Dynamics of Mind
by Henry Wood
ARENA, #LXIII February, 1895
In the light of recent psychical demonstrations, it has been said that thoughts are things, perhaps a more exact statement would be that they are forces.
In physical science, the present trend of teaching is distinctly from the former accepted atomic basis, which included the solidity and potency of matter, towards a hypothesis in which energy is regarded as the underlying principle of all phenomena. Thus the atom, which has never been discovered, and is not likely to be, is no longer recognized as the real unit in the physical economy, energy being now accepted as the primal starting point.
Manifestations to our senses, which we call light, heat and sound, are only differentiated modes of vibratory forces. Primal energy, unitary in its essence, and always conserved in the aggregate, takes on, to us, one of several qualitative appearances, according to the form of its waves, or rather, perhaps, the rapidity of its vibrations. Under certain circumstances and through the action of laws yet imperfectly understood, these various modes of manifestation are interchangeably transformed in constant repetition.
Modern science has accepted the conclusion that vibration is a universal law, and the recognition of this fact is the key which is unlocking mysteries and solving phenomena hitherto unexplainable. It has furnished an all-comprehensive working hypothesis. Beginning with an intermolecular rhythm of inconceivable rapidity in all bodies, even those that appear to be solid and at rest, its domain of wave movements extends through all space, and its impulses are coursing in every conceivable direction. They are ceaseless and endless. The cosmos may truly be said to be "all of a quiver."
The basic medium of these inumerable wavy motions is undoubtedly the universal ether, the nature of which can only be dimly conjectured through its multiform manifestations. Who can say that this is not the boundless common meeting ground between the spiritual and the material? Unaccountably enough, the myriads of vibrations of different kinds and velocities that are sweeping through space do not appear to disturb or neutralize each other in the least. There is a clear path for all.
These late developments in physical science, which have only been hinted at in the most general of terms, carrry with them necessaary inferences and correlations, the scope of which can yet hardly be imagined. The dematerialization, or perhaps what may even be called the spiritualization of physics, as a science, is one of the marked logical tendencies. There is also a growing demonstration and conviction of the deceptive and utterly unreliable nature of sensuous appearances. Science, before finally accepting any proposition as proven, has always insisted upon material and mathematical demonstration. This is well in its place but it is not all, in fact it is only the lower and cruder side.
Matter, as formerly regarded, seems to be consciously melting into mind or spirit. It is no longer inert or dead, but instinct with life. Its transformations are ceaseless and mysterious. Can any one explain just how and why a visible solid can take the form of an invisible gas and vice versa?
The theoretical boundary line between the immaterial and the material is getting very faint if not actually disappearing. Let us drop our crude, childish materialism and rise easily and reasonably to the grand conception that differentiated forces are being traced back, even through the methods of the physicist to the One Primal Energy - INFINITE MIND. The veils which in our infantile development we have hung around external nature are growing so attenuated that we can almost discern with unaided vision the active operation of Supreme Intelligence, Goodness and Beneficence.
All profound discernment and analogy lead back to the grand fundamental premise, that behind all manifestations, energy is One, that it is an Intelligent Energy, and is therefore Omni-present Mind. Monism, or the inherent unity of all things, is the growing inspiration of science. It is thereby confirming the impressions already received through the delicate vision of the unfolded interior faculties. Paul's immortal aphorism, that "in Him we live and move and have our being" has waited long for scientific endorsement, but it is apparently soon to be realized. We behold the universe as soulful and not mechanical. This is no ancient superstitious pantheism resurrected. Rather the Deity is infinitely honored as compared with any and all past human concepts.
If all energy, in its last analysis, be Intelligent Mind, and vibration the universal method, we may reasonably infer that human mind or volition, being in, and a part of the whole, should form no exception in the working plan of its orderly activities. If essential, potential and ideal man be the "offspring," "image" and manifestor of God, nothing unlike it could be normal. As the former ideals of a Deity, localized, personified, changeable and in every way unconsciously limited, are slowly replaced by the transcendent ideal of the unconditioned "All in All," the interrelation of all things, to and in God, is being grasped. When man refines, enlarges and elevates his consciousness of Divinity, he does the same for his own deeper and generic spiritual nature, which though temporarily obscured, is in reality, himself. If God be spirit, man, His reflection and likeness, must also be spirit and not dust. By a traditional and distorted self consciousness he has thought himself to be a poor, sinful, material being, and the formative power of his mental specification has externally actualized his model. He is mind or spirit, but his physical expression, which should be of ideal quality, outpictures his perverted estimate of himself. Not recognizing his true being, he has drawn a mistaken outline and then naturally filled it out. He has thus unwittingly hidden his own potential and divine forces, though they are still within. The mirror of false consciousness has reflected a doleful image which he has seriously taken for himself.
The purer and higher trend of science is characterized by a gradual refinement and immateriality. The laboratory should become a sanctuary, for in it are gained glimpses of the Eternal. Man himself is being more truly interpreted as the highest expression of divinity. He is a concrete manifestation of the One Mind, finited, but with unlimited possibilities. He is inconceivably great, though ignorantly unaware of it. But a significant indication of his growing consciousness of the possession of supernal power is found in the recent discovery of the dynamic and formative potency of his thought. The Infinite Uncreate is the primal and universal energy, but man is its embodier and manifestor. His mental forces cannot create de novo, but they can mould, utilize and express. The unfolded soul having developed a self-consciousness of its transcendent power, intelligently sends out its own vibrations from its own center. Conforming to the divine plan and chord, it becomes a reflection, or secondary radiator of rhythms which are concordant with the Original.
We are logically led to the conclusion that the recent recognition of the potency and utility of the projective vibration of thought, is an unprecedented and immense step in scientific achievement, human unfoldment and spiritual evolution. Man is finding his rightful dominant place in nature, in the arcana of soul force and expression, and in his relation to the Infinite.
Before considering specifically the dynamic relations between mind and mind, it may be well to note briefly these relations as they exist between a human mind and its physical counterpart, Man is mind, and this statement implies that the physical organism is not man, but only his visible index or expression. To attempt to prove this is like demonstrating an axiom, but yet mankind at large indicate by their action that they do not practically believe it. Nine-tenths of the care, labor, and attention of the world is bestowed upon the body and its gratification, or upon those subordinate mental powers, the product of which will command the greatest commercial value. Most of the prevailing systems of education, so called, have the same end more or less directly in view. The trained intellect, including not only technical and professional attainment, but also the powers of literary, poetic and dramatic ability, eloquence and wit, are largely rated and valued on an economic and material basis. To train, control and uplift the mind, and develop its higher faculties for its own sake, and that of others, is not common. The world is still endeavoring to "live by bread alone."
Prevailing systems of philosophy, science, theology, therapeutics, sociology and charity, including Darwinian evolution, all proceed upon the general hypothesis that man is intrinsically a material being. He has an attenuated quality called a soul, dependent upon fleshly brain cells.
The "fall," not historic but continuous, is from the ideal, potential and in mostly actual, into the external of appearances, and this comprises the Adamic consciousness. Men cling to the sensuous Eden until they are started and driven from it by the loud calling of the divine voice within. The beneficent expulsion from that Eden, and the succeeding necessary restlessness, furnish the true and only impetus for voluntary moral and spiritual evolution. The world is still largely peopled with Adams who practically believe that they are made of red earth or dust.
Is man to grasp, mould and rule that little portion of dust that he has temporarily taken on, and which before has often been used to express and embody other qualities of life, or must he believe himself in bondage to it? Shall the shadow, even though real as a shadow, dominate the substance? Not forever, even in what is called this life. So soon as man recognizes the fact that he is a mental and spiritual dynamo he will no longer remain a vassal in his own legitimate kingdom. But the more specific treatment of the relations of mind to body must be reserved for a subsequent paper.
A dominant vibration in the thought-atmosphere is able to arouse a nation, or a continent. Great minds, as well as those of less development, are submerged and swept along by it. Crusades, reformations, revolutions, and reforms, furnish numberless illustrations of psychic upheaval and contagion. Through sympathetic vibration a vast number of responsive mental strings are stirred into action. As the rhythmical step of a regiment will powerfully shake a strong bridge, so the concerted energy of mind will generate tidal waves of tremendous import. The result is not merely from a contemporaneous logical process, carried on respectively by many individuals, but from a great immaterial gulf stream, deep and mighty, though silent and unconscious.
Mind, as a force, is no more unintelligible or unthinkable than other vibrations of unseen energy. And there lies the tremendous significance of the new psychology or recognition of soul force. Till recently conventional science, as taught in all accepted textbooks, recognized no extension of the dynamics of thought beyond the confines of the physical organism. The mind, with feeble domination, through nerve channels, could transmit its orders to different parts of its visible counterpart, but it was not believed that it could go one inch beyond that limit. Any suggestion that telepathy, or thought transference, could take place at a distance of a thousand miles, or even one mile, would have been pronounced impossible.
We shall waste no time in the mere attempt to prove the fact that thought is, and can be, projected through space, both consciously and unconsciously. No well-informed individual who has given any adequate attention to the subject now questions it. Scores of pages might be filled with examples, now on record, which are eentirely beyond collusion or coincidence. Every one of thousands of hypnotic experiences proves it, and every case of healing through mental treatment attests it. There is no fact in physical science better assured.
And how has the world received this transcendent truth which is transforming in its potency, all-inclusive in its sequences, and divine in its possibilities? Very much as it would a new curio or an ingenious toy. The institutional psychologist fondles it, turns it over, weighs and measures its properties in his laboratoy, speculates about it, and makes a profession of it. But the last thing to be thought of, is to make it useful to mankind. That would be unprofessional. To harness and utilize this force of all forces for the good of humanity would lower it from the select and charmed circle of professional theory and speculation to the broad plane of practical and beneficient agencies.
The average psychical researcher shows much of the same indifference as to any utilization of his favorite principles of pursuits. He is engaged in a never-ending pursuit of phenomena. He will strain his investigative powers, and burn midnight oil in testing, comparing and recording curious manifestations, and in interpreting their methods and laws, but as to their practical application in ethical culture, threapeutic potency or spiritual unfoldment he is as innocent as a child. It has not occurred to him. These reflections are made in no impatient spirit as applied to individuals, but rather to show the negative character of systems of thought into which we have allowed ourselves to become crystallized. How much freedom, originality and progress would at once be manifest if the fear of being called unprofessional and unconventional, which now holds men in bondage, could be eliminated!
Besides the classes already noted there are many excellent people, lovely in character and pure in motive, whose temperamental fondness for the mystical leads them to seek visions, dream dreams, and to cultivate an order of phenomena more dramatic than profitable. Abstract truth and vivid demonstration are well, but the world is hungering for their application to its woes.
If we gained some knowledge of the laws which govern a force inconceivably grander and higher than electricity, may we not dismiss undue sensitiveness as to deviations from traditional scholasticism, and for the sake of humanity, step out of the ruts which have been grooved by the schoolmen of the darker and narrower past? All great advances in their earlier aspects have been irrational innovations.
Regarding the fundamental basis of psycho-dynamics, not only as admitted but overwhelming proven, let us now concisely sum up a few of the results which logically should be realized. They are of stupendous significance, but surrounded as we are by the blank walls of our self-imposed and traditional limitations we can hardly picture them even to the imagination.
Thoughts being forces, every mind is a creative center from which rhythms of qualitative energy are going out in all directions. By their impact upon corresponding chords in other minds, these are also swept into active vibration. Throw a pebble into a lake and the placid surface at once becomes vibrant with a series of ever-widening circles which go out to its utmost boundary. They are never quite lost, or neutralized, though we may be unable to trace them to their final destination. So every soul is the seat of a great centrifugal current, which is generated and set free in the simple process of thinking. This is true - though less in degree - of desultory or aimless thought, as well as of that which is concentrated and projected with definite intent. Every thinker is a battery of positive forces even though he utter never a word.
The soul - which is the man - is a resonant instrument with innumerable tremulous strings of the most delicate quality. The water in the lake responds to the pebble, but the medium through which thought-waves pass is infinitely more subtle and elastic.
What volumes of potential energy are wasted and far worse, in negative and discordant mental activities! We are not thinking for ourselves but for the world. With the shuttle of thought in the loom of the mind, we are weaving the multi-colored fabric of conditions, and these not merely immaterial but to be outwardly actualized and manifested. If one in his own soul strikes the discordant notes of anger, envy, avarice, selfishness or even those seemingly more harmless ones of simple fear, weakness, grief, pessimism or depression, he is creating and vibrating those conditions far and near, thereby stirring the corresponding chords in other souls into sympathetic activity. The sphere of outward action is limited, while that of thought is boundless. Mere doing makes ephemeral reputation, while quality of thinking determines, or rather is, vital character.
Every one's thought-images are being constantly impressed both upon himself and others. His mind is a busy factory where conditions are positively manufactured. He weaves their quality, consciously or unconsciously, into every nerve, muscle and tissue of his own body. His materialistic thought tethers him in a little circle of limitation, while boundless green fields lie beyond waiting for occupation. His mental pictures of evil, disorder and disease, photograph themselves not only upon his own mind and body but upon those of his fellows.
One cannot afford to think much about evil, even for the well-intentioned purpose of its suppression. The true remedy is its displacement. Thought-space given to it confers realism, familiarity and finally dominion. To silence discordant strings in ourselves or others we must vibrate their opposites. To truly sympathize with a friend who is quivering with trouble or sorrow, is not to drop into his rhythm and intensifying it - as is usual - but to lift his consciousness by striking a higher chord in unison. The road to mental and physical invigoration lies through the dynamics of formative thought. Our way to elevate other lives is also through their creative mental energies.
When the art of projecting thought vibrations on a high plane is systematically cultivated, and the concentrative habit developed, potency for good is increased a hundredfold. Force is no longer squandered in worse than useless discordant negations, but intelligently conserved in positive vigor and exuberance. Purposeful thought ministration, spiritual and pure in quality, accurately and scientifically projected, like an arrow towards a target, will be the great harmonizing and uplifting agency that will transform the world. Vibrations of love, peace, spirituality, health, sanity and harmony, will be radiated in ever widening circles, striking responsive unisons that are only waiting for a well-directed concordant impulse.
The dynamics of mind, when generally utilized, will be the sovereign balm that with scientific accuracy will heal all the infelicities of society. It will usher in not only reform but regneration. In its copious fulness it will overflow from the altitude of spiritual development, until the subordinate plains of intellectuality, ethics, threapeutics, sociology, economics and physics are swept purified and uplifted. The highest includes everything below. With the kingdom of heaven - which is subjective harmony - first sought, "all these things" will be added.
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