This section is from the book "Applications of Psychology to the Problems of Personal and Business Efficiency", by Warren Hilton. Also available from Amazon: Psychology and Achievement - Applied Psychology 12 Volume Set.
A STATE of reverie and the half waking transitional stage that precedes sleep are therefore admirable times to practice or induce concentration.
At such moments the mere repetition of an appropriate phrase will so absorb the mind, will so cause the thought embodied in that phrase to be devoured and assimilated, as finally to establish an overwhelming conviction that will subtly influence inner bodily processes and outward conduct.
At such moments, concentrate your mind on the belief in your own ability to achieve things, on your own mastery of conditions, on your own courage to joyfully plunge into the fray, on your own feelings of exhilarating health, and you will presently find yourself assuming a new mental attitude toward the world and your own problems in it. You will find yourself in command of a new and wonderful supply of conscious energy with which to face the issues of life.
Herein lies the secret of the efficacy of prayer and of the powerful emotional appeal of the religious service. The mellow light diffused through stained-glass windows, the deep vibration of the organ's tones, the solemn silence, the bowed head, the atmosphere of peaceful aloofness from the world's alarms - these influences powerfully combine to lull the mind into passivity, into a spiritual receptivity, in which soul-inspiring faiths take root and lift us to a nobler manhood.
Jesus did not attempt to instruct his followers in the mechanical working out of the precepts he gave them. He uttered ultimate truths with the authority of divine inspiration.
He did not attempt to explain just how the prayer of the faithful would work its own fulfilment. He told them the simple truth in words that shepherds and fishermen could understand.
"Faith," he told them, was the mental attitude essential to success. "Therefore I say unto you," said the Master, "all things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them."
These words are pregnant with scientific truth. They do not mean that gold dollars and automobiles will be materialized out of thin air before your very eyes. They mean that through faith in the realization of your goal you will be inspired with those qualities which tend to compass its attainment.
For inspiration is not the monopoly of any privileged class. The clerk or salesman may be as fervently inspired as may the poet.
Inspiration, whether of artisan or artist, is concentration. It is the concentration of all one's energies and abilities upon a single point, a single point that for the time represents all the world beside.
With concentration, your mental energies, instead of being scattered over all the world, find themselves centered in a single object. With concentration, that object is magnified. It is illumined. It is brought out in bold relief. It takes form. It moves. It is a living thing.
This is inspiration. This is the manna that drops from heaven into the soul of him that prays in faith. This is mental concentration upon a beloved ideal.