Let us aspire to that heaven where all is eternal and where corruption never comes.
- Ancient Aztec King.
I speak to them in parables because having eyes they see not and having ears they hear not. * * * * Their ears are dull of hearing and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they shall hear with their ears and shall see with their eyes and should understand with their hearts!
These words reported of Jesus have been shortened into the proverb, "None so blind as those who will not see; and none so deaf as those who will not hear!" This fact is a common one. A person does not see or hear that to which he gives no attention. But within this fact lies the deeper fact, that one does not see and hear, because one wills not to see and hear. That is, each person has the power of choice and may see and may hear that which he chooses, and may not hear and may not see that which he does not choose to hear and to see. To exercise this choice is to be the master of fate. This choice is the prerogative of humanity alone. It is the patent-right of manhood; the entail of God's heritage to Man. To the degree in which we exercise this choice we have outgrown the animal in us; have made it subservient to the Human.
To see is to pay attention to. To hear is to listen to. To understand with the heart, is to so concentrate upon what is about you, to so think upon what is heard, seen and felt, that you shall know the meaning it has in your life.
Concentration is the simplest thing to understand when you realize that it is thinking upon that which you do;'paying attention to what is about you. It is a habit that can be acquired, but one so often neglected in childhood. It is the fault of teachers and parents that children do not grow up conscious of their power to choose and hold to the thought chosen. Wandering minds are formed from uncongenial tasks. Study the children at any school and see how uncon-genial are the tasks to many of them. It is a common thing to see children pretending or trying to study, but often glancing from the book, watching what is going on. This cultivates insincerity, pretence, hypocrisy, affectation, fickleness; all of which arises from a lack of attention.
Concentration means that we shall be absorbed in the task of the hour. The biographer of Agassiz tells us that he would bring his work into the parlor of an evening when it was filled with young company and devote a portion of the time to social converse and enjoyment and at the next moment turn with complete abandon to his study, oblivious of those about him. In this he showed complete control of his mind, - of himself. Tennyson tells a friend in a letter, that he practiced concentration before his literary labors by centering his mind upon his own name; then allowed no interruption.
To affirm that you can't concentrate is to affirm lack of faith in yourself, for the first necessity of success and happiness is faith in your possibilities. Where this faith is not, there is very little accomplished in the way of character-building. Therefore the first step you need to take is to cultivate this faith in yourself. Practice affirming the infinite possibilities of the Human Soul. Think of yourself as an incarnation of God with all the possibilities of the God-head in you. Meditate upon the words of Jesus, "The kingdom of God is within you!" till you feel able to accomplish anything you desire. This meditation is concentration. As you meditate upon this thought you will grow into the power of expression. Affirm - "I, as spirit (or mind) possess all power I need to accomplish my desires."
The thought of "Can't" is born in recognition of the power of circumstances. As long as you think they have power you give them power. Circumstances in themselves have no power for either good or evil. The thought you have of them determines their effect upon yourself. If you fear them, you give them power to harm, that is, you are harmed by the thought you put into them. You may think whatever you choose of any circumstance or condition, and it becomes to you that which you think it is. Let me take a simple illustration. When I was a boy we planned a picnic one summer. The morning arose rainy. I felt so badly over it as an evil, that I cried, but others of the family rejoiced, for a drought was broken. They were happy, but I went to bed with a sick headache. The fact was, but a rainy day, and it became to each one that which his thought made it. Fire, defeat, loss of property are mere circumstances; one, by them, is stimulated to greater effort, another is crushed into lethargy. Coneentration in the fear of things and of conditions, creates anxiety, worry and defeat.
Concentration in Faith in the All Good, upon things and conditions, causes cheer, clearness of vision and success.
How you shall consider any circumstance, is for you to decide and as you decide, that circumstance is to you.
But having made your decision, stick to it. Concentrate upon the thought which you have decided as the right one to hold in relation to that circumstance. Through this concentration you will make your decision a fact in the objective life, because by your decision you have already made it a fact in the Cause-Life.
I wish to emphasize this fact because it is most important. You need not see or hear, need not feel or recognize, anything you do not desire to sense. You can make any circumstance bear to your objective life, whatever relation you desire, by deciding in your mind what that relation shall be, and by then concentrating upon that decision. Why do I affirm this? Because I am doing it every day, and because I know others who are doing it. What one person does, all can and may do. This fact was impressed upon me years ago by the experiments in Suggestion. As soon as you become convinced that the position I take in my little book, "Not Hypnotism but Suggestion," is correct, and it is the position of all expert practitioners of the Art, you will understand, that by thinking a coin is hot, when held in the hand, the thought will produce a blister. By thinking a drop of water is a drop of Croton oil, a blister is formed; by thinking a door knob is the pole of an electric battery, a shock is received; by thinking a handkerchief is perfumed, an odor is perceived, and by thinking a bread-pill is medicine, one is cured. From these facts you can draw only one conclusion: - All have like effect upon the body and environment.
To hold a candle before a mirror is to cause a reflection in the mirror; in like manner to hold a mental picture is to cause its reflection in the body. To change that picture every moment is to cause a change in the bodily reflection. To hold a picture continually in the mind is to keep its reflection constantly in the body. This Concentration does: - it holds the candle of desire before the mirror of flesh until the flesh reflects permanently that picture. Concentration carves in the marble of the material, the model held by Imagination, the creator, who builds through thought. From this fact is reached the conclusion which I state in these Affirmations - I am blind and deaf to all that is unpleasant, ill, painful, weak, or that carries failure. I recognize only that which I wish to recognize. I pay attention only to chosen ideas. I see only that which I wish to see. I hear only that which I wish to hear.
You can gain this power by deciding and training yourself as Will by practice. Practice lies in the use of Affirmation. Concentration is the incubating process which brings the seed thoughts into physical expression. See that you place in the incubator only those thoughts which you wish to run about in the garden of your life. "None so blind as those who will not to see." Be thus blind through will and you will open your eyes to see only the Good, the Beautiful and the True.