There has been much written of recent years in the Western world regarding the effect of the Mental Attitude upon Success and attainment upon the material plane. While much of this is nothing but the wildest imagining, still there remains a very firm and solid substratum of truth underlying it all.
It is undoubtedly true that one’s prevailing mental attitude is constantly manifesting and objectifying itself in his life. Things, circumstances, people, plans, all seem to fit into the general ideal of the strong mental attitude of a man. And this from the operation of mental law along a number of lines of action.
In the first place, the mind when directed toward a certain set of objects becomes very alert to discover things concerning those objects–to seize upon things, opportunities, persons, ideas, and facts tending to promote the objects thought of. The man who is looking for facts to prove certain theories, invariably finds them, and is also quite likely to overlook facts tending to disprove his theory. The Optimist and the Pessimist passing along the same streets, each sees thousands of examples tending to fit in with his idea. As Kay says: “When one is engaged in seeking for a thing, if he keep the image of it clearly before the mind, he will be very likely to find it, and that too, probably, where it would otherwise have escaped his notice.
So when one is engaged in thinking on a subject, thoughts of things resembling it, or bearing upon it, and tending to illustrate it, come up on every side. Truly, we may well say of the mind, as has been said of the eye, that ‘it perceives only what it brings within the power of perceiving.'” John Burroughs has well said regarding this that “No one ever found the walking fern who did not have the walking fern in his mind. A person whose eye is full of Indian relics picks them up in every field he walks through. They are quickly recognized because the eye has been commissioned to find them.”
When the mind is kept firmly fixed upon some ideal or aim, its whole and varied powers are bent toward the realization and manifestation of that ideal. In thousands of ways the mind will operate to objectify the subjective mental attitude, a great proportion of the mental effort being accomplished along sub-conscious lines. It is of the greatest importance to one who wishes to succeed in any undertaking, to keep before his mind’s eye a clear mental image of that which he desires. He should picture the thing desired, and himself as securing it, until it becomes almost real. In this way he calls to his aid his entire mental force and power, along the sub-conscious lines, and, as it were, makes a clear path over which he may walk to accomplishment.
Bain says regarding this: “By aiming at a new construction, we must clearly conceive what is aimed at. Where we have a very distinct and intelligible model before us, we are in a fair way to succeed; in proportion as the ideal is dim and wavering, we stagger or miscarry.” Maudsley says: “We cannot do an act voluntarily unless we know what we are going to do, and we cannot know exactly what we are going to do until we have taught ourselves to do it.” Carpenter says: “The continued concentration of attention upon a certain idea gives it a dominant power, not only over the mind, but over the body.” Muller says: “The idea of our own strength gives strength to our movements. A person who is confident of effecting anything by muscular efforts will do it more easily than one not so confident of his own power.” Tanner says: “To believe firmly is almost tantamount in the end to accomplishment. Extraordinary instances are related showing the influence of the will over even the involuntary muscles.”
Along the same lines, many Western writers have added their testimony to the Yogi principle of the manifestation of thought into action. Kay has written: “A clear and accurate idea of what we wish to do, and how it is to be effected, is of the utmost value and importance in all the affairs of life. A man’s conduct naturally shapes itself according to the ideas in his mind, and nothing contributes more to success in life than having a high ideal and keeping it constantly in view. Where such is the case one can hardly fail in attaining it. Numerous unexpected circumstances will be found to conspire to bring it about, and even what seemed at first to be hostile may be converted into means for its furtherance; while by having it constantly before the mind he will be ever ready to take advantage of any favoring circumstances that may present themselves.”
Along the same lines, Foster has written these remarkable words: “It is wonderful how even the casualties of life seem to bow to a spirit that will not bow to them, and yield to subserve a design which they may, in their first apparent tendency, threaten to frustrate. When a firm, decisive spirit is recognized, it is curious to see how the space clears around a man and leaves him room and freedom.” Simpson has said: “A passionate desire and an unwearied will can perform impossibilities, or what seem to be such to the cold and feeble.” And Maudsley gives to aspiring youth a great truth, when he says: “Thus it is that aspirations are often prophecies, the harbingers of what a man shall be in a condition to perform.” And we may conclude the paragraph by quoting Lytton: “Dream, O youth, dream manfully and nobly, and thy dreams shall be prophets.”
This principle of the power of the Mental Image is strongly impressed upon the mind of the chela, or student, by the Yogi teachers. The student is taught that just as the house is erected in accordance with the plan of the architect, so is one’s life built in accordance with the prevailing Mental Image. The mind sub-consciously moulds itself around the prevailing mental image or attitude, and then proceeds to draw upon the outer world for material with which to build in accordance with the plan. Not only is one’s character built in this way, but the circumstances and incidents of his life follow the same rule.
The Yogi student is instructed into the mysteries of the power of the mind in this direction, not that he may make use of it to build up material success, or to realize his personal desires–for he is taught to avoid these things–but he is fully instructed, nevertheless, that he may understand the workings of the law around him. And it is a fact well known to close students of the occult, that the few who have attained extraordinarily high degrees of development, make use of this power in order to help the race. Many a world movement has been directed by the mind, or minds, of some of these advanced souls who were able to see the ideal of evolution ahead of the race, and by visualizing the same, and concentrating upon it in meditation, actually hastened the progress of the evolutionary wave, and caused to actually manifest that which they saw, and upon which they had meditated.
It is true that some occultists have used similar plans to further their own selfish personal ends–often without fully realizing just what power they were employing–but this merely illustrates the old fact that the forces of Nature may be used rightly and wrongly. And it is all the more reason why those who are desirous of advancing the race–of assisting in the evolution of the world–should make use of this mighty power in their work. Success is not reprehensible, notwithstanding the fact that many have interpreted and applied the word in such a matter as to make it appear as if it had no other meaning or application other than the crude, material selfish one generally attributed to it, by reason of its misuse. T
he Western world is playing its part in the evolution of the race, and its keynote is “Accomplishment.” Those who have advanced so high that they are able to view the world of men, as one sees a valley from a mountain peak, recognize what this strenuous Western life means. They see mighty forces in operation–mighty principles being worked out by those who little dream of the ultimate significance of that which they are doing. Mighty things are before the Western world to-day–wonderful changes are going on–great things are in the womb of time, and the hour of birth draws near. The men and women in the Western world feel within them the mighty urge to “accomplish” something–to take an active part in the great drama of life. And they are right in giving full expression to this urge, and are doing well in using every legitimate means in the line of expression. And this idea of the Mental Attitude, or the Mental Image, is one of the greatest factors in this striving for Success.
In this lesson we do not purpose giving “Success Talks” for our students. These lessons are intended to fill another field, and there are many other channels of information along the lines named. What we wish to do is to point out to our students the meaning of all this strenuous striving of the age, in the Western world, and the leading principle employed therein.
The great achievements of the material world are being accomplished by means of the Power of the Mind. Men are beginning to understand that “Thought manifests itself in Action,” and that Thought attracts to itself the things, persons and circumstances in harmony with itself. The Power of Mind is becoming manifest in hundreds of ways. The power of Desire, backed by Faith and Will, is beginning to be recognized as one of the greatest of known dynamic forces. The life of the race is entering into a new and strange stage of development and evolution, and in the years to come MIND will be seen, more clearly and still more clearly, to be the great principle underlying the world of material things and happenings. That “All is Mind” is more than a dreamy, metaphysical utterance, is being recognized by the leaders in the world’s thought.