THE objects of this Course are:
(1) To alter your mental attitude, and
(2) To direct your thoughts into those channels which lead to success, achievement, health, happiness and perfect good;
(3) The arousing of the inward POWER, and
(4) The overcoming of bad habits;
(5) The building up of character, and
(6) The discovery and development of the creative faculty.
How these are accomplished will be explained to you in their proper place and at the proper time, but first of all I want you to consider, thoughtfully, what is before you.
It is not exactly an easy road which you have chosen. No path that leads upward ever is. The path of victory is always thorny; but when the thorns hurt the feet most, we can console ourselves with the thought that the path really does lead somewhere, and we know definitely that it leads to Success, Achievement, Happiness and Satisfaction. Difficulties there will be, disappointments, failures and set-backs, but to him who sets his face towards the light, and will keep steadily onward, there must come success and accomplishment and victory, above all expectation.
If now you merely read this and pass on, the amount of good that it will do you will be none at all. This Course is useless if you do not "do" it, reading it will do you little or no good, it is the doing of it that will change your character and your life.
Therefore, stop now and think carefully over the path that lies before you; estimate its difficulties, do not think lightly of them, be prepared for difficulty, and make up your mind, here and now, to conquer.
You may have failed in the past, but this time you must, you will, and you shall overcome every difficulty and weakness, and achieve dominion over yourself, victory over your circumstances and complete control over your life.
THERE MUST AND SHALL BE NO FAILURE THIS TIME. THIS TIME YOU ARE GOING TO SUCCEED THROUGH THE POWER THAT IS WITHIN YOU.
Now close your eyes, and mentally picture yourself, radiant, strong, successful, happy, full of the joy and zest of life. See yourself treading a path that leads ever upwards. Behind you the air is murky and gloomy, but in front is increasing brightness and loveliness. See yourself progressing, climbing, winning. See yourself trampling old habits and weaknesses under your feet. See yourself meeting difficulties in your path, and see yourself, sustained by a mighty inward power, brushing all obstructions aside, and never faltering in your upward climb.
Concentrate with all your powers upon this mental imagery. Persevere until you can see yourself radiant, sublime, shorn of all weaknesses and imperfections, the perfect image of your perfect self. See yourself full of vitality and health, see yourself successful, attracting both people and affluence to you. Make a concrete, sharply defined image in your mind of yourself as you desire to be; see yourself master of circumstances, attracting all good things by the power of your mental forces.
WHATEVER YOU CREATE IN THIS MANNER, IN YOUR MENTAL WORLD, WILL LATER BE MANIFESTED IN YOUR OUTWARD LIFE.
In other words, by mental imagery you are creating your future self. You will gradually grow into the likeness of the image that you are now creating. Therefore create the right image. Let your ambition be a high one; do not picture yourself as a common man, satisfied with vulgar pleasures, instead, create a perfect man, the most perfect of which you can conceive.
In the same way when you throw your mind forward and foresee the task before you and "will" that all difficulties shall be overcome, and that if you get weary of well doing, you will not give up but will persevere, and arouse fresh interest in the task of self culture and achievement, then you are already winning the battle in advance, you are making your ultimate success doubly sure.
I want you to realize that this journey of yours is not a walk over, I want you to understand that it is a fight all the way, but at the same time to realize that it is a winning fight all the time; for although difficulties are real, yet you have within you the Powers which make difficulties and obstacles melt away. Great and omnipotent is the Power within you. Nothing can stay your upward climb, there is nobody who can prevent you succeeding except yourself; there is nothing that can stop your progress but your own doubt and fear. All things are possible if you believe that they are possible.
Unbounded confidence, the keynote of Success. YOU cannot fail, YOU, yourself, are Success.
Another word for "unbounded confidence" is "faith." Every successful man is a confident man. He believes wholeheartedly in his own power to succeed. This is not vanity or being too "cock-sure," instead it is either conscious, or unconscious, or subconscious realization of the Inward Power. This is why so few men are really successful, so few men ever arouse the mighty powers that are within them, so few men think the kind of thoughts that bring these powers into life and action.
Every successful man is a man of "faith," every successful man is a man who cultivates "hope." A successful man is always hopeful, is never a pessimist and he brings that which he hopes for, into being and reality, by the strength of his faith.
Therefore I want you first of all to cultivate Hope and Faith for without those qualities no one, no matter how gifted or clever, can ever succeed.
That you have these two qualities is proved by the fact that you are reading this Course. You have had the hope of winning your way to a life of Success, and Power, and you have had the Faith to believe that within you are the powers and forces which make this possible. Without Hope a man is as good as dead, without Faith he is like a rudderless ship drifting hither and thither with every wind and current. On the other hand all things are possible to the man who has both these qualities.
Cast your eyes over the lives of all men of great achievement, and you will see that they were all animated by Hope and sustained by Faith. They hoped for success and believed that they had it in them to achieve that success. In their darkest hours they hoped on, believing that soon the reaction would come, which would carry them on to the accomplishment of their ambitions.
Nothing has ever yet been accomplished by man on this planet without the inspiration of Hope and the tenacity of Faith. Hope reaches forward and claims success, faith holds on until success is attained. Therefore seek to develop these qualities to their fullest extent.
It is a well known fact that when a man turns his face round and determines to fight his way to success, or to overcome evil habit, or to raise himself in any way either mentally, morally, physically or spiritually, then everything seems to happen to thwart his new intention and to throttle his new desires.
So long as he goes on in his old way, drifting with the tide, floating about helplessly, the sport of fate and the prey of outside circumstances, so long as this goes on, nothing unusual happens. But directly a start is made in an upward direction, then all kinds of psychic powers seem to be let loose, whose object appears to be to prevent the student from making any progress in his new life.
When a man realizes his own interior powers and understands the vastness and wonder of his subliminal forces, and determines to make use of them, and thus become a king among men instead of a slave, then such a disturbance takes place that unless he possesses Hope and Faith he will be tempted to turn his back on the new life and to sink back again into the old sluggish drifting existence, which leads to disappointment and despair.
Those people variously known as Christian Scientists, Mental Scientists, Spiritual Scientists, etc. (no matter what they call themselves, they all deal with the powers of the mind) all experience the same thing. Even the health is affected in a curious way, friends are peevish and irritable, little things go wrong in business, and generally one is out of sorts and all things awry.
When this experience comes to one, then is the time to exercise Hope and Faith. First of all remember that the condition is only temporary. After a few days, in some cases it may be weeks, the health will improve, friends will become genial and harmony will again reign in your life. When the entities that cause the disturbance realize that you mean to keep on, and that you cannot be bullied into going back to the old life, they will quickly leave you.
In any case there is nothing to be afraid of, because these entities are helpless if one does not fear them. In other words, if you have Hope and Faith you can win through. Hope for better times although the present may be discouraging. Faith in the sure belief that soon all the disagreeable symptoms will disappear.
Hope on; by Faith, hang on, and keep hanging on and you will win through. Do not be discouraged by seeming failure, nothing was ever won without effort. What can be had without effort is not worth having.
Take encouragement from the fact that this disturbance in your life proves that vital changes are taking place within, that the vast powers of your subliminal mind are beginning to awaken, and that the entities of your old erroneous beliefs and habits are taking their departure.
Believe now that you can conquer and win through, and you will conquer and win through. What you believe you can do, you can do, because all power is within you. There is nothing in all the world that can stop you, except your own doubt and fear.
I want you to trust me to the extent of doing something, the underlying principle of which cannot be explained in this first lesson. I want you to make what is known as an "affirmation," I want you to affirm the following: "THE OLD LIFE IS DEAD AND BURIED. I HAVE SEVERED MYSELF FROM IT ONCE AND FOR ALL. HENCEFORTH I LIVE THE NEW LIFE OF SUCCESS AND POWER, OF SELF-MASTERY AND ALL ACCOMPLISHMENT."
First of all memorize these words. Keep repeating them over until they sink deeply into your memory, and their meaning finds a place in your consciousness. If you can get a few moments to yourself during the day, practice making the affirmations. The right way is as follows: Go into a quiet place, whether you sit, stand, or lie down is immaterial. Now close your eyes and say the words over very earnestly.
Strive to realize all that they mean and address the words to your inner mind. It is your submerged mind that you are influencing, so address the affirmation very earnestly to it. Do this for several minutes, and finish by making the affirmation into space. Hurl it out as a message to the Universe and by so doing you will come into harmony with innumerable invisible forces, who will help and strengthen you.
Do not make the affirmation while in a state of strain and nervous tension. Relax yourself, take a deep breath, and as you exhale let your muscles go limp; smooth out your nerves until your whole body is in a peaceful easy state. Concentrate your thoughts on what you are doing. If they wander bring them back and begin again. The more you concentrate the better will be the result.
The most important, in fact the time above all times for making the affirmation is just as you are falling to sleep. There is a great psychological reason for this. If you can fall asleep while making the affirmation, or while visualizing it, so much the better. Therefore take no food or stimulants (it is better to avoid the latter altogether) just before retiring. The reason cannot be given here because it would take too long, but it is an important one.
In the early morning immediately on waking is the next best time, both times should be made use of, and on no account be missed, but of the two the one just before sleep is by far the more important.
The influence of these two affirmations will be felt during the day, they will have an effect upon your mental outlook, and upon the way in which you will deal with the problems of your day's work; but this influence can be intensified and buttressed up, as it were, by "retiring into yourself" at intervals, during the day, and mentally repeating the affirmation.
This will give you a sense of power and confidence and hope, such as you have never experienced before. This is not "imagination," it is your hitherto unsuspected interior powers being aroused into activity.
When you have finished making the affirmation, again close your eyes and make a mental picture of yourself in the manner already taught. Endeavor to see yourself a radiant being, with the old life and its murkiness and imperfections left far behind you. Picture yourself pressing forward to higher and better things, meeting difficulties, it is true, but overcoming them, trampling old habits, weaknesses and imperfections under your feet.
Try and realize that you have the power to raise yourself above the ordinary things of life, that you can breathe a rarer and purer atmosphere. Picture yourself as a new being, happier, healthier, brighter and more radiant than ever you have been even at your most sublime moments.
This will not be easy. It requires concentration and perseverance. You will find it difficult to see yourself as you wish to see yourself, or you will find it not easy to see yourself clearly at all, also you will find it difficult to keep your mind concentrated upon the making of the image. There is only one thing to do and that is to keep on trying. Thus in the first lesson do you come face to face with a battle royal.
With most students this visualizing is a great difficulty, but no matter how difficult it may be, it has to be overcome. If you fail to overcome this difficulty then you fail in this course of lessons; if you fail to overcome now, you will fail in the larger things of life.
The best way to overcome a difficulty is by getting interested in it. When you have developed interest, enthusiasm is aroused, and after that concentration becomes comparatively easy, and this commands success. Therefore get interested in this problem of visualizing. Remember that all men of great achievement have had this power greatly developed, therefore if you wish to be great and successful you must first develop this same faculty.
There has never been a great act or achievement in the world's history that was not first visualized in this manner. Everything is first created in the unseen before it is manifested in the seen. When you, by dint of practice, can visualize clearly and distinctly, you will have developed creative power, not figuratively, but literally so.
Whatever you create in your mental world by means of visualizing will in time be manifested in the outer physical world. The outer world of matter is subservient to the inner world of mind. This is a great occult truth which has been withheld from ordinary people and has been until recently the closely guarded secret of certain secret orders. It is now given into your hands, you are put upon your honor not to reveal it to others.
When they have reached a certain stage of their development, the knowledge will come to them by some channel or other, and in the meantime it does more harm than good to try to impart occult knowledge to those who are not interested or ready to receive it.
I hope enough has been said to arouse your interest in, and enthusiasm for, visualizing. The more clearly you can visualize, the more clean cut will be the results in your daily life. This creative power can be so highly developed that a sick man can make himself well, a poor man can change his circumstances from poverty to prosperity, and a miserable and despondent pessimist can change himself into a cheery, optimist.
By visualizing, and by denials and affirmations (which will be explained later), by meditation and by the exercise of Hope and Faith the life, character and circumstances can be transformed. The results are so extraordinary that it is very difficult to get people to believe them, but they are none the less real. Therefore practice your affirmations and persevere with your visualizing, they will lead to results of which you can at present form but a faint conception.
To obtain the best results from this Course it is necessary to set apart a special time every day for meditation and concentration. The reason man is so weak and unhappy is because he lives the whole of his time in the objective life, the shallow material life of the senses, and neglects the deeper, grander and transcendental life of the inner mind. It is the inner life that gives power and peace and satisfaction.
The outer material life of the infinite mind of the senses only bring worry and care, the inner life of the deeper mind brings strength, wisdom, understanding and ability to accomplish and achieve.
It is a proved scientific fact that you grow into the likeness of that upon which you meditate. If you meditate upon evil then evil will come into your life; if you meditate upon revenge, your life will be turned into an inferno of trouble; on the other hand, if you meditate upon happiness and other higher mental states, then happiness will be yours, and if you let your thoughts dwell upon "peace" then peace of mind will result.
All these states and many others are within you; they can be called forth by meditation. You can call forth either good or evil, success or failure, strength or weakness, happiness or woe, everything is in your own hands.
To be used every day and twice a day if possible, between the hours of 6-9am and 9-11:30pm. Other times are suitable, but those mentioned will be found especially valuable to students, as between these hours their teacher is meditating upon the same thoughts, and the vibrations from his mind will be helpful to all who are "tuned to receive them."
Try and arrange to spend half an hour in meditation before retiring for the night. Sit in a quiet place, relax your body and concentrate upon these words:
Within me are infinite powers seeking expression. In the past, because I did not know of their existence, they have been stifled and suppressed. Now I "will" that they shall be called into activity, and find perfect and full expression in my body in the form of perfect health, in my life in the form of success and achievement, in my heart in the form of a mighty upwelling of joy and happiness.
Now that I have discovered this hidden and inexhaustible store of power and energy, my life is transformed; weakness gives place to strength, sorrow to happiness, morbidness to radiant joy, pessimism to divine optimism, despair to hope, failure to success, poverty to prosperity, sickness to health. Henceforth only the highest good can come into my life. Now by the power of my thought-forces I am allied with and joined to the Infinite Principle of Good, and we have become one.
Henceforth for me there is, and can be, no evil, only Infinite Good. All evil is now cast out of my life, because I am one with the Infinite Good. "No evil can come nigh my dwelling"; "nothing can harm or destroy." Henceforth by scientific thinking I control my life, for my life is the result or effect of my thoughts.
When evil thoughts, or weak thoughts, or impure thoughts, or failure thoughts, or fear thoughts, or poverty thoughts, or hate thoughts, or disease thoughts assail me, I will cast them out and think only of thoughts of love, and strength, of health and prosperity, of success and achievement, and of the Infinite Perfection with which I am now allied, and of which I form a part.
When meditating upon the above, take each thought separately in turn and concentrate all your thoughts upon it. Not only grasp its meaning, but try and picture what it means. For instance: "My life is transformed." When you think upon these words, try and see your life being transformed, see your weaknesses falling away from you like an old garment, and instead, strength, success and noble qualities being born in their place. Practice and concentrate and FEEL the power of this meditation.
This ends the metaphysical part of this week's lesson, the following are some brief hints of great value to the student beginning the study of Scientific Thought:
(1) Everything works according to Law, we each of us have what we deserve.
(2) Covet no man's goods, possessions or happiness; he deserves them, let him alone. Realize that the Universe holds all that you can possibly desire—for you.
(3) Hate no man. Hatred will come back like a boomerang and hurt you far more than it can the object of your hatred. Ignore what you cannot like, and concentrate your mind on pleasant things.
(4) Be true, be honest, be faithful. All these create vibrations which will bring back blessings and happiness to you.
You have entered a life, the power and possibilities of which you at present have no conception. If I described it now you would not understand. But, believe me, it is a life of Power to accomplish and Victory over all weaknesses. It is a life of Prosperity and true Success. It is a life of transcendent Joy. It is a life of peace and blessing to your fellows.
Look up. Keep looking up. Keep on affirming. Keep on visualizing. Keep on meditating. Keep on believing. Keep on hoping. What you hope for, and believe, and affirm, and visualize, is yours. Remember also that you grow into the likeness of that which you meditate upon.
The brain is a very delicate instrument; it is the vehicle through which the mind finds expression. The mind cannot manifest its power if the brain is clouded by grossness of body. The one who would improve his or her mind, who would awaken the mighty powers within, must give up hurtful physical habits. It is useless to attempt to eradicate bad mental habits while the body is suffering from indulgence of any kind. For instance, it would be waste of time to affirm all or any of the higher qualities of the mind and then to go to bed intoxicated or full of pork chops and fried onions.
Let your diet be on the light side, always rise from the table slightly hungry rather than repleted, and never eat later than three hours before retiring to bed. For instance, if you go to bed at 11pm do not eat at a later hour than 8pm. This is a most important point, the affirmations have more power if made when fasting, therefore the last thing at night and the time of waking in the early morning are the best times at which to perform them. There are physical and psychological reasons for this.
Bathe the body every day and follow by rough toweling. Do not wear too much clothing. Avoid tight collars and neck bands.
Take a fair amount of exercise, walking is the best form for most people. When walking keep the shoulders fairly well back, the back hollow and the body well balanced over the hips. Above all keep the head up. Do not look down, but LOOK UP. There is a reason for this.
As regards diet, eat the food that agrees with you best, but eat if you can digest them one or two raw things every day; raw ripe fruit, salad, water cress, etc.; again there is a reason. Masticate each mouthful of food until it becomes liquid.
Get into the habit of breathing deeply and through the nose. Keep the mouth firmly closed. Keep your windows open night and day, fresh air is cheap.
Lastly, try always to maintain a cheerful frame of mind.
It will be helpful for you to think of your Subliminal Mind as another person, one who is always listening, listening, listening. He hears all that you say, and ACTS UPON all the thoughts that you let pass the threshold of the inner mind.
"Hush! he is listening," should be the watch-word of your life. Let no thought of evil, of impurity, of weakness, of ill-health, of failure, of hate, of anger, of fear, enter your Subliminal Mind, for he will receive them as orders which he will obey, and being all-powerful, great and terrible will be the results.
Therefore let only thoughts of good, purity, strength, health, success, love, self-control, courage and determination enter this greater mind of vast intelligence and power. Do this, and your Subliminal Mind will take these thoughts as orders, and will shape your life and health accordingly. Thus in a general way your Subliminal Mind will be led to develop your life on healthful and successful, noble and harmonious lines.
The visualizing taught in this Course, also the denials (explained later), affirmations, meditations and other exercises, all have a very strong, deep, scientific purpose in view, and this is the training of the Subliminal Mind. The Affirmation and the Visualizing taught in this lesson are given you in order to make a definite impression upon your Subliminal Mind.
The main object of this lesson is to make a dent or impression on the Subliminal Mind and to make it realize that the old life is dead and that you have now entered a new life of health, success and power. Your Subliminal Mind will accept this if you persevere with the visualizing and affirmations, and will thus be prepared for the more advanced training which is to follow.
Let "Hush! he is listening" be the watch-word of your life.