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The Inner Consciousness

The ‘Leland Method’

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MR. LELAND, whose remarks on Forethought we gave you in the preceding lesson, paid much attention to a method of using the "Inner Consciousness" which is generally known as "The Leland Method."

Other writers, before and after Mr. Leland’s work, have considered this phase of the subject, but Mr. Leland deserves much credit for having brought the matter before the attention of a large number of people in so practical a manner, and in so forcible a style.

We herewith give you the gist of his “method,” in his own words, culled from his works on the subject. Mr. Leland begins by stating that for a number of years he had given much attention, time, study and reflection to the subject of the methods of impressing the Inner Conscious planes of the mind with Auto- Suggestions (Forethoughts; Mental Commands; Orders to the Brownies, etc.,) given immediately before one would sink to sleep at night. He then goes on to say:

“All mental or cerebral faculties can by direct scientific treatment be influenced to what would have once been regarded as miraculous action, and which is even yet very little known or considered. In the development of this theory, and as confirmed by much practical and personal experience, the Will can by very easy processes of training, or by aid of Auto-Suggestion, be strengthened to any extent, and states of mind soon induced, which can be made by practice habitual.

Thus, a man, by a very simple experiment a few times repeated—an experiment which I clearly describe and which has been tested and verified beyond all denial—can cause himself to remain during the following day in a perfectly calm or cheerful state of mind; and this condition may, by means of repetition and practice, be raised or varied to other states or conditions of a far more active or intelligent description.

Thus, for illustration, I may say that within my own experience, I have by this process succeeded since my seventieth year in working all day far more assiduously, and without any sense of weariness or distaste for labor than I ever did at any previous period of my life. And the reader need only try the extremely easy experiment, as I have described it, to satisfy himself that he can do the same, that he can continue it with growing strength ad infinitum.”

Mr. Leland then goes on to point out to the reader the effects of Auto-Suggestion, which are known to all students of psychology. He says: “Then it came to my mind that since Auto-Suggestion was possible, that if I would resolve to work all the next day; that is, apply myself to literary or artistic labor without once feeling fatigue, and succeed, it would be a marvelous thing for a man of my age. And so it befell that by making an easy beginning I brought it to pass to perfection.

What I mean by an easy beginning is not to will or resolve too vehemently, but to simply and very gently, yet assiduously, impress the idea upon the mind so as to fall asleep while thinking of it as a thing to be. My next step was to will that I should, all the next day, be free from any nervous or mental worry, or preserve a hopeful, calm, or well-balanced state of mind. This led to many minute and extremely curious experiments and observations.

That the imperturbable or calm state of mind promptly set in was undeniable, but it often behaved like the Angel in H. G. Wells’ novel, ‘The Wonderful Visit,’ as if somewhat frightened at, or of, with, or by its new abode, and no wonder, for it was indeed a novel guest, and the goblins of ‘Worry and Tease, Fidget and Fear’ who had hitherto been allowed to riot about and come and go at their own sweet wills, were ill-pleased at being made to keep quiet by this new lady of the manor.

I had my lapses, but withal I was simply astonished to find how, by perseverance, habitual calm not only grew upon me, but how decidedly it increased. And far beyond perseverance in labor, or the inducing a calmer and habitually restful state of mind, was the Awakening of the Will, which I found as interesting as any novel or drama, or series of active adventures which I have ever read or experienced.”

Then Mr. Leland proceeds to impart to his readers his “discovery,” or “method,” as follows: “And this is the discovery: Resolve before going to sleep that if there be anything whatever for you to do which requires Will or Resolution, be it to undertake repulsive or hard work or duty; to face a disagreeable person; to last; or make a speech; to say “No!” to anything; in short, to keep up to the mark or make any kind of effort that you WILL DO IT—as calmly and unthinkingly as may be.

Do not desire to do it sternly or forcibly, or in spite of obstacles—but simply and coolly make up your mind to DO IT—and it will much more likely be done. And it is absolutely true that if persevered in, this willing yourself to will by easy impulse unto impulse given, will lead to marvelous and most satisfactory results.”

Mr. Leland then gives the following words of caution to those undertaking the practice of his method: “There is one thing of which the young or over sanguine or heedless should be warned. Do not expect from this method, or anything else in this life, prompt perfection or the maximum of success.

You may pre-determine to be cheerful, but if you are very susceptible to bad weather, and the day should be dismal, or you should hear of the death of a friend, or a great disaster of any kind, some depression of spirits will likely ensue. On the other hand, note well that forming habit by frequent repetition of willing yourself to equanimity and cheerfulness, and also to the banishing of repulsive images when they come, will infallibly result in a very much happier state of mind.

As soon as you actually begin to realize that you are acquiring such control, remember that is the golden hour—and redouble your efforts. I trust that I have thus far in a few words explained to the reader the rationale of a system of mental discipline based on Will, and how by a very easy process the latter may be gradually awakened.

Everyone would like to have a strong, vigorous Will, and there is a library of books or sermons in some form, exhorting the weak to awaken and fortify their wills or characters, but all represent it as a hard and vigorous process, akin to storm and stress, battle and victory, and none really tell how to go about it. I have indeed only indicated that it is by Auto-Suggestion that the first steps are taken.

“If we will that a certain idea shall recur to us on the following, or any other day, and if we bring the mind to bear upon it just before falling asleep, it may be forgotten when we awake, but it will recur to us when the time comes. That is what almost everybody has proved, that if we resolve to awake at a certain hour we generally do so; if not the first time, after a few experiments, apropos of which I would remark that no one should ever expect full success from any first experiment.

Just by the same process as that which enables us to awake at a given hour, and simply by substituting other ideas for that of time, we can acquire the ability to bring upon ourselves pre-determined or desired states of mind. This is Auto-Suggestion, or deferred determination, be it with or without sleep. It becomes more certain in its results with every new experiment or trial. The great factor in the whole is perseverance or repetition.

By faith we can remove mountains, by perseverance we can carry them away, and the two amount to precisely the same thing.

“And here be it noted what, I believe, no writer has ever before observed, that as perseverance depends upon renewed forethought and reflection, so by continued practice and thought, in Auto-Suggestion, the one practicing begins to find before long that his conscious will is acting more vigorously in his waking hours, and that he can dispense with the sleeping process.

For, in fact, when we once find that our will is really beginning to obey us, and inspire courage and indifference where we were once timid, there is no end to the confidence and power which may ensue. Now this is absolutely true. A man may will certain things as he falls asleep. This willing should not be intense, as the old magnetizers taught; it ought rather to be like a quiet, firm desire or familiarization with what we want, often gently repeated until we fall asleep in it.

So the seeker wills or wishes that he shall, during all of the next day, feel strong and vigorous, hopeful, energetic, cheerful, bold, or calm, or peaceful, as he may desire. And the result will be obtained just in proportion to the degree in which the command or desire has impressed the Sub-Conscious Mind, or sunk into it.

“But, as I have said: Do not expect that all of this will result from a first trial. It may even be that those who succeed very promptly will be more likely to give out in the end than those who work up from small beginnings. The first step may very well be that of merely selecting some particular object, and calmly and gently, yet determinedly directing the mind to it, to be recalled at a certain hour. Repeat the experiment; if successful add to it something else.

Violent effort is unadvisable; yet mere repetition without thought is time lost. Think, while willing, what it is that you really do want; and, above all, if you can, think with a certainty and feeling that the idea will surely recur to you.

“To recapitulate and make all clear we will suppose that the reader desires during the following day to be in a calm, self-possessed or peaceful state of mind. Therefore at night, after retiring, let him first completely consider what he wants and means to acquire. This is the Forethought, and it should be as thorough as possible. Having done this, will or declare that what you want shall come to pass on waking, and repeating this and thinking on it, fall asleep. This is all.

Do not wish for two things at once, or not until your mind shall have become familiar with the process. As you feel your power strengthen with success, you may will yourself to do whatever you desire.

“It may have struck the reader as an almost awful, or at least a very wonderful idea, that Man has within himself, if he did but know it, tremendous powers or transcendental faculties of which he has really never had any conception. One reason why such bold thought has been subdued is that he always felt according to tradition, the existence of superior supernatural beings, by whose power and patronage he has been effectively restrained or kept under.

It may seem a bold thing to say that it did not occur to any philosopher through the ages, that Man, resolute, noble and free, might Will himself into a stage of mind defying devils and phantasms, or that amid the infinite possibilities of human nature, there was the faculty of assuming the Indifference habitual to animals when not alarmed.

Our method renders potent and grand, pleasing or practically useful, to all who practice it, a faculty which has the great advantage that it may enter into all the relations or acts of life; will give to everyone something to do, something to occupy his mind, even in itself, and if we have other occupations.”

The student will recognize in the “Leland Method” the same principles of Auto-Suggestion, of Self-Command, that we have referred to in other lessons, together with the principle of the “Mental Helpers” already spoken of. But he will also notice the stress and importance that Mr. Leland attaches to the idea of giving the Command or Auto-Suggestion just before one goes to sleep.

This idea, in fact, forms the key-note of the Leland Method, and Mr. Leland’s ideas have attracted much attention by reason thereof, notwithstanding that the idea of Suggestion before sleep has been referred to and written upon by other writers, before and since the date of Mr. Leland’s work. But, inasmuch as the latter brought out this phase of the subject so clearly, it is but just that any presentation of the general subject contain a liberal reference to his work, theories and ideas, and full credit for the same.

There is a good psychological reason underlying the fact that Mental Commands given to one’s own mind just before sleep should prove so efficacious. The reason lies in the fact that sleep is a state induced by nature not only for the purpose of resting the physical body and enabling the reparative and recuperative processes to work to the best advantage—important as is this work, there is still another purpose behind the phenomena of sleep.

During sleep there is a mental work going on, as well as a physical. The tiny worker of the mind (to follow the figurative illustration already used by us)—the “brownies” of the mind, do much of their work during the time of sleep. The period of sleep is the time of “great doings” on some of the planes of the Inner Consciousness.

Then is to be found the performance of the work of mental assimilation, analysis, collation, combining, adjusting, storing-away, arranging, etc., of the material gathered by the outer consciousness, through its sense organs and reasoning faculties during the waking hours just past.

The workers of the mind gather up the material roughly stored at the end of the day, and store it away systematically, each impression according to its kind, and according to the law of association, so that when one starts on a certain subject he will find arranged in order all that he knows concerning that subject—the process is like the arrangement of books in a large modern reference library, so that anyone familiar with the system may go from one book to another until he has acquainted himself with all the library contains concerning that particular subject.

But this is not all. During the day the conscious mind has made numerous demands for certain information—answers—work—solutions, etc., more or less unconsciously, and the little workers of the mind take this their first chance to do this work, now that the outer consciousness is asleep and not bothering them with demands for the performance of the numerous tasks of the day that demand immediate attention.

They gather together the scattered material, and like the brownies work up the material into perfected articles, so that the next day the individual is surprised to find how his mind has worked out many matters for him while he was asleep. These little brownies “work while you sleep,” as the current clang expresses it.

And so now you see the value of the “Leland Method.” Just before going to sleep you formulate a definite demand upon the brownies, and then dismiss the subject from your outer consciousness. Then while you are asleep the desired task is accomplished—the missing link to the chain of knowledge is forged and adjusted into place— the puzzling problem is solved—the perplexing riddle is answered.

But you must always remember that after you have said to your Inner Consciousness, “Attend to this for me while I sleep,” you must then positively dismiss the matter from your outer consciousness, just as a great executive dismisses a matter when he gives it over to a tried and trusted assistant. Until you do this the Inner Consciousness cannot do its work properly. Always remember this in connection with this phase of the subject. It is highly important.

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