Like a beautiful flower full of color but without fragrance are all the fine but fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly.
Time was, I sat out Truth to find. Heart-sick, foot-sore, aweary grew my mind; When haply - oh my pride! what bitter cost! - Truth found me wandering. I, not Truth, was lost.
- Alfred Young.
The only way to change conditions effectually is to change "the heart," the habit, or instinct-mind. This can be done with more or less ease, according to the degree of setness of character and the degree of will and enthusiasm brought to bear.
The key to all change of character lies within that little five per cent conscious mind, which with all its littleness is a sure lever by which to move the ninety-five per cent ponderosity below it. For conscious thought is positive thought, dynamic; while subconscious thought is negative, receptive. That little five per cent mind has stronger compelling power than several times its bulk of sub-conscious mind, and there is not an atom of all that ninety-five per cent sub-conscious mind which cannot be moved by that little five per cent mind which lies at the top. The conscious self is the directing power. Just as it directed your fingers to change their fixed habits, so it can direct any change in other lines of mental or bodily habit - by directing persistently, quietly insistent practice on the desired lines. Insist upon right conscious thinking, and in due time you cannot fail to have right sub-conscious thinking.
- Elizabeth Towne in "The Life Power."
Many teachers give formulas; there is a belief extant that certain positions; directions in relation to points of the compass; certain minerals, crystals, amulets, talismans, medicines, herbs, token, are necessary to the attainment of power.
This is an error. Any form, formula, position of body or potion; any point of compass; any condition of environment; believed to be, or found at any time to be of assistance, is of present assistance; and may be used as long as it is regarded merely as a means to a develp-ment that will enable one to dispense with it. Used that it may be outgrown.
But, the moment any particular thing, or condition, is considered necessary, it becomes a fetter and a limitation; here lies the danger of all such aids.
The only necessary condition is your mental attitude. Horace Greely said; "The only way to resume specie payments is to resume;" the kindergarten motto is - "Learn to do by doing." In like manner I say to my reader: - "The only way to concentrate is to concentrate." No outside aid is necessary and the use of aids, unless guided by the thought of mere temporary assistances, is attended with the serious danger of limitation. Any place, any time, is the proper place and time. Any chosen thought is the right thought. The ideal of Concentration is - Ability at any time to so concentrate at will upon a chosen thought as to become oblivious of objective environment. This ability extends to business transactions, social intercourse, literary and oratorical exercises, and all forms of psychic manifestations, and all forms of healing.
Not long ago while waiting in hall for lecture and chatting with friends I was called upon to give an absent treatment. It was successful. A friend met me on the street, handed me a letter with request that I psychometrize it. Immediately, as we continued our walk, I became oblivious of my surroundings and described the writer and those persons consulted before the writing; told the business; the motive; gave advice as to meeting the results; and the way to answer.
Too many sensitives, psychics, and healers, demand conditions. The only condition is the mental one of Attention. Notice how concentrated and still is a regiment of soldiers at the command - "Attention!" Learn like obedience to your own Auto-Suggestion.
The use of crystals, sacred words, cards, names, and like instrumentalities is a staff better dispensed with than used.
But as children need text-books, slates, pencils, blackboards, apparatus, the quiet of school-room and presence of teacher, that they may develop the power to do without all these, so one may use temporarily some external means for concentration.
Once I used to develop my hypnotic subjects and som-nambules by having them concentrate their gaze upon something bright; I would help my patients into quiescent mental attitude, by gazing at some bright thing; but I found it harder to break up this habit when once formed, than it is to form one of concentration without any external aid. "Think sleep; and you will sleep!" This is my method; - through Affirmation.
But for those who, without assistance, must develop voluntary concentration, I give a few simple methods. You can, until you develop power to do otherwise, subdue the light in your room to a twilight. May choose a convenient room and time, when and where you can have external quiet; but at same time remember, that your lesson is not learned, until you can concentrate in bright sun- or gas-light, anywhere. Even in midst of noise, or a crowd.
Having selected time and place, put yourself in easy position; one in which you forget body. I do not recommend a recumbent one as the position suggests sleep, and you do not seek involuntary sleep.
Take an easy position, read, or repeat some quieting extract. Bring some pleasant picture before the mind. Relax the body. Close the eyes and concentrate upon that picture. The first lesson is to gain the ability to look upon this picture you have created with the same steadiness you would look upon landscape from the window.
The next lesson, is to connect some thought with the picture and concentrate upon the thought. Do not make the seance so long as to tire you. Do not strain. Do not become conscious that you are making an effort. Intend the mind, and then let it float with the current. Concentration is the condition of perfect ease. No task, no strain, no effort, no conscious thinking. You have directed the thought; now let it go without bit or rein. If you do not succeed in this, you may choose something upon which to concentrate the gaze. Something with bright color, or something with metallic luster. A bit of sunlight on the wall, a flower, a gem, anything. Gaze upon it till you see nothing else, then close the eyes and see it still.
But with any of these conditions, or one you may gather from any other author, remember it is the thought that is of importance. Know that you can before you begin, and know that you do while you are at the lesson. The ideal condition is that which while in it, you do not notice the external; you pay no attention to it, but when you take up the objective life again with positive-ness, you will recall that certain sounds, persons and events occurred; and that all sounds seemed subdued and far away. Somnolence, sleepiness, passivity, is the ideal condition when entered into voluntarily. Do not let these seances degenerate into mere reverie or absent-mindedness, nor allow yourself to go into these conditions when about your work. If, during your seance, you feel like sleeping let sleep come, with the Suggestion that you will waken when the time set has expired and will gain what you seek while in this condition. Fear not and let what will come. You will so waken. Be prompt to begin and to close! Bring yourself to time, system and order; this is mastery.
It is probable that you will fall to sleep for quite a period while you are learning. It is well. Do not resist. It is nature's way of producing an equilibrium. Most people live at such tension in this complex, strenuous life of ours, that nature by reaction rights our nervous system in these rests. Produces an equilibrium. "Thou shalt not come out thence till thou has paid the utmost farthing," we are told by Jesus. Enjoy these seances. Soul-growth comes in them. They are not the sleeps of the night, for you have given direction to the sub-conscious and while you are thus relaxing your will from the body, Life is building the nervous system into condition for the expression of your desires. Take with you the right Ideal into the Silence, and then give Liberty to Soul, to have its way.