But outside of this bit of elementary “Black Magic,” of which we have spoken more in the way of a warning and a caution, many people are endowed with faculties which make them powers among their fellow – men and women, and their influence is felt in everyday life, just as the influence of the physically strong man is felt in a crowd of weaker people. It needs but a moment’s glance at one’s acquaintances to show that some of them have a greater influence than have others.
Some are naturally looked to as leaders and teachers, while others naturally fall into place as followers. These strong, positive men come to the front in warfare, business life, the bar, the pulpit, in the practice of medicine, and in fact, in all walks of life and all branches of human endeavor. We notice this fact, and speak of this man being possessed of a great deal of “Personal Magnetism,” or of that one lacking it. But what do we mean by “Personal Magnetism”? Can anyone give an intelligent answer? Many are the theories which have been advanced to account for this phenomenon, and many are the plans advanced to develop this “power.”
Of late years many teachers have sprung up, claiming to have discovered this secret and offering to teach it to all comers at so many dollars a head, many sensational announcements having been made to attract purchasers of “courses” of instruction, and many appeals to the most selfish motives have been made in order to awaken an interest in what is offered for sale. In the majority of cases these teachers have practically nothing to offer and teach, while in some few cases they have worked out a sufficient knowledge of the subject to be able to give directions whereby one may possess himself of a sufficient degree of psychic power to gain a certain amount of influence over the ignorant and weak of the race.
But, fortunately, the majority of these purchasers of these teachings have not sufficient confidence in themselves or in the teachings to put into practice even the comparatively meagre teachings given them. But at least a few have sufficient self confidence to put these plans into practice, and are able to do considerable harm by their ignorant and selfish use of powers which are intended for high uses. All these things must pass away as the race advances in knowledge and understanding of the occult truths, and, in the meantime, those who. really understand the subject are doing what they can to educate the race in its principles, that they may protect themselves, psychically, and may not be tempted to make a selfish use of the higher powers.
The man or woman of spiritual growth and development can afford to smile at the efforts of these dabblers in “Black Magic,” at least so far as the fear of any personal injury to or effect upon themselves is concerned. Such a one rises to a higher plane to which the efforts of the selfish occultist cannot penetrate. We will have something to say on this subject of Self Protection, toward the end of this lesson, after we have given the student a general idea of the several forms of Psychic Influence in general use.
We wish to be distinctly understood, however, when we say that no attempt will be made in this lesson to uncover a degree of occult knowledge which might place in the hands of the chance reader a weapon to use for his own selfish ends. This is a lesson designed for the Self Protection of those who read it – not for the advancement of a knowledge of “Black Magic” even in its elementary forms. And let us here caution those who read what we will write on this subject that we are serious in what we say regarding the selfish use of occult knowledge – if they knew but a fragment of the trouble which one may bring upon himself by improper occult practices, they would drop the subject as quickly as they would a venomous serpent which was beginning to warm into life from the heat of their hands. Occult powers are for the proper use and protection of mankind, not for misuse or abuse, and, like playing with the wires of a. dynamo, meddling with these powers is apt to prove unpleasant to the person who will not heed the warning.
Although many Western writers deny it, all true occultists know that all forms of Psychic Influence, including what is called “Personal Magnetism,” “Mesmerism,” “Hypnotism,” “Suggestion,” etc., are but different manifestations of the same thing. What this “thing” is may be readily imagined by those who have followed us in our preceding lessons. It is the power of the Mind of the individual, operated along the lines mentioned in our preceding lessons.
We trust that the student has acquainted himself with what we have said regarding “The Instinctive Mind,” “Thought Dynamics,” “Telepathy,” “Thought Forms,” etc., as well as the potency of Prana, that he may understand this lesson without too much repetition.
Psychic Influence – and by this we mean all forms of it – what does it mean? Of what does it consist? How is it called into operation? What is its effect? Let us try to answer these questions.
We must begin with the Instinctive Mind – one of the Seven Principles of Man. We told you (in Lesson II) that this is a plane of mentation shared in common with us by the lower animals, at least in its lowest forms. It is the first form of mentation reached in the scale of evolution, and, in its lowest stages manifests entirely along sub-conscious lines. Its beginnings are seen as far back as the mineral life, manifesting here in the formation of crystals, etc. In the lower forms of plant life it shows but feebly, and is scarcely a degree above that manifested by the mineral. Then, by easy and progressive stages it grows more distinct and higher in the scale, in plant life, until in some of the higher forms of plants it even manifests a rudimentary form of consciousness. In the kingdom of the lower animals, the Instinctive Mind is seen in varying stages, from the almost plant-like intelligence of the lowest forms of animal life to the almost human intelligence of some of the higher animals. Then in the lower forms of human life we find it scarcely removed from the highest form shown in the lower animals, and as we ascend in the scale we find it becoming shaded, colored, and influenced by the fifth principle, the Intellect, until we reach the highest form of man known to us at this time where we see the Intellect in control, asserting its proper position, and influencing the lower principle only for good, and avoiding the mistakes of the less developed man who pours harmful auto-suggestions into the Instinctive Mind, and works actual harm to himself.
In this consideration of the Instinctive Mind, we must pass over its wonderful work in superintending the work of the physical body, and also some of its other manifestations, and must confine ourselves to the subject of the part the Instinctive Mind plays in the matter of Psychic Influence – a most important part, by the way, as, without the Instinctive Mind there could be no operation of Psychic Influence, as there would be nothing to be acted upon. The Instinctive Mind is the instrument played upon by Psychic Influence. We speak, often, as if one’s Intellect were influenced in this way, but this is incorrect, for the person is influenced in spite of his Intellect, not by means of it – the influence is so strongly impressed upon the Instinctive Mind that it runs away heedless of the protests of the Intellect, as many persons afterwards recollect to their sorrow.
Many are the persons who, in their own words, “knew better all the time, but did it just the same.” We will start with what is known as “Suggestion,” and which really lies at the bottom of all forms of Psychic Influence, personal or “absent.” By Suggestion we mean the influencing or control of the thoughts and actions of another by means of a positive command, or a subtle insinuation of the desired thought, or any combination of the two, or anything that may come between these two extremes. Personal Suggestion is quite common in everyday life, in fact, we are constantly giving and taking suggestions, consciously and unconsciously, and one can scarcely get away from the giving and taking, so long as he associates with other persons – hears their voices or reads what others have written or printed. But these everyday suggestions are relatively unimportant, and lack the force of a conscious and deliberate suggestion by one who understands the “Art of Suggesting.” Let us first see how and why the suggestions are received and acted upon.
As we have said, in the early forms of life the Instinctive Mind worked on alone, uninfluenced by Intellect (for Intellect had not yet unfolded or developed) totally unconscious, as in plant life. As the scale of evolution was mounted, the animal began to become dimly conscious, and commenced to be “aware” of things, and to perform a something like primitive reasoning about them. In order to protect itself from its enemies, the animal had to be guided by the rudimentary consciousness which was beginning to unfold, and which manifested in and through the Instinctive Mind. Some animals progressed more rapidly than others of their kind, and naturally began to assert themselves and their peculiar power -they found themselves doing the thinking for their fellows.
They came to be recognized as being the ones to look to in cases of danger, or when food became scarce, and their leading was generally recognized and followed. Leaders sprang up in flocks and herds, and not alone (as has been commonly taught in the text-books) because of their brute strength, but also because of their superior brain-power, which may be described as “cunning.” The “cunning” animal was quick to recognize danger, and to take means to avoid it – quick to discover new ways to gain food, and overcome the common enemy, or the prey. Anyone who has been much around domestic animals – or who has studied the ways of the wild animals who flock together – will realize exactly what we mean. The few led and directed, and the many blindly followed and were led.
And, as the development went on, and Man was evolved, the same thing manifested itself – leaders sprang into prominence and were obeyed. And all along the history of the race up until the present time, this same state of affairs exists. A few lead and the many follow. Man is an obedient and imitative animal. The great majority of people are like sheep – give them a “bell-wether” and they will gladly follow the tinkle of the bell.
But mark this fact – it is a most important one â€“ it is not always the man or woman of the greatest amount of what we call “intellectual. attainment,” education or “book-learning” who is the leader of men – on the contrary, many of such people are often the most confirmed followers of leaders. The man or woman who leads is the one who feels within himself, or herself, that something which may be called a consciousness of power – an awareness of the real source of strength and power behind them and in them. This “awareness” may not be recognized by the Intellect, it may not be understood, but the individual feels somehow that he is possessed of power and force, or is in contact with power and force which he may use. And (speaking of the ordinary man) he consequently gives himself a personal credit for it, and begins to use his power. He feels the reality of the word “I” He feels himself as an individual – a real thing – an entity – and he, instinctively, proceeds to assert himself. These people, as a rule, do not understand the source of their power, but it is a matter of “feeling” with them, and they naturally make use of the power. They influence others, without understanding just “how,” and often wonder how it all comes about. And how does it come about? Let us see.
Let us look to the persons who are influenced. What part of their mental mechanism or armament is affected? The Instinctive Mind, of course. And why are their Instinctive Minds affected so easily, while others are so much less so? That’s just the point; let us look into the matter. In the original state, and during the process of evolution, the Instinctive Mind was not influenced thusly, because there was nothing to influence it. But as Man developed, the individuals who became aware of the dawning sense of their “individuality” and real power, began to assert themselves, and their own Instinctive Minds and the Instinctive Minds of others began to be influenced. The man whose consciousness of individuality – whose awareness of the “I” is largely developed, invariably influences the Instinctive Mind of the one in whom the consciousness is not so fully developed.
The Instinctive Mind of the less conscious man takes up and acts upon the suggestions of the stronger “I,” and also allows the latter’s thought-waves to beat upon it and to be absorbed. Remember, once more, that it is not the man of purely intellectual attainment, culture, or “learning” who has this consciousness, although, of course, the higher the intellectual attainment of the man the greater the scope of the power of the conscious “I” he may possess.
Uneducated men are seen to have this power, as well as the most highly educated, and although their deficient education and training prevents them making use of their power to the extent possible to their more favored brother, still they exert an influence upon all in their “class,” and also upon many who have greater intellectual powers than have they. It is not a matter of education, or of abstract reasoning, etc. – it is a matter of “consciousness.”
Those who possess it somehow feel the “I” within them, and although it often leads one to an absurd degree of egotism, vain self-pride and conceit, yet a man possessing this consciousness to any extent invariably influences others and forces his way through the world. The world has given to this manifestation of this consciousness the name of “self-confidence,” etc. You will readily recognize it, if you think a moment and look around you a little. There are, of course, many degrees of this consciousness, and, everything else being equal, the man or woman will exert an influence upon others in precisely the degree that they possess this power. This consciousness may be developed and increased. It is, however, inferior to the consciousness of the man or woman of spiritual attainment, or development, whose powers greatly exceed this consciousness on the mental plane.
But to get back to our subject of how the Instinctive Mind is influenced. The man whose consciousness of “I” is sufficiently developed, suggests to his own Instinctive Mind, and the latter naturally looks to its master as the only source of command or instruction. But the one who has not this consciousness has given but feeble commands of this kind, and his Instinctive Mind is not instilled with that confidence that it should possess, and finds its master frequently (often invariably) allowing it to receive the commands and instructions of others, until it automatically takes up and acts upon almost any forcible suggestion coming from without. Such outside suggestions may be either verbal sugges tions or suggestions conveyed by the thought-waves of others.
Many people have no confidence whatever in their own “I” – they are like human sheep, and naturally follow their leader – in fact, are unhappy unless they are led. The more forcible the commands, the more ready they are to obey. Any statement made to them positively and authoritatively is accepted and acted upon. Such people live upon “authority,” and constantly seek for “precedents” and “examples” – they need somebody to lean upon.
To sum up the matter-they are mentally lazy so far as exercising the “I” consciousness and developing the same is concerned – and they consequently have not asserted their control over their Instinctive Mind, but allow it to be open to the suggestions and influence of others, who, very often, are less qualified to direct it than they are themselves, but who happen to have a little more “self-confidence” and “assurance”-a little more consciousness of the “I”.