Careful attention to one thing often proves superior to genius and art.
- Cicero. Let us labor for an inward stillness, An inward stillness and an inward healing.
Not in the clamor of the crowded street, Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, But in ourselves, are triumphs and defeat.
In the study of metaphysics, the awful bugbear of "The Silence" has been let loose upon you. As you have been thinking of what I have written and paid no attention to anything else, you have been "In the Silence!" As you have "paid attention" to the thought of these pages, you have been "concentrating," and the difficult task you have feared is accomplished; the condition you thought so hard to reach, is gained.. How? By not thinking of it! By forgetting you have clone that which you wished to do. Never yet did a person concentrate while thinking, "I am going to concentrate:" or, "I wish I could concentrate!" or, "0, how hard it is to concentrate!" As long as you think of what you wish to do, you will never do it. As soon as you forget your wish to do, in the doing, the thing is done. It is this continual thought of concentration, that troubles so many of my students, readers, and correspondents. "I have been a New Thought student for years and cannot concentrate," is a frequent expression. But there is, nevertheless, in the expression, the concentration sought. It shows that the person has concentrated, not upon the thought desired, but upon the wish to concentrate. This is concentration.
I have said that we must win by that method by which mankind has ever won: That there is but one method. Study the life of any successful person in any age and along any chosen line; seek one among your friends or acquaintances; what is the dominant mental quality that gave him success? Be he gambler or poet, find the trait which gave him power. Find among your friends those who have failed and see what thought caused their failure.
Lady Macbeth said to her husband:
But screw your courage to the sticking place and we shall not fail!
We have the proverb - "Too many irons in the fire!"
This is diffusion.
"One thing at a time, and that done well Is as good a rule as I can tell!" is an admonition I learned as a lad. Success is his who concentrates; failure lies in diffusion. "Concentration is power; diffusion is weakness," says Emerson. Study persons of strong character among your friends. They are not the fickle ones, not those who jump from topic to topic in conversation. They are those who can tell a coherent story, and who are not easily thrown off their poise.
Men who succeed are those who attend to their business, that is: - pay attention to business. The rule for success in every department of life, be it desire for health, happiness, success, or prosperity is - MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. First, have a business. Then, mind it. That is, put your mind into your business. Think of your business. Keep your thoughts upon your business. MIND - PAY ATTENTION TO, which is merely saying, "Concentrate upon what you are doing." Men whose minds are off wool gathering when they should be attending to business, are men who fail. Men whose minds are full of fears, anxieties and doubts, fail. Minds, uncontrolled, are like horses uncontrolled; neither arrive at any desired end. They fly the track, they put no eye on the goal. Winners see the goal; keep that end in view all the time.
Concentration is an ever-present element in all human success and if you wish to succeed in applying the Affirmations of "Soul Culture," you must do as all successful persons have done, i. e., concentrate upon them. In the simplest and strongest terms, make these Affirmations your business, and mind your business. M. Y. 0. B., (mind your own business) must be your watchword of success. These letters are of value equal to those to which men attach so much value, those granted by college or king. Following the name of every successful person, I see the invisible M. Y. 0. B., which is God's insignia of nobility - "A successful man!"
New Thought is but bringing prominently and simply into view, the good old admonition, "Have something to do and do it." Jesus gave the same when he said, "Not every one who saith to me 'Lord! Lord!' But he that doeth the will of my Father!" No doing without thought, and that thought is concentrated thought. Powder flashed in the pan never sends a ball to any mark. Powder concentrated by the chamber of the cannon does the work; tons can only destroy recklessly without the chamber.
The lesson - Powder in pan has the same power as that in cannon. So with men - All have equal power, "All men are created equal," in life, power and possibilities of Spirit. Some concentrate and win; others scatter and lose. Some make a lot of noise, and go off with a whiz, like a Chinese pin-wheel; others work silently like the fuse of the sappers and miners, till the moment of action, then you hear them. Do you take this all in ? You do not as long as you hold any person or condition or circumstance to blame for your success or failure. As long as you thus hold circumstances responsible, you will never cure life's ills. You have as much life, as much power, and as good conditions as any other person. We are not all alike in desires, tendencies, or loves; but for us, as we are, the whole universe is ours. We have only to use the power we are. Circumstances are opportunities through which we are to express the power we are. Emerson says: "The great heart will no more complain of the obstructions that make success hard, than of the iron walls of the gun which hinder the shot from scattering."
From this, understand that Concentration is the universal Law governing the manifestations of Power in any line. In what is known as physics, concentration is the secret of power. Mechanics lies in power to concentrate the stream, wind, lightning and thus make it possible to bring it under direction and control. Diffused power cannot be directed or controlled and is therefore subject only to the laws of the Absolute and the uses that it has in the Universal Mind. Winds that blow without any human direction, streams that flow without being controlled in some channel, have use in the economy of Nature, but are not directly of use to man.
As soon as man begins to concentrate, not only these invisible forces, but also to concentrate the visible like fusing or forging the minerals, he increases their power.
Concentration is the secret of directed power, wherever man has made it available. Emerson tells us that Napoleon's success lay in concentration, his only rule.
He says: - "On any point of resistance he concentrated squadron after squadron in overwhelming numbers until it was swept out of existence."
When man shall learn to still more concentrate power he will master aerial navigation. Storage batteries and small dynamos and small engines are opening the way.
Therefore, when you are learning concentration, you are learning to use Power, in the same manner as man has learned to use those powers he has harnessed to his machinery.
Mental concentration is the application of the one method through which all nature applies her forces to any particular end.
You are ever to remember that you are living in a universe; that all force is one and is subject to the one law; that methods of the law's operation in the visible universe are parallel with methods in the unseen universe. Says Emerson: "The laws below are sisters of the laws above!" Mrs. Browning tells us: "There is not a flower on earth, but has its counterpart on the Spiritual side." They are reflections in the slower vibrations of what is actual and permanent in the higher. As the picture in a mirror is a reflection of the object, so every so-called material circumstance is, but the reflection of a mental reality, or if yon prefer, a spiritual reality. All laws are spiritual laws. Or it may please you better if we say, all Laws are Laws of Mind. Mind is all, and All means ALL. It does not leave out Man or rock, angel or energy. ALL means God, and God means ALL. You are thus first of all in your demonstration to concentrate the thoughts you have had of Existence into the ONE Substance that fills the Universe. You are to affirm Unity until it becomes a mental habit to think from Unity. Think of God as not far away, but as being ever-present and IN you. To think of your life as God's life; your thought as God's thought; your strength as God's strength; your action as God's action.
You must create this habit of concentrating God, yourself, and your friends into the All. You are to accustom yourself never to think of anything, or any manifestation as separate from the All. It is the All that manifests; it is the All that thinks, loves, acts, works, hates, grows, blossoms, ripens, and decays. You will soon grow to FEEL God, as you think of IT (or HIM) as present in yourself; and to think of yourself as present in Him, and of your thought and deed as being His thought and deed. You will soon realize that the idea of separateness between yourself and the All is the beginning of all your ills.
Paul held and taught this conception of Unity. He said:
I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God!