Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton > Category 11: The Negatives > Chapter 4: In Thoughts, Feelings, Violent Passions
In Thoughts, Feelings, Violent Passions
There is too much criticism abroad today, too little affirmation. Millions of men think and live largely on negatives.
It is because all humanity is approaching the threshold of a new era, a better era, that all the devils of the old era put forth their fiercest efforts, whilst there is yet a little time, to degrade human character, to drag it down into the hells of the worst forces and emotions--hate, envy, aggressiveness, and brutality.
If there is physical pollution in the atmosphere, the water, and the earth, there is another kind in humans, a moral depravity and mental baseness not less repellent.
If there is so much friction, violence, and tension in the world, it is only because so many individual persons themselves are inwardly experiencing these things. They fill the world's aura with bad thoughts which, if sustained, prolonged, and strong enough, break out on the physical level into undesirable or evil happenings. If there is so little real peace in the world, it is only because there is so little real peace in the individuals who live in the world. Their thinking, their emotions, and their passions have affected the mental atmosphere of the world.
The most violent selfish passions and the most aggressive of emotional urges abound in this decade only because they have been brought up to the surface the better to attack and curb them.
Just as association with a master throws the disciple's virtues and vices to the surface, so contact with the higher forces being released in the world brings both great evil and great spirituality to the surface. The evil, in the disciple's as in humanity's case, must manifest itself so that it may not lurk untouched but may be got at, grappled with, and eventually destroyed. Let us not misunderstand appearances, therefore. Since last century, things have been getting worse only to get better. Today most people feel frustrated, restless, and discontented. They search for happiness here and there, in this thing or that thing, through one person or another, or by moving from excitement to sensation. All this is their unconscious reaction to the new spiritual forces arising in their midst and destined to be vigorously active in a couple of hundred years.
Today humanity has largely lost faith in itself, doubts its goodness, worries about its future, and is bewildered about its present.
Compulsive fears and corrosive anxieties, enfeebling doubts and neurotic complexes trouble the minds of so many millions in our age, as thwarted hopes and enchaining environments depress their hearts.
Idealism presses them to become servants of Good; passion distorted into destructive violence deceives them into becoming servants of Evil.
The thoughts which have gestated unspoken in men's minds and the feelings which have fermented unexpressed in their hearts have been and are being thrown up to the surface through the upheavals of our times, externalized, as it were, in their events.
Humanity did not come into its present grievous situation by chance. The whole picture of thoughts and their consequences, passions and their evils, acts and their effects, must be seen under the light of immutable karmic law.
The policy of fear and suspicion has not brought peace nearer; but, on the contrary, pushed it farther away.
We live in a world which, today, is populated with too many madmen, too many unbalanced maladjusted persons. But because they are not actually raving and jumping so as easily to be identified for what they are, this is seldom understood.
Racial antipathy leading to actual violence is not limited to man, although it is only the less evolved humans who resort to it. In the tropics one sees black ants fighting the red ones, mutilating and even killing each other.
This is the final tragedy of Man: that he lets himself go along with destructive forces which in the end could gravely injure the whole species, when he could go along with the constructive ones.
This fleshly body, in which we live and move and have our being, has, through sex and sport, become a cult to the modern world. We fall in our millions, prostrate votaries at its shrine, forgetful that its quick growth is followed by quick decay, that our idol is doomed to crumble. Too many moments of highest enthusiasm on the part of youth are often reserved for the new religion--sport. A whole theology has been built up around the strokes of a bat and the throws of a ball; hard hitters are now canonized as saints. He who throws his ball far enough may yet send himself, with it, to the new heavenly Jerusalem! And as for sex, the passions and emotions of the young are deliberately stimulated by the arts of literature, journalism, cinema, and advertising just at the age when they ought to be disciplined.
How little men collectively learn from the past is shown by every textbook of history, which teems with constant repetitions of the ugliest passions.
The world-wide condition of the human mass, its hates, ignorance, and violence, brings despair to many a thoughtful mind.
Violence is a destructive force which in the end and when excessive destroys even itself.
Among the negative emotions we must include prejudice and bias.
The negative emotions include arrogance and vanity, cowardice and moral weakness.
All the negative thoughts and feelings show a misuse of mental power.
Temptations and beguilements, illusions and deceptions, beset the path of ordinary life just as they do the inner life of the quest. But in the latter case they may also assume a subtler form. Here there are telepathic, psychic, spiritualistic, and neurotic possibilities.
There are times when a person is more vulnerable to attack by negative thought than at other times. In great emotional excitement, anger, or passion of any kind, we are most susceptible.
The symptoms of neuroticism have been well analysed by psychiatrists. They all sum up to a single thing: intensity of egoistic emotion. This is disturbing to the mental balance of the neurotic person and tiring to those who have contact with him.
The negative thoughts and feelings include: excessive or constant criticism, pride, and conceit.
Pride may prevent the self-confession of a shortcoming or a blunder. Thus it does the ego's dark work.
The inhuman and destructive attitudes, unsympathetic and unpitying, are a sign of the evil presence at work in our midst.
While men seem permanently estranged from their spiritual selves, we need not wonder at the despair and hopelessness, the cynicism and selfishness, which enter into the moods of so many people today.
Ignorance breeds violence and violence in its turn breeds further violence.
If our desires choke the inner peace which might be ours during times of prosperity, our fears choke it during times of adversity.
There are men who are in a cycle of going down deeper into selfishness, illusion, spiritual ignorance, and extroversion. They have yet to touch the bottom of this descent, a contact which many older egos have also made before, but long ago left for the upward climb. Although the redemptive return of these unseeing entities is assured, for they cannot eternally and ultimately deny their own inmost nature, nevertheless they will respond to the blackest evil during the present phase of their descent. They are called "the Asuras" in the Bhagavad Gita, "the men of hatred, greed, and lust."
Lost religious faith is one link in a chain of which degraded morals is the next.
The hopelessness which mankind's situation naturally leads to is not less divinely-intended than any other effect of destiny's turn.
Many people in Europe must feel they have no future to live for and only an apathetic present in which just to exist, not live. Since God permits this, evidently God perceives its value in the evolutionary scheme.
Yes, there is odious evil in the world--much of it petty but some of it quite monstrous. It takes its genesis in the thoughts of men.
Mentalism says that most of one's misery is inflicted on oneself by accepting and holding negative thoughts. They cover and hide the still centre of one's being, which is infinite happiness.
Whereas all the great prophets like Jesus and Krishna make a religion out of love, the demonists make a religion out of hatred.
Those who constantly indulge in savage criticism of persons or principles, who are saturated with negative thoughts and feelings, have never seen the Light nor felt its peace.
There is something in the old Zoroastrian doctrines after all. Ormuzd and Ahriman are ever at war for the world: Stupidity and Wisdom are ever struggling in battle. Every great truth has to fight its way anew. Enemies are obstinate and entrenched, while the memory of man is weak.
The mind's power is being unscrupulously misused when it seeks to influence others against their own interest and for its selfish purpose.
Where there is fierce hatred or monstrous cruelty, be sure that evil forces are present too.
You may dispense to others only what you have yourself. If your mind is steeped in nihilism, it will be despair which you offer them at worst, or selfish cynicism at best.
Men who are otherwise capable of correct judgement and sane conduct, as in their business activity, will reveal a paranoid imagination or pernicious delusion when racial, class, religious, or aesthetic prejudice gets into their head or eyes.
The use of blood in animal sacrifices is a legacy from Atlantean sorcery. It is evil, and found only among peoples who have not attained the refinement of consciousness and development of conscience which accompany a higher conception of God.
The terrible fact is that millions of so-called sane men and women are so unbalanced, so hysterical, and so obsessed, that they are really half insane. They are dangerous to themselves and to society.
The average person who thinks he belongs to the human species, has still a long way to travel before he becomes a full member. Only half of him has become human. The rest is still an animal, in whom the killing instinct is still active enough to punctuate his history with fighting wars and his diet with eating flesh.
His animal ancestry has provided man with the killing instinct. His human cleverness has provided him with the most effective weapons to express that instinct. His spiritual aspiration has not evolved to the level where it should be--above the other two and restraining them.
There are other manifestations of this killing instinct, this lust to slay another living creature. We see it in the child who tears wings off a fly.
Brutality and cruelty are especially linked with the minds and actions of those persons swayed by evil forces, whether physical or psychical.
There is enough unpleasantness or evil in the world in which we have to live. We should avoid getting involved in it so far as we can. This applies to activity and also to receptivity through reading, through entertainment, and other uses of leisure.
When adult people begin to accept, and their young children to demand, entertainment by the daily portrayal of sadistic violence or obscenity, when those who feel outraged by this situation have become a small minority, we have to assume that decadence, bad manners, and low moral standards are triumphant.
The school of journalism and periodical-filling these days is preoccupied with the ego, with personality: the universal and impersonal does not attract or interest. Moreover, it is only the bestial, the negative, the petty, and the surface characteristics of the ego which hold their scribblers' attention. Prying, meddlesome, trivial gossip and pulling others to pieces is a favourite sport.
There must be censorship in an era of annually increasing crime. How many films and stage plays, books and magazines are let loose on an undisciplined world packed with detailed suggestions for immorality and criminality. This is not entertainment: it is evil. So many composed pieces are almost textbooks for the susceptible imitative young on how to start self-destructive, antisocial, selfish careers, how to yield to fleshly promptings without exercising the slightest restraint.
We would not allow full freedom of movement to plague-carrying rats in our kitchens and homes. Yet we allow these human carriers of mental plague the freedom to print and publish, declaim, and propagate their poisonous suggestions and negative ideas, their pornography and violence, their hates and moral subversion, their evil.
The young worshippers of new art forms in the pop and rock world are the same ones who contributed to the ranks of drug takers and, later, hatha yoga. They need violent thrills to sustain their interest. That is, they are primarily pleasure-seekers, not spiritual seekers. They are governed by moods and impulses.
The romantic rubbish which fills the ears and attracts the eyes of the modern young through the communications media leads them into false pictures of the life which awaits them and so into false values.
When a civilization finds its pleasure in witnessing plays which explore all aspects of pornography, seeing films exploring all aspects of brutality and crime, permitting sports as cruel as fox-hunting, it has become low in morals, vulgar in taste, and self-destructive in its karma. It will fall, as Rome fell, as feudal Japan's last phase fell.
Ways of responding
These negative emotions are just like physical ills: they too require treatment, and are not to be left in neglect.
These negative thoughts have a habit of pushing themselves into his consciousness. He must just as often resolutely push them out again.
In every human difficulty there are two ways open to us. The common way is familiar enough: it consists in reacting egoistically and emotionally with self-centered complaint, irritability, fear, anger, despair, and so on. The uncommon way is taken by a spiritually minded few: it consists in making something good out of something bad, in reacting selflessly, calmly, constructively, and hopefully. This is the way of practical philosophy, this attempt to transform what outwardly seems so harmful into what inwardly at least must be markedly beneficent. It is a magical work. But it can only be done by deep thought, self-denial, and love. If the difficulty is regarded as both a chance to show what we can do to develop latent resources as well as a test of what we have already developed, it can be made to help us. Even if we do not succeed in changing an unfavourable environment for the better, such an approach would to some extent change ourselves for the better. We must accept, with all its tremendous implications for our past, present, and future, that we are ultimately responsible for the conditions which stamp our life. Such acceptance may help to shatter our egoism and that, even though it is painful, will be all to the good. Out of its challenge can come the most blessed change in ourselves.
Truth twisted into service of the lower purposes or even the evil forces must be carefully inspected, analysed, and lastly corrected or rejected.
Whenever a strong impulse becomes uppermost and inclines him toward some deed or speech of a negative kind, he had better scrutinize its source or nature as quickly as he can.
A young officer working on a ship wrote that he would awaken during the night and discover himself under an undesirable physical and mental condition. He seemed to be clearly in a mesmerized condition, caused by someone or something giving the powerful posthypnotic suggestion to wake up and obey. The remedy is to use the same technique in reverse. That is, practise auto-hypnosis, give the self-suggestion that on waking up there will be full consciousness and full rejection of the negative idea.
If he must hate something, let him hate hatred itself.
The storms of violent passion are to be resisted as the smoothness of inner peace is to be invited.
To keep one's temper in a single provocative situation may be easy, but to keep it consistently equable is a real feat.
Life is a conflict. He must not let these negative feelings take up lodgement within him longer than a single moment.
All mankind must awake from its materialistic apathy and cast out something of its selfishness. It is called upon to renounce its violence and meannesses, its intolerances, unkindnesses, and injustices. It must either emerge from its animal brutality or else suffer itself to be extinguished by it. It must come out from the shadows of ignorance, selfishness, and materialism. Only then will it find the sunshine of a larger life that awaits it.
It is not always he himself who acts in a particular way at a particular time. Impulses from lower sources or outside contacts may be strong enough to push him into deeds which are regretted afterwards. But then intuitions from higher levels or outside sources may influence him to wise choices which bless his future.
We must not hate those who are born of the same divine essence as ourselves but we may hate the sins they perpetrate and the evil they radiate.
The seeker has to contend not only with limiting environments but also with internal enemies. Apathy delays him, depression obstructs him, and loneliness frustrates him.
The more he becomes sensitive, intuitive, responsive to the spirit, the more he is unfolding exceptional passivity. But this puts him in peril, for he feels the negative presence too. Hence the more he must restrict his contacts until his strength is above them.
It is prudent to escape from a situation where there is much pressure to commit a foolish action or to make a foolish decision leading to calamitous results--and not continue to stay in it until the danger materializes.
One whose presence is felt to be odious, whose personality is regarded as distasteful, is better left alone.
He should never allow the actions or words of ignorant men to arouse in him reactions of anger, envy, or resentment.
The years are too few and there is too much to be done--both on oneself and for oneself--to waste them in negative, resentful thought and decaying, neurotic emotion.
When he comes to understand its importance, he will begin to exercise some vigilance over his thoughts.
Resist beginnings--that is the most practical way to deal with negatives.
The destructive thoughts of fear and self-doubt which whine at your door, whine at the door of every man. But you can make them powerless to hurt you. For--
There is no chance, no destiny, no fate Can circumvent, can
hinder or control The firm resolve of a determined soul!
If the negative thought persists then he has to wrench himself away from it with the assent and use of all his being--feeling, reason, intuition.
His own attitude towards events holds the power to make them good or bad, whatever their nature of itself may be.
Those who are unable to think correctly about this tragic world situation must be pardoned, but those who refuse to think correctly about it do not deserve pardon.
The counsel of Jesus to "resist not evil" does not apply to other men's acts but to our own thoughts. We are to turn aside from a negative thought-habit by the simple method of substituting the opposite and positive one. We need not spend our strength resisting the thought of misery, for example. We are to substitute hope for misery, whenever the latter appears.
Wrong-doing will be avoided not because it is punished by the law of recompense even when it is not punished by the law of society, but because of the strong inner conviction that right-doing is its own reward, its own satisfaction.
The beautiful is allied to the good. If we cultivate beautiful feelings, evil ones begin to get dissolved.
He will not risk rebuffs by expressing his views and describing his experiences to the uncomprehending or the unsympathetic.
It is cowardice to refuse to face the fact that one has made a mistake and to continue following the same course because it is difficult to stop it and return to the right road. The easier way is too often the worse way, leading to trouble for one's self and others.
There is a limit to the extent of concessions to prejudice; we must not move beyond it.
Beware of those whose mind is vindictive and whose speech is venomous.
It is of little use to meet irrational arguments with rational statements if they are born of emotional prejudice or passionate bias.
The crowds which delighted in the gladiator shows of ancient Rome and, to a lesser extent, those which delighted in the bullfights of modern Spain, do not seem to understand how bestial they allow themselves to become at such times. The true human being, the fully evolved man, must have the quality of pity in him if he is to be distinguished from a member of the animal species.
The old Chinese saying that where goodwill exists agreement will not be hard to find, still remains true.
Do not attempt to fight evil with evil. Overcome it by calling on a higher power to bring out the good in you wherewith to meet it. In this way you obey Jesus' counsel, "Resist not evil."
Synesius (fourth century): "This would be the most extreme of ills--not to be conscious of the presence of evil. For this is the condition of those who no longer try to rise. . . . for this reason repentance is an elevating means . . . [but] both deeds and words [must] lend a helping hand."
A philosopher may not ignore the negative side of his or another's life: he has to deal with it because circumstances force him, like everyone else, to do so. But his way will be different, because he will use all his faculties and capacities: intellectual, practical, and intuitive. He will keep calm and not let passion or negative emotion carry him away. But all that done, he hands over the results to the higher power (which includes destiny). His mind must stay in That which transcends negativity, sin, evil, even if he must grapple with them.
Philosophy will not disregard the bad in others, and the sin in ourselves, but having seen them clearly it does not react negatively in useless condemnation. Instead, it reacts constructively in trying to realize the meaning of evil, the consequence of sin, and then proceeds to cultivate the opposite quality, the good of that particular evil--as honesty where there is dishonesty and so on.
We may regret the existence of these faults in others, but we may not refuse to recognize them if practical dealings are involved.
Amid all the pessimistic reflections which the state of the world so easily induces in the thinking man, he may yet be buoyed up by the hope which the eternal verities must again and again give him, that is, the hope that the end of it all will be immeasurably better.
The existentialist view--so popular with so many younger people today--that we begin with oblivion and end with annihilation, that what comes between is either meaningless or mysterious, with no solutions to problems, no answers to questions, is a view which the tragedy and evil and catastrophe of our times tempt us to accept. But religion and philosophy release us from this despair.
In such critical times as these even some faith in the existence of a higher power, and some aspiration towards serving it, has protective value.
Trust, not tension: trust in the higher power producing serenity rather than tension; because of the pressures of life this is a great need today.
However dark or desperate world history may seem at times, we must always remember no one can disrupt the divine World-Idea, or spoil its manifestation, or prevent its glorious outcome.
Fear of the power and cunning of these evil opponents causes them to rely on obvious but ordinary human forces and weapons for protection. They forget the divine forces they could, and should in this crisis, call on--and neglect the superhuman and extraordinary.
To express a half-amused contempt for the intelligence of our time is not at all the same thing as to make a jaundiced indictment of it. To witness the magnificent parade of a civilization of almost unredeemed triviality is less likely to arouse bitterness in the soul and more likely to give it a good half-hour's amusement.
On the one hand, carried away by the idealistic enthusiasm and millennial promises of merely emotionalist cults, some believe that a spiritual teaching has only to be propagated and it will spread triumphantly everywhere. On the other hand, confronted by the formidable spectacle of a whole world plunged in ignorance, conscious that the ordinary individual can do so little to uplift it, others drift into bewildered defeatism and actually do nothing at all. But this second attitude, although much more sensible and much more justifiable than its opposite one, is not quite philosophical.
According to the old classical fable, we had to look for truth in the bottom of a well; today we have to look for it in the bottom of a bitter disillusionment.
In the dismal world conditions of today it is a paramount necessity to obtain some glimpse, however meagre, of the divine plan which is working out for all our lives. Only in this way can we co-operate with it understandingly and adequately.
Instead of relying on flight into the unknown and uncertain, it is better to rely on God. In the first case he may be making a false escape and duping himself, but in the second case he opens the way for true guidance in the matter.
With peace in the mind and harmony in the feelings, both completed by knowledge of the universal presence of divinity--who could harbour evil thoughts, hatreds, or destructive plans?
Every evil person who crosses our path provides an opportunity, in the injury he attempts to do us, to keep ourselves from being provoked into retaliation, anger, or resentment. If we succeed in overcoming our own feelings, we mount upward a step.
In a negative situation, where negative criticisms and negative emotions are rampant, other persons may try to involve him in it, or at least get him to support their attitude and endorse their criticism. But a feeling may come over him preventing him from doing so. If so, he should obey and remain silent. With time the rightness of this course will be confirmed.
When Confucius was asked his opinion of the injunction to return good for evil, he answered, "With what then will you return good? Return good for good, but justice for evil." Is this not wiser counsel? Does not the other push goodness to an extremist position, rendering it almost ridiculous by condoning bad conduct?
Inner and outer difficulties are often related. What appears to be an ugly state of affairs may well be a definite attack of certain evil forces using interested human instruments. In such a situation, the individual should never practise nonresistance in any way, but, on the contrary, should fight them off as hard as he can. At the same time, he must remember that weakness in self-control can give these evil forces an opening which they might not have had otherwise. He must be on his guard if he wishes to emerge victorious in the struggle. If he does not throw off this condition, he, himself, unwittingly erects a barrier through which the divine help sent him finds it difficult to penetrate. Although the temptation to seek release at such a time through, for example, the easy way of drink is understandable, he must nevertheless remember the duty he owes to his spiritual life, to his personal interest on the relative plane, and to others.
Although the student must forgive those who mistreat him, he need not think that forgiveness implies he has to associate with such people thereafter. Whenever the thought of them, or their abuse, comes into his mind he must exert his willpower to drive it out, and immediately direct his thoughts toward God, or toward any inspired individual in whom he has faith.
Only the sage is entitled to dismiss evil and to deny its existence: all others must look it in the face, understand it, and overcome it by slow gradations.
It is better to keep out of the way of evil men, especially when they are in power as Buddha advised, until or unless we are driven by the necessity of circumstance or the inward voice of duty to oppose ourselves to them.
It is always a certainty that the practice of active goodwill directed toward those who regard him harshly will benefit his own development, while it is always a possibility that this practice may dissolve the harsh feeling against him. It is all gain and no loss. This is one part of the case for Jesus' advice to return good for evil.
It is a technique of this evil power to paralyse its intended victims by frightening them. If we give way to fear, we give aid to its effort. It cannot be beaten without open defiance and ready valour.
You must remember that you will meet with those individuals who are themselves the bearers of antagonistic forces, instruments of darkness--sometimes consciously, mostly unconsciously, people used by evil forces. So far as possible you must avoid such people. Certainly never enter into intimate association with them, whether the relation be business or personal. If you do you will find that sooner or later some of their unfortunate karma will tumble on you and you will have to suffer with them. These people are opposed to your quest and all that it stands for, although they may talk as believers in spiritual things--indeed, they often belong to some cult or other. But they do not understand truth or live it. They cannot help you and you are not strong enough to carry them. So leave them alone. And that is not always easy, because often they are people of a kind that force themselves into your life. Sometimes you can know them by this hallmark, by this aggressive way which they try to entangle you. It may even be necessary at times to deal with such people with a firm hand, even mercilessly and relentlessly. If so, do not hesitate, but do it without any personal feeling of any kind.
Men who are wholly selfish, cunning, combative, ambitious, and unscrupulous represent the dark principle and become dangerous to society.
Sentimentality is not spirituality. It is true we give our goodwill to all mankind, and so we give it to those who are the instruments of dark forces. But that does not mean weakness or foolishness in our dealings with them. Life will teach them. Leave them alone.
"Brotherhood? No, be the thought far from me. They are Adam's children--alas, yes, I well remember that, and never shall forget it; this rage and sorrow. But they have gone over to the dragons; they have quitted the Father's house, and set up with the Old Serpent; till they return, how can they be brothers? They are enemies, deadly to themselves and to me and to you, till then; till then, while hope yet lasts I will treat them as brothers fallen insane."--Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamphlets
Those who have scientifically engaged in psychical research know that a psychological belt wherein a host of evil earth-bound spirits are congregated surrounds this planet. Psychical researchers are aware too that such obsessing entities become most active at night, as anyone may discover by watching the conduct of a possessed person.
The wise man refuses to accept removable evils and avoidable sufferings.
A human being can be infested astrally with psychic vermin as he can be with physical vermin.
If he finds himself brought by circumstances into the society of evil-minded people, the first step to self-protection should be to switch the mind instantly into remembrance of the witness-self and to keep it there throughout the period of contact. To turn inwards persistently when in the presence of such discordant persons is to nullify any harmful or disturbing effect they might otherwise have on our thoughts.
This instant and unhesitating turning inward is also an effective method of insulating oneself against the currents of fear, despair, and weakness which misfortune often generates.
If the student feels evil forces have attacked him from time to time, let him pray earnestly every day for self-purification and make the sign of the cross whenever he becomes aware of their presence, at the same time invoking the help of whatever power or personage he feels inspires him most.
In times of terrible danger he should stick to his faith in the divine power as a protective talisman. Whenever he is in difficulty he should drop all fear and trouble temporarily from his mind and imagine himself handing them over to his higher Self, thereby surrendering himself to its will, help, and protection.
When there is evidence of being obsessed by a spirit-entity, the only radical cure is exorcism. Unless one has the guidance of an adept, the following is suggested: First, he should try sleeping with a green-coloured night light burning throughout the night. It should be placed not more than eighteen inches from the bed. If this fails, then an ordinary non-coloured electric bulb may be substituted, thus giving a stronger light. The inconvenience of trying to sleep with the bedroom illuminated will only exist for a few days or a few weeks and will vanish as the eyes become accustomed to the new habit. It may even be averted by covering the eyes with a black silk bandage. In addition to this, he must pray, and combine this with creative meditation, wherein he actually pictures the freed condition desired during the night. He should also pray and meditate prior to retiring.
One must learn to control his thoughts--deliberately driving out the memory of undesirable psychic experiences or of any individual possessing "evil powers." He should take the protective words "Lo--I AM With You Always" and repeat them to himself, trying to realize their truth and meaning.
The student who has got involved with sorcery or black magic must cut off every possible connection and communication with the source of evil. Then, he must destroy or get rid of any articles or writings in his possession coming from it. He must express repentance for his errors of judgement and pray for guidance in the future.
He needs for such psychic encounters the faith, the courage, and the knowledge which may come with time and growth. He needs such an attitude as George Fox had when, thrust into a cell haunted by the ghosts of men's murderers, he exclaimed, "I told them if all the spirits and devils in hell were there, I was over them in the power of God, and feared no such thing."
He who is confronted with a choice of evils must call in the help of the higher power.
Even trouble can be turned to self-educative uses, and some kind of benefit gained out of the experience. But this can happen more easily and more quickly only if the willingness to learn is there, and only if a corresponding surrender of self is present. It is then that so-called evil is converted to so-called good.
What Jesus taught nearly two thousand years ago, and what the Buddha taught nearly five hundred years before him, is still true--even more true, if that could be, for it has the proofs afforded by all history during that time: hatred cannot end by being returned, nothing will dissolve it save a generous and patient goodwill.
A friend who has turned against you and become an enemy can be met in a better way. Instead of getting angry or resentful for his unkind words or actions, try to turn him over benevolently to the higher power. If you succeed in entering the Stillness for a period with your last thought being such a wish for him, this will be, in the end, more effective. It will make it possible for his attitude to be modified and for your own hurt feelings to calm down. The more you forget him in the Stillness, the better the result will be for both of you.
Zoroastrian religion associates grief with the evil principle, and therefore shuns it.
Summon the strength to refuse to receive other people's negative opinions. Say plainly that they are certainly entitled to their views, but you would rather not discuss them and would prefer some other subject--providing it is positive.
Instead of hating your enemy, and meeting bombs with your bombs, his sin with your sin, try another way, Christ's way. This involves real risk, moral courage, and mental flexibility. It requires willingness to endure and suffer for what is right, a trust in spiritual principle rather than in brute power.
He is competent to deal with life who equips himself to deal with its darker sides as well as with its brighter ones, with its difficulties and sufferings no less than with its joys and successes.
We cannot ignore the spirit of our times without inviting failure, and we cannot despise it without inviting danger. We must needs face its reality.
Throw out negative feelings, expel resentments against other persons, and you will be a better and happier person.
Every negative thought about others nip at once by a smile to yourself, looking at your higher Self dealing with it.
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