Thoughtor ‘The in the Thought World’ (1906)
Here are my notes from the “New Thought Library” version, Source:
New Thought Library
If a person allows a state of feeling to thoroughly take possession of him, he will find it easier to yield to the same emotion the second time, and so on, until the particular emotion or feeling becomes second nature to him. If an undesirable emotion shows itself inclined to take up a permanent abode with you, you had better start to work to get rid of it, or at least to master it. And the best time to do this is at the start; for each repetition renders the habit more firmly intrenched, and the task of dislodging it more difficult.
If you give way to a fit of rage, you will find it easier to become angry the next time, on less provocation. The habit of feeling and acting “mean” does not take long to firmly settle itself in its new home if encouraged. Worry is a great habit for growing and waxing fat. People start by worrying about big things, and then begin to worry and fret about some smaller thing. They imagine that all sorts of evil things are about to befall them.
The condition of mind known as “fault-finding” is another emotion that grows fat with exercise. First, fault is found with this thing, then with that, and finally with everything. The person becomes a“nagger” – a burden to friends and relatives, and a thing to be avoided by outsiders. Women make the greatest naggers. Not because men are any better, but simply because a man nagger apt to have the habit knocked out of him by other men who will not stand his nonsense – he finds that he is making things too hot for himself and he reforms; while a woman has more of a chance to indulge in the habit. But this nagging is all a matter of habit. It grows from small beginnings, and each time it is indulged in it throws out another root, branch, or tendril, and fastens itself the closer to the one who has given it soil in which to grow.
Envy, uncharitableness, gossip scandal-mongering, are all habits of this kind. The seeds are in every human breast, and only need good soil and a little watering to become lusty and strong.
Each time you give way to one of these negative emotions, the easier do you make it for a recurrence of the same thing, or similar ones. Sometimes by encouraging one unworthy emotion, you find that you have given room for the growth of a whole family of these mental weeds.
If you wish to
I have spoken of the plan of getting rid of undesirable states of feeling by driving them out. But a far better way is to cultivate the feeling or emotion directly opposed to the one you wish to eradicate.
The new Psychology is teaching the people better things. It tells them that they are masters of their emotions and feelings, instead of being their slaves. It tells them that brain-cells may be developed that will manifest along desirable lines, and that the old brain-cells that have been manifesting so unpleasantly may be placed on the retired list, and allowed to atrophy from want of use. People may make themselves over, and change their entire natures. This is not mere idle theory, but is a working fact which has been demonstrated by thousands of people, and which is coming more and more before the attention of the race.
No matter what theory of mind we entertain, we must admit that the brain is the organ and instrument of the mind, in our present state of existence, at least, and that the brain must be considered in this matter. The brain is like a wonderful musical instrument, having millions of keys, upon which we may playcombinations of sounds. We come into the world with certain tendencies, temperaments, and pre-dispositions, We may account for these tendencies by heredity, or we may account for them upon theories of pre-existence, but the facts remain the same. Certain keys seem to respond to our touch more easily than others. Certain notes seem to sound forth as the current of circumstances sweeps over the strings. And certain other notes are less easily vibrated. But we find that if we but make an effort of the will to restrain the utterance of some of these easily sounded strings, they will grow more difficult to sound, and less liable to be stirred by the passing breeze. And if we will pay attention to some of the other strings that have not been giving forth a clear tone, we will soon get them in good working order; their notes will chime forth clear and vibrant, and will drown the less pleasant sounds.
We have millions of unused brain-cells awaiting our cultivation. We are using but a few of them, and some of these we are working to death. We are able to give some of these cells a rest, by using other cells. The brain may be trained and cultivated in a manner incredible to one who has not looked into the subject. Mental attitudes may be acquired and cultivated, changed and discarded, at will. There is no longer any excuse for people manifesting unpleasant and harmful mental states. We have the remedy in our own hands.
We acquire habits of thought, feeling, and action, repeated use. We may be born with a tendency in a certain direction, or we may acquire tendencies by suggestions from other; such as the examples of those around us, suggestions from reading, listening to teachers. We are a bundle of mental habits. Each time we indulge in an undesirable thought or habit, the easier does it become for us to repeat that thought or action.
Mental scientists are in the habit of speaking of desirable thoughts or mental attitudes as “positive,” and of the undesirable ones as “negative.” There is a good reason for this. The mind instinctively recognizes certain things as good for the individual to which it belongs, and it clears the path for such thoughts, and interposes the least resistance to them. They have a much greater effect than an undesirable thought possesses, and one positive thought willa number of negative thoughts. The best way to overcome undesirable or negative thoughts and feelings is to cultivate the positive ones. The positive thought is the strongest plant, and will in time starve out the negative one by withdrawing from it the nourishment necessary for its existence.
Of course the negative thought will set up a vigorous resistance at first, for it is a fight for life with it. In the slang words of the time, it “sees its finish” if the positive thought is allowed to grow and develop; and, consequently it makes things unpleasant for the individual until he has started well into the work of starving it out. Brain cells do not like to be laid on the shelf any more than does any other form of living energy, and they rebel and struggle until they become too weak to do so. The best way is to pay as little attention as possible to these weeds of the mind, but put in as much time as possible watering, caring for and attending to the new and beautiful plants in the garden of the mind.
For instance, if you are apt to hate people, you can best overcome the negative thought by cultivating Love in its place. Think Love, and act it out, as often as possible. Cultivate thoughts of kindness, and act as kindly as you can to everyone with whom you come in contact. You will have trouble at the start, but gradually Love will master Hate, and the latter will begin to droop and wither. If you have a tendency toward the “blues” cultivate a smile, and a cheerful view of things. Insist upon your mouth wearing upturned corners, and make an effort of the will to look upon the bright side of things. The “blue-devils” will set up a fight, of course, but pay no attention to them – just go on cultivating optimism and cheerfulness. Let “Bright, Cheerful and Happy” be your watchword, and try to live it out.
These recipes may seem very old and timeworn, but they are psychological truths and may be used by you to advantage. If you once comprehend the nature of the thing, the affirmations and auto-suggestions of the several schools may be understood and taken advantage of. You may make yourself energetic instead of slothful, active instead of lazy, by this method. It is all a matter of practice and steady work.
It is necessary to “hold the thought” in order to accomplish results. But something more is needed. You must “act out” the thought until it becomes a fixed habit with you. Thoughts take form in action; and in turn actions influence thought. So by “acting out” certain lines of thought, the actions react upon the mind, and increase the development of the part of the mind having close relation to the act. Each time the mind entertains a thought, the easier becomes the resulting action – and each time an act is performed, the easier becomes the corresponding thought. So you see the thing works both ways – action and reaction. If you feel cheerful and happy, it is very natural for you to laugh. And if you will laugh a little, you will begin to feel bright and cheerful. Do you see what I am trying to get at? Here it is, in a nutshell: if you wish to cultivate a certain habit of action, begin by cultivating the mental attitude corresponding to it. And as a means of cultivating that mental attitude, start in to “act-out ” or go through, the motions of the act corresponding to the thought. Now, see if you cannot apply this rule. Take up something that you really feel should be done, but which you do not feel like doing. Cultivate the thought leading up to it – say to yourself: “I like to do so and so,” and then go through the motions (cheerfully, remember!) and act out the thought that you like to do the thing. Take an interest in the doing – study out the best way to do it – put brains into it – take a pride in it – and you will find yourself doing the thing with a considerable amount of pleasure and interest – you will have cultivated a new habit.
If you prefer trying it on some mental trait of which you wish to be rid, it will work the same way. Start in to cultivate the opposite trait, and think it out and act it out for all you are worth. Then watch the change that will come over you. Don’t be discouraged at the resistance you will encounter at first, but sing gaily: “I Can and I Will,” and get to work in earnest. The important thing in this work is to keep cheerful and interested. If you manage to do this, the rest will be easy.
We have discussed the necessity of getting rid of fear, that your desire may have full strength with which to work. Supposing that you have mastered this part of the task, or at least started on the road to mastery, I will now call your attention to another important branch of the subject.
In order to attain a thing it is necessary that the mind should fall in love with it, and be conscious of its existence, almost to the exclusion of everything else. You must get in love with the thing you wish to attain, just as much as you would if you were to meet the girl or man you wished to marry. I do not mean that you should become a monomaniac upon the subject, and should lose all interest in everything else in the world – that won’t do, for the mind must have recreation and change. But, I do mean that you must be so “set” upon the desired thing that all else will seem of secondary importance. A man in love may be pleasant to everyone else, and may go through the duties and pleasures of life with good spirit, but underneath it all he is humming to himself “Just One Girl;” and every one of his actions is bent toward getting that girl, and making a comfortable home for her. Do you see what I mean? You must get in love with the thing you want, and you must get in love with it in earnest – none of this latter-day flirting, “on-today and off-tomorrow” sort of love, but the good old-fashioned kind, that used to make it impossible for a young man to get to sleep unless he took a walk around his best girl’s house, just to be sure it was still there. That’s the real kind!
And the man or woman in search of success must make of that desired thing his ruling passion – he must keep his mind on the main chance. Success is jealous – that’s why we speak of her as feminine. She demands a man’s whole affection, and if he begins flirting with other fair charmers, she soon turns her back upon him. Mental Force operates best when it is concentrated. You must give to the desired thing your best and most earnest thought. Just as the man who is thoroughly in love will think out plans and schemes whereby he may please the fair one, so will the man who is in love with his work or business give it his best thought, and the result will be that a hundred and one plans will come into his field of consciousness, many of which are very important. The mind works on the subconscious plane, remember, and almost always along the lines of the ruling passion or desire. It will fix up things, and patch together plans and schemes, and when you need them the most it will pop them into your consciousness, and you will feel like hurrahing, just as if you had received some valuable aid from outside.
But if you scatter your thought-force, the subconscious mind will not know just how to please you, and the result is that you are apt to be put off from this source of aid and assistance. Beside this, you will miss the powerful result of concentrated thought in the conscious working out of the details of your plans. And then again the man whose mind is full of a dozen interests fails to exert the attracting power that is manifested by the man of the one ruling passion, and he fails to draw to him persons, things, and results that will aid in the working out of his plans, and will also fail to place himself in the current of attraction whereby he is brought into contact with those who will be glad to help him because of harmonious interests.
I simply began to realize what a good thing I had, and how much people wanted it, and how glad they would be to know of it and all that sort of thing, and lo! My thought seemed to vitalize the work. Keep your Desire fresh and active, and let it get in its work without interference from conflicting desires. Keep in love with the thing you wish to attain see it as accomplished already, and don’t lose your interest.
Some scientists have claimed that something that might as well be called “Love” is at the bottom of the whole of life. Desire is aof this Universal Life Love. You must love the thing you wish to attain. Nothing but intense love will enable you to surmount the many obstacles placed in your path. Nothing but that love will enable you to bear the burdens of the task. The more Desire you have for a thing, the more you Love it; and the more you Love it, the greater will be the attractive force toward its – both within yourself, and outside of you.
So love but one thing at a time – don’t be a mental Mormon.
Burton said: “The longer I live, the more certain I am that the great difference between men, the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is energy anddetermination – a purpose once fixed and then Death or Victory. That quality will do anything that can be done in this world – and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities will make a two-legged creature a man without it.” I do not see how the idea could be more clearly expressed than Burton has spoken. He has put his finger right in the center of the subject – his eye has seen into the heart of it.
Energy and invincible determination – these two things will sweep away mighty barriers, and will surmount the greatest obstacles. And yet they must be used together. Energy without determination will go to waste. Lots of men have plenty of energy – they are full to overflowing with it; and yet they lack concentration – they lack the concentrated force that enables them to bring their power to bear upon the right spot. Energy is not nearly so rare a thing as many imagine it to be.
Everyone has within him a giant will, but the majority of us are too lazy to use it. We cannot get ourselves nerved up to the point at which we can say, truthfully: “I Will.”
“Energy and Invincible Determination”: — aren’t they magnificent words? Commit them to memory, and they will be a constant inspiration to you in hours of need. Say these words over and over again, and see how you are filled with new life – see how your blood will circulate – how your nerves will tingle. Make these words a part of yourself, and then go forth anew to the battle of life, encouraged and strengthened. Put them into practice. “Energy and Invincible Determination” – let that be your motto in your work-a-day life, and you will be one of those rare men who are able to “do things.”
Many persons are deterred from doing their best by the fact that they underrate themselves by comparison with the successful ones of life, or rather, overrate the successful ones by comparison with themselves.
One of the curious things noticed by those who are brought in contact with the people who have “arrived” is the fact that these successful people are not extraordinary after all.
The trouble is this: you have imagined these people to be made of superior metal, and are disappointed to find them made of the same stuff as yourself and those about you. But, you ask, wherein does their greatness of achievement lie? Chiefly in this: Belief in themselves and in theirpower, in their faculty to concentrate on the work in hand, when they are working, and in their ability to prevent leaks of power when they are not working. They believe in themselves, and make every effort count.
The great people of the world – that is, those who have “arrived” – are not very different from you, or me, or the rest of us – all of us are about the same at the base. You have only to meet them to see how very “ordinary” they are, after all. But, don’t forget the fact that they know how to use the material that is in them; while the rest of the crowd does not, and, in fact, even doubts whether the true stuff is there. The man or woman who “gets there”, usually starts out by realizing that he or she is not so very different, after all, from the successful people that they hear so much about. This gives them confidence, and the result is they find out that they are able to “do things.” Then they learn to keep their mouths closed, and to avoid wasting and dissipating their energy. They store up energy, and concentrate it upon the task at hand; while their companions are scattering their energies in every direction, trying to show off and let people know how smart they are. The man or woman who “gets there,” prefers to wait for the applause that follows deed accomplished, and cares very little for the praise that attends promises of what we expect to do “some day,” or an exhibition of “smartness” without works.
One of the reasons that people who are thrown in with successful men often manifest success themselves, is that they are able to watch the successful man and sort of “catch the trick” of his greatness. They see that he is an everyday sort of man, but that he thoroughly believes in himself, and also that he does not waste energy, but reserves all his force for the actual tasks before him. And, profiting by example, they start to work and put the lesson into practice in their own lives.
Now what is the moral of this? Simply this: Don’t undervalue yourself, or overvalue others. Realize that you are made of good stuff, and that locked within your mind are many good things. Then get to work and unfold those good things, and make something out of that good stuff. Do this by attention to the things before you, and by giving to each the best that is in you, knowing that plenty of more good things are in you ready for the fresh tasks that will come. Put the best of yourself into the undertaking on hand, and do not cheat the present task in favor of some future one. Your supply is inexhaustible. And don’t waste your good stuff on the crowd of gapers, watchers and critics who are standing around watching you work. Save your good stuff for your job, and don’t be in too much of a hurry for applause.
In a recent conversation, I was telling a woman to pluck up courage and to reach out for a certain good thing for which she had been longing for many years, and which, at last, appeared to be in sight. I told her that it looked as if her desire was about to be gratified – that the Law of Attraction was bringing it to her. She lacked faith, and kept on repeating, “Oh! It’s too good to be true – it’s too good for me! She had not emerged from the worm-of-the-dust stage, and although she was in sight of the Promised Land she refused to enter it because it “was too good for her.” I think I succeeded in putting sufficient “” into her to enable her to claim her own, for the last reports indicate that she is taking possession.
But that is not what I wish to tell you. I want to call your attention to the fact that nothing is too good for YOU – no matter how great the thing may be – no matter how undeserving you may seem to be. You are entitled to the best there is, for it is your direct inheritance. So don’t be afraid to ask – demand – and take. The good things of the world are not the portion of any favored sons. They belong to all, but they come only to those who are wise enough to recognize that the good things are theirs by right, and who are sufficiently courageous to reach out for them. Many good things are lost for want of the asking. Many splendid things are lost to you because of your feeling that you are unworthy of them. Many great things are lost to you because you lack the confidence and courage to demand and take possession of them.
“None but the brave deserves the fair,” says the old adage, and the rule is true in all lines of human effort. If you keep on repeating that you are unworthy of the good thing – that it is too good for you – the Law will be apt to take you at your word and believe what you say. That’s a peculiar thing about the Law – it believes – what you say – it takes you in earnest. So beware what you say to it, for it will be apt to give credence. Say to it that you are worthy of the best there is, and that there is nothing too good for you, and you will be likely to have the Law take you in earnest, and say, “I guess he is right; I’m going to give him the whole bakeshop if he wants it – he knows his rights, and what’s the use of trying to deny it to him?” But if you say, “Oh, it’s too good for me! The Law will probably say, “Well, I wouldn’t wonder but that that is so. Surely he ought to know, and it isn’t for me to contradict him.” And so it goes.
Why should anything be too good for you? Did you ever stop to think just what you are? You are a manifestation of the Whole Thing, and have a perfect right to all there is. Or, if you prefer it this way, you are a child of the, and are heir to it all. You are telling the truth in either statement, or both. At any rate, no matter for what you ask, you are merely demanding your own. And the more in earnest you are about demanding it – the more confident you are of receiving it – the more will you use in reaching out for it – the surer you will be to obtain it.
Strong desire – confident expectation – courage in action – these things bring to you your own. But before you put these forces into effect, you must awaken to a realization that you are merely asking for your own, and not for something to which you have no right or claim. So long as there exists in your mind the last sneaking bit of doubt as to your right to the things you want, you will be setting up a resistance to the operation of the Law. You may demand as vigorously as you please, but you will lack the courage to act, if you have a lingering doubt of your right to the thing you want. If you persist in regarding the desired thing as if it belonged to another, instead of to yourself, you will be placing yourself in the position of the covetous or envious man, or even in the position of a tempted thief. In such a case your mind will revolt at proceeding with the work, for it instinctively will recoil from the idea of taking what is not your own – the mind is honest. But when your realize that the best the Universe holds belongs to you as a Divine Heir, and that there is enough for all without your robbing anyone else; then the friction is removed, and the barrier broken down, and the Law proceeds to do its work.
I do not believe in this “humble” business. This meek and lowly attitude does not appeal to me – there is no sense in it, at all. The idea of making a virtue of such things, when Man is the heir of the Universe, and is entitled to whatever he needs for his growth, happiness and satisfaction! Throw back your head, and look the world square in the face. There’s nothing to be afraid of – the world is apt to be as much afraid of you, as you are of it, anyway. Be a man, or woman, and not a crawling thing. And this applies to your mental attitude, as well as to your outward demeanor. Stop this crawling in your mind. See yourself as standing erect and facing life without fear, and you will gradually grow into your ideal.
There is nothing that is too good for you – not a thing. The best there is, is not beginning to be good enough for you; for there are still better things ahead. The best gift that the world has to offer is a mere bauble compared to the great things in the Cosmos that await your coming of age. So don’t be afraid to reach out for these playthings of life – these baubles of this plane of consciousness. Reach out for them – grab a whole fistful – play with them until you are tired; that’s what they are made for, anyway. They are made for our express use – not to look at, but to be played with, if you desire.
The things we see around us are the playthings of the Kindergarten of God, playthings which we use in our game-tasks. Help yourself to them – ask for them without bashfulness demand as many as you can make use of – they are yours. And if you don’t see just what you want, ask for it – there’s a big reserve stock on the shelves, and in the closets. Play, play, play, to your heart’s content. Learn to weave mats – to build houses with the blocks – to stitch outlines on the squares – play the game through, and play it well. And demand all the proper materials for the play – don’t be bashful – there’s enough to go around.
But do not allow yourself to become unduly attached to them – they are for your use and pleasure, but are not a part of you – not essential to your happiness in the next stage.
This is the difference between the master of Circumstances and the Slave of Circumstances. The Slave thinks that these playthings are real, and that he is not good enough to have them. He gets only a few toys, because he is afraid to ask for more, and he misses most of the fun. And then, considering the toys to be real, and not realizing that there are plenty more where these came from, he attaches himself to the little trinkets that have come his way, and allows himself to be made a slave of them. He is afraid that they may be taken away from him. The Master knows that all are his for the asking. He demands that which he needs from day to day, and does not worry about over-loading himself; for he knows that there are “lots more,” and that he cannot be cheated out of them. He plays, and plays well, and has a good time in the play – and he learns his Kindergarten lessons in the playing. But he does not become too much attached to his toys. He is willing to fling away the worn-out toys, and reach out for a new one. And when he is called into the next room for promotion, he drops on the floor the worn-out toys of the day, and with glistening eyes and confident attitude of mind, marches into the next room – into the Great Unknown – with a smile on his face. He is not afraid, for he hears the voice of the Teacher, and knows that she is there waiting for him – in that Great Next Room.
‘The Law of Attraction in the Thought World’, Atkinson, William, Public Domain, 1906
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