad chest and hardened muscle merely by reading a good treatise on physical culture, or by paying an occasional visit to a gymnasium merely to look on? Or could one expect to become an expert pianist if he omitted the scales and all preliminary finger exercises?
If you are to get into the New Thought and get it into you, you must, for a time at least, make it the leading subject of consideration and desire. Suppose someone should suggest that it had become "a hobby." Fear not. Even a hobby may have value beyond estimate.
Not that any extreme and one sided development is commended, for the pure New Thought is sane, normal, and, in a true sense, conservative. But there must be a strong habitual cultivation of a higher consciousness which will be powerful enough to supersede the ordinary objective and materialistic trend of thought. An earnest and persistent effort will be required.
When one devotes himself to the highest endeavor lesser things are not only added, but they fall into normal and beautiful proportion. The sunshine from above gilds all nature and sends down its beatific glow upon material things, and so the higher consciousness ennobles and purifies all the common pursuits of life.
Specific directions for concrete and systematic individual development will be found in the appendix to this work. Mental and spiritual gymnastic exercises, in the form of Suggestive Lessons, are there outlined for daily use.
In the present connection, some of the logical reasons for the affirmation and repetition of ideals which one desires to actualize, will be considered. Such exercises are of vital importance as a means of growth, and as an introduction to the inner mystery and uplift which are contained in the New Thought.
The points which have been brought out in the previous chapters regarding the cultivation of the thinking and imaging faculty are preliminary and pertinent to the systematic training of the consciousness. The working force of these principles will be increasingly appreciated and realized.
The heart and essence of the New Thought can be most readily acquired by what is known as "going into the silence." No amount of intellectual study can reveal that which only can come through spiritual perception and feeling.
The observance of seasons of quiet communion and aspiration gradually introduces super-sensuous experiences that give one glimpses of spiritual harmony and reality which will at length become subject to command.
By a quiet and reverent effort one may abstract himself from material things and unbar the doors and windows of his spiritual nature, and divinity will illumine every apartment. The living Christ is within man, and upon invitation the divine touches the human.
We may relax all tension and make the whole attitude passive and receptive. If we invite spiritual influences they will flow in as naturally as air inclines to a vacuum. What a glorious experience! The "still small voice" may become audible to our inner hearing.
Can we have the "Holy Spirit" upon such easy terms every day? Perhaps we have thought that it was "sent" only upon rare and unexpected occasions.
How puny and unreal the seen when compared with the unseen! We give ourselves to the sensuous, and thus practically worship it. Is this not idolatry?
We need freedom. The human family is in slavery to material things. Why should the higher be in subjection to the lower?
Our minds are so crowded with objective facts and events that there seems to be no room for the higher consciousness. We must at times push back the clamoring world which presses to monopolize us, and also strive to displace physical imperfection and sensation. It is profitable often to forget the fleshly organism and think of one's self purely as a spiritual being.
Let the soul come into loving and conscious contact with the Omnipresent Spirit—which is God. The infinite life is waiting to take up its abode with us, and it includes health, love, light, and strength.
We are not to expect something later, but to realize that the Presence is with us now. This brings conscious Reality. In proportion as ideals are concentrated upon they will photograph themselves upon the living soul. Every moment that one earnestly engages in such spiritual athletics his higher nature becomes more robust.
The vibrations of Truth should affect every note in the human octave. Every nerve and cell must be made responsive.
Do not expect a miracle. The beneficent results will be a natural growth. Progress is in accord with law and the faithful use of means. It is exact and scientific.
A strong man can be cast out of his castle only by one who is stronger. The old current of thought may resist the new, and some commotion will result. This is encouraging, for it shows that one has hit the mark. Former impressions of weakness, fear, and disorder often seem to take on a kind of personality, and they will make a fight against being turned out. The obsessing, unclean spirits, which Jesus cast out, made a strong resistance, and did not vacate their hiding place until forced to do so. The principle has a wide correspondence.
As the old consciousness contends with the new, "ups and downs" will be probable, land such an experience indicates progress. It is much better to be deeply stirred than to stagnate. If a former disorder flames up anew after some progress has been made, the outburst will be but temporary. Welcome the commotion as signifying a positive advance.
The usual difficulty with those who are desiring to possess the New Thought is the lack of persistence. In the embodiment of such an ideal, "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." If one loses his footing, he must not remain prostrate, but rise and push forward. Educational compensation will be sure to follow. Every reaction will be less intense, and every succeeding uplift will be higher.
Any wakeful hour at night furnishes an opportunity for spiritual exercise and growth which one cannot afford to lose. Bid adieu to the material world of events and anxieties and send the consciousness aloft among higher harmonies and ideals. They are all within, and if latent are only waiting to be awakened. The highest exercise of the human soul is in aspiration, and in communion with unseen verities. No one should allow a procession of the common objective thoughts of the day to pass and re-pass through the corridors of the mind at night. Such a habit leads to insomnia. At such an hour, the world with all its turmoil should fade away in the distance. Upon retiring turn it oil as completely as you do the gas or electricity. Keep company with the Universal Spirit. Practice will steadily add to one's ability in these silent gymnastics. They are what may be termed scientific prayer. Through the use of such means, thousands today are rejoicing in a measure of harmony and strength which is far in advance of any former attainment.
It is obvious that the practical application of these laws and the cultivation of the super-sensuous state, as a healing agency, is especially applicable to depressions and disorders of a nervous, chronic, and protracted nature. Some time is required for growth, which may not be practical in self-application for disorders of acute and rapid type. But even in such ailments, the principles can be introduced in combination with hygienic and other rational appliances with great practical and potential profit.
The body was not made for disease, but for the use of the soul—the man. Disorder is an invader, a thief, and has no claim. Order it to vacate, for there is no spare room to put at its disposal. It is a shadow, a hollow impersonation of fear and weakness materialized in appearance. It cannot stand the light of truth.
Stop a moment, look within and listen! The whole creation works through and in thee! Thou art one with the life, essence, and cause of things. Thou art a part of that Primal Force in whom and by whom, all things consist.
An unlimited field for the New Thought is found in the way of prevention. This is all-important, being vastly more valuable than cure, though far less appreciated. But great as is the value of physical harmony and improvement, they are of far less moment than the growth of soul and the unfoldment of the higher selfhood.