Says an authoritative writer in dealing more particularly with the effects of certain types of thoughts and emotions upon bodily conditions: " Out of our own experience we know that anger, fear, worry, hate, revenge, avarice, grief, in fact all negative and low emotions, produce weakness and disturbance not only in the mind but in the body as well. It has been proved that they actually generate poisons in the body, they depress the circulation; they change the quality of the blood, making it less vital; they affect the great nerve centres and thus partially paralyse the very seat of the bodily activities. On the other hand, faith, hope, love, forgiveness, joy, and peace, all such emotions are positive and uplifting, and so act on the body as to restore and maintain harmony and actually to stimulate the circulation and nutrition."
The one who does not allow himself to be influenced or controlled by fears or forebodings is the one who ordinarily does not yield to discouragements. He it is who is using the positive, success-bringing types of thought that are continually working for him for the accomplishment of his ends. The things that he sees in the ideal, his strong, positive, and therefore creative type of thought, is continually helping to actualise in the realm of the real.
We sometimes speak lightly of ideas, but this world would be indeed a sorry place in which to live were it not for ideas- and were it not for ideals. Every piece of mechanism that has ever been built, if we trace back far enough, was first merely an idea in some man's or woman's mind. Every structure or edifice that has ever been reared had form first in this same immaterial realm. So every great undertaking of whatever nature had its inception, its origin, in the realm of the immaterial- at least as we at present call it- before it was embodied and stood forth in material form.
It is well, then, that we have our ideas and our ideals. It is well, even, to build castles in the air, if we follow these up and give them material clothing or structure, so that they become castles on the ground. Occasionally it is true that these may shrink or, rather, may change their form and become cabins; but many times we find that an expanded vision and an expanded experience lead us to a knowledge of the fact that, so far as happiness and satisfaction are concerned, the contents of a cabin may outweigh many times those of the castle.
Successful men and women are almost invariably those possessing to a supreme degree the element of faith. Faith, absolute, unconquerable faith, is one of the essential concomitants, therefore one of the great secrets of success. We must realise, and especially valuable is it for young men and women to realise, that one carries his success or his failure with him, that it does not depend upon outside conditions. There are some that no circumstances or combinations of circumstances can thwart or keep down. Let circumstance seem to thwart or circumvent them in one direction, and almost instantly they are going forward along another direction. Circumstance is kept busy keeping up with them. When she meets such, after a few trials, she apparently decides to give up and turn her attention to those of the less positive, the less forceful, therefore the less determined, types of mind and of life. Circumstance has received some hard knocks from men and women of this type. She has grown naturally timid and will always back down whenever she recognises a mind, and therefore a life, of sufficient force.
To make the best of whatever present conditions are, to form and clearly to see one's ideal, though it may seem far distant and almost impossible, to believe in it, and to believe in one's ability to actualise it- this is the first essential. Not, then, to sit and idly fold the hands, expecting it to actualise itself, but to take hold of the first thing that offers itself to do,- that lies sufficiently along the way,- to do this faithfully, believing, knowing, that it is but the step that will lead to the next best thing, and this to the next; this is the second and the completing stage of all accomplishment.
We speak of fate many times as if it were something foreign to or outside of ourselves, forgetting that fate awaits always our own conditions. A man decides his own fate through the types of thoughts he entertains and gives a dominating influence in his life. He sits at the helm of his thought world and, guiding, decides his own fate, or, through negative, vacillating, and therefore weakening thought, he drifts, and fate decides him. Fate is not something that takes form and dominates us irrespective of any say on our own part. Through a knowledge and an intelligent and determined use of the silent but ever-working power of thought we either condition circumstances, or, lacking this knowledge or failing to apply it, we accept the role of a conditioned circumstance. It is a help sometimes to realise and to voice with Henley:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
The thoughts that we entertain not only determine the conditions of our own immediate lives, but they influence, perhaps in a much more subtle manner than most of us realise, our relations with and our influence upon those with whom we associate or even come into contact. All are influenced, even though unconsciously, by them.
Thoughts of good will, sympathy, magnanimity, good cheer- in brief, all thoughts emanating from a spirit of love- are felt in their positive, warming, and stimulating influences by others; they inspire in turn the same types of thoughts and feelings in them, and they come back to us laden with their ennobling, stimulating, pleasure-bringing influences.
Thoughts of envy, or malice, or hatred, or ill will are likewise felt by others. They are influenced adversely by them. They inspire either the same types of thoughts and emotions in them; or they produce in them a certain type of antagonistic feeling that has the tendency to neutralise and, if continued for a sufficient length of time, deaden sympathy and thereby all friendly relations.
We have heard much of " personal magnetism." Careful analysis will, I think, reveal the fact that the one who has to any marked degree the element of personal magnetism is one of the large-hearted, magnanimous, cheer-bringing, unself-centred types, whose positive thought forces are being continually felt by others, and are continually inspiring and calling forth from others these same splendid attributes. I have yet to find any one, man or woman, of the opposite habits and, therefore, trend of mind and heart who has had or who has even to the slightest perceptible degree the quality that we ordinarily think of when we use the term " personal magnetism."
If one would have friends he or she must be a friend, must radiate habitually friendly, helpful thoughts, good will, love. The one who doesn't cultivate the hopeful, cheerful, uncomplaining, good-will attitude toward life and toward others becomes a drag, making life harder for others as well as for one's self.
Ordinarily we find in people the qualities we are mostly looking for, or the qualities that our own prevailing characteristics call forth. The larger the nature, the less critical and cynical it is, the more it is given to looking for the best and the highest in others, and the less, therefore, is it given to gossip.
It was Jeremy Bentham who said: " In order to love mankind, we must not expect too much of them." And Goethe had a still deeper vision when he said: " Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though it were his own."
The chief characteristic of the gossip is that he or she prefers to live in the low-lying miasmic strata of life, revelling in the negatives of life and taking joy in finding and peddling about the findings that he or she naturally makes there. The larger natures see the good and sympathise with the weaknesses and the frailties of others. They realise also that it is so consummately inconsistent- many times even humorously inconsistent- for one also with weaknesses, frailties, and faults, though perhaps of a little different character, to sit in judgment of another. Gossip concerning the errors or shortcomings of another is judging another. The one who is himself perfect is the one who has the right to judge another. By a strange law, however, though by a natural law, we find, as we understand life in its fundamentals better, such a person is seldom if ever given to judging, much less to gossip.
Life becomes rich and expansive through sympathy, good will, and good cheer; not through cynicism or criticism. That splendid little poem of but a single stanza by Edwin Markham, " Outwitted," points after all to one of life's fundamentals:
He drew a circle that shut me out- Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout, But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in!