Every force and faculty in the mind has a tendency to act in a certain way, to move in a certain direction and to produce certain results. It is evident, therefore, that when we control the tendencies of the mind we may determine the actions of the mind and also what results those actions will naturally produce. In addition we may determine whether we are to go forward or backward, towards inferiority or superiority. To control mental tendencies we must control that from which tendencies arise.
Some people are exact externalizations of a single predominating mental state while others form their personalities from a group of mental states. But since every mental state originated in some tiny impression, we understand what may become of us when we permit every impression to follow its natural tendency. Every large object, physical or metaphysical, has a tendency to draw all smaller objects into its own path, and also to make all things in its atmosphere like unto itself. This, however, is partly prevented by counteracting tendencies, though the law is an important one and should be thoroughly understood.
In the metaphysical world the understanding of this law is especially important in the building of character and in the development of talents. If you have good character it means that the strongest tendencies of mind are wholesome, elevating and righteous in their nature, while if your character is weak there is not one elevating tendency that is strong enough to predominate in the world of conduct. A perverted character is always the result of descending tendencies with the ascending tendencies too insignificant to exercise and influence.
The fact that weak characters as well as perverted characters sometimes perform noble acts, and that the finest characters sometimes degrade themselves, is readily explained by the law of mental tendencies. In the first case the better tendencies are permitted occasionally to act without interference, while in the second case we find degrading tendencies arising temporarily, possibly through the influence of suggestion. These adverse tendencies, however, could not have exercised any power over conduct had the strong, ascending tendencies been active. But the strongest tendencies may at times be inactive, and it is at these times that a good man may fall, and the other kind show acts of goodness.
When you think more of the external things of life than that which is within, you create in consciousness a tendency to dwell on the surface. The result is you become superficial in proportion and finally become much inferior to what you were. On the other hand, when you think much of those things that are lofty and profound you create in consciousness a tendency to penetrate the deeper things in life. And the result is you become conscious of a larger world of thought, thereby increasing your mental capacity as well as placing yourself in a position where you may make valuable discoveries or formulate ideas of worth.
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When you place questionable pictures before minds that are not established in purity, you create in those minds a tendency to immoral desire, and if those tendencies are continued such desires may become too strong to be controlled, and the victims will seek gratification even at the risk of life. This illustrates how powerful a mental tendency may become and how easily a wrong tendency may be produced when we do not exercise full control over those impressions that may enter the mind.
That man who thinks a great deal about spotless virtue and keeps the idea of virtue constantly before attention will soon create such a strong tendency to virtue that all desires and feelings will actually become virtuous. In consequence it will be simplicity itself for such a person to be virtuous, for when you are virtuous you do not have to try to be. You do not have to resist or fight desires which you do not want because all your desires have become tendencies towards clean and wholesome living. Your energies do not create grosser feelings any more, but have been trained to create vitality, energy, force and power instead.
Here we, should remember that when the predominating tendencies of mind are towards virtue all creative energies will become constructive, and will build up body and mind instead of being dissipated through some desire that is not even normal.
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Another illustration of mental tendency and how mental tendency determines mental action is found in the man who is ambitious. Through the efforts of that ambition he is daily training all the tendencies of the mind to act upon the faculties needed to carry out his plans, and he is in consequence building up those faculties with the added force and nourishment thus accumulated. This proves that whenever you resolve to accomplish certain things you will certainly succeed in proportion to your ability. But by resolve we do not mean mere mental spurts. A resolve to be genuine must be constant, and must never waver in the strength of its force and determination. The reason why such a resolve must eventually win is found in the study of mental tendencies; that is, in the realization of the fact that we go as our tendencies go, where we directed them in their first stages.
When we think a great deal about the refined side of life we create tendencies that will cause all the forces within us to re-create everything in our systems according to a more refined pattern. Therefore, to be refined will before long become second nature, provided we keep constantly before our minds the highest idea of refinement that we can mentally picture. This illustrates how the control of mental tendency may absolutely change an individual from the most ordinary state of grossness to the highest state of refinement.
A striking illustration of the power of mental tendency is found in connection with the belief of the average mind that the body decays and grows old. For this reason we find in practically all-human personalities a tendency to produce decay and age in the body. And this tendency is actually bringing about decay and old age where there would be no such conditions whatever were the tendency absent. Nature renews your body every few months and there is no natural process of decay in year system. If your system decays, you yourself have created the process of decay, either through mental or physical violation of natural laws, and by permitting those violations to become permanent tendencies.
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If there is a process in your system that makes you look older every year, that process is a false one. It is not placed there by nature. You yourself have produced it by perpetuating the tendency to get older, a tendency that invariably arises from the belief that we must get older. The tendency to become weaker in body and mind as the years go by is also a creation of your own. It is not natural to become weaker with the passing of years. On the contrary, it is natural to become stronger the longer you live, and it is just as easy for you to create a tendency to become stronger the longer you live as it is to create the reverse. In like manner you can also create the tendency to become more attractive in personality, more powerful in mind, stronger in character and more beautiful in soul the longer you live.
However, we must eliminate all detrimental tendencies of the mind, and to do so we must find their origin. In many instances we are born with these adverse tendencies although many of them are acquired later in life. Those tendencies with which we are born generally become stronger and stronger, through our own tendency to follow the groove in which we are placed. We find, therefore, that it is always a mistake to live in a groove or to continue year after year to do a certain thing in the same usual way. Our object should be to break bounds constantly and to improve upon everything. Nothing is more important than change, provided every change is a constructive change.
Every impression that we form in the mind is a seed that may grow a tendency. Therefore we should not only eliminate all such impressions as we refuse to cultivate, but we should also prevent inferior and perverse impressions from entering the mind in the first place. To do this, however, we must be constantly on watch so that nothing can enter the mind through our senses which we do not wish to possess and perpetuate.
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When we see people growing old, or rather becoming old through the operation of certain false tendencies, the impression of an aging process will stamp itself upon our minds if we permit it. Such impressions contain the tendency to produce the same aging process in us and it usually receives our permission to have its way. Thus we cause the aging process to become stronger and stronger in us the more we see it in others until we soon discover that we are actually creating for ourselves older bodies every year.
The new bodies that nature gives us every year are thus made to look older than the new bodies of the year before, which is a direct violation of natural law. Then we also sing with much feeling about the death and decay that is everywhere about us, and entertain thoughts of a similar nature by the wholesale. But all these indications of death and decay in our environments were not produced by nature. They were produced by false mental tendencies that arose through false belief about life and human nature.
The same is true regarding all other adverse tendencies that may exist in us or in those with whom we associate. When we see the action of those tendencies in others we receive impressions upon our own minds that have it in them to produce the same tendencies in us, which will later bring about the same adverse consequences in us.
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Therefore we must not permit our minds to be impressed with anything in our environment that is contrary to what is true in the perfect nature of man. In other words, we must never permit any mental impression that comes from the weak, the adverse or the wrong conditions about us, but we should permit all things that are good and constructive to impress our minds more and more deeply every day.
We have been in the habit of thinking that various things were natural and inevitable because we see them everywhere about us, but when we discover that we have made a great many of these things ourselves and that they are all wrong, and that it is just as easy to make them different, we conclude that it is time to begin all over again. But to begin, we must transform all the tendencies of the mind so that all of them will move in the way we wish to go.
We may wish to enter health, but if there are tendencies to disease in our systems, and especially in the subconscious, our physical bodies will evolve more or less disease every year. Therefore this tendency must be changed to one of health before we can have what we desire in this respect. In other words, every action in the human system must be a health producing action and such will be the case when all the tendencies of the system have perfect health as their goal. The same is true regarding all other desires, tendencies or objects we may have in view.
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The first question, therefore, to ask is this: Where am I going? or rather, Where are the tendencies of my mind going? Are those tendencies moving towards sin, sickness, decay, weakness and failure, or are they moving towards the reverse? We must look at ourselves closely and learn whether those tendencies are moving where we wish to go, or moving towards conditions that we know to be wrong or detrimental. And when we find where these tendencies are moving we must proceed to change them if they are wrong, and this we can do by producing right mental tendencies in their stead.
When we look at the tendencies of our mind we can largely determine what our own future is to be, provided we do not change those tendencies later on. Then when we know that our present physical conditions, our present strength, our present ability, our present character, our present attainments and our present achievements are all the consequences of the way our mental tendencies have been moving, and also that we have lived, thought and acted according to those tendencies -when we know these things, we shall have found knowledge of priceless value, and by applying that knowledge we can make our own future as we wish it to be.
The question is, whither are we drifting, not physically but mentally, because it is the way we drift mentally that determines both the actions of the mind and the actions of the body. And our mental tendencies answer this question. As they go so do we go.
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What we are creating, what we are building, what we are developing --these things depend upon how the tendencies of the mind are directed. Therefore the proper course to pursue is to determine where we wish to go, in what direction and when. Then establish in mind what we wish to accomplish and how soon.
Know what you want and what you want to be. Then examine all the tendencies of your mind. All those which are not going the way you want to go must be changed, while all those that are already going your way should be given more and more power.
Then do not waver in your purpose. Never look back, let nothing disturb your plans, and keep your highest aspirations too sacred to be mentioned. You will find that if you will pursue this course you will go where you wish to go, you will achieve what you have planned, and your destiny will be as you desire.
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