lower thought

Lower Thought Prevents Spiritual Growth

“Too much association with anyone of lower thought may lessen your natural power to attract. You may carry a part of their selfish, cynical, gloomy, or other evil thought with you wherever you go. You put it out with your own. It is felt as a disagreeable alloy with your own.

“Your value and charm for others, as a companion, depends far more on what you think, than on what you say. If your thought is all pure, clean, bright, confident, and courageous, you are a value, and an increasing value wherever you go.

“People will always be glad to see you. When you bring yourself (your thought), you bring an actual pleasure to people. You bring also a power and strength to them. Your thought helps to strengthen their bodies. They feel better for seeing you. You are a fountain of health and pleasure wherever you go. You can disarm the sourest temper, and the person most opposed to you. When you can say in mind, ‘I refuse to look upon any person as my enemy,’ you will have no enemies. When we talk of ‘having enemies,’ and keep on, in thought, looking on certain people as enemies, we are making them enemies.” ~Prentice Mulford

Anyone of Lower Thought

Mulford has an interesting idea of what constitutes “lower thought”. I’m sure we can all agree that thought of murder, rape, theft, and other forms of violence are lower thought, but Mulford goes beyond those obvious kinds of lower thought. He adds to that list selfish, cynical, and gloomy thoughts. I think we can say that he would consider the rampant greed, me-first attitude, and lack of consideration for others among certain groups today to also be lower thought. I agree with him, those are all types of lower thought. And he wisely advises those of us seeking spiritual growth to avoid those of lower thought as much as possible. Obviously, that also means we should try to avoid having such thoughts ourselves. Continue reading “Lower Thought Prevents Spiritual Growth”

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absorbing thoughts

Absorbing Thoughts for Good or Bad

Absorbing Thoughts

“Thought being unseen substance is absorbed by all. If you absorb another person’s thought, it mingles with your own. Then in part, if not in whole, you will think that person’s thought. You will to some extent see, feel, judge, and form opinions, as does that person. You are to greater or lesser extent swayed and influenced by the person. His or her thought, or spirit, has mingles with yours. You are not wholly yourself. You are in part this other person.

“This is as much a mesmerizing power thrown upon you, as that thrown by the mesmerizer on his subject. It works by the same law. If you associate a great deal with another person, are rarely by yourself, and see few others, you will be constantly taking in that person’s thought. If it is in motive and refinement higher than your own, you will be benefited by it. If it be in motive, taste, and refinement lower than yours, you will be injured. Your taste, your refinement, your motive, and judgement, also will be tingled with the thought of the inferior person. … To be closely associated with a person thinking much of the time his or her lower thought, id for you to absorb this thought.” ~Prentice Mulford

Absorbing Thoughts from another Person

Prentice Mulford is not a psychiatrist or brain research doctor, so we must take that into consideration with what he says about absorbing other’s thoughts. I’m not saying he is wrong, only that his statements and conclusions may be overly simplistic.

Two Minds in One

For starters, Mulford doesn’t seem to distinguish in this concept the differences between the conscious mind (not to be confused with Spiritual Consciousness, which is something entirely different) and the subconscious mind. We need to understand that it is the subconscious mind that is being influenced by the thoughts of others, and mostly it is influenced by their subconscious thoughts. While this may be occasionally problematic, it is generally a good thing. It has to do with the fact that our thoughts affect how the world around us appears. It is not, as some suggest, that we are literally changing the world with our thoughts. We are only changing the illusions that hide the real world from us. Continue reading “Absorbing Thoughts for Good or Bad”

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subconscious computer

Subconscious Computer and Negative Thinking

“I want to preach a sermon to everybody, from this test, ‘Consider the lilies of the field,’ because it has nothing in it disagreeable to anybody. It is not a sermon of threat or of warning, but of hope. The world today needs more hope. We are a hopeless lot. We are so, principally, because in so much of the past preaching we have been told how bad we are, and what would happen to us if we kept on in our badness. We are so little told that we heave in us lots of goodness and power. … People who think badly of themselves are pretty sure to do badly. Scripture remarks, ‘As a man or woman thinketh, so is he or she.’ It is when a man thins poorly of himself, that he goes off and gets drunk, or does some mean thing. The pride that makes a man value himself is the pride that keeps him from mean and degrading acts. Our race is now on the point of being woke up to the fact that every man and every woman are the possessors of more powers than now they dream of, and that, when they know how to use these powers, they will steer out of all evil into good.” ~Prentiss Mulford

Sermon of Warning

I wouldn’t have called Mulford’s warning a sermon. That name alone turns off many people these days. That is, in part at least, for the very thing Mulford is talking about. We have preachers who love to tell us how evil we are. How we need to repent. And those who are not telling their congregation such things, are saying it of others. The gays are evil, the Mexicans are evil, the feminists are evil, etc. Any group that they think is not a significant part of their congregation is a potential target for these sermons of hate. Yet, in truth, many of these preachers don’t even hate the ones they are calling evil. They do it simply because it is what their congregation wants to hear. When you tell the congregation what they want to hear, they are more generous in their donations. And sadly, preaching has become more about making money then teaching truth.

When We Believe

Preachers are certainly not the only ones telling us negative things about ourselves. Teachers, parents, government officials, and others contribute also. This might be acceptable of they followed the negative comments with some positive ones, but they rarely do. Even when they do, it may be that they emphasize the negative, or keep the positive to something minor. Just to give an example, which is certainly not something I believe, if someone says, “Mexicans are all knife-wielding murderers, but they dress well,” they have said something positive as well as something negative. But the negative part greatly outweighs the positive, so the overall message is negative.

As Mulford notes, the real danger in all of this comes when we actually start to believe the negative things others say about us, either as an individual or as some group we belong to. It is bad enough that just listening to the negative things others say about us can, to some degree, program out subconscious minds, but when we start to affirm those negative opinions, we are really programming the subconscious mind.

Subconscious Computer

As someone who spent most of his adult life programming computers for a living, I know them fairly well. The thing about computers is that they have no conscience, no morals, no ethics. None at all. They accept everything that is programmed into them and act accordingly. That is how our subconscious mind works as well. It doesn’t judge right or wrong. It accepts anything that it is told as long as it doesn’t conflict with firm beliefs that have been programmed into it. If you keep telling it that you are stupid, it programs you to be stupid. If you tell it you are violent, it programs you to be violent. It is an idiot servant that does whatever you tell it to do. If you tell it, “my parents were poor, my grandparents were poor, so I am doomed to be poor,” it believes you and accepts those instructions and starts doing everything it can to make you stay poor. It’s like we are working against ourselves. But there is a solution.

Reprogramming the Subconscious Computer

The subconscious computer of our mind can be reprogrammed like any other computer. If the programs running on it are not doing what you want them to do, you can modify them or replace them entirely. But here’s where we find a difference between the subconscious computer and something from IBM or Microsoft. With physical computers, it is often far easier to make changes to an existing program rather than replacing it entirely. With the subconscious computer, it is the opposite. It is generally better to completely replace the existing program. Here is why.

With an electronic computer, there is no resistance to change built into it. With the subconscious, there is. When you try to change the subconscious a little at a time, it can find those changes inconsistent with other programming, and reject them. That is why modern psychiatry treats a problem for years and still rarely succeeds in changing a person. They try to modify rather than replace. Other methods that replace have greater success. I have experienced such a method personally. Several years ago, I attended a weekend workshop for Psych-K, a program that uses a form of applied Kinesiology. In just one weekend, I was able to lose a fear of heights. That was because the method replaced the fear program with one of confidence.

Point of Being Awakened

Mulford is correct in saying that we are on the point of being “woke up,” as he put it. He was talking primarily about something mental, but the real awakening is more spiritual. While that subconscious computer does cause many of our problems, it gets much help from the conscious ego. But the best way to get both of those problems solved is awakening the spirit and soul. A fully awakened and conscious soul can take control of the mind. It can keep the ego on a lease, allegorically speaking. It can probably help control the subconscious computer as well. And since spiritual development is more important than physical or mental, it can help reprogram that difficult subconscious computer so that it places spiritual needs at the top of the priority stack.

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worldly thoughts

Worldly Thoughts Drag Us Down

“The thoughts of the world drag the mind down to earthly and corruptible things, and do not suffer it to love God or to remember the Lord. And oftentimes, on the other hand, the unlearned man goes to prayer, and bends the knee, and his mind enters into rest, and deep as he may dig and get below, the wall of evil that withstands him breaks down, and he enters into vision and wisdom, where potentates and wise men and orators cannot penetrate to understand and know the delicacy of his mind, since he is engrossed in divine mysteries. One who is inexperienced in judging of hearts does not know how to value them, for lack of experience. Well, Christians abhor the glorious things of the earth, and account them but dung in comparison with the magnificence of those things—a magnificence which works effectually in them. …

“The adversary never ceases from warring. Satan is merciless in his hatred of men; therefore he never shirks from warring against every man. But he is not seen to set upon all to the same degree.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian

Worldly Thoughts

Yes, worldly thoughts can drag down the mind. More importantly, they can drag down the spirit and soul. But we can’t live in a material world and not think about material things. We would not be able to hold a job, have a home, or even eat if we never thought about worldly things. The trick for the spiritual person is to function in the physical world, but without becoming attached to it. We must think about worldly things, but not let them rule the mind.

Corruptible Things

Macarius calls those worldly things “corruptible”. Usually, we only see that word used in reference to people. Children can be corrupted into becoming thieves or murderers. But things are corruptible because they rot, they age, they rust away. Nothing physical is permanent. Even mountains are worn down by wind and rain. So we don’t want our worldly thoughts to become attached to the temporary and corruptible.

The Unlearned Man

The person who is not well educated often has an advantage when it comes to awakening his spiritual self. He has fewer beliefs and preconceptions that serve to block out the truth that doesn’t agree with those beliefs. The other side of that coin, however, is that the educated person can more easily understand the material that comes through to him when his spiritual faculties are awakened. So both have advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps a good solution would be for the well-educated person to work together with the unlearned one. Then both could learn and comprehend the new spiritual things they are learning. Continue reading “Worldly Thoughts Drag Us Down”

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