Thinking for Results, Chapter Four
by Christian D. Larson
The attitude of kindness is one of the greatest among the right states of mind. Therefore to be kind to everybody and to feel kindly towards the whole of creation, this must be the attitude if the right use of mind and thought is to prevail. Kindness enlarges the inner consciousness thus promoting the enlargement and the expression of life. And it also creates the tendency to give one's best and there is nothing that brings forth the greater life and power within us so quickly and so completely as the giving of one's best in all things and at all times.
Both the soul and the mind, with all their powers and possibilities, tend to unfold themselves through the actions of the strong whole souled attitude of kindness. In fact, no one can begin to unfold his larger life and receive the greater richness from within until he begins to give, through the attitude of kindness, all that which he already has in his personality. And the more one gives of the richness of one's own life, ability and power, the more he will receive from the limitless realms of the within. This is a law that no one, not even the most materialistic, can afford to ignore. But giving is not giving unless it comes from the heart, and it must invariably be an act of expression for some great purpose. Your expressions, either of thought or action, will not open the way for inner growth unless you give richly through a fuller and larger expression, and in all such expressions you must feel kindly. The attitude of kindness is therefore indispensable to growth, mental unfoldment and constructive thinking.
The attitude of sympathy always acts in close connection with kindness, and though it is a most important state of mind it is also a much abused state. There are few people who sympathize correctly and there is possibly nothing that interferes with correct thinking as does misdirected sympathy. When we sympathize with anyone we enter into a certain unity of that one's mind and we almost invariably imitate to a degree the mind that we unite with in this way. Two minds with but a single thought will imitate each other in nearly everything and will actually grow to look alike. It is therefore very important to know with what we should sympathize.
When you sympathize with a person in distress you will think the thought of distress at the time, and will reproduce in a measure the same state in your own mind, and possibly in your own life and personality. Many a person has failed in life because he has sympathized too much with the weak side and inferior side of those who have had misfortune. When you sympathize with a person that is sick your mind will create within itself a similar condition of disease, and this expression will express itself in your own body, a fact to which thousands can testify. We realize again therefore that it will not do to sympathize with anything and everything that may arouse our sympathy.
Why does it hurt to see a friend punished? Why do we usually feel bad when those of whom we think a great deal feel bad? Why is there a tendency of most minds to think and feel like the prevailing thought in their community? Why does a mob lose its head, so to speak, and proceed to think, feel and act precisely like the leader? Why do scores of incidents of a similar nature take place in our midst constantly? Sympathetic imitation explains such phenomena.
The law that underlies this phenomena is a law that we must understand thoroughly if we wish to master our own thinking and our actions wherever those actions may be expressed. When you sympathize with weakness you are liable to become weak. When you sympathize with disease you are liable to get the same symptoms and frequently the very disease itself. When you sympathize with the wrong you are liable to think that same wrong and possibly act it out in your own life. These are facts with which we are all familiar. It is therefore a subject of extreme importance.
The law that governs sympathy is this, that you enter into mental unity in a measure with everything with which you sympathize, and that whatever you enter into mental unity with you tend to imitate and produce in yourself to a degree. Understanding this law we realize that we cannot afford to sympathize with everything, but on the contrary find it absolutely necessary to make a careful selection of those things with which we may sympathize.
When you sympathize with a person who is in trouble do not think of the trouble or the pain or the weakness, but think of that something within him that is superior to all pain and that can annihilate all the trouble in existence. Then remember the great statement that "he that is within you is greater than he that is in the world." Make it a practice never to sympathize with the inferior side, but only with the superior side. But this will not make you cold and indifferent as many suppose, for it is impossible for you to become mentally cold while being in touch with the very life of the soul itself which must be the very essence of tenderness, kindness and love. In applying this principle we find that the more perfectly you sympathize with the higher, the finer and the stronger side of man the more love you feel, the more tenderness you express and the more helpful you become in all of your efforts. Nothing is lost, therefore, but much is gained by training the mind to sympathize only with the true side of human life.
The man who is sick and in trouble does not want more tears. He has had enough of them. What he wants and what he needs is that sympathy that can banish all tears and that can reveal the way to emancipation, power and joy. This being true we must try to banish completely every form of morbid sympathy. It hurts everybody. It perpetuates weakness and keeps the mind in bondage to inferior imitations. In applying this higher form of sympathy do not tell the unfortunate that you are sorry. Tell them how to get rid of their sorrow. Then do something substantial to speed them on the way. This is sympathy that is worthy of the name.
Right thinking cannot be promoted so long as we sympathize in the old fashioned way. We cannot think constructively so long as we permit the mind to imitate the wrong, the weak, the inferior and the destructive. Here, however, we find a problem that we must solve because it is natural for the mind to imitate to a certain degree. We should therefore give the mind something to imitate that has quality and superiority. In brief, we should train the mind to imitate the strong, the worthy, the superior and the ideal, and thus cause all mental actions to produce the strong, the worthy, the superior and the ideal in ourselves. For the mind invariably tends to create that which we think of the most.
The true attitude of sympathy will be promoted to a very great extent if we train ourselves to live in the upper story or rather the idealistic state of mind. There are two planes upon which the mind can dwell and they are usually called the idealistic and the materialistic. The ideal plane is the upper plane while the materialistic is the lower. In the idealistic all the tendencies of the mind move towards the qualities of superiority and worth; all the desires are for the higher and the better; all thoughts are created after the likeness of our higher conceptions of the perfect, the true and the superior. To live in such an attitude is to be an idealist and this is the meaning of idealism. An idealistic mind therefore is a mind that is constantly ascending, and thus taking a larger view and a more beautiful view every day of the richness and splendor of real existence.
In the materialistic attitude all the tendencies of mind move toward the superficial, the inferior and the imperfect. In this attitude we usually think according to those false conceptions of things that have been handed down by the race, and all our desires are concerned principally with satisfying the needs of the body. The materialistic mind is the descending mind, the mind that is losing ground gradually, and that is daily being overcome more and more by its own perverted and materialistic thought habits. But to live in the upper story is to keep the mind concentrated upon the great possibilities that are latent within us and to desire with the whole heart the daily realization of more and more of the wondersthat are in store for those who are steadily pressing on towards greater things. In the upper story we live with greatness. In the lower story we live with mistakes and inferiority. In the upper story we see that man is daily unfolding the greatness of the super-man. In the lower story we see only the depravity or weakness of error and sin. In the lower story we are in partial or complete darkness. In the upper story we are in the full light. It is therefore easily understood why the mind must dwell in the upper story before right thinking can begin.
After beginning to live in the upper story the consciousness of superiority and supremacy will naturally appear, and these two states should be thoroughly developed. We should all train ourselves to feel that we are superior beings; not superior to others because we are all superior, but superior to everything that pertains to personal existence; superior to ills, pains, weaknesses, mistakes and failures; and superior to everything that is imperfect or undeveloped. Here we should remember that the consciousness of superiority does not produce vanity or egotism. When a person has really become conscious of the superiority of his true being he is above all small and questionable states of mind.
When you are superior you do not have to make any display of the matter to prove it. It will show in your life and in your work, and actions speak more eloquently than words. The principal reason why the attitude of superiority is so important is because it unites the mind with everything in your life and your thought that has quality, and thereby gives everything in your mind and personality the stamp of greater worth. And it is a well known fact that whenever we enrich our thought, or any expression of thought, we tend to enrich everything in our life and those things that we produce through our work.
The attitude of supremacy should refer to your own being only. To rule supremely in your own domain and not interfere with the domain of any one else —this is the true purpose of self-supremacy. And the value of self-supremacy is realized not only in its power to give the individual self-mastery, but also in the fact that when the mind feels that it is superior it can more easily think its own thoughts and thereby prevent the practice of imitating false actions or ideas. It must therefore be quite evident that this state is absolutely necessary to scientific thinking and to the art of thinking for results.
The mind that recognizes its own supremacy is a strong mind and will therefore seek to extend its power wherever the enlargement of life can be promoted, but to accomplish this the mind must be positive; that is, every action of the mind should be filled, so to speak, with a thought current that tends to press on and on to the goal in view. The positive mind, however, does not force its way, but wins because it is strong, and every mind becomes strong when constantly filled with thoughts that are positive and determined. To the attitude of positiveness we should add those of push and perseverance because these two attitudes tend to promote the increase of the results that are already being gained; and there is nothing that succeeds like that which is constantly pressing on to greater success.
When we proceed to think for results we are invariably filled with the spirit of advancement. Therefore to increase the power of this spirit the mind should cultivate the persevering attitude and should feel a strong desire to push forward into the ever enlarging realms of perpetual growth. But in this connection we must not forget courage and patience, nor the progressive attitude. It has been well said that we all could accomplish far more if we would only attempt more, but in the majority courage generally fails when in the presence of great undertakings. This, however, we cannot afford to permit. To the attitude of courage we should add the mental states of self-reliance and self-confidence and still greater gain will be realized. In fact, these two states are of such value that their importance cannot be described in words. They are not sufficiently developed in the average person, however, because he depends too much upon environments, opportunities and associates, and not enough upon himself. The great soul depends upon nothing exterior to himself. Such a soul makes opportunities to order and changes environments to comply with requirements. Such a soul turns adversity into a willing servant and makes every obstacle a new path to greater achievement. But no soul can become a great soul until faith in its own power has become unbounded.
The strong, positive mind may at times go beyond its own domain and may some times act in realms where it has no legal right, but this can be prevented through the attitude of non-resistance, another most important attitude in the art of constructive thinking. The attitude of resistance is always destructive and therefore interferes with the real purpose of right thinking. But it is not necessary to resist anything. That which is inferior will disappear when we produce the superior and not until then. It is therefore a waste of time and energy to try to remove wrong through resistance. The proper course to pursue is to build up the right, and the wrong will disappear of itself. In this connection, however, it may seem to be difficult to continue in a non-resisting attitude when we are constantly in the presence of adverse conditions. But here we should remember that the mind that is constantly creating the larger and the better will hardly be aware of the imperfect in his life because the imperfect is constantly passing away with the ceaseless coming and upbuilding of the more perfect. Our purpose should be never to resist evil, though we should not on the other hand fold our arms and let things be as they are. While we are turning away from lesser things we should concentrate our whole attention upon the building up of the greater. This is a method that will give perfect freedom and continuous advancement to us all.
To the practice of non-resistance we should add forgiveness. Forgive everybody, even yourself. To condemn anything or anybody is a misuse of the mind. So long as we condemn the wrong the mind is forcefully directed towards the wrong. The mental picture of wrong becomes more deeply stamped upon the subconscious, and more thoughts and mental states will be created in the likeness of those impressions or pictures. These impressions will reproduce themselves in us and this is how we tend to create in ourselves what we condemn in others. The reverse of this principle is also true; that is, that we tend to create and build up in ourselves the good that we commend and appreciate in others.
To promote the cultivation of forgiveness we should become conscious of real purity, and the reason for this is readily understood when we remember the statement about the eye that is too pure to behold iniquity. Why the pure eye does not see evil is a subject too large to be discussed here. But we shall find that the more perfectly we develop the consciousness of purity the smaller and more insignificant evil becomes to us, and the easier it becomes to forgive everybody for everything. In the attitude of mental purity we look upon the mistakes of the world in the same way as we look upon the false notes that the child makes while learning to play. We want those false notes corrected, but we do not call them bad. We know that the child will learn to play perfectly later on, not by being punished or scolded, but by being taught thoroughly and persistently. It is the same with the mistakes of the human race, and those mistakes should be dealt with in the same manner.
One of the very important states of the mind is that of justice, or the consciousness of justice, and it is most necessary that we cultivate the habit of being just even in minute details. The just mind can readily direct its processes of thought and creation into those channels of action that are in harmony with the laws of life, while the mind that is not just will misdirect many of those processes and thereby produce all kinds of detrimental conditions of mind and body. In a state of justice everybody has his own. Therefore to be just is to so act that you never deprive anyone of his own nor fail to render to anyone that which is his own. To know what really belongs to you and what really belongs to others, however, may at first sight seem to be a difficult problem, but we cannot solve it by looking at external possessions.
We become just by developing the consciousness of justice and not by measuring this to one and that to the other. To execute justice in the world, or in connection with any of our own actions, we must realize justice in our own soul because effects do not precede causes. If all moral teachers in the world would cease their criticisms of powers and systems and give their entire attention to the development of the consciousness of justice in the mind of the race, we should soon have an order of things which would be absolutely just to all. In our own thinking, however, the attainment of this consciousness of justice is so absolutely necessary that it should be given a most prominent place in all our efforts, because it is only through the consciousness of justice that all misdirection of thought and energy can be prevented.
There are three additional States of mind required to make this study complete, and these are refinement, receptivity and faith. But we need not take the time to give them special attention as we all understand their nature and importance. Faith and receptivity have special functions to perform in all kinds of mental actions and development, and the advancing process of the mind must of necessity be a refining process; otherwise growth would be an impossibility. The purpose of scientific thinking therefore cannot be promoted unless the entire system is permeated with the consciousness of refinement. And to attain this consciousness we should picture before us the most refined state of the ideal that we can possibly conceive, and keep this picture before us constantly with the deep desire to make it real.
The above is a brief analysis of the most important of the right mental states —those states that are needed to place the mind in that state of action that is absolutely necessary if we wish to think for results. We are now ready therefore to proceed with the real process of thinking.