The Secret of the Ages, by Robert Collier, , at sacred-texts.com
We laugh today at such benighted superstition. But even in this day and age there are few who realize that the things they see are but effects. Fewer still who have any idea of the causes by which those effects are brought about.
Every human experience is an effect.
[paragraph continues] You laugh, you weep, you joy, you sorrow, you suffer or you are happy. Each of these is an effect, the cause of which can be easily traced.
But all the experiences of life are not so easily traceable to their primary causes. We save money for our old age. We put it into a bank or into safe bonds—and the bank breaks or the railroad or corporation goes into a receivership. We stay at home on a holiday to avoid risk of accident, and fall off a stepladder or down the stairs and break a limb. We drive slowly for fear of danger, and a speeding car comes from behind and knocks us into a ditch. A man goes over Niagara Falls in a barrel without harm, and then slips on a banana peel, breaks his leg, and dies of it.
What is the cause back of it all? If we can find it and control it, we can control
the effect. We shall no longer then be the football of fate. We shall be able to rise above the conception of life in which matter is our master.
There is but one answer. The world without is a reflection of the world within. We image thoughts of disaster upon our subconscious minds and the Genie-of-our-Mind finds ways of bringing them into effect—even though we stay at home, even though we take every possible precaution. The mental image is what counts, be it for good or ill. It is a devastating or a beneficent force, just as we choose to make it. To paraphrase Thackeray—"The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own thought."
For matter is not real substance. Material science today shows that matter has no natural eternal existence. Dr. Willis
[paragraph continues] R. Whitney, in an address before the American Chemical Society on August 8th, 1925, discussing "Matter—Is There Anything In It?" stated that "the most we know about matter is that it is almost entirely space. It is as empty as the sky. It is almost as empty as a perfect vacuum, although it usually contains a lot of energy." Thought is the only force. Just as polarity controls the electron, gravitation the planets, tropism the plants and lower animals—just so thought controls the action and the environment of man. And thought is subject wholly to the control of mind. Its direction rests with us.
Walt Whitman had the right of it when he said—"Nothing external to me has any power over me."
The happenings that occur in the material world are in themselves neither cheerful nor sorrowful, just as outside of
the eye that observes them colors are neither green nor red. It is our thoughts that make them so. And we can color those thoughts according to our own fancy. We can make the world without but a reflection of the world within. We can make matter a force subject entirely to the control of our mind. For matter is merely our wrong view of what Universal Mind sees rightly.
We cannot change the past experience, but we can determine what the new ones shall be like. We can make the coming day just what we want it to be. We can be tomorrow what we think today. For the thoughts are causes and the conditions are the effects.
What is the reason for most failures in life? The fact that they first thought failure. They allowed competition, hard times, fear and worry to undermine their
confidence. Instead of working aggressively ahead, spending money to make more money, they stopped every possible outlay, tried to "play safe," but expected others to continue spending with them. War is not the only place where "The best defensive is a strong offensive."
The law of compensation is always at work. Man is not at the caprice of fate. He is his own fate. "As a man thinketh in This heart, so is he." We are our own past thoughts, with the things that these thoughts have attracted to us added on.
The successful man has no time to think of failure. He is too busy thinking up new ways to succeed. You can't pour water into a vessel already full.
All about you is energy—electronic energy, exactly like that which makes up the solid objects you possess. The only difference is that the Loose energy round
about is unappropriated. It is still virgin gold—undiscovered, unclaimed. You can think it into anything you wish—into gold or dross, into health or sickness, into strength or weakness, into success or failure. Which shall it be? "There is nothing either good or bad," said Shakespeare, "but thinking makes it so." The understanding of that law will enable you to control every other law that exists. In it is to be found the panacea for all ills, the satisfaction of all want, all desire. It is Creative Mind's own provision for man's freedom.
Have you ever read Basil King's "Conquest of Fear"? If you haven't, do so by all means. Here is the way he visions the future:
“Taking Him ( Jesus) as our standard we shall work out, I venture to think, to the following points of progress:
“a. The control of matter in furnishing ourselves with food and drink by means more direct than at present employed, as He turned water into wine and fed the multitudes with the loaves and fishes.
“b. The control of matter by putting away from ourselves, by methods more sure and less roundabout than those of today, sickness, blindness, infirmity, and deformity.
“c. The control of matter by regulating our atmospheric conditions as He stilled the tempest.
“d. The control of matter by restoring to this phase of existence those who have passed out of it before their time, or who can ill be spared from it, as He 'raised' three young people from 'the dead' and Peter and Paul followed His example.
“e. The control of matter in putting it
off and on at will, as He in His death and resurrection.
“f. The control of matter in passing altogether out of it, as He in what we call His Ascension into Heaven.”
Mortals are healthy or unhealthy, happy or unhappy, strong or weak, alive or dead, in the proportion that they think thoughts of health or illness, strength or weakness. Your body, like all other material things, manifests only what your mind entertains in belief. In a general way you have often noticed this yourself. A man with an ugly disposition (which is a mental state) will have harsh, unlovely features. One with a gentle disposition will have a smiling and serene countenance. All the other organs of the human body are equally responsive to thought. Who has not seen the face become red with rage or white with fear?
[paragraph continues] Who has not known of people who became desperately ill following an outburst of temper? Physicians declare that just as fear, irritability and hate distort the features, they likewise distort the heart, stomach and liver.
Experiments conducted on a cat shortly after a meal showed that when it was purring contentedly, its digestive organs functioned perfectly. But when a dog was brought into the room and the cat drew back in fear and anger, the X-ray showed that its digestive organs were so contorted as to be almost tied up in a knot!
Each of us makes his own world—and he makes it through mind. It is a commonplace fact that no two people see the same thing alike. "A primrose by a river's brim, a yellow primrose was to him, and it was nothing more."
Thoughts are the causes. Conditions are merely effects. We can mould ourselves and our surroundings by resolutely directing our thoughts towards the goal we have in mind.
Ordinary animal life is very definitely controlled by temperature, by climate, by seasonal conditions. Man alone can ad-just himself to any reasonable temperature or condition. Man alone has been able to free himself to a great extent from the control of natural forces through his understanding of the relation of cause and effect. And now man is beginning to get a glimpse of the final freedom that shall be his from all material causes when he shall acquire the complete understanding that mind is the only cause and that effects are what he sees.
"We moderns are unaccustomed," says one talented writer, "to the mastery over
our own inner thoughts and feelings. That a man should be a prey to any thought that chances to take possession of his mind, is commonly among us assumed as unavoidable. It may be a matter of regret that he should be kept awake all night from anxiety as to the issue of a lawsuit on the morrow, but that he should have the power of determining whether he be kept awake or not seems an extravagant demand. The image of an impending calamity is no doubt odious, but its very odiousness (we say) makes it haunt the mind all the more pertinaciously, and it is useless to expel it. Yet this is an absurd position for man, the heir of all the ages, to be in: Hag-ridden by the flimsy creatures of his own brain. If a pebble in our boot torments us, we expel it. We take off the boot and shake it out. And once the matter is fairly understood, it is just
as easy to expel an intruding and obnoxious thought from the mind. About this there ought to be no mistake, no two opinions. The thing is obvious, clear and unmistakable. It should be as easy to expel an obnoxious thought from the mind as to shake a stone out of your shoe; and until a man can do that, it is just nonsense to talk about his ascendency over nature, and all the rest of it. He is a mere slave, and a prey to the bat-winged phantoms that flit through the corridors of his own brain. Yet the weary and careworn faces that we meet by thousands, even among the affluent classes of civilization, testify only too clearly how seldom this mastery is obtained. How rare indeed to find a man! How common rather to discover a creature hounded on by tyrant thoughts (or cares, or desires), cowering, wincing under the lash.
"It is one of the prominent doctrines of some of the oriental schools of practical psychology that the power of expelling thoughts, or if need be, killing them dead on the spot, must be attained. Naturally the art requires practice, but like other arts, when once acquired there is no mystery or difficulty about it. It is worth practice. It may be fairly said that life only begins when this art has been acquired. For obviously when, instead of being ruled by individual thoughts, the whole flock of them in their immense multitude and variety and capacity is ours to direct and despatch and employ where we list, life becomes a thing so vast and grand, compared to what it was before, that its former condition may well appear almost ante-natal. If you can kill a thought dead, for the time being, you can do anything else with it that you
please. And therefore it is that this power is so valuable. And it not only frees a man from mental torment (which is nine-tenths at least of the torment of life), but it gives him a concentrated power of handling mental work absolutely unknown to him before. The two are correlative to each other."
There is no intelligence in matter—whether that matter be electronic energy made up in the form of stone, or iron, or wood, or flesh. It all consists of Energy, the universal substance from which Mind forms all material things. Mind is the only intelligence. It alone is eternal. It alone is supreme in the universe.
When we reach that understanding, we will no longer have cause for fear, because we will realize that Universal Mind is the creator of life only; that death is not an actuality—it is merely the absence
of life—and life will be ever-present. Remember the old fairy story of how the Sun was listening to a lot of earthly creatures talking of a very dark place they had found? A place of Stygian blackness. Each told how terrifically dark it had seemed. The Sun went and looked for it. He went to the exact spot they had described. He searched everywhere. But he could find not even a tiny dark spot. And he came back and told the earth-creatures he did not believe there was any dark place.
When the sun of understanding shines on all the dark spots in our lives, we will realize that there is no cause, no creator, no power, except good; evil is not an entity—it is merely the absence of good.
And there can be no ill effects without an evil cause. Since there is no evil cause, only good can have reality or power.
[paragraph continues] There is no beginning or end to good. From it there can be nothing but blessing for the whole race. In it is found no trouble. If God (or Good—the two are synonymous) is the only cause, then the only effect must be like the cause. "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made."
Don't be content with passively reading this. Use it! Practice it! Exercise is far more necessary to mental development that it is to physical. Practice the. "daily dozen" of right thinking. Stretch your mind to realize how infinitely far it can reach out, what boundless vision it can have. Breathe out all the old thoughts of sickness, discouragement, failure, worry and fear. Breathe in deep, long breaths (thoughts) of unlimited health and strength, unlimited happiness
and success. Practice looking forward—always looking forward to something better—better health, finer physique, greater happiness, bigger success. Take these mental breathing exercises every day. See how easily you will control your thoughts. How quickly you will see the good effects. You've got to think all the time. Your mind will do that anyway. And the thoughts are constantly building—for good or ill. So be sure to exhale all the thoughts of fear and worry and disease and lack that have been troubling you, and inhale only those you want to see realized.