By Captain Walter Carey, R.N.
(An Address delivered at the O.G.A. Headquarters – May 17th 1916.)
There is a widespread belief that thoughts being flimsy things, like dreams, do not matter in the least, provided our actions are correct; but this idea is entirely erroneous, for the simple reason that actions are the outcome of thought, and are, in fact, materialised thoughts.
It is well known that wrong thought cannot tend to produce right action any more than right thought can result in crime. For instance, if envious or covetous thoughts be indulged in long enough, they may, when a favourable opportunity occurs, result in dishonesty. If thoughts are habitually of a kindly nature it is quite impossible to carry out unfriendly acts. So it is clear that the thoughts we harbour, and especially those we frequently repeat, are of practical importance.
The chief difference between mankind and the lower animals lies in thought power, which, though undeveloped in the animal kingdom, is possessed in varying degree by the human race and causes one of the principal differences between individuals.
If we look at success or failure purely from the physical standpoint of the accumulation of riches, possessions or influence, we notice that those who obtain great success in life without the assistance of interest or fortune are individuals who invariably possess a remarkable amount of thought power; whereas those who do not succeed, the failures who do not get on in their occupations, are equally remarkable for lack of this power.
Thought power is therefore very desirable from the physical plane point of view. Equally so is it from spiritual considerations.
If one asks the question, for what purpose are we in this world? or what is the meaning of it all? The answer in as few words as possible is that life is a great opportunity. We immortal spirits come here clothed in mortal bodies, with more or less indifferent characters, and in undergoing the events of everyday life pass through a course of training—the object of which is to improve our character and evolve the powers which are latent in all.
Now it is possible for a boy sent to a first-rate school to finish his school days practically as ignorant as when he joined; in like manner we may pass through life with little advantage to ourselves from the experiences we have undergone. Success at school as well as improvement of character entirely depend on personal effort, which can only be successful through the cultivation of thought power. Thought power is therefore both important and desirable.
Now let us look at this matter from another point of view. Suppose one went about asking, what is the greatest force in the world? The replies would probably be electricity, steam, water power, or that of high explosives. I do not suppose one in a thousand would give the correct answer—Thought power. Yet it is by thought we control and utilise Nature’s forces.
Why is it that in many parts of the world you do not find trains, machinery, or other mechanical contrivances? Is it because Nature has omitted to supply her forces to these countries? Of course not; the forces are there right enough, but the inhabitants have not yet evolved the master force of thought power by which to call up and use the others.
Again, we know that steam, electricity and other forces are very dangerous unless used in accordance with knowledge of physical laws. Still more dangerous is the spiritual force called thought power if used without regard to spiritual law. Of this there is a terrible illustration in the present state of affairs.
Why is Europe in a state of war? What is the cause that has produced the catastrophe? The answer to my mind is extremely plain. For a great many years a wave of materialistic ideas has spread over Europe, numbers holding and teaching that there is no law higher than scientific law, and no, force superior to physical force—that belief in spiritual ideas and consequences is all foolishness and unworthy of practical people. During this period it is noticeable that although enormous advance has been made in scientific knowledge, with its application to machinery and all sorts of convenient inventions, the kindly feelings which should exist between capital and labour, masters and men, classes and masses, have become practically non-existent.
In the case of European politics, after a mad race in armaments we have reached universal war, The experiment of running Europe on material lines has been given a generous trial and failed most dismally.
The fact of the matter is that this world reveals two sets of forces acting under their respective laws, one physical, the other spiritual. Of these much attention has been paid to Nature’s physical forces and the laws under which they may be used in safety. In this investigation and in other worldly matters, business for example, the spiritual force called thought power has been freely used, but most unfortunately without any regard to spiritual law. We have learnt by bitter experience that to ignore physical law causes “accident”; shall we now realize that to use spiritual force in ignorance of spiritual law produces ” catastrophy?”
Systematically we have ignored the spiritual law of Brotherhood, and now in war, desolation and ruin, we reap the consequence. Thought power, therefore, is not only important and desirable but very dangerous.
Now because a force is dangerous it does not follow that we need refuse to make use of it. We do not object to electric light in our houses because electricity is dangerous; on the contrary, the greater the danger the more trouble do we take to find out the conditions under which the force may be used in safety, which brings us to the consideration of the manufacture of thought.
The Apparatus of Thought
This consists of two parts, the brain and the mental body, and may well be compared with the apparatus for, the production of music, the brain corresponding to the musical instrument, the mental body to the musician. To obtain good results the combination of a good brain with a good mental body is absolutely necessary.
One of the commonest causes of feeble intellect is malnutrition of the brain, so the quality and condition of the substances which feed the brain are important. The brain is nourished by the blood, which is formed from our food and drink, and also varies in condition with the state of general health. To possess a healthy brain it is therefore necessary to pay attention to the laws of health, not only as regards pure food but also exercise, fresh air, correct breathing, etc. The brain also must be exercised, experience having proved that the more it is used within reason, the more capable does it become; this means that each must do his own thinking and not get in the habit of allowing others to think for him.
The appearance of the mental body cannot be described, for it is constructed of materials not of this world, spirit matter, or fourth dimension stuff, for which we have no words; yet we know a little of its capabilities. It is quite independent of restrictions such as time and space; when fully developed it has many wonderful properties as little understood by the majority to-day as were the possibilities of electricity one hundred years ago.
Though we cannot see the mental body, a good deal of information can be obtained about it from the appearance of its aura, the name given to the luminous mist, visible to some, which surrounds it. With a healthy and developed mental body the aura would show regular and bright bands of colour, roughly as follows: at the upper part a band of purple indicating spirituality, next golden (intellect), blue (devotion), pink (affection), and green (sympathy). The brightness of the bands and the distance to which aura extends giving the amount of the development of that particular quality. For instance, scientific study would increase the golden colour, devotion the blue, and so on. Excess of one colour indicates that the character is somewhat lopsided.
One skilled in reading the colours would, on viewing an aura, at once understand the character which produced it—an interesting consideration when it is remembered that after the death of the physical body all developed people will have this power of sight, and the hiding of character will be impossible.
Another useful quality of the aura is that it repels all vibrations that are not harmonious to it. A good aura therefore acts as a protection from evil.
How Thought Acts
Thoughts are things. Given a good brain in combination with a developed mental body, the act of thinking creates thought forms, which take shape and colour according to the type of the thought; these, like the aura, are at present only visible to a comparatively small number of people, but are just as real, or perhaps more so than physical objects.
If the thought is vague, the thought form would be merely an undefined sort of cloud or coloured mist. Definite thought, however, produces very clear forms in general shape something like flowers, sea shells, or geometrical figures which would be recognized and understood by one skilled in such matters. Good thought produces forms that are very beautiful and useful. Evil thought gives birth to horrible and dangerous forms. The length of time that these persist varies with the strength of the thought and whether frequently repeated.
Steady thinking has four chief results. It Sets the aura vibrating, sending out waves of thought in all directions which tend to reproduce the same sort of thought in others. Secondly, a permanent thought form is created in the aura and adds to the band of colour to which it belongs. Thirdly, a duplicate of this travels with great speed to the one thought of, and tries to discharge itself into his or her aura; this, however, can only happen if the vibrations of the aura are harmonious with the thought form. If the aura does not contain any similar quality, the thought form cannot enter but rebounds back to the sender. This briefly is the explanation how it is that a good aura acts as invisible armour against evil. Fourthly, there is the attractive effect for any similar types of thought.
We see, then, that the act of thinking has two effects on others, and two on the thinker, one of which causes a gradual change of character. Very true is the saying, ” As a man thinks, so is he.”
The question is often asked: ” Should we hate the Germans? ” Obviously the answer is No. If we are not sufficiently developed to be able to follow the directions given in the New Testament as to how enemies are to be treated, we may perhaps realize that to send damaging thought forms of hatred not only tends to make the character of the enemy worse, but causes injury to ourselves and those about us. For hatred is a weapon that injures the person who uses it—both mentally and physically.
Fear thoughts are a very great mistake and frequently cause unnecessary harm to our friends. Take the case of a mother who, having a son at the front, lives in a continual state of anxiety about his safety. Unwittingly she is doing the very last thing she would wish, for her fear thoughts reaching her son’s aura will, if he has any fear in his composition (and who has not?), tend to further increase that quality; and though the mother’s fears would not actually lead him into danger, they might indirectly do so by tending to cause him to make wrong decisions at critical moments.
The way to help a friend at the war or in any position of danger is to send strong helpful thoughts, such as that he or she is carrying out duty with confidence, bravely and most successfully—that in due time, having accomplished the work, he will return home in honour and safety.
At funerals or death beds, selfish wishes that the departed might return, and all fear thoughts, are most harmful, and disturb the one who is passing at a time when quiet and helpful thought from those still on earth are needed. Loving thoughts are required to help the traveller on his way in the new world and to the bright and happy life that lies before him.
How to Cultivate Thought Power
(1) Take the physical body in hand, and by personal attention to the laws of hygiene make it healthy.
(2) Obtain control of the physical body—make it do what you order.
(3) Think only thoughts of which you approve. Turn out all others.
(4) Practise daily sending out good and kindly thoughts to other people.
(5) Practise improvement of memory—and the habit of noticing things.
(6) Practise concentration—that is thinking steadily on one selected subject.
(7) Practise daily remembering all events, trivial or otherwise, in the reverse order to which they happened. Apply this when something is lost. The usual method is to search in likely places; a tedious and uncertain method. Instead, sit comfortably in your room, quiet the mind, and go over in memory (backwards) all previous incidents until you come to the occasion when the lost article was in use; you will then remember what you did with it.
Another useful and satisfactory practice is, when someone is unfriendly, or you have had a quarrel, bombard that person regularly every day with kindly thought forms. Use thoughts such as, how foolish it is for us to quarrel; the matter is a trifle and not worth it; it is merely a misunderstanding; we are really good friends, etc. When next you meet you will be astonished how friendly you find yourselves.
In conclusion, there are two necessary cautions. When you practise concentration, first place your physical body in a place of safety; do not concentrate in the London streets, or anywhere where the body, not being looked after by the mind, might be injured. The best place is a room where you will not be suddenly disturbed. Secondly, do not concentrate too long; a few minutes at a time at first is ample. And in these ways you may learn the ” Power of Thought.”
A soul occupied with great ideas best performs small duties; the divinest views of life penetrate most clearly into the meanest enterprises.
What does the word “cheerfulness” imply? It means a contented spirit; it means a pure heart; it means a kind and loving disposition; it means humility and charity; it means a generous appreciation of others and a modest opinion of self.
To-day we are out to declare in all sincerity that flesh-eating is doomed because it is inhuman, that flesh-eating will die out because it is brutal, that flesh-eating will be swept away because it is only a transient phase on the way from bestiality to humanity.
Josiah Oldfield, M.A., D.C.L., M.R.C.S
The Herald of the Golden Age, July 1916