Personal man gradually but surely grows into the likeness of that which he thinks of the most, and man thinks the most of what he loves the best. This is the law through which man has become what he is, and it is through the intelligent use of this law that man may change for the better and improve in any way desired. The thought you think not only effects your character, your mind and your body, but also produces the original cause of every characteristic, every habit, every tendency, every desire, every mental quality and every physical condition that appears in your system. Thought is the one original cause of the conditions, characteristics and peculiarities of the human personality, and everything that appears in the personality is the direct or indirect effect of the various actions of thought. It is therefore evident that man naturally grows into the likeness of the thought he thinks, and it also evident that the nature of his thought would be determined by that which he thinks of the most.
The understanding of this fact will reveal to all minds the basic law of change, and though it is basic, its intelligent use may become simplicity itself. Through the indiscriminate use of this law, man has constantly been changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes not, but by the conscious, intelligent, use of this law he may change only for the better and as rapidly as the sum total of his present ability will permit.
The fact that mental conditions and dispositions may be changed through the power of thought, will readily be accepted by every mind, but that mental qualities, abilities, personal appearances and physical conditions may be changed in the same way all minds may not be ready to accept. Nevertheless, that thought can change anything in the human system, even to a remarkable degree, is now a demonstrated fact. We have all seen faces change for the worse under the influence of grief, worry and misfortune, and we have observed that all people grow old who expect to do so, regardless of the fact that the body of the octogenarian is not a day older than the body of a little child. We have unlimited evidence to prove that ability will improve or deteriorate according to the use that is made of the mind. A man’s face reveals his thought, and we can invariably detect the predominating states of the mind that lives in a groove. When a person changes his mental states at frequent intervals, no one state has the opportunity to produce an individual, clear-cut expression, and therefore cannot be so readily detected, but where one predominating state is continued in action for weeks or months or years, any one can say what that state is, by looking at the face of him who has it. Thus we can detect different kinds of disposition, different grades of mind, different degrees of character and different modes of living, and convince ourselves at the same time, that man in general, looks, acts and lives the way he thinks.
The fact that every mental state will express its nature in body, mind and character, proves that we can, through the intelligent use of mental action, cause the body to become more beautiful, the mind more brilliant, character more powerful and the soul life more ideal. To accomplish these things, however, it is necessary to apply the law continuously in that direction where we desire to secure results. When a person thinks of the ordinary for a few weeks, he invariably begins to look ordinary. Then when something impels him to think for a while of the ideal, the true and the beautiful, he begins to look like a new creature; but if reverses threaten, he will feel worried, dejected and afraid, and everybody observes that he looks bad. Then if the tide turns in his favor, he will begin to look content, and if something should suggest to his mind the thought of the wholesome, the sound and the harmonious, he will begin to look remarkably well. In this manner he is daily using the law of change, but never intelligently. He does not take the law into his own hands, but uses the law only as suggestions from his environment may direct. He advances one day and falls back the next. One week his physical mansion is painted with colors of health and beauty; the next week only the conditions of age and disease are in evidence. He plants a flower seed today, and tomorrow hoes it up to plant a weed in its place. Thus the average person continues to live, and every change comes from the unconscious, indiscriminate use of the power of his thought. This power, however, can be employed more wisely, and when the many begin to do so, the progress of the race will be remarkable indeed.
The basic law of change must be taken into our own hands, and must be employed directly for producing the change we have in view; and to accomplish this the love nature must be so trained that we shall love only what we want to love, only what is greater and better than that which we have realized up to the present time. In this respect strong, highly developed souls will have no difficulty, because they have the power to see the great, the beautiful and the ideal in all things, but those who have not as yet acquired that power, must train their feelings with care, lest love frequently turns thought upon the low, the common or the ordinary.
What you admire in others will develop in yourself. Therefore, to love the ordinary in any one is to become ordinary, while to love the noble and the lofty in all minds is to grow into the likeness of that which is noble and lofty. When we love the person of someone who is in the earth earthy, we tend to keep ourselves down in the same place. We may give our kindness and our sympathies to all, but we must not love anything in any one that is not ideal. It is a misdirection of love to love exclusively the visible person. It is the ideal, the true and the beautiful in every person that should be loved, and as all persons have these qualities, we can love everybody with a whole heart in this more sublime manner.
In this connection a great problem presents itself to many men and women who aspire to a life of great quality. These people feel that they cannot give their personal love to husbands, wives, relatives or friends that persist in living in the mere animal world; but the problem is easily solved. We must not love what is ordinary in any one; in fact, the ordinary must not be recognized, but we can love the real life in every one, and if we will employ our finer perceptions we will find that this real life is ideal in every living creature in the world. We need not love the perversions of a person, but we can love the greater possibilities and the superior qualities that are inherent in the individual. It is not the imperfections or appearances that should be loved, but the greatness that is within; and what we love in others we not only awaken in others, but we develop those very things more or less in ourselves.
To promote the best welfare of individuals under all sorts of circumstances, personal loves should be exchanged only by persons who live in the same world. When the woman has found the superior world, the man must not expect her personal love unless he also goes up to live in the same world. It is simply fair that he should do so. The woman who lives in a small world must not expect the love of a man who lives in a great world. He would lose much of his greatness if he should give his personal love to such a woman.
The tendency of all life is onward and upward. Therefore, to ask anything to come down is to violate the very purpose of existence. If we wish to be with the higher, the greater and the superior, we must change ourselves and become higher, greater and superior; and this we all can do.
In the application of the basic law of change, no factor is more important than that of pleasure. We are controlled to a great extent by the pleasures we enjoy, ofttimes so much so that they may even determine our destiny. The reason why is found in the fact that we deeply love what we thoroughly enjoy, and since we think the most of what we love the best, we naturally become like the pleasures we thoroughly enjoy, because man gradually grows into the likeness of his predominating thought. It is therefore unwise to permit ourselves to enjoy anything that is beneath our most perfect conception of the ideal, and it is likewise unwise to associate personally with people who care only for the ordinary and the common. What we enjoy becomes a part of ourselves, and for the good of everybody, we cannot afford to go down; but when we love only those pleasures that are as high as our own ideal of joy, then we are truly on the great ascending path.
To overlook the wrongs, the defects and the perversions of life, and to look only for that beautiful something in every soul that we simply want to love, even without trying, is one of the greatest things that we can do; but we must not permit our conception of the beautiful within to become a mere, cold abstraction. It is most important that we be as emotional as we possibly can without permitting ourselves to be controlled by our emotions. The heart should be most tender and warm, and every feeling constantly on fire; but if all such feelings are turned into the secret realms of soul life, we shall find that the forces of love are drawn insistently towards the highest, the truest, the most noble and the most beautiful that our inspired moments have revealed. When this is done we can readily love with the whole heart any noble quality, or high art, or great work upon which we may direct our attention, and what we can love at will, that we can think of as deeply and as long as we may desire.
When we have formulated in our minds what changes we wish to make, the course to pursue is to love the ideal that corresponds to those changes. This love must be deep and strong, and must be continued until the desired change has actually taken place. Know what better qualities you want; then love those qualities with all your mind and heart and soul.
To love the higher and the greater qualities of life is to cause the creative qualities of mind to produce those same qualities in our own nature; and in consequence, we steadily grow into the likeness of that which we constantly love. This is the great law–the law that governs all change for the better. But to use this law intelligently the power of love must cease to respond to every whim or notion that the suggestibility of environment may present to the mind.
The power of love is the greatest power in the world, but it can cause persons or nations to fall to the lowest state, as well as rise to the highest state. Every fall in the history of the race has been caused largely by the misdirection of love, while every step in advance has been prompted largely by the power of love turned upon better things. To misdirect love is to love that which is beneath our present stage in advancement; it is turning the forces of life backward, and retrogression must inevitably follow.
In the average person, love is directed almost exclusively upon the personal side of life. In consequence, the love nature becomes so personal, so limited and so superficial, that materialism follows. In many other minds, it is mere appearances that attract the power of admiration, and the finer things in mind, soul and character are wholly ignored. The result is that the finer qualities of such people gradually disappear, and grossness, both in thought and in appearance naturally follow. But we must not conclude in this connection that it is wrong to admire the beautiful wherever it may be seen in the external world. We should love the beautiful everywhere, no matter where it may be found; we should admire the richness of life, both in the external and in the internal; and by living a complete life, we shall enjoy more and more of the richness and the beautiful in life, in the within as well as in the without. But the power of love must direct the greater part of its attention upon that which is rich and beautiful in mind and soul. It is that which is finer than the finest of external things that must be loved if man is to grow into the likeness of the great, the superior and the ideal, because man is as he thinks, and he thinks the most of what he loves the best.
When any individual begins to love the finer qualities in life, and gives all the power of mind and soul to that love, he has taken the first step in the changing of his destiny. He is laying the foundation for a great and a better future, and if he continues as he has begun, he will positively reach the loftiest goal that he may have in view. There are many laws to apply in the beginning of a great life, but the law that lies at the foundation of them all is the law of love. It is love that determines what we are to think, what we are to work for, where we are to go, and what we are to accomplish. Therefore, among all great essentials, the principal one is to know how to love.
To apply this essential for all practical purposes, the secret is to love the great, the beautiful and the ideal in everybody and in everything; and to love with such a strong, passionate love that its ascending power becomes irresistible. The whole of life will thus change and go up with the power of love into the great, the superior and the ideal; everything, both in the being of man and in his environment will advance and change accordingly, and the dreams of the soul will come true. The ideal will become real, the desires of the heart will be granted, and what man has hoped to make his own will be absent no more.
When failure comes be more determined than ever to succeed.
The more feeling there is in your thought the greater its power.
You steadily and surely become in the real what you constantly and clearly think that you are in the ideal.
The more you believe in yourself the more of your latent powers and possibilities you place in action. And the more you believe in your purpose the more of your power you apply in promoting that purpose.
To him who thinks he can everything is an opportunity.
Depend only upon yourself, but work in harmony with all things. Thus you call forth the best that is in yourself and secure the best that external sources have to give.