LESSON XV. CONCENTRATE SO YOU WILL NOT FORGET
Source: The Power of Concentration
Select some thought, and see how long you can hold your mind on
it. It is well to have a clock at first and keep track of the
time. If you decide to think about health, you can get a great
deal of good from your thinking besides developing concentration.
Think of health as being the greatest blessing there is, in the
world. Don't let any other thought drift in. Just the moment one
starts to obtrude, make it get out.
Make it a daily habit of concentrating on this thought for, say,
ten minutes. Practice until you can hold it to the exclusion of
everything else. You will find it of the greatest value to
centralize your thoughts on health. Regardless of your present
condition, see yourself as you would like to be and be blind to
everything else. You will find it hard at first to forget your
ailments, if you have any, but after a short while you can shut
out these negative thoughts and see yourself as you want to be.
Each time you concentrate you form a more perfect image of
health, and, as you come into its realization, you become
healthy, strong and wholesome.
I want to impress upon your mind that the habit of forming mental
images is of the greatest value. It has always been used by
successful men of all ages, but few realize its full importance.
Do you know that you are continually acting according to the
images you form? If you allow yourself to mould negative images
you unconsciously build a negative disposition. You will think of
poverty, weakness, disease, fear, etc. Just as surely as you
think of these will your objective life express itself in a like
way. Just what we think, we will manifest in the external world.
In deep concentration you become linked with the great creative
spirit of the universe, and the creative energy then flows
through you, vitalizing your creations into form. In deep
concentration your mind becomes attuned with the infinite and
registers the cosmic intelligence and receives its messages. You
become so full of the cosmic energy that you are literally
flooded with divine power. This is a most desired state. It is
then we realize the advantages of being connected with the
supra-consciousness. The supra-consciousness registers the higher
cosmic vibrations. It is often referred to as the wireless
station, the message recorded coming from the universal mind.
There are very few that reach this stage of concentration. Very
few even know that it is possible. They think concentration means
limitation to one subject, but this deeper concentration that
brings us into harmony with the Infinite is that which produces
and maintains health.
When you have once come in contact with your supra-consciousness
you become the controller of your human thoughts. That which
comes to you is higher than human thoughts. It is often spoken of
as Cosmic Consciousness. Once it is experienced it is never
forgotten. Naturally it requires a good deal of training to reach
this state, but once you do, it becomes easier each time to do,
and in the course of time you can become possessed of power which
was unknown to you before. You are able to direct the expression
of almost Infinite Power while in this deeper state of
Exercises In Concentration. The rays of the sun, when focused
upon an object by means of a sun glass, produce a heat many times
greater than the scattered rays of the same source of light and
heat. This is true of attention. Scatter it and you get but
ordinary results. But center it upon one thing and you secure
much better results. When you focus your attention upon an object
your every action, voluntary and involuntary, is in the direction
of attaining that object. If you will focus your energies upon a
thing to the exclusion of everything else, you generate the force
that can bring you what you want.
When you focus your thought, you increase its strength. The
exercises that follow are tedious and monotonous, but useful. If
you will persist in them you will find they are very valuable, as
they increase your powers of concentration.
Before proceeding with the exercises I will answer a question
that just comes to me. This person says after he works all day he
is too tired to practice any exercise. But this is not true. We
will say he comes home all tired out, eats his supper and sits
down to rest. If his work has been mental, the thought which has
been occupying his mind returns to him and this prevents him from
securing the rest he needs.
It is an admitted fact that certain thoughts call into operation
a certain set of brain cells; the other cells, of course, are not
busy at that time and are rested. Now if you take up something
that is just different from what you have been doing during the
day, you will use the cells that have not done anything and give
those that have had work to do a rest. So you should regulate the
evenings that you have and call forth an entirely different line
of thought so as not to use the cells which you have tired out
during the day. If you will center your attention on a new
thought, you relieve the old cells from vibrating with excitement
and they get their needed rest. The other cells that have been
idle all day want to work, and you will find you can enjoy your
evenings while securing needed rest.
When once you have learned to master your thoughts, you will be
able to change them just as easily as you change your clothes.
Remember, the real requisite of centering is to be able to shut
out outside thoughts--anything foreign to the subject. Now, in
order to control your intention first gain control over the body.
This must be brought under direct control of the mind; the mind
under the control of the will. Your will is strong enough to do
anything you wish, but you must realize that it is. The mind can
be greatly strengthened by being brought under the direct
influence of the will. When the mind is properly strengthened by
the impulse of the will it becomes a more powerful transmitter of
thought, because it has more force.
The Best Time to Concentrate Is after reading something that is
inspiring, as you are then mentally and spiritually exalted in
the desired realm. Then is the time you are ready for deep
concentration. If you are in your room first see that your
windows are up and the air is good. Lie down flat on your bed
without a pillow. See that every muscle is relaxed. Now breathe
slowly, filling the lungs comfortably full of fresh air; hold
this as long as you can without straining yourself; then exhale
slowly. Exhale in an easy, rhythmic way. Breathe this way for
five minutes, letting the Divine Breath flow through you, which
will cleanse and rejuvenate every cell of brain and body.
You are then ready to proceed. Now think how quiet and relaxed
you are. You can become enthusiastic over your condition. Just
think of yourself as getting ready to receive knowledge that is
far greater than you have ever received before. Now relax and let
the spirit work in and through you and assist you to accomplish
what you wish.
Don't let any doubts or fears enter. Just feel that what you wish
is going to manifest. Just feel it already has, in reality it
has, for just the minute you wish a thing to be done it manifests
in the thought world. Whenever you concentrate just believe it is
a success. Keep up this feeling and allow nothing to interfere
and you will soon find you have become the master of
concentration. You will find that this practice will be of
wonderful value to you, and that rapidly you will be learning to
accomplish anything that you undertake.
It will be necessary to first train the body to obey the commands
of the mind. I want you to gain control of your muscular
movements. The following exercise is especially good in assisting
you to acquire perfect control of the muscles.
Sit in a comfortable chair and see how still you can keep. This
is not as easy as it seems. You will have to center your
attention on sitting still. Watch and see that you are not making
any involuntary muscular movements. By a little practice you will
find you are able to sit still without a movement of the muscles
for fifteen minutes. At first I advise sitting in a relaxed
position for five minutes. After you are able to keep perfectly
still, increase the time to ten minutes and then to fifteen. This
is as long as it is necessary. But never strain yourself to keep
still. You must be relaxed completely. You will find this habit
of relaxing is very good.
Sit in a chair with your head up and your chin out, shoulders
back. Raise your right arm until it is on the level with your
shoulder, pointing to your right. Look around, with head only,
and fix your gaze on your fingers, and keep the arm perfectly
still for one minute. Do the same exercise with left arm. When
you are able to keep the arm perfectly steady, increase the time
until you are able to do this five minutes with each arm. Turn
the palm of the hand downward when it is outstretched, as this is
the easiest position. If you will keep your eyes fixed on the
tips of the fingers you will be able to tell if you are keeping
your arm perfectly still.
Fill a small glass full of water, and grasp it by the fingers;
put the arm directly in front of you. Now fix the eyes upon the
glass and try to keep the arm so steady that no movement will be
noticeable. Do this first for one moment and then increase it to
five. Do the exercise with first one arm and then the other.
Watch yourself during the day and see that your muscles do not
become tense or strained. See how easy and relaxed you can keep
yourself. See how poised you can be at all times. Cultivate a
self-poised manner, instead of a nervous, strained appearance.
This mental feeling will improve your carriage and demeanor. Stop
all useless gestures and movements of the body. These mean that
you have not proper control over your body. After you have
acquired this control, notice how "ill-at-ease" people are that
have not gained this control. I have just been sizing up a
salesman that has just left me. Part of his body kept moving all
the time. I just felt like saying to him, "Do you know how much
better appearance you would make if you would just learn to speak
with your voice instead of trying to express what you say with
your whole body?" Just watch those that interview you and see how
they lack poise.
Get rid of any habit you have of twitching or jerking any part of
your body. You will find you make many involuntary movements. You
can quickly stop any of these by merely centering your attention
on the thought, "I will not."
If you are in the habit of letting noises upset you, just
exercise control; when the door slams, or something falls, etc.,
just think of these as exercises in self-control. You will find
many exercises like this in your daily routine.
The purpose of the above exercises is to gain control over the
involuntary muscular movement, making your actions entirely
voluntary. The following exercises are arranged to bring your
voluntary muscles under the control of the will, so that your
mental forces may control your muscular movements.
Move your chair up to a table, placing your hands upon it,
clenching the fists, keeping the back of the hand on the table,
the thumb doubled over the fingers. Now fix your gaze upon the
fist for a while, then gradually extend the thumb, keeping your
whole attention fixed upon the act, just as if it was a matter of
great importance. Then gradually extend your first finger, then
your second and so on until you open the rest. Then reverse the
process, closing first the last one opened and then the rest, and
finally you will have the fist again in the original position
with the thumb closed over the finger. Do this exercise with the
left hand. Keep up this exercise first with one hand and then the
other until you have done it five times with each hand. In a few
days you can increase it to ten times.
The chances are that the above exercises will at first make you
"tired," but it is important for you to practice these monotonous
exercises so you can train your attention. It also gives you
control over your muscular movement. The attention, of course,
must be kept closely on each movement of the hand; if it is not,
you of course lose the value of the exercise.
Put the right hand on knee, both fingers and thumb closed, except
the first finger, which points out in front of you. Then move the
finger slowly from side to side, keeping the attention fixed upon
the end of the finger. You can make up a variety of exercises
like these. It is good training to plan out different ones. The
main point you should keep in mind is that the exercise should be
simple and that the attention should be firmly fixed upon the
moving part of the body. You will find your attention will not
want to be controlled and will try to drift to something more
interesting. This is just where these exercises are of value, and
you must control your attention and see it is held in the right
place and does not wander away.
You may think these exercises very simple and of no value, but I
promise you in a short time you will notice that you have a much
better control over your muscular movements, carriage and
demeanor, and you will find that you have greatly improved your
power of attention, and can center your thoughts on what you do,
which of course will be very valuable.
No matter what you may be doing, imagine that it is your chief
object in life. Imagine you are not interested in anything else
in the world but what you are doing. Do not let your attention
get away from the work you are at. Your attention will no doubt
be rebellious, but control it and do not let it control you. When
once you conquer the rebellious attention you have achieved a
greater victory than you can realize at the time. Many times
afterwards you will be thankful you have learned to concentrate
your closest attention upon the object at hand.
Let no day go by without practicing concentrating on some
familiar object that is uninteresting. Never choose an
interesting object, as it requires less attention. The less
interesting it is the better exercise will it be. After a little
practice you will find you can center your attention on
uninteresting subjects at will.
The person that can concentrate can gain full control over his
body and mind and be the master of his inclinations; not their
slave. When you can control yourself you can control others. You
can develop a Will that will make you a giant compared with the
man that lacks Will Power. Try out your Will Power in different
ways until you have it under such control that just as soon as
you decide to do a thing you go ahead and do it. Never be
satisfied with the "I did fairly well" spirit, but put forward
your best efforts. Be satisfied with nothing else. When you have
gained this you are the man you were intended to be.
Concentration Increases the Sense of Smell. When you take a walk,
or drive in the country, or pass a flower garden, concentrate on
the odor of flowers and plants. See how many different kinds you
can detect. Then choose one particular kind and try to sense only
this. You will find that this strongly intensifies the sense of
smell. This differentiation requires, however, a peculiarly
attentive attitude. When sense of smell is being developed, you
should not only shut out from the mind every thought but that of
odor, but you should also shut out cognizance of every odor save
that upon which your mind, for the time, is concentrated.
You call find plenty of opportunity for exercises for developing
the sense of smell. When you are out in the air, be on the alert
for the different odors. You will find the air laden with all
kinds, but let your concentration upon the one selected be such
that a scent of its fragrance in after years will vividly recall
the circumstances of this exercise.
The object of these exercises is to develop concentrated
attention, and you will find that you can, through their
practice, control your mind and direct your thoughts just the
same as you can your arm.
Concentration on the Within. Lie down and thoroughly relax your
muscles. Concentrate on the beating of your heart. Do not pay any
attention to anything else. Think how this great organ is pumping
the blood to every part of the body; try to actually picture the
blood leaving the great reservoir and going in one stream right
down to the toes. Picture another going down the arms to the tips
of the fingers. After a little practice you can actually feel the
blood passing through your system.
If, at any time, you feel weak in any part of the body, will that
an extra supply of blood shall go there. For instance, if your
eyes feel tired, picture the blood coming from the heart, passing
up through the head and out to the eyes. You can wonderfully
increase your strength by this exercise. Men have been able to
gain such control over the heart that they have actually stopped
it from beating for five minutes. This, however, is not without
danger, and is not to be practiced by the novice.
I have found the following a very helpful exercise to take just
before going to bed and on rising in the morning: Say to
yourself, "Every cell in my body thrills with life; every part of
my body is strong and healthy." I have known a number of people
to greatly improve their health in this way. You become what you
picture yourself to be. If your mind thinks of sickness in
connection with self you will be sick. If you imagine yourself in
strong, vigorous health, the image will be realized. You will be
Concentrating on Sleep. What is known as the water method is,
although very simple, very effective in inducing sleep.
Put a full glass of clear water on a table in your sleeping room.
Sit in a chair beside the table and gaze into the glass of water
and think how calm it is. Then picture yourself , getting into
just as calm a state. In a short time you will find the nerves
becoming quiet and you will be able to go to sleep. Sometimes it
is good to picture yourself becoming drowsy to induce sleep, and,
again, the most persistent insomnia has been overcome by one
thinking of himself as some inanimate object--for instance, a
hollow log in the depths of the cool, quiet forest.
Those who are troubled with insomnia will find these sleep
exercises that quiet the nerves very effective. Just keep the
idea in your mind that there is no difficulty in going to sleep;
banish all fear of insomnia. Practice these exercises and you
By this time you should have awakened to the possibilities of
concentration and have become aware of the important part it
plays in your life.
Concentration Will Save Energy and Appearance. Watch yourself and
see if you are not in the habit of moving your hands, thumping
something with your fingers or twirling your mustache. Some have
the habit of keeping their feet going, as, for instance, tapping
them on the floor. Practice standing before a mirror and see if
you are in the habit of frowning or causing wrinkles to appear in
the forehead. Watch others and see how they needlessly twist
their faces in talking. Any movement of the face that causes the
skin to wrinkle will eventually cause a permanent wrinkle. As the
face is like a piece of silk, you can make a fold in it a number
of times and it will straighten out of itself, but, if you
continue to make a fold in it, it will in time be impossible to
By Concentration You Can Stop the Worry Habit. If you are in the
habit of worrying over the merest trifles, just concentrate on
this a few minutes and see bow needless it is; if you are also in
the habit of becoming irritable or nervous at the least little
thing, check yourself instantly when you feel yourself becoming
so; start to breathe deeply; say, "I will not be so weak; I am
master of myself," and you will quickly overcome your condition.
By Concentration You Can Control Your Temper. If you are one of
those that flare up at the slightest "provocation" and never try
to control yourself, just think this over a minute. Does it do
you any good? Do you gain anything by it? Doesn't it put you out
of poise for some time? Don't you know that this grows on you and
will eventually make you despised by all that have any dealings
with you? Everyone makes mistakes and, instead of becoming angry
at their perpetrators, just say to them, "Be more careful next
time." This thought will be impressed on them and they will be
more careful. But, if you continually complain about their making
a mistake, the thought of a mistake is impressed on them and they
will be more likely to make mistakes in the future. All lack of
self-control can be conquered if you will but learn to
Many of you that read this may think you are not guilty of either
of these faults, but if you will carefully watch yourself you
will probably find that you are, and, if so, you will be greatly
helped by repeating this affirmation each morning:
"I am going to try today not to make a useless gesture or to
worry over trifles, or become nervous or irritable. I intend to
be calm, and, no difference what may be the circumstances, I will
control myself. Henceforth I resolve to be free from all signs
that show lack of self-control."
At night quickly review your actions during the day and see how
fully you realized your aim. At first you will, of course, have
to plead guilty of violation a few times, but keep on, and you
will soon find that you can live up to your ideal. After you have
once gained self-control, however, don't relinquish it. For some
time it will still be necessary to repeat the affirmation in the
morning and square your conduct with it in the evening. Keep up
the good work until, at last, the habit of self-control is so
firmly fixed that you could not break it even though you tried.
I have had many persons tell me that this affirmation and daily
review made a wonderful difference in their lives. You, too, will
notice the difference if you live up to these instructions.
Practice Talking Before a Glass. Make two marks on your mirror on
a level with your eyes, and think of them as two human eyes
looking into yours. Your eyes will probably blink a little at
first. Do not move your head, but stand erect. Concentrate all
your thoughts on keeping your head perfectly still. Do not let
another thought come into your mind. Then, still keeping the
head, eyes and body still, think that you look like a reliable
man or woman should; like a person that anyone would have
confidence in. Do not let your appearance be such as to justify
the remark, "I don't like his appearance. I don't believe he can
While standing before the mirror practice deep breathing. See
that there is plenty of fresh air in the room, and that you are
literally feasting on it. You will find that, as it permeates
every cell, your timidity will disappear. It has been replaced by
a sense of peace and power.
The one that stands up like a man and has control over the
muscles of his face and eyes always commands attention. In his
conversation, he can better impress those with whom he comes in
contact. He acquires a feeling of calmness and strength that
causes opposition to melt away before it.
Three minutes a day is long enough for the practice of this
Look at the clock before you commence the exercise, and if you
find you can prolong the exercise for more than five minutes do
so. The next day sit in a chair and, without looking at the
picture, concentrate on it and see if you cannot think of
additional details concerning it. The chances are you will be
able to think of many more. It might be well for you to write
down all you thought of the first day, and then add to the list
each new discovery. You will find that this is a very excellent
exercise in concentration.
The Control of Sensations. Think how you would feel if you were
cool; then how you would feel if you were cold; again, how you
would feel if it were freezing. In this state you would be
shivering all over. Now think of just the opposite conditions;
construct such a vivid image of heat that you are able to
experience the sensation of heat even in the coldest atmosphere.
It is possible to train your imagination until you do this, and
it can then be turned to practical account in making undesirable
You can think of many very good exercises like this. For
instance, if you feel yourself getting hungry or thirsty and for
any reason you do not wish to eat, do not think of how hungry or
thirsty you are, but just visualize yourself as finishing a
hearty meal. Again, when you experience pain, do not increase it
by thinking about it, but do something to divert your attention,
and the pain will seem to decrease. If you will start practicing
along this line systematically you will soon gain a wonderful
control over the things that affect your physical comfort.
The Eastern Way of Concentrating. Sit in a chair with a high back
in upright position. Press one finger against the right nostril.
Now take a long, deep breath, drawing the breath in gently as you
count ten; then expel the breath through the right nostril as you
count ten. Repeat this exercise with the opposite nostril. This
exercise should be done at least twenty times at each sitting.
Controlling Desires. Desire, which is one of the hardest forces
to control, will furnish you with excellent exercises in
concentration. It seems natural to want to tell others what you
know; but, by learning to control these desires, you can
wonderfully strengthen your powers of concentration. Remember,
you have all you can do to attend to your own business. Do not
waste your time in thinking of others or in gossiping about them.
If, from your own observation, you learn something about another
person that is detrimental, keep it to yourself. Your opinion may
afterwards turn out to be wrong anyway, but whether right or
wrong, you have strengthened your will by controlling your desire
to communicate your views.
If you hear good news resist the desire to tell it to the first
person you meet and you will be benefited thereby. It will
require the concentration of all your powers of resistance to
prohibit the desire to tell. After you feel that you have
complete control over your desires you can then tell your news.
But you must be able to suppress the desire to communicate the
news until you are fully ready to tell it. Persons that do not
possess this power of control over desires are apt to tell things
that they should not, thereby often involving both themselves and
others in needless trouble.
If you are in the habit of getting excited when you hear
unpleasant news, just control yourself and receive it without any
exclamation of surprise. Say to yourself, "Nothing is going to
cause me to lose my self-control. You will find from experience
that this self-control will be worth much to you in business. You
will be looked upon as a cool-headed business man, and this in
time becomes a valuable business asset. Of course, circumstances
alter cases. At times it is necessary to become enthused. But be
ever on the lookout for opportunities for the practice of
self-control. "He that ruleth his spirit is greater than he that
ruleth a city."
When You Read. No one can think without first concentrating his
thoughts on the subject in hand. Every man and woman should train
himself to think clearly. An excellent exercise is to read some
short story and then write just an abridged statement. Read an
article in a newspaper, and see in how few words you can express
it. Reading an article to get only the essentials requires the
closest concentration. If you are unable to write out what you
read, you will know you are weak in concentration. Instead of
writing it out you can express it orally if you wish. Go to your
room and deliver it as if you were talking to some one. You will
find exercises like this of the greatest value in developing
concentration and learning to think.
After you have practiced a number of these simple exercises read
a book for twenty minutes and then write down what you have read.
The chances are that at first you will not remember very many
details, but with a little practice you will be able to write a
very good account of what you have read. The closer the
concentration the more accurate the account will be.
It is a good idea when time is limited to read only a short
sentence and then try to write it down word for word. When you
are able to do this, read two or more sentences and treat
similarly. The practice will produce very good results if you
keep it up until the habit is fixed.
If you will just utilize your spare time in practicing exercises
like those suggested you can gain wonderful powers of
concentration. You will find that in order to remember every word
in a sentence you must keep out every thought but that which you
wish to remember, and this power of inhibition alone will more
than compensate for the trouble of the exercise. Of course,
success in all of the above depends largely upon cultivating,
through the closest concentration, the power to image or picture
what you read; upon the power, as one writer expresses it, of
letting the mountains of which we hear loom before us and the
rivers of which we read roll at our feet.
Concentration Overcomes Bad Habits. If you have a habit that you
want to get rid of, shut your eyes and imagine that your real
self is standing before you. Now try the power of affirmation;
say to yourself, "You are not a weakling; you can stop this habit
if you want to. This habit is bad and you want to break it." Just
imagine that you are some one else giving this advice. This is
very valuable practice. You, in time, see yourself as others see
you. The habit loses its power over you and you are free.
If you will just form the mental image of controlling yourself as
another person might, you will take a delight in breaking bad
habits. I have known a number of men to break themselves of
drinking in this way.
Watch Concentration. Sit in a chair and place a clock with a
second hand on the table. Follow the second hand with your eyes
as it goes around. Keep this up for five minutes, thinking of
nothing else but the second hand, This is a very good exercise
when you only have a few minutes to spare, if you are able to
keep every other thought in the stream of consciousness
subordinate to it. As there is little that is particularly
interesting about the second hand, it is hard to do this, but in
the extra effort of will power required to make it successful
lies its value. Always try to keep as still as possible during
In this way you can gain control over nerves and this quieting
effect is very good for them.
Faith Concentration. A belief in the power to concentrate is of
course very important. I purposely did not put this exercise in
the beginning where it naturally belongs because I wanted you to
know that you could learn to concentrate. If you have practiced
the above exercises you have now developed this concentration
power to a considerable extent and therefore you have faith in
the power of concentration, but you can still become a much
stronger believer in it.
We will say that you have some desire or wish you want fulfilled,
or that you need some special advice. You first clearly picture
what is wanted and then you concentrate on getting it. Have
absolute faith that your desires will be realized. Believe that
it will according to your belief be fulfilled. Never, at this
time, attempt to analyze the belief. You don't care anything
about the whys and wherefores. You want to gain the thing you
desire, and if you concentrate on it in the right way you will
A Caution. Never think you will not succeed, but picture what is
wanted as already yours, and yours it surely will be.
Self-Distrust. Do you ever feel distrust in yourself? If You do,
just ask yourself, which self do I mistrust? Then say: my higher
self cannot be affected. Then think of the wonderful powers of
the higher self. There is a way to overcome all difficulties, and
it is a delight for the human soul to do so. Instead of wasting
precious thought-force by dreading or fearing a disagreeable
interview or event, instead devote the time and concentrated
thought in how to make the best of the interview or event and you
will find that it will not be as unpleasant as you thought it
would be. Most of our troubles are but imaginary, and it is the
mental habit of so dreading them that really acts as a magnet in
attracting those that really do come. Your evil circumstances are
created or attracted by your own negative, fears and wrong
thoughts, and are a means of teaching you to triumph over all
evils, by discovering that which is inherent within yourself.
You will find it helpful in overcoming self-distrust, to stop and
think, why you are, concentrating your forces, and by so doing
you become more closely attached to the higher self, which never
Next: LESSON XVI. HOW CONCENTRATION CAN FULFILL YOUR DESIRE
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