Ralph Waldo Trine.

The higher powers of mind and spirit online

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First published May 1918
Reprinted November 1918.
Reprinted 1919, 1923, 1927, 1933.



We are all dwellers in two kingdoms, the inner kingdom, the kingdom of
the mind and spirit, and the outer kingdom, that of the body and the
physical universe about us. In the former, the kingdom of the unseen,
lie the silent, subtle forces that are continually determining, and with
exact precision, the conditions of the latter.

To strike the right balance in life is one of the supreme essentials of
all successful living. We must work, for we must have bread. We require
other things than bread. They are not only valuable, comfortable, but
necessary. It is a dumb, stolid being, however, who does not realize
that life consists of more than these. They spell mere existence, not
abundance, fullness of life.

We can become so absorbed in making a living that we have no time _for
living_. To be capable and efficient in one's work is a splendid thing;
but efficiency _can be made_ a great mechanical device that robs life of
far more than it returns it. A nation can become so possessed, and even
obsessed, with the idea of power and grandeur through efficiency and
organisation, that it becomes a great machine and robs its people of the
finer fruits of life that spring from a wisely subordinated and
coordinated individuality. Here again it is the wise balance that
determines all.

Our prevailing thoughts and emotions determine, and with absolute
accuracy, the prevailing conditions of our outward, material life, and
likewise the prevailing conditions of our bodily life. Would we have any
conditions different in the latter we must then make the necessary
changes in the former. The silent, subtle forces of mind and spirit,
ceaselessly at work, are continually moulding these outward and these
bodily conditions.

He makes a fundamental error who thinks that these are mere sentimental
things in life, vague and intangible. They are, as great numbers are now
realising, the great and elemental things in life, the only things that
in the end really count. The normal man or woman can never find real and
abiding satisfaction in the mere possessions, the mere accessories of
life. There is an eternal something within that forbids it. That is the
reason why, of late years, so many of our big men of affairs, so many in
various public walks in life, likewise many women of splendid equipment
and with large possessions, have been and are turning so eagerly to the
very things we are considering. To be a mere huckster, many of our big
men are finding, cannot bring satisfaction, even though his operations
run into millions in the year.

And happy is the young man or the young woman who, while the bulk of
life still lies ahead, realises that it is the things of the mind and
the spirit - the fundamental things in life - that really count; that here
lie the forces that are to be understood and to be used in moulding the
everyday conditions and affairs of life; that the springs of life are
all from within, that as is the inner so always and inevitably will be
the outer.

To present certain facts that may be conducive to the realisation of
this more abundant life is the author's purpose and plan.

R. W. T.

_Sunnybrae Farm,
New York._


Chapter Page

I. The Silent, Subtle Building Forces of Mind and Spirit 9

II. Soul, Mind, Body - The Subconscious Mind That
Interrelates Them 19

III. The Way Mind Through the Subconscious Mind Builds Body 37

IV. The Powerful Aid of the Mind in Rebuilding Body - How
Body Helps Mind 50

V. Thought as a Force in Daily Living 63

VI. Jesus the Supreme Exponent of the Inner Forces and
Powers: His People's Religion and Their Condition 76

VII. The Divine Rule in the Mind and Heart: The Unessentials
We Drop - The Spirit Abides 89

VIII. If We Seek the Essence of His Revelation, and the
Purpose of His Life 113

IX. His Purpose of Lifting Up, Energising, Beautifying,
and Saving the Entire Life: The Saving of the Soul is
Secondary; but Follows 140

X. Some Methods of Attainment 152

XI. Some Methods of Expression 173

XII. The World War - Its Meaning and Its Lessons for Us 191

XIII. Our Sole Agency of International Peace, and
International Concord 213

XIV. The World's Balance-wheel 231






There are moments in the lives of all of us when we catch glimpses of a
life - our life - that is infinitely beyond the life we are now living. We
realise that we are living below our possibilities. We long for the
realisation of the life that we feel should be.

Instinctively we perceive that there are within us powers and forces
that we are making but inadequate use of, and others that we are
scarcely using at all. Practical metaphysics, a more simplified and
concrete psychology, well-known laws of mental and spiritual science,
confirm us in this conclusion.

Our own William James, he who so splendidly related psychology,
philosophy, and even religion, to life in a supreme degree, honoured his
calling and did a tremendous service for all mankind, when he so
clearly developed the fact that we have within us powers and forces that
we are making all too little use of - that we have within us great
reservoirs of power that we have as yet scarcely tapped.

The men and the women who are awake to these inner helps - these
directing, moulding, and sustaining powers and forces that belong to the
realm of mind and spirit - are never to be found among those who ask: Is
life worth the living? For them life has been multiplied two, ten, a
hundred fold.

It is not ordinarily because we are not interested in these things, for
instinctively we feel them of value; and furthermore our observations
and experiences confirm us in this thought. The pressing cares of the
everyday life - in the great bulk of cases, the bread and butter problem
of life, which is after all the problem of ninety-nine out of every
hundred - all seem to conspire to keep us from giving the time and
attention to them that we feel we should give them. But we lose thereby
tremendous helps to the daily living.

Through the body and its avenues of sense, we are intimately related to
the physical universe about us. Through the soul and spirit we are
related to the Infinite Power that is the animating, the sustaining
force - the Life Force - of all objective material forms. It is through
the medium of the mind that we are able consciously to relate the two.
Through it we are able to realise the laws that underlie the workings of
the spirit, and to open ourselves that they may become the dominating
forces of our lives.

There is a divine current that will bear us with peace and safety on its
bosom if we are wise and diligent enough to find it and go with it.
Battling against the current is always hard and uncertain. Going with
the current lightens the labours of the journey. Instead of being
continually uncertain and even exhausted in the mere efforts of getting
through, we have time for the enjoyments along the way, as well as the
ability to call a word of cheer or to lend a hand to the neighbour, also
on the way.

The _natural, normal life_ is by a law divine under the guidance of the
spirit. It is only when we fail to seek and to follow this guidance, or
when we deliberately take ourselves from under its influence, that
uncertainties arise, legitimate longings go unfulfilled, and that
violated laws bring their penalties.

It is well that we remember always that violated law carries with it its
own penalty. The Supreme Intelligence - God, if you please - does not
punish. He works through the channel of great immutable systems of law.
_It is ours to find these laws._ That is what mind, intelligence, is
for. Knowing them we can then obey them and reap the beneficent results
that are always a part of their fulfilment; knowingly or unknowingly,
intentionally or unintentionally, we can fail to observe them, we can
violate them, and suffer the results, or even be broken by them.

Life is not so complex if we do not so continually persist in making it
so. Supreme Intelligence, creative Power works only through law. Science
and religion are but different approaches to our understanding of the
law. When both are real, they supplement one another and their findings
are identical.

The old Hebrew prophets, through the channel of the spirit, perceived
and enunciated some wonderful laws of the natural and normal life - that
are now being confirmed by well-established laws of mental and spiritual
science - and that are now producing these identical results in the lives
of great numbers among us today, when they said: "And thine ears shall
hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye
turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the left."

And again: "The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek
him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake
you." "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on
thee; because he trusteth in thee." "The Lord in the midst of thee is
mighty." "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall
abide under the shadow of the Almighty." "Thou shalt be in league with
the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace
with thee." "Commit thy way unto the Lord: trust also in him and he
shall bring it to pass." Now these formulations all mean something of a
_very definite nature_, or, they mean nothing at all. If they are actual
expressions of fact, they are governed by certain definite and immutable

These men gave us, however, no knowledge of _the laws_ underlying the
workings of these inner forces and powers; they perhaps had no such
knowledge themselves. They were intuitive perceptions of truth on their
part. The scientific spirit of this, our age, was entirely unknown to
them. The growth of the race in the meantime, the development of the
scientific spirit in the pursuit and the finding of truth, makes us
infinitely beyond them in some things, while in others they were far
ahead of us. But this fact remains, and this is the important fact: If
these things were actual facts in the lives of these early Hebrew
prophets, they are then actual facts in our lives right now, today; or,
if not actual facts, then they are facts that still lie in the realm of
the potential, only waiting to be brought into the realm of the actual.

These were not unusual men in the sense that the Infinite Power, God, if
you please, could or did speak to them alone. They are types, they are
examples of how any man or any woman, through desire and through will,
can open himself or herself to the leadings of Divine Wisdom, and have
actualised in his or her life an ever-growing sense of Divine Power. For
truly "God is the same yesterday, and today, and forever." His laws are
unchanging as well as immutable.

None of these men taught, then, how to recognise the Divine Voice
within, nor how to become continually growing embodiments of the Divine
Power. They gave us perhaps, though, all they were able to give. Then
came Jesus, the successor of this long line of illustrious Hebrew
prophets, with a greater aptitude for the things of the spirit - the
supreme embodiment of Divine realisation and revelation. With a greater
knowledge of truth than they, he did greater things than they.

He not only did these works, but he showed how he did them. He not only
revealed _the Way_, but so earnestly and so diligently he implored his
hearers to follow _the Way_. He makes known the secret of his insight
and his power: "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself:
but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." Again, "I can
of my own self do nothing." And he then speaks of his purpose, his aim:
"I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it more
abundantly." A little later he adds: "The works that I do ye shall do
also." Now again, these things mean something of a very definite nature,
or they mean nothing at all.

The works done, the results achieved by Jesus' own immediate disciples
and followers, and in turn their followers, as well as in the early
church for close to two hundred years after his time, all attest the
truth of his teaching and demonstrate unmistakably the results that

Down through the intervening centuries, the teachings, the lives and the
works of various seers, sages, and mystics, within the church and out of
the church, have likewise attested the truth of his teachings. The bulk
of the Christian world, however, since the third century, has been so
concerned with various theories and teachings _concerning_ Jesus, that
it has missed almost completely the real vital and vitalising teachings
_of_ Jesus.

We have not been taught primarily to follow his injunctions, and to
apply the truths that he revealed to the problems of our everyday
living. Within the last two score of years or a little more, however,
there has been a great going back directly to the teachings of Jesus,
and a determination to prove their truth and to make effective their
assurances. Also various laws in the realm of Mental and Spiritual
Science have become clearly established and clearly formulated, that
confirm all his fundamental teachings.

There are now definite and well-defined laws in relation to thought as a
force, and the methods as to how it determines our material and bodily
conditions. There are now certain well-defined laws pertaining to the
subconscious mind, its ceaseless building activities, how it always
takes its direction from the active, thinking mind, and how through this
channel we may connect ourselves with reservoirs of power, so to speak,
in an intelligent and effective manner.

There are now well-understood laws underlying mental suggestion, whereby
it can be made a tremendous source of power in our own lives, and can
likewise be made an effective agency in arousing the motive powers of
another for his or her healing, habit-forming, character-building. There
are likewise well-established facts not only as to the value, but the
absolute need of periods of meditation and quiet, alone with the Source
of our being, stilling the outer bodily senses, and fulfilling the
conditions whereby the Voice of the Spirit can speak to us and through
us, and the power of the Spirit can manifest in and through us.

A nation is great only as its people are great. Its people are great in
the degree that they strike the balance between the life of the mind and
the spirit - all the finer forces and emotions of life - and their outer
business organisation and activities. When the latter become excessive,
when they grow at the expense of the former, then the inevitable decay
sets in, that spells the doom of that nation, and its time is tolled off
in exactly the same manner, and under the same law, as has that of all
the other nations before it that sought to reverse the Divine order of

The human soul and its welfare is the highest business that any state
can give its attention to. To recognise or to fail to recognise the
value of the human soul in other nations, determines its real greatness
and grandeur, or its self-complacent but essential vacuity. It is
possible for a nation, through subtle delusions, to get such an attack
of the big head that it bends over backwards, and it is liable, in this
exposed position, to get a thrust in its vitals.

To be carried too far along the road of efficiency, big business,
expansion, world power, domination, at the expense of the great
spiritual verities, the fundamental humanities of national life, that
make for the real life and welfare of its people, and that give also its
true and just relations with other nations and their people, is both
dangerous and in the end suicidal - it can end in nothing but loss and
eventual disaster. A silent revolution of thought is taking place in the
minds of the people of all nations at this time, and will continue for
some years to come. A stock-taking period in which tremendous
revaluations are under way, is on. It is becoming clear-cut and



There is a notable twofold characteristic of this our age - we might
almost say: of this our generation. It is on the one hand a tremendously
far-reaching interest in the deeper spiritual realities of life, in the
things of the mind and the Spirit. On the other hand, there is a
materialism that is apparent to all, likewise far-reaching. We are
witnessing the two moving along, apparently at least, side by side.

There are those who believe that out of the latter the former is
arising, that we are witnessing another great step forward on the part
of the human race - a new era or age, so to speak. There are many things
that would indicate this to be a fact. The fact that the _material
alone_ does not satisfy, and that from the very constitution of the
human mind and soul, it cannot satisfy, may be a fundamental reason for

It may be also that as we are apprehending, to a degree never equalled
in the world's history, the finer forces in nature, and are using them
in a very practical and useful way in the affairs and the activities of
the daily life, we are also and perhaps in a more pronounced degree,
realising, understanding, and using the finer, the higher insights and
forces, and therefore powers, of mind, of spirit, and of body.

I think there is a twofold reason for this widespread and rapidly
increasing interest. A new psychology, or perhaps it were better to say,
some new and more fully established laws of psychology, pertaining to
the realm of the subconscious mind, its nature, and its peculiar
activities and powers, has brought us another agency in life of
tremendous significance and of far-reaching practical use.

Another reason is that the revelation and the religion of Jesus the
Christ is witnessing a _new birth_, as it were. We are finding at last
an entirely new content in his teachings, as well as in his life. We are
dropping our interest in those phases of a Christianity that he probably
never taught, and that we have many reasons now to believe he never even
thought - things that were added long years after his time.

We are conscious, however, as never before, that that wonderful
revelation, those wonderful teachings, and above all that wonderful
life, have a content that can, that does, inspire, lift up, and make
more effective, more powerful, more successful, and more happy, the life
of every man and every woman who will accept, who will appropriate, who
will live his teachings.

Look at it, however we will, this it is that accounts for the vast
number of earnest, thoughtful, forward looking men and women who are
passing over, and in many cases are passing from, traditional
Christianity, and who either of their own initiative, or under other
leadership, are going back to those simple, direct, God-impelling
teachings of the Great Master. They are finding salvation in his
teachings and his example, where they _never could_ find it in various
phases of the traditional teachings _about_ him.

It is interesting to realise, and it seems almost strange that this new
finding in psychology, and that this new and vital content in
Christianity, have come about at almost identically the same time. Yet
it is not strange, for the one but serves to demonstrate in a concrete
and understandable manner the fundamental and essential principles of
the other. Many of the Master's teachings of the inner life, teachings
of "the Kingdom," given so far ahead of his time that the people in
general, and in many instances even his disciples, were incapable of
fully comprehending and understanding them, are now being confirmed and
further elucidated by clearly defined laws of psychology.

Speculation and belief are giving way to a greater knowledge of law. The
supernatural recedes into the background as we delve deeper into the
supernormal. The unusual loses its miraculous element as we gain
knowledge of the law whereby the thing is done. We are realising that no
miracle has ever been performed in the world's history that was not
through the understanding and the use of Law.

Jesus did unusual things; but he did them because of his unusual
understanding of the law through which they could be done. _He_ would
not have us believe otherwise. To do so would be a distinct
contradiction of the whole tenor of his teachings and his injunctions.
Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free, was his own
admonition. It was the great and passionate longing of his master heart
that the people to whom he came, grasp the _interior meanings_ of his
teachings. How many times he felt the necessity of rebuking even his
disciples for dragging his teachings down through their material
interpretations. As some of the very truths that he taught are now
corroborated and more fully understood, and in some cases amplified by
well-established laws of psychology, mystery recedes into the

We are reconstructing a more natural, a more sane, a more common-sense
portrait of the Master. "It is the spirit that quickeneth," said he;
"the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, _they_
are spirit and _they_ are life." Shall we recall again in this
connection: "I am come that ye might have life and that ye might have it
more abundantly"? When, therefore, we take him at his word, and listen
intently to _his_ words, and not so much to the words of others about
him; when we place our emphasis upon the fundamental spiritual truths
that he revealed and that he pleaded so earnestly to be taken in the
simple, direct way in which he taught them, we are finding that the
religion of the Christ means a clearer and healthier understanding of
life and its problems through a greater knowledge of the elemental
forces and laws of life.

Ignorance enchains and enslaves. Truth - which is but another way of
saying a clear and definite knowledge of Law, the elemental laws of
soul, of mind, and body, and of the universe about us - brings freedom.
Jesus revealed essentially a spiritual philosophy of life. His whole
revelation pertained to the essential divinity of the human soul and
the great gains that would follow the realisation of this fact. His
whole teaching revolved continually around his own expression, used
again and again, the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven, and which
he so distinctly stated was an inner state or consciousness or
realisation. Something not to be found outside of oneself but to be
found _only within_.

We make a great error to regard man as merely a duality - mind and body.
Man is a trinity, - soul, mind, and body, each with its own
functions, - and it is the right coordinating of these that makes the
truly efficient and eventually the perfect life. Anything less is always
one-sided and we may say, continually out of gear. It is essential to a
correct understanding, and therefore for any adequate use of the
potential powers and forces of the inner life, to realise this.

It is the physical body that relates us to the physical universe about
us, that in which we find ourselves in this present form of existence.
But the body, wondrous as it is in its functions and its mechanism, is
not the life. It has no life and no power in itself. It is of the earth,
earthy. Every particle of it has come from the earth through the food we
eat in combination with the air we breathe and the water we drink, and

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Online LibraryRalph Waldo TrineThe higher powers of mind and spirit → online text (page 1 of 14)