How to Gain Harmony & Health
New Thought Simplified
by Henry Wood
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It frequently has been said that presentations of New Thought principles are made in terms not readily intelligible to beginners. In the nature of the case, it is not easy to set forth a psychological and idealistic system so that it shall be perfectly clear to all.
It is also true that there is a decided though often unconscious inclination among the exponents of any movement to fall into a mannerism which is distinctive. Writers upon New Thought are no exception to this rule.
In this volume, the author does not claim to be exempt from such a tendency, but simplicity is his earnest aim. It is hoped that many who heretofore have been prevented from a careful investigation of the New Thought may be able to grasp much of its inner spirit and substance through an attentive perusal of these pages.
A plain rehearsal of the foundation principles is followed by some comments upon their relation to other systems. An Appendix is added containing a few suggestive lessons in the most practical and experimental form.
IT WHISTLES ITSELF
A boy who was whistling loudly as he walked down the street was told to "stop that whistling." He replied, "I ain't whistlin'; it whistles itself." It is much so with a large part of the thinking that is done. It thinks itself.
The aforesaid boy was almost as automatic as another kind of whistling buoy, though his whistling was less useful. As the winds and waves set the buoy into action, so the automatic thinker thinks, mainly because something stirs him from the outside.
There are mechanical automatons made in the shape of a man, which, by proper winding, not only will whistle but play a musical instrument.
Who wants to be an automaton?
Ready-made thoughts are much like ready-made or second-hand clothes. They do not fit. If some one hits me, the ready-made thought says, hit back. I do not say that, but the automaton puts in his oar and answers for me.
Am I going to do my own thinking or let an automaton do it for me? Automatic thinking is not wise, well proportioned, or helpful. One cannot tell what it will bring. There may come:
"Black spirits and white, red spirits and gray, Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may."
The witches' cauldron in Macbeth did not contain a more ill assorted mixture, and the
"Something wicked this way comes. Open, locks, Whoever knocks!"
of the second witch well illustrates the invitation of the automaton to all corners.
As thinking is the fountain for all action, it should not be turned loose to run at large. What a disorderly mob of thoughts smuggle themselves into the mind! Stand at the gateway of consciousness and see the procession enter. Could it be pictured upon a moving panorama or be acted upon the stage, what a dramatic medley would appear! It is all because they think themselves. It is true that but a small part of them ever reach the climax of seen form, but they all tend that way, and are fluttering to get loose. Every one of them wants to be hatched, have a body and try its wings. Those which succeed will have the stripe and color of the average that is within.
The brain is like a menagerie. Its caged mental forms bear close resemblance, in their nature, to various beasts, birds, and reptiles, tamed and untamed, gentle and savage. Perchance there may be a sideshow of monstrosities, but we will not look in.
Mind is peopled with all this motley assembly because it has left the door swinging on its hinges and the windows wide open.
The governor has abdicated, and the door-keeper is off duty.
A mind floating in a chaotic sea of of thoughts, without a ruling aim and positive ideal, is like a rudderless ship, at the mercy of winds, waves, and breakers.
WE are all creatures of habit. A deep rut is worn by a meadow brook because it has run in the same channel for a long time. It is no less true of a thought channel. In either case it is not easy to turn it into a new course.
Habit is a natural and universal law. As applied to thought, if we understand and control its action, it will perform wonders for us. Like an intelligent and trained assistant it multiplies our ability and builds our character.
On the contrary, if we carelessly yield to its rule, it becomes tyrannical, and we drop into servitude.
Thoughts of all sorts come trooping along and knock at the door of mind. They are of all shades and qualities. There are the high and the low, the good and bad, the selfish and unselfish, the pure and impure, the sickly and healthful, the fearful and courageous, the God-like and devilish, thoughts of love and hate, of cheer and despondency. Which will we admit? Each one that we receive makes its distinctive mark upon us. Like a line of customers in a bank each one leaves a deposit.
We invite some favorite thoughts into our inner reception-room for a longer stay, and make them at home. Avoid this unless you wish to become like them. We sooner or later manifest the effect of their company. Intimacy continued fastens their habit upon us.
These inner companions influence us far more than our nearest personal friends. The latter are comparatively far away; the particular thoughts of which we cultivate the intimacy gradually give us their features, their accent, and all their mannerisms.
Thoughts steal in that we have not consciously invited. They will not always depart by word of command, but they may be elbowed out by others which we choose, if they have not become too intimate.
Thought habit is character. You are what previous thinking has made you.
"All habits gather by unseen degrees, As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."
Get out of unwholesome ruts. It matters not whether they were made by past dogmatisms, by heredity, by other people, or by yourself. Their walls on either side are hardening.
Be your real self, and you will be original. Originality draws the world together in love and mutual appreciation. Each then finds outside just what he lacks in himself.
Truth follows no rut. It is better to search for it than to walk in the groove of some leader's estimate of it. New Thought exponents are no exception.
You must have your own New Thought, rather than that which belongs to someone else.
There is too much " I am of Paul," and "I am of Apollos."
The genuine New Thought which you seek is impersonal until it becomes personal in you.
Other opinions and standpoints are good as aids and suggestions, but final authority should be within.
Your own religious denomination, political party, class or union is yours, because of concentrated and habitual thinking. You have entertained (how significant the word) fifty favorable thoughts in the line of your own association as often as one regarding that of your neighbor.
You have created your own horizon. You think that you think as you do because it is reasonable, true, or wise. But you have neighbors equally intelligent and conscientious who think the same of their respective systems. Each has taken on the color and quality of his own habitual thoughts. That is the cause of his own present views, but you cannot make him believe it. The old saw is true --
"A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still."
What has been called the will is simply concentrated thought along a given line.
Bot it would be absurd to claim that people never change and make a new departure. In practice no working principle can be pressed to an extreme. Never before was there so little dogmatism and so much openness to truth, for its own sake, as there is today.
As people learn the nature, extent, and power of thought habit, there will be a still greater advance.
What we call physical habits are really thought habits. Thought results in action, and the same thought repeated causes a repetition of the act. Even the automatic act is always the result of the automatic thought. No man walks until be thinks walking, even though the thought becomes unconscious as he takes step by step.
Man is man because he is a thinker. His action, simple or habitual, is only thought made visible.
An occasional inventive genius has spent his life in
effort to invent mechanical perpetual motion. But everyone already has
it within. When the thinking faculty is once set in motion, the same
tend to repeat their circuit indefinitely.