Suggestion is Power – Magic of Believing
How many times have you heard it said, “Just believe you can do it and you can”? Whatever the task, if begun with the belief that you can do it, it will be done perfectly. Often belief empowers a person to do what others consider impossible. The act of believing is the starting force, the generating power that leads to accomplishment.
“Come on, fellows, we can beat them,” shouts someone in command, whether in a football game, on the battlefield, or in the strife of the business world. That sudden voicing of belief, challenging and electrifying, reverses the tide and – Success! From defeat to victory – and all because some mighty believer knew that it could be done.
You may be shipwrecked and tossed into the water near a rocky shore. Momentarily, you may fear that there isn’t a chance for you. Suddenly a feeling comes that you will be saved – or that you can save yourself. The moment you have that feeling, it begins to take the form of belief. And along with the belief comes the power to assist you.
You may be in a fire, surrounded by flames and enveloped in smoke, and frantic with fear. This same power asserts itself – and you may be saved. Emerson explains it by saying that in a difficult situation or a sudden emergency, our spontaneous action is always the best. Many stories have been told of the great reserves of the subconscious mind, how under its direction (and by imparting its superhuman strength), frail men have been able to perform feats far beyond their normal powers. Speakers, stand-up comedians, and writers are often amazed at the subconscious mind’s power to furnish them with a steady flow of thoughts that their audiences enjoy.
After studying the various mystical religions and different teachings and systems of mind-stuff, I’m impressed that they all have the same basic modus operandi. That is, they achieve success through repetition – the repeating of certain mantras, words, or formulas. William Seabrook declared that witch doctors, Voodoo high priests, “hexers,” and many other followers of strange cults use just plain mumbo-jumbo to invoke the spirits or work black magic. One finds the same principle at work in the chants, incantations, litanies, daily lessons (to be repeated at frequently as possible during the week), and the frequent praying of the Buddhists and Moslems alike. Or consider the affirmations of the Theosophists and the followers of Unity, the Absolute, Truth, New Thought, Divine Science. In fact, it is basic in all religions, although here it is white magic instead of black.
When you seek further, you find the same principle at work in the beating of tom-toms or kettledrums by primitive peoples in all parts of the globe. The sound vibrations arouse similar vibrations in the psychic nature of these so-called “primitives,” so that they become stimulated, excited, and emotionalized to the point where they can defy death. The war dances of the American Indians, with their repeated rhythmic physical movements; the tribal ceremonies to bring rain; the dancing of the whirling dervishes – even the playing of martial music at critical times, and the soothing background music played for the workers in industrial plants – all embody the same principle.
In his book, Penthouse of the Gods, published in 1939, Theos Bernard recounts some interesting facts as to the repetition of certain mystical chants and prayers. When he wrote it, he claimed to be the first white person to enter the mysterious Tibetan city of Lhasa, high in the Himalayas, where the monasteries contained thousands of lamas – followers of Buddha. On reading the book, you get the impression that when the lamas, and monks are not eating or attending to the material wants of their bodies, they are constantly and continuously engaged in their mystical chants, using their prayer wheels. Bernard declared that in one temple, the monks started at daybreak and spent the entire day repeating prayers. The exact number of their repetitions was 108,000. He told also of how lamas accompanying him repeated certain fixed chants in order to give him additional strength.
In all religions, cults, and orders, there is an obvious, prescribed ritual in which the repetition of words (mystical or otherwise) plays an important part. And this brings us to the law of suggestion.
Forces operating within its limits are capable of producing phenomenal results. That is, the power of suggestion – either auto-suggestion (your own to yourself) or hetero-suggestion (coming to you from outside sources) – starts the machinery into operation, causing the subconscious mind to begin its creative work – and right here is where the affirmations and repetitions play their part.
Repetition of the same chant, the same incantations, the same affirmations leads to belief, and once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen. A builder or contractor looks over a set of plans and specifications for a bridge or a building, and, urged by a desire to get the contract for the work, declares to himself, “I can do that. Yes, I can do that.” He may repeat it silently to himself a thousand times without being conscious of doing it. Nevertheless, the suggestion finds a place in which to take root, he gets the contract, and the structure is eventually built. Conversely, he may say that he can’t do it – and he never does.
Hitler used the identical force and the same mechanics in inciting the German people to attack the world. A reading of his Mein Kampf will verify that. Dr. René Fauvel, a famous French psychologist, explained it by saying that Hitler had a remarkable understanding of the law of suggestion and its different forms of application, and that he mobilized every instrument of propaganda in his mighty campaign of suggestion with uncanny skill and masterly showmanship.
Hitler openly stated that the psychology of suggestion was a terrible weapon in the hands of anyone who knew how to use it.
Let’s see how he worked it to make the Germans believe what he wanted them to. Slogans, posters, huge signs, massed flags appeared throughout Germany. Hitler’s picture was everywhere. “One Reich, one People, one Leader” became the chant. It was heard everywhere that a group gathered.
“Today we own Germany, tomorrow the entire world,” the marching song of the German youths, came from thousands of throats daily. Such slogans as “Germany has waited long enough,” “Stand up, you are the aristocrats of the Third Reich,” “Germany is behind Hitler to a man,” and hundreds of others, bombarded them twenty-four hours a day from billboards, sides of buildings, the radio, and the press. Every time they moved, turned around, or spoke to one another, they got the idea that they were a superior race, and once that belief took hold, they started their campaign of terror.
Under the hypnotic influence of this belief, strengthened by repeated suggestion, they started out to prove it. Unfortunately for them, other nations also had strong national beliefs that eventually became the means of bringing defeat to the Germans.
Mussolini, too, used the same law of suggestion in an attempt to give Italy a place in the sun. Signs and slogans such as “Believe, Obey, Fight,” “Italy must have its great place in the world,” “We have some old scores and new scores to settle,” covered the walls of thousands of buildings, and similar ideas were dinned into the people via the radio and every other means of direct communication.
Joseph Stalin, too, used the same science to build Russia into what she is today. In November, 1946, the Institute of Modern Hypnotism, recognizing that Stalin had been using the great power of the repeated suggestion in order to make the Russian people believe in their strength, named him as one of the ten persons with the “most hypnotic eyes in the world,” and rated him as a “mass hypnotist.”
The Japanese warlords used it to make fanatical fighters out of their people. From the very day of their birth, Japanese children were fed the suggestion that they were direct descendants of Heaven and destined to rule the world. They prayed it, chanted it, and believed it; but here again, it was used wrongly.
For forty-four years, ever since the Russo-Japanese war, the Japanese immortalized Naval Warrant Officer Magoshichi Sugino, one of Japan’s early suicide fighters and greatest heroes. Thousands of statues were erected to his memory. In repeated song and story, young Nipponese were taught to believe that they could die in no more heroic manner than by following his example. Millions of them believed it, and during the war thousands of them did die as Kamekazi pilots. Yet Sugino, who was supposed to have gone to his death while scuttling a ship to bottle up the Russian fleet at Port Arthur, didn’t die in battle! He was picked up by a Chinese boat. Upon learning that he was being lauded by his people as a great martyr, he decided to remain obscure and became an exile in Manchuria. Although he was alive and well, it continued to be dinned into the ears of young Nipponese that there was no greater heroic act than to die as Sugino had. This terrible, persistent and deeply founded belief, though based entirely on a fable, caused thousands of Japanese to throw away their lives during the war. Finally, Associated Press dispatches from Tokyo in November, 1946, told how he was discovered after many years and was being returned home.
Americans, too, were subjected to the power of suggestion long before World War I, and got it again in a big way under the direction of General Hugh Johnson with his N.R.A. plan. In World War II, we were constantly told that Germany and Japan had to be defeated unconditionally. Under the constant repetition of the same thought, all individual thinking was paralyzed and the mass mind became grooved to a certain pattern – win the war unconditionally. As one writer so ably said, “In war, the voice of dissension becomes the voice of treason.”
Again we see the terrific force of thought repetition – it is our master, and we do as we are ordered.
This subtle force of the repeated suggestion overcomes our reason, acting directly on our emotions and our feelings, finally penetrating to the very depths of our subconscious minds. This is the basic principle of all successful advertising – the continued and repeated suggestion that first makes you believe, after which you are eager to buy.
For centuries tomatoes were looked upon as poisonous. People dared not eat them until some fearless person tried them and lived. Today millions of people eat tomatoes, not knowing that they were considered unfit for human consumption. Conversely, the lowly spinach nearly went into the garbage pail after the United States Government declared that it did not contain the food values attributed to it for decades. Millions believed this and refused to honor Popeye’s favorite dish any longer.
Clearly, the founders of all great religious movements knew much about the power of the repeated suggestion and gained far-reaching results with it. Religious teachings have been hammered into us from birth, into our mothers and fathers before us and into their parents and their parents before them. There’s certainly white magic in that kind of believing.
Such statements as “What we don’t know won’t hurt us” and ‘Ignorance is bliss” take on greater significance when you realize that only the things you become conscious of can harm or bother you. We have all heard the story of the man who didn’t know it couldn’t be done and went ahead and did it. Psychologists tell us that as babies we have only two fears: the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. All of our other fears are passed on to us or develop as a result of our experiences; they come from what we are taught or what we hear and see. I like to think of men as staunch oak trees that can stand firm amid the many crosscurrents of thought that whirl around them. But far too many people are like saplings that, swayed by every little breeze, ultimately grow in the direction of some strong wind of thought that blows against them.
The Bible is filled with examples of the power of thought and suggestion. Read Genesis, Chapter 30, verses 36 to 43, and you’ll learn that even Jacob knew their power. The Bible tells how he developed spotted and speckled cattle, sheep, and goats by placing rods from trees, partially stripping them of their bark so they would appear spotted and marked, in the watering troughs where the animals came to drink. As you may have guessed, the flocks conceived before the spotted rods and brought forth cattle, “ring-straked, speckled, and spotted.” (And incidentally, Jacob waxed exceedingly rich.) Moses, too, was a master at suggestion. For forty years he used it on the Israelites, and it took them to the promised land of milk and honey. David, following the suggestive forces operating on him, slew the mighty, heavily armed Goliath with a pebble from a slingshot.
Joan of Arc, the frail little Maid of Orléans, heard voices and under their suggestive influences became imbued with the idea that she had a mission to save France. She was able to transmit her indomitable spirit to the hearts of her soldiers and she defeated the superior forces of the English at Orléans.
William James, father of modern psychology in America, declared that often our faith in advance of a doubtful undertaking is the only thing that can assure its successful conclusion. Man’s faith, according to James, acts on the powers above him as a claim and creates its own verification. In other words, the thought becomes literally father to the fact. For further illumination of faith and its power, I suggest that you read the General Epistle of James in the New Testament.
Actually everyone who has ever witnessed a football or baseball game has seen this power of suggestion at work. Knute Rockne, the famous coach at Notre Dame, knew the value of suggestion and used it repeatedly, but always suited his method of applying it to the temperament of the individual team. On one Saturday afternoon, Notre Dame was playing in a particularly grueling game, and at the end of the first half was trailing badly. The players were in their dressing room nervously awaiting Rockne’s arrival. Finally the door opened, and Rockne came in slowly. His eyes swept inquiringly over the squad – “Oh, excuse me, I made a mistake. I thought these were the quarters of the Notre Dame team.” The door closed, and Rockne was gone.
Puzzled and then stung with fury, the team went out for the second half – and won the game.
Other writers, too, have explained the psychological methods Rockne used and have told how Fielding Yost of Michigan, Dan McGuin of Vanderbilt, Herbert Crisler of Princeton, and dozens of others used the “magic” of suggestion to arouse their teams to great emotional heights. Before the Rose Bowl game of 1934, the “wise” tipsters rated the Columbia team as underdogs. They hadn’t counted on Coach Lou Little and his stirring talks to his players day after day. When the whistle blew for the end of the game, the Columbia men were the top dogs over the “superior” Stanford team.
In 1935, Gonzaga University beat powerful Washington State 13 to 6 in one of the biggest upset games ever seen in the West. Gonzaga was a non-conference team, while the Washington State team, because of its great record, was thought to be unbeatable. Newspapers at the time reported assistant coach Sam Dagley as having declared that Gonzaga played inspired football. He revealed that for half an hour before the game, Coach Mike Pecarovich played “over and over” a phonograph record of one of Rockne’s most rousing pep talks.
Years ago, Mickey Cochrane of the Detroit Tigers literally drove a second-division-minded group of baseball players to the top of the American League by using the power of the repeated suggestion. I quote from a newspaper dispatch: “Day after day, through the hot, hard grind, [Cochrane] preached the gospel of victory, impressing on the Tigers the ‘continued thought’ that the team which wins must go forward.”
You see the same force actively at work in the fluctuations of the stock market. Unfavorable news immediately depresses prices, while favorable news raises them. The intrinsic values of stocks are not changed, but there is an immediate change in the thinking of the market operators, which is reflected at once in the minds of the holders. Not what will actually happen, but what security holders believe will happen causes them to buy or sell.
In the Depression years – and there may be years like them in the future – we saw this same suggestive force working overtime. Day after day we heard expressions such as, “Times are hard,” “Business is poor,” “The banks are failing,” “Prosperity hasn’t a chance,” and wild stories about business failures on every hand, until they became the national chant. Millions believed that prosperous days would never return. Hundreds, yes thousands, of strong-willed men go down under the constant hammering, the continuous tap-tapping of the same fearful thoughts. Money, always sensitive, runs to cover when fear suggestions begin to circulate, and business failures and unemployment quickly follow. We hear thousands of stories of bank failures, huge concerns going to the wall, etc., and people readily believe them and act accordingly.
There will never be another business depression if people generally realize that their own fearful thoughts literally create hard times. They think hard times, and hard times follow. So it is with wars. When peoples of the world stop thinking of depressions and wars, they will become non-existent, for nothing comes into our economic sphere unless we first create it with our emotional thinking.
Dr. Walter Dill Scott, eminent psychologist and long president of Northwestern University, told the whole story when he said, “Success or failure in business is caused more by mental attitudes even than by mental capacities.”
You may have read of the night of October 20, 1938, when Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater players broadcast a dramatization of H. G. Wells’ novel, The War of the Worlds. It was a story of an invasion by some strange warriors from the planet Mars, but it caused fright among thousands of people. Some rushed out-of-doors, police stations were besieged, eastern telephone exchanges were blocked, New Jersey highways were dogged. In fact, for a few hours following the broadcast, there was genuine panic among millions of listeners who believed our earth was being attacked by invaders from Mars. Yes, indeed, belief does cause some strange and unusual happenings! Human beings are human beings the world over, all subject to the same emotions, the same influences, and the same vibrations. And what is a big business, a village, a city, a nation but merely a collection of individual humans controlling and operating it with their thinking and believing? As individuals think and believe, so they are. As a whole city of them thinks, so it is; and as a nation of them think, so it is. This is an inescapable conclusion. Every person is the creation of themselves, the image of their own thinking and believing. As King Solomon put it, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
Rallies held in schools and colleges just before important athletic contests are based on the same principles – speeches, songs, and yells become the means of creating suggestion and arousing the will to win. Many sales managers employ the same principle in their morning sales meetings when frequently music is used to emotionalize the salesmen and to get the idea over to them that they can beat all their previous sales records. The same principle with varying technique is basic in the Army – in fact, all armies. The commands and formations constantly repeated in close-order drill develop in the men instant obedience, which ultimately becomes instinctive. The commands and formations become so fixed in their minds and bodies that their movements are almost automatic – all of which in turn creates that self-confidence which is absolutely necessary in active conflict.
It is very important to remember that the subconscious will go into action at once under the impetus of the commands or suggestions it receives from the conscious mind (or which come from outside sources and are transmitted to it via the conscious mind). But it gets results quicker if the conscious mind accompanies its message with a mental picture of the desired goal. It may be faint, sketchy, or even unfinished, but even if only an outline, it will be enough for the subconscious to act upon.
And this brings us to the rituals and ceremonies performed amid dramatic settings in churches and secret orders, all designed to appeal to the emotions and to create a mystical picture in the beholders’ minds. These rituals, no matter what the setting, are there to hold your attention and link these symbols’ hidden meanings with the particular ideas to be implanted in your mind. Various lighting arrangements, different paraphernalia, often a special garb for those directing the operations, all to the accompaniment of soft, often religious, music, all help to put you in the proper emotional (and incidentally, receptive) state. The idea is as old as history. Not only the most civilized peoples but also the most primitive tribes have their characteristic ceremonials. Similar methods for impressing the individual are employed at mediumistic stances and crystal-gazing performances; even the gypsy phrenologist considers it a part of her “props.” Without this atmosphere, which tends to make our conscious mind drowsy and even puts it temporarily to sleep, we would not be so easily convinced, for by itself, the desire to satisfy completely our longings for the mystical and miraculous is often not strong enough to permit conviction.
This is not said with any idea of being sacrilegious, but to present a picture of the historic method of appealing to the masses. Appeal by drama is the first step in arousing people’s emotions, no matter for what purpose. Awakening and stirring their emotional interest prepares the way to approach their reasoning minds.
Could Aimee Semple McPherson, she with the long flowing white robe and picturesque auburn hair-do, have put over her great act of saving souls as well as achieving healings, without her superb understanding of the power of the dramatic? It’s something to wonder about, because Billy Sunday in his best table-sliding act was a novice compared to Aimee when it came to showmanship and plain impressiveness. She with her many artifices and stage settings put on a most solemn performance, and her followers – on the Pacific Coast at least – declare that the results she got were real and lasting. This is no reflection on Mrs. McPherson, for her followers were very sincere and believed in her work, her teachings, and the results – and that’s all that matters.
However, men with strong personal magnetism and great orators can get the same emotional effect without props or stage settings to aid them. They are masters of tone effects, emotional appeal, gesticulations, bodily movements, eye magnetism, etc., by which your attention is held and you yourself are thrown wide open to their driving appeal.
Let’s consider charms, talismans, amulets, good-luck pieces, four-leaf clovers, old horseshoes, rabbits’ feet, and countless other trinkets which thousands of people believe in. By themselves, they are harmless inanimate objects with no power. But when people breathe life into them by their thinking, they do have power, even though the power isn’t in them per se. The power comes only with the believing – which alone makes them effective.
An outstanding illustration of this is found in the story of Alexander the Great and Napoleon. In Alexander’s day, an oracle proclaimed that whoever unloosened the Gordian knot would become ruler of all Asia. Alexander cut the knot with one stroke of his sword – and rose to tremendous heights and power. Napoleon was given a star sapphire when a child, with the prophecy that it would bring him luck and some day make him Emperor. Could anything but the supreme belief in the prophecy have carried this great man to become Emperor of France? He and Alexander became supermen because they had supernormal beliefs.
A cracked or broken mirror isn’t going to bring you bad luck unless you believe in it. But as long as the belief is fertilized, nurtured, and made a part of your inner self, believe it or not, it is going to bring you bad luck – because the subconscious mind always brings to reality what it is led to believe.
A number of years ago we had an old Swiss gardener who insisted that we replace a number of small trees and shrubs in our yard. At first I couldn’t see the reason for digging up the old ones and replanting others, but the old man’s insistence prevailed. I observed that while planting them, just after he got the small trees in the soil and covered the roots, he engaged in some sort of audible Mumbo Jumbo.
He did the same with the shrubs. One day, my curiosity piqued, I asked him what he was mumbling about as he placed the trees and shrubs in the ground. He looked at me searchingly for a moment, then said, “You may not understand, but I’m talking to them, telling them they must live and bloom. It’s something I learned as a boy from my teacher in the old country. Anything that grows should have encouragement, and I’m giving it to them.” Certain humans appear to have a kind of affinity for plants, which the plants seem to feel. Thousands of professional gardeners will plant seeds only at certain times of the moon. Superstition, you say?
Perhaps it is practical mysticism. The Yale investigators concluded that electrical fields play a major part in plant life, and certainly that is a scientific observation.
It is a long way from Switzerland to British Columbia, but in that Canadian province is a tribe of Indians, the members of which always talk to their lines and hooks before actually starting to fish, claiming that if they didn’t, the halibut and salmon wouldn’t bite. Many are the tales of South Sea Islanders who offer food to their tools and implements, talking to them as though they were alive and beseeching them to get results. It isn’t a great jump from those customs to the blessings offered at ship launchings or at sailing times of large fishing fleets in civilized countries, where prayers are offered even today, for successful voyages or ventures.
I recall a thrifty neighbor of mine who, although a man of intelligence and mature years, had his hair cut at only certain times of the moon. I don’t remember whether it was when the moon was waxing or waning, but he maintained that whatever phase he selected caused his hair to grow less abundantly than if he had visited the barber at other times. I asked him once where he got such an idea. He glared at me as though I were belittling his intelligence, and I never did get an answer to my question.
What I have said about plant and animal life may cause a lot of materialistic people to take violent issue, but it must be remembered that at work in the world are many forces of which we know little or nothing. Consider how many new principles were developed in World War II. In the late 1940s, the American Rocket Society made application to the United States Government for land on the moon. Perhaps the application was made in a spirit of facetiousness, but Americans landed on the moon only 20 years later.
Without question, human imagination, visualization, and concentration are the chief factors in developing the subconscious mind’s magnetic forces. You have often heard the statement, “Hold that pose!” That, of course, means holding the mental picture or vision. Here again, suggestion – repeated suggestion – plays its part.
For example, you would like a new home. Your imagination goes to work. At first, you have only a hazy idea of the kind of house you would like. Then, as you discuss it with other members of your family – or ask questions of builders or look at illustrations of new houses – the mental picture becomes clearer and clearer, until you can visualize your ideal house in all its particulars.
After that, the subconscious goes to work to provide you with that house. It may come into manifestation in any number of ways. But do you really care whether you build it with your own hands, or whether it comes to you through purchase, or from the actions of outsiders? How it comes to you is of no great consequence! When you are after a better job or planning a vacation trip, the process is the same. You’ve got to see it in your mind’s eye, see yourself as holding that job or actually taking the trip. Some of our fears become realities through our imaginations, just as Job’s did. Fortunately, many of them do not – as long as we hold the mental picture only temporarily, or at least not long enough to focus it fully upon the screen of our subconscious. The Biblical warning, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” is a fundamental truth, whether considered individually or collectively. For without the mental picture of accomplishment, little is done. You want a better job? You’ll get it when you give your subconscious mind a mental picture of yourself holding that job.
As I write this, I think of the many experiences confided to me by those who have used this science during the years. I want to give you some of their stories, for in them you may perhaps find clues to an even more effective use of the principles and the mechanics which I am setting forth.
A friend got the idea of building a boat. He knew nothing about boat construction, but believed that with some simple instructions, he could build one. So he went ahead. In the course of the work, he found that he needed an electric drill, but he didn’t want to spend $75 or $80 for the kind he wanted, especially when he would be using it for only a few months. First, he tried renting a drill, but inasmuch as he could use it only at night and had to return it early the next morning, he found such an arrangement very inconvenient.
He told me, “I got to thinking one night that somewhere there was a drill for me and I would have it placed in my hands. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it possible. However, nothing happened for several days; then one evening a friend who owned a sizable garage – a man I hadn’t seen for a couple of years – came to see me. He, too, was interested in boats, and hearing that I was building one, said he’d like to look it over. He saw me floundering around with the heavy half-inch drill I was using and asked me where I got it. I told him I had rented it and he laughed, saying, ‘Come over to the shop tomorrow and I’ll lend you a smaller one which you can handle much easier.’ Needless to say, I got it and kept it during all the period I was constructing the boat.
“A somewhat similar experience happened when I was cutting the ribs. I found that a small jig saw wouldn’t cut through three-quarter-inch lumber. Then I caught myself wishing for a band saw – that thought led me to a woodworking shop a few blocks away from my house. I could use the band saw if I paid the owner fifty cents an hour for its use. However, I found that I was running to and from my home, first to fit the ribs and then to shape them, and losing much time in the process.
I frequently said to myself during those days that there must be some easier way to get the use of a band saw, and there was.
“The following Sunday another friend came to see how the boat was getting along. When I told him that I had been slowed down without the use of a band saw, he too laughed, saying, ‘I bought one Thursday and won’t be using it for some time. Got to get my shop fixed up, and in the meantime, you’re welcome to use it.’ As a matter of fact, he delivered it to me that same day and I kept it a number of months. I finished the boat!”
Another man told me how he got the use of a thirty-foot extension ladder with which to paint his house. “I thought I would undertake the painting in my spare time,” he told me, “and began looking around to find where I could get the use of a ladder. I found places where I could rent one, but their fixed time requirements didn’t fit into my plans. I don’t know how many times I said to myself, You’re going to find a ladder. And I did. It was Memorial Day, and while in my back yard, I happened to notice that a neighbor across the street was using a long ladder to wash off the walls of his house. I called to him, asking where he got the ladder. He told me he had bought it when he purchased the house. That afternoon it was in my back yard, and I had the loan of it for several weeks!”
Another man told me that shortly after Pearl Harbor, he had been looking for a garbage can of a certain size, but because of wartime priorities, he was unable to locate what he wanted. He visited second-hand stores, junk shops, bakeries, and garages to find the kind of container he wanted, but without success. He was about to give up hope when one morning he noticed workmen making repairs on a concrete building across from his home. They were using some waterproofing material from exactly the kind of can he had pictured for his own use. He asked the man in charge of the work what would be done with the container when the work was finished, and was told it would be left on the ground to be hauled away. He then explained his wants, and a couple of days later the container was in his garage – the workmen had not only emptied it but had washed and scrubbed it before delivery! I had taken my car to a shop owner for repairs to the ignition system, after several mechanics had failed to locate the trouble. I told him how the car had been acting, and after listening he said, “I believe I can fix it.”
I casually remarked, “Belief is a great thing, isn’t it?”
“You bet it is. Thought is the greatest force in the world, and the dumb ducks laugh when you talk about it,” he answered rather caustically.
“I don’t, I’m interested,” I replied. ‘Tell me of some instances where you have demonstrated the power of thought.”
“I could keep you here all day telling you of its power – at least in my own life.”
‘Tell me a few. When did you first become aware of it?”
“Oh, I guess about twelve years ago, when I fell and broke my back. I was in a cast for a long time, and the doctors told me that even if I recovered, I would be crippled the rest of my life. As I lay on my back in the hospital worrying about my future, I frequently thought of the words used by my mother to the effect that ‘One just has to believe.’ One day it dawned on me that if I could hold on to the mental picture I was going to be all right, and if I believed in it sufficiently, I could get well. To make a long story short, here I am crawling over and underneath cars, and far from being a cripple, as you can see for yourself.”
“Very interesting,” I urged. ‘Tell me more.”
“Well, I’ve used it frequently to get more business. As a matter of fact, this present location is a result of it. As you know, I was burned out at my old place a few weeks ago and space like this in the city is well-nigh impossible to find. For two or three days, I worried about not being able to find another location and deliberated whether I should attempt to go to work for someone else. Then one night I made up my mind I would continue in business for myself. That was the turning point. Just before I went to sleep I said to myself, ‘Oh, you’ll find a place within the next few days. This thought power hasn’t failed you yet.’ I went to sleep with full confidence that the place would be forthcoming. The very next day I went over to see the painter where I had taken the car I saved from the fire and mentioned I was looking for another place. ‘That’s funny,’ he commented, ‘You can rent this space. I’ve just bought the building in the next block from an owner who wanted to retire.’ And so now here I am, on a main thoroughfare and with more business than I can possibly handle!”
I know that some readers will say that these are merely coincidences, but my files are filled with similar “coincidences.” To some of you they may be just that, but those acquainted with this science know that these things come about as the result of intensified thought or mental picture-making. However, we come again to a matter of opinion – the difference in conclusions between those who think this is all nonsense and those who know that the things we think materialize after their kind. Again we are reminded of what Paracelsus said: “Men devoid of the power of spiritual perception are unable to recognize anything that cannot be seen externally.”
It is pretty well agreed that the subconscious mind works as a result of images thrown upon its screen, but if there is something wrong with your projection apparatus or the original slide, then the projected image is blurred, inverted, or a total blank. Doubts, fears, counter-thoughts, all manage to blur the pictures you consciously desire to project.
Those who have well-developed imaginations, such as great artists, writers, and inventors, possess the ability to visualize or to make mental pictures almost at will. However, with the mechanics which I will enlarge upon later and the explanations already given, anyone following them should have no difficulty in being able to see in their mind’s eye the things, objects, or situations that they desire in reality.
One of the greatest fishermen I ever knew used this visualizing method. He could sit in a boat with one or two others and pull trout after trout out of the water, while his companions – using the same kind of bait and with apparently the same mechanical technique – dropped their hooks in the same places repeatedly, without results.
I asked him about it one time, and he laughingly replied: “I put the old ‘squeeza-ma-jintum’ [his word for magic] on them. I figuratively or mentally get down there where they are, and tell them to hook the bait or fly. In other words, I see them snapping at the hook and believe that it will work. That’s all I can give you in the way of explanation.”
This story was told to another fisherman not blessed with the first fisherman’s luck, and he scoffed at it. “Ridiculous,” he declared. “Any good fisherman must know the stream, the holes, the habits of fish, the type of bait or flies to use, and he’ll catch them if they are there.” However, he couldn’t explain how others skilled in fishing technique could fish in an identical spot and still not catch them like the man who used the old “squeeza-ma-jintum.”
Ben Hur Lampman was associate editor of The Oregonian, author of many articles and books on fishing and kindred subjects and a recognized naturalist. Upon reading this story, he said:
The man who says that it is ridiculous to consider there’s some sort of magic or attraction at work makes himself ridiculous by displaying his ignorance. I can’t explain how your friend is always so fortunate in making his catches beyond saying that there is decidedly something psychic about successful fishing. Anyone who has studied the habits of fish and tried to catch them, sooner or later realizes that there is more to successful fishing than merely throwing a lure or bait into a place where the fish are supposed to be. Just what the relationship is between mind and fish – if any – I cannot explain. But having been a student of fish, their ways and habits practically all my life, I do know that in successful fishing there is an unexplainable element or factor at work – call it what you please.
Undoubtedly in the realm of psychic phenomena lies the explanation of the so-called fisherman’s “luck” or the “squeeza-ma-jintum” of your successful fisherman friend.” I am not a fisherman, but surely if this law of attraction works in other ways, there is no reason why it could not be used advantageously in fishing.
For many years I was interested in the game of golf and was a member of several clubs. I frequently played with a man who had been one of the world’s tennis champions in his younger days. He was one of the most amazing short-shot players on the Pacific Coast. With his mashie or mashie niblick, he could place the ball on any desired spot on the green with a dead stop, as close to or as far from the pin as he desired, and he was usually down in one putt. His putting, too, was an art to marvel at.
One day he amazed everyone in our foursome with what could be called phenomenal shots. “How did you do it, George?” I asked. “Well,” he replied, “you’ve played handball and squash, and you know what it means to place your shots on the front wall. You intuitively place it high or low or so it will rebound to a side wall or result in a kill or an extremely low ball. I learned placement years ago in tennis. You have sort of a mental picture where you want the ball to go or land before you hit it with your racquet. I use the same principle with my short shots and putting. In other words, when I face the green and before I swing my club, I have an instant mental picture of where I want the ball to land, and when I putt, I actually see the ball dropping into the hole. Of course, a proper stance and knowledge of handling the clubs are vital. But most golfers have that and still don’t get results. It is true that I spend many hours in practice. So do others; but the main thing is that I just seem to know where the ball is going to land before the club hits it. There’s a confidence or a belief existing that I can do it, and with a mashie or mashie niblick I cause a backspin that will bring the ball to a dead stop when it lands.”
For you who may raise your eyebrows at this, let’s examine the facts given in a newspaper story written in the middle thirties by the famous sports writer, Grantland Rice. Rice declared that the phenomenal amateur golf player, John Montagu, could run rings around anyone. The ball always landed where he wanted to place it, whether 300 yards down the fairway or a chip shot to within two or three feet of the cup, and then when he putted, it was like the crack of doom. Rice said that the ball went where Montagu wanted it to go. Now let’s read Montagu’s own explanation as given in the same newspaper story. “Golf to me is played with the head, mind or brain or whatever you wish to call it. Of course, there are fundamentals of stance, grip, swing; but I must have a clear, clean mental picture of what I am doing before I play the shot. That mental picture takes charge of the muscular reaction. If there is no mental picture – what happens is a mere guess. This means almost endless concentration of thought if you are under pressure, and there is no thrill in any game unless you are under pressure.”
Gene Sarazen, one of the greatest golf professionals of all times, used similar methods in his matches. His little book. Golf Tips, has much to say about mental pictures, objectives, concentration, and confidence. All golfers have heard of “mental hazards.” In reality, they are bunkers, traps, water hazards, etc. But in the imaginations of many, they are formidable handicaps that put fear into the hearts of the players.
On one course where I often played there was a water hole. The distance from the tee to the hole was about one hundred and twenty yards spanning a small pond approximately fifty feet wide – an easy shot with a mashie or a mashie niblick for the average player. For a long time one member of the club, who had been a great baseball and football player in his younger days, could never get over this water hazard. Invariably he would put ball after ball into the water with his irons, to the accompaniment of profanity on his part and laughter on ours. Finally, as the months went by he took to using his spoon and hitting the ball far beyond the green.
One day I said to him, “I know the water fools you, but the next time, just blot out of your mind the picture of water between the tee and the green and see instead, mentally, an easy short fairway before you.” The first time he followed the suggestion, his ball fell a few inches from the pin. And from that time, on, he later told me, as long as he followed the blotting-out technique, he never had any trouble. But when he was unable to concentrate on his own mental picture, due to the joshing from other members of his foursome, he landed in difficulties.
In observing many pool and billiard games, I am convinced that certain skilled players influence the direction and fall of the balls by mind control, although they may be in complete ignorance of the power they are using. If it can work on a golf ball, it certainly can work on a billiard ball.
The naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews told the story of a man from San Antonio, Texas, who with a .22 caliber rifle fired more than 14,500 shots at small blocks of wood tossed into the air without a single miss. Mr. Andrews emphasized his perfect timing and remarkable accuracy. Nothing was said of the mind-pictures; but if you have ever done any prolonged trap or target shooting, you know the part visualizing plays.
One finds the same sort of “magic” at work in all fields of sports. Great baseball batters, expert forward-passers in football, accurate drop-kickers – all consciously or unconsciously picture connecting with the ball and placing it where they want it to go. Certainly, practice and timing all have their primary importance, but the mental side must never be overlooked.
In this connection, I was impressed by several statements made by Dr. Marcus Bach in one of his first books, They Have Found a Faith. Dr. Bach tells of bowling with Father Divine, and of observing – from the way Father Divine selected a ball, and from his stance and delivery – that he was no bowler. Yet Father Divine made a strike on his first try and it was one of the prettiest strikes Dr. Bach ever saw. “Father’s nonchalance was characteristic. He rubbed the soft palms of his hands together as if to say, ‘Well, what do you expect when the Lord rolls one!'”
Dr. Bach also wrote of an interview with Rickert Fillmore, manager of Unity City and son of one of the founders of the Unity movement. Dr. Bach asked if the works of Unity could be applied to a real estate venture. Mr. Fillmore replied, “If it works at all, it works everywhere.”
Many readers of this book may not be golfers or billiard players, but a simple experiment will demonstrate to you this strange power of attraction through visualizing – or making the mental picture actually work. Find a few small stones or pebbles which you can easily throw and locate a tree or post between 6 and 10 inches in diameter. Stand away from it twenty-five or thirty feet and start throwing the pebbles in an attempt to hit it. If you have average aim, most of the stones will go wide of their mark. Now stop and tell yourself that you can hit the objective. Get a mental picture of the tree figuratively stepping forward to meet the stone or of the pebble actually colliding with the tree in the spot where you want it to strike, and you’ll soon find yourself making a perfect score. Don’t say it’s impossible. Try it, and you’ll prove it can be done – if only you will believe it.
In the early days of wartime gasoline rationing, most people didn’t consider getting additional coupons a criminal offense. A friend found he didn’t have enough gas to take him to his duck lake.
One Sunday he told me how he had secured enough coupons to make several trips to the shooting grounds. “I had just about given up the idea of duck shooting this fall when the thought occurred to me that I could put this Mind Stuff to work and get some more gas. Of course, everyone around the office knew that I wanted to go duck shooting and most of them knew of my problem. Whether they passed out word to their friends I do not know, but I got more coupons than you could shake a stick at. I had a constant picture of going hunting and using my automobile and of someone giving me gasoline coupons. It may be hooey, but I got the coupons. Even a farmer friend gave me gas out of his allotment.”
Now let’s take this same science into the kitchen. Did it ever occur to you that the so-called good cooks use this same science, some consciously and others unconsciously? Two people can attempt to make the same kind of pie, use identical ingredients and follow instructions to the letter. One will be a failure while the other will be the last word in culinary achievement.
Why? In the first case, the one cook approaches pie-making with trepidation. She knows she has had pie failures in the past and worries how this one is going to come out. She doesn’t have a perfect mental picture of an appetite-satisfying golden brown crust with a wonderful zestful filling.
She’s upset and nervous, and without her knowing it, her uneasiness is communicated to her pie-making. The second one is aware, she knows that her pie is going to be tops – and it is. That primary mental picture – her belief – makes it so.
If you are a mediocre chef but you like to cook – that’s a very necessary requisite too – sell yourself on the idea that you can prepare superior dishes. You can do it, for you have the forces inside of you, and they will come to your aid if only you will believe in them and call upon them. So put your heart and soul into the next pie you make. Envision it as perfect, and you will be surprised when you see the realization of your mental picture.
The same law will work no matter where it is applied, and that goes for everything from fishing to money-making or success in business. Let’s take an example out of the war. When he left the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur declared “I shall return.” With our Pacific Fleet in ruins at Pearl Harbor and with the Japanese in control of most of the South Pacific, MacArthur had no physical evidence that he would ever return. However, it was a statement of confidence or belief.
He must have had a mental picture of his returning, and history relates how he kept his promise.
Thousands of similar cases happened during the war and are happening today.
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