Henry Wood.

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

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We shall waste no time in the mere attempt to
prove the fact that thought is and can be projected
through space, both consciously and unconsciously.
No well-informed individual who has given any ade-
quate attention to the subject now questions it.
Scores of pages might be filled with examples, now
on record, which are entirely beyond collusion or
coincidence. Every one of thousands of hypnotic
experiences proves it, and every case of healing
through mental treatment attests it. There is no
fact in physical science better assured.

And how has the world received this transcendent
truth which is transforming in its potency, all-inclu-
sive in its sequences, and divine in its possibilities ?
Very much as it would a new curio or an ingenious
toy. The institutional psychologist fondles it, turns
it over, weighs and measures its properties in his
laboratory, speculates about it, and makes a profes-
sion of it. But the last thing to be thought of is to
make it useful to mankind. That would be unpro-
fessional. To harness and utilize this force of all
forces for the good of humanity would lower it from


the select and charmed circle of professional theory
and speculation to the broad plane of practical and
beneficent agencies.

The average psychical researcher shows much of
the same indifference as to any utilization of his fa-
vorite principles and pursuit. He is engaged in a
never-ending search for phenomena. He will strain
his investigative powers, and burn midnight oil, in
testing, comparing, and recording curious manifesta-
tions, and in interpreting their methods and laws ;
but as to their practical application in ethical cul-
ture, therapeutic potency, or spiritual unfoldment;
he is as innocent as a child. It has not occurred to
him. These reflections are made in no impatient
spirit as applied to individuals, but rather to show
the negative character of systems of thought into
which we have allowed ourselves to become crys-
tallized. How much freedom, originality, and prog-
ress would at once be manifest if the fear of being
called unprofessional and unconventional, which now
holds men in bondage, could be eliminated !

Besides the classes already noted, there are many
excellent people, lovely in character and pure in
motive, whose temperamental fondness for the mys-
tical leads them to seek visions, dream dreams, and
to cultivate an order of phenomena more dramatic
than profitable. Abstract truth and vivid demon-
stration are well, but the world is hungering for
their application to its woes.


If we have gained some knowledge of the laws
which govern a force inconceivably grander and
higher than electricity, may we not dismiss nndue
sensitiveness as to deviations from traditional scho-
lasticism, and for the sake of humanity step out
of the ruts which have been grooved by the school-
men of the darker and narrower past ? All great
advances in their earlier aspects have been rated as
irrational innovations.

Regarding the fundamental basis of psycho-dy-
namics, not only as admitted, but overwhelmingly
proven, let us now concisely sum up a few of the
results which logically should be realized. They
are of stupendous significance ; but, surrounded as
we are by the blank walls of our self-imposed and
traditional limitations, we can hardly picture them
even to the imagination.

' r Thoughts being forces, every mind is a creative
centre from which rhythms of qualitative energy
are going out in all directions. By their impact
upon corresponding chords in other minds, these
are also swept into active vibration. Throw a peb-
ble into a lake, and the placid surface at once be-
comes vibrant with a series of ever-widening circles
which go out to its utmost boundary. They are
never quite lost nor neutralized, though we may be
unable to trace them to their final destination. So
every soul is the seat of a great centrifugal cur-
rent, which is generated and set free in the simple


process of thinking. This is true — though less in
degree — of desultory or aimless thought, as well
as of that which is concentrated and projected with
definite intent. Every thinker is a battery of posi-
tive forces, even though he utter never a word. .

The soul — which is the man — is a resonant in-
strument with innumerable tremulous strings of the
most delicate quality. The water in the lake re-
sponds to the pebble, but the medium through which
thought waves pass is infinitely more subtle and

What volumes of potential energy are wasted, and
far worse, in negative and discordant mental activi-
ties ! ' We are not thinking for ourselves, but for
the world. /With the shuttle of thought in the
loom of mind, we are weaving the multi-colored
fabric of conditions, and these not merely imma-
terial, but to be outwardly actualized and manifested.
.• If one in his own soul strikes the discordant notes
of anger, envy, avarice, selfishness, or even those
seemingly more harmless ones of simple fear, weak-
ness, grief, pessimism, or depression, he is creating
and vibrating those conditions far and near, thereby
stirring the corresponding chords in other souls into
sympathetic activity.^^The sphere of outward action
is limited, while that of thought is boundless. Mere
doing makes ephemeral reputation, while quality of
thinking determines, or rather is, vital character.

Every one's thought images are being constantly


impressed both upon himself and others. His mind
is a busy factory where conditions are positively
manufactured. He weaves their quality, consciously
or unconsciously, into every nerve, muscle, and tissue
of his own body. His materialistic thought tethers
him in a little circle of limitation, while boundless
green fields lie beyond waiting for occupation. His
mental pictures of evil, disorder, and disease, pho-
tograph themselves not only upon his own mind
and body, but upon those of his fellows.

One cannot afford to think much about evil, even
for the well-intentioned purpose of its suppression.
The true remedy is its displacement. Thought
space given to it confers realism, familiarity, and
finally dominion. To silence discordant strings in
ourselves or others we must vibrate their opposites.
To truly sympathize with a friend who is quiver-
ing with trouble or sorrow, is not to drop into his
rhythm and intensify it, — as is usual, — but to lift
his consciousness by striking a higher chord in uni-
son. The road to mental and physical invigoration
lies through the dynamics of formative thought.
Our way to elevate other lives is also through their
creative mental energies.

When the art of projecting thought vibrations on
a high plane is systematically cultivated, and the
concentrative habit developed, potency for good is
increased a hundred-fold. Force is no longer squan-
dered in worse than useless discordant negations,


but intelligently conserved in positive vigor and
exuberance. Purposeful thought ministration, spirit-
ual and pure in quality, accurately and scientifically
projected, like an arrow towards a target, is the
great harmonizing and uplifting agency that will
transform the world. Vibrations of love, peace,
spirituality, health, sanity, and harmony, will be
radiated in ever-widening circles, striking responsive
unisons that are only waiting for a well-directed
concordant impulse.

The dynamics of mind, when generally utilized,
will be the sovereign balm that with scientific accu-
racy will heal all the infelicities of society. It will'
usher in not only reform, but regeneration. In its
copious fulness it will overflow from the altitude of
spiritual development, until the subordinate plains
of intellectuality, ethics, therapeutics, sociology, eco-
nomics, and physics, are swept, purified, and uplifted.
The highest includes everything below. With the
Kingdom of Heaven — which is subjective harmony
— first sought, "all these things " will be added.



Having considered in a previous paper the law
of vibratory forces as operative between soul and
soul, a study of its exercise in one's individual econ-
omy logically follows. But, while individuated, it is
clearly impossible for spiritual development to be
selfish, because no limitation can enclose it. Egotism
is existent only on the sensuous plane. The higher
unfoldment, in the very nature of the case, is an up-
liftment out of one's narrow, baser selfhood. Ideal
soul-development in the individual is a work that
concerns all humanity. Effort for the true self and
that directly in behalf of others are only two differ-
ent sides of one process.

It will be recalled that in "The Dynamics of
Mind " thought vibrations were presented as unlim-
ited in their scope and potency. But great power
is valueless unless it be harnessed and directed.
Steam, electricity, and even the abounding waterfalls
of nature, signify nothing to man until he intelli-
gently grasps their laws, and, through compliance
therewith, commands them. It is a question of con-
cordant vibration. The competent engineer mentally
vibrates with his engine or dynamo, and multiplies


his accomplishment a thousand-fold, while the igno-
rant meddler not only does not increase his product,
but through an inherent judgment suffers penalty.
Everything he employs is good, but there is misplace-

All true objective energy being primarily divine
and normal, there can be no evil forces. Those
which seem so wear that aspect to us from our ig-
norant misdirection. Street-sweepings may be val-
uable as fertilizing material, and for that purpose
are clean, but when misplaced they are unclean to
us, though not so in themselves.

But this law of universal goodness is not limited
to the material or objective realm. The forces of
mind are all beneficent. The skill, patience, and per-
sistence of a thief are excellent, but they are sub-
jectively distorted, or turned into a wrong channel.
This doctrine comes from no fine-spun metaphysical
distinction, but is basic and vital in its final analy-
sis. There is no "evil" as an objective entity. If
there were, the Infinite Intelligence created that
which is contrary to himself, his laws and methods;
an unthinkable supposition.

Law is both universal and beneficent, but owing
to materialistic fogginess the latter has been scantily
recognized. Even the pain and penalty which are
linked to nonconformity to law are good, not ideally
but provisionally as they appear. They rise up. as
educational monitors. When deeply comprehended,


the higher evolutionary philosophy involves an un-
limited optimism upon every plane of manifesta-

Ignorance of law rather than inherent depravity
is responsible for all the woes of humanity. In pro-
portion as the established order is truly interpreted
ills will disappear. Law is not that which is arti-
ficially imposed from without, but what is inscribed
in man's constitution. The Decalogue, and even the
Sermon" on the Mount, are woven into the fabric of
his being, so that violence to them is harmful to him.
His real concern is with what is within. As with
the " Prodigal," pain and penalty bring men to them-
selves ; that is, to the deeper, real individuality,
which is virtually the "Father's House."

The regal dynamics of man's inner being have
been wastefully neglected and squandered, while he
has incessantly pursued objective phenomena which
are only symptomatic and petty by comparison. Hu-
man vibrations have been disorderly and out of
rhythm with the cosmic order. This has introduced
confusion and chaos. Instead of multiplied power,
as in the case of a perfect engine run by a skilful
engineer, we have been ignorant meddlers, with dis-
astrous results. Human activity in unison with the
divine chords would carry irresistible potency. Such
co-operation would enlist infinite forces in our behalf.
Limitations would thereby be pushed well nigh out
of sight.


But to give these transcendent principles more
specific application to the subject in hand, we may
consider, first, the potency of suggestion or intelli-
gent thought action upon mental and physical condi-
tions and expressions, and, second, their rational
working means and methods.

Marked beneficent phenomena have been rather
infrequent because powerful concentration has gen-
erally been haphazard, unscientific, or superstitious,
working in the direction of harm instead of good.
Its law having been mistaken, this mighty force has
been misused and entirely misinterpreted.

A limited and unconscious employment of the law
of mental causation has appeared in the occasional
outcropping of "miraculous healing" all through the
ages, and still continues at various shrines and holy
places, and from contact with sacred relics. Numer-
ous cures at Lourdes and Traves in France are well
known and admitted by all who have given the mat-
ter any careful investigation. To indulge in any
general denial of such manifestations, which have
been almost numberless, would indicate either igno-
rance or a most irrational disbelief of evidence that is
practically without limit. The facts are undoubted.
It is only .the modus operandi that has been mis-

It is strange that the devout Romanist should feel
that he honored God less by believing that he worked
through the orderly laws of the human mind than by


external and disorderly interposition. That quality
in. man which, craves a magical and dramatic divine
manifestation rather than one which is intelligible
and scientific, is largely responsible for keeping the
world in thraldom. How transcendent a Deity whose
activities are beautifully regular ! Our brethren of
the Roman Catholic faith will doubtless gradually
approach such a reasonable position. The conserva-
tive orthodox Protestant is not much more logical,
the main difference being that he dates his " mir-
acles " farther back.

Nothing else would so powerfully hasten the long
hoped-for reconciliation between science and religion,
as a fuller and deeper interpretation of the estab-
lished order on its higher planes. Religion must
become scientific and reasonable, and science must
broaden its vision, and include the immaterial and
spiritual realm. By such a consummation both
would gain, each being indorsed by its true counter-

The possible intensity of the energy of mental
states is demonstrated in many of the phenomena
of hypnotic suggestion. But this phase cannot now
be entered upon in detail.

The power of discordant emotional force to turn
the hair suddenly white, to poison the mother's milk,
to produce disease, and even death, under various con-
ditions, is too familiar to require mention, but may
be noted as sufficient in itself to confirm a principle


that receives proof in such innumerable directions.
But while the disastrous influence of such discordant
emotions as fear, grief, anger, anxiety, and depression
for pulling down the physical tissues has long been
known merely as a fact, the process has remained
uninterpreted, and the positive benefits which would
accompany their opposites have been unappreciated
or ignored.

Virtue and vice, purity and impurity, spirituality
and carnality, confidence and fear, love and hate, joy
and grief, all through irrepealable law translate their
respective qualities into flesh, blood, bone, and sinew.
Every possible qualitative thought energy presses
for material expression. But the mixture of unlike
forces, including positives neutralized by negatives,
results in an interminable complexity of the process ;
and this, together with its apparent slowness under
ordinary conditions, has hidden the law from super-
ficial observation. The subtle shadings of heredity
also form another deeply involved element. But per-
haps, more than all, prevailing materialism, which
views the body as the real basis of man, is respon-
sible for spiritual color-blindness and ignorance.

Having found that thought energy, heretofore so
lightly regarded, is a tremendous power for good or
evil, physically, mentally, and spiritually, a most vital
problem presents itself to every individual. How
can I train and control my thinking ?

Within the mental chambers of every person there


linger, not only some of those emotions commonly
classed as sinful, but also a host of indefinable fears,
spectres, imaginings, forebodings, and morbid depres-
sions which we would fain dismiss if we could, but
find it impossible. They are tormentors of whose ex-
istence even our most intimate friends are unaware.
We do not wish to give these intruders shelter, but
are unable either to drive them out or to coax them
to leave. They vary in every mind, but none are
entirely exempt. Sometimes they are so intolerable
that almost any price would be paid for their re-
moval. And now, added to all this host of mental
disturbances, comes the positive knowledge that they
are also working silent destruction in the physical
organism. Well may one cry out, " What shall I
do to be saved ? " Saved from what ? From my
thoughts ; from a mass of distorted mental pictures
which seem to be myself; from the only thing in the
universe that really can harm me.

But before attempting to show the way of salva-
tion, we may suggest that these seeming antagonists
are in the deepest degree beneficent when rightly
interpreted. What a paradox ! They are in reality
the kindly chastisements that come to drive us from
our discordant materialism into a higher and spirit-
ual self-consciousness. They make us uncomfortable
until we learn their lesson. They are the "consum-
ing fire " which burns up the " wood, hay, and stub-
ble," but leaves the divine individuality — the real


self — not only unharmed, but purified. We feel the
flames just in the proportion that we think ourselves
to be material rather than spiritual beings. They
come to release us from a subjective prison which we
have unwittingly built out of self-made materials.
We may as well use a plain, old-fashioned term, and
call them hell. But this state of consciousness is
the most powerful evolutionary pushing force in ex-
istence. Nothing less could prevent a peaceful rec-
onciliation with sin and evil.

As a negative answer to the question of the way
of salvation from these subjective abominations, it
may at first be suggested that no bargain can be
made with any objective or historic creed or ordi-
nance for deliverance. Neither can we drive out or
will away our unwholesome mental guests. Ten men
cannot drive darkness out of a room, but the hand of
a child may raise a curtain, and the light will do the
work. Displacement is the law. Truth casts out
error. How can this be applied ? Through the nor-
mal use of the divine creative thinking-faculty. But
the average man says that he "cannot control and
concentrate this energy." Pray, when has he made
any systematic effort ? He will spend years of time,
and no end of effort, to educate himself on the sur-
face, but can hardly afford hours for scientific thought

As a rule, thought is diffuse, undirected, and open
to all the depressing and discordant material which


floats by. It may be compared to an unbroken colt
without bit or bridle. But it can be educated
and made docile. Auto-suggestion and concentration
can be intelligently introduced into every-day life.
Through their judicious employment, the ills, spec-
tres, beliefs of evil, and disorders of mind and body,
may be crowded out of the consciousness, and finally,
as a natural result, vanish from outward expression.
Daily psycho-gymnastics is needed, and is as impor-
tant as physical exercise. There should be intelli-
gent and concentrated self-suggestions, that ideals —
like health, harmony, and everything good — are a
present jjossession ; and this attitude of mind, firmly
held, in due time will bring them into outward mani-
festation. Contrary outward appearances and physi-
cal sensations must be held in abeyance. The work
is back of these, for they are resultant. The inmost \
and real is already perfect, but we are unaware of it.
When we therefore affirm this fact, and dwell upon
it, we have the potential and ideal truth, sensations
and surface indications to the contrary notwithstand-
ing. The grandest claims must be made as already
existent, and held to until outwardly actualized. Such
thought energy is not irrational, but reasonable, for it
is in accord with law. Until it is creative^ used, as
indicated, its sublime force is squandered, or worse.

Positive entities like health, harmony, goodness,
strength, love, and spirituality, must be installed
in the consciousness through the normal formative

AUTO-SUGGEved after the defeat of his original
plans. Practically the church is quietly slipping
away from such a logic; but yet its authoritative
doctrinal formulas remain unchanged. Though gen-
erally toned down in men's minds, it remains of life-
size in the creeds. Salvation has been something
done for and outside of one, on the condition of
yielded assent to " the plan." It has been objective
and historic, rather than subjective and present. A
penalty has been paid, or rather, in effect, a link sev-
ered between cause and effect. This concept carries
the inference that penalty is vindictive instead of
corrective — antagonistic rather than reformatory.
Some of the visible branches of the great evolu-


tionary tree seem to droop downward, and others
entirely drop off, as externally observed. But all
life and mind are conserved, however much outward
forms may change or disintegrate. Occasional eddies
or ebb-tides on the surface cannot invalidate the
great universal upward trend.

How can the allegory of the " Fall " be naturally
accounted for without any strained interpretation ?
Let us try to find a scientific, religious, and spirit-
ual solution of this great tradition which will accord
with reason and harmonize difficulties.

An allegory always has a meaning deeper than
itself. The story of Adam and Eve portrays that
period of transition when primeval man — the ani-
mal — evolved some moral character, and when rea-
son measurably displaced instinct as the controlling
force. The so-called first pair are types of the racial
crossing of a great boundary line. Pre-Adamic man,
being an animal, was not ashamed of his nakedness,
and, in common with his kingdom, was governed by
brutish instincts and appetites. He lived in dens
and caves, and possessed only those faint foreshadow-
ings of reason which we now behold in the highest
animal intelligence.

But instinct, though low, is exact. In its wild
native perfection it makes neither mistakes nor im-
provements. The bee of to-day, as of a thousand
years ago, always forms the honey-cell in perfect
geometrical proportion; and the web of the spider


was ever, as now, a marvel of regularity and propor-
tion. The bird makes no mistake in singing its song,
or in building its nest; and the beaver even adapts
his dam in advance to the clemency or inclemency
of the coming season. The all-pervading divine life
and wisdom resident in the animal shines through,
reflecting its uniformity and perfection, though in
actual expression it cannot rise higher than its low
plane and crude medium.

Bearing in mind the definition of instinct, we pass
to note that Eden does not represent spiritual, or even
intellectual, satisfaction, but only that which is sen-
suous. Primeval man at length reached the climax
of his physical development. To his consciousness
there was nothing higher. Every known want was
satisfied. There was neither moral nor spiritual law
to be observed or violated. He had no unsatisfied
longing or aspiration. A great evolutionary epoch
was completed, and the cup of sensory enjoyment was
full. There were no mistakes to be rectified, and no
sins to bring disquietude. That was Eden. It repre-
sents the ripeness and perfection of a great kingdom.

But at length the God-voice in man became audi-

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Online LibraryHenry WoodStudies in the thought world : or, Practical mind art → online text (page 10 of 15)