Our shared physical reality is the most common state of reality we experience, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Our nighttime dreams are another state, as are astral experiences, near-death experiences, and out-of-body experiences.

I regard these different levels of reality as being at different frequencies or energy levels. It’s like tuning into different TV channels. Physical reality seems slower, denser, and less malleable than the other levels.

Astral projection, out-of-body experiences, and near-death experience could be said to occur at other frequencies than the physical universe. And within those there are a variety of sub-levels. People who are skilled at astral projection, for example, can visit different astral realms with unique properties. Some astral locales seem like close approximations of the physical world, while others are so different from physical reality they’re nearly impossible to describe.

Perhaps the best analogy I can use to describe these different realities is to compare them to states of matter. You’re intimately familiar with solid, liquid, and gas, since you interact with matter in those states every day. But did you know there are a lot more states of matter, including Bose-Einstein condensates, fermionic condensates, strange matter, degenerate matter, quark-gluon plasma, superfluids, supersolids, and possibly others? How much time do you spend interacting with those? Are they as real as solid, liquid, and gas, or some delusional physicists just make them up to convince someone to fund more of their expensive toys?

Just as there are different states of matter, there are different levels of reality. Every state of matter has unique physical and energetic properties, as do all the realms of reality your consciousness can perceive. Your inability to access all these states or realms at will is a limitation of your perceptual abilities.

I imagine you spend most of your time interacting with solids, liquids, and gases, but it’s believed that most of the matter in the visible universe is actually in the plasma state. So if you were to assume that the states of matter you interact with personally are the only ones that exist, you’d be very wrong. You’d also be wrong if you assumed those states were the most common. With respect to the vastness of the physical universe, your personal experience of matter is rather atypical. You’re basically living in a bubble.

Similarly, I think it would be just as big a mistake to assume that this physical reality is the only reality there is. I suspect this realm is only one among many, and I doubt it’s the most popular hangout for conscious beings. Some people have written fascinating books about their astral explorations, like Robert Monroe’s Far Journeys, and some astral realms appear to be rather crowded.
It’s common to deny the existence of what we haven’t personally experienced, but such behavior is rather limiting.

I think a better attitude is to be an explorer. If you don’t know what’s out there, and you’re curious about it, go take a look around. You can use the maps created by others as a guide — at least to the extent you find them helpful. That’s a better approach than summarily claiming, “There be dragons.”

Opening ourselves up to what may exist but which hasn’t yet been observed is how we invite new experiences into our reality. This is not merely wishful thinking or open-mindedness. It is the process by which we creatively sculpt reality itself.

What is reality but a concept unique to each of us? Can anything be classed as real when our perceptions differ greatly on so many things? Just because we see something a particular way does not make it so. We can be so insistent sometimes that our way of seeing something is more right than someone else’s way.

Keep an open mind at all times and remember that a point of view is always valuable to each individual. I always used to class myself as someone who was ‘realistic’ but after contemplating this further I realised that the term ‘realistic’ means something very different entirely.

Putting Things Into Context:

Lets take the example of war. There are some people who believe that war is necessary sometimes to get peace and then in order to keep the peace. There are other people who will believe that war is evil and should never be entered into no matter what. Who is right? Is war right or wrong? That’s just an example and I’m not here to answer that question.
I’m here to demonstrate that reality is a very fluid concept. What you see as real is only defined by your belief structure. Your version of what is real is only your perception of it; not what is so.

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are” – Talmud

Choosing Your Perception:

Here’s another example: Lets say an event occurs in your life. You have the choice about how your respond to it. Lets say you have a death in the family. (I use this example because of it’s something I’ve been through.) You can choose to see that event as something terrible and tragic to which you will respond accordingly. Or, you can choose to see that event and something that inspires you to make something more of your life; living every day as if it was the last, so to speak.

From that example you can see that you may or may not have control over the events in your life but you can certainly take control of how to respond to them. That part of life will always be within your power. This is where life gets interesting because you shape your own reality through your beliefs.

Your belief structure determines your perception which then ultimately determines how you respond to events. Going by that sequence you can then see that there is another place to start. You can choose to examine your beliefs and then choose to change them. That’s why I say that everything begins with a choice.

Skewed Perceptions

Human life is seen as very precious on Earth because people believe that humans are the top of the food chain. Other forms of life take second fiddle. It’s only a belief but the truth is many of these other life forms sustain us and were it not for them we wouldn’t be around any more. That is more a realistic than thinking that humans are superior.

There is no such thing as reality. There is only ‘your’ version of it which is essentially your perception. Remember that what you believe to be true is only as true as your worldly experience and it doesn’t go any further than that. Even many scientific theories are just that; they are theories! It doesn’t make them so.

Everyday scientists are making discoveries that are forcing them to throw out the old text books and write new ones. As much as we think we may know how life and the universe works I promise the limited knowledge will continue to re-written over the coming centuries.
It’s important to note that how you choose to perceive things is how they come across to you. Am I being a hypocrite in stating this? Is this just my reality? I guess in some ways yes I am being a bit of hypocrite but this in my theory on universal principles. I believe that your power to choose how to perceive things makes them appear that way to you.

What is it that we perceive? What is the relationship among things-in-themselves, our sensation of them, and our understanding? Is understanding nothing more than the ideas generated by our sensations, as Locke believed? Or are there distinct Cartesian realms of thought and sense? And is there an external reality apart from our sensations?

Philosophers have troubled over such questions, for engaging them is to wrestle with the fundamentals of our ontologies and epistemologies. Until recent times, however, philosophers have had to deal with such questions without the help of any systematic psychological or relevant physiological knowledge. The philosopher was left largely to his own good sense, thought, and intuition.

Now physiological and especially neurological knowledge, psychological laboratory research, and empirical analyses by Gestalt, field, and personality theorists, and psychoanalytic experience have given us a solid base for our understanding of perception. Rather than review the fascinating philosophical views of perception and their relationship to thought and reality, I will move directly to a rough sketch of the perceptual field and only allude to some of the more pertinent philosophical ideas in the process.

STIMULI AND PERCEPTIBLE

Perception is a dynamic conflict between the attempts of an outer world to impose an actuality on us and our efforts to transform this actuality into a self-centered perspective. Perception is a confrontation between an inward directed vector of external reality compelling awareness and an outward-directed vector of physiological, cultural, and psychological transformation. Where these vectors clash, where they balance each other, is what we perceive. This in sum is my view of perception.

To begin with, initially assume a reality outside our minds and bodies containing potentials and dispositions. Any aspect of this realm with the power to stimulate our senses (for example, sounds, heat, color, motion) may be called a determinable.

The determinable tries to become determinate or manifest as stimuli that strike our sensory receptors through a medium, as sound waves are carried by an atmosphere, or heat by a solid. What is a stimulus and what is a carrier or medium varies from sensation to sensation. Stimuli and carriers may be interchanged from one instant to another, the relative role depending on the perceptual focus and the determinable. The atmosphere may carry one stimulus and then generate stimuli itself (such as wind); the movement of a solid body may be stimulus to the eye, then the body itself may carry heat to our touch.

Once a stimulus is carried from the determinable to our sensory receptors, it then is altered and interpreted electrically by the body’s neurological system. Complex neural paths transmit the result from the receptors to somewhere in the brain. Let me call the resulting deposit in the brain the perceptible, and the neurological transmission system between receptors and perceptible the physiological medium.

Clearly what is directed toward us as a stimulus may differ from what is received as a perceptible. The external medium may alter the stimulus (as water does sound), or there may be no medium present to convey it (voices cannot be heard through a vacuum). Moreover, what is transmitted to our sensory receptors cannot be carried with fidelity to the brain. We can receive only a limited range of sounds, smells, and radiant energy; and what is within receivable range is altered physically in transmission to the brain. Thus, for example, the impulse frequency conveyed from the basilar membrane of the cochlea in the inner ear is not the same frequency as that of the impinging sound.

Animals clearly differ in their limitations for physiologically transmitting stimuli carried to their receptors. Each selectively interprets external reality physiologically within its own sensory sphere. There is a sensory sphere for us, a different one for dogs, another for cats, and so on. The fact that we have developed tools for extending our receptors (x-rays for example), and thus our sensory-sphere, does not alter the biological fact that the everyday external world we know through our perceptibles is but a transformation of stimuli of external reality.

The two different media which carry stimuli from the determinable to the brain. The movement from stimulus (the determinable) to medium to receptors to neural transmission to perceptible is a chain with each, event” in the chain being necessary but not sufficient for the one following it. The nature of this transformal chain and the existence of different sensory spheres for each animal argue against many varieties of realism and for some kind of dualism or perspectivism. Various forms of direct realism, such as naive realism–the view that there is what we sense–are untenable. What reaches our brain is not directly what is out there in its totality, although the perceptibles may be more or less patterned after external reality or comprise aspects or facets of realities as a landscape painting more or less copies the real terrain.

PERCEPTION AND CULTURE:

 Perceptibles are what reach the brain, but they are not what may be perceived. Rather, perceptibles reach intuitive awareness through the cultural schema and the cultural system of meanings-values. The schema consists of the fundamental culture-given categories for making the perceptibles intelligible and the cultural framework for their interpretation. Cause and effect, relation, space, and time are such categories, as are, more specifically, up-down, right-left, and north-south.

The schema provides orientation toward the perceptibles. The cultural system of meanings-values gives the perceptibles their significance, invests them with meaningfulness for us, informs them with design, assigns them purpose, and bestows them with value. The perceptibles are given their interpretative importance through the meanings-values system and oriented through the schema for our practical judgment and behavior. shows a perceptible passing through this entirely mental orientational and significance adding investiture, this cultural matrix, to become a percept. It is a percept which we apprehend, of which we are aware, of which we are conscious.

Some examples of perceptibles and percepts may clarify their difference. Now, what reaches the brain as perceptibles are nerve impulses that communicate a complex amorphous aggregation of color patches, motions, odors, sounds, and so on. A perceptible may be a particular sound or color patch or form. It has no identity as girl, knife, cloth, or John, for example, until it is mentally invested with these interpretations. For purposes of clarification, however, let me impose these elementary names on the perceptibles and put them in quotation marks to show that I have already imposed a primitive interpretation.

While our perceptual consciousness or awareness begins with percepts, we add to percepts a structure, a sculptured body that enables us to cognitively deal with them and make them intelligible. This conceptual stage of perception involves our fitting percepts and language together. This is the naming level, where percepts are turned into concepts connoting specific invariant properties (dispositions). The perceived blue patch becomes sky, the red somewhat spherical percept becomes an apple, the percept of a person becomes the President. Clearly, percept turns into concept through the cultural matrix. Our cultural learning largely determines that which we are consciously aware of and how we conceptually structure that awareness.

THE PERCEPTION OF REALITY:

This account of perception is uncongenial with the views of various philosophers who equated sensations with perceptibles and then argued that we were directly aware of external reality through these sensations. Hobbes, Descartes (even in his dualism), Berkeley, Hume, and Locke believed that our percepts or concepts are directly based on or directly reflect our sensations. They differed on the relation of judgment and thought to sensations; but insofar as sensations (perceptibles) were concerned, they allowed little room for cultural influences to intervene between them and ideas (percepts): they did not appreciate the extent to which cultural learning and content transforms our perception, and the degree to which conscious sensations are culturally mediated perceptions of external reality.

Previously, I had noted that the route from determinables as stimulus to our receptors and from receptors to perceptibles is at best an imperfect transmission. Now we also see that the mental alteration of perceptibles into percepts is a metamorphosis–a transformation–and not a simple transmission. It is a transformal process. Thus we find that the belief in direct realism, whether that we directly perceive (consciously) what is “out there” or that we perceive a representation (like a map) of what is there, is untenable, even though widely believed today among social scientists and very much an assumption underlying various views on social conflict and war.

However, I must hasten to add that psychologists would consider the above view of perception grossly inadequate–a biocultural perceptual determinism built on only a partial view of perception. And they would be correct. For what is missing so far is our psychological, our neuroses, anxieties, abilities, motivations, intentions, memories, and temperament. Moreover, the social psychologist would correctly add that I have ignored roles and expectations and the interactive link between behavior and perception. And not to be slighted, the psychoanalyst would yell above the clamor, “id, ego, superego!”

To see why we must ultimately incorporate psychological forces, consider the glaring omission of perceptual illusions or hallucinations from my account. We sometimes perceive what does not exist in external reality, or what we do perceive is grossly distorted beyond any cultural influences. Seeing pink elephants when drunk, having double vision, hearing ghosts, or touching holy apparitions, and the like are examples. Ideologically investing perceptibles with perceptually integrated themes, like capitalist exploitation, communist conspiracy, or Catholic plots are other perhaps more common distortions or illusions.

Consequently, while stimuli are necessary and not sufficient for excitation of our receptors, perceptibles are neither sufficient nor necessary for perception.
-First, the cultural schema and meanings-values system provide a perspective within which some perceptibles are given interpretation and some are ignored. Thus, the multitude of amorphous and varied perceptibles the brain receives as a result of a glance will be reduced to the perception of, say, a lion, a tree, or a pencil. Foreground and background may be omitted and unessential perceptibles other than the focal determinable will be ignored. That the brain receives perceptibles is therefore no guarantee that they are transformed into percepts.
-Second, we may perceive without any associated perceptible. We may project into external reality, for example, the visions of a holy person when no corresponding perceptible is being received by the brain. Therefore, perceptibles are also not necessary for percepts.

Then, how do we form percepts? What role in perception do perceptibles play, if neither necessary nor sufficient? For answers, we must reinterpret the psychological reality. We must now consider perceptibles as entering a field of psychological forces capable of executing them, or buffeting them about until, distorted and tattered, they reach awareness–a field also capable of creating within itself, and wholly out of local field forces, perspectives and percepts. We thus would find that as we increasingly view perception as being within a psychological field, the causal chain theory of perception, even as modified, becomes more untenable.

External objects, what I call determinables, may generate stimuli, which become altered and selected through our physiological medium and transformed by our cultural matrix into perceptibles, but what we are aware of, that which we perceive, may only remotely correspond to the resulting perceptibles or may be wholly psychological inventions. That is, there is an active, psychological engagement in perception, a confrontation of external reality with a psychological reality, a clash of two worlds whose battle lines comprise our perception.

Therefore, while useful as an initial provisional sketch, the simple view of perception as a unidirectional process running from external object to stimuli to receptors to perceptibles to percept to concept will have to be modified in favor of a dialectical field theory of perception.

The original formulation, however, put forward by Nobel Prize-winner Werner Heisenberg, states that it is your knowledge of the system that collapses. Nothing in the real world actually changes; the only thing that changes is the uncertainty in your knowledge.
Nevertheless, there is a sense in which you do create your own reality: You create your own experience of reality. Take, for example, your ability to see. Light enters the eye, triggering nerve impulses that travel to the brain. There, these impulses are analyzed and put together into an image.

You think you see the world, but what you’re seeing is a reconstruction of the world. The same applies to all your senses: You hear your own listening, et cetera. In this way, you’re creating your own perception of reality.
How you perceive reality depends in a large part on your attitude. A positive attitude is clearly a good starting point and may in part explain why things sometimes turn out the way you want.

I have discovered, for instance, that when I’m rested, centred and clear, things work out well. But I don’t believe this is because I am “creating” the world around me. It happens because I have put myself into a good state of mind to pick up opportunities.

Yet almost all the great spiritual teachers through time have said that whether you are happy ultimately depends on how you feel about yourself on the inside, not whether you have a nicer car or a betterpaying job than someone else.

Telling people they can achieve happiness by acquiring more things just reinforces the mindset that’s leading us to extract more and more out of the planet and that will ultimately drive our culture to extinction.

A change in consciousness is a change in perception—a change in how we see things. The real secret—and it’s only a secret because we keep forgetting it—is that we always have a choice in how we see, experience and interpret reality. That is what determines whether or not you’ll be happy and find peace. Let me repeat this again, we always have a choice in how we see, experience and interpret reality.

Every day we have the opportunity to learn a little more about ourselves, to let go a little more of attitudes that no longer serve us, to step back and be a little less attached to desires.

In every unexpected situation when the world fails to match our expectations, when what is happening is not what we think should be happening, we can remind ourselves that we have a choice.

We can either see the situation through the eyes of fear – all the ways in which it could lead us to suffer. Or we can choose to see it through the eyes of love – as an opportunity for learning, growth and greater understanding.

This shift in perception is a foundation stone of spiritual work. If we practice this in every situation in which we find ourselves, with every person we meet, then we can move from being the victim of our thoughts and feelings to being the master of them. And through that help ourselves and each other to become happier, healthier, and more caring people.

Most of us have become so focused on what it is we think we want, we have forgotten what it is we are really seeking. We seldom ask ourselves “What is it we really want?” When we go deeply into this question we find a common theme behind all our desires.
We want to feel better. We may give this inner feeling various different names — joy, happiness, inner peace, satisfaction, fulfillment, bliss, contentment, ease, well-being — but however we describe the quality of mind we seek, the underlying motivation is the same. We are looking to avoid pain and suffering, and find a more enjoyable state of consciousness.

This is completely natural, and is as true for every other sentient being on this planet as it is for us. It is the organism’s way of monitoring how it is doing in life. If there is something amiss — if we need food, for instance — we feel hungry, which is usually an uncomfortable experience. We don’t feel good and so, quite naturally, we look for something will relieve our suffering — in this case food. Having eaten we feel better; our lives are in balance again.

This is one thing that unites us all; we all want to reduce our suffering and find a more comfortable, satisfying state of mind.
Today, however, we need to spend very little time and energy fulfilling these physical needs. If we are hungry or thirsty we simply go to the refrigerator, or we can get in our car and drive down to the supermarket — in the middle of night in many cities.
We have insulated ourselves from most of the dangers we are likely encounter in the wild, and provided ourselves with shelters whose level of comfort is way beyond that enjoyed by kings and queens two hundred years ago.

If we are still not happy it is not because we lack some physical need; it is almost certainly because of some inner hunger. We are lacking for approval, security, status, power, affection, or some other psychological need.

This where the memes come into play. We have been conditioned since birth with the belief that satisfaction of these inner needs comes through our interaction with the world. We seek inner fulfillment through what we have or what we do, through the experiences the world provides, and through the way others behave towards us.

This is the meme that governs so much of our thinking and behavior; the meme that says whether or not we are content with life depends upon what we have and what we do.

Prevalent as this meme may be, it seldom provides any lasting satisfaction. A person may gather a great deal of wealth, but is he really more secure? More than likely he will soon find new sources of insecurity. Are my investments safe? Will the stock-market crash? Can I trust my friends? Should I employ “security” companies to protect my possessions?
Someone else, seeking fulfillment through sensory stimulation, may find a restaurant with the most exquisite cooking. Does that satisfy her? Or come the next day is she wondering when she might repeat the experience?
Another may seek fame in order to be approved and accepted. Is he then happy? Or is he upset at having lost the love of his family, or no longer deriving any satisfaction from his work?

Others may believe that if only they could find the right relationship they would be fulfilled. They continually look around for the perfect person, the person who satisfies their expectations; the person who will satisfy their inner needs and so make them happy. Yet such fulfillment can be short-lived. It usually is not be long before we start finding imperfections in even the most perfect person.
Part of the problem is that we are looking for fulfillment in a world that is constantly changing — and changing ever more rapidly. Stock-markets go up and down, cars get damaged, fashions come and go, friends change their minds. Consequently, any satisfaction we do gain is likely to be impermanent.

There is, however, a more fundamental reason why this approach does not work. We are responding to our mental needs as if they were bodily needs — as if their cause lay in the world around us. While our bodily needs are a symptom of some physical lack — a lack of food or heat, perhaps — the same is not true of our psychological needs.

Most of the time the cause is in our minds. We feel insecure because we imagine misfortunes that might befall us in the future. Or we selves that we are not able to live up to some ideal that we have set ourselves.
There may well be physical causes for our concern — events may not turn out as we would wish, we may not be achieving our goals but the reason that we feel insecure, unworthy, or whatever, is as much a result of how we interpret and judge events as it is a result of the events themselves.

There is nothing wrong with self-interest as such. We need to take care of our biological selves, make sure we have adequate food, water and shelter, avoid danger, take rest and ensure our other basic needs are met. Without this basic level of self-interest none of us would survive for very long.

This in most cases rarely gives us peace of mind. Once our physical hunger is fulfilled the deeper spiritual needs remain gaping like a joke in our souls.

Our society to these ends has caught itself in a vicious circle. Most of us go through life on the assumption that psychological contentment comes from what we have or do, and that is the message we teach each other.

If we see somebody suffering, we are more likely than not to suggest ways they can change the situation so as to feel better. When we want to persuade someone to buy something or other, we tell them how much happier it will make them.
And when our best-laid plans fail to give us what we seek, we encourage each other to try again. One of the most damaging consequences of looking to the world to satisfy our inner needs is that it results in a competitive mode of consciousness.
Perceiving that our surroundings are limited in what they can provide, we compete for the things we believe will bring us happiness, fame, success, friends, promotion, power, attention, and money. Such competition is wasteful.

-It leads us to produce things that no one really needs.
-It encourages short cuts in the name of financial expediency.
-It promotes blinkered thinking and short-sightedness.
-It causes us to care less for the Earth than we do for our own well-being.
-It puts us in competition with Nature herself — insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides keep other species at bay so that we can more easily, and more profitably, accomplish our own ends.

This basic operating principle also results in an exploitative mode of consciousness. We use — or perhaps one should say “abuse” — our surroundings, other people, and even our own bodies in our quest for greater satisfaction.
This is the root of our exploitation of the world: the attitudes and values that come from believing that inner well-being is dependent upon what we have or do. Money, power, and the other things that people often blame are not the root cause; they are simply symptoms of a deeper underlying error in our thinking.

Most of the time we forget that our inner needs have an inner cause. We perceive other people or external circumstance to be the root of our discomfort, and respond as we would to a physical lack — by making adjustments to the physical world. But this only deals with part of the problem. The inner lack continues, and soon reappears in some other guise.

Looking to the material world for the satisfaction of our inner needs is the source of much fear. We fear any changes in our circumstances that suggest the world may not the way we think it ought to be for us to be at peace.
We may fear losing our jobs because of the loss of income, and the possibility that our lives may not be so comfortable. We may fear failure for the disapproval it might bring or for the loss of self-esteem. We may fear having nothing to do because we might get bored. We may fear telling the truth because others might not like us for it. We fear the unknown for the dangers it may contain. We fear uncertainty, not knowing whether or not we will find what we are after.

Here lies a sad irony. In the final analysis what we are all after is a more satisfying state of mind. We want to be happy, at peace within ourselves. Our fears stem from the possibility that the future may bring us greater suffering rather than happiness. Yet the very nature of fear makes us more anxious in the present. And a mind that is anxious cannot, by definition, be a mind that is at peace.
Our concern to avoid suffering in the future, keeps us suffering in the present. We have lost the very thing we seek.

We love work for what it brings — security, self-esteem, comforts, human contact, challenge. On the other hand we resent it for what it demands of us — the time we have to spend at it, the energy and freedom it seems to take from us. How many of us, if given the money we now receive from work, would still choose to spend our time in an office, a truck, a store, a print-shop or a coal-mine? The majority want what work gives, not the work itself.

We fear unemployment not because we fear the loss of work itself, but because we fear insecurity, uncertainty, loss of self-esteem, material discomfort and possibly hunger — all things that work has helped us avoid. In addition, since our economies are based on the input of human labor (human time is the principal component of any price, the natural resources being intrinsically free), wide-scale unemployment can spell disaster for a nation’s economic well-being.

The question we should be asking is not how to maintain employment, but how to create an economic system that can distribute resources and enhance our well-being, while at the same time fulfilling our age-old wish to be free from unwanted toil.
To be truly free we need to move beyond our cultural conditioning. We need to release ourselves from our attachments; from our concern for past and future times. We need to be free of our illusions. Free from unnecessary fear. The freedom we now need is the inner freedom that allows us to think more intelligently. The freedom to draw more deeply upon our creativity and use it in ways that are in our true best interests. The freedom to follow our vision, and find that which we truly seek.

This is the opportunity that our many physical freedoms are opening us to — self-liberation. The freeing of our minds so that we may be our true, authentic selves.

This new freedom requires a new kind of work — work on ourselves. In this respect we have not reached the end of work at all. There has merely been a shift in the arena of work from outer to inner. A shift to the next phase in human evolution.
Our difficulties are largely due to confused ideas and ignorance of our true interests. The great task is to discover the laws of nature to which we are to adjust ourselves. Clear thinking and moral insight are, therefore, of incalculable value. All processes, even those of thought, rest on solid foundations.

The powers, uses, and possibilities of the mind under the new interpretations are incomparably more wonderful that the most extravagant accomplishment, or even dreams of material progress.
Thought is energy. Active thought is active energy; concentrated thought is a concentrated energy. Thought concentrated on a definite purpose becomes power. This is the power which is being used by those who do not believe in the virtue of poverty, or the beauty of self-denial. They perceive that this is the talk of weaklings.

Thinking is the only activity which the spirit possesses, and thought is the only product of thinking. Addition and subtraction are therefore spiritual transactions; reasoning is a spiritual process; ideas are spiritual conceptions; questions are spiritual searchlights and logic, argument and philosophy is spiritual machinery.

This is the process by which failure is changed to success. Thoughts of courage, power, inspiration, harmony, are substituted for thoughts of failure, despair, lack, limitation and discord, and as these thoughts take root, the physical tissue is changed and the individual sees life in a new light, old things have actually passed away, all things have become new, he is born again, this time born of the spirit, life has a new meaning for him, he is reconstructed and is filled with joy, confidence, hope, energy. He sees opportunities for success to which he was heretofore blind. He recognizes possibilities which before had no meaning for him.

The thoughts of success with which he has been impregnated are radiated to those around him, and they in turn help him onward and upward; he attracts to him new and successful associates, and this in turn changes his environment; so that by this simple exercise of thought, a man changes not only himself, but his environment, circumstances and conditions.
Mind is creative, and conditions, environment and all experiences in life are the result of our habitual or predominant mental attitude.
The attitude of mind necessarily depends upon what we think.

Therefore, the secret of all power, all achievement and all possession depends upon our method of thinking.

The world within is governed by mind. When we discover this world we shall find the solution for every problem, the cause for every effect; and, since the world within is subject to our control, all laws of power and possession are also within our control.
The world without is a reflection of the world within. What appears without is what has been found within. In the world within may be found infinite Wisdom, infinite Power, and an infinite Supply of all that is necessary, waiting for unfoldment, development and expression. If we recognize these potentialities in the world within, they will take form in the world without.

Harmony in the world within will be reflected in the world without by harmonious conditions, agreeable surroundings, the best of everything. It is the foundation of health and a necessary essential to all greatness, all power, all attainment, all achievement and all success. Harmony in the world within means the ability to control our thoughts, and to determine for ourselves how any experience is to affect us. Harmony in the world within results in optimism and affluence; affluence within results in affluence without.

The world without reflects the circumstances and the conditions of the consciousness within. If we find wisdom in the world within, we shall have the understanding to discern the marvelous possibilities that are latent in this world within, and we shall be given the power to make these possibilities manifest in the world without.

As we become conscious of the wisdom in the world within, we mentally take possession of this wisdom, and by taking mental possession we come into actual possession of the power and wisdom necessary to bring into manifestation the essentials necessary for our most complete and harmonious development.

The world within is the practical world in which the men and women of power generate courage, hope, enthusiasm, confidence, trust and faith, by which they are given the fine intelligence to see the vision and the practical skill to make the vision real.

Therefore life is an unfoldment, not accretion. All possession is based on consciousness. All gain is the result of an accumulative consciousness.

As a being of Power, Intelligence, and Love, and the lord of his own thoughts, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being.

Ask nothing of men, and in the endless mutation, thou only firm column must presently appear the upholder of all that surrounds thee. He who knows that power is inborn, that he is weak because he has looked for good out of him and elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought, instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs, works miracles; just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man who stands on his head.

And truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity, and has ventured to trust himself for a taskmaster. High be his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that he may in good earnest be doctrine, society, law, to himself, that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others!

Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it.

Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow. Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare.

Do that which is assigned to you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. There is at this “moment for you an utterance brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of the Egyptians, or the pen of Moses, or Dante,but different from all these. Not possible will the soul all rich, all eloquent, with thousand-cloven tongue, deign to repeat itself; but if you can hear what these patriarchs say, surely you can reply to them in the same pitch of voice; for the ear and the tongue are two organs of one nature. Abide in the simple and noble regions of thy life, obey thy heart, and thou shalt reproduce the Fore-world again.

Every true man is a cause, a country, and an age; requires infinite spaces and numbers and time fully to accomplish his design. The magnetism which all original action exerts is explained when we inquire the reason of self-trust. Who is the Trustee? What is the aboriginal Self, on which a universal reliance may be grounded? What is the nature and power of that science-baffling star, without parallax, without calculable elements, which shoots a ray of beauty even into trivial and impure actions, if the least mark of independence appear? The inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call Spontaneity or Instinct.

We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition, whilst all later teachings are tuitions. In that deep force, the last fact behind which analysis cannot go, all things find their common origin. For the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them, and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life and being also proceed.

We first share the life by which things exist, and afterwards see them as appearances in nature, and forget that we have shared their cause. Here is the fountain of action and of thought. Here are the lungs of that inspiration which giveth man wisdom, and which cannot be denied without impiety and atheism.

We lie in the lap of immense intelligence, which makes us receivers of its truth and organs of its activity. When we discern justice, when we discern truth, we do nothing of ourselves, but allow a passage to its beams. If we ask whence this comes, if we seek to pry into the soul that causes, all philosophy is at fault. Its presence or its absence is all we can affirm.

The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure, that it is profane to seek to interpose helps. It must be that when God speaketh he should communicate, not one thing, but all things; should fill the world with his voice; should scatter forth light, nature, time, souls, from the center of the present thought; and new date and new create the whole.

Whenever a mind is simple, and receives a divine wisdom, old things pass away,—means, teachers, texts, temples, fall; it lives now, and absorbs past and future into the present hour. All things are made sacred by relation to it,—one as much as another. All things are dissolved to their center by their cause, and, in the universal miracle, petty and particular miracles disappear.
When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the footprints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. It shall exclude example and experience.

You take the way from man, not to man. All persons that ever existed are its forgotten ministers. Fear and hope are alike beneath it. There is somewhat low even in hope. In the hour of vision, there is nothing that can be called gratitude, nor properly joy. The soul raised over passion beholds identity and eternal causation, perceives the self-existence of Truth and Right, and calms itself with knowing that all things go well. Vast spaces of nature, the Atlantic Ocean, the South Sea,—long intervals of time, years, centuries,—are of no account. This which I think and feel underlay every former state of life and circumstances, as it does underlie my present, and what is called life, and what is called death.

Self-existence is the attribute of the Supreme Cause, and it constitutes the measure of good by the degree in which it enters into all lower forms. All things real are so by so much virtue as they contain.

Thus all concentrates: let us not rove; let us sit at home with the cause. Let us stun and astonish the intruding rabble of men and books and institutions, by a simple declaration of the divine fact. Bid the invaders take the shoes from off their feet, for God is here within. Let our simplicity judge them, and our docility to our own law demonstrate the poverty of nature and fortune beside our native riches.

So use all that is called Fortune. Most men gamble with her, and gain all, and lose all, as her wheel rolls. But do thou leave as unlawful these winnings, and deal with Cause and Effect, the chancelors of God. In the Will work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance, and shalt sit hereafter out of fear from her rotations.

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