Had these lessons been written twenty years ago, instead of today, it would have been a most difficult task to have awakened the understanding of the Western public to the importance of the power of thought, its nature, its effects.
Twenty years ago but comparatively few people in the Western world knew anything about the subject in question, and, outside of a few occultists, the words of the teacher would have been regarded as the wildest utterances. But, during the time mentioned, the Western world has been slowly educated to at least a partial understanding of the power of thought, and echoes of the great Oriental teachings on this subject have reached the ears of nearly every thinking person in the Western world, this being particularly true of Great Britain and America.
This awakening is in accordance with natural laws, and is a part of the evolution of the race. It is true that much of the teaching has come from persons who have had but a partial awakening to the truth, and consequently the teachings have been more or less crude and imperfect and more or less colored by the personal theories and speculations of the various teachers who have been writing and speaking upon the subject.
The average Western student, who has been interested in the various movements which may be roughly grouped together under the style of “The New Thought,” has been more or less confused by the apparently conflicting theories and teachings which have resulted from the various speculations and theories of the numerous teachers who have sprung up, grown, and in many cases afterward “gone to seed.” But a careful analysis will show that underlying all of the teachings are certain fundamental facts which the awakened mind grasps as truth.
All of these teachers have done good work, and, in fact, the teachings of each have reached certain minds which needed the particular thing taught by the particular teacher, and which teaching was the very best possible, considering the particular stage of development of the student. Many students have obtained much good from certain teachers, and have then grown beyond the teacher and his teaching, and have in turn become teachers themselves, giving forth to others the truth as it came to them, more or less colored by their own personality.
The careful student who has taken the trouble to run down to fundamental principles the teachings of these new schools of thought, will have discovered that they all rest upon the Oriental teachings which reach back beyond written history, and which have been the common property of occultists of all ages and races.
This “New Thought” is really the oldest thought, but the modern presentation of it comes as a new thing to those who hear it today, and the new movement is entitled to full credit for its work, and the advanced occultist knows that the fundamental truth lying underneath all of these conflicting theories will be gradually uncovered and brought to light, the speculations and pet theories of the various teachers being thrown aside.