THE EDINBURGH LECTURES ON MENTAL SCIENCE
BY THOMAS TROWARD LATE DIVISIONAL JUDGE, PUNJAB
THE WRITER AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATES THIS LITTLE VOLUME TO HIS WIFE
This book contains the substance of a course of lectures recently given by the writer in the Queen Street Hall, Edinburgh. Its purpose is to indicate the Natural Principles governing the relation between Mental Action and Material Conditions, and thus to afford the student an intelligible starting-point for the practical study of the subject.
I.—SPIRIT AND MATTER. II.—THE HIGHER MODE OF INTELLIGENCE CONTROLS THE LOWER III.—THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IV.—SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE MIND V.—FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE MIND VI.—THE LAW OF GROWTH VII.—RECEPTIVITY. VIII.—RECIPROCAL ACTION OF THE UNIVERSAL AND INDIVIDUAL MINDS IX.—CAUSES AND CONDITIONS X.—INTUITION XI.—HEALING XII.—THE WILL XIII.—IN TOUCH WITH SUBCONSCIOUS MIND XIV.—THE BODY XV.—THE SOUL XVI.—THE SPIRIT
SPIRIT AND MATTER.
In commencing a course of lectures on Mental Science, it is somewhat difficult for the lecturer to fix upon the best method of opening the subject. It can be approached from many sides, each with some peculiar advantage of its own; but, after careful deliberation, it appears to me that, for the purpose of the present course, no better starting-point could be selected than the relation between Spirit and Matter. I select this starting-point because the distinction—or what we believe to be such— between them is one with which we are so familiar that I can safely assume its recognition by everybody; and I may, therefore, at once state this distinction by using the adjectives which we habitually apply as expressing the natural opposition between the two—living spirit and dead matter. These terms express our current impression of the opposition between spirit and matter with sufficient accuracy, and considered only from the point of view of outward appearances this impression is no doubt correct. The general consensus of mankind is right in trusting the evidence of our senses, and any system which tells us that we are not to do so will never obtain a permanent footing in a sane and healthy community. There is nothing wrong in the evidence conveyed to a healthy mind by the senses of a healthy body, but the point where error creeps in is when we come to judge of the meaning of this testimony. We are accustomed to judge only by external appearances and by certain limited significances which we attach to words; but when we begin to enquire into the real meaning of our words and to analyse the causes which give rise to the appearances, we find our old notions gradually falling off from us, until at last we wake up to the fact that we are living in an entirely different world to that we formerly recognized. The old limited mode of thought has imperceptibly slipped away, and we discover that we have stepped out into a new order of things where all is liberty and life. This is the work of an enlightened intelligence resulting from persistent determination to discover what truth really is irrespective of any preconceived notions from whatever source derived, the determination to think honestly for ourselves instead of endeavouring to get our thinking done for us. Let us then commence by enquiring what we really mean by the livingness which we attribute to spirit and the deadness which we attribute to matter.
At first we may be disposed to say that livingness consists in the power of motion and deadness in its absence; but a little enquiry into the most recent researches of science will soon show us that this distinction does not go deep enough. It is now one of the fully-established facts of physical science that no atom of what we call "dead matter" is without motion. On the table before me lies a solid lump of steel, but in the light of up-to-date science I know that the atoms of that seemingly inert mass are vibrating with the most intense energy, continually dashing hither and thither, impinging upon and rebounding from one another, or circling round like miniature solar systems, with a ceaseless rapidity whose complex activity is enough to bewilder the imagination. The mass, as a mass, may lie inert upon the table; but so far from being destitute of the element of motion it is the abode of the never-tiring energy moving the particles with a swiftness to which the speed of an express train is as nothing. It is, therefore, not the mere fact of motion that is at the root of the distinction which we draw instinctively between spirit and matter; we must go deeper than that. The solution of the problem will never be found by comparing Life with what we call deadness, and the reason for this will become apparent later on; but the true key is to be found by comparing one degree of livingness with another. There is, of course, one sense in which the quality of livingness does not admit of degrees; but there is another sense in which it is entirely a question of degree. We have no doubt as to the livingness of a plant, but we realize that it is something very different from the livingness of an animal. Again, what average boy would not prefer a fox-terrier to a goldfish for a pet? Or, again, why is it that the boy himself is an advance upon the dog? The plant, the fish, the dog, and the boy are all equally alive; but there is a difference in the quality of their livingness about which no one can have any doubt, and no one would hesitate to say that this difference is in the degree of intelligence. In whatever way we turn the subject we shall always find that what we call the "livingness" of any individual life is ultimately measured by its intelligence. It is the possession of greater intelligence that places the animal higher in the scale of being than the plant, the man higher than the animal, the intellectual man higher than the savage. The increased intelligence calls into activity modes of motion of a higher order corresponding to itself. The higher the intelligence, the more completely the mode of motion is under its control: and as we descend in the scale of intelligence, the descent is marked by a corresponding increase in automatic motion not subject to the control of a self-conscious intelligence. This descent is gradual from the expanded self-recognition of the highest human personality to that lowest order of visible forms which we speak of as "things," and from which self-recognition is entirely absent.
We see, then, that the livingness of Life consists in intelligence—in other words, in the power of Thought; and we may therefore say that the distinctive quality of spirit is Thought, and, as the opposite to this, we may say that the distinctive quality of matter is Form. We cannot conceive of matter without form. Some form there must be, even though invisible to the physical eye; for matter, to be matter at all, must occupy space, and to occupy any particular space necessarily implies a corresponding form. For these reasons we may lay it down as a fundamental proposition that the distinctive quality of spirit is Thought and the distinctive quality of matter is Form. This is a radical distinction from which important consequences follow, and should, therefore, be carefully noted by the student.
Form implies extension in space and also limitation within certain boundaries. Thought implies neither. When, therefore, we think of Life as existing in any particular form we associate it with the idea of extension in space, so that an elephant may be said to consist of a vastly larger amount of living substance than a mouse. But if we think of Life as the fact of livingness we do not associate it with any idea of extension, and we at once realize that the mouse is quite as much alive as the elephant, notwithstanding the difference in size. The important point of this distinction is that if we can conceive of anything as entirely devoid of the element of extension in space, it must be present in its entire totality anywhere and everywhere—that is to say, at every point of space simultaneously. The scientific definition of time is that it is the period occupied by a body in passing from one given point in space to another, and, therefore, according to this definition, when there is no space there can be no time; and hence that conception of spirit which realizes it as devoid of the element of space must realize it as being devoid of the element of time also; and we therefore find that the conception of spirit as pure Thought, and not as concrete Form, is the conception of it as subsisting perfectly independently of the elements of time and space. From this it follows that if the idea of anything is conceived as existing on this level it can only represent that thing as being actually present here and now. In this view of things nothing can be remote from us either in time or space: either the idea is entirely dissipated or it exists as an actual present entity, and not as something that shall be in the future, for where there is no sequence in time there can be no future. Similarly where there is no space there can be no conception of anything as being at a distance from us. When the elements of time and space are eliminated all our ideas of things must necessarily be as subsisting in a universal here and an everlasting now. This is, no doubt, a highly abstract conception, but I would ask the student to endeavour to grasp it thoroughly, since it is of vital importance in the practical application of Mental Science, as will appear further on.
The opposite conception is that of things expressing themselves through conditions of time and space and thus establishing a variety of relations to other things, as of bulk, distance, and direction, or of sequence in time. These two conceptions are respectively the conception of the abstract and the concrete, of the unconditioned and the conditioned, of the absolute and the relative. They are not opposed to each other in the sense of incompatibility, but are each the complement of the other, and the only reality is in the combination of the two. The error of the extreme idealist is in endeavouring to realize the absolute without the relative, and the error of the extreme materialist is in endeavouring to realize the relative without the absolute. On the one side the mistake is in trying to realize an inside without an outside, and on the other in trying to realize an outside without an inside; both are necessary to the formation of a substantial entity.
THE HIGHER MODE OF INTELLIGENCE CONTROLS THE LOWER.
We have seen that the descent from personality, as we know it in ourselves, to matter, as we know it under what we call inanimate forms, is a gradual descent in the scale of intelligence from that mode of being which is able to realize its own will-power as a capacity for originating new trains of causation to that mode of being which is incapable of recognizing itself at all. The higher the grade of life, the higher the intelligence; from which it follows that the supreme principle of Life must also be the ultimate principle of intelligence. This is clearly demonstrated by the grand natural order of the universe. In the light of modern science the principle of evolution is familiar to us all, and the accurate adjustment existing between all parts of the cosmic scheme is too self-evident to need insisting upon. Every advance in science consists in discovering new subtleties of connection in this magnificent universal order, which already exists and only needs our recognition to bring it into practical use. If, then, the highest work of the greatest minds consists in nothing else than the recognition of an already existing order, there is no getting away from the conclusion that a paramount intelligence must be inherent in the Life-Principle, which manifests itself as this order; and thus we see that there must be a great cosmic intelligence underlying the totality of things.
The physical history of our planet shows us first an incandescent nebula dispersed over vast infinitudes of space; later this condenses into a central sun surrounded by a family of glowing planets hardly yet consolidated from the plastic primordial matter; then succeed untold millenniums of slow geological formation; an earth peopled by the lowest forms of life, whether vegetable or animal; from which crude beginnings a majestic, unceasing, unhurried, forward movement brings things stage by stage to the condition in which we know them now. Looking at this steady progression it is clear that, however we may conceive the nature of the evolutionary principle, it unerringly provides for the continual advance of the race. But it does this by creating such numbers of each kind that, after allowing a wide margin for all possible accidents to individuals, the race shall still continue:—
"So careful of the type it seems So careless of the single life."
In short, we may say that the cosmic intelligence works by a Law of Averages which allows a wide margin of accident and failure to the individual.
But the progress towards higher intelligence is always in the direction of narrowing down this margin of accident and taking the individual more and more out of the law of averages, and substituting the law of individual selection. In ordinary scientific language this is the survival of the fittest. The reproduction of fish is on a scale that would choke the sea with them if every individual survived; but the margin of destruction is correspondingly enormous, and thus the law of averages simply keeps up the normal proportion of the race. But at the other end of the scale, reproduction is by no means thus enormously in excess of survival. True, there is ample margin of accident and disease cutting off numbers of human beings before they have gone through the average duration of life, but still it is on a very different scale from the premature destruction of hundreds of thousands as against the survival of one. It may, therefore, be taken as an established fact that in proportion as intelligence advances the individual ceases to be subject to a mere law of averages and has a continually increasing power of controlling the conditions of his own survival.
We see, therefore, that there is a marked distinction between the cosmic intelligence and the individual intelligence, and that the factor which differentiates the latter from the former is the presence of individual volition. Now the business of Mental Science is to ascertain the relation of this individual power of volition to the great cosmic law which provides for the maintenance and advancement of the race; and the point to be carefully noted is that the power of individual volition is itself the outcome of the cosmic evolutionary principle at the point where it reaches its highest level. The effort of Nature has always been upwards from the time when only the lowest forms of life peopled the globe, and it has now culminated in the production of a being with a mind capable of abstract reasoning and a brain fitted to be the physical instrument of such a mind. At this stage the all-creating Life-principle reproduces itself in a form capable of recognizing the working of the evolutionary law, and the unity and continuity of purpose running through the whole progression until now indicates, beyond a doubt, that the place of such a being in the universal scheme must be to introduce the operation of that factor which, up to this point, has been, conspicuous by its absence—the factor, namely, of intelligent individual volition. The evolution which has brought us up to this standpoint has worked by a cosmic law of averages; it has been a process in which the individual himself has not taken a conscious part. But because he is what he is, and leads the van of the evolutionary procession, if man is to evolve further, it can now only be by his own conscious co-operation with the law which has brought him up to the standpoint where he is able to realize that such a law exists. His evolution in the future must be by conscious participation in the great work, and this can only be effected by his own individual intelligence and effort. It is a process of intelligent growth. No one else can grow for us: we must each grow for ourselves; and this intelligent growth consists in our increasing recognition of the universal law, which has brought us as far as we have yet got, and of our own individual relation to that law, based upon the fact that we ourselves are the most advanced product of it. It is a great maxim that Nature obeys us precisely in proportion as we first obey Nature. Let the electrician try to go counter to the principle that electricity must always pass from a higher to a lower potential and he will effect nothing; but let him submit in all things to this one fundamental law, and he can make whatever particular applications of electrical power he will.
These considerations show us that what differentiates the higher from the lower degree of intelligence is the recognition of its own self-hood, and the more intelligent that recognition is, the greater will be the power. The lower degree of self-recognition is that which only realizes itself as an entity separate from all other entities, as the ego distinguished from the non-ego. But the higher degree of self-recognition is that which, realizing its own spiritual nature, sees in all other forms, not so much the non-ego, or that which is not itself, as the alter-ego, or that which is itself in a different mode of expression. Now, it is this higher degree of self-recognition that is the power by which the Mental Scientist produces his results. For this reason it is imperative that he should clearly understand the difference between Form and Being; that the one is the mode of the relative and, the mark of subjection to conditions, and that the other is the truth of the absolute and is that which controls conditions.
Now this higher recognition of self as an individualization of pure spirit must of necessity control all modes of spirit which have not yet reached the same level of self-recognition. These lower modes of spirit are in bondage to the law of their own being because they do not know the law; and, therefore, the individual who has attained to this knowledge can control them through that law. But to understand this we must inquire a little further into the nature of spirit. I have already shown that the grand scale of adaptation and adjustment of all parts of the cosmic scheme to one another exhibits the presence somewhere of a marvellous intelligence, underlying the whole, and the question is, where is this intelligence to be found? Ultimately we can only conceive of it as inherent in some primordial substance which is the root of all those grosser modes of matter which are known to us, whether visible to the physical eye, or necessarily inferred by science from their perceptible effects. It is that power which, in every species and in every individual, becomes that which that species or individual is; and thus we can only conceive of it as a self-forming intelligence inherent in the ultimate substance of which each thing is a particular manifestation. That this primordial substance must be considered as self-forming by an inherent intelligence abiding in itself becomes evident from the fact that intelligence is the essential quality of spirit; and if we were to conceive of the primordial substance as something apart from spirit, then we should have to postulate some other power which is neither spirit nor matter, and originates both; but this is only putting the idea of a self-evolving power a step further back and asserting the production of a lower grade of undifferentiated spirit by a higher, which is both a purely gratuitous assumption and a contradiction of any idea we can form of undifferentiated spirit at all. However far back, therefore, we may relegate the original starting-point, we cannot avoid the conclusion that, at that point, spirit contains the primary substance in itself, which brings us back to the common statement that it made everything out of nothing. We thus find two factors to the making of all things, Spirit and—Nothing; and the addition of Nothing to Spirit leaves only spirit: x + 0 = x.
From these considerations we see that the ultimate foundation of every form of matter is spirit, and hence that a universal intelligence subsists throughout Nature inherent in every one of its manifestations. But this cryptic intelligence does not belong to the particular form excepting in the measure in which it is physically fitted for its concentration into self-recognizing individuality: it lies hidden in that primordial substance of which the visible form is a grosser manifestation. This primordial substance is a philosophical necessity, and we can only picture it to ourselves as something infinitely finer than the atoms which are themselves a philosophical inference of physical science: still, for want of a better word, we may conveniently speak of this primary intelligence inherent in the very substance of things as the Atomic Intelligence. The term may, perhaps, be open to some objections, but it will serve our present purpose as distinguishing this mode of spirit's intelligence from that of the opposite pole, or Individual Intelligence. This distinction should be carefully noted because it is by the response of the atomic intelligence to the individual intelligence that thought-power is able to produce results on the material plane, as in the cure of disease by mental treatment, and the like. Intelligence manifests itself by responsiveness, and the whole action of the cosmic mind in bringing the evolutionary process from its first beginnings up to its present human stage is nothing else but a continual intelligent response to the demand which each stage in the progress has made for an adjustment between itself and its environment. Since, then, we have recognized the presence of a universal intelligence permeating all things, we must also recognize a corresponding responsiveness hidden deep down in their nature and ready to be called into action when appealed to. All mental treatment depends on this responsiveness of spirit in its lower degrees to higher degrees of itself. It is here that the difference between the mental scientist and the uninstructed person comes in; the former knows of this responsiveness and makes use of it, and the latter cannot use it because he does not know it.
THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT.
We have now paved the way for understanding what is meant by "the unity of the spirit." In the first conception of spirit as the underlying origin of all things we see a universal substance which, at this stage, is not differentiated into any specific forms. This is not a question of some bygone time, but subsists at every moment of all time in the innermost nature of all being; and when we see this, we see that the division between one specific form and another has below it a deep essential unity, which acts as the supporter of all the several forms of individuality arising out of it. And as our thought penetrates deeper into the nature of this all-producing spiritual substance we see that it cannot be limited to any one portion of space, but must be limitless as space itself, and that the idea of any portion of space where it is not is inconceivable. It is one of those intuitive perceptions from which the human mind can never get away that this primordial, all-generating living spirit must be commensurate with infinitude, and we can therefore never think of it otherwise than as universal or infinite. Now it is a mathematical truth that the infinite must be a unity. You cannot have two infinites, for then neither would be infinite, each would be limited by the other, nor can you split the infinite up into fractions. The infinite is mathematically essential unity. This is a point on which too much stress cannot be laid, for there follow from it the most important consequences. Unity, as such, can be neither multiplied nor divided, for either operation destroys the unity. By multiplying, we produce a plurality of units of the same scale as the original; and by dividing, we produce a plurality of units of a smaller scale; and a plurality of units is not unity but multiplicity. Therefore if we would penetrate below the outward nature of the individual to that innermost principle of his being from which his individuality takes its rise, we can do so only by passing beyond the conception of individual existence into that of the unity of universal being. This may appear to be a merely philosophical abstraction, but the student who would produce practical results must realize that these abstract generalizations are the foundation of the practical work he is going to do.
Now the great fact to be recognized about a unity is that, because it is a single unit, wherever it is at all the whole of it must be. The moment we allow our mind to wander off to the idea of extension in space and say that one part of the unit is here and another there, we have descended from the idea of unity into that of parts or fractions of a single unit, which is to pass into the idea of a multiplicity of smaller units, and in that case we are dealing with the relative, or the relation subsisting between two or more entities which are therefore limited by each other, and so have passed out of the region of simple unity which is the absolute. It is, therefore, a mathematical necessity that, because the originating Life- principle is infinite, it is a single unit, and consequently, wherever it is at all, the whole of it must be present. But because it is infinite, or limitless, it is everywhere, and therefore it follows that the whole of spirit must be present at every point in space at the same moment. Spirit is thus omnipresent in its entirety, and it is accordingly logically correct that at every moment of time all spirit is concentrated at any point in space that we may choose to fix our thought upon. This is the fundamental fact of all being, and it is for this reason that I have prepared the way for it by laying down the relation between spirit and matter as that between idea and form, on the one hand the absolute from which the elements of time and space are entirely absent, and on the other the relative which is entirely dependent on those elements. This great fact is that pure spirit continually subsists in the absolute, whether in a corporeal body or not; and from it all the phenomena of being flow, whether on the mental plane or the physical. The knowledge of this fact regarding spirit is the basis of all conscious spiritual operation, and therefore in proportion to our increasing recognition of it our power of producing outward visible results by the action of our thought will grow. The whole is greater than its part, and therefore, if, by our recognition of this unity, we can concentrate all spirit into any given point at any moment, we thereby include any individualization of it that we may wish to deal with. The practical importance of this conclusion is too obvious to need enlarging upon.
Pure spirit is the Life-principle considered apart from the matrix in which it takes relation to time and space in a particular form. In this aspect it is pure intelligence undifferentiated into individuality. As pure intelligence it is infinite responsiveness and susceptibility. As devoid of relation to time and space it is devoid of individual personality. It is, therefore, in this aspect a purely impersonal element upon which, by reason of its inherent intelligence and susceptibility, we can impress any recognition of personality that we will. These are the great facts that the mental scientist works with, and the student will do well to ponder deeply on their significance and on the responsibilities which their realization must necessarily carry with it.
SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE MIND.
Up to this point it has been necessary to lay the foundations of the science by the statement of highly abstract general principles which we have reached by purely metaphysical reasoning. We now pass on to the consideration of certain natural laws which have been established by a long series of experiments and observations, the full meaning and importance of which will become clear when we see their application to the general principles which have hitherto occupied our attention. The phenomena of hypnosis are now so fully recognized as established scientific facts that it is quite superfluous to discuss the question of their credibility. Two great medical schools have been founded upon them, and in some countries they have become the subject of special legislation. The question before us at the present day is, not as to the credibility of the facts, but as to the proper inferences to be drawn from them, and a correct apprehension of these inferences is one of the most valuable aids to the mental scientist, for it confirms the conclusions of purely a priori reasoning by an array of experimental instances which places the correctness of those conclusions beyond doubt.
The great truth which the science of hypnotism has brought to light is the dual nature of the human mind. Much conflict exists between different writers as to whether this duality results from the presence of two actually separate minds in the one man, or in the action of the same mind in the employment of different functions. This is one of those distinctions without a difference which are so prolific a source of hindrance to the opening out of truth. A man must be a single individuality to be a man at all, and, so, the net result is the same whether we conceive of his varied modes of mental action as proceeding from a set of separate minds strung, so to speak, on the thread of his one individuality and each adapted to a particular use, or as varied functions of a single mind: in either case we are dealing with a single individuality, and how we may picture the wheel-work of the mental mechanism is merely a question of what picture will bring the nature of its action home to us most clearly. Therefore, as a matter of convenience, I shall in these lectures speak of this dual action as though it proceeded from two minds, an outer and an inner, and the inner mind we will call the subjective mind and the outer the objective, by which names the distinction is most frequently indicated in the literature of the subject.
A long series of careful experiments by highly-trained observers, some of them men of world-wide reputation, has fully established certain remarkable differences between the action of the subjective and that of the objective mind which may be briefly stated as follows. The subjective mind is only able to reason deductively and not inductively, while the objective mind can do both. Deductive reasoning is the pure syllogism which shows why a third proposition must necessarily result if two others are assumed, but which does not help us to determine whether the two initial statements are true or not. To determine this is the province of inductive reasoning which draws its conclusions from the observation of a series of facts. The relation of the two modes of reasoning is that, first by observing a sufficient number of instances, we inductively reach the conclusion that a certain principle is of general application, and then we enter upon the deductive process by assuming the truth of this principle and determining what result must follow in a particular case on the hypothesis of its truth. Thus deductive reasoning proceeds on the assumption of the correctness of certain hypotheses or suppositions with which it sets out: it is not concerned with the truth or falsity of those suppositions, but only with the question as to what results must necessarily follow supposing them to be true. Inductive reasoning; on the other hand, is the process by which we compare a number of separate instances with one another until we see the common factor that gives rise to them all. Induction proceeds by the comparison of facts, and deduction by the application of universal principles. Now it is the deductive method only which is followed by the subjective mind. Innumerable experiments on persons in the hypnotic state have shown that the subjective mind is utterly incapable of making the selection and comparison which are necessary to the inductive process, but will accept any suggestion, however false, but having once accepted any suggestion, it is strictly logical in deducing the proper conclusions from it, and works out every suggestion to the minutest fraction of the results which flow from it.
As a consequence of this it follows that the subjective mind is entirely under the control of the objective mind. With the utmost fidelity it reproduces and works out to its final consequences whatever the objective mind impresses upon it; and the facts of hypnotism show that ideas can be impressed on the subjective mind by the objective mind of another as well as by that of its own individuality. This is a most important point, for it is on this amenability to suggestion by the thought of another that all the phenomena of healing, whether present or absent, of telepathy and the like, depend. Under the control of the practised hypnotist the very personality of the subject becomes changed for the time being; he believes himself to be whatever the operator tells him he is: he is a swimmer breasting the waves, a bird flying in the air, a soldier in the tumult of battle, an Indian stealthily tracking his victim: in short, for the time being, he identifies himself with any personality that is impressed upon him by the will of the operator, and acts the part with inimitable accuracy. But the experiments of hypnotism go further than this, and show the existence in the subjective mind of powers far transcending any exercised by the objective mind through the medium of the physical senses; powers of thought-reading, of thought-transference, of clairvoyance, and the like, all of which are frequently manifested when the patient is brought into the higher mesmeric state; and we have thus experimental proof of the existence in ourselves of transcendental faculties the full development and conscious control of which would place us in a perfectly new sphere of life.
But it should be noted that the control must be our own and not that of any external intelligence whether in the flesh or out of it.
But perhaps the most important fact which hypnotic experiments have demonstrated is that the subjective mind is the builder of the body. The subjective entity in the patient is able to diagnose the character of the disease from which he is suffering and to point out suitable remedies, indicating a physiological knowledge exceeding that of the most highly trained physicians, and also a knowledge of the correspondences between diseased conditions of the bodily organs and the material remedies which can afford relief. And from this it is but a step further to those numerous instances in which it entirely dispenses with the use of material remedies and itself works directly on the organism, so that complete restoration to health follows as the result of the suggestions of perfect soundness made by the operator to the patient while in the hypnotic state.
Now these are facts fully established by hundreds of experiments conducted by a variety of investigators in different parts of the world, and from them we may draw two inferences of the highest importance: one, that the subjective mind is in itself absolutely impersonal, and the other that it is the builder of the body, or in other words it is the creative power in the individual. That it is impersonal in itself is shown by its readiness to assume any personality the hypnotist chooses to impress upon it; and the unavoidable inference is that its realization of personality proceeds from its association with the particular objective mind of its own individuality. Whatever personality the objective mind impresses upon it, that personality it assumes and acts up to; and since it is the builder of the body it will build up a body in correspondence with the personality thus impressed upon it. These two laws of the subjective mind form the foundation of the axiom that our body represents the aggregate of our beliefs. If our fixed belief is that the body is subject to all sorts of influences beyond our control, and that this, that, or the other symptom shows that such an uncontrollable influence is at work upon us, then this belief is impressed upon the subjective mind, which by the law of its nature accepts it without question and proceeds to fashion bodily conditions in accordance with this belief. Again, if our fixed belief is that certain material remedies are the only means of cure, then we find in this belief the foundation of all medicine. There is nothing unsound in the theory of medicine; it is the strictly logical correspondence with the measure of knowledge which those who rely on it are as yet able to assimilate, and it acts accurately in accordance with their belief that in a large number of cases medicine will do good, but also in many instances it fails. Therefore, for those who have not yet reached a more interior perception of the law of Nature, the healing agency of medicine is a most valuable aid to the alleviation of physical maladies. The error to be combated is not the belief that, in its own way, medicine is capable of doing good, but the belief that there is no higher or better way.
Then, on the same principle, if we realize that the subjective mind is the builder of the body, and that the body is subject to no influences except those which reach it through the subjective mind, then what we have to do is to impress this upon the subjective mind and habitually think of it as a fountain of perpetual Life, which is continually renovating the body by building in strong and healthy material, in the most complete independence of any influences of any sort, save those of our own desire impressed upon our own subjective mind by our own thought. When once we fully grasp these considerations we shall see that it is just as easy to externalize healthy conditions of body as the contrary. Practically the process amounts to a belief in our own power of life; and since this belief, if it be thoroughly domiciled within us, will necessarily produce a correspondingly healthy body, we should spare no pains to convince ourselves that there are sound and reasonable grounds for holding it. To afford a solid basis for this conviction is the purpose of Mental Science.
FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE MIND.
An intelligent consideration of the phenomena of hypnotism will show us that what we call the hypnotic state is the normal state of the subjective mind. It always conceives of itself in accordance with some suggestion conveyed to it, either consciously or unconsciously to the mode of objective mind which governs it, and it gives rise to corresponding external results. The abnormal nature of the conditions induced by experimental hypnotism is in the removal of the normal control held by the individual's own objective mind over his subjective mind and the substitution of some other control for it, and thus we may say that the normal characteristic of the subjective mind is its perpetual action in accordance with some sort of suggestion. It becomes therefore a question of the highest importance to determine in every case what the nature of the suggestion shall be and from what source it shall proceed; but before considering the sources of suggestion we must realize more fully the place taken by subjective mind in the order of Nature.
If the student has followed what has been said regarding the presence of intelligent spirit pervading all space and permeating all matter, he will now have little difficulty in recognizing this all-pervading spirit as universal subjective mind. That it cannot as universal mind have the qualities of objective mind is very obvious. The universal mind is the creative power throughout Nature; and as the originating power it must first give rise to the various forms in which objective mind recognizes its own individuality, before these individual minds can re-act upon it; and hence, as pure spirit or first cause, it cannot possibly be anything else than subjective mind; and the fact which has been abundantly proved by experiment that the subjective mind is the builder of the body shows us that the power of creating by growth from within is the essential characteristic of the subjective mind. Hence, both from experiment and from a priori reasoning, we may say that where-ever we find creative power at work there we are in the presence of subjective mind, whether it be working on the grand scale of the cosmos, or on the miniature scale of the individual. We may therefore lay it down as a principle that the universal all-permeating intelligence, which has been considered in the second and third sections, is purely subjective mind, and therefore follows the law of subjective mind, namely that it is amenable to any suggestion, and will carry out any suggestion that is impressed upon it to its most rigorously logical consequences. The incalculable importance of this truth may not perhaps strike the student at first sight, but a little consideration will show him the enormous possibilities that are stored up in it, and in the concluding section I shall briefly touch upon the very serious conclusions resulting from it. For the present it will be sufficient to realize that the subjective mind in ourselves is the same subjective mind which is at work throughout the universe giving rise to the infinitude of natural forms with which we are surrounded, and in like manner giving rise to ourselves also. It may be called the supporter of our individuality; and we may loosely speak of our individual subjective mind as our personal share in the universal mind. This, of course, does not imply the splitting up of the universal mind into fractions, and it is to avoid this error that I have discussed the essential unity of spirit in the third section, but in order to avoid too highly abstract conceptions in the present stage of the student's progress we may conveniently employ the idea of a personal share in the universal subjective mind.
To realize our individual subjective mind in this manner will help us to get over the great metaphysical difficulty which meets us in our endeavour to make conscious use of first cause, in other words to create external results by the power of our own thought. Ultimately there can be only one first cause which is the universal mind, but because it is universal it cannot, as universal, act on the plane of the individual and particular. For it to do so would be for it to cease to be universal and therefore cease to be the creative power which we wish to employ. On the other hand, the fact that we are working for a specific definite object implies our intention to use this universal power in application to a particular purpose, and thus we find ourselves involved in the paradox of seeking to make the universal act on the plane of the particular. We want to effect a junction between the two extremes of the scale of Nature, the innermost creative spirit and a particular external form. Between these two is a great gulf, and the question is how is it to be bridged over. It is here, then, that the conception of our individual subjective mind as our personal share in the universal subjective mind affords the means of meeting the difficulty, for on the one hand it is in immediate connection with the universal mind, and on the other it is immediate connection with the individual objective, or intellectual mind; and this in its turn is in immediate connection with the world of externalization, which is conditioned in time and space; and thus the relation between the subjective and objective minds in the individual forms the bridge which is needed to connect the two extremities of the scale.
The individual subjective mind may therefore be regarded as the organ of the Absolute in precisely the same way that the objective mind is the organ of the Relative, and it is in order to regulate our use of these two organs that it is necessary to understand what the terms "absolute" and "relative" actually mean. The absolute is that idea of a thing which contemplates it as existing in itself and not in relation to something else, that is to say, which contemplates the essence of it; and the relative is that idea of a thing which contemplates it as related to other things, that is to say as circumscribed by a certain environment. The absolute is the region of causes, and the relative is the region of conditions; and hence, if we wish to control conditions, this can only be done by our thought-power operating on the plane of the absolute, which it can do only through the medium of the subjective mind. The conscious use of the creative power of thought consists in the attainment of the power of Thinking in the Absolute, and this can only be attained by a clear conception of the interaction between our different mental functions. For this purpose the student cannot too strongly impress upon himself that subjective mind, on whatever scale, is intensely sensitive to suggestion, and as creative power works accurately to the externalization of that suggestion which is most deeply impressed upon it. If then, we would take any idea out of the realm of the relative, where it is limited and restricted by conditions imposed upon it through surrounding circumstances, and transfer it to the realm of the absolute where it is not thus limited, a right recognition of our mental constitution will enable us to do this by a clearly defined method.
The object of our desire is necessarily first conceived by us as bearing some relation to existing circumstances, which may, or may not, appear favourable to it; and what we want to do is to eliminate the element of contingency and attain something which is certain in itself. To do this is to work upon the plane of the absolute, and for this purpose we must endeavour to impress upon our subjective mind the idea of that which we desire quite apart from any conditions. This separation from the elements of condition implies the elimination of the idea of time, and consequently we must think of the thing as already in actual existence. Unless we do this we are not consciously operating upon the plane of the absolute, and are therefore not employing the creative power of our thought. The simplest practical method of gaining the habit of thinking in this manner is to conceive the existence in the spiritual world of a spiritual prototype of every existing thing, which becomes the root of the corresponding external existence. If we thus habituate ourselves to look on the spiritual prototype as the essential being of the thing, and the material form as the growth of this prototype into outward expression, then we shall see that the initial step to the production of any external fact must be the creation of its spiritual prototype. This prototype, being purely spiritual, can only be formed by the operation of thought, and in order to have substance on the spiritual plane it must be thought of as actually existing there. This conception has been elaborated by Plato in his doctrine of archetypal ideas, and by Swedenborg in his doctrine of correspondences; and a still greater teacher has said "All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall receive them." (Mark xi. 24, R.V.) The difference of the tenses in this passage is remarkable. The speaker bids us first to believe that our desire has already been fulfilled, that it is a thing already accomplished, and then its accomplishment will follow as a thing in the future. This is nothing else than a concise direction for making use of the creative power of thought by impressing upon the universal subjective mind the particular thing which we desire as an already existing fact. In following this direction we are thinking on the plane of the absolute and eliminating from our minds all consideration of conditions, which imply limitation and the possibility of adverse contingencies; and we are thus planting a seed which, if left undisturbed, will infallibly germinate into external fruition.
By thus making intelligent use of our subjective mind, we, so to speak, create a nucleus, which is no sooner created than it begins to exercise an attractive force, drawing to itself material of a like character with its own, and if this process is allowed to go on undisturbed, it will continue until an external form corresponding to the nature of the nucleus comes out into manifestation on the plane of the objective and relative. This is the universal method of Nature on every plane. Some of the most advanced thinkers in modern physical science, in the endeavour to probe the great mystery of the first origin of the world, have postulated the formation of what they call "vortex rings" formed from an infinitely fine primordial substance. They tell us that if such a ring be once formed on the minutest scale and set rotating, then, since it would be moving in pure ether and subject to no friction, it must according to all known laws of physics be indestructible and its motion perpetual. Let two such rings approach each other, and by the law of attraction, they would coalesce into a whole, and so on until manifested matter as we apprehend it with our external senses, is at last formed. Of course no one has ever seen these rings with the physical eye. They are one of those abstractions which result if we follow out the observed law of physics and the unavoidable sequences of mathematics to their necessary consequences. We cannot account for the things that we can see unless we assume the existence of other things which we cannot; and the "vortex theory" is one of these assumptions. This theory has not been put forward by mental scientists but by purely physical scientists as the ultimate conclusion to which their researches have led them, and this conclusion is that all the innumerable forms of Nature have their origin in the infinitely minute nucleus of the vortex ring, by whatever means the vortex ring may have received its initial impulse, a question with which physical science, as such, is not concerned.
As the vortex theory accounts for the formation of the inorganic world, so does biology account for the formation of the living organism. That also has its origin in a primary nucleus which, as soon as it is established, operates as a centre of attraction for the formation of all those physical organs of which the perfect individual is composed. The science of embryology shows that this rule holds good without exception throughout the whole range of the animal world, including man; and botany shows the same principle at work throughout the vegetable world. All branches of physical science demonstrate the fact that every completed manifestation, of whatever kind and on whatever scale, is started by the establishment of a nucleus, infinitely small but endowed with an unquenchable energy of attraction, causing it to steadily increase in power and definiteness of purpose, until the process of growth is completed and the matured form stands out as an accomplished fact. Now if this be the universal method of Nature, there is nothing unnatural in supposing that it must begin its operation at a stage further back than the formation of the material nucleus. As soon as that is called into being it begins to operate by the law of attraction on the material plane; but what is the force which originates the material nucleus? Let a recent work on physical science give us the answer; "In its ultimate essence, energy may be incomprehensible by us except as an exhibition of the direct operation of that which we call Mind or Will." The quotation is from a course of lectures on "Waves in Water, Air and AEther," delivered in 1902, at the Royal Institution, by J. A. Fleming. Here, then, is the testimony of physical science that the originating energy is Mind or Will; and we are, therefore, not only making a logical deduction from certain unavoidable intuitions of the human mind, but are also following on the lines of the most advanced physical science, when we say that the action of Mind plants that nucleus which, if allowed to grow undisturbed, will eventually attract to itself all the conditions necessary for its manifestation in outward visible form. Now the only action of Mind is Thought; and it is for this reason that by our thoughts we create corresponding external conditions, because we thereby create the nucleus which attracts to itself its own correspondences in due order until the finished work is manifested on the external plane. This is according to the strictly scientific conception of the universal law of growth; and we may therefore briefly sum up the whole argument by saying that our thought of anything forms a spiritual prototype of it, thus constituting a nucleus or centre of attraction for all conditions necessary to its eventual externalization by a law of growth inherent in the prototype itself.
THE LAW OF GROWTH.
A CORRECT understanding of the law of growth is of the highest importance to the student of Mental Science. The great fact to be realized regarding Nature is that it is natural. We may pervert the order of Nature, but it will prevail in the long run, returning, as Horace says, by the back door even though we drive it out with a pitchfork; and the beginning, the middle, and the end of the law of Nature is the principle of growth from a vitality inherent in the entity itself. If we realize this from the outset we shall not undo our own work by endeavouring to force things to become that which by their own nature they are not. For this reason when the Bible says that "he who believeth shall not make haste," it is enunciating a great natural principle that success, depends on our using, and not opposing, the universal law of growth. No doubt the greater the vitality we put into the germ, which we have agreed to call the spiritual prototype, the quicker it will germinate; but this is simply because by a more realizing conception we put more growing-power into the seed than we do by a feebler conception. Our mistakes always eventually resolve themselves into distrusting the law of growth. Either we fancy we can hasten it by some exertion of our own from without, and are thus led into hurry and anxiety, not to say sometimes into the employment, of grievously wrong methods; or else we give up all hope and so deny the germinating power of the seed we have planted. The result in either case is the same, for in either case we are in effect forming a fresh spiritual prototype of an opposite character to our desire, which therefore neutralizes the one first formed, and disintegrates it and usurps its place. The law is always the same, that our Thought forms a spiritual prototype which, if left undisturbed, will reproduce itself in external circumstances; the only difference is in the sort of prototype we form, and thus evil is brought to us by precisely the same law as good.
These considerations will greatly simplify our ideas of life. We have no longer to consider two forces, but only one, as being the cause of all things; the difference between good and evil resulting simply from the direction in which this force is made to flow. It is a universal law that if we reverse the action of a cause we at the same time reverse the effect. With the same apparatus we can commence by mechanical motion which will generate electricity, or we can commence with electricity which will generate mechanical motion; or to take a simple arithmetical instance: if 10/2 = 5, then 10/5 = 2; and therefore if we once recognize the power of thought to produce any results at all, we shall see that the law by which negative thought produces negative results is the same by which positive thought produces positive results. Therefore all our distrust of the law of growth, whether shown in the anxious endeavour to bring pressure to bear from without, or in allowing despair to take the place of cheerful expectation, is reversing the action of the original cause and consequently reversing the nature of the results. It is for this reason that the Bible, which is the most deeply occult of all books, continually lays so much stress upon the efficiency of faith and the destructive influence of unbelief; and in like manner, all books on every branch of spiritual science emphatically warn us against the admission of doubt or fear. They are the inversion of the principle which builds up, and they are therefore the principle which pulls down; but the Law itself never changes, and it is on the unchangeableness of the law that all Mental Science is founded. We are accustomed to realize the unchangeableness of natural law in our every day life, and it should therefore not be difficult to realize that the same unchangeableness of law which obtains on the visible side of nature obtains on the invisible side as well. The variable factor is, not the law, but our own volition; and it is by combining this variable factor with the invariable one that we can produce the various results we desire. The principle of growth is that of inherent vitality in the seed itself, and the operations of the gardener have their exact analogue in Mental Science. We do not put the self-expansive vitality into the seed, but we must sow it, and we may also, so to speak, water it by quiet concentrated contemplation of our desire as an actually accomplished fact. But we must carefully remove from such contemplation any idea of a strenuous effort on our part to make the seed grow. Its efficacy is in helping to keep out those negative thoughts of doubt which would plant tares among our wheat, and therefore, instead of anything of effort, such contemplation should be accompanied by a feeling of pleasure and restfulness in foreseeing the certain accomplishment of our desires. This is that making our requests known to God with thanksgiving which St. Paul recommends, and it has its reason in that perfect wholeness of the Law of Being which only needs our recognition of it to be used by us to any extent we wish.
Some people possess the power of visualization, or making mental pictures of things, in a greater degree than others, and by such this faculty may advantageously be employed to facilitate their realization of the working of the Law. But those who do not possess this faculty in any marked degree, need not be discouraged by their want of it, for visualization is not the only way of realizing that the law is at work on the invisible plane. Those whose mental bias is towards physical science should realize this Law of Growth as the creative force throughout all nature; and those who have a mathematical turn of mind may reflect that all solids are generated from the movement of a point, which, as our old friend Euclid tells us, is that which has no parts nor magnitude, and is therefore as complete an abstraction as any spiritual nucleus could be. To use the apostolic words, we are dealing with the substance of things not seen, and we have to attain that habit of mind by which we shall see its reality and feel that we are mentally manipulating the only substance there ultimately is, and of which all visible things are only different modes. We must therefore regard our mental creations as spiritual realities and then implicitly trust the Law of Growth to do the rest.
In order to lay the foundations for practical work, the student must endeavour to get a clear conception of what is meant by the intelligence of undifferentiated spirit. We want to grasp the idea of intelligence apart from individuality, an idea which is rather apt to elude us until we grow accustomed to it. It is the failure to realize this quality of spirit that has given rise to all the theological errors that have brought bitterness into the world and has been prominent amongst the causes which have retarded the true development of mankind. To accurately convey this conception in words, is perhaps, impossible, and to attempt definition is to introduce that very idea of limitation which is our object to avoid. It is a matter of feeling rather than of definition; yet some endeavour must be made to indicate the direction in which we must feel for this great truth if we are to find it. The idea is that of realizing personality without that selfhood which differentiates one individual from another. "I am not that other because I am myself"—this is the definition of individual selfhood; but it necessarily imparts the idea of limitation, because the recognition of any other individuality at once affirms a point at which our own individuality ceases and the other begins. Now this mode of recognition cannot be attributed to the Universal Mind. For it to recognize a point where itself ceased and something else began would be to recognize itself as not universal; for the meaning of universality is the including of all things, and therefore for this intelligence to recognize anything as being outside itself would be a denial of its own being. We may therefore say without hesitation that, whatever may be the nature of its intelligence, it must be entirely devoid of the element of self-recognition as an individual personality on any scale whatever. Seen in this light it is at once clear that the originating all-pervading Spirit is the grand impersonal principle of Life which gives rise to all the particular manifestations of Nature. Its absolute impersonalness, in the sense of the entire absence of any consciousness of individual selfhood, is a point on which it is impossible to insist too strongly. The attributing of an impossible individuality to the Universal Mind is one of the two grand errors which we find sapping the foundations of religion and philosophy in all ages. The other consists in rushing to the opposite extreme and denying the quality of personal intelligence to the Universal Mind. The answer to this error remains, as of old, in the simple question, "He that made the eye shall He not see? He that planted the ear shall He not hear?"—or to use a popular proverb, "You cannot get out of a bag more than there is in it;" and consequently the fact that we ourselves are centres of personal intelligence is proof that the infinite, from which these centres are concentrated, must be infinite intelligence, and thus we cannot avoid attributing to it the two factors which constitute personality, namely, intelligence and volition. We are therefore brought to the conclusion that this universally diffused essence, which we might think of as a sort of spiritual protoplasm, must possess all the qualities of personality without that conscious recognition of self which constitutes separate individuality: and since the word "personality" has became so associated in our ordinary talk with the idea of "individuality" it will perhaps be better to coin a new word, and speak of the personalness of the Universal Mind as indicating its personal quality, apart from individuality. We must realize that this universal spirit permeates all space and all manifested substance, just as physical scientists tell us that the ether does, and that wherever it is, there it must carry with it all that it is in its own being; and we shall then see that we are in the midst of an ocean of undifferentiated yet intelligent Life, above, below, and all around, and permeating ourselves both mentally and corporeally, and all other beings as well.
Gradually as we come to realize the truth of this statement, our eyes will begin to open to its immense significance. It means that all Nature is pervaded by an interior personalness, infinite in its potentialities of intelligence, responsiveness, and power of expression, and only waiting to be called into activity by our recognition of it. By the terms of its nature it can respond to us only as we recognize it. If we are at that intellectual level where we can see nothing but chance governing the world, then this underlying universal mind will present to us nothing but a fortuitous confluence of forces without any intelligible order. If we are sufficiently advanced to see that such a confluence could only produce a chaos, and not a cosmos, then our conceptions expand to the idea of universal Law, and we find this to be the nature of the all-underlying principle. We have made an immense advance from the realm of mere accident into a world where there are definite principles on which we can calculate with certainty when we know them. But here is the crucial point. The laws of the universe are there, but we are ignorant of them, and only through experience gained by repeated failures can we get any insight into the laws with which we have to deal. How painful each step and how slow the progress! AEons upon aeons would not suffice to grasp all the laws of the universe in their totality, not in the visible world only, but also in the world of the unseen; each failure to know the true law implies suffering arising from our ignorant breach of it; and thus, since Nature is infinite, we are met by the paradox that we must in some way contrive to compass the knowledge of the infinite with our individual intelligence, and we must perform a pilgrimage along an unceasing Via Dolorosa beneath the lash of the inexorable Law until we find the solution to the problem. But it will be asked, May we not go on until at last we attain the possession of all knowledge? People do not realize what is meant by "the infinite," or they would not ask such questions. The infinite is that which is limitless and exhaustless. Imagine the vastest capacity you will, and having filled it with the infinite, what remains of the infinite is just as infinite as before. To the mathematician this may be put very clearly. Raise x to any power you will, and however vast may be the disparity between it and the lower powers of x, both are equally incommensurate with x^n. The universal reign of Law is a magnificent truth; it is one of the two great pillars of the universe symbolized by the two pillars that stood at the entrance to Solomon's temple: it is Jachin, but Jachin must be equilibriated by Boaz.
It is an enduring truth, which can never be altered, that every infraction of the Law of Nature must carry its punitive consequences with it. We can never get beyond the range of cause and effect. There is no escaping from the law of punishment, except by knowledge. If we know a law of Nature and work with it, we shall find it our unfailing friend, ever ready to serve us, and never rebuking us for past failures; but if we ignorantly or wilfully transgress it, it is our implacable enemy, until we again become obedient to it; and therefore the only redemption from perpetual pain and servitude is by a self-expansion which can grasp infinitude itself. How is this to be accomplished? By our progress to that kind and degree of intelligence by which we realize the inherent personalness of the divine all-pervading Life, which is at once the Law and the Substance of all that is. Well said the Jewish rabbis of old, "The Law is a Person." When we once realize that the universal Life and the universal Law are one with the universal Personalness, then we have established the pillar Boaz as the needed complement to Jachin; and when we find the common point in which these two unite, we have raised the Royal Arch through which we may triumphantly enter the Temple. We must dissociate the Universal Personalness from every conception of individuality. The universal can never be the individual: that would be a contradiction in terms. But because the universal personalness is the root of all individual personalities, it finds its highest expression in response to those who realize its personal nature. And it is this recognition that solves the seemingly insoluble paradox. The only way to attain that knowledge of the Infinite Law which will change the Via Dolorosa into the Path of Joy is to embody in ourselves a principle of knowledge commensurate with the infinitude of that which is to be known; and this is accomplished by realizing that, infinite as the law itself, is a universal Intelligence in the midst of which we float as in a living ocean. Intelligence without individual personality, but which, in producing us, concentrates itself into the personal individualities which we are. What should be the relation of such an intelligence towards us? Not one of favouritism: not any more than the Law can it respect one person above another, for itself is the root and support for each alike. Not one of refusal to our advances; for without individuality it can have no personal object of its own to conflict with ours; and since it is itself the origin of all individual intelligence, it cannot be shut off by inability to understand. By the very terms of its being, therefore, this infinite, underlying, all-producing Mind must be ready immediately to respond to all who realize their true relation to it. As the very principle of Life itself it must be infinitely susceptible to feeling, and consequently it will reproduce with absolute accuracy whatever conception of itself we impress upon it; and hence if we realize the human mind as that stage in the evolution of the cosmic order at which an individuality has arisen capable of expressing, not merely the livingness, but also the personalness of the universal underlying spirit, then we see that its most perfect mode of self-expression must be by identifying itself with these individual personalities.
The identification is, of course, limited by the measure of the individual intelligence, meaning, not merely the intellectual perception of the sequence of cause and effect, but also that indescribable reciprocity of feeling by which we instinctively recognize something in another making them akin to ourselves; and so it is that when we intelligently realize that the innermost principle of being, must by reason of its universality, have a common nature with our own, then we have solved the paradox of universal knowledge, for we have realized our identity of being with the Universal Mind, which is commensurate with the Universal Law. Thus we arrive at the truth of St. John's statement, "Ye know all things," only this knowledge is primarily on the spiritual plane. It is not brought out into intellectual statement whether needed or not; for it is not in itself the specific knowledge of particular facts, but it is the undifferentiated principle of knowledge which we may differentiate in any direction that we choose. This is a philosophical necessity of the case, for though the action of the individual mind consists in differentiating the universal into particular applications, to differentiate the whole universal would be a contradiction in terms; and so, because we cannot exhaust the infinite, our possession of it must consist in our power to differentiate it as the occasion may require, the only limit being that which we ourselves assign to the manifestation.
In this way, then, the recognition of the community of personality between ourselves and the universal undifferentiated Spirit, which is the root and substance of all things, solves the question of our release from the iron grasp of an inflexible Law, not by abrogating the Law, which would mean the annihilation of all things, but by producing in us an intelligence equal in affinity with the universal Law itself, and thus enabling us to apprehend and meet the requirements of the Law in each particular as it arises. In this way the Cosmic Intelligence becomes individualized, and the individual intelligence becomes universalized; the two became one, and in proportion as this unity is realized and acted on, it will be found that the Law, which gives rise to all outward conditions, whether of body or of circumstances, becomes more and more clearly understood, and can therefore be more freely made use of, so that by steady, intelligent endeavour to unfold upon these lines we may reach degrees of power to which it is impossible to assign any limits. The student who would understand the rationale of the unfoldment of his own possibilities must make no mistake here. He must realize that the whole process is that of bringing the universal within the grasp of the individual by raising the individual to the level of the universal and not vice-versa. It is a mathematical truism that you cannot contract the infinite, and that you can expand the individual; and it is precisely on these lines that evolution works. The laws of nature cannot be altered in the least degree; but we can come into such a realization of our own relation to the universal principle of Law that underlies them as to be able to press all particular laws, whether of the visible or invisible side of Nature, into our service and so find ourselves masters of the situation. This is to be accomplished by knowledge; and the only knowledge which will effect this purpose in all its measureless immensity is the knowledge of the personal element in Universal Spirit in its reciprocity to our own personality. Our recognition of this Spirit must therefore be twofold, as the principle of necessary sequence, order or Law, and also as the principle of Intelligence, responsive to our own recognition of it.
RECIPROCAL ACTION OF THE UNIVERSAL AND INDIVIDUAL MINDS.
It must be admitted that the foregoing considerations bring us to the borders of theological speculation, but the student must bear in mind that as a Mental Scientist it is his business to regard even the most exalted spiritual phenomena from a purely scientific standpoint, which is that of the working of a universal natural Law. If he thus simply deals with the facts as he finds them, there is little doubt that the true meaning of many theological statements will become clear to him: but he will do well to lay it down as a general rule that it is not necessary either to the use or understanding of any law, whether on the personal or the impersonal side of Nature, that we should give a theological explanation of it: although, therefore, the personal quality inherent in the universal underlying spirit, which is present in all things, cannot be too strongly insisted upon, we must remember that in dealing with it we are still dealing with a purely natural power which reappears at every point with protean variety of form, whether as person, animal, or thing. In each case what it becomes to any individual is exactly measured by that individual's recognition of it. To each and all it bears the relation of supporter of the race, and where the individual development is incapable of realizing anything more, this is the limit of the relation; but as the individual's power of recognition expands, he finds a reciprocal expansion on the part of this intelligent power which gradually develops into the consciousness of intimate companionship between the individualized mind and the unindividualized source of it.
Now this is exactly the relation which, on ordinary scientific principles, we should expect to find between the individual and the cosmic mind, on the supposition that the cosmic mind is subjective mind, and for reasons already given we can regard it in no other light. As subjective mind it must reproduce exactly the conception of itself which the objective mind of the individual, acting through his own subjective mind, impresses upon it; and at the same time as creative mind, it builds up external facts in correspondence with this conception. "Quot homines tot sententiae": each one externalizes in his outward circumstances precisely his idea of the Universal Mind; and the man who realizes that by the natural law of mind he can bring the Universal Mind into perfectly reciprocal action with its own, will on the one hand make it a source of infinite instruction, and on the other a source of infinite power. He will thus wisely alternate the personal and impersonal aspects respectively between his individual mind and the Universal Mind; when he is seeking for guidance or strength he will regard his own mind as the impersonal element which is to receive personality from the superior wisdom and force of the Greater Mind; and when, on the other hand, he is to give out the stores thus accumulated, he must reverse the position and consider his own mind as the personal element, and the Universal Mind as the impersonal, which he can therefore direct with certainty by impressing his own personal desire upon it. We need not be staggered at the greatness of this conclusion, for it follows necessarily from the natural relation between the subjective and the objective minds; and the only question is whether we will limit our view to the lower level of the latter, or expand it so as to take in the limitless possibilities which the subjective mind presents to us.
I have dealt with this question at some length because it affords the key to two very important subjects, the Law of Supply and the nature of Intuition. Students often find it easier to understand how the mind can influence the body with which it is so intimately associated, than how it can influence circumstances. If the operation of thought-power were confined exclusively to the individual mind this difficulty might arise; but if there is one lesson the student of Mental Science should take to heart more than another, it is that the action of thought-power is not limited to a circumscribed individuality. What the individual does is to give direction to something which is unlimited, to call into action a force infinitely greater than his own, which because it is in itself impersonal though intelligent, will receive the impress of his personality, and can therefore make its influence felt far beyond the limits which bound the individual's objective perception of the circumstances with which he has to deal. It is for this reason that I lay so much stress on the combination of two apparent opposites in the Universal Mind, the union of intelligence with impersonality. The intelligence not only enables it to receive the impress of our thought, but also causes it to devise exactly the right means for bringing it into accomplishment. This is only the logical result of the hypothesis that we are dealing with infinite Intelligence which is also infinite Life. Life means Power, and infinite life therefore means limitless power; and limitless power moved by limitless intelligence cannot be conceived of as ever stopping short of the accomplishment of its object; therefore, given the intention on the part of the Universal Mind, there can be no doubt as to its ultimate accomplishment. Then comes the question of intention. How do we know what the intention of the Universal Mind may be? Here comes in the element of impersonality. It has no intention, because it is impersonal. As I have already said, the Universal mind works by a law of averages for the advancement of the race, and is in no way concerned with the particular wishes of the individual. If his wishes are in line with the forward movement of the everlasting principle, there is nowhere in Nature any power to restrict him in their fulfilment. If they are opposed to the general forward movement, then they will bring him into collision with it, and it will crush him. From the relation between them it results that the same principle which shows itself in the individual mind as Will, becomes in the universal mind a Law of Tendency; and the direction of this tendency must always be to life-givingness, because the universal mind is the undifferentiated Life-spirit of the universe. Therefore in every case the test is whether our particular intention is in this same lifeward direction: and if it is, then we may be absolutely certain that there is no intention on the part of the Universal Mind to thwart the intention of our own individual mind; we are dealing with a purely impersonal force, and it will no more oppose us by specific plans of its own than will steam or electricity. Combining then, these two aspects of the Universal Mind, its utter impersonality and its perfect intelligence, we find precisely the sort of natural force we are in want of, something which will undertake whatever we put into its hands without asking questions or bargaining for terms, and which, having undertaken our business, will bring to bear on it an intelligence to which the united knowledge of the whole human race is as nothing, and a power equal to this intelligence. I may be using a rough and ready mode of expression, but my object is to bring home to the student the nature of the power he can employ and the method of employing it, and I may therefore state the whole position thus:—Your object is not to run the whole cosmos, but to draw particular benefits, physical, mental, moral, or financial into your own or someone else's life. From this individual point of view the universal creative power has no mind of its own, and therefore you can make up its mind for it. When its mind is thus made up for it, it never abrogates its place as the creative power, but at once sets to work co carry out the purpose for which it has thus been concentrated; and unless this concentration is dissipated by the same agency (yourself) which first produced it, it will work on by the law of growth to complete manifestation on the outward plane.
In dealing with this great impersonal intelligence, we are dealing with the infinite, and we must fully realize infinitude as that which touches all points, and if it does, there should be no difficulty in understanding that this intelligence can draw together the means requisite for its purpose even from the ends of the world; and therefore, realizing the Law according to which the result can be produced, we must resolutely put aside all questioning as to the specific means which will be employed in any case. To question this is to sow that very seed of doubt which it is our first object to eradicate, and our intellectual endeavour should therefore be directed, not to the attempt to foretell the various secondary causes which will eventually combine to produce the desired result, laying down beforehand what particular causes should be necessary, and from what quarter they should come; but we should direct our intellectual endeavour to seeing more clearly the rationale of the general law by which trains of secondary causes are set in motion. Employed in the former way our intellect becomes the greatest hindrance to our success, for it only helps to increase our doubts, since it is trying to grasp particulars which, at the time are entirely outside its circle of vision; but employed in the latter it affords the most material aid in maintaining that nucleus without which there is no centre from which the principle of growth can assert itself. The intellect can only deduce consequences from facts which it is able to state, and consequently cannot deduce any assurance from facts of whose existence it cannot yet have any knowledge through the medium of the outward senses; but for the same reason it can realize the existence of a Law by which the as yet unmanifested circumstances may be brought into manifestation. Thus used in its right order, the intellect becomes the handmaid of that more interior power within us which manipulates the unseen substance of all things, and which we may call relative first cause.
CAUSES AND CONDITIONS.
The expression "relative first cause" has been used in the last section to distinguish the action of the creative principle in the individual mind from Universal First Cause on the one hand and from secondary causes on the other. As it exists in us, primary causation is the power to initiate a train of causation directed to an individual purpose. As the power of initiating a fresh sequence of cause and effect it is first cause, and as referring to an individual purpose it is relative, and it may therefore be spoken of as relative first cause, or the power of primary causation manifested by the individual. The understanding and use of this power is the whole object of Mental Science, and it is therefore necessary that the student should clearly see the relation between causes and conditions. A simple illustration will go further for this purpose than any elaborate explanation. If a lighted candle is brought into a room the room becomes illuminated, and if the candle is taken away it becomes dark again. Now the illumination and the darkness are both conditions, the one positive resulting from the presence of the light, and the other negative resulting from its absence: from this simple example we therefore see that every positive condition has an exactly opposite negative condition corresponding to it, and that this correspondence results from their being related to the same cause, the one positively and the other negatively; and hence we may lay down the rule that all positive conditions result from the active presence of a certain cause, and all negative conditions from the absence of such a cause. A condition, whether positive or negative, is never primary cause, and the primary cause of any series can never be negative, for negation is the condition which arises from the absence of active causation. This should be thoroughly understood as it is the philosophic basis of all those "denials" which play so important a, part in Mental Science, and which may be summed up in the statement that evil being negative, or privation of good, has no substantive existence in itself. Conditions, however, whether positive or negative, are no sooner called into existence than they become causes in their turn and produce further conditions, and so on ad infinitum, thus giving rise to the whole train of secondary causes. So long as we judge only from the information conveyed to us by the outward senses, we are working on the plane of secondary causation and see nothing but a succession of conditions, forming part of an endless train of antecedent conditions coming out of the past and stretching away into the future, and from this point of view we are under the rule of an iron destiny from which there seems no possibility of escape. This is because the outward senses are only capable of dealing with the relations which one mode of limitation bears to another, for they are the instruments by which we take cognizance of the relative and the conditioned. Now the only way of escape is by rising out of the region of secondary causes into that of primary causation, where the originating energy is to be found before it has yet passed into manifestation as a condition. This region is to be found within ourselves; it is the region of pure ideas; and it is for this reason that I have laid stress on the two aspects of spirit as pure thought and manifested form. The thought-image or ideal pattern of a thing is the first cause relatively to that thing; it is the substance of that thing untrammelled, by any antecedent conditions.