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Auto-Suggestion and Concentration

Having considered in a previous paper the law of vibratory forces as operative between soul and soul, a study of its exercise in one's individual economy logically follows. But, while individuated, it is clearly impossible for spiritual development to be selfish, because no limitation can enclose it. Egotism is existent only on the sensuous plane. The higher unfoldment, in the very nature of the case, is an upliftment out of one's narrow, baser selfhood. Ideal soul-development in the individual is a work that concerns all humanity. Effort for the true self and that directly in behalf of others are only two different sides of one process.

It will be recalled that in "The Dynamics of Mind" thought vibrations were presented as unlimited in their scope and potency. But great power is valueless unless it be harnessed and directed. Steam, electricity, and even the abounding waterfalls of nature, signify nothing to man until he intelligently grasps their laws, and, through compliance therewith, commands them. It is a question of concordant vibration. The competent engineer mentally vibrates with his engine or dynamo, and multiplies his accomplishment a thousand-fold, while the ignorant meddler not only does not increase his product, but through an inherent judgment suffers penalty. Everything he employs is good, but there is misplacement.

All true objective energy being primarily divine and normal, there can be no evil forces. Those which seem so wear that aspect to us from our ignorant misdirection. Street-sweepings may be valuable as fertilizing material, and for that purpose are clean, but when misplaced they are unclean to us, though not so in themselves.

But this law of universal goodness is not limited to the material or objective realm. The forces of mind are all beneficent. The skill, patience, and persistence of a thief are excellent, but they are subjectively distorted, or turned into a wrong channel. This doctrine comes from no fine-spun metaphysical distinction, but is basic and vital in its final analysis. There is no "evil" as an objective entity. If there were, the Infinite Intelligence created that which is contrary to himself, his laws and methods; an unthinkable supposition.

Law is both universal and beneficent, but owing to materialistic fogginess the latter has been scantily recognized. Even the pain and penalty which are linked to nonconformity to law are good, not ideally but provisionally as they appear. They rise up as educational monitors. When deeply comprehended, the higher evolutionary philosophy involves an unlimited optimism upon every plane of manifestation.

Ignorance of law rather than inherent depravity is responsible for all the woes of humanity. In proportion as the established order is truly interpreted ills will disappear. Law is not that which is artificially imposed from without, but what is inscribed in man's constitution. The Decalogue, and even the Sermon' on the Mount, are woven into the fabric of his being, so that violence to them is harmful to him. His real concern is with what is within. As with the "Prodigal," pain and penalty bring men to themselves; that is, to the deeper, real individuality, which is virtually the "Father's House."

The regal dynamics of man's inner being have been wastefully neglected and squandered, while he has incessantly pursued objective phenomena which are only symptomatic and petty by comparison. Human vibrations have been disorderly and out of rhythm with the cosmic order. This has introduced confusion and chaos. Instead of multiplied power, as in the case of a perfect engine run by a skilful engineer, we have been ignorant meddlers, with disastrous results. Human activity in unison with the divine chords would carry irresistible potency. Such cooperation would enlist infinite forces in our behalf. Limitations would thereby be pushed well nigh out of sight. But to give these transcendent principles more specific application to the subject in hand, we may consider, first, the potency of suggestion or intelligent thought action upon mental and physical conditions and expressions, and, second, their rational working means and methods.

Marked beneficent phenomena have been rather infrequent because powerful concentration has generally been haphazard, unscientific, or superstitious, working in the direction of harm instead of good. Its law having been mistaken, this mighty force has been misused and entirely misinterpreted.

A limited and unconscious employment of the law of mental causation has appeared in the occasional outcropping of "miraculous healing" all through the ages, and still continues at various shrines and holy places, and from contact with sacred relics. Numerous cures at Lourdes and Traves in France are well known and admitted by all who have given the matter any careful investigation. To indulge in any general denial of such manifestations, which have been almost numberless, would indicate either ignorance or a most irrational disbelief of evidence that is practically without limit. The facts are undoubted. It is only the modus operandi that has been misinterpreted.

It is strange that the devout Romanist should feel that he honored God less by believing that he worked through the orderly laws of the human mind than by external and disorderly interposition. That quality in man which craves a magical and dramatic divine manifestation rather than one which is intelligible and scientific, is largely responsible for keeping the world in thralldom. How transcendent a Deity whose activities are beautifully regular! Our brethren of the Roman Catholic faith will doubtless gradually approach such a reasonable position. The conservative orthodox Protestant is not much more logical, the main difference being that he dates his "miracles" farther back.

Nothing else would so powerfully hasten the long hoped-for reconciliation between science and religion, as a fuller and deeper interpretation of the established order on its higher planes. Religion must become scientific and reasonable, and science must broaden its vision, and include the immaterial and spiritual realm. By such a consummation both would gain, each being indorsed by its true counterpart.

The possible intensity of the energy of mental states is demonstrated in many of the phenomena of hypnotic suggestion. But this phase cannot now be entered upon in detail.

The power of discordant emotional force to turn the hair suddenly white, to poison the mother's milk, to produce disease, and even death, under various conditions, is too familiar to require mention, but may be noted as sufficient in itself to confirm a principle that receives proof in such innumerable directions. But while the disastrous influence of such discordant emotions as fear, grief, anger, anxiety, and depression for pulling down the physical tissues has long been known merely as a fact, the process has remained uninterpreted, and the positive benefits which would accompany their opposites have been unappreciated or ignored.

Virtue and vice, purity and impurity, spirituality and carnality, confidence and fear, love and hate, joy and grief, all through irrepealable law translate their respective qualities into flesh, blood, bone, and sinew. Every possible qualitative thought energy presses for material expression. But the mixture of unlike forces, including positives neutralized by negatives, results in an interminable complexity of the process; and this, together with its apparent slowness under ordinary conditions, has hidden the law from superficial observation. The subtle shadings of heredity also form another deeply involved element. But perhaps, more than all, prevailing materialism, which views the body as the real basis of man, is responsible for spiritual color-blindness and ignorance.

Having found that thought energy, heretofore so lightly regarded, is a tremendous power for good or evil, physically, mentally, and spiritually, a most vital problem presents itself to every individual. How can I train and control my thinking?

Within the mental chambers of every person there linger, not only some of those emotions commonly classed as sinful, but also a host of indefinable fears, specters, imaginings, forebodings, and morbid depressions which we would fain dismiss if we could, but find it impossible. They are tormentors of whose existence even our most intimate friends are unaware. We do not wish to give these intruders shelter, but are unable either to drive them out or to coax them to leave. They vary in every mind, but none are entirely exempt. Sometimes they are so intolerable that almost any price would be paid for their removal. And now, added to all this host of mental disturbances, comes the positive knowledge that they are also working silent destruction in the physical organism. Well may one cry out, "What shall I do to be saved?" Saved from what? From my thoughts; from a mass of distorted mental pictures which seem to be myself; from the only thing in the universe that really can harm me.

But before attempting to show the way of salvation, we may suggest that these seeming antagonists are in the deepest degree beneficent when rightly interpreted. What a paradox! They are in reality the kindly chastisements that come to drive us from our discordant materialism into a higher and spiritual self-consciousness. They make us uncomfortable until we learn their lesson. They are the "consuming fire" which burns up the "wood, hay, and stubble," but leaves the divine individuality—the real self—not only unharmed, but purified. We feel the flames just in the proportion that we think ourselves to be material rather than spiritual beings. They come to release us from a subjective prison which we have unwittingly built out of self-made materials. We may as well use a plain, old-fashioned term, and call them hell. But this state of consciousness is the most powerful evolutionary pushing force in existence. Nothing less could prevent a peaceful reconciliation with sin and evil.

As a negative answer to the question of the way of salvation from these subjective abominations, it may at first be suggested that no bargain can be made with any objective or historic creed or ordinance for deliverance. Neither can we drive out or will away our unwholesome mental guests. Ten men cannot drive darkness out of a room, but the hand of a child may raise a curtain, and the light will do the work. Displacement is the law. Truth casts out error. How can this be applied? Through the normal use of the divine creative thinking-faculty. But the average man says that he "cannot control and concentrate this energy." Pray, when has he made any systematic effort? He will spend years of time, and no end of effort, to educate himself on the surface, but can hardly afford hours for scientific thought training.

As a rule, thought is diffuse, undirected, and open to all the depressing and discordant material which floats by. It may be compared to an unbroken colt without bit or bridle. But it can be educated and made docile. Auto-suggestion and concentration can be intelligently introduced into everyday life. Through their judicious employment, the ills, specters, beliefs of evil, and disorders of mind and body, may be crowded out of the consciousness, and finally, as a natural result, vanish from outward expression. Daily psycho-gymnastics is needed, and is as important as physical exercise. There should be intelligent and concentrated self-suggestions, that ideals—like health, harmony, and everything good—are a present possession; and this attitude of mind, firmly held, in due time will bring them into outward manifestation. Contrary outward appearances and physical sensations must be held in abeyance. The work is back of these, for they are resultant. The inmost and real is already perfect, but we are unaware of it. When we therefore affirm this fact, and dwell upon it, we have the potential and ideal truth, sensations and surface indications to the contrary notwithstanding. The grandest claims must be made as already existent, and held to until outwardly actualized. Such thought energy is not irrational, but reasonable, for it is in accord with law. Until it is creatively used, as indicated, its sublime force is squandered, or worse.

Positive entities like health, harmony, goodness, strength, love, and spirituality, must be installed in the consciousness through the normal formative power of thought. Negatives—which are not entities, but only deficiencies—like weakness, disorder, inharmony, disease, malice, and fear, are to be displaced, to gradually become unfamiliar, and finally and ideally unreal. But when positive conditions become a habit, so that a permanent purposeful attitude of mind is attained, cures should become unnecessary, because there will be nothing to cure. The practice of daily mental gymnastics, which would include systematic concentration upon ideals, should begin at once, while one is well, in order to prevent remedial necessities in the future.

Any truly scientific use of the dynamics of thought becomes all-inclusive in its beneficent range. It puts forces into human hands which reach out indefinitely in every direction. It is the golden scepter that man may grasp and wield over the kingdoms within and around him.

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James Allen

James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.

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