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The Inner Consciousness



‘Forethought’




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THE late Charles Godfrey Leland, a well-known writer, and investigator along psychological lines, devoted several of the last years; long life (he lived to be nearly eighty years of age) to an investigation of the operation of the Will along the general lines of Inner Consciousness.

He, of course, did not use the term “Inner Consciousness,” but he recognized the existence of its planes of mental manifestation, and his ideas fit very nicely into the subject- matter and ideas advanced in this book, particularly so far as concerns the actual employment of the power possible to those who understand the subject.

In connection with the idea of “automatic thinking,” which we have described in the two preceding chapters, under the head of “automatic thinking,” and “inner conscious helpers,” he uses the word “Forethought” (first employed in a similar connection by Horace Fletcher). He uses the term “Forethought” in the same sense that we use the term “mental command” to the figurative brownies of the Inner Conscious planes.

We think it advisable to quote liberally from him in this lesson and the one immediately following, in which latter the “Leland Method” is described. Mr. Leland’s Ideas are so practical, and so readily understood by the average person, that you will do well to read closely these quotations. Mr. Leland says:

“Forethought is strong thought, and the point from which all projects must proceed. As I understand it, it is a kind of impulse or projection of Will into the coming work. I may here illustrate this with a curious fact in physics. If the reader wished to ring a doorbell so as to produce as much sound as possible, he would probably pull it as far back as he could, and then let it go.

But if he would, in letting it go, simply give it a tap with his forefinger, he would actually redouble the sound. Or, to shoot an arrow as far as possible, it is not enough to merely draw the bow to its utmost span or tension. If, just as it goes, you will give the bow a quick push, though the effort be trifling, the arrow will fly almost as far again as it would have done without it.

Or, if, as is well known, in wielding a very sharp sabre, we make the draw-cut, that is, if to the blow or chop, as with an axe, we also add a certain slight pull, simultaneously, we can cut through a silk handkerchief or a sheep. Forethought is the tap on the bell; the push on the bow; the draw on the sabre. It is the deliberate but yet rapid action of the mind when before falling to sleep or dismissing thought, we bid the mind to subsequently respond.

It is more than merely thinking what we are to do; it is the bidding or ordering the Self to fulfill a task before willing it.

“Forethought, in the senses employed or implied, as here described means much more than mere previous consideration or reflection, which may be very feeble. It is, in fact, constructive, which implies active thought. Therefore, as the active principle in mental work, I regard it as a kind of self-impulse, or that minor part in the division of the force employed which sets the major into action.

Now, if we really understand this, and can succeed in employing Forethought as the preparation for, and impulse to, Auto-Suggestion, we shall greatly aid the success of the latter, because the former insures attention and interest. Forethought may be brief, but it should always be energetic. By cultivating it we acquire the enviable talent of those men who take in everything at a glance, and act promptly, like Napoleon.

This power is universally believed to be entirely innate, or a gift; but it can be induced or developed in all minds in proportion to the will by practice.

“Be it observed that as the experimenter progresses in the development of will by Auto-Suggestion, he can gradually lay aside the latter, or all processes, especially if he work to such an end anticipating it. Then he simply acts by clear will and strength and Forethought constitutes all his stock-in-trade, process or aid. He preconceives and wills energetically at once, and by practice and repetition Forethought becomes a marvelous help on all occasions and emergencies.

To make it avail the one who frequently practices Auto-Suggestion, at first with, and then without sleep, will inevitably find ere long that to facilitate his work, or to succeed, he must first write, as it were, or plan a preface, synopsis, or epitome of his proposed work, to start it and combine with it a resolve or decree that it must be done, the latter being the tap on the bell- knob.

Now the habit of composing the plan as perfectly, yet as succinctly as possible, daily or nightly, combined with the energetic impulse to send it off, will ere long give the student a conception of what I mean by Forethought, which by description I cannot. And when grown familiar and really mastered, it will give to its possessor a power to think and act promptly in all the emergencies of life, in a greatly increased degree.

“All men of great natural strength of mind, gifted with the will to do and dare, the beings of action and genius, act directly, and are like athletes who lift a tree by the simple exertion of the muscles. He who achieves his aim by self-culture, training, or Auto-Suggestion, is like one who raises the weight by means of a lever, and if he practice it often enough he may in the end become as strong as the other.

Such a man is like the hero in one of Mayne Reid’s novels, of whom it is said: ‘His aim with the rifle is infallible, and it would seem as if the ball obeyed his Will. There must be a kind of Directing Principle in his mind, independent of strength of nerve and sight. He and one other are the only men in whom I have observed this singular power.’

This means simply the exercise in a second, as it were, of the tap on the bell-knob, or the projection of the will into the proposed shot, and which may be applied to any act.

“Mind and especially Forethought, or reflection, combined in one effort with will and energy, enters into all acts, though often unsuspected, for it is a kind of reflex action or cerebration.

Thus I once discovered to my astonishment in a gymnasium that the extremely mechanical action of putting up a heavy weight from the ground to the shoulder, and from the shoulder to the full reach of the arm above the head, became much easier after a little practice, although my muscles had not grown, nor my strength increased during the time.

And I found that whatever the exertion be, there was always a trick or knack, however indescribable, by means of which the man with a brain could surpass the dolt at anything, though the latter were his equal in strength. But it sometimes happens that the trick can be taught and improved upon. And it is in all cases Forethought, even the lifting of weights or the willing on the morrow to write a poem.

“This acting or working of the two thoughts at once (the thought of just what you want, and the thought that you succeed) may be difficult for some readers to understand. It may be formulated thus: ‘I wish to remember tomorrow at four o’clock to visit my bookseller—bookseller’s—four o’clock—four o’clock.’ But with practice the two will become as one conception.

When the object of a state of mind, as, for instance, calmness all day long, is obtained, even partially, the operator (who must of course do all to help himself to keep calm, should he remember his wish) will begin to believe in himself sincerely, or in the power of his will to compel a certain state of mind. This won all may be won, by continued reflection and perseverance. It is the great step gained, the alphabet learned, by which the mind may pass to boundless power.

This process of Auto-Suggestion, and trusting to the effect of ordinary sleep, is well adapted to producing desired states of mind, including those manifesting in future action.

“Forethought can be of vast practical use in cases where confidence is required. Many a young clergyman and lawyer has been literally frightened out of a career, and many an actor ruined for want of a very little knowledge, and in this I speak from personal experience.

Let the aspirant who is to appear in public, or pass an examination, and is alarmed, base his Forethought on such ideas as this, that he would not be afraid to repeat his speech to one or two persons—why then should he fear a hundred persons? There are some who can repeat this idea to themselves, till it takes hold strongly, and they rise almost feeling contempt for all in court, as did a lady in St. Louis, who felt so relieved when a witness at not feeling frightened, that she bade the judge and jury to cease looking at her in that impudent way.

“It will be useless for any person to take up this method as a trifling pastime or to attempt Auto-Suggestion and development of Will with as little earnestness as one would give to a game of cards; for in such half-hearted effort time will be lost and nothing come of it. Unless centered upon with the most serious resolve to persevere, and make greater effort and more earnestly at each step, it had better be left alone.

All who persevere with calm determination cannot fail ere long to gain a certain success, and this achieved, the second step is much easier. However, there are many people who after doing all in their power to get to the gold or diamond mines hasten away even when in the full tide of success, because they are fickle. And such people are more wearisome and greater foes to real Science than the utterly indifferent or the ignorant.

This will not have been written in vain should it induce the reader to reflect on what is implied by patient repetition or perseverance, and what an incredible and varied power that man acquires who masters it.

“There are many cases in which the reader may ask me whether this method may be employed, to which I am compelled to answer that I have had no experience in such cases. But I may add, in such cases, that as regards the method, I am like the Scotch clergyman, who, being asked by a wealthy man if he thought the gift of a thousand pounds to the Kirk would save the donor’s soul, replied: ‘I’m na prepairet to preceesly answer thot question—but I wad vara warmly advise ye to try it.’










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