The proper way to proceed, is to take up each bit of thought-material in turn, and examine it with the greatest possible interest, and consequently the greatest attention, and then after having fairly saturated it with this interested attention, place it with the pile of material which, after a while, is to be passed on to the sub-conscious mentality. Then take up the next bit of material, and after giving it similar treatment, pass it along to the pile also. Then after a while when you have gathered up the main facts of the case, proceed to consider the mass as a whole, with interest and attention, giving it as it were a “general treatment.” Then drop it down the trap-door into the sub-conscious mind, with a strong command, “Attend to this thought-material,” coupled with a strong expectant belief that your order will be obeyed.
The idea underlying this treatment of the thought-material with interest and attention is that by so doing a strong “Mental Image” is created, which may be easily handled by the sub-conscious mind. Remember that you are passing on “thoughts” for the sub-consciousness to act upon, and that the more tangible and real these thoughts are, the better can they be handled. Therefore any plan that will build these thoughts up into “real” things is the plan to pursue. And attention and interest produce just this result.
If we may be pardoned for using a homely and commonplace illustration we would say that the idea may be grasped by the illustration of boiling an egg, whereby the fluid “white” and “yolk” becomes solid and real. Also the use of a shaving brush by a man, by which the thin lather is gradually worked up into a rich, thick, creamy mass, is an illustration. Again, the churning of butter is a favorite illustration of the Hindus, who thus call the attention of their students to the fact that thought-material if worked upon with attention and interest become “thought-forms” that may be handled by the mind just as the hands handle a material object. We ask you to think of these illustrations, for when you once grasp the idea that we wish to convey to you, you will have the secret of great thinking powers within your grasp.
And this power of sub-consciousing is not confined alone to the consideration of philosophical questions. On the contrary it is applicable to every field of human thought, and may be properly employed in any and all of them. It is useful in solving the problems of every-day life and work, as well as to the higher flights of the human mind. And we wish every one of our students to realize that in this simple lesson we are giving them the key to a great mental power.
To realize just what we are offering to you, we would remind you of the old fairy tales of all races, in which there is to be found one or more tales telling of some poor cobbler, or tailor, or carpenter, as the case may be, who had by his good deeds, gained favor with the “brownies” or good fairies, who would come each night when the man and his family were asleep, and proceed to complete the work that the artisan had laid out for the morrow. The pieces of leather would be made into shoes; the cloth would be sewed into garments; the wood would be joined, and nailed together into boxes, chairs, benches and what not. But in each case the rough materials were prepared by the artisan himself during the day.
Well, that is just what we are trying to introduce to you. A clan of mental brownies, loving and kindly disposed toward you, who are anxious and willing to help you in your work. All you have to do is to give them the proper materials, and tell then what you want done, and they will do the rest. But these mental brownies are a part of your own mentality, remember, and no alien and foreign entities, as some have imagined.
A number of people who have accidentally discovered this power of the sub-conscious mind to work out problems, and to render other valuable service to its owner, have been led to suppose that the aid really came from some other entity or intelligence. Some have thought that the messages came from friends in the spirit land, and others have believed that some high intelligence–God or his angels–was working in their behalf. Without discussing spirit communication, or Divine messages, in both of which we believe (with certain provisional reservations) we feel justified in saying that the majority of cases of this kind may be referred to the sub-conscious workings of one’s own mentality.
Each of us has “a friend” in our own mind–a score of them in fact, who delight in performing services for us, if we will but allow them to do so. Not only have we a Higher Self to whom we may turn for comfort and aid in times of deep distress and necessity, but we have these invisible mental workers on the sub-conscious plane, who are very willing and glad to perform much of our mental work for us, if we will but give them the material in proper shape.
It is very difficult to impart specific directions for obtaining these results, as each case must depend to a great extent upon the peculiar circumstances surrounding it. But we may say that the main thing needed is to “lick into shape” the material, and then pass it on to the sub-conscious mind in the manner spoken of a few moments ago. Let us run over a few cases wherein this principle may be applied.
Let us suppose that you are confronted with a problem consisting of an uncertainty as to which of two or more courses to adopt in some affair of life. Each course seems to have advantages and disadvantages, and you seem unable to pass upon the matter clearly and intelligently. The more you try the more perplexed and worried do you become. Your mind seems to tire of the matter, and manifests a state which may be called “mental nausea.” This state will be apparent to any one who has had much “thinking” to do. The average person, however, persists in going over the matter, notwithstanding the tired condition of the mind, and its evident distaste for a further consideration of the subject. They will keep on forcing it back to the mind for consideration, and even at night time will keep thrashing away at the subject. Now this course is absurd. The mind recognizes that the work should be done by another part of itself–its digestive region, in fact–and naturally rebels at the finishing-up machinery being employed in work unsuited for it.
According to the Sub-consciousing plan, the best thing for the man to do would be for him first to calm and quiet his mind. Then he should arrange the main features of the problem, together with the minor details in their proper places. Then he should pass them slowly before him in review, giving a strong interest and attention to each fact and detail, as it passes before him, but without the slightest attempt to form a decision, or come to a conclusion. Then, having given the matter an interested and attentive review, let him Will that it pass on to his sub-conscious mind, forming the mental image of dropping it through the trap-door, and at the same time giving the command of the Will, “Attend to this for me!”
Then dismiss the matter from your conscious mind, by an effort of command of the Will. If you find it difficult to do this, you may soon acquire the mastery by a frequent assertion, “I have dismissed this matter from my conscious mind, and my sub-conscious mind will attend to it for me.” Then, endeavor to create a mental feeling of perfect trust and confidence in the matter, and avoid all worry or anxiety about it. This may be somewhat difficult at the first trial, but will become a natural feeling after you have gained the confidence arising from successful results in several cases. The matter is one of practice, and, like anything else that is new, must be acquired by perseverance and patience. It is well worth the time and trouble, and once acquired will be regarded as something in the nature of a treasure discovered in an unexpected place.
The sense of tranquillity and content–of calm and confidence–that comes to one who has practiced this plan, will of itself be worth all the trouble, not to speak of the main result. To one who has acquired this method, the old worries, frettings, and general “stewed up” feeling, will seem like a relic of barbarism. The new way opens up a world of new feelings and content.
In some cases the matter will be worked out by the sub-conscious mind in a very short time, and in fact we have known cases in which the answer would be flashed back almost instantly, almost like an inspiration. But in the majority of cases more or less time is required. The sub-conscious mind works very rapidly, but it takes time to arrange the thought-material properly, and to shape it into the desired forms. In the majority of cases it is well to let the matter rest until the next day–a fact that gives us a clue to the old advice to “sleep over” an important proposition, before passing a final decision.
If the matter does not present itself the following day, bring it up again before the conscious mind for review. You will find that it has shaped itself up considerably, and is assuming definite form and clearness. But right here–and this is important–do not make the mistake of again dissecting it, and meddling with it, and trying to arrange it with your conscious mind. But, instead, give it attention and interest in its new form, and then pass it back again to the sub-conscious mind for further work. You will find an improvement each time you examine it. But, right here another word of caution. Do not make the mistake of yielding to the impatience of the beginner, and keep on repeatedly bringing up the matter to see what is being done. Give it time to have the work done on it. Do not be like the boy who planted seeds, and who each day would pull them up to see whether they had sprouted, and how much.
Sooner or later, the sub-conscious mind will, of its own choice, lift up the matter and present it to you in its finished shape for the consideration of the conscious mind. The sub-conscious mind does not insist that you shall adopt its views, or accept its work, but merely hands out to you the result of its sorting, classifying and arranging. The choice and will still remains yours, but you will often find that there is seen to be one plan or path that stands out clearly from the others, and you will very likely adopt that one. The secret is that the sub-conscious mind with its wonderful patience and care has analyzed the matter, and has separated things before apparently connected. It has also found resemblances and has combined things heretofore considered opposed to each other. In short it has done for you all that you could have done with the expenditure of great work and time, and done it well. And then it lays the matter before you for your consideration and verdict.
Its whole work seems to have been in the nature of assorting, dissecting, analyzing, and arranging the evidence, and then presenting it before you in a clear, systematic shape. It does not attempt to exercise the judicial prerogative or function, but seems to recognize that its work ceases with the presentation of the edited evidence, and that of the conscious mind begins at the same point.
Now, do not confuse this work with that of the Intuition, which is a very different mental phase or plane. This sub-conscious working, just mentioned, plays an entirely different part. It is a good servant, and does not try to be more. The Intuition, on the contrary, is more like a higher friend–a friend at court, as it were, who gives us warnings and advice.