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IN ORDER to get a clearer understanding of our subject, you should give some thought to thought itself and to its phenomena. No one knows what thought really is, other than some sort of mental action. But like the unknown element of electricity, we see its manifestations everywhere. We see it in the actions and expressions of a child, in an aged person, in animals, and to varying degrees in every living thing. The more we contemplate and study thought, the more we realize what a terrific force it is and how unlimited its powers are.
Glance around as you read this. If you are in a furnished room, your eyes tell you that you are looking at a number of inanimate objects. That is true so far as visual perception is concerned, but you are actually looking at thoughts or ideas which have come into materialization through the creative work of some human being. It was a thought, first, that created the furniture, fashioned the window glass, gave form to the draperies and coverings.
The automobile, the skyscraper, the great planes that sweep the stratosphere, the sewing machine, the tiny pin, a thousand and one things -yes, millions of objects - where did they come from originally? Only from one source: From that strange force - thought. As we analyze further, we realize that these achievements, and in fact all of our possessions - a thousand and one things - came as a result of creative thinking. Ralph Waldo Emerson declared that the ancestor of every action is thought; when you understand that, you begin to comprehend that our world is governed by thought, and that everything external had its counterpart originally within the mind. It is just as Buddha said many centuries ago: "All that we are is the result of what we have thought."
Your very life is your thinking - and the result of your thinking processes. Your flesh, bones, and muscles can be reduced to 70 percent water and a few chemicals of small value, but it is your mind and what you think that makes you what you are. The secret of success lies not outside, but within the thoughts of man.
Figuratively, thought makes giants out of pigmies, and often turns giants into pigmies. History is filled with accounts of how thought made weak men strong and strong men weak, and you see evidence of its working around you constantly.
You do not eat, wear clothes, run for a bus, drive your car, turn on the television, or read a newspaper - you don't even raise your arm - without a preceding thought-impulse. While you may consider the motions you make as more or less automatic, perhaps caused by some physical reflexes, behind every single step you take in life, regardless of its direction, is that formidable and powerful force - thought.
The very way you walk, the way you carry yourself, your talk, your manner of dress, all reflect your way of thinking. A slovenly carriage is an indication of slovenly thinking, whereas an alert, upright carriage is the outward sign of inward strength and confidence. What you exhibit outwardly, you are inwardly. You are the product of your own thoughts.
What you believe yourself to be, you are.
Thought is the original source of all wealth, all success, all material gain, all great discoveries and inventions, and of all achievement. Without it there would be no medicine, no great museums, no great plays or novels, no modern conveniences - in fact, there would be no advance over life in the most primitive ages.
Your thoughts - those that predominate - determine your character, your career, indeed, your everyday life. Thus it becomes easy to understand what is meant by the statement that "A man's thoughts make or break him." And when you realize that there can be no action or reaction, either good or bad, without the generating force of thought initiating it, then the Biblical saying, "For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," and Shakespeare's words, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so," become more intelligible.
Sir Arthur Eddington, the famous English physicist, said that to an altogether unsuspected extent, the universe in which we live is a creation of our minds; while Sir James Jeans, who was equally famous in the same field, suggested that the universe was merely a creation that resulted from the thought of some great universal mind underlying and coordinating all of our minds.
More recently, science has uncovered parallels between the behavior of sub-atomic particles and various tenets of Eastern metaphysics. The greatest scientists and thinkers are not only voicing the ideas of the wisest men of old, but are confirming the fundamental principle of this book.
Almost since the beginning of the human race, men have been molded by those who knew something of thought's great power. All the great religious leaders, kings, warriors, and statesmen understood this science and have known that people act as they think - and also react to the thought of others, especially when it is stronger and more convincing than their own. Accordingly, men of powerful dynamic thought have always swayed people by appealing to their minds - whether sometimes to lead them into freedom or into slavery. There never was a period in history when we had more reason to study our own thoughts, understand them, and learn how to use them to improve our lives by drawing upon the great source of power within each of us.
Undoubtedly, we become what we envisage. There was a time when I would have laughed at people who talked about the magnetic force of thought, how thought correlates with its object, how it can affect people and inanimate things even at great distances. But I no longer laugh, nor do others who know something of its power, for anyone who has any intelligence sooner or later comes to realize that thought can change the surface of the entire globe.
George Russell, the famous fish editor and poet, was once quoted as saying that we become what we contemplate; and he certainly demonstrated it in his own life by becoming a great writer, lecturer, painter, and poet. However, it must be kept in mind that many of the thoughts we think are not ours at all, at least not of our own originating. We are molded by the thoughts of others; by what we hear in conversation, what we read in newspapers, magazines, and books, what we hear in the movies, on TV, and on the radio; even by chance remarks from bystanders. And these thoughts bombard us constantly. Some of them, which harmonize with our own inmost thoughts and open the way to greater visions in our life, are helpful. But too often these thoughts are upsetting, weaken our self-confidence, and turn us away from our higher purposes. It is these outside thoughts that are the trouble makers, and later I shall explain how you can keep free of them.
Few people give much thought to the law of cause and effect as it applies to the operation of the mind Much less do they understand the meaning of such axioms as "Everything is within; nothing is without" or "Mind is the source of power." A superb explanation of this appeared in an article entitled "El Dorado," published in the Commercial and Financial Chronicle back on December 10, 1932: "El Dorado, a country rich beyond all precedent in gold and jewels, lies at every man's door. Your bonanza lies under your feet. Your luck is ready at hand. All is within; nothing is without, though it often appears that men and peoples by dumb luck or avarice or force or overreaching strike upon bonanzas and sail away in fair weather on the sea of prosperity . . . Man individually and collectively is entitled to life in all abundance. It is a most evident fact. Religion and philosophy assert it; history and science prove it. 'That they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,' is the law. What do you seek? Pay the price and take it away.
There is no limit to the supply, but the more precious the thing you seek, the higher the price. For everything we obtain, we must barter the gold of our own spirits . . ."Where to find the gold of the All Powerful? One secures the gold of the spirit when he finds himself. When he finds himself, he finds freedom and all riches, achievement, and prosperity. High-sounding talk? No, the most palpable evidence of American history and biography, of all history. The concrete proof is apparent even in current events if we but open our eyes. Nothing substantial, lasting, powerful, or moving was ever accomplished, nor ever can be, except by men [who have discovered] in themselves of the gold of the spirit, which commands dominion, power, and accomplishment. Men who knew themselves know at once that all material things and ideas have a spiritual counterpart or basis. They see it in money, in credit. The law of supply and demand is not to an awakened man merely an economic principle, but the material manifestation of spiritual law. Such freedom-seeking men see the same principle operating in gravitation, in chemical affinities, in macrocosm and in microcosm.
"America has long been the greatest of El Dorados, the stage upon which the most numerous of self-found men worked their bonanzas and their miracles of thought to the enrichment of themselves and mankind at large. There is no exploitation, only a showering of gifts, easily bought by free spirits and generously scattered on all hands according to the expressed law of bargain of the Original, Permanent Owner, and First Producer. To the self-found man of action all the money, credit, and capital goods he can use . . . Mackay, O'Brien, Hearst, and Fair, brave young Americans of 1849, found gold in themselves before they struck it rich in California. They had to. 'If there is gold there,' they told one another, 'we'll get our share' . . . How great must hove been the spiritual wealth of such a free-found man as James J. Hill, who built the Great Northern Railroad from nowhere to nowhere, in a wilderness where no one lives. His madness founded an empire. By spiritual force he turned forests and plains into a thousand El Dorados, and by the same force commanded all the gold and credit needed for the markets of Amsterdam and London and enabled millions of Americans to discover for themselves great bonanzas in the cold Northwest.
"Thomas A. Edison said a few years before he died: 'Ideas come from space. This may seem astonishing and impossible to believe, but it is true. Ideas come from out of space.’ Surely Edison should have known, for few men ever received or gave forth more ideas . . . Let each man seek the El Dorado within himself. Power is plentiful.
The source is inexhaustible. As the Canonical Fathers of the church expressed it, that which is received is according to the measure of the recipient. It is not the power that is lacking, it is the will. When one finds oneself, the will becomes automatically set toward El Dorado.
“By a full and powerful imagination anything can be brought into concrete form. The great physician, Paracelsus, said: ‘The human spirit is so great a thing that no man can express it; could we rightly comprehend the mind of man, nothing would be impossible to us upon the earth. Through faith, the imagination is invigorated and completed, for it really happens that every doubt mars its perfection.
Faith must strengthen the imagination, for faith establishes the will.’ Faith is personal, individual. Salvation, any way you take it, is personal. Faith comes in the finding of one’s self. This self-finding establishes a clear realization of one’s identity with the eternal.
Strong, self-assertive men built up this El Dorado of America. ‘Man, know thyself, thine own individual self,’ is everlastingly the supreme command. Self-knowers always dwell in El Dorado; they drink from the fountain of youth and are at all times owners of all they wish to enjoy.”
The words of Paracelsus just quoted are well worth rereading, for once you grasp their meaning and discover how to apply the principle, you will certainly have more light on how to succeed in your undertakings. However, I must point out that hard work alone will not bring success.
The world is filled with people who have worked hard but have little to show for it. Something more than hard work is necessary: namely, creative thinking and firm belief in your ability to execute your ideas. The successful people in history have succeeded through their thinking. Their hands were merely helpers to their brains.
Another important point: For success, it is essential that your desire be an all-obsessing one, your thoughts and aims be coordinated, and your energy be concentrated and applied without letup. It may be that you want riches or fame or position or knowledge, for each person has their own idea of what success means. But whatever you consider it to be, you can have your objective, provided you are willing to make it the burning desire of your life.
A big order, you say? Not at all. By using the dynamic force of believing, you can set all your inner forces in motion, and they in turn will help you reach your goal. If you are married, you remember the stimulating and emotional experience of courting the person you wanted for your spouse. Certainly it wasn’t nerve-racking work – quite the contrary, you’ll admit – but what were you using, if not this very same science, even though unconsciously? From the time you got the idea until your marriage, the desire to win a partner was uppermost in your mind. The thought, the belief, was with you every minute of the day, and perhaps in your dreams as well.
Now that you have a clearer picture of the roles that thought and desire play in your daily life, the first thing to determine is precisely what you do want. Starting out with the general idea that you simply want to be a success – as most people do – is too vague. You must have a pattern clearly drawn in your mind. Ask yourself. Where are you headed? What is your exact goal? Have you visualized just what you really want? If success is to be measured in terms of wealth, can you fix the amount in figures? If in terms of achievement, can you specify it definitely?
You must ask these questions, for in their answers are factors which will determine your whole life from now on. Strange as it may seem, not one out of a hundred people can answer these questions!
Most people have a general desire to succeed, but beyond that, everything is indefinite. They merely go along from day to day, figuring that if they have a job today, they will have it tomorrow – and that somehow, they will be looked after in their old age. They are like corks floating aimlessly on the water, drawn this way and that by various currents, either washing up on shore or becoming water-logged and eventually sinking.
Therefore, it is vital that you know exactly what you want out of life. You must know where you are headed, and keep a fixed goal in view. That, of course, is the overall picture; it makes no difference whether you want a job or a better one, a new house, a place in the country, or just a new pair of shoes. You must have a fixed idea before you’ll obtain what you are after.
Remember, there is a great difference between a need and a desire. You may need a new car for driving to work, and you may desire one in order to give pleasure to your family. The one for business you will buy as a matter of necessity. The one for your family you will plan to get as soon as possible. For this car, you will read brochures and visit a number of dealers, because it is a model you have never had before, something that will add to your responsibilities and compel you to seek new powers of judgment within yourself and new resources outside. Desire for something new, something different, that is going to change your life, makes you exert an extra effort. And the power of believing alone sets in motion those inner forces by which you add what I call plus-values to your life.
So if you ever hope to achieve anything or gain more than you have now, begin with desire. It is the prime motivating force in all of us and, without an all-consuming desire, nothing can be achieved or gained. However, as you shall see, there is more to it than mere desire.
I am aware that metaphysicians claim that thoughts are things. They may be in a general sense; but so far as their effect upon us individually is concerned, they do not become real to us until we give them life with our own thinking or through the workings of our imaginations.
This may appear a little strange at first reading, but it will perhaps become clearer if I site a few examples. For instance, you are advised to wear rubbers when you go out in the rain. We’ve all heard the remark, “If you don’t, you’ll catch your death of cold.” That thought has never had the slightest effect upon me. I haven’t worn rubbers since I was a small child. I have had my shoes and feet thoroughly wet hundreds of times, often for hours at a time, yet I cannot recall ever having caught cold as a result.
Some people have a tremendous fear of drafts, but I have often thought that if they did catch cold by being in a draft, it was because of their fearful thoughts rather than because of the drafts themselves. I sit in drafts for long periods daily, and at night I sleep in a corner room which has windows on two sides. I raise them in all sorts of weather, so that the wind often sweeps across me. Yet I’ve never had a cold as a result, because I never give it a thought.
However, I do not advise anyone accustomed to wearing rubbers to go without them; neither do I suggest to anyone afraid of drafts to stay in them – because lifelong habits and beliefs with their consequences are not going to change overnight.
For centuries, outstanding thinkers have claimed that man could shape events and control matter through his mind alone, and the more you study this science, the more you will realize the amazing powers of your own mind.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes and for many years a member of the British Society for Psychic Research, declared that in thought alone there was a constructive and destructive power akin to the “faith that can move mountains.” He said that while the results themselves were conclusive, he had no idea what power it was that came from a man’s mind and that could separate the molecules of a solid object toward which it was directed. I know that materialists will scoff at such a statement. But just remember how radio waves pass right through wood, brick, steel, and other so-called solid objects. If thought waves, or whatever they are, can be tuned to even higher oscillations, why can’t they affect the molecules of solid objects?
There are many professional gamblers who contend that a strong mental influence has much to do with achieving so-called lucky results in such games of chance as card playing, dice, roulette, etc. I know one man who was able to step up to an old-fashioned cigar store punchboard and with a few punches grab off the best prizes.
Once I asked him about it, and he said, “I never go near a punchboard unless I am in the mood for it, and that means that I must be in the frame of mind that I’m going to win. I’ve noticed that if there’s the slightest doubt in my mind, I don’t win. But I can’t recall the time that I didn’t get winning numbers when the winning idea was firmly fixed in my mind before I started to play.”
At Duke University, Dr. J. B. Rhine and his associates demonstrated that psychokinesis, the name given to designate the mind’s power to influence material objects, is much more than idle theory. Dice (yes, the regular old dice used in crap games) were thrown by a mechanical device to eliminate all possibility of personal influence and trickery. Experiments of this type were started in 1934, and there were many tests in which millions of throws of the dice were made. The results were such that Dr Rhine declared, “There is no better explanation than the subjects influenced the fall of the dice without any recognized physical contacts with them.” By mentally concentrating upon the appearance of certain numbers, while standing at a distance to avoid all physical contact with the mechanical thrower and with the dice, the experimenters were frequently able to control the way the dice landed. In a number of the experiments, the scores refuted some of the traditional mathematical odds of millions to one against the reappearance of certain combinations of numbers in repeated succession. (For more on Dr. Rhine’s work, see Chapter 7.)
Meditate over this for a few minutes and realize what it means to you. Those experiments give you some idea of what is meant by “Thought creates after its kind,” “Thought correlates with its object,” “Thought attracts that upon which it is directed,” and similar statements that metaphysicians have been claiming for years. It was Job who said, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me.” Our fearful thoughts are just as creative and magnetic in attracting troubles to us as are the constructive and positive thoughts in attracting welcome results. So no matter what the character of your thoughts, they do create after their kind.
When this sinks into your consciousness, you get some inkling of the aweinspiring power which is yours to use.
While thoughts do create and exercise control far beyond any limits yet known to man, I cling to the theory that they create only according to their pitch, intensity, emotional quality, depth of feeling, or vibratory plane. In other words, thoughts have a creative or controlling force in the exact ratio of their constancy, intensity, and power – comparable to the wave length and wattage of a broadcasting station.
While many explanations have been offered, it is fairly certain that thought is not a form of electrical energy, but something else yet to be defined. In a series of telepathy experiments, subjects were placed in a Faraday Cage, which effectively blocked any possible transmission of electrical energy. Yet the subjects’ scores were still well above chance: whatever was carrying data from one mind to another, it was clearly not electrical. Nevertheless, I have done a great deal of experiments with highfrequency electricity, the field in which the great electrical genius Nikola Tesla pioneered. And so, whenever I think of thought and its radiations or vibrations, I instinctively link them up with electricity and its phenomena. In this manner they become more understandable to me.
I find that I am far from being alone in holding this analogy. Nowadays, practically every hospital is equipped with an EEG, or electroencephalograph – an apparatus that detects and records a patient’s brain waves. These “waves” are, in effect, the electrical oscillations of the brain’s two hemispheres. Doctors use them to diagnose not only the health of the brain and nervous system, but as clues to a patient’s general mental health, to his or her dreams and emotional state, and even to the existence of disease elsewhere in the body.
In 1944, Dr. Harold S. Burr and his coworkers at Yale University, after experimenting for twelve years, reached the conclusion that all living things are surrounded by an electrical aura of their own making, and that life is connected electrically to the whole pattern of the universe. For years, mystics, occultists, and metaphysicians have claimed that each individual possesses such an aura, and there are countless cases in which these auras have been recorded as actually seen.
Then in the late 1960s, Soviet researchers announced the discovery of Kirlian photography: a technique for capturing the “aura” on photographic film. Kirlian photos of a leaf showed it to be a galaxy of bright sparkles – which, however, slowly dimmed as the leaf wilted. Kirlian photographs of subjects’ hands showed bright rays emanating from the fingers – which seemed to confirm the metaphysicians’ age-old belief that one’s hands are a source of healing energy. Critics objected that the Kirlian process was recording nothing more than an electrical coronal discharge, generated by the mild electrical field in which the photographs were taken. Yet at the same time, it was clear that the strength of the Kirlian “aura” does correlate with the subject’s emotional state. A number of psychologists – notably Dr. Lee R. Steiner of New York – found this correlation so reliable that they used Kirlian photography as an objective measure of their patients’ progress.
We can reconcile this apparent paradox if we look at electricity, coronal discharges, and the Kirlian effect as byproducts of that yet-to-beidentified thought energy, just as tidal waves in the ocean are visible “translations” of earthquakes that may have taken place hundreds of miles away on the sea floor.