25 Jul “The Conquest of Poverty” by Helen Wilmans (1899) [FREE FULL BOOK]
To working men and women everywhere, the fruitage of whose toil is small; to those who would, but cannot toil because refused; to you now near the top of that great ladder climbed by brawn, who long to use your brain; to you now toiling in the mental world, who would build better than you have; to all, who long for greater wealth of purse and power and self, I dedicate this book.
Remember as you read it, that you, sir, are a man; you, madam, are a woman. Conditions cannot be your master when you know yourselves. The buds of wondrous promise are within us all.
Man! Woman! These are words of mighty power indeed when understood. Each human today is the temple of its god within. Turn on the light of selfhood as you read this book and let the light be strong. Discover self! If search be short or long, I say, discover self! Then, know thyself, and then record a solemn vow and let it be, I can—I will—I dare—I do
Poverty is so widespread, its curses are so bitter and its effects so far reaching, that anything at all practical as a remedial agency can but be gladly welcomed.
The life story of successful people in the form of biography or autobiography always has an influence more or less healthful, but the real philosophy of success has been rarely if ever touched upon in any writings of this character. The laws which underlie and govern success have been unconsciously practiced by many, and those who have recorded the histories of such lives in the form of biographies or autobiographies nearly always relate the success without even an attempt at a discovery of the real secret of the success attained. Effect is treated rather than cause.
Another class of literature on success and how to attain it, how to get rich, etc., has been written by “literary” people who write for publishers at so much per page, and while theoretical essays of much seeming beauty have been written in this way, they cannot be said to possess the merit of truth born of experience. The lives of the authors are not, in such cases, in harmony with what is written. From the standpoint of success their lives are not demonstrations of what they seek to teach. While such authors often write much that sounds plausible, their writings nearly always contain much advice that is positively detrimental to the development of courageous selfhood, the real key to all power.
There are thousands to-day who know personally the author of this book. Those who do, know that words could hardly be found to over-estimate the grandeur of her womanhood. She stands a giant oak in the forest of the worlds great women. While master of many subjects, perhaps upon no other is she better capable of speaking than upon the subject of this work. From poverty she has evolved to a condition of opulence, commanding to-day an income aggregating tens of thousands of dollars annually. From a position of shrinking self-denial she has risen to a plane of powerful selfhood, and through its power has conquered all undesirable environments; not poverty alone, but disease. At a time of life counted by the world as old age, instead of getting ready to die she is preparing to live.
Her life story therefore is a significant lesson to all who are struggling with unfavorable conditions, even were it told alone and with no attempt to disclose the laws which governed her success.
This little book, while not purporting to be an autobiography, still marks the mile posts here and there, where courage guided her away from the paths of indecision out into the highway of self trust, as she gradually unfolded for herself and for the world the great principles of truth which she has so ably formulated into the school now known throughout the world as Mental Science, one of the greatest, indeed the greatest, of all contributions to truth in the nineteenth century.
Marking as it does a general outline of her experience thus far, and illuminated as it is by the light of her philosophy, its influence cannot fail to accomplish great good. The reader will find that cause as well as effect is treated, and he can read it with satisfaction born of the knowledge that each page was lighted by the lamp of experience as the author wrote. We feel, therefore, that in this book we are offering to the world a temple of truth. Its foundation is the bed-rock of experience. It is lighted by a life-giving philosophy, the practicability of the teachings of which is a matter of common demonstration, not alone by Mrs. Wilmans, but by many of her students.
Surely, then, this temple is not builded on the sands of theory, and though its spires reach into the clouds of the ideal, the highest points have habitable chambers. The ideal, to those who will read and heed, can be made the real, and though the storms of ignorant criticism should beat upon this house of the higher Law, it will not fall.
THE INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION
In writing this book, while I shall not make it an autobiography, I shall prove what I say as I go along by the test of personal experience, than which there is no better guide or teacher.
I shall expound as best I can the laws of individual financial success in the light of the philosophy of mind.
While reading it I request each reader to note:
First, the steady but slow unfoldment of selfhood, as I gradually recognized more and more of its powers after catching the first faint glimpses, and began unconsciously to hinder less and less the Law of Aspiration.
Second, I ask each to note how much more rapid has been my advancement since I arrived at the plane of conscious growth, where I came to an understanding of its laws. Again, it will be of profit to observe that I am not indebted to environment or so-called “special gifts.”
What I have accomplished thus far has been in obedience to the working of natural laws which can and will operate in any human organism that will tear down the embankments of fear which obstruct the river of growth, and open the flood gates of courage and self-trust, thus permitting natural law to take its course. What I am, natural law has made me, aided only by self recognition, and while I know the scope of my growth and power to be boundless, what I claim for myself I claim for each individual of the race. I do not forget that in their ignorance of, not the equality, but the unity of the race, selfish men have foolishly secured the enactment of statutory laws which help to effectually hold the masses of the people in chains; but I assert that any individual may, by himself, rise above his environments, and that as he rises by virtue of his knowledge of the higher Law he helps to make clearer the mental atmosphere, himself comes into a clear and yet clearer recognition of his true relations to society and his fellow men and thereby helps forward the coming of the time when all men shall know for a truth, that, while equality in all things is neither possible nor desirable, the unity of all is at all times absolute, and that to do to others as we would have them do to us is the practical, and the only practical road to such financial success as brings with it the happiness for which we are all seeking.
One of the darkest clouds that oppresses the divinely illuminated and universal hope of the race is poverty.
And poverty is born of two misconceptions: first, man does not know that opulence is universal, awaiting only the opening of his own mentality to give of itself freely in every manner of uses and luxuries; and second, that he has not the faintest conception of his own power to command it.
That poverty is innate in man I am convinced by my own experience. It manifests itself first in fear. Fear is at the bottom of all poverty; fear of others, and distrust of self which is another form of fear, and the most deadly form of all. I am convinced that every shade and degree of opulence depends upon a man’s valuation of his own powers; opulence is not limited: it is we who are limited in our demand for it, and more especially in our expectation of it after we have sent out some feeble, half- fledged demand.
I have known poverty most thoroughly. I was held in a belief of its power all through the earlier part of my life; not during my childhood, however, but beginning when I was a very young woman and continuing until I found there was a Law that could command opulence, which by slow degrees I put in operation and became free.
In looking back upon my experience it does not seem that the hard work I had to do wore on my strength so bitterly as the feelings engendered by the situation. I was crushed. I looked up to others as my superiors, and was ready to take my place beneath them. This is always a pitiful thing, and a thing that leads constantly downward in the scale of being. Its effect upon one’s womanhood or manhood is as demoralizing as the disintegrating effect of alcohol on the moral character of the inebriate.
Nor was this all. I was tortured day and night by fear of actual want. Where the next dollar was to come from was my continual thought. It was the last thing in my thought at night; it haunted my dreams, and in the morning—mornings made dark and dreadful by the same gaunt phantom—I would be awakened by becoming gradually conscious of a weight at my heart. Arising and sitting on the side of my bed the day would face me with threats that I had no courage to meet. A thousand times in my weakness and inability to resist the present, my tears would fall all the minutes I was hastening to clothe myself.
The weight at my heart was not imaginary; it was a palpable thing and did not entirely disappear for years after I began to conquer poverty and was on the upgrade to splendid success.
There was no valid reason for all this torture except that which existed in my mind. I had been so unappreciated that I had come to regard myself as an inferior creature, and to look upon all successful persons as being more happily endowed by nature than I accepted this as an actual fact and did not reason upon it. Indeed it was the unawakened condition of the power within me that was responsible for the whole situation.
Fear was at the bottom of it all. A natural timidity that my education increased instead of overcoming, and the constant distrust of myself, my own powers—these two conditions shut out the light of life for me and left me in the dark and the cold where the sunshine of truth was slow in reaching me.
But at last my reasoning powers showed signs of awakening; first on the subject of religion; then on other things, and my mind broke its fetters so that I began to see light. I threw off a hundred beliefs that were considered essential to man’s salvation; and, as I kept on reasoning and my reason justified me in clinging fast to my own opinions, I slowly acquired a measure of individuality that enabled me to stand alone.
No, not alone; but to approach the place in the understanding of myself where I saw that it would be possible for me to stand alone, sometime.
My fears abated as I gradually perceived within myself a will that I argued would not be there unless it was meant for use. Previous to this I had supposed this will— when I caught sight of it at long intervals—was the Devil, and stood as the living opponent to God’s will, which I tried, strenuously, to follow by crushing my own will. But I shall not follow the course of reasoning I adopted at this period of my growth.
It did pull me through every difficulty and changed me from the most despondent, hopeless, poverty-stricken person to the most hopeful and opulent one I know in all the world. I will give the course of reasoning I followed later on in this book; but now I will continue with my experiences, all of which constitute a perfect illustration of the ideas I mean to show forth as having the power in every instance, without fail, to cure poverty and establish wealth.
I consider that person wealthy who has enough and who spends fearlessly what he has. This is my condition, and while, since I came to the plane of conscious growth, I have expended money for anything I desired, it has come to me in greater abundance than the amount necessary to satisfy all immediate desires, the natural result being accumulation, which, to me, represents the over-plus of strength. I would not be afraid to spend the last dollar I possess in property or money, for I know that more would come to me. I know that a certain mental attitude, a certain quality of thought generated by the brain will put me in the way of getting what I want. Having mastered this quality of thought and come understandingly into the use of it, the supply is bound to be equal to my demand.
To describe the mental attitude or the quality of thought may prove rather difficult since it rests on a deep understanding of man and his powers. Perhaps I had better let my further experience demonstrate the idea, and after that give the necessary explanation. I may have to go into this experience at a tiresome length, but if the reader learns the secret from it he will be repaid for the reading.
The First Step Toward Freedom
I was a farmer’s wife and held up my end of the work without flinching; but we lost money each year, and the place was mortgaged and finally sold for debt. Perhaps there never was a more favorable situation for me than when I stood out on the roadside, after years of toil on that farm, with all my possessions in a valise, waiting for a wagon to come along that would carry me to town, five miles away. I did not suspect its being a favorable situation then. I had not a cent of money and no visible prospects ahead. It was strange that I had mustered sufficient courage to make the move I was then making. I was going to San Francisco, some ninety miles away (I lived in the mountainous region of Lake County, California). I was not only going there but I intended to find work more congenial than the work I had been doing so unceasingly for twenty years and more.
I cannot tell how I dared undertake such a trip, except that it was an unconscious obedience to the law of aspiration. I knew almost nothing about a city, and what little I did know made me still more timid concerning it. But I was so tired of life on the plane I had been living that I voluntarily closed the door on it forever, even if starvation were the result.
As I look back now I can see how for years I had been gradually coming out of the crushed feeling that rendered me so helpless, as far as facing the world was concerned. And yet the world was a great terror to me even then; my heart sank whenever I thought of being among the happy, busy, independent, prosperous people of the city; they seemed so fortunate and so easy in their minds; they had homes and plenty. Truly I was Hagar in the desert: an outcast.
And yet I would go on. I had not then become aware of the strength that now wells up every moment in my breast and makes me laugh at discouragements. It was no doubt there and held me to my purpose, in spite of my not seeing it. It was entirely undeveloped so far as my consciousness was concerned, but it had begun to grow within me, and even this small prophecy of its coming power held me to my purpose. It proved to be a great triumph to me that I dared to go, under the circumstances, and it marked a turning point in my life from the weakness that comes from self depreciation to the power that results from a high individual valuation.
When I reached the nearest village, which was Lower Lake, five miles from our mountain ranch, a place where every one knew me, I tried to borrow ten dollars to pay my traveling expenses to San Francisco. I asked one friend and another only to be refused; some of them did not have the money; others who could have obliged me were afraid to do so. The people were all poor except a few merchants, and, as we were in debt to them, I did not dare apply for a loan. I ran over the streets of that wretched little town until nine o’clock that night, then I bethought myself of the one hope left me. The village shoemaker had his shop and dwelling house under the same roof. From the street I saw a light in their rooms, and I rapped at the door. Both the man and his wife were startled; I presume that I was awfully pale, and I know that I was more resolute than I had ever been in my life before. I believe to this day that I frightened those people out of that ten dollars. I told them that I had asked dozens of people who professed friendship for me to let me have it and every one refused. “You,” I said, “are the last hope I have, and it is a good hope, for I know you are going to lend it to me. I am leaving home for the city where I shall find something besides a slave’s work and I shall pay you back very soon.”
I did not say much more than this; the man shambled off to another room and came back with the money. He died of softening of the brain some two years later—I hope my night attack on his coffers was not the means of bringing it on. I would not like to be responsible for the death of one who did me a kindness.
But truly there was something strange about it. If I had thought of him at all in the morning, when I started in my quest for money, I should have put him down as the one most unlikely to let me have it. No, I am sure that he did not let me have it; I took it by mental force. Until I paid him, several weeks later, the circumstance scarcely left my mind an hour.
The next morning I was on the stage under full sail for the city. Oh, the glory of the thing! The exhilaration of that ride over the mountains; the splendor of the sunshine; the beauty of the trees and flowers; the gorges so far below the road, and the streams of crystal water cascading through them! I had been over the same road several times before, but never in the same frame of mind. There had been an awakening in my brain which brought out beauties in the air and sky and water never previously noted; it was evident that I was more alive than usual. It was the beginning of my becoming acquainted with myself.
I had never sought strength in myself; I had sought it in religion, in the advice of other persons, in books that were supposed to do good to those who read them; such means of grace profited me nothing. In fact, the more I depended on them the weaker and more irresolute I became.
But at last I was conscious of a small amount of resolution, even though the possession of it filled me with anxiety. I kept asking myself how I dared leave home, where I had food and clothes at least, to venture out into the wilderness of the world’s ways without either money or friends. At first the answer seemed clear enough; it was to the effect that I had been measuring myself with other people and had reached the conclusion that I was as clear-headed as any body else and that, therefore, my chances of making a living outside of the drudgery of farm work were good.
As I neared the city, having spent seven out of my ten dollars, I began to sink in my own estimation, and as I did so my chances of success shrank too. Now note the correlation of thought and external things, as expressed in the situation just described. Thought, when positive, is all compelling; but, when negative, it has no power, either on the body or on external things. My thoughts weakened as the day waned; so when night came and I shudderingly walked the brilliant streets of the gay city, I was the most utterly hopeless creature that ever faced such a dismal situation.
I went to a lodging house where I paid one dollar for a room, and had less than two dollars left. The next morning I began to search for a room to live in. I found one in the cock-loft of a house kept by two old sisters, and a brother. It was a decent room and I became very happy in it later on. I paid one dollar and fifty-cents in advance for it and had almost nothing left. Up to this time I had bought nothing to eat. There were some crackers and remnants of a lunch in my satchel, put up in Lower Lake by a kind neighbor with whom I had spent the night, and these lasted a day or two. Then I went without anything for three full days.
All this time I was haunting the newspaper offices; I wanted some literary work to do. I had no special reason for believing myself fitted by nature or education for this kind of work, but all my aspirations had pointed toward literature from my babyhood, and now I could not consent to do any other kind of work. Matters really came to a life-and-death contest before I found a place where I could earn a living with my pen, but I clung to the hope and would be appeased by nothing else.
I had wealthy relatives in the city but I kept away from them. I read the “wants” in the papers when a paper chanced to fall in my way, and I knew that I could get a situation and large wages as either cook or housekeeper in some of the exceedingly wealthy families there. I knew the perplexities many of these families underwent because they could get no competent help. I knew of a woman who had taken a situation in one of these families and was paid two hundred dollars per month. I knew, also, that this woman was not my equal in such a capacity, and that I could easily obtain such work and such wages; but I would not have it.
I was certainly putting a very low valuation on my food in those days. I had never been hungry before, and really was not hungry then, or at least I was not conscious of being so. “I have had bread and butter all my life,” I said to myself, “and bread and butter alone do not count for much just now. Unless my bread and butter can be made to feed a higher life than one occasioned by the drudgery I have done these twenty years, I do not want them. I cannot starve too soon.”
I wanted what I wanted and I did not want anything else. I must have answered my own query as did the darkey, when asked where he was going: “Whar’s I gwine? I’s gwine whar I’s gwine; dat’s whar I’s gwine.” At last I found a little newspaper that was worrying out a precarious existence by carrying many patent medicine advertisements, and here the editor gave me work at six dollars a week. I asked him for a dollar in advance, and only obtained it when I told him I had been three days without food. I worked for him faithfully; wrote for the paper—a four-page weekly— and really secured a circulation of five or six hundred subscribers for it. It had no regular subscribers when I commenced work upon it; nothing but a home manufactured list, kept up for the purpose of deceiving the postal authorities.
When I had been working in the above capacity about six months, and was beginning to outgrow the anxieties that formerly made life a terror to me, the paper died suddenly and I was an orphan. The patent medicine men had withdrawn their patronage.
I was surprised to find that the catastrophe did not overwhelm me. I was not nearly so frightened as I had been when I made my first move toward freedom. “Something else will come,” I said, and I said it because I was beginning to feel within myself the power to command that something.
And something else did come. It was a position on another paper at ten dollars a week. It did not last long, and again I was surprised to find myself quite indifferent and looking forward to something better yet.
My march was steadily upward, and, as I look back, I am aware that this was the case; because the external had to correspond with the internal me, and the internal me was constantly growing stronger.
I was constantly growing more confident in myself—not in my luck, not in special providence or the overruling power of God; but in my own individual self. I was daring to think better of myself. I had formerly considered myself weak and others strong. I now looked upon myself as being stronger than I had ever imagined before. And there was not one particle of increase in my belief in self that did not record itself in the external conditions of my life. The more I believed I could do, the more I accomplished.
I remember one morning, on wakening, it flashed through my brain that I was really a genius. The suggestion startled me. I was frightened for a moment. Then I sat up in bed and said to myself: I am not going to refuse the suggestion; it has come unbidden, but it is mine. As I continued to think I saw that everyone was a genius. That is, everybody had the power to develop out of himself, just as the leaves develop out of a tree, anything he wished to bring forth. The magnitude of the thought startled me; and yet I knew it was true then, quite as well as I know it now, after the confirmation of many years. That morning I had indeed taken a splendid step.
Let the reader ponder the last page of this chapter well, for it does, literally and in practical fact, furnish the key that unlocks the door of universal opulence to every soul that understands it.
Man is a miniature world. He is the world condensed into a working form, and he really has the privilege of being what he wishes to be, of doing what he wishes to do; the only trouble being that he does not know his own power—does not know himself.
“Man, know thyself ” is the greatest injunction ever given. When a man knows himself he knows the God toward whom his aspirations have always ascended; for a man’s own ideal—that supreme creature he has the power to become—is his God.
God’s power is believed to be limitless; it is limitless; and the fact that it is embodied in the man and expressed through his uses, is no proof to the contrary.
But to return to my personal affairs. I really had less anxiety in my new life than ever before. I need not tell how, little by little, I saved the money to bring my children to me —it is told somewhere else in my printed works. But I must tell, even though I may have told it before, how the spirit of self confidence that had lain dormant in me so long, at last assumed proportions that made me question whether I wanted any position in any man’s office any longer. Why could not I do something for myself? By this time two or three years had passed. I had learned to write a good article, and was making a reputation, which, though not extensive, was very valuable to me, since it procured for me a situation on a large Chicago paper where I had light work and excellent pay for a year or more.
But this spirit of independence, which is self growth, grew stronger in me all the time, as I trusted more and more the voice of the Law of Aspiration, or desire, and followed where it led. I was tired of being somebody’s hired man, and longed to try my powers at work of my own. It used occasionally to happen that one of my editorials was condemned. This caused me to ask myself what right had the proprietor of the paper, or anybody else, to have my brain in his own power. He might well have in his own power the brains of those who do not object to such ownership, but with me it was different. My self-esteem had grown until I thought I could do as good work as the proprietor, or anybody else.
I am emphasizing the fact that with the growth of my self-esteem there was a corresponding improvement in my circumstances. This has been the case since the hour I stood in the road at the old farm gate waiting for a wagon to pass.
In other words, the thing you believe you can do, you can do; and if you will only be true to your belief, there is no power that can hinder you. The reason most men do not accomplish more is because they do not attempt more. But how are you to believe in your own power? You will have to affirm or declare a certain amount of faith in yourself, whether it is there or not; and then put that faith to the test by carrying it out in some external condition. Begin this way in small things and see them increase under your effort until you really do begin to feel the pride of self-conscious strength and individual mastery.
Oh, the glory of the thing and the opulence that waits on such a frame of mind! But I will go on with the illustration of this idea by still further recounting my personal experiences.
One dislikes to recount a circumstance that has already been written and published in some previous work, and I would not do what I am going to do were it not so necessary to the illustration of the subject in hand. The same thing has already appeared in one of my books called “A Search for Freedom.”
The study of self develops the lifting power in a man; it shows him his own strength, and seeing his own strength he reaches out and takes without any fear of refusal, just what he wants. Excepting himself, there is no one to say “No” to him. But this reaching out to take possession of what he wants is no simple thought affair that loses itself in a succeeding troop of useless thoughts; it is thought armed with intelligent purpose and equipped for effort in the field of activities.
There are plenty of visionary guides to wealth nowadays, in which the writers tell you how, by holding certain thoughts, you can sit and do nothing while riches flow to you. There is nothing practical in this at this time, though the time may come when thought will have such power. But now the utmost that thought can do in this matter is to fill the person with vitality by showing him of what great things he is capable. It has been said, “Genius is only energy intensified, and energy is thought intensified and expressed in action.” Thought shows a man that he does not have to be poor; that he does not have to ram stones in the street, or hammer iron, or dig ore, or drive horses for a living. It shows him, moreover, that there is no compulsion on him to work in grooves that are distasteful to him. Why? Because he sees that his own mind is fertile, and can hatch out ideas that will expand and grow, if he will only give them proper attention. He sees that he himself is as capable of arousing new hopes in the race and adding new uses to the operations of labor, as any other man.
But in order to accomplish anything he must think. Thought is the beginning of effort. The person who works for others, and plods steadily in a rut, has no need for thought. His boss thinks for him, and, if this goes on long enough, all the grand possibilities of his brain shrivel up and die because of non-use.
Capital needs and demands intelligent labor—men who think for themselves. Thought—original, creative thought—will bring its reward by increased remuneration as you work for others while growing to strength sufficient to enable you to work for yourself, thus making room for some one not yet quite so strong as yourself.
The slaves of capital are where they are, not because capital oppresses them, but because they will not use their brains. Employers everywhere honor the growing employee. No worthy man of money would hinder the growing mentality of the ambitious employee, but he could not if he would. Thought has power to redeem anyone by showing him a true estimate of his own worth. But so long as the so-called slaves of labor will not think, they can scarcely be called men. They are on a lower plane than that of men, and they are receiving treatment in conformity with the plane they are on. They have only their own ignorance to blame, and this is the thing they never think of blaming.
I repeat, knowledge of self is the lifting power; it individualizes. No man can seek a knowledge of himself introspectively without discovering the rudiments of mighty effort within himself, as I did. It is this discovery that lifts one in the scale of being, until he looks with level eyes into the eyes of all other men. When he is able to do this his fetters, no matter what they may have been, actually fall. Better positions in business open up to him; better surroundings come about him in answer to his increased consciousness of power. Let a man once proclaim himself a free man from his high point of intellectual seeing, and all the world hastens to respond.
In first looking abroad over the world, and seeing the inequality of position among the masses, we naturally resent it, and begin to search for some person or persons on whom we may lay the blame. In California where the capitalist fourished in extraordinary glory and where his tyranny was more felt than in any other state— owing to the fact that the mass of the laborers were the sons of the bravest men that the republic ever produced; namely, the pioneers who cut their way through such enormous obstacles to reach the land of gold in ‘49—there was the loudest possible call for sympathy and assistance from one so situated as I had been.
I wanted somebody to blame for the situation; somebody besides the laborers themselves, and I became an acceptable writer for the agnostic press.
I believed that certain social and political reforms were all that were necessary to enable men and women to rise in the scale of being, to much higher positions of thought and action than they had yet attained. And so I worked for the accomplishment of this end. That is, I did my little best for it. I was not widely known as a writer, and my influence was small; but I was in earnest and put my whole soul into the work, believing in it with great fervency.
But at every step I was disappointed. The people themselves, for whom I was laboring, were the greatest disappointment of all. They were dead to any sense of power within themselves, and were only alive to what they considered their wrongs. No thoughts of a higher intellectual growth stimulated them in their efforts to obtain greater financial independence. Their ideas of liberty, if gratified, would lead in the direction of unbridled license. They knew nothing of freedom in the true sense of the word. They had no idea that their fetters were of their own making no less than of their masters’, and were all to be resolved into one short sentence—complete ignorance of their own undeveloped possibilities. They would not institute within themselves the search for what they needed in order to secure liberty. They did not know, and seemingly did not wish to know, that each man holds his own heaven in his personality, and that the careful unfolding of that personality will yield him all that he can ever desire. They preferred the clashing of opinions that were not based upon the foundation where individual growth begins; but, instead, were the mixed outcome of life’s mistaken beliefs.
Instead of growing nearer to these people in sympathy I was growing away from them. At first I did not see the drift of the thing and made many futile attempts to regain my interest. I grew to hate the writing of a reform article. As to reading one from any of the numerous exchanges I simply could not do it. I was on the wrong track and intuition told me so, even in advance of reason.
It would be difficult for me to describe the confusion of mind I now fell into. My duties in the office of the paper on which I worked, though light, became a nightmare. The proprietor, the owner of the whole concern, was generosity itself. He was, and is, one of the noblest men I have ever met; my fast friend then and now; and if every soul on earth should prove a disappointment, the remembrance of him, his splendid manhood, his loyalty to his highest convictions of truth, and indeed his whole mentality, would always stand before me in justification of my unshaken faith in the godhood of man.
I am conscious now that this beloved friend was also losing faith in the reform for which he was laboring so faithfully; but at the time I left the paper I did not know it. He was still putting every effort of his strong, great life into his work, regardless of the fact that those for whom he thought and labored, and sacrificed, were so irresponsive and un-thankful. He left the paper later, and has since applied his fine business ability to building up another enterprise, which has been wonderfully successful.
But when I left his paper he was displeased. He had a right to think me ungrateful. My action must have looked so to him. But I could not remain in the work. It is true that I was incapable of analyzing the impulse which prompted me to abandon it. I only recognized the impulse, and, because it was in the line of my growth, I was obedient to it.
I had made many a little conquest over my beliefs in my own weakness, and I was strong for a woman who had begun her career in such a state of morbid self-depreciation. I had developed rapidly from the condition of fear that had once been normal, and was standing at what seemed the open doorway of my own character; where, looking within, I saw many plants of great promise and vigor and wanted a chance to water them and dig about their roots, so that, in time, I should have much honest pride and comfort in them.
I had come to think my work degrading to the higher possibilities of my brain, and although those possibilities were too vague to be clearly defined, they were apparent enough to hold every secret thought of my mind true to them; so I was almost recklessly obedient to the ideal constantly beckoning me forward.
The Dawn of Freedom
The morning came when, after dragging myself to the office, I sat at my desk, gloomy and despondent. I went presently to the proprietor’s desk and told him that I wished to start a paper of my own. He told me the sea of journalism was very tempestuous and many ships were wrecked on it, that of the few which succeeded only a small number were real successes. He begged me for my own interest to remain where I was. When he saw that his argument failed to shake me, he turned back to his desk very gravely, and I felt that if I left his employment under these circumstances, I would lose the best friend I had in the world.
On the road to progress it often happens that the warmest friendship may become a tyranny that has to be broken. Nothing should hold the outward bound mind, and nothing could hold me. I would be free.
What a compelling force is an ideal! And yet, on that November morning, I had no glimpse of the ideal that usually presented so many allurements for attracting me from sober duty. It was simply the fact that I had reached another stage of growth, and must needs quit and look forward to the outlying filaments of the next experience that my developing life called for.
I sat at my desk, deliberately reasoning out the situation. My dear friend, the editor, had spoken of my bread and butter as being involved in the new effort. I thought about this and was filled with resentment at the idea. It had frightened me often enough in the earlier part of my career; but it could frighten me no longer. I would not show it the white feather. “Bread and butter are all right when they can be made to serve the purpose of building my ideal,” I thought, “but not simply as a power with which to pump gas into another person’s machine, I don’t see what good this is doing me. This is one of the circumstances where my bread and butter instead of feeding me, are really starving me.” So that point in the discussion between me and myself fell dead, never to be resurrected again.
As I write these words I go back to that time, and I know now (while I only believed then) that the logic I used at that time is one of the truest bits of wisdom that a growing soul can adopt. I did really lose all fear of want as completely as if liberated from earth-life and endued at that very moment with the highest angelic powers.
I arose, put on my cloak and hood, and went down into the street. The morning had been sunshiny, but cold, when I came. It was now gloomed over despairingly. I never saw a more dismal sky. The sleet, borne on a strong wind, struck me in the face; the sidewalks were coated with ice. As I stood at the foot of the stairs I opened my purse. I had only twenty-five cents. I had not a friend in the city but the one I had just left. I was my own sole dependence. There was no prop in the world on which I could lean, and I knew it with the most vivid sense of realization. More than this, I knew that there was no one I wanted to lean upon. I doubt whether in the history of the race there has been a soul who stood more erect in a position of such complete isolation. I was so far removed from fear and anxiety that I gloried in my aloneness. I walked those icy streets like a school boy just released from restraint. My years fell from me as completely as if death had turned my spirit loose in Paradise.
I returned to my boarding-house, to face the scowls of my landlord, whose prudent eye questioned my untimely return, and who shrewdly and rightly surmised that my next week’s board bill would go unpaid. Then to my room and to pen and paper. I was fired by my sense of freedom, and what I wrote must have found an echo in hundreds of imprisoned spirits, for that article made my paper a success.
Late in the afternoon my landlord came in, embarrassed but resolute. He wanted to know how matters stood.
“Have you been discharged by the chief?”
“No, the chief has been discharged by me. I have refused to work for any person any longer.”
“Is your bread insured?”
“I don’t concede your right to question me, but I believe I am glad you take the liberty. My bread is insured.”
“I am going to start a paper of my own, and it is already a success even before it is born. Sit down while I read you the first article I have written for it.”
He did so and I read the article. The subject was “I.”
It was an article to stir the blood. It awakened interest wherever it was read, and brought me in frank, noble contact with many minds. It was a declaration of individuality; it would have been a protest against bonds, but for the fact that it sounded notes of freedom far above all thought of bonds. It had wings to it; those who read it were lifted into the air.
That it had this effect on me was not surprising; but when I saw its effect on my landlord, I was amazed. His face, which was naturally sodden, had become illuminated, and for the moment actually beautiful. (Oh there is a man, a woman, in every one of these shadows that walk the streets, if we could only reach them!)
After a pause my landlord said, “I have perfect confidence in your ability to succeed. In fact I am ready to gamble on you. I have twenty thousand dollars in bank and you can draw on me for all you need.”
Then I confessed I was without means; but told him I confidently expected to “reach the persimmon” alone. I wouldn’t take his money but I asked him to wait a few weeks for my board.
From that time on no queen could have been treated with more courtesy. One day, in my absence, the landlord moved my things down from my single room on the third floor, to a lovely suite of three rooms on the parlor floor. Again and again this generous man offered me money, which I steadily refused.
“Fate” was working rapidly in my favor at that time. Evidently the state of mental freedom I had achieved was putting a compulsion on externals in a very peremptory way. And oh, how happy I was! I drew the design for the heading of my paper and was so pleased with it that several times in the night I arose to look at it. I took it to the lithographer and had a plate made. It was sent to me by a boy several days after, without the bill.
When my writing was finished I went to the largest publishing house in the city and ordered twenty thousand copies of the paper, to be delivered at my room on a certain day.
In the meantime I was addressing wrappers as fast as I could, and making other preparations for mailing sample copies. At that time there was no trouble in getting thousands of sample copies into the mail; things have changed since then.
On the third day after my papers were mailed, I received eleven dollars on subscription. I told the landlord, and we danced around the table until we knocked off the ink bottle and so left a lasting impression of our joy. The next day brought more. Not long afterwards a rich man in Boston sent me two hundred and fifty dollars. Others sent considerable in smaller sums; altogether I felt that I could afford to pay my good friend, the landlord, but no! “Let me alone,” he said, “I had need for you to owe me for your board, during the time of your trial. I am trying to get the Lord in debt to me; it is my only hope of salvation.”
This was the beginning of my working for myself; it was the end of my working for wages. My freedom really dated from the day when, standing out in the snow, and counting the capital I had to begin life on, I found my inventory showed a total of twenty-five cents.
All along, as I advanced one step after another, I was inclined to examine the relations of my mind or state of thought, to matter, or external conditions. The result was I came to have a knowledge of the Law of Attraction, and how to use it in a way to benefit myself and others.
Experience has been the only teacher of any consequence I have ever had, and if I had not utilized the reasoning faculties that invited me to submit my experiences to the test of the most critical thought, I am sure I should never have found the right relation between the mind itself, as expressed in thought, and the same mind as carried out on the external plane and expressed in uses, in which case I should never have been able to tell my readers how they may command the wealth they need.
Some of our scientists who have at last found what they deserved to find earlier in their lives—that is, recognition of their own tremendous worth from the people—are now speaking boldly and understandingly of what they call “the correlation of forces.” I was delighted when I first heard of this expression, “the correlation of forces.” I had found that thought was a force, and bore a direct relation to the thing it was centered upon. I began to experiment with it. Before long I received the absolute assurance that a man is as he believes; that is, the thoughts in which he believes create his body and his external conditions also. No man not versed in Mental Science can conceive how much the above statement rests upon the Bible for proof. The characters in the Bible did what they believed they could do. Where doubt of their own ability to do the thing crept in, their faith was overshadowed and failure resulted.
After much thought I came to the conclusion that a man was worth his own valuation, provided that valuation was based on a dispassionate, logical examination of himself from the standpoint of pure reason—the reason that rests on a knowledge of man’s place in the universe, and of how he came to be where he is.
Man must use his brain constantly. He needs to compare himself not only with other men but with other creatures and things, in order to recognize his advantage over all of them. He must know for a fact that nothing masters him; that he masters all things—not only of the present, but of the future as well. He must look forward to see the splendor of those intellectual gleams shooting beyond his experiences, and illuminating many an untried vista.
What! Does a sense of superiority actually lift a person in the scale of being? It surely does, for the reason that a man’s body is his conscious intelligence, and it is because his body is his conscious intelligence that he is what he believes himself to be. In other words, a man is as he believes.
Arrival at the Conscious Plane of Growth
I had now arrived at the conscious plane of growth, little dreaming, even after coming to an understanding of the Law, that it meant for me the immense fortifications of strength which it has proved. I did not dream that it meant the conquest of disease, not only for myself, but for others.
The name of C. C. Post has gone out to the world as an author and a clear and logical thinker in all the new lines of thought. When we were married, some sixteen years ago, we were both poor enough; but both of us had learned to think entirely beyond the present standard of thought. We took a complete course of lessons in Christian Science, and it did us immense good, by way of showing us the wrong end of the road to which the high ideal of our minds was constantly pointing. The wrong end of the road predicates the right end. They say, “All roads lead to Rome.” This is true; in our case even the wrong road directed us aright. We were on that road and we had to think about it. This was the one thing necessary; anybody can unravel the mysteries of the whole span of life, can do anything on earth he wants to do, can learn anything he wants to learn, can command the power that created worlds if he will only think.
It was at this time that I begin to think more earnestly than ever before. I plunged into the remarkable assertion of Christian Science that there is nothing in all the universe but nothing, and that the one duty of the individual is to get rid of his individuality and lose himself in nothingness. I came out of my plunge with the knowledge that this idea was not only unsound, but that the direct reverse of it was true.
Individuality, then, became my great theme; the mighty and unfailing power vested in the individual; the creative power existing in the man. When I had come fully into this idea I could feel the chains break and fall from me. It even took a pressure off my lungs, so that my breathing was deeper from that hour. I also observed that every advancement I made in thinking showed forth in some new improvement in my body.
Thought is all powerful. Weak thought—by which I mean the thought you apply to yourself when discouraged—makes you weak, plants weakness in your body, renders you unfit for action and destroys your courage, even your ability, to advance along any line of intelligent development.
But you do not have to think weak thoughts of yourself, and you no sooner begin to affirm this fact than you observe a change. You want to hold long conversations with yourself, in which you affirm that you are capable of thinking well of yourself and have the right to do so. Say, “I can and I will,” and let the meaning of these words permeate every particle of you. Very soon you will be stronger, and better calculated to undertake some good, paying enterprise.
Money comes through doing. But underneath the doing lies the mighty motor, thought—the finest, the most powerful, the most expansive, and the most creative substance there is. Thought is the world builder; but it has to build man first and then the man builds the world.
From that day in November, when I stood on the sleety pavement in Chicago with twenty-five cents in my purse, but with quite palpable wings in my brain, I have never really feared poverty. I did not make a fortune out of my paper; but I built it into a very fair business, which supplemented my husband’s salary so that we lived comfortably, if not luxuriously. But Mr. Post was taken sick. He sank rapidly into consumption, and touched the verge of the grave before we had learned to use the power of thought with sufficient intelligence to bring him back to health. It was an awful thing to sit there helplessly and see that rare and beautiful life drift away. How hard I tried to put in practice the lessons I had learned in Christian Science. I could do nothing with them except to weaken him still more. At last I resolved that I would not let him die. I spoke the word of health for him, and spoke it so powerfully that it was like planting a monument in a substance so inflexible that nothing could shake it. I saw that monument constantly and it gave me strength, until I became as a god and knew that no power could come against me. It was at this time that the right road was pointed out to me by the discovery of the wrong road. It was here that the errors of Christian Science were made apparent. In that hour of rebellion against conditions which threatened to destroy a life that was dear to me, when intuition told me that by trusting my own thought I could save him; in that hour when I dared to think for myself thoughts which were in advance of the school whose disciple I had become, and from which I had hoped so much but was disappointed; in that hour of courage and self trust, was born the movement now known throughout the world as Mental Science. From an air-plant of Christian Science I had ripened into the fruitage of realistic idealism, and I dared to trust to that which told me another page of the infinite scroll of truth had been unfolded to me. Not alone for me, but through me for all mankind. I not only dared to trust these thoughts; but together we proceeded, a little later, to put them into practical execution, by formulating the truths made known to me.
Mr. Post began to get well, and he kept on getting well; but he had lost his editorial position—our principal means of support. I had sold my paper to get money to enable him to go South. So that we were faced by what to some would have seemed a very grim phantom indeed.
For a time I felt almost impatient. I had held the fort against death and had scored a splendid victory; but here we were without money, stung by small wants daily, and not knowing where to turn. It had been easier to fight the giant and gain the victory than to banish a horde of small annoyances like flies or mosquitoes. Necessity is often the mother of invention, and one day Mr. Post suggested that I write a set of lessons on Mental Science—the name we had decided to give this child of mental growth. We little dreamed then that this child would grow into a giant, with a world-wide influence; but we had faith and dared to do.
With my very soul on fire I began to write the lessons.
When they were completed there was no money to pay for printing them; so in the paper I had formerly owned, I advertised to the effect that the student could take one lesson at a time, copy and return it. My daughter, Mrs. Powers, helped me prepare six copies of each of the six lessons, and we really thought we were well equipped. There were only six lessons in the course, and I sold the entire set—to copy and return—for twenty-five dollars.
Some days later I received several letters asking questions about the lessons. One letter contained an order for twenty-five dollars. I had hard work to keep this money from looking large; but I managed it, and fixed up my expectations for more. And more came; a great deal more, and it continues to come. Of all the positive demands I have made, there has never been one on which I have insisted more unflinchingly than that one concerning money matters. Some annoyances about other things would and did come, for the fortification of self was not guarded in every direction; but there has been no weakening about money. It was essential to my freedom that I should have it; there was nothing in all the world to prevent me from having it, since I had so much to give in return. I had argued myself into a state of mental strength where I felt my mastery concerning it. So has every one plenty to give in return by simply unfolding his own self. His demand can be made just as emphatic.
I am sure that even now, after so many years of financial success, I could lose my power and drift back into poverty-stricken conditions, if I should permit my efforts to become clouded by fear. Fear is the only thing of which we should be afraid; it is the only real, live devil; all others are dead. So, now, the one great denial of my life is that of fear. “I am not afraid of poverty. I will not pinch down in my money spending. I will not economize as that word is commonly understood.” This is my constant affirmation.
“It is not economy to acknowledge limitations to creative thought. I will live my life and not die all the way through it. I am greater than money and a thousand times more positive. In the nature of things it is for me to command and it to obey. This is the Law whose mandate is absolutely unchangeable. He who trusts the Law can come into the health of the Law and the opulence of the Law—an opulence which nothing but the man himself can stint.”
Practical Fruitage of the Conscious Plane
It was in consequence of Mr. Post’s illness that we left Chicago and went to Georgia; he having gone in advance of myself and before I had come to a full understanding of my power to heal. While there we built a beautiful home, with large grounds and many trees and flowers. It was really a stately residence; but I never quite liked the location of it, and we sold it and came further south. The first winter we spent in Daytona, on the opposite side of the Halifax river from where we now live.
We bought land on the peninsula side and had the scrub palmetto roots grubbed out of the ground before we could do anything with it. The soil was absolutely virgin. The first house we put up was a beautiful little cottage of three rooms, under a group of stately palms by the river.
This was the first house we lived in after we came. Then, as others wished to come, we put up one wing of the Colonnades Hotel; then another wing, making quite a large house. Now another section of the building has been built with an additional fifty rooms.
Two beautiful boulevards, reaching across the peninsula from river to ocean, lined on both sides with stately palm trees and paved with shells, constitute handsome and attractive avenues for the comfort and convenience of pedestrians, carriages and bicycle riders. There are four other boulevards, with many intersecting avenues, laid out, some of them partly improved. We built a number of pretty cottages of different styles and sizes, and a large store building, the upper part of which is devoted to our publishing business, and the place is gradually assuming the appearance of a town. In short, from the small starting point of those first lessons a large business has grown—a business that never would have grown but for the fact that we coached our self-esteem along until we conquered fear and came out under the full sail of mastery.
You who read this will probably say, “Oh! yes, but C. C. Post and Helen Wilmans Post are not like the majority of people. They had capital in their brains, and some essential traits of character not possessed by everybody.”
Now, I am going to deny my part of this charge completely. I have never met with a living soul whose nature it was to shrink from the world and be crushed by its opinions to the same degree that I have been. I have looked upon other people as gods, while at the same time I seemed to know that I was nobody. Yet I must say that deep down below all the crushed heart of me, I felt a confident sense of hope when I was alone and away from disturbing influences. I suppose I did actually, at such times, touch that principle of individualism that cannot do otherwise than speak for itself when uncovered. I could feel it. It was good company for me, and I was glad to be alone with it. I tried to cultivate it, and I know now that it was my savior.
There is not a person of ordinary intelligence alive who does not understand and thoroughly respond to the sentence just written. Every soul has found that he could strengthen himself by going down within himself and coming in contact with the strange bulwark of the true and undisturbed self that exists there. Every one, to a certain degree, has felt the shrinking of which I have spoken, though I hope no one has been made so wretched by it as I have been for hours and days at a time.
I wonder now at the persistence with which I endeavored to do something that would yield me the comfort of feeling myself a success, even in the smallest matters. Several years ago when I tried magazine writing, I do believe I wrote more than a hundred articles that were refused. How could I keep up the effort so constantly when I dreaded the results so greatly? I would actually tremble when those big brown envelopes were handed back to me, and a feeling of disgrace almost overpowered me.
I am telling this for the purpose of showing my reader how, with my growing determination, I made myself over as the years went on. I conquered slowly but surely. From the opinion of myself which constituted my weakness, I grew into another opinion which became my strength. Out of the limp rag of negation that I was, I literally made myself into a creature sufficiently positive to put a compulsion on the selfsame environment that had previously held me in compulsion. I know that if I could do this, with everything in the world against me, others can do it. It is no miraculous task to make ourselves over. Thought can do it, thought patiently held to and always true to the leading desire. And now as I look about me upon this little city by the sea, literally created by the power of our thought expressed in courageous action; as I stop to survey our splendid possessions and realize that all this change from poverty to opulence has taken place in the past few years, and only since I came to the conscious plane of growth; as I think of all this and then try to contemplate the boundless possibilities of the future, and then compare my present environment with that of millions who are toiling now as I toiled so long, in ignorance of their own powers, I wish—and I know that this desire is a prophecy of its fulfillment—that all men and all women may come to an understanding of themselves, and by reason of that knowledge break the chains which bind them in the slavery of poverty.
The Potency of Desire
My own experience confirms the fact that the desires toward which I have been most unflinchingly persistent, have been the first to manifest objectively. Take, for instance, my desire for financial success. When I came into Mental Science I found that this was my leading desire. To be sure, I had many other desires that were very imperative; I desired youth and its symbols, health and its accompanying results; but I really desired money more than anything else. Why? Because I had been under the pressure of poverty so long that money represented a certain phase of freedom to me, without which no amount of health, strength or beauty could be enjoyed to any great extent. In other words, money did at that time promise a greater measure of freedom for my thoughts and for my body also, than any other thing. Therefore, the desire for money was my leading desire. I was a slave for the lack of it. Every thought of my life was chained to it, and could not escape. How could my spirit (thought-life) try its wings in the clearer atmosphere of the ideal under such circumstances?
I remember—as if it had been but yesterday—the very hour when I paused in my work and in my thinking, and made a compact with myself something like this: “I will have money, first of all; without money I can not move a step in the discovery of the mighty power latent in the human brain. This thing must go as I direct it, and I will submit to no dictation from any external source.”
I spoke these words aloud and they have never wavered in their force. In speaking them I created a power in that line which went forth to its own accomplishment. Looking down within myself I came across the mental record of these words, and they seemed absolutely invulnerable—a sort of impregnable fortress that nothing could disrupt or weaken. The record of other resolutions faded or weakened at different times, but this never did. I had borne poverty until I simply would not bear it any longer. Disease, old age and death might come; but not poverty. It had been the monster which held the best part of my intellect in dreadful bondage, and I was done with it at all hazards.
This resolution received the emphasis of every atom of my body and mind, and no power on earth could break it down. No power on earth or in heaven ever does break down such a resolution. There was no wavering in it; there was no “God willing” in it; there was no “if it is for the best” in it. It was clear-cut positiveness, unblurred by a single flaw of irresolution. I had reached a point in mental suffering where life was not worth a straw to me unless I could have it on my own terms. So I stood up before “the powers that be,” and made a statement of my terms. There was nothing to reject them (a thing I did not know at that time); so the statement stood for all there was in it, and it is standing yet.
As for my other desires, I have never come into so forceful a position with regard to them. I have been satisfied to see my health gradually improve and my mental powers gradually strengthen; and I have this same feeling yet about them. I can wait the slow development of time. With poverty, however, I could not wait. I would not. And I did not, for my resolution acted like the magician’s wand, and efforts which I had put forth long before, rushed suddenly into success. Money enough came to release my thoughts from the eternal dollar, and to banish my fear of poverty. I did not want very much, because it easily becomes a burden, and enslaves the higher thought quite as much as its absence. What I wanted was freedom, and that was what I realized.
It is an inconsistent thing, while all growth is through accumulation, that society should place a ban upon the accumulation of wealth. Wealth is as necessary to our existence as the air we breathe. It is true that while we can manage to drag out meager, stinted lives without much wealth, still the lives we live are not in any way the lives we desire. We find ourselves in positions where our aspirations are shorn of their ascending power; our condition does indeed become sordid, simply because our faculties—so grand in their possibilities of expression—are tied down to a contemplation of the source from which our next meal is to come. There is nothing that can belittle a human brain so rapidly as this; nothing that can confine it to the contemplation of things unworthy of its scope; nothing that so soon will lead it into those mistakes which the world punishes as sins.
Why not abandon the effort on the brute plane—it is on the brute plane alone where the effort to accumulate seems sordid—and study the Law of Accumulation? There is a Law that governs it, and he who knows the Law well enough to practice it has put poverty under his feet forever. When I tell people this they say, “Oh, if I could only put poverty under my feet what would I not give?” They do not say, “Oh, if I could only understand the Law.” Scarcely one of them cares for the Law; they want the results of understanding it while they remain indifferent to it. This is not a state of mind where anything valuable comes. The first thing to want is an understanding of the Law. “Give us wisdom” is the first demand, and in fact it is the only one. With wisdom, all other things flow in. Without wisdom, that is, without an understanding of the Law—there is no successful accumulation. There may be a spasmodic power to accumulate, but it is never to be relied upon. It may desert one at any hour, and it always deserts sometime. But the power to accumulate under a knowledge of the Law of Attraction never fails in even the smallest particular.
I am just as much assured of wealth to-day as if I had millions under lock and key. Why? Because I understand the Law by which our wants are supplied. What! Are you operating this mighty Law? you ask. Yes, I am operating it every day. I am building houses with it and operating it in improvements of use and beauty. I am accumulating wealth just as fast as I use it. If it seemed necessary to use it faster it would come to me faster. People have said to me, “Why don’t you put your money out at interest?” My answer to this question is ready. To put money out on interest would clearly indicate that I have more confidence in money than in the power of the Law that brings it to me. It is a position that would wreck me. It is not my business to think of money except as one thinks of a tool with which to work. My business is to constantly seek a greater knowledge of my own power under the Law; for it is this knowledge alone that brings money. To put your trust in money is a sordid thing, and it brings its own reward in disappointed hopes. But to put your trust in yourself, knowing your relation to the Law, will actually put you in the way of accumulating everything that is necessary to make you a free man.
Let me not mislead any of my readers. The power of which I speak under the Law performs no miracles, but works itself out through the ordinary means lying thick about you. This power is simply a revelation to you of your own mastery. It gives you wisdom to carry your own faculties into external expression, and in doing this to obtain the reward that waits upon the doing. A knowledge of the Law of Attraction ingrained within you, will give you the power to carry any ideas of your own into practical success. Are you a drummer? Then you can sell twice as many goods as you could before you understood the Law. Are you a mechanic? It is in this department above all others that it reveals its might; it develops your constructiveness from one point to another until you see that there is no limit on this line. Are you a lawyer, a singer, an artist? It makes no difference what you are or what you desire to be. It is in this field of your operations that a knowledge of the Law of Attraction, as revealed by a study of Mental Science, will enable you to succeed.
This knowledge of the Law is something that can be learned easily and more inexpensively than the medical student learns his textbooks and masters the secrets of the human organism. Many persons have declared that it can be learned more easily than this; others have said that by “following the spirit” a man would come into a knowledge of it. But this is nonsense. The knowledge of this mighty thing requires intellectual application of the closest kind, and time for the mental ripening of the many facts it has to impart. Of course a slight knowledge of these facts will give the student some power in conquering the impediments that beset his path. Perfect conquest requires perfect knowledge, and there are no men—yea, and no gods—who can jump into this position at one bound. It requires work, study, and a testing of the knowledge as it slowly matures in the mind.
But suppose it does require a long time and unflagging effort; what is there in all the world so worthy of it? What else is there that bestows power to create in every direction and in every field of thought and action? I, who write these thoughts, am absolutely fearless. Neither time nor circumstance has any terrors for me. Poverty shakes his skeleton wand at me without producing a tremor. I am his master; not because I have houses and money in banks, but because I have the self-confidence— fully tested—that enables me to evolve the positive thought and to speak the positive word which externalizes my demand.
Correlation of Thought to External Things
There is nothing truer than that the quality of thought which we entertain correlates certain externals in the outside world. This is the Law from which there is no escape. And it is this Law, this correlation of the thought with its object, that from time immemorial has led the people to believe in special providence. A man believes he is led by providence in a certain direction; the direction is not of his own choosing, so far as his consciousness is concerned. But providence had nothing to do with it; there was that in the man, unrecognized by himself, which related him to some thing or some condition on the external plane, and under the Law of Correlation he went in that direction. Every thought a man can have relates him to some external thing and draws him in the direction of it. This fact—on the plane where the thoughts of men are fleeting and of no comparative importance—has too frail an effect upon external life to be noticeable. But when much thought has been given to one subject, the result cannot be other than observable. Thus, continued thought upon disease allies us with the external conditions related to disease; or, more correctly speaking, it creates the disease. Thought on the subject of sin allies us with (so-called) sins, and renders us self-accusing, and accusers of others; while the belief that there is no sin, that the sins of the people are only the mistakes of an unripe and ignorant race, destroys the accusing spirit within us, so that we see ourselves and others in a nobler light and thus bring in a condition of peace and harmony.
A belief in poverty not only burdens and oppresses us until it makes us mentally poor, but it allies us with poverty-stricken conditions. Thought not only allies us with certain external things that represent its own character, but when we have ascended from physical to mental (which is a result of the study of Mental Science) it becomes creative. This is a marvelous thing; but if I know anything in the world, I know it is true.
What! Can a person by holding certain thoughts create wealth? Yes he can. A man by holding certain thoughts—if he knows the Law that relates effect and cause on the mental plane—can actually create wealth by the character of the thoughts he entertains. This creation must, at this time, be supplemented by courageous action, intensified by creative thought and knowledge of self; but such action is only a part of the thought. This Law is easy to understand, if one will only take the pains to investigate it.
Now, I want to write something practical on this subject, and it seems hard to do, because the very people I most desire to reach are those who have less faith in the power of mind to control matter than any other class. It seems that they will not believe; and until they do interest themselves in this wonderful subject enough to investigate its underlying principles, I do not know how I can persuade them to believe. While I cannot now enter extensively into the truths of Mental Science, except the phases especially bearing upon poverty, yet I believe that many who read this little book will thereby discover the road to the truth.
There is an almost universal reaching out for money. This reaching out is from the acquisitive faculties only, and its operations are confined to the competitive realm of the business world. It is a purely external proceeding; its mode of action is not rooted in the knowledge of the inner life, with its finer, more just, and spirtualized wants. It is but an extension of animality into the realm of the human, and no power can lift it to the divine plane the race is now approaching.
For all lifting on this plane is the result of spiritual growth. It is doing just what Christ said we must do in order to be rich. It is first seeking the kingdom of heaven within, where alone it exists. After this kingdom is discovered, then all these things (external wealth) shall be added.
What is there within a man that can be called the kingdom of heaven? When I answer this question not one reader out of ten will believe me—so utterly bankrupt of knowledge of their own internal wealth are the great majority of people. But I shall answer it, nevertheless, and it will be answered truly.
Heaven exists within us in the faculties latent in the human brain, the superabundance of which no man has ever dreamed. The weakest man living has the powers of a god folded within his organization; and they will remain folded until he learns to believe in their existence, and then tries to develop them. Men generally are not introspective, and this is why they are not rich. They are poverty-stricken in their own opinions of themselves and their powers, and they put the stamp of their own belief on everything they come in contact with. If a day laborer, let us say, does but look within himself long enough to perceive that he has an intellect that can be made as great and far reaching as that of the man he serves for a pittance that keeps body and soul together; if he sees this, and attaches due importance to it, the mere fact of his seeing it, has, to a degree, loosened his bonds and brought him face to face with better conditions.
But there is wanted something more than the fact of knowing that he is, or may become, by recognition of self, his employer’s intellectual equal. There remains the fact that he needs also to know the Law and claim its provisions; namely, that his superior knowing relates him to a superior position. He must know this and trust it; for it is by holding this truth in faith and trust that he begins to ascend bodily. I would not be understood to advise blind bigotry. Far be it from my wish to incite unpleasant relations between employer and employee. Employers everywhere hail with delight the acquisition of employees who are not mere machines—they want brains in their business and are glad to pay for them. Cheap help is often the most expensive, in the sense of being the least profitable. As brain growth or development of thought power in the employee increases his value to the employer, and as the employee grows to the degree of strength where he is capable of doing for himself, there will be another not yet grown so strong to take his place.
The gradual recognition by a man of his own latent powers is the heaven within that is to be brought forward into the world and established in these conditions which correlate it. I have never taken a single step upward in the external world that was not the direct result of my recognition of some new power within my own brain. I have never sought wealth at all; I have simply sought to know myself. I have believed in my own greatness, and in your greatness equally. I have denied that man was a creeping worm of the dust. I have seen him as the seed germ of all attainment. I place no limitation upon his powers of progression. I scorn the word “impossible” as applied to what is in his power to be and to do. I think of his vast ability, and my own, with a jubilant feeling of surpassing triumph. I regard it as an assurance of present as well as prospective greatness, and a guarantee, eventually, of absolute mastery over all things and conditions which once mastered me. This frame of mind is well represented by the word “opulent.” And in the direct measure of the power I have in holding it up before my perception, just in that measure is my business successful. Let me lose sight of this opulence of mental seeing, and my business declines. The most faithful and critical observation of this thing for several years has demonstrated its truth to a certainty. From this fact I deduce the following literal truths:
A mental poor-house projects from itself the spirit of a visible poor-house, and this spirit expresses itself in visible externals correlated to its character.
A mental palace sends forth the spirit of a visible palace with results that correlate it. And the same may be said of sickness and sin, of health and goodness.
But how is it possible for the man who is out of work, and who sees his children in rags and crying for bread, to conform to the conditions required? How can he perceive opulence when nothing but squalor meets his eyes? How can he calm his soul and enter into it by introspection, there to discover the mental wealth that the world has denied him a right to since birth? He does not dream that he is anything but one of the lowest and most unfortunate of beings. He sees nothing within himself that yields him a single hope. What can such a man do?
He can do nothing but conform to the Law, either on its negative or positive plane. He can recognize his manhood and his rights, the dignity of human nature and the godlike character of his own undying intellect, and be thereby raised in the scale of being; or he can fail to do this and be crushed out of life. More work and more money will relieve his present need and furnish him with implements for prolonging his existence; but no amount of money will give him that inner opulence which is the sure foundation for unchanging wealth; that opulence which is the purse of Fortunatus, and which can never be exhausted. Mental wealth, which is the recognition of innate ability, is the only true root of external wealth. External wealth that has not this root is but a floating air plant. There is no dependence to be placed in it.
A great many Christian and Mental Scientists say to me: “Why, I treat myself for success and for money nearly all the time. I resolutely refrain from holding thoughts of poverty, and I keep mental pictures of opulence before me with unvarying zeal, yet I am always poor. How is it the rule will not work with me?” I answer such a one in this way. I say to him or her: It is quite obvious from your statement that you are not seeking the kingdom of heaven within, but the externals of it without. Seek it first within; give no thought to the externals at all; they will group themselves around the internal kingdom when you have found it. Treat yourself for a knowledge of truth; treat yourself for the wisdom that will disclose and develop within your own brain the source of all power, giving no heed to the external, and the external will manifest itself in wealth. It will manifest itself in the production of creative thought—thought which will seek expression in noble, courageous action. You will begin to trust the voice of aspiration, and are to follow where it bids you.
Many people think that to seek religion as it is taught by the creeds is to seek the kingdom within. But this is not so. Do the creeds teach the opulence of man’s innate capacity? Do they teach that the infinite spirit of strength and health and intelligence and beauty and power, which they call “God,” is in man? No; they teach just the opposite. They teach man that he is nothing and that any good that he may perceive in himself, is not of himself, but of an outside God. They teach him that he is the most poverty-stricken wretch in life, that he is destitute of all merit, that he deserves nothing. Of all the poor-houses ever created in the mental realm there are none so utterly poverty-stricken as that which the creeds have erected. Did Jesus, their Master, teach this way? No, he did not. He knew that opulence existed in infinite diffusion. He knew the Law by which man’s innate, mental opulence correlated him to the external opulence, and he taught it. Did He not say: “Consider the lilies of the field; they toil not, neither do they spin; yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these?”
What did this mean? It meant that the lily from its inner source of opulence simply expressed itself on the external plane. It is a tremendous lesson. The lily not doubting its own beauty, simply holding true to its sense of the beautiful, which was innate in it, expressed itself.
What men express themselves? Very few. And why? Because they do not know themselves. And not knowing themselves, how can they worthily express themselves in noble and courageous action, which is but thought in execution? They express the beggars they think they are; and their expression of themselves is correlated to the shreds and patches that form the beggar’s surroundings.
For twenty years I have been telling men how rich they are. I have been looking at their undeveloped intellectual resources and searching them for new manifestations of genius ever since I can remember. I have seen them great and glorious, even when they looked upon themselves as pygmies. I have stood sponsor for the self-esteem of my friends and helped to develop that special bump, from a hole in the cranium to a decided protuberance. I was called “the liberator,” because I could see so much more in other people than they could see in themselves; and this power of seeing does liberate the latent faculty in its structure and start it on its endless road to all growth. My husband used to say that my judgment of people was “goggle-eyed.” I had a little daughter whose judgment was also “goggle-eyed.” She, too, “saw men as trees walking.” One day her father reprimanded her severely for her exaggerations—she had been playing with some urchins on the street, and had transformed them into angels. After her scolding she sat in her baby chair in a meditative mood, watching her father with an expression of motherly interest in her face, not unmixed with pity. She had been in a picture gallery a few days before, and had observed the unusual arrangement of the windows. Presently she lifted a dimpled cheek out of a dimpled hand, and said gently and encouragingly: “Papa, you’re the doodest old fing wot ever lived, but your head ain’t dot no sky-light in it.”
It was a fact. His head had no window that opened upward. He lived in the city of Moan, in the state of Groan. There was enough of natural opulence in him to have turned the desert of his surroundings into paradise; but he could not see it, and we who—from the nature of the case—had to look through his eyes were awfully impoverished by his mental seeing.
The difficulty that confronts me in making this book of great practical service to men and women in search for wealth is in the fact that they are expecting simply a set of business rules which, followed closely, will bring them what they desire. But there are no rules to formulate that can be operated successfully, and especially are there none for the man or woman who has no money to start business with. No amount of writing could make the thing practical in this direction. The only possible thing to do is to prove to the reader the great fact of the correlation of the forces within his own being as allied with the forces outside of himself; then he cannot fail to see that as he strengthens his own forces, he gains greater command over the external forces, until everything yields to him. A man could never lift so much as a chair if he believed he could not. We can believe with a belief that amounts to the knowing; and when we reach this point in belief we are there, body and intellect, every bit of us.
The brain can as easily speak a good word to the body as to speak an evil one, and the effect will follow. But men do not know this and so they are at the mercy of thousands of idle thoughts, generated by brains so low in the scale of development as to scarcely be capable of thought at all. It is this class of low irresponsible thoughts that forms the mental atmosphere we breathe and it keeps us weak in our own opinions until we learn how to combat and drive it away, and how to place our new thoughts, now being educated in strength, in the place of them.
The old thoughts have been saying all the past years: “You are a poor weakling; you are nothing of yourself; you were conceived in sin and born in iniquity; you are under the curse of your Creator and what you are to do about it no one knows. The odds are so greatly against you that effort is scarcely worth while. You have only a few years here at the best, and in the long run it is of very little consequence whether you obtain wealth and influence or not.”
But let us suppose that your vitality is so great that even your desperate condition, ending so soon in the grave, does not daunt you, and you simply must make an effort.
Then the success of your effort (on the old plane of thought) will depend on what you think of yourself. If your fertile brain hatches business schemes by the dozen—all of them fine and grand and practical—and yet you fear to put them to the test, or if you put them to the test and do it with trembling indecision, then you fail. You might as well try to build a house out of loose sand and shape it in symmetry, as to build a splendid business scheme out of ideas that are shaken into incoherence by fears and anxieties.
What would you do in such a case? You would find out some plan by which you could harden your material; you would make your sand into brick, or, better still, into glass.
Just so with yourself when you see that you lack the firmness to carry out the enterprise you have conceived. You must harden and shape yourself. You do this by denials and affirmations. You summon your reasoning powers and examine your own capacity for the thing you are going to attempt; then hold this great Mental Science fact before you, that if you desire a certain faculty for creating wealth, or inventing machinery, or writing books, or doing any other noble, legitimate thing, you already have the capacity to do it. The desire is the first faint suggestion of the fact that the ability is also there. The desire could not be there without the ability to execute it.
You must know this, and you will know it if you reason on it. Let us suppose that God made you. If the gospel account of creation is correct then God is great above all His creatures; and He must be good and just. But suppose He made you so that there were hopes that took root in your brain all pointing to blissful realization, and yet there was no possibility of realization among them. What would this be but the promissory note of a ruined bank? What would it be but an outrageous swindle?
Or suppose that God did not make you; suppose that you are the result of evolution, the law of growth. Now the law of growth is simply the law of unfoldment; it is the unrolling of an individual life from some bud in the universal life, which, the farther it unrolls, the more of the universal life it shows forth. Already enough of the universal life has been brought forth or manifested on the external plane to prove to us that there can never be an end to it, either in quantity or variety, so long as there is no end to our demand. Every desire we have is a demand upon this universal life energy, and there is nothing in all the world to prevent it from responding to our demands unless we ourselves close the door between us and it by our doubts born of fear and anxiety.
Therefore, putting aside the questions of special creation and evolution, it remains that man is in his own hands and that he has the power to build himself; after which he is master of his surroundings.
One must think well of himself; he must love himself; he must take pride in every special faculty which he possesses. He need not make a fool of himself by trying to show off; but he must aggregate the strong points of his character and feel that he has the right to be proud of them. He must value his own opinion until he himself has dissected it and found it wanting. When he hears that another has formed a poor opinion of him, let him use his judgment in trying to discern whether that one’s judgment is worth anything or not. If he concludes that it is, then he has a chance to make a correction in himself. This is character building, and it is one of the direct roads to wealth.
One of the great difficulties in the way of people becoming what they want to become and doing what they want to do is the fact that they accept opinions of others concerning themselves, and almost the entire world misjudges others by putting too small a valuation on them. All of us are under the wet blanket of an indiscriminating public, and it is smothering out our lives. We must kick this thing off. I recall how I felt when I first began to heal the sick; it really was not considered respectable to heal the sick by any but the long-established methods, and I could hardly endure it. I had belonged to a most respectable family, and really took sides with them against myself when they thought of me as doing something of which I should be ashamed. I became more strongly individualized in time, and I did it by taking sides with my own intelligent convictions and giving family prejudices the cold shoulder.
We are, all of us, apt to consider the opinions of other people when we are ready to do something different from what we have always been doing. This is a wrong thing, and is very injurious to character building. Perhaps it might be going too far to say that we would do well to shut our eyes and ears against the world’s opinions and put our best thought into operation, supremely indifferent as to what the world thinks. It is better to go to this extreme than to let the opinions of others tie up our energies. Had I yielded to the opinions of others at the time I came to know that through the power of thought I could cure disease, my usefulness to the world would have been lessened, I would have been less successful financially and my self-hood would have been weakened rather than strengthened.
Sometimes a person will be strong in some certain directions and hold his own against the very Infernal Pit, if necessary, in order to accomplish what he has in his mind, and at the same time he may be very weak in another direction and permit the opinions of others to hold him as completely as if he were bound hand and foot. Here is a case in hand: Far out in one of the Western States a man lay dying of consumption. There was no question about his condition; he was actually dying. He came into possession of some of my Mental Science writings which banished his belief in the power of disease, and he declared that he would leave his bed and come to me. So he arose. But the question of money faced him. He could raise only five dollars, and with this he started on a journey of more than a thousand miles. How he managed I do not know. Of course he secured many a free ride on the cars; but he walked much of the way. When he reached here he refused all assistance, so far as charity was concerned, and asked for work. This was found for him and he recovered faster than ever. He was a young man of fair education and good natural ability. One year passed, then a second, then a third. His health had become perfect; he could work wherever other men worked, but always seemed unfitted for common occupations by reason of his own superiority. Why he did not start out as a teacher of the science that had saved his life, and concerning which he had such perfect confidence, was altogether unknown by even his most intimate friends. He has at times been almost as badly crippled financially as he used to be physically, and while he knows, from actual experience, that a knowledge of Mental Science can cure disease, he has never seemed able to apply it to the cure of poverty.
Sometimes I think that he has not really desired to be rid of poverty. He did desire to be rid of disease, and he desired it with an intensity of thought that resulted in his willingness to walk more than a thousand miles; but his desire for money, if he has it, has seemingly never been intense. This is one of the fundamental essentials to the acquisition of anything. An intense desire for any laudable acquisition is the prophecy of its sure fulfillment.
Coupled with this desire, let there be an implicit faith in self, and all will be well. Many a good thought is born only to die because the brain that gave it birth was afraid to express the thought in action. The man of whom I have just been writing is capable of becoming very wealthy. He will be sometime. I think he is now rapidly coming to the period in conscious growth when he will see that his belief in poverty is just as false as was his former belief in disease. He actually believes that there is not enough money made now to go around and make everybody comfortable, let alone making each opulent. He forgets, as yet, that the laws of growth and change are steadily at work, and that the supply of the infinite is inexhaustible. The supply will always be equal to intelligent demand. The supply of money now in circulation and locked up in vaults is equal to the demand of all who come into an understanding of the laws of intelligent demand, and with the increase of those who understand these laws, the supply will increase. Conditions will always be met by the infinite. To say otherwise is an insult to the infinite spirit of Creativeness. This young man has recently nearly doubled his previous weekly income by accepting a position of some responsibility, which was really attracted to him by reason of his development. The position seemed to seek him rather than he the position. The only danger of his failing in that position is his belief in the poverty of the people. His correspondence to them betrays his belief in their poverty. But he is mastering it. When he comes into the same positive plane in regard to this false belief of the race that he reached some time since in regard to disease, opulence will be his.
He needs now to believe that he can become rich, and that no one is so poor now that he cannot become rich. He needs to think out business enterprises, then dare to put them into execution. In the words of a successful man of business, “Genius is only energy intensified, and energy is intensified thought expressed in action.” The mistakes he has made thus far are, first, his lack of real desire to better his financial condition; second, his fear, lack of trust in self, and hesitancy in executing thought or “expressing if in action,” when he has awakened to the necessity of money as a factor of complete freedom and happiness.
I have recounted this man’s experience at much length, because his life is a good example, and fits many cases. Many, very many, master Mental Science to the extent of curing disease—and this is a great conquest—but fail for a time to apply it to poverty. I hope I have made plain the reasons for their failure. There is no need to postpone the working of the Law after it is understood. Each should learn the Law and then profit, through his understanding, by daring to put it into execution.
To prepare for a life of opulence absolutely full of the power that draws wealth, I must stand by the person I am. I must uphold my me, and never slacken one link of the good opinion I have formed of it. I must no more depreciate my ability than I would blaspheme God. Indeed, it is God I would be blaspheming, if I should weakly depreciate self.
There is no doubt but that I have had exceptional success so far as the making of money is concerned, and I know precisely how I came to have it. Up to the time when I had outgrown the belief that I was simply a crawling worm of the dust, I had no right to expect anything but the tramping-on such creatures receive. As I threw this feeling off I rose quite rapidly in my estimation of self. It was no fool’s vanity that took possession of me, but a sense of justice and a feeling of strength. I not only rose in my own estimation, but I began to see all other people larger, and this added greatly to my happiness. As I grew happier I grew freer, and I found that my old laughing disposition had returned—none the worse for twenty years repose. But the great thing was that I had grown so bold that I did not hesitate to make a statement of my wants or to expect that they would be met and satisfied.
To be sure, if I made the statement that I wanted a certain amount of money, and the amount was larger than I could reasonably expect, I would distrust the result and receive nothing. Then I would have to wait for days, even weeks sometimes, before my mind ripened to a point where I felt that I could command a certain amount. I had to reach the point of feeling absolutely, or rather of knowing absolutely, that there was nothing to hinder me from receiving it. As soon as I touched this point, the thing was accomplished.
Now there was never anything mystical about the performance. I never proposed that a purse, having five thousand dollars in it, should fall into my lap, nor anything else remarkable. I simply started with the assertion that my business would net me a certain amount; perhaps double as much as it had ever done before in a similar length of time. I would then think out a plan of action by which my income would increase and diligently set to work to execute it.
My mind would then dwell upon it until I could see nothing preposterous or impossible in believing it would happen. And every hour, as I reverted to it and new thoughts were constantly born for prompt and courageous execution, it appeared more probable that I would get it, until at last I would know that I was going to get it, and I never failed. On the contrary I always received a few dollars more than I had ordered. It is true that the desire and demand is accompanied by action; but all the so-called industry, in the way of long hours of labor and great expenditure of effort that I could possibly have commanded, would never have yielded me one-half the returns that these positive thought currents, expressed in judicious and courageous action, have yielded me. Much so-called “energy” or “industry,” is only a waste of force and is really nothing but slavery. Suppose I had been like Aladdin with his wonderful lamp, and that I had believed in its power to work wonders the same as he did, what would have been the result?
As truly as I am sitting here this beautiful night, I cannot find it in my brain to limit the creative power of thought, with or without expression in action, when it shall become possible for it to be accompanied with that quality of faith which has ripened into absolute knowing. I believe that if I had the same feeling of knowing, as regards the thing we call impossible, that I have concerning that which the brain accepts as possible, it would be done; in short, that the inception of all further progress begins in the brain and goes forth to try its strength on one thing and another, until at last it demonstrates some new fact. Thought is the beginning of all things. And thought is an actual substance generated by the brain. It goes forth as the pollen from the clover, and proves itself to be the seed of new forms of life and truth.
The Vitality of Proper Belief
There is no denying the fact that next to disease poverty is the curse of the race. Indeed, you may cure a man of disease, and if, on being cured, he finds himself bound hand and foot by poverty, you might as well have left him to die, for life is no comfort to him. The eternal load of poverty that men and women carry is almost too much for the race to bear up under, and this poverty is increasing yearly, not only in our country, but in every country under the sun. What is it, and why does it increase?
I answer that it is an idea, a belief, founded in ignorance of the great fundamental truths of Mental Science. The first of these truths is that all substance is mind; that everything we see or feel, or of which the five senses can conceive, is a mental substance; in other words, that the entire universe is one mind, of which all objects, including man, are varied expressions. By saying that all is mind I do not wish to convey the idea that Mental Science denies the evidences of the senses. The things we see all about us are by no means a delusion. However, it is a scientific fact, now generally accepted by all who have investigated, that the basic factors of the universe may be variously termed ether and motion, substance and force, or mind and thought. There is one universal substance, and the highest form of this substance is thought. To one who understands this—who comprehends the laws of growth and change throughout all nature—the statement that all substance is, fundamentally, mental, is perfectly plain.
As an example, take a tree. You may cut it down and burn it, but it is not destroyed. Its form is changed; but every atom contained in it as a tree, still exists in smoke, gases, etc. The parts taken into the atmosphere may be breathed by man, and thus become a part of his tissue. The ashes nourish the soil; the soil nourishes vegetation; the vegetation is eaten by man. The very atoms which once composed the tree are now, in changed form, a part of man. That portion of the atoms of the vegetable which goes to nourish the body, becomes brain tissue and goes to produce thought—the highest, most positive and most powerful form of the universal substance. Any substance is capable of passing through this process and becoming thought. Therefore, everything is thought in an undeveloped state and capable of being evolved into thought.
The great truth that all is mind can only be thoroughly understood by a study of Mental Science. A knowledge of it transposes all things, all life, from the basis of the dead, immovableness of physical matter to the basis of living, thinking, active, ever changing, ever progressing mind, belief, thought, mental substance. It proves— actually proves—that all is mind, and therefore that man is just exactly what he thinks himself to be. Having proved this to the perfect satisfaction of every thinker who will take the time to investigate the subject, it will be seen that man is in his own hands, and the perfect master of his fate. If he is all mind, then he is what his beliefs are.
“Well,” you say, “but this does not change him; his beliefs are fixed, and therefore his condition is fixed.”
It is true that as we look at him to-day, all the great fundamental beliefs of his life are fixed; his belief in poverty is fixed; his belief in disease and death is fixed. But this is no reason why they should always remain fixed. He has other beliefs, outside of these great fixed beliefs, that are not in the same state of petrification. He changes his beliefs on many things, according to the fresh ideas which come into his life. At one time he believes himself fitted for a trade, and studies the trade with the intention of following it for life. Perhaps the trade is no sooner acquired than he changes his belief and thinks himself fitted for the study of law or medicine. Who will deny that this change in the man’s belief will work out a very great change in his life? It will bring him into relation with entirely different people than his first belief would have done; it will give him environments of a different character, and will work changes in him and for him—in his surroundings and in his appearance—that will not end with him, but will show, in results, upon his children and grandchildren.
So much for the external changes resulting from changes in comparatively unimportant beliefs. But think how much greater will be the external changes that will result from a change in the great fixed beliefs in poverty, disease, old age and death. Remember that man is all mind; that as he thinks, or believes, so he is. This being the fact, he has the power to think or believe himself out of the old, fixed beliefs that now enslave him so completely.
But how? Can one believe anything he pleases? Can he believe a thing to be true simply because he wishes it to be true? Certainly not. His belief must depend upon his conviction. He must perceive, intellectually or mentally, that a thing is true before he can believe it. And I am not going to deny the fact that this means anything less than a new education for him—an education that lifts him out of his belief in physical matter to a belief in mind, and the constantly unfolding power of mind; an education that shows him how—being all mind—a knowledge of more truth is what he must have in order to gain the power which will show him his own mastery.
This knowledge will not come to men so long as they are satisfied with what they now know; and the majority of men care nothing about knowing more. They want more money and more strength, but they do not know that a knowledge of themselves and of their relation to the Law is the only thing that will give them permanent health, strength and riches, and that it will do this by simply showing them, in a clear, logical way, that their old, fossilized beliefs are errors; thereby converting them from error to truth, changing them all over, and proving to them their own power.
They do not know that mind alone is creative; and that—being all mind—it is in their power, through an increase in knowledge, to reach a point where they recognize themselves as creators of themselves and their conditions. And I make a plain, unvarnished statement of truth when I say that no man can know this except through the study of mind and the Law of Attraction that infuses it. He must understand Mental Science before he comes into the place of intellectual creativeness where he speaks the word that changes himself and his surroundings. He can only come into this high place of power by intelligent conviction. He cannot jump into it ignorantly; he reaches it by the knowing.
I came into this place by much thought and introspection; also by studying the Law of Growth as revealed to me in the habits of plants and trees and animals. I did not study books, for no book contained what I wanted. I wanted a knowledge of the Law of Attraction, which is the Law of Growth. Gradually, as I grew in the knowledge of the Law, I seemed to be able to co-operate with the Law, and to begin to share its life- giving power and its opulence. The Law is absolutely infinite in opulence; and this opulence becomes a personal endowment to the man who strives to understand it; who learns to perceive it, or to see it intellectually. In proportion as he learns to see the opulence of the Law his intellectual perception of poverty ceases. He wonders where the poverty is that formerly riveted all his beliefs to itself; and then he knows that poverty is seeing from a narrow and limited perception of the universal opulence, and that wealth is the result of a more enlarged intellectual perception.
This knowledge is a thing that cannot be picked up in a minute; it must be studied. As I said before, men do not want to study. “Give us the results of study,” they cry, “but do the studying yourself if it suits your taste.” But they will have to study for themselves. One person can no more study for another person than one tree can grow for another tree. Riches are waiting upon your mental awakening; they correlate a rich mentality. They are free as air; and yet you are like the travelers dying of thirst by the roadside when the spring that would save them is within a stone’s throw.
As man is a purely mental creature, so are his surroundings all mental states; and as tone resounds to tone, so do your surroundings repeat your mental conditions from far and near. It is deep calling unto deep all through the shoreless ocean of mind. The sound you send forth comes back to you; and no sound can possibly reach your ears save the one you send out. Your poverty is the protracted echo of your own belief. Learn the science of mind that will change your belief, and, by changing it, change the whole world for you.
Labor unions and protective associations may combine to the end of time; but they cannot change this great, fundamental Law. The working people may inaugurate a war that will exterminate the nation; but they will not exterminate this truth. For though the last man of the race lay dead it will remain, eternal and unchangeable, waiting, in unshaken repose, the silent tread of a million ages, until in some new-fledged time some new-fledged soul shall open his eyes to a perception of it, and a world be saved and redeemed thereby.
As the race stands to-day there is nothing the matter with it but its ignorance; an ignorance that shows forth in poverty and disease and death. Congressmen cannot legislate its ignorance away; blood will not wipe it out; dynamite will not explode it; though the navies of the world be sunk, it will not be drowned. Only one thing will reach it; it has but one solvent on earth and that is intelligence—a knowledge of the law of omnipresent good; and this knowledge will only come through an earnest study of the mind and the Law that moves it.
At one period of my life I was interested in the labor movement. I often went to meetings of this class, and I kept the eyes and ears of my observation very widely open. The speakers were a complaining set, and they had a perfect right to complain; their situation warranted it; only they should have complained of themselves instead of their employers, for they were just precisely in the situation where the development of their manhood placed them. They had put their own valuation on themselves, and then wanted to kick the lid off of the universe because the men they acknowledged as bosses could not see them larger than they saw themselves. They were always talking about more wages, and the rights of labor. Why, labor has no rights until it is free! So long as labor is owned it is at the beck and call of its master, and its master can squeeze the life blood out of it if he so desires.
The man who mentally claims the most gets the most. Why? Because he is more unlimited in his power to recognize the universal opulence. Of course, in the present stage of the world’s knowledge, this recognition is on the unconscious plane. Jay Gould knew no more of this Law than the man who worked for him on a salary of ten dollars per week. He was unconscious of the power by which he called to him the immense fortune he accumulated; but he had the power of seeing one of nature’s grandest truths—namely, that there is no limit to the supply that answers demand. His brain was so constructed that he could see nothing but abundance. He could not see poverty; he did not believe in poverty; he believed in opulence. Moreover he had none of that sympathetic feeling by which he could enter into other people’s beliefs in poverty, and therefore the appearance of poverty all about him did not shake his confidence. Opulence existed for him whether it existed for other men or not. This is what he recognized; and though his recognition was of the blind, unreasoning kind, like that of an animal, still it was recognition, and it brought him its own fruit.
To recognize this same fact—that opulence does exist everywhere—and to recognize it on the conscious or reasoning plane of life, will put a man in possession of wealth. To recognize that life is a grand, vital principle permeating all things from atoms to men, and that it manifests in each object just in proportion as the object recognizes it, will enable all persons to conquer death, and to cast their lives in such molds as their highest ideals may suggest.
Opulence of health and wealth and life are absolutely unlimited. Man can limit them in his perceptions, and take the consequences of doing so in a limited life, but the resources of the eternal fullness are not stinted thereby. Education is the only cure for poverty. The man may die before education comes to him, and he will die unless it does come, for he does not want education. He wants opulence without the education; he cares nothing for the heaven within, that a knowledge of these matters would yield. All he wants is the money and houses and land that he thinks would make him a heaven without. But the great bulk of men will never get it. Why? Because the spirit of a higher development is in the air; and this spirit has uttered its pronunciamento— namely, that seeing is being, and that he who will not see the truth cannot actualize it in his life and surroundings.
As yet there is no true understanding of the Law that renders opulence visible to the perceptions of the race. There is only an occasional perception of it in a few men, and this perception is not a thing they reason on or understand. It is an unconscious perception to which persons give no broad application, but limit it to themselves, and strengthen its effects in themselves by utterly ignoring all evidence of the poverty manifesting itself around them.
He who heals a patient of disease must recognize that nothing in the shape of disease exists; that life and health are omnipresent, filling all space, to the utter exclusion of disease. He must recognize that disease is simply a state of ignorance concerning the great truth that life and health are omnipresent. As all conditions are mental, disease is a mental condition, in which the diseased person fails to perceive the truth; he is in error concerning the truth.
A person can only recognize these great truths by an earnest study into the matter; but when he has once seen that they are true, and when he feels the force of their truth through his whole organism he cannot help healing. His very presence heals. He disperses a thought influence from himself every moment he lives that is positive to the thought influences of those who believe in disease, and consequently disperses their thought influences, leaving his own positive ones in their place.
This fact is no less true of that ignorant state of mind called “poverty,” than of disease. There is no poverty. Men simply believe there is, and being mental creatures what they believe shows forth in their persons and surroundings. Oh, if I could only give the people the faintest idea of the opulence that abounds, what would I not give? But they will not listen. They pinch the dimes with straining fingers, fearing to let go lest no more will come. And indeed no more will come so long as they are ignorant of the fact that opulence is a part of the universal Law of Life.
What would I do with the poor man whose children are crying for bread?
I would educate him in the knowledge of Mental Science, or the power of mind, if I could; but he will not be educated. He prefers to grumble at “his boss,” to call the advanced thinkers “cranks,” and hatch plots against the government that may deluge a continent in blood, and will react with exterminating force upon himself. He is ready to do anything except think. Thought on the high plane—thought from the basis of that greatest of truths, all is good, and therefore all is health, opulence, life—would save him. Rejecting this, there is nothing before him but the clash of a warfare with those of his own kind—a contest that cannot give him what he truly wants, for only knowledge of the truth can do this.
Nevertheless every experience teaches; and when men have passed through the crisis that now threatens, only to find that they are still poor, that even the external symbols of wealth amount to nothing except as they are representatives of man’s internal wealth, they will be ready for the education awaiting them in the great study of man’s mentality and its relation to the Law of Life.
The Fear of Poverty
I have something to say on the above subject which I hope may be of value to my readers by way of a practical illustration of the truths for which I stand sponsor. What I am going to say is the result of a correspondence with a dear friend whom I am treating for several diseases. She asked me to put my price down, and I did it; but I did it under great compunction.
Why did I have any compunction in giving her a reduction in my terms for treatment? You will say, it was because I wanted all the money I could obtain. But you would not touch the mark in this assertion; though it is a fact that I do want every cent for which I give a fair equivalent. It is a further fact that I love money; and the reason I love it is because money has another name and that other name is freedom.
In giving this friend a reduction in the price of treatments I compromised a very great principle; in fact I arrayed myself against it, and brought not only myself but her into negative relations with the Great Law of Opulence that runs absolutely unchecked—except by man’s ignorance—through the universe.
I heal disease by refusing to recognize that disease is anything more than an ignorant belief, arising from non-recognition of the fact that all is Life, and that no individual opinion can possibly invalidate this fixed, unalterable and uncompromising truth. For me to admit that the belief in disease has any fixed foundation in absolute reality, would be to temporize with what I know to be false; and the result would be that every one of my patients who is strictly conjoined with me in thought, in accordance with my instructions, would become worse in less than an hour. My fear of disease (for any compromise with absolute truth, is caused by fear) would communicate itself to them, and show forth in a weakened condition of their bodies.
Now a part of this great Law that all is life is the further fact that all is opulence, and that there is not one particle of poverty in the universe. A belief in poverty, like a belief in disease, is ignorance of the Law of Opulence. Poverty is as much a disease as disease itself. Both are beliefs which are utterly false, but which take effect in individuals who believe in them, for the simple reason that every person and thing is all mind, and, as such, is representative of what it believes.
I heal because I do not believe in disease. I absolutely know that it is a false belief; and the patient, who, following my instructions, becomes conjoined with my thought, realizes the truth in this matter as I realize it, and he shows forth health. He cannot help but do so. He comes into my belief. I do not go into his belief, as would be the case if I sympathize with him and say, “Poor fellow, how he suffers.” If I felt this I would take on his condition; and, instead of my curing him, he would make me sick. But I hold firmly for the ubiquity of the health or life principle; I deny that there is any power in disease; I hold in unshaken strength, to my highest convictions on this point; I will not compromise one inch by a recognition of his misconception of truth. And thus, holding in the might of a high understanding of absolute Law, I gradually lift him into its light, and his errors fall from him.
Now poverty is but one form of disease. It comes under the same head; it is ignorance of the Law of Opulence, which is a part of the Law of Life, just the same as disease is. So when my friend and patient asked me to put down the price for her, I did it; but I felt that I was wronging her, and myself too. I felt that I was recognizing poverty as a power that could possibly injure her and me also, because we were, for the time being, one in thought.
Having acceded to her request and reduced the price, I wrote a sort of protest, in which I tried to explain that it was the wrong thing to do. But she did not understand my explanation, and it seemed to hurt her. So I wrote her again as follows:
“I am sorry my letter hurt you. I only wished you to know the Law on the point, because it is generally unknown, and I have only learned something of it myself lately. My learning it has been the result of much thought on the subject, and of long experience in healing people. In treating for disease I do not recognize that there is any disease, and so that condition of thought called disease disappears from the patient. In treating for poverty, I do it by not recognizing that there is any poverty; and I notice that the least disposition on my part to recognize poverty; or even the desire to curtail expenses—which in reality is a recognition that poverty is stronger than opulence— always has a bad effect on the financial circumstances of the patient, and on my own financial circumstances as well. The fact is—believing as I do in absolute opulence—I have no excuse for not recognizing it. I do recognize it as an unfailing supply to every demand—opulence of health; opulence of youth; opulence of strength; opulence of money, and opulence of houses and lands, and all things desirable. And now, how can I hold true to my recognition of this supreme, never failing opulence, and yet keep trimming my sails to meet some possible contingency arising from fear that this opulence will fail? The position is absolutely contradictory, and it produces confusion, inharmony, and loss of mental power. With this loss of mental power, every patient I have relapses from the high position to which my previous fidelity to absolute truth has held him.”
And now for a little illustration in proof of the facts I am trying to make plain here. Although I had known, in a small way, everything I have said about the mistake of recognizing poverty, yet I had gone steadily on recognizing it in my actions by giving such reductions as I have spoken of, even while denying it in my thought. But after writing to my friend as I did, the whole thing opened up to my view in a wonderful way. I saw that I had wronged her and jeopardized her financial condition. I had been weak in making any concession to her fear of caution. I should positively have held to my fixed charges. This firmness on my part based on a knowledge of the Law of Opulence—the Law that proclaims every moment that the supply is equal to the demand—would have put in operation the occult forces lying back of the scene, and she would far more readily have obtained the higher price I charged her, than the lower one to which I reduced it.
I am just as sure of this as that I live. But I disobeyed my higher convictions, and the occult power lying back of the scene was not set in action; but instead, it was rendered more obscure, and my friend’s chances for wealth were positively injured. And now for the result as it affected me. My receipts vary only a trifle week by week.
But the week after this letter was written they went down fully one-half. And I am sure it was because I compromised with the widespread fear of poverty that exists in the world.
“But,” you say, “you have done the same thing before without taking the consequences in a falling off of your receipts, why did you happen to take the consequences of this one particular delinquency so suddenly?”
To which I reply; nothing happens. It all came by Law. I had not been fully conscious of the Law until the writing of that letter revealed it to me. The moment I was fully alive to a knowledge of the Law, its inexorable demand was upon me. I had to obey it or take the consequences of willful disobedience. I disobeyed, and took the consequences.
Again you say, “Why, here you have been for many years arguing for man’s perfect mastery over all conditions, and now you virtually give the thing away by making him subject to a fixed Law. How is this?” I answer:
The Law exists; has always existed. Man cannot change it. It is absolutely perfect in its action. Man is a creator; but after he has learned the Law, he only creates in conformity with it. Previous to his understanding the Law, when he is on the unconscious plane of life, his creations are the most ephemeral beliefs; he creates disease and poverty, old age and death, and all manner of inharmony, the total result of which is chaos, or hell, such as finds representation in present race conditions.
But a knowledge of the Law of Life is absolutely essential to man’s high and enduring creativeness. That which he creates after he comes into a knowledge of the Law alone endures. These creations alone are infused with the saving power of the Law. They alone are in consonance or harmony with it. That which is not in harmony with the Law passes away.
I do not deny man’s power to create while he is in ignorance of the Law; but his creations are the representations of his ignorance. He is held by the Law unconsciously to himself, and he recognizes a power to create, without recognizing the perfection of that power. Therefore he creates by the best light his knowledge yields him. Disease, poverty, old age and death are creations in ignorance of the full power of the Law. Those who recognize a power in the Law that utterly ignores disease, poverty, old age and death, come into a state of unity or oneness with the Law, and they cease to be held by the race beliefs in disease, poverty, old age and death. They are virtually resurrected from the dead; they have become creators of new conditions, and are indeed the owners of the world.
They have ceased to fear the race beliefs in evil; and, because they are all mind, these race beliefs can never affect them again. But here is a continuation of my letter to this patient.
“If I reduce my price I shall be recognizing the possibility that you may become poor, and this will do you harm. If you go into a store with the intention of buying a dress for thirty dollars, and begin in your mind to say, ‘I can’t afford to spend this money, I do not dare spend it; money is scarce and I must economize,’ you put yourself and your financial condition in the hands of that gaunt, bloodless and merciless skeleton, Poverty, and you will pay for it in loss.”
This is the Law, and those who know it to be the Law will take the consequences of disobeying it. But those who do not understand it are literally beneath the reach of the Law, and its operation is not for them. They are in the bondage of fear; and until they learn positively that there is nothing on earth to fear, until they learn from irrefutable logic that they are masters of all conditions, the caution they exhibit is the proper thing. It belongs to the plane on which they live, and no amount of reckless daring will overcome the need of their conforming to it. Nothing but an understanding of the situation will overcome the necessity of their trimming their sails to meet the condition in which they live. They are living in the element of fear because they have not learned the great fact that they are masters and creators of conditions, and, therefore, do not have to fear; and so long as they are living in this element they are compelled to adapt their conduct to its requirements. It is only after they have ceased to live in this element, after they have risen above it by a course of reasoning proving them to be masters and creators, that they dare snap their fingers in the face of poverty, and act as if they possessed the whole world by spending money as lavishly as their desires prompt.
I believe that, more than anything else, the race is lacking in courage. By courage I do not mean that element which enables men to march to battle in unbroken ranks or to face a bayonet charge without blanching. I mean that reliance on self which proves the absence of fear both of what others may think or say and of inability from any cause to accomplish what is desired.
Not one person in ten, no, not one in a hundred, either man or woman, does that which he likes to do, even if he has the courage to do it.
People are afraid of what their friends or the public or society will say, and most of all are afraid of failure if they attempt anything other than that which, in some accidental way, they find themselves to be already engaged in doing.
They lack faith in themselves, they have no true courage.
The truly courageous man is afraid of nothing, and least of all is he afraid of himself. He believes in himself and believing in himself believes in the perfection of the Law. He may not put this in words, may not say to himself, “I believe in the Law of Opulence,” but he nevertheless acts upon such belief. He says, “I will succeed,” he takes the Law into partnership, he plans, and he executes because he has courage.
It may not even have occurred to such a man to think of himself as being courageous. His courage is so much a part of him that he does not give it a name separate from himself. He says, “I,” I will do so and so, and goes and does it without once thinking there is any reason why he should not succeed, whereas a man of less courage would approach the purpose of his desires haltingly, wondering if, possibly, he was wise in undertaking it, and how he ever had the courage to undertake it. And the difference in the way in which each approached the object of his desires is often the difference between success and failure.
The timid man is ever at a disadvantage both before his fellows and before the Law through which success is attained.
Confidence in self breeds confidence in others, and fear weakens both the brain that plans and the hand that executes.
It has been said that all the world loves a lover. It is also true that all the world falls into step with the man who walks, careless of who follows, with the air of one who knows that he is master. The mass of people have no opinions of their own, except such as they have inherited or received from others. To such as they have they cling tenaciously until some one arises whose strong individuality impresses them with a sense of his power, when lo! they drop their old beliefs to accept those of the one whose bearing proclaims him leader. Thus to his strength is added that of the masses by whom he is surrounded and a new set of ideas takes the place of the old.
The new may be little nearer the truth than were the old, but of this the Law of Opulence takes no account; it has served him who had the courage to command it and to make a co-partnership with it for the attainment of his ends.
Why should men be afraid of the opinions of other men; what harm can it do me that some, or that all men and women fail to see as I see? Am I not I? and am I not sufficient unto myself?
Why should the fact that others do not believe as I believe or think as I think distress me, or constrain me to believe with them?
A skilled performer upon the piano or other stringed instrument will receive applause from the audience, but who ever heard of an audience applauding a music box? It is genius that commands respect, not mechanical execution unaccompanied by a personality. But even genius without courage is valueless to its possessor, for distrusting itself it makes no use of itself, fails to accept the tender of co-partnership made to it by the Law, and so fails to accomplish its desires.
The world is full of geniuses; of men and women who would be really great if only they were not afraid to be themselves. Parrot-like they talk the language of their own babyhood and of that of the race, lacking the courage to speak the language of full grown men and women. Like sheep following each other where their leader jumped over a bar, they jump regardless of the fact that the bar had been removed before they reached the place where it had been. Lacking the courage which would enable them to apply their own knowledge or powers of observation and reason they make no demand upon the Law of Opulence, and for them, it has, therefore, no existence. Neither have they any personal existence before the Law, and of that which they create the Law’s share goes not to them but to the few who, recognizing the Law are recognized by it.
If men dared to be their own selves, to think their own thoughts, and to accept the consequences of acting in accordance with their ambition, the world of society would scarce recognize itself in a week’s time and the present unjust system for the distribution of wealth would pass in a day, giving place to one infinitely better for everybody. There are very few men or women to-day who are contented with things as they are, or who do not believe a better condition attainable if only everybody would consent to make the change. But each is afraid of suggesting such a thing lest others disapprove, and so the juggernaut rolls on, crushing the life out of new victims with every turn of its monster wheels. Courage to exercise their opinions wherever opportunity occurs is all that is lacking to remove half the obstacles that obstruct the road to happiness for the race, and if these were removed the other half would, as I verily believe, remove themselves.
Each soul must do its own thinking, and must be saved by its own power to (in consonance with the Law) think itself from its present negative condition in life to that high and positive condition where it perceives its own creativeness, and recognizes the fact that inherited beliefs do not save; but that the unrestrained power to create new thought, or new ideals, and to project them into the world of effects, alone can build each distinct individuality as it desires to be built.
Doubt is a giant, who with his club, pulverizes things, and dissolves them to their original elements. But in all his dissolving he has never dissolved Faith. Faith is the soul of all life; that mighty but intangible growth principle still stretching unseen tentacles upward, and taking hold of all that lies above the ordinary life plane. Not only taking hold of things above, but lifting up things below. It is the vine in human lives that climbs and climbs. Think how long Jack’s wonderful bean stalk has been considered a fable. But it is the truth of all truths. It illustrates the faith of a world that grew and grew until some one brave enough to climb its dizzy heights went up and slew the giant Doubt, and redeemed the race forever from his paralyzing influence by making the impossible possible to every one of us.
There is nothing that ever says “no” to a man but himself. When he hears the word “no” spoken in opposition to his will, if he does but listen carefully he will find that it was but the non-recognition of the intellect that spoke it. In any and every enterprise the royal will asks for nothing but the brain’s consent. To know this is to pass at once from the minor to the major chords of life. The gradually approaching knowledge of it is even now sending a stronger impulse through all the avenues of life. The people hear it and do not know what it is; but they are alert and listening. They are holding themselves in an attitude of intense expectancy. Something is coming; they are sure of it; they are ignorant of its character, and they will probably reject my suggestion that it is they themselves on the way from dead conditions to living ones, and that it is the rush of their own strong pinions that is filling the world with the strange, strong undercurrent of power whose swelling volume is momentarily increasing in strength.
When I look back and see the worthlessness of my life and aims before I studied Mental Science, I am filled with a burning desire that all persons leave their present narrow, hampering walks, and come with me into the broad meadows and by the still waters of ever present blessedness, where happiness is the breath of life, and where all cares and anxieties are forgotten; where all belief of evil and forebodings of fear are left behind; where only faith and hope remain to project the new cellular tissue of our ever deepening and broadening personalities. For hope and faith do project the life cells into which flows the Vitalizing Principle—the god within; thus rendering us diseaseless incarnations of the great I Am.
By resolutely and sternly denying the doubt that would cloud my belief in man, by turning away from a view of him in his present embodiment, and holding trustingly and faithfully to my ideal picture of his glorious possibilities, and of the more than human power vested in him, I have come to that point where faith and hope are easy to me. I now see him a creature of infinite unfoldment, lacking nothing in all the world but the ability to appreciate himself.
Not knowing the law of his being, not knowing his oneness with the One Life, he depreciates himself. He takes the consequences of this depreciation in the bitter mistakes which he calls “sins,” and in those ignorant denials or negations of his high privileges called “sickness” and poverty.
The truths I have offered to the public through my statements of the philosophy of mind, or Mental Science, are meant to teach man what a great creature he is. They are meant to remove at once and forever the crushing weight of a belief in his own helplessness and unworthiness—a belief that has been his bane and curse and defrauded him of his just dues in a universe that holds all for him; a belief that has shut off that infinite fountain of ever-flowing good which comes from an understanding of the fact that the supply is equal to the demand, and that a man may have what he wants if he will only learn how to take it; a belief that in limiting his own power he has limited the power of the Law in his thought; a belief that has damned, and is to-day damning, more souls than all the other infidelities ever foisted on an unreasoning and unresisting race. They are meant to teach man his own power by proving to him his own greatness; by showing him how divine are the faculties of his being; by proving to him that the best opinion he ever had of himself is not half so good as the truth will warrant. While it has been impossible in the treatise of this question of poverty, to any more than touch upon certain phases of Mental Science proper. I know that the right road is pointed out in this little book and my hope is that through it, many may find the way to liberty.
Personal vanity is that inflated belief one entertains concerning himself before a knowledge of his real worth comes to him, and of course we repudiate it. But self-esteem which rests on a basis of the knowledge of one’s natural faculties, is another thing entirely. When a just appreciation of our own undying and ever unfolding faculties is presented for our consideration—yes, and for our love and veneration—it ceases to be a personal matter, and embraces every soul of the race in its broad and enthusiastic welcome of the potency which we see to be vested in all other men equally with ourselves. It is this broad and comprehensive understanding of the great natures we possess that shows us our power over error, poverty and sickness, and points out the way by which we can conquer all undesirable conditions.
Though I am even but a child in this wonderful knowledge of self, yet for some time past I have controlled circumstances to my liking, forbidden poverty admission to my doors, and refused to listen to the cry of disease; thereby banishing it far from my presence as a thing too weak and negative to keep step with my rapidly advancing pace in an understanding of the power of mind. The more I learn of man’s inborn strength, of his own great power, the stronger and more irresistible I become, and the farther I am removed from the influences called “fate,” “condition,” “circumstances,” “poverty” and “disease”—influences that were once my masters, but which will never be my masters again.
I have felt my way along the broadening process of life—from the not knowing my own worth and power, to the knowing it—by close and critical steps of thought, by challenging all ideas, and refusing to accept any that would not stand the test of practical experiment. I have forged my way through a hundred mistakes, and met many a bowlder that took all my strength to roll aside. And now it seems to me that no position is more thoroughly demonstrated by the works that result from it than mine. I do not intend to convey the idea that I have no more to learn, but only that I have at last found the principle that underlies all intelligent growth.
I thank myself—the power embodied in me—that I have been enabled to stand champion for the race through a recognition of the power embodied in every man and woman living. It is a position that has already lifted many souls from under the influence of self-depreciation to that high plane of thought where fear has fallen from them; where sin, sickness and poverty has ceased to be numbered among their belongings.
Do you know what this Mental Science movement means? It means the closing of the old dispensation, with its wretched beliefs in man’s degeneracy and his inability to save himself, and the opening of the strong new era, wherein we see ourselves as our own saviors, through the power of that mighty influx of truth now pouring in upon us, the truth that comes from the inner, the unseen side of life, and that is verily and truly being materialized in our external selves this very hour; the truth that enables us to put the highest, noblest and grandest interpretation upon the writings of the spiritual leaders who have taught that “as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee,” they also may be one in us; the truth which teaches the unity of all and that each is indeed one with God, or good, the eternal principle of life.
Intelligent understanding of this great process, and how to co-operate with it so as to hasten its coming, is the work we are trying to do. The work was begun in a small way, modestly and quietly, and yet it carries the conviction of self-conscious worth, and could not consistently do otherwise. It teaches the student how to conquer disease in himself and others, and how to conquer all the hampering environments that cripple his life and make it so narrow and sordid and mean in his eyes. It gives him such an understanding of his own latent strength—intellectual and moral—that he feels the very foundations of his existence strengthen beneath him, while endless vistas of happy usefulness and noble prosperity open out before him.
Self-crushing has been the method of every previous system of training, and the result shows in a dwarfed, debased and diseased humanity. But now, at the beginning of the new era, there comes a change. Indeed the very words “new era,” or “new order,” mean nothing else and refer to nothing else but the reversal of public opinion on this very subject of self-esteem.
“Know thyself,” is one of the great commandments. No matter by whom it was written, or whether it is found in the Bible or out of it, it is one of the greatest commandments. The more truly a man knows himself, the more he respects and reveres himself. The more he knows himself the more he knows the Law; the more he reveres himself the more he reveres the Law; for Law and man are one; they are the internal and external of the one omnipresent life. And to understand this fully is to make the atonement—the at-one-ment—between the life principle and man, by which man’s life becomes identical with it, and he loses the very remembrance of sin, disease and poverty, and begins to step forth into a wonderful comprehension and fellowship with the divine life—that of unbroken progression in constantly increasing phases of happiness and power.
And this is what Mental Science is doing for the world. It is teaching man to know himself. In learning what he truly is, he cannot fail to learn that he has no fellowship with what we call “sin, sickness and poverty,” and these negative conditions—which are but ignorant denials of absolute truth—fall from him like old and worn-out garments.
Everyone needs to learn all he possibly can on so great a subject. Never before has the truth risen in such a mighty tidal wave of power as it is now doing through the practical rendition of Christ’s life and works in the magnificent system of new thought that is now not only proclaiming man’s superiority to his environment, but demonstrating it to the easy comprehension of all. The numbers who are coming to a knowledge of Mental Science and its power to save are already great. The distant rumble of a mighty host advancing is already heard. Prejudice, fear, and false beliefs are being crushed under the feet of the advancing thousands. The darkness of ignorance is being dispelled by the light of reason, and the time will come when all mankind will rejoice in the knowledge of self, when each individual can step forth in his glorious self-hood and proclaim his own independence forever.