We cannot attempt, in the short space of a single lesson, to map out a course of instruction in Character Building adapted to the special needs of each individual. But we think that what we have said on the subject should be sufficient to point out the method for each student to map out a course for himself, following the general rules given above. As a help to the student, however, we will give a brief course of instruction for the cultivation of one desirable trait of character.
The general plan of this course may be adapted to fit the requirements of any other case, if intelligence is used by the student. The case we have selected is that of a student who has been suffering from “a lack of Moral Courage–a lack of Self-Confidence–an inability to maintain my poise in the presence of other people–an inability to say ‘No!’–a feeling of Inferiority to those with whom I come in contact.” The brief outline of the course of practice given in this case is herewith given:
You should fix firmly in your mind the fact that you are the Equal of any and every man. You come from the same source. You are an expression of the same One Life. In the eyes of the Absolute you are the equal of any man, even the highest in the land. Truth is “Things as God sees them”–and in Truth you and the man are equal, and, at the last, One. All feelings of Inferiority are illusions, errors, and lies, and have no existence in Truth. When in the company of others remember this fact and realize that the Life Principle in you is talking to the Life Principle in them. Let the Life Principle flow through you, and endeavor to forget your personal self. At the same time, endeavor to see that same Life Principle, behind and beyond the personality of the person in whose presence you are. He is by a personality hiding the Life Principle, just as you are. Nothing more–nothing less! You are both One in Truth. Let the conscious of the “I” beam forth and you will experience an uplift and sense of Courage, and the other will likewise feel it. You have within you the Source of Courage, Moral and Physical, and you have naught to Fear–Fearlessness is your Divine Heritage, avail yourself of it. You have Self-Conscience, for the Self is the “I” within you, not the petty personality, and you must have confidence in that “I.” Retreat within yourself until you feel the presence of the “I,” and then will you have a Self-Confidence that nothing can shake or disturb. Once having attained the permanent consciousness of the “I,” you will have poise. Once having realized that you are a Center of Power, you will have no difficulty in saying “No!” when it is right to do so. Once having realized your true nature–your Real Self–you will lose all sense of Inferiority, and will know that you are a manifestation of the One Life and have behind you the strength, power, and grandeur of the Cosmos. Begin by realizing YOURSELF, and then proceed with the following methods of training the mind.
It is difficult for the mind to build itself around an idea, unless that idea be expressed in words. A word is the center of an idea, just as the idea is the center of the mental image, and the mental image the center of the growing mental habit. Therefore, the Yogis always lay great stress upon the use of words in this way. In the particular case before us, we should suggest the holding before you of a few words crystallizing the main thought. We suggest the words “I Am”; Courage; Confidence; Poise; Firmness; Equality. Commit these words to memory, and then endeavor to fix in your mind a clear conception of the meaning of each word, so that each may stand for a Live Idea when you say it. Beware of parrot-like or phonographic repetition. Let each word’s meaning stand out clearly before you, so that when you repeat it you may feel its meaning. Repeat the words over frequently, when opportunity presents itself, and you will soon begin to notice that they act as a strong mental tonic upon you, producing a bracing, energizing effect. And each time you repeat the words, understandingly, you have done something to clear away the mental path over which you wish to travel.
When you are at leisure, and are able to indulge in “day dreams” without injury to your affairs of life, call your imagination into play and endeavor to picture yourself as being possessed of the qualities indicated by the words named. Picture yourself under the most trying circumstances, making use of the desired qualities, and manifesting them fully. Endeavor to picture yourself as acting out your part well, and exhibiting the desired qualities.
Do not be ashamed to indulge in these day-dreams, for they are the prophecies of the things to follow, and you are but rehearsing your part before the day of the performance. Practice makes perfect, and if you accustom yourself to acting in a certain way in imagination, you will find it much easier to play your part when the real performance occurs. This may seem childish to many of you, but if you have an actor among your acquaintances, consult him about it, and you will find that he will heartily recommend it. He will tell you what practice does for one in this direction, and how repeated practice and rehearsals may fix a character so firmly in a man’s mind that he may find it difficult to divest himself of it after a time. Choose well the part you wish to play–the character you wish to be yours–and then after fixing it well in your mind, practice, practice, practice. Keep your ideal constantly before you, and endeavor to grow into it. And you will succeed, if you exercise patience and perseverance.
But, more than this. Do not confine your practice to mere private rehearsal. You need some “dress rehearsals” as well–rehearsals in public. Therefore, after you get well started in your work, manage to exercise your growing character-habits in your everyday life. Pick out the little cases first and “try it on them.”
You will find that you will be able to overcome conditions that formerly bothered you much. You will become conscious of a growing strength and power coming from within, and you will recognize that you are indeed a changed person. Let your thought express itself in action, whenever you get a good chance. But do not try to force chances just to try your strength. Do not, for instance, try to force people to ask for favors that you may say “No!” You will find plenty of genuine tests without forcing any. Accustom yourself to looking people in the eye, and feeling the power that is back of you, and within you. You will soon be able to see through their personality, and realize that it is just one portion of the One Life gazing at another portion, and that therefore there is nothing to be afraid of. A realization of your Real Self will enable you to maintain your poise under trying circumstances, if you will but throw aside your false idea about your personality. Forget yourself–your little personal self–for a while, and fix your mind on the Universal Self of which you are a part. All these things that have worried you are but incidents of the Personal Life, and are seen to be illusions when viewed from the standpoint of the Universal Life.
Carry the Universal Life with you as much as possible into your everyday life. It belongs there as much as anywhere, and will prove to be a tower of strength and refuge to you in the perplexing situations of your busy life.
Remember always that the Ego is master of the mental states and habits, and that the Will is the direct instrument of the Ego, and is always ready for its use. Let your soul be filled with the strong Desire to cultivate those mental habits that will make you Strong. Nature’s plan is to produce Strong Individual expressions of herself, and she will be glad to give you her aid in becoming strong. The man who wishes to strengthen himself will always find great forces back of him to aid him in the work, for is he not carrying out one of Nature’s pet plans, and one which she has been striving for throughout the ages. Anything that tends to make you realize and express your Mastery, tends to strengthen you, and places at your disposal Nature’s aid. You may witness this in everyday life–Nature seems to like strong individuals, and delights in pushing them ahead. By Mastery, we mean mastery over your own lower nature, as well as over outside nature, of course. The “I” is Master–forget it not, O student, and assert it constantly. Peace be with you.
MANTRAM (OR AFFIRMATION).
I am the Master of my Mental Habits–I control my Character. I Will to be
Strong, and summon the forces of my Nature to my aid.