Henry Wood.

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

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fected, until . God shall find adequate expression in

The Rosicrucians made a careful search for a life-
giving specific, and faithfully tried to heal human
ills. But their search was not successful. Ponce de
Leon thought he had discovered the fountain of per-
petual youth in Florida, and very recently a modern
scientist announced the finding of the veritable " elixir
of life." But notwithstanding all these repeated dis-
appointments, there is a true elixir vita. It is found
in the divine spirit of wholeness, and lies above the
zone of material distortions and negations. It comes
not supernaturally, but normally, through the immu-
table law of attraction. It is ever waiting for human
souls to attune their own vibrations into unison with
its own supernal harmonies. When the human con-


sciousness becomes filled with truth, there is no room
for error ; and the latter, having no other abiding^-
place, becomes non-existent.

It is a hopeful sign of the times, that physics is
becoming so refined and immaterial that it seems
likely soon to dissolve into metaphysics.

In spite of the dark, ever-present shadow of mate-
rialism, there is great hope in the present attitude
of institutional science. It is open to the logic of
events as never before. It has been driven from its
old earthworks, and is on the march, with destination
undecided. Its present positions are tentative, its
formulas are being recast, and its text-books, not yet
a score of years old, are being relegated to basement

As in ages past polytheism was displaced by mono-
theism, so now the great variety of separate and
independent forces long recognized by science have
been reduced to one infinite primal energy. The
unity of all things, and their close interrelation, are
felt and admitted. All that is pure in religion and
true in science are converging towards, each other.
!| Whatever is natural is sacred, because it is perme-
M ated with the divine life. Prophets and poets are
becoming expert spiritual chemists, and the true con-
stituents of the kingdom of heaven are scientifically
recognized. The new dispensation will be ushered
in, not with observation and external pomp, but
silently, in its normal location, — the sanctuary of


soul. Browning thus voices this sublime senti-
ment : —

" But, friends,
Truth is within ourselves: it takes no rise
From outward things, whate'er you may believe.
There is an inmost centre in us all,
Where truth abides in fulness: and around
Wall upon wall the gross flesh hems it in
This perfect, clear perception — which is truth."

The chemistry of the future will include the scien-
tific blending of spiritual and immaterial forces for
definite ends : it will concern itself more with the
internal, and less with the sensuous ; more with cause,
and less with effect. There will be an intelligent uti-
lization of thought energy, and its values will be deter-
mined in the light of law. Just that nutrition and
those ingredients that are able to satisfy the universal
soul-hunger of humanity will be judiciously sought
out, and their application intelligently provided for.

For ages the alchemist labored to discover some
mysterious refining process through which the baser
metals could be transmuted into gold. But modern
science, with all its miracles, has failed to compass
such a result. But a diviner and infinitely more
valuable accomplishment has been realized. Scien-
tific idealism is the expert alchemist whose inval-
uable services are freely at the command of every
earnest soul. It can transmute the restless, chaotic
forces of mankind into the golden harmony of human
liberty and spiritual unfoldment.


There is a profusion of unmanifest health, strength,
beauty, opulence, harmony, and courage waiting for
appropriation. The higher unfoldment reveals the
channel through which they may be assimilated, and
the supply is endless.

The knowledge of the art of mental compound-
ing is constantly expanding, so that with more con-
summate skill we work to purer ideals, and with
more symmetrical models. Through positive for-
mative thought we receive the title-deeds to inval-
uable possessions. With the wand of affirmation
we project them into expression and actuality. The
incarnation of truth is the transforming energy
which rounds out and embellishes the soul-struc-
ture and its expressive physical instrument.

The ocean of life is boundless and shoreless, and
we are consciously or unconsciously bathing in its
crystalline waters. Vitality is pressing in upon us
in the attempt to break through our false limitations.

The supernal chemistry which alone can combine
those constituent elements which must mingle in
order to the erection of normal human expression,
is that which is divinely ordained through harmony
with the One Mind or Oversoul. To vibrate in uni-
son with the Universal Goodness introduces a con-
sciousness of cosmic harmony.

The superficial and unintelligent belief in phys-
ical causation has been the racial stumbling-block,
and nowhere has it been more pronounced than


among the ranks of the devotees of so-called science.
Keen institutional searchers peer into matter, ex-
pecting to discover its great secret through meas-
ures and tests. The laboratory methods of the
modern physicist have so increased in delicacy,
that through his psychological appliances, if he
cannot actually weigh thought, he can at least de-
termine its resulting intensity, volume, and conti-
nuity. Its intermittent energy may be tracked and
followed among the brain-cells, but it ever eludes

The " conservation of energy " has been for some
time accepted as an ascertained fact, if not already
axiomatic in modern science. Stated in common
terms, this comprises the doctrine that though the
forms and qualities of energy may change, nothing
is ever added to or subtracted from the sum-total.
So even the most ideal mental activity cannot create
any more spiritual energy, but it may through rec-
ognition embody and express more of the existing

The formative power contained in imaging thought,
as exercised in accord with law, has not been gained,
or even recognized, upon any level below that of
highly developed humanity. As man comes into
an intelligent understanding of his equipment of
creative power, he will grasp the sceptre of his
supersensuous son ship and kingship. So far as he
had been -'faithful over a few things," he will.be-


come " ruler over many." By faith he will be
able to " remove mountains " of doubt and fear,
and cast them into the sea of oblivion. Through
a knowledge of the divine chemistry of being, he
will subdue kingdoms and work righteousness.

We are sculptors, with tools in hand, sharp and
keen ; and around us is an endless quarry of un-
stained virgin marble, in which statues of beauty
are confined, waiitng for us to emancipate them.
By skilful touch we may awaken them into ani-
mated expression. Life is everywhere hidden away,
ready to flow into the manifestation of the sons
of God. Truth, immortal and invisible, is waiting
to spring forth into expressive embodiment.

Paul had a glimpse of the transcendent power of
its supernal spiritual chemistry when he declared,
" All things are yours ; " and he actually attempted
their enumeration. How little have we grasped
the import of such a scientific declaration ! With
the power of thought, the resolvent of love, and the
transforming energy of truth, Paul's aphorism is
interpreted to be, not an empty figure of speech,
but a possible and practicable accomplishment. The
inexhaustible fountain of power is the divinity
within; and as our limitations are found to be en-
tirely self-imposed, all barriers are swept away, and
man leaps forward into the fulfilment of his divine



Thought is the lmnian motor. With the great
majority, however, it exerts its force without defi-
nite aim or purpose. It lk a building-power, but yet
works to no plan or specification. Its operations
may be compared to the work of a crazy carpenter,
who, though always busy, nails up material at ran-
dom. In the light of such experiences its real power
and utility are unappreciated. Its forces, which, if
properly directed, might be gigantic in accomplish-
ment, are either misapplied or lapse into decadence.

The fact that, with law for a pilot, thought may
take on supreme, yes, even divine potency, has not
been grasped. The law-applying test is the great
distinguishing feature of the present era. We are
learning to look behind phenomena, and to trace the
lines of sequence which have produced them. Just
in proportion as we divine the laws of anything, we
tame and harness it for service.

Electricity is as old as the material cosmos, but
until now it has been useless from lack of lawful
interpretation. The specific application of law was
not attempted, because its universal reign has only
recently come into recognition. It is indeed strange


that the orderly energy of electricity should have
so long remained undiscovered ; but it is more unac-
countable that the laws, powers, and uses of the ever-
present thinking-faculty should have continued an
unsolved problem. Thought is the grand fact and
force in human existence, but yet no lesser force has
been used so unintelligently. Most commonly it is
like a boat floating upon shifting currents with oars
and rudder unmanned. Its course is shaped and
altered by every wind and tide, and its lading taken
on in the same haphazard fashion.

There is nothing so much needed as thought-edu-
cation in order that this ever-available force may
perform the work for which it was designed in the
human economy. A comprehension of its underly-
ing laws is necessary to direct and utilize its great

There is no lack of thought activity. This is pre-
eminently a thinking age, keen, busy, and intense.
Research goes outward in every possible direction.
The illimitable cosmos is not too great, nor molecules
or bacteria too small, to call forth its devoted pur-
suit. It exercises itself upon history, and delves
among past events and civilizations, even though it
finds only a grand panorama of human friction and
limitation. Thought also centres itself upon the
physical sciences ; upon government, theology, ethics,
and every other known subject except its own won-
derful potency and utility. It is a busy mill ; and


into its ever-open hopper is poured a conglomerate
grist, good, bad, and indifferent. It knows about
everything but itself. Its food, though unlimited in
quantity, is mainly of a negative, limited, and sensu-
ous quality.

The grand office of thought is the upbuilding of
a character or soul-structure which shall be symmet-
rical and substantial. It builds from within, and
can find unlimited material in wholesome and perfect
ideals. Educated thought educes or draws from the
human divine centre the harmonious and the beau-
tiful, and erects them into form and expression.
Uneducated thought goes into the external for its
material, and opens itself to that which is inhar-
monious and distorted. It incorporates all the limi-
tations and false perceptions which conventionalism
and traditionalism have made so plentiful, and its
structure embodies their disorder and negation.

The thought of the One Mind is the eternal energy
of the universe ; and in proportion as human (or
United) thinking copies and traces its orderly laws,
it takes on infinite vigor and usefulness. Humanity,
through self-limitation, has closed itself against its
divine heritage. Its lawful patrimony is good with-
out any deviation. The thinking-power is the link
whereby man may bind himself to what is eternal
and immutable. As he grasps and holds the ideal
he takes on its quality. The divine within him be-
comes himself. The " Word " which dwells in his


inmost also becomes articulate, and is made flesh,
or comes into externals.

Thought is not only the greatest but the only real
power in the universe. Even on the mundane plane
it shapes all external systems, governments, and in-
stitutions. Its subtle, silent Avaves dissolve dynas-
ties, overturn empires, humanize animality, and
inspire progress. Even though so generally misdi-
rected, through its evolutionary undercurrents it is
hastening forward the supremacy of truth in human

Formerly only an occasional poet or prophet had
visions of the higher reality, but now the uplift-
ing power of positive thinking is becoming a grand
and broadening inspiration. Previous to the recog-
nition of universal law, thought energy was seem-
ingly mystical and capricious, and its accomplishments
were rated " supernatural." Now its mathematical
and scientific precision is made clear. Erom dim and
rare glances of its power and beauty, attainable
only at intervals by gifted souls, it is becoming
"matter of fact " — a practical every-day possession.

The world subjectively dwells among pictures of
discord, disease, and self-limitation ; but progressive
volition will finally bring about a complete and uni-
versal rectification.

If the thought-craft has been floating at the mercy
of every wind and tide, we must grasp the helm,
man the oars, and begin to direct its course. The


false thinking of the present — to some extent in-
voluntary — comes from bad thinking-habits of the
past. Like a meadow brook, it wears channels.
'Now is the time to begin to direct its course for
the future. Lazy, careless, and morbid thought cur-
rents must give place to positive ideals, and these
should be affirmed into actualization.

The only true ownership that we can gain of de-
sirable " things " is through the medium of thought.
In no other way can we make them truly ours.
Title-deeds of material things are loose and weak
compared with possession by ideals firmly held.
We not only gain them, but actually make them
part of ourselves.

If we have been missing the mark by careless
and lawless thinking, let us begin the projection
of right thought with earnestness and precision.
Its power is gained from its intensity and conti-
nuity. With the vigorous use of these two pin-
ions, its flight may be lofty, and unweighted by
limitations. It will thus be able to gather and
bring treasures into the storehouse of conscious-
ness, and its rich fruitage will include all that is
positive and divine. It is the force which verifies
Paul's declaration : " All things [wholesome and per-
fect entities] are yours."

Men strive and toil for material wealth, but
thought is a mint where coinage more valuable
than gold is waiting for room to bestow itself. It


will honor every draft that is made upon its treas-

To link thought to the ideal transmutes it into
the real and actual. Do we desire mental and
physical harmony, holiness (wholeness), and every-
thing else that is truly desirable ? " Ask, and ye
shall receive; seek, and ye shall find." The "find-
ing" is the bringing into expression of the pure
and the beautiful through the all-powerful instru-
mentality of intelligent concentration.



The world has waged an unceasing warfare with
pain. It has> been regarded as the monster who
despoils us of our pleasure, robs us of our repose,
and whose dart is ever poised to strike us down.
Its unwelcome presence has embittered every cup,
and rendered life — otherwise so desirable — hardly
worth the living. Sages and seers have occasionally
divined its significance, but their interpretations
have fallen upon deaf ears. Can it be possible
that the vast majority of conventional judgments
which have pronounced pain as a great adversary —
evil and only evil — have been incorrect ?

If the almost universal consensus of opinion has
been at fault, how can such a widespread misap-
prehension be accounted for ? Is the established
order of nature wrong, or is the mistake in us, and
in our point of view ?

We shall assume that natural law, which is only
another name for divine method, has not miscarried,
and that in itself it is good, and only good. It,
however, seems beneficent or baneful — to us — just
according to our attitude toward it. Pain appears
to be an enemy because of the common occupa-


tion of false standpoints which afford but a limited
and distorted view of the human economy. They
are mainly included in two great groups, which
may be designated as those of materialistic science
on the one hand, and traditional theological dogma
on the other. Though greatly differing in other
respects, they both regard. man as a material being;
that is, on this plane of development he is pri-
marily and practically body. Much of the prevail-
ing materialism is held unconsciously, but that fact
does not mitigate its penalties.

But many intelligent observers would plausibly
affirm that, from the standpoint of body, pain comes
into the arena as a formidable and unrelenting antag-
onist. We shall try to show, however, that even
such a statement is an error, or, at least, only a half
truth. The body, as the normal, outward expression
of man, is a co-operative adjunct, and not at cross
purposes with him.

Materia medica, venerable with age, and eminently
respectable, is one of the great departments of scien-
tific materialism. It organizes its forces for the
purpose of combating and obliterating pain, upon
the theory that it is an intrinsic evil. An important
subdivision of its agencies produces a partial par-
alysis of the sensory nerves, and thus destroys, not
the cause of pain, but the perception of it. The
patient wishes to be relieved of penalty, or, in other
words, to have the link severed which binds effect to


cause. It is possible to do this — temporarily or
apparently — even though such " relief " may be a
positive obstacle to a real cure. But if pain truly
interpreted be only symptomatic, and not an evil
per se, all logic and scientific method would indicate
that treatment for its healing should be directed, not
to itself, or even to its immediate occasion, but to
underlying and primary causation.

Dogmatic theology, having recognized two great
ubiquitous principles in the world, known as good
and evil, closely matched and each striving for the
mastery, enthrones Pain as a Prince among hostile
forces. It is reputed to be one of the results of " the
Fall ; " but it may be incidentally suggested that if
that event were regarded as subjective, instead of
objective and historic, it would have a deep element
of truth. It is, however, made to appear that God
sends pain without any good reason, and even when
uninvited by man. How and why the Infinite
Goodness should do this has always been an unsolv-
able problem to theology. It has been either a great
" mystery," or else relegated in its origin to the ac-
tion of the " Prince of Evil." Many well-meaning
and conscientious souls regard it as a " visitation of
Providence " — an evil, but yet in some way neces-
sary, and to be heroically endured. They look upon
it as belonging to the established human economy —
in its " fallen estate."

Discomfort, therefore, instead of being an educa-


tional negative or background, is, to human con-
sciousness, made to appear as a positive entity.
With suffering uninterpreted or misinterpreted,
seeming adverse forces become so overwhelming that
many are driven into pessimism and atheism. The
universe becomes a seeming contradiction or a riddle.
Law, or the operation of the cosmic order, appears
implacably hostile ; and humanity is bruised and
broken in the grind of its ponderous machinery.
The earth is filled with sighs, groans, and tears, as
the consequence of such an unequal and hopeless

But pain, so deep and universal in its phenomena,
must possess a meaning of vital import to mankind.
To judge it superficially is an error of such propor-
tion that it distorts — to our view — the whole hu-
man economy.

We have habitually looked upon the divine, primal
energy, in its operations upon man, as coming from
without instead of from within. If suffering breaks
in arbitrarily from the outside, whether from the
Deity or any lesser source, we may well despair. In
the attempt to solve its problems, the materialist is
logically forced to agnosticism, or worse ; and the
theologian only succeeds in extenuating its fierceness
by the assumption that after the event called death
an abnormal amount of happiness will be bestowed
in the nature of a compensation.

Having noted some of the aspects of pain as it


appears from an average sensuous standpoint, we
may advance toward a truer estimate. It always
indicates life. Its sharpest pangs tell of a keen sen-
sibility, and an intense, vital working-force, which
is striving to correct our mistakes and straighten our
crookedness. It is a developer, refiner, and polisher.
With all its scowling features, it is more friendly
to us than we, through ignorance, are to ourselves.
Its horrors are only the friction produced by the
quick rush of divine, vital energy to do its whole-
some and purifying work. It is ever hurrying on
to transform our disorder into order, and friction
is thereby excited.

Disease is a disturbance, incited by a supreme ef-
fort of the intrinsic man to express himself through
an external and grosser medium which is yet lagging
behind. A fever is a quickened and desperate strug-
gle of the immaterial self to expel and overcome ob-
structions in its instrument of manifestation. When
accomplished, the outward medium is clearer and
purer. Is, then, the fever a good thing ? Ab-
stractly and ideally, no ; provisionally, useful just
at the time it appears, because it never conies un-

Disease, of whatever name, signifies the lack of
ease, rather than a thing in itself. It is the des-
ignation of a negative condition, and not of a posi-
tive or divinely created entity. It is always simply
a deficiency, even though appearing with differ-


entiated external phenomena, which have been digni-
fied and made realistic and " scientific " by formal
diagnosis and classification.

Mental and physical pangs are one and the same.
The distinction is only that of the plane upon which
the inner lack, or misplacement, most prominently
expresses itself. It either has, or has not yet,
reached out into the ultimates of the material or-

The body, while no part of the real man, is an
outward index of the quality of his consciousness.
The qualitative expression, however, comes so grad-
ually that the interrelation of the two is generally
overlooked. The original source of pain is always
mental. It comes from the abuse, or misplacement,
of the thought forces, which in themselves are good,
and the result is disorder.

We conventionally attribute our physical ills to
the influence of the weather, water, air, climate,
dampness, work, cold, draughts, malaria, bacteria,
and contagion. Granted all these may be occa-
sions, but the primary cause lies deeper. We hunt
for a "scapegoat" outside, and if none can be con-
veniently found we make one. Human pride con-
trives to shift the responsibility ; that is, from its
own standpoint." But unless receptivity carelessly
opens the door, external negatives do not find an
entrance. Subjective incubation must precede overt


The thinking-faculty, with its untiring imagining
power, is the active agent which gives tone and
color to all human expression ; and, if unregulated,
it invites pain, which at length puts in a correct-
ive appearance. The invitation may be given un-
consciously ; but the reprover never comes unbidden,
and never until its presence is reformatory. Its
mission is educational, but we are averse to its

The established order in itself is harmonious,
and all human infelicity comes from non-conform-
ity. This postulate receives abundant indorsement
from universal analogy and experience, when they

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Online LibraryHenry WoodStudies in the thought world : or, Practical mind art → online text (page 13 of 15)