Henry Wood.

Studies in the thought world : or, Practical mind art online

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PREFACE.



In response to frequent requests from friendly
co-workers and students of truth, these disconnected
studies are gathered and presented to the public in
book form. A part of the volume consists of lec-
tures and essays which have not before been pub-
lished, while the others (subjected to some changes)
are here reproduced through the courtesy of the
publishers of the various magazines in which they
originally appeared. 1

While all the papers are metaphysical, psychologi-
cal, or evolutionary in character, they are, with one
or two exceptions, essentially unitary, and therefore
the order in which they are placed is not significant.
Like "short .stories," each is measurably complete 1
in itself.

The power, quality, and exercise of the human
thinking-faculty are attracting unwonted attention
and interest, and the potency of concentrated ideals

1 The magazines referred to are The Metaphysical Magazine,
New York; The Arena, Boston; Universal Truth, Chicago; The
Christian Metaphysician, Chicago ; The Journal of Hygiene, New
York ; Health Culture, New York ; and one or two others which
have been discontinued.

5



6 PREFACE.

Iis increasingly understood and utilized. The price-
less value of impersonal truth, and the saving power
of optimism, are receiving increased and merited
appreciation.

It is not merely a duty, but rather a privilege, for
the author of this book to join with many others
in urging forward the great cause of the higher life,
and of a general human incarnation of the divine
quality.

All truth which is above the plane of the intellect
should be accepted, not upon external authority, but
just in the measure that it receives the full sanc-
tion of the inner "Guide," or spiritual intuition of
the individual. To aid in and point out the law of
the development of this supernal faculty to his
readers is the writer's earnest desire and effort.

It may be observed that some basic principles are
reiterated in various settings and combinations. This
is due to the character of the book, and to the fact
^that vital truth needs repeated and positive delinea-
tion in order that it may become mentally graphic.

Boston, 1896.



CONTENTS.



PAGE

Ownership through Idealism , . 9

The Evolutionary Climb of Man 18

A Great Art Museum 40

The Yital Energy and Its Increase 46

A Corrected Standpoint in Psychical Research 53

The Divinity of Nature 63

The Hygiene of the Consciousness 82

What is Man ? 87

Our Relations to Environment .„ . 100

Divinity and Humanity 108

Has Mental Healing a Yalid Scientific and

Religious Basis ? 113

The Unity of Diversity 143

The Dynamics of Mind 156

auto-suggestion and concentration 170

Human Evolution and the " Fall " . ISO

Omnipresent Divinity 107

Mental and Physical Chemistry in the Human

Economy 213f

The Education of Thought 232

The Nature and Uses of Pain 238

The Sub-conscious Mind 250

The Psychology of Crime 256

The Signs of the Times 267

7



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STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.



OWNERSHIP THROUGH IDEALISM.

There is a universal craving for desirable things ;
but in many particulars there would be wide varia-
tion of opinion as to what is deservedly to be sought.
The subjective bias of different individuals is very
unlike; and it is this, rather than abstract merit,
which determines the quality and intensity of per-
sonal demand.

The lack of completeness is a universal feeling;
therefore there is a general reaching out for some-
thing not yet realized. This longing is vague, and
not readily interpreted ; consequently its real signif-
icance is generally misunderstood. Experience shows
that, as one object after another that has been sought
is gained, the demand is at once enlarged ; so that,
contrary to expectation, the feeling of incomplete-
ness, instead of being satisfied, is even more accen-
tuated. Man stretches out his hands, and grasps
that which he has craved, but is surprised to find
that the hunger within him has moved forward, and
far outstripped its former outermost limit. When
intelligently comprehended, however, he finds that

9



10 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

this divine dissatisfaction is what differentiates him
from the beast, and keeps him faced God-ward.

Alexander wept for other worlds to conquer; and
this spirit of out-reaching for new accomplishments
and greater possessions is a universal experience.
One who had attained everything he desired 'would
be rightly accounted either as abnormal or idiotic.
There will be a normal feeling of incompleteness in
every human being until, in a certain sense, he feels
and realizes that all things are his own.

The cravings of humanity begin upon the lowest
plane, and not only expand in breadth, but reach
continually higher. The infantile demand for sim-
ple warmth and nourishment is but the starting-point
of desires which are absolutely illimitable in extent
and duration. On all the lower planes of conscious-
ness the expectation is general that perfect content-
ment is to follow the attainment of present low and
limited ideals. This acts like a powerful but ever-
retreating magnet, which draws men onward, and
still onward.

The young man who engages in business says,
'• When I have accumulated such a sum I shall be
content, and anything further will be a superfluity."
But before that point is reached the resistless de-
mand has swept on in advance. The artist sets
before him a high standard which will fill the meas-
ure of his ambition; but, in time, that which was at
the summit of his desire is left below in the dim



OWNERSHIP THROUGH IDEALISM. 11

distance. The scientist will solve a great problem,
or utilize a new discovery, and then rest contentedly
upon his laurels ; but, as he moves on, grander views
loom up before him, and unseen hands beckon him
forward. This universal soul-hunger for comple-
ment, or rather possession, is normal and good. It
is the divinity in man which gravitates upward.

But wholesome dissatisfaction, like every other
normal quality, is capable of perversion; and this
mistake is almost universal upon the lower planes
of man's nature. This noble quality, which in the
evolutionary unfoldment of the past was only reached
as he emerged above the level of animalism, is un-
wittingly turned backward in its action, and centred
upon things which are below its own legitimate
domain. Alexander's desire to conquer was laudable,
but his application of the law was a sadly erroneous
one.

Every one may rightly aspire to "own the earth,"
but not through physical conquest, or by means of
legal title-deeds and exclusion. There is a higher
and a truer kind of ownership. The realist will
exclaim that such an idea is purely imaginative, and
has no solid basis. But let us look more deeply. It
is true that, in a sense, we often have outward pos-
session or control of things we do not own. But
making the closest application of true ownership, let
us inquire as to the proper method of taking an
inventory of one's assets.



12 STUDIES IK THE THOUGHT WORLD.

Before passing to the metaphysical definition of
ownership, which is by far the most real and in-
trinsic, it is proper to say that we do not in the least
impinge upon the legitimate rights of material own-
ership in its own domain. This right, as recognized
by all organized governments, is to be sacredly ob-
served. To question it would be to introduce an-
archy and chaos in the place of law and order. It
is indispensable upon its own plane and in its own
time, and will rightly remain until outgrown by
regular processes of evolutionary advancement.

The millionnaire is the object of much envy be-
cause his actual possessions are assumed to be large.
But real ownership requires capacity. That impor-
tant factor has been left out of the account. No one
can truly own beyond it. A legal title may give
outward control, but true ownership is deeper. Ca-
pacity, or power to contain, cannot be enlarged to
order. In reality, one owns that which he can ab-
sorb, appropriate, and appreciate, and no more.

Suppose two men together roam through a great
conservatory. One has the title-deeds of the same
in his pocket, but is quite destitute of all aesthetic
feeling and cultivation. To him it is only a piece
of " property " representing a sum of money. It is
not a conservatory in uses or purpose. He is inca-
pable of its real ownership. Its wealth consists not
even in the color, fragrance, and graceful proportion
of every plant and flower, but in their intelligent



OWNERSHIP THROUGH IDEALISM. 13

appreciation. Its value is contained in the delight
which these can awaken in the soul of the beholder.
As a conservatory it has no other uses. The com-
panion of the title-holder may be penniless ; but, if
he have the developed capacity, the riches he beholds
are his own. The other may externally manage a
conservatory, but he cannot own one. The same
is true of the riches of a great library, and of the
beauty and quality enshrined in art, architecture,
nature, or a landscape. But ownership, in its true
sense, is not limited to the aesthetic appreciation of
material things, but covers the whole range of moral
and spiritual quality and attainment. Even the ideal
things in the character of our neighbor, which we
have not yet actualized, are ours, through love and
appreciation. Every true quality that one desires
is his, wherever it be found. We may thus take
possession and pay for what we wish, without the
formality of legal documents, " signed, sealed, and
delivered."

The wealth of the realist and materialist is very
meagre, for they are only rich in deficiency and limi-
tation. Riches to them are impossible except through
the narrow channel of title-deeds. Instead of enter-
ing into possession of the admitted superior qualities
of their neighbor, contrast makes them feel poor.
To rejoice in another's superior and superb health,
wisdom, talent, or beauty, which we are not yet
manifesting, is gradually to take possession of them



14 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

without dispossessing him. Idealism breeds riches
because the good, the true, and the beautiful, in their
universal aggregate, belong, not merely to the com-
munity in general, but to each individual member.
Measured by the financial scale, each one becomes a
multi-millionnaire, minus the usual care and anxiety.

If the ego be soul, and not matter, it is obvious
that all real proprietorship must be mental and spir-
itual. Of necessity it must be subjective, while the
holding of legal titles means only objective regula-
tion. The treasures of the mind and investments in
ideals are not subject to decline or bankruptcy, and
the market is never glutted. With the enlargement
of the capital stock comes the continual growth of
the power of acquirement. But those mental powers
which through a special training gain an expertness
that commands only a commercial value — which com-
]3rises nine-tenths of so-called education — are only
technical and subordinate. True education is the
increase of the richness of the mind for its own sake.

All the accumulated attainments of science, tri-
umphs of art, researches of philosophy, achievements
of invention, penetration of logic, music of poetry,
grandeur of heroism — even the ecstasy of love, the
beauty of virtue, and the very inspiration of the
Spirit of Truth — belong, not all to all, but all to
each. Emerson, the great idealist and intuitive
philosopher of modern times, graphically moulds this
grand truth : —



OWNERSHIP THROUGH IDEALISM. 15

"I am owner of the sphere,
Of the seven stars and. the solar year,
Of Caesar's hand and Plato's brain,
Of Lord Christ's heart and Shakespeare's strain."

Idealism is the vital element in religion. Paul,
philosopher as well as apostle, crowned the apex of
a pyramid of spiritual wealth with the aphorism,
" All things are yours." From Plato down to Em-
erson, all the great idealists have been capitalists in
the profoundest sense.

What a contrast between the puny, material title-
deed, which is not only superficial, but exclusive, and
the ideal law of acquirement, whereby every one
may own everything ! Poverty is a condition of soul.
This is even true on the material plane. The mil-
lionnaire who feels poor is poor, and nothing but a
mental revolution can make him otherwise. On the
other hand, the humblest task and the simplest gift
may be transmuted into a pleasure and privilege.
The world is full of poor people who are rich, but
they are utterly unaware of it. There are boundless
deposits of virtue, love, goodness, beauty, health, and
happiness waiting for drafts to be made upon them.
But the eyes of the world in general are fixed upon
deficiency, and they see little else.

The pessimist will ridicule such a philosophy, and
tell us to come down to the facts ; to get out of the
clouds, and stand upon the solid ground. He hugs
his own woes, and asks, Is not the earth full of



16 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

wretchedness and illness, and povertv „nd oppres-
sion ? Apparently, yes ; but it has ail been gratui-
tously self-created. The seen negative creations have
not been made in a moment, and it is not claimed
that idealism will at once transform them. True
subjective wealth is a growth. But so soon as the
law of accumulation is grasped, the trend of the
world will be rapidly toward universal wealth on
every plane. Human vision has been almost entirely
filled with outlines of limitation. We must "right
about face." Every one can be rich because he can
multiply his ideals and hold them. As this is done,
they press with ever-increasing intensity toward ex-
pression, articulation, and actuality.

Every one loves his own ideals. His fancy is not
for his actual friend, duty, occupation, book, or pro-
fession, but for his ideals of these. He paints them
in his own colors, and loves them for the aspect he
has thrown around them. Even lovers love not each
other, but their own mental pictures. Thus every-
thing real and normal may be clothed with beauty.
But our ideals, however fine, cannot exceed the in-
trinsic actual. Expression to-day may be faulty, but
the constructive vision penetrates beneath the out-
wardly imperfect to the coming manifestation of the
Real.

Our aspirations are all too low. The inmost actual
will at length have expression. Everything is there-
fore intrinsically better than it seems, because we.



OWNERSHIP THROUGH IDEALISM 17

have made up our opinions from superficial incom-
pleteness. We can rectify, yes, re-create, the exter-
nal universe by polishing the subjective lens through
which we view it. The highest attainment to be
sought is the incapacity to see evil. Contrary to the
conventional view, this greatly increases our ability
to correct it. To fill ourselves with a knowledge of
it, in order to combat it, is like attempting to drive
darkness out of a cellar without the aid of light.
Thought-space is possession ; therefore, tr think no
evil is simply to have no ownership of it In pro-
portion as it becomes unfamiliar to conscic isness, it
is remitted to oblivion.

The mind is the depository of its own riches.
Even the beauty of a landscape dwells in the be-
holder. Idealism is the electric motor, by means of
which we may make rapid transit from inharmony to
harmony, and from poverty to wealth. We go to the
ends of the earth to find riches in climate, air, scen-
ery, art, entertainment, and health, with indifferent
success. The divine restlessness is upon us, but we
misinterpret it. Our poverty is outwardly apparent.
Let us therefore turn within, to the safety-deposit of
Mind, and acquaint ourselves with its treasures.



18 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.



THE EVOLUTIONARY CLIMB OF MAN.

The eons of the past have been occupied with a
struggle to bring forth man. That great effort is
still in progress, for he is not yet completed. Gen-
eric man, or the human ideal, is, and always was,
potentially complete ; but in actualized existence and
expression he is ever more becoming.

This is an era of remarkable progress and dis-
covery. But the most wonderful of all the new
accomplishments is man's discovery of himself.
Only through evolutionary interpretation has this
been possible. Without such a divining-rod he had
no way to measure his own proportions, or to esti-
mate his relations, and therefore had no idea of his
size and importance.

The new philosophy has proved to be a universal
clew ; but, though we may follow it faithfully, we
shall never arrive at its end. Only in its light can
phenomena be translated, whether organic, inorganic,
vegetal, animal, human, intellectual, or spiritual. It
is the new mental telescope ; and only through its
lenses can be discerned the universal trend and
specific aim of the cosmic economy. As before
noted, its whole end and purpose — that " f or which



THE EVOLUTIONARY CLIMB OF MAN. 19

the whole creation groaneth and travaileth"— is the
bringing forth of man.

In a very realistic sense, evolution has created a
new heaven and a new earth, and, in fact, made
all things new. Take all the so-called sciences, and
they would not now recognize their likenesses, as
faithfully taken two score of years ago. Geology,
botany, zoology, astronomy, biology, in fact cosmol-
ogy, which embraces them all, are to us new crea-
tions. All the theories, systems, text-books, and
authorities extant, that have been formulated with-
out the light of this all-inclusive philosophy, are
worthless lumber, warped and decayed. They are as
incongruous as the Ptolemaic system of astronomy.

In this special study we are not to take up, techni-
cally, the details of material evolution ; for these
have been ably formulated by modern exponents
from Darwin to Drummond, and to do this would
require an especial equipment to which we lay
no claim- Our purpose is rather to interpret the
spirit, trend, and meaning of this great philosophy,
as we follow its clew among the higher aspects, and
to trace its all-inclusiveness in man.

Lifted from its blind materialism, evolution may
be simply defined as the divine method of continuous
creation ; or, in more specific terms, as God's way of
making ideal man — or the man that is finally to be
the full expression of himself. To accomplish this
grand work taxes the entire cosmic resources.



20 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

Evolution is not to be reconciled to the various
fragmentary systems, dogmas, and opinions that
have been built up into disconnected structures in
the human consciousness of the past; but these
must all come before its judgment-bar, and receive
its righteous verdict. The truth — to just the degree
that it is contained in them — will not only be elec-
tively made manifest, but put in orderly and con-
nected form. Before tracing, a little in detail, some
incidents that have occurred during the intermina-
ble human march to the present vantage-ground, we
must establish a very radical and significant premise.

Evolution, as conventionally set forth, has been
grossly materialistic. It has dealt with mere figures,
rather than the numbers which they represent ; with
sensuous fohns, instead of the moulding force which
shapes and rules them. The materialism of Darwin
still lingers largely with most of the recent expo-
nents of the new philosophy. But though their at-
tention has been almost exclusively centred upon
outward forms, — which are only indexes, — yet even
such superficiality has been indispensably useful as
a stepping-stone. to the deeper reality. A knowledge
that recognizes progress in beauty, complexity and
perfection of form, leads to an understanding of the
advancing orderly shaping force, which is thus given
outward expression. Visible forms are only sympto-
matic of the moulding reality that is back of them,
the quality of which they are striving to express.



. THE EVOLUTIONARY CLIMB OF MAN. 21

They are the printed characters which tell a great
truth. It is admitted that forms are endowed with
a quality called life or soul ; but this has been re-
garded as an incidental property resulting from or-
ganization. Mere fortuitous combination was thus
looked upon as a creator of life. Cause was mis-
taken for effect. Definitely stated, it is that mat-
ter evolves itself, or that it could be both actor
and material acted upon. Darwin embodied it in
his famous aphorism, "All potency is contained in
matter."

Sensuous science has made an effort to eliminate
divinity from nature and man, or at least to crowd
it back to the most remote protoplasmic energy.
Secondary gods have been set up, and labelled;, " nat-
ural selection," " chemical affinity," " inherefffc en-
ergy," and " resident forces," in the attempt to
make a great orderly, unitary Intelligence unneces-
sary. It has virtually assumed that matter grows
in and of itself. In its conflict with theology, sci-
ence has almost out-dogmatized the dogmatists, by
teaching a practical though unadmitted atheism.

On the other hand, the ranks of traditional liter-
alism have become exceeding thin, and few remain
who still hold that a Deific fiat suddenly created all
things from nothing.

There is an impassable gulf between evolution and
all special dispensations. Every link in the endless
chain of events is firmly attached to the ones which



22 STUDIES IK THE THOUGHT WORLD.

precede and succeed it. If the established order has
ever been abruptly broken into from without, upon
any plane whatsoever, then evolution is a myth.
God reigns in and through orderly law, and is never
self-contradictory. When reverently followed, a true
evolutionary philosophy leads up to the conclusion
that all phenomena are the manifestations of one
Infinite Mind.

True evolution, in its essence, is the name of a law
of progress, rather than of a series of seen forms.
The life, mind, or soul, of whatever grade, is always
the cause, and not the result, of organization. The
real progression is in the ascending quality of mind
or life. Each step is a successive state of internal
character, and its visible form is only its sensuous
translation.

It is not matter, per se, that progresses. The same
physical material appears, disappears, and reappears
in higher or lower combinations, as the case may be.
It is passive clay grasped by the hand of a moulder.
The elements which to-day make up the body of a
dog or tree may have figured long ago in the mate-
rial organism of a seer or philosopher. There was
no ascent or descent in the material, but only in its
j user. All progress is in the unseen. Your body is
not you, but only your outpicturing index. The
seen figure is not the progressive reality, but just
the well-fitting clothing which shows the quality
and taste of its present owner. The human ego



THE EVOLUTIONARY CLIMB OF MAN. 23

picks up material, and erects it into an animated
statue, in perfect correspondence to its interior qual-
ity. If he drop the material, and it be utilized by
a horse life or mind, it at once assumes the corre-
sponding equine expression in every detail. There
is no exception to this rule. In the deepest sense,
the real tree is the tree-life, and not the temporary
material which it has grasped for outward expres-
sion. True, we may study and admire the latter,
but it is unprofitable to invert the relation. A piece
of marble, or even a clod of earth, has a kind of life.
It will be increasingly evident that all true evolutior
is metaphysical.

In the great cycle of creative development, the
Divine life, first involved into the lowest conditions,
is at length, through a series of grand steps, gath-
ered, organized, individuated, and evolved into " sons
of God," in which form, with ever-growing reciprocal
affection, the return is made to the " Father's House."

Realizing now distinctly that progress is located
entirely in the quality and complexity of life, mind,
and soul, of which the ascending outward forms are
only indexes, we emerge from the thick fog of ma-
terialism into the clear sunlight of the true, progres-
sive reality. Visible shapes are only the printed
text which is to be read and interpreted. We cannot
afford longer to mistake mere numerals on the black-
board for the realities of number for which they
stand.



24 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

It will then be understood that, in noting some
of the steps and processes which man in his lower
estate has passed over, we are dealing with his


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Online LibraryHenry WoodStudies in the thought world : or, Practical mind art → online text (page 1 of 15)