New Thought Creates New Life
Nothing Else Will so Exhaust the Vitality or Whittle Away Life as Violent Fits of Hatred, Bitter Jealousy, or a Determination for Revenge — How the Law of Suggestion Works and the Influence That Comes From the Exercise of Refined and Uplifting Thought and Sentiment.
Orison Swett Marden in Success Magazine
A CHAMPION prize-fighter says that he does not train for his contests. “The weight question,” he declares, “is the least of my troubles. I can make one hundred and thirty-three pounds with ease, and while it is not generally known to the public, I will get down to this weight by thinking about making it. I get rid of flesh by always keeping in mind that I must make the weight. I just keep telling myself that I've got to get down to the notch. The articles leave nothing for me to do but to be at weight, and I will continue to keep this in mind."
As will be seen later in this article, the famous experiments of Professor Anderson, of Yale University, prove that the strength of muscles can be increased immensely by mental action alone, without any physical exercise whatever.
We hear a great deal about the power of the mind over the body. Why, the whole secret of life is wrapped up in it. We do not know the A. B, C of this great, mysterious power, though the civilized world is rapidly awakening to its transforming force. The prophet, the poet, the sage, from earliest times have felt and recognized it.
“Be ye transformed by the renewing power of your mind," Paul admonished the Romans. “ Tis the mind that makes the body rich,” says Shakespeare. “What we commonly call man,” writes Emerson, “the eating, drinking, planting, counting man, does not, as we know him, represent himself, but misrepresents himself. Him we do not respect ; but the soul, whose organ he is, would he let it appear through his action. would make our knees bend.”
To-day even the prize-fighter, the uneducated, as well as the educated, the man who lives on the animal plane even as the man who lives on the spiritual plane, in fact, all sorts of people, are beginning to see that there is some tremendous force back of the flesh which they do not understand. The rapid growth of the metaphysical movement shows how actively this idea of man’s hidden power is working in the minds of all classes.
As early as 1858, many years before anybody else thought of doing so, Professor Moses G. Farmer, inventor and scientist, lighted his residence in Salem, Massachusetts, by electricity. Others in different countries used the same mysterious force, without knowing just what it was. The magnet was used in a great variety of ways, and probably those who first utilized it thought they had each discovered a different principle. Yet all these little systems were only the manifestations of one mighty electrical force, which is destined to emancipate man from most of the drudgery of life, and to cater to his comfort and convenience in innumerable ways.
So the various manifestations of what, for the want of a more expressive term, we may call the New Thought, appearing in one place under the name of Christian Science, in another as Mataphysical Healing, in another as Mind Science, Mental Medicine, etc., are all indications of, and point toward, one mighty, divine principle, which is destined to revolutionize our civilization.
The old is always an enemy of the new. Conservatism, prejudice, long intrenched habits and ideas, can not tolerate change. Yet, notwithstanding that this whole meta-
physical movement has been fought desperately by the established order oi: things, it has steadily, persistently gained ground until scores of churches, some of which had opposed the newcomer most desperately, have now adopted one of its leading principles1—the healing of the body.
There are already more than a half thousand Christian Science churches, and scores of New Thought churches and New Thought schools. What is called the Emanuel Movement has been taken up by a great many orthodox churches in Toston, Chicago, New York and many other places. Metaphysical schools are springing up under different titles in all parts of the civilized world. People are beginning to get hold of little bits of one great divine truth, one vast and beautiful whole, which is destined to bring harmony to many heretofore conflicting methods of reaching a common good by furnishing a universal principle upon which people of all sorts of faith and creed can unite.
Some of our best physicians, who only a few years ago ridiculed mental healing, are beginning to adopt the principle—so far as they know how—in their practise; especially the power of suggestion. They are finding that their patients are often more affected by mental medicine, by their calls, their encouragement and good cheer, than by their pills. They are finding, too, that the mental attitude of the patient has everything to do with the effect of the disease, that it often proves the turning-point in a crisis. The result of all this mental influence is a very marked falling off in the use of drugs. Many of our leading physicians give but very little medicine, because they have very little faith in it. It is now well known that scores of eminent physicians employ metaphysical healing in their own families and often for themselves. Even the regular medical schools are taking up the subject of mental medicine in their lecture courses.
Hampered as this great movement still is by the errors and extravagances of overzealous followers, and also by the fraud of charlatans, who take advantage of the opportunities it offers to impose on the credulous and ignorant, there is no doubt that the basic principle of this metaphysical movement, has opened up many possibilities of mind building, character building, body building, and even business building, which
are destined to bring untold blessings to the world.
We are beginning to see that we can renew our bodies by renewing our thoughts; change our bodies by changing our thoughts ; that by holding the thought of what we wish to become, we can become what we desire. Instead of being the victims of fate, we can order our fate; we can largely determine what it shall be. Our destiny changes with our thought. We shall become what we wish to become when our habitual thought corresponds with the desire.
“For each bad emotion,” says Professor Elmer Gates, “there is a corresponding chemical change in the tissues of the body. Every good emotion makes a life-promoting change. Every thought which enters the mind is registered in the brain by a change in the structure of its cells. The change is a physical change more or less permanent.
“Any one may go into the business of building his own mind for an hour each day, calling up pleasant memories and ideas. Let him summon feelings of benevolence and unselfishness, making this a regular exercise like swinging dumb-bells. Let him gradually increase the time devoted to these physical gymnastics, until it reaches sixty or ninety minutes per diem. At the end of a month he will find the change in himself surprising. The alteration will be apparent in his actions and thoughts. It will have registered in the cell structure of his brain.”
There is nothing truer than that “we can make ourselves over by using and develop-, ing the right kind of thought-forces.”
Not long ago a young man whom I had not seen for several years called on me, and I was amazed at the tremendous change in him. When I had last seen him he was pessimistic, discouraged, almost despairing; he had soured on life, lost confidence in human nature and in himself. During the interval he had completely changed. The sullen, bitter expression that used to characterize his face was replaced by one of joy and gladness! He was radiant, cheerful, hopeful, happy.
The young man had married a cheerful, optimistic wife, who had the happy faculty of laughing him out of his “blues,” or melancholy, changing the tenor of his thoughts, cheering him up, and making him put a higher estimate on himself. His re-
moval from an unhappy environment, together with his wife s helpful “new thought" influence and his own determination to make good, had all worked together to bring about a revolution in his mental make-up. The love-principle and the use of the right thought-force had verily made a new man of him.
He is a fortunate man who early learns the secret of scientific brain-building, and who acquires the inestimable art of holding the right suggestion in his mind, so that he can triumph over the dominant note in his environment when it is unfriendly to his highest good.
That man is truly great who at will can master his moods; who knows enough of mental chemistry to neutralize a fit of the "blues" with the opposite thought, just as a chemist neutralizes an acid which is eating into his flesh by applying an alkaline antidote. A man ignorant of chemistry might apply another acid which would eat still deeper into his flesh ; but the chemist knows the antidote of the particular acid that is doing the mischief. He can kill its corrosive. eating quality in an instant, for he knows the secret.
So the mental chemist knows how to counteract the corrosive, wearing, tearing, power of the despondent, depressing thought by its cheerful antidote. He knows that the optimistic thought is sure death to the pessimistic. He knows that harmony will quickly neutralize any form of discord; that the health thought will antidote the ailing, sick thought; that the love thought will kill the hatred thought, the jealous thought.
Many of us keep our minds more or less poisoned much of the time because of our ignorance of mental chemistry. We suffer from mental self-poison and do not know it. Neither do we know how to antidote the poison passions which are working havoc in our bodies.
Nothing else will so exhaust the vitality and whittle away life as violent fits of hatred, bitter jealousy, or a determination for revenge. We see the victims of these passions worn out. haggard, old, even before they have reached middle life. There are cases on record where fierce jealousy and hatred raging through the system aged the victims by years in a few days or weeks.
Yet these mental poisons are just as
easily antidoted, conqueren, as physical poisons which have well-known antidotes. If we are sick with a fever we go to a physician for an antidote; but when jealousy or hatred is ranging within us we suffer tortures until the fever gradually wears itself out, not knowing that by an application of love which would quickly antidote it. we could easily have avoided not only the suffering but also the wear and tear on the entire system.
As there is no filth, no impurity, in any water which can not be removed by the science of chemistry, so there is no human mind so filthy, so poisoned with vicious thinking and vicious habits, so saturated with vice, that it can not be cleared up by right thinking; by the counter suggestion of the thing that has polluted it.
An acid is instantly killed by the presence of an alkali. Fire can not exist in the presence of its opposite, carbonic acid gas or water. We can not drive hatred, jealousy, or revenge out of the mind by will power, by trying to force them out. Love is the alkali which will antidote them. The way to get rid of discord is to flood the mind with harmony; then the discord vanishes. The way to get despondency and discouragement out of the mind is to fill it with encouraging, hopeful, cheerful pictures. The discouragement, the despondency, flee before their natural antidotes. Fear, worry, anxiety, envy, moroseness, melancholy, can all be neutralized by their opposites. We need not be passive victims of the harmful suggestions around us.
We little realize what forces lie dormant within us, until they are aroused and stimulated. If we could take a muscle out of the arm and see how much weight it would support without breaking, we should find that it would be extremely small in comparison with the tremendous strength which is actually exerted in a great emergency. In Professor Anderson’s experiments with Yale students, he registered the strength of the right and left arms of eleven young men. The average strength of the right arm was one hundred and eleven pounds ; of the left, ninety-six pounds. The men were put upon special exercises with the right hand only, with instructions to centre their thought wholly on the left. At the end of a week tests of both arms were again made. The average strength of the right arm had increased six pounds, while
that of the unexercised left had increased eleven pounds, thus proving that the concentrated brain exercise exerted even a greater force in developing the muscles than the physical exercise without the accompaniment of the mental influence. 'Flic power which mind imparts to muscle in an emergency is beyond all belief.
Many a delicate woman, who could scarcely wait upon herself, has, when some great catastrophe removed her husband and swept her property away, risen to the occasion and not only taken care of herself but also supported and educated her children. Power came from somewhere which made her equal to the emergency, and enabled her to do that which seemed absolutely impossible. We do what we have to. We never know what we can do until an emergency great enough to call out our reserves confronts us. Then the dominating power of the mind gives abnormal strength to the body and sweeps all obstacles before it. The mind is king; the body is its servant.
The whole body is really a projected mind, objectified, made tangible. It is an outpicturing of the mind in material form. When we look at a person we actually see the mind, or what his thinking has made him. It is well known that real gray brain matter can be developed to a very remarkable degree in the tips of the fingers, as is illustrated by the blind, who can even detect shades of color, quality, texture, and other things by their marvelous sense of touch. Now, this is a projection of the brain to the tips of the fingers, showing that our thought permeates the whole body.
Why is it that a deaf, dumb and blind person instinctively feels the presence of a grand or of a vicious personality near him? It is because of the powerful radiation of his character from every part of the body.
All this shows what a dangerous, what a fatal thing it is to hold in the mind a wrong suggestion, for it tends to become a part of us, and, before we realize it, we are that suggestion or thought.
We all know that it is constant contemplation of good things, of holy things, that incites to the doing of them and makes the saintly person ; that the constant dwelling upon and contemplation of the beautiful, the sublime, the noble, the true and the effort to incorporate them into the life, are what make the beautiful character. 'Flic life follows the thought. There is no law
clearer than that. There is no getting away from it.
Probably the majority of criminals were never told what a dangerous thing it is to harbor criminal thoughts, to contemplate criminal acts. 1 hey were probably never told of the power of suggestion, that the life must follow the ideals, that the thoughts are incorporated into habit, and that habit rules the life. They dwelt upon the thought of crime so long that before they were aware of it they actually committed the deed.
A criminal who has served twenty-five years in the different penitentiaries in New York State says that he did not have the slightest conscious thought of ever becoming a criminal. But he had a natural love of doing things which seemed impossible for others, and when he went by a rich man’s residence he could not help thinking out different ways of entering the house at night, until he finally attempted it. He took great pride in going from room to room while everybody was asleep and getting out without waking any one. Every time he did this he felt that sense of triumph which follows difficult achievement. He said he did not rob so much for the value of the things he stole as to gratify his passion for taking risks, and he could hardly believe it when he found himself actually doing the things he had so long contemplated. He had held the thought of stealing so long in his mind that it had become a part of his very nature.
Fhe jealous man who thinks he has been seriously wronged harbors the thought of revenge and thinks of ways and means of getting “square” with his enemy until he finally takes his life. Lie may not have intended it at first, or even thought it possible; but his mind became abnormal by harboring the jealous thought. His love of revenge grew until finally his mind became unbalanced and he committed the terrible deed.
Think of the awful responsibility of the “yellow press” in throwing out in picture, in cartoon, in print, the daily suggestion of murder, of suicide, of crime in all its forms, of scandal, with all the insidious suggestiveness which lives in detailed description ! 'Flic time will come when the man who publishes these frightful descriptions of crime will he regarded as an enemy of his race.
On the other hand, think of the treinend ous influence of the suggestion which conies from the contemplation of great, heroic characters and noble deeds, from the contemplation of beauty in all its infinite variety of expression, of sublimity, of grandeur in nature and in human life.
The law of suggestion is just as exact in its working as the law of mathematics.
If a child is brought up in a vicious atmosphere. where the suggestion of vice is constantly held in his mind, where the animal portion of his brain is over-developed, and there is no compensating stimulus in his environment to bring out the good qualities or characteristics, then, unless he develops an unusual creative mental attitude to enable him to combat the evil suggestions about him, his mind will become unbalanced, set toward evil.
One-sided development, a lack of brain balance, is the cause of most, or all, of the viciousness and crime in our civilization. A e are creatures of suggestion, and especially is childhood extremely sensitive to it. The child is a human seed of infinite possibilities, and its development depends very largely upon its environment. Its brain is like the sensitive-plate of the photographer, which responds to the slightest stimulus. How quickly children reflect the characteristics of their environment, .whether vulgar or refined, criminal or uplifting, base or noble !
A e are just beginning to realize the immense possibilities of brain-building, of faculty-developing, in the young. A woman living in a poor section of a city recently visited one of the kindergarten schools to thank the teachers for the im-
proved manners of her children. She said in effect that neither she nor her husband had ever had any training or education, that they were rough and coarse, and that the first suggestion of good manners was brought into their home by their children from the kindergarten. The children of those poor people had become courteous and considerate of the other members of the family.
Their little “Manners” plays, “Justice” plays, “Courage” plays, “Sympathy” plays, and the other morality plays which they had acted in the school, and which they delighted to play at home, interested the parents almost as much as they did the juvenile actors. The sweet, kindly, and helpful dispositions which the children brought into the home revolutionized it.
It is well known that brain activity creates brain structure, and in this lies the hope of the race, not only for a larger, grander mental development, but also for the creation and improvement of character in the changing of thought and habit.
One of the great problems in establishing wireless telegraphy was the neutralizing or getting rid of the influence of conflicting currents going in every direction through the atmosphere. The great problem of character-building is to counteract, to nullify, conflicting thought-currents, discordant thought-currents, which bring all sorts of bad suggestions to the mind. Tens of thousands have already solved this problem. Each one can apply mental chemistry, the right thought-current to neutralize the wrong one. Each one can solve his own problem, can make his character what he will.