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Psychic Influence; Its Laws And Principles

One of the phases of psychic phenomena that actively engage the attention
of the student from the very beginning is that which may be called Psychic
Influence. By this term is meant the influencing of one mind by
another--the effect of one mind over another. There has been much written
and said on this phase of the general subject in recent years, but few
writers, however, have gone deeply into the matter.

In the first place, most of the writers on the subject seek to explain the
whole thing by means of ordinary telepathy. But this is merely a one-sided
view of the truth of the matter. For, while ordinary telepathy plays an
important part in the phenomena, still the higher form of telepathy, i.e.,
astral thought-transference, is frequently involved. The student who has
followed me in the preceding lessons will understand readily what I mean
when I say this, so there is no necessity for repetition on this point at
this place.

At this point, however, I must ask the student to consider the idea of
psychic vibrations and their inductive power. It is a great principle of
occultism, as well as of modern science, that everything is in a state of
vibration--everything has its own rate of vibration, and is constantly
manifesting it. Every mental state is accompanied by vibration of its own
plane: every emotional state or feeling has its own particular rate of
vibration. These rates of vibrations manifest just as do the vibrations of
musical sound which produce the several notes on the scale, one rising
above the other in rate of vibration. But the scale of mental and
emotional states is far more complex, and far more extended than is the
musical scale; there are thousands of different notes, and half-notes, on
the mental scale. There are harmonies and discords on that scale, also.

To those to whom vibrations seem to be something merely connected with
sound-waves, etc., I would say that a general and hasty glance at some
elementary work on physical science will show that even the different
shades, hues and tints of the colors perceived by us arise from different
rates of vibrations. Color is nothing more than the result of certain
rates of vibrations of light recorded by our senses and interpreted by our
minds. From the low vibrations of red to the high vibrations of violet,
all the various colors of the spectrum have their own particular rate of
vibration. And, more than this, science knows that below the lowest red
vibrations, and above the highest violet vibrations, there are other
vibrations which our senses are unable to record, but which scientific
instruments register. The rays of light by which photographs are taken are
not perceived by the eye. There are a number of so-called chemical rays of
light which the eye does not perceive, but which may be caught by delicate
instruments. There is what science has called "dark light," which will
photograph in a room which appears pitch dark to the human sight.

Above the ordinary scale of light vibrations are the vibrations of the
X-Rays and other fine forces--these are not perceived by the eye, but are
caught by delicate instruments and recorded. Moreover, though science has
not as yet discovered the fact, occultists know that the vibrations of
mental and emotional states are just as true and regular as are those of
sound or light, or heat. Again, above the plane of the physical vibrations
arising from the brain and nervous system, there are the vibrations of the
astral counterparts of these, which are much higher in the scale. For even
the astral faculties and organs, while above the physical, still are under
the universal rule of vibration, and have their own rate thereof. The old
occult axiom: "As above, so below; as below, so above" is always seen to
work out on all planes of universal energy.

Closely following this idea of the universality of vibrations, and
intimately connected therewith, we have the principle of "induction,"
which is likewise universal, and found manifesting on all planes of
energy. "What is induction?" you may ask. Well, it is very simple, or very
complex--just as you may look at it. The principle of induction (on any
plane) is that inherent quality or attribute of energy by which the
manifestation of energy tends to reproduce itself in a second object, by
setting up corresponding vibrations therein, though without direct contact
of the two objects.

Thus, heat in one object tends to induce heat in another object within
its range of induction--the heated object "throws off" heat vibrations
which set up corresponding vibrations in the near-by second object and
make it hot. Likewise, the vibrations of light striking upon other objects
render them capable of radiating light. Again, a magnet will induce
magnetism in a piece of steel suspended nearby, though the two objects do
not actually touch, each other. An object which is electrified will by
induction electrify another object situated some distance away. A note
sounded on the piano, or violin, will cause a glass or vase in some
distant part of the room to vibrate and "sing," under certain conditions.
And, so on, in every form or phase of the manifestation of energy do we
see the principle of induction in full operation and manifestation.

On the plane of ordinary thought and emotion, we find many instances of
this principle of induction. We know that one person vibrating strongly
with happiness or sorrow, cheerfulness or anger, as the case may be fends
to communicate his feeling and emotions, state to those with whom he comes
in contact. All of you have seen a whole room full of persons affected and
influenced in this way, under certain circumstances. You have also seen
how a magnetic orator, preacher, singer or actor is able to induce in his
audience a state of emotional vibration corresponding to that manifested
by himself. In the same manner the "mental atmospheres" of towns, cities,
etc., are induced.

A well-known writer on this subject has truthfully told us: "We all know
how great waves of feeling spread over a town, city or country, sweeping
people off their balance. Great waves of political enthusiasm, or
war-spirit, or prejudice for or against certain persons, sweep over places
and cause men to act in a manner that they will afterward regret when they
come to themselves and consider their acts in cold blood. They will be
swayed by demagogues or magnetic leaders who wish to gain their votes or
patronage; and they will be led into acts of mob violence, or similar
atrocities, by yielding to these waves of contagious thought. On the other
hand, we all know how great waves of religious feeling sweep over a
community upon the occasion of some great 'revival' excitement or fervor."

These things being perceived, and recognized as true, the next question
that presents itself to the mind of the intelligent student is this: "But
what causes the difference in power and effect between the thought and
feeling-vibrations of different persons?" This question is a valid one,
and arises from a perception of the underlying variety and difference in
the thought vibrations of different persons. The difference, my students,
is caused by three principal facts, viz., (1) difference in degree of
feeling; (2) difference in degree of visualization; and (3) difference in
degree of concentration. Let us examine each of these successively, so as
to get at the underlying principle.

The element of emotional feeling is like the element of fire in the
production of steam. The more vivid and intense the feeling or emotion,
the greater the degree of heat and force to the thought wave or vibratory
stream projected. You will begin to see why the thought vibrations of
those animated and filled with strong desire, strong wish, strong
ambition, etc., must be more forceful than those of persons of the
opposite type.

The person who is filled with a strong desire, wish or ambition, which has
been fanned into a fierce blaze by attention, is a dynamic power among
other persons, and his influence is felt. In fact, it may be asserted that
as a general rule no person is able to influence men and things unless he
have a strong desire, wish or ambition within him. The power of desire is
a wonderful one, as all occultists know, and it will accomplish much even
if the other elements be lacking; while, in proper combination with other
principles it will accomplish wonders. Likewise, a strong interest in a
thing will cause a certain strength to the thought-vibrations connected
therewith. Interest is really an emotional feeling, though we generally
think of it as merely something connected with the intellect. A cold
intellectual thought has very little force, unless backed up by strong
interest and concentration. But any intellectual thought backed up with
interest, and focused by concentration, will produce very strong thought
vibrations, with a marked inductive power.

Now, let us consider the subject of visualization. Every person knows that
the person who wishes to accomplish anything, or who expects to do good
work along any line, must first know what he wishes to accomplish. In the
degree that he is able to see the thing in his mind's eye--to picture the
thing in his imagination--in that degree will he tend to manifest the
thing itself in material form and effect.

Sir Francis Galton, an eminent authority upon psychology, says on this
point: "The free use of a high visualizing faculty is of much importance
in connection with the higher processes of generalized thought. A visual
image is the most perfect form of mental representation wherever the
shape, position, and relations of objects to space are concerned. The best
workmen are those who visualize the whole of what they propose to do
before they take a tool in their hands. Strategists, artists of all
denominations, physicists who contrive new experiments, and, in short, all
who do not follow routine, have need of it. A faculty that is of
importance in all technical and artistic occupations, that gives accuracy
to our perceptions and justice to our generalizations, is starved by lazy
disuse instead of being cultivated judiciously in such a way as will, on
the whole, bring best return. I believe that a serious study of the best
way of developing and utilizing this faculty, without prejudice to the
practice of abstract thought in symbols, is one of the pressing desirata
in the yet unformed science of education."

Not only on the ordinary planes is the forming of strong mental images
important and useful, but when we come to consider the phenomena of the
astral plane we begin to see what an important part is played there by
strong mental images or visualized ideas. The better you know what you
desire, wish or aspire to, the stronger will be your thought vibrations of
that thing, of course. Well, then, the stronger that you are able to
picture the thing in your mind--to visualize it to yourself--the stronger
will be your actual knowledge and thought-form of that thing. Instead of
your thought vibrations being grouped in nebulous forms, lacking shape and
distinct figure, as in the ordinary case; when you form strong, clear
mental images of what you desire or wish to accomplish, then do the
thought vibrations group themselves in clear, strong distinct forms. This
being done, when the mind of other persons are affected by induction they
get the clear idea of the thought and feeling in your mind, and are
strongly influenced thereby.

A little later on, I shall call your attention to the Attractive Power of
Thought. But at this point I wish to say to you that while thought
certainly attracts to you the things that you think of the most, still the
power of the attraction depends very materially upon the clearness and
distinctness of the mental image, or thought visualization, of the desired
thing that you have set up in your mind. The nearer you can actually see
the thing as you wish it to happen, even to the general details, the
stronger will be the attractive force thereof. But, I shall leave the
discussion of this phase of the subject until I reach it in its proper
order. For the present, I shall content myself with urging upon you the
importance of a clear mental image, or visualized thought, in the matter
of giving force and direction to the idea induced in the minds of other
persons. In order for the other persons to actually perceive clearly the
idea or feeling induced in them, it is necessary that the idea or feeling
be strongly visualized in the mind originating it; that is the whole thing
in one sentence.

The next point of importance in thought-influence by induction, is that
which is concerned with the process of concentration. Concentration is the
act of mental focusing, or bringing to a single point or centre. It is
like the work of the sun-glass that converges the rays of the sun to a
single tiny point, thus immensely increasing its heat and power. Or, it is
like the fine point of a needle that will force its way through where a
blunt thing cannot penetrate. Or, it is like the strongly concentrated
essence of a chemical substance, of which one drop is as powerful as one
pint of the original thing. Think of the concentrated power of a tiny drop
of attar of roses--it has within its tiny space the concentrated odor of
thousands of roses; one drop of it will make a pint of extract, and a
gallon of weaker perfumery! Think of the concentrated power in a lightning
flash, as contrasted with the same amount of electricity diffused over a
large area. Or, think of the harmless flash of a small amount of gunpowder
ignited in the open air, as contrasted with the ignition of the same
amount of powder compelled to escape through the small opening in the

The occult teachings lay great stress upon this power of mental
concentration. All students of the occult devote much time and care to the
cultivation of the powers of concentration, and the development of the
ability to employ them. The average person possesses but a very small
amount of concentration, and is able to concentrate his mind for but a few
moments at a time. The trained thinker obtains much of his mental power
from his acquired ability to concentrate on his task. The occultist trains
himself in fixing his concentrated attention upon the matter before him,
so as to bring to a focal centre all of his mental forces.

The mind is a very restless thing, and is inclined to dance from one thing
to another, tiring of each thing after a few moment's consideration
thereof. The average person allows his involuntary attention to rest upon
every trifling thing, and to be distracted by the idlest appeals to the
senses. He finds it most difficult to either shut out these distracting
appeals to the senses, and equally hard to hold the attention to some
uninteresting thing. His attention is almost free of control by the will,
and the person is a slave to his perceptive powers and to his imagination,
instead of, being a master of both.

The occultist, on the contrary, masters his attention, and controls his
imagination. He forces the one to concentrate when he wishes it to do so;
and he compels the latter to form the mental images he wishes to
visualize. But this a far different thing from the self-hypnotization
which some persons imagine to be concentration. A writer on the subject
has well said: "The trained occultist will concentrate upon a subject or
object with a wonderful intensity, seemingly completely absorbed in the
subject or object before him, and oblivious to all else in the world. And
yet, the task accomplished, or the given time expired, he will detach his
mind from the object and will be perfectly fresh, watchful and wide-awake
to the next matter before him. There is every difference between being
controlled by involuntary attention, which is species of
self-hypnotization, and the control of the attention, which is an evidence
of mastery." An eminent French psychologist once said: "The authority of
the attention is subject to the superior authority of the Ego. I yield it,
or I withhold it, as I please. I direct it in turn to several points. I
concentrate it upon each point, as long as my will can stand the effort."

In an earlier lesson of this series, I have indicated in a general way the
methods whereby one may develop and train his powers of concentration.
There is no royal road to concentration; it may be developed only by
practice and exercise. The secret consists in managing the attention, so
as to fix it upon a subject, no matter how uninteresting; and to hold it
there for a reasonable length of time. Practice upon some disagreeable
study or other task is good exercise, for it serves to train the will in
spite of the influence of more attractive objects or subjects. And this
all serves to train the will, remember; for the will is actively concerned
in every act of voluntary attention. In fact, attention of this kind is
one of the most important and characteristic acts of the will.

So, as you see, in order to be successful in influencing the minds of
others by means of mental induction, you must first cultivate a strong
feeling of interest in the idea which you wish to induce in the other
person, or a strong desire to produce the thing. Interest and desire
constitute the fire which generates the stream of will from the water of
mind, as some occultists have stated it. Secondly, you must cultivate the
faculty of forming strong and clear mental images of the idea or feeling
you wish to so induce; you must learn to actually "see" the thing in your
imagination, so as to give the idea strength and clearness. Thirdly, you
must learn to concentrate your mind and attention upon the idea or
feeling, shutting out all other ideas and feelings for the time being;
thus you give concentrated force and power to the vibrations and
thought-forms which you are projecting.

These three principles underlie all of the many forms of mental induction,
or mental influence. We find them in active operation in cases in which
the person is seeking to attract to himself certain conditions,
environment, persons, things, or channels of expression, by setting into
motion the great laws of mental attraction. We see them also employed when
the person is endeavoring to produce an effect upon the mind of some
particular person, or number of persons. We see them in force in all
cases of mental or psychic healing, under whatever form it may be
employed. In short, these are general principles, and must therefore
underlie all forms and phases of mental or psychic influence. The sooner
the student realizes this fact, and the more actively does he set himself
to work in cultivating and developing these principles within himself, the
more successful and efficient will he become in this field of psychic
research and investigation. It is largely in the degree of the cultivation
of these three mental principles that the occultist is distinguished from
the ordinary man.

It may be that you are not desirous of cultivating or practicing the power
of influencing other persons psychically. Well, that is for you to decide
for yourself. At any rate, you will do well to develop yourselves along
these lines, at least for self-protection. The cultivation of these three
mental principles will tend to make you active and positive, psychically,
as contrasted with the passive, negative mental state of the average
person. By becoming mentally active and positive you will be able to
resist any psychic influence that may be directed toward yourself, and to
surround yourself with a protective aura of positive, active mental

And, moreover, if you are desirous of pursuing your investigations of
psychic and astral phenomena, you will find it of great importance to
cultivate and develop these three principles in your mind. For, then you
will be able to brush aside all distracting influences, and to proceed at
once to the task before you, with power, clearness and strength of purpose
and method.

In the following chapters I shall give you a more or less detailed
presentation of the various phases or forms of psychic influence. Some of
these may seem at first to be something independent of the general
principles. But I ask that you carefully analyze all of these, so as to
discover that the same fundamental principles are under and back of each
and every instance presented. When you once fully grasp this fact, and
perfect yourselves in the few fundamental principles, then you are well
started on the road to mastery of all the various phases of psychic
phenomena. Instead of puzzling your mind over a hundred different phases
of disconnected phenomena, it is better to master the few actual
elementary principles, and then reason deductively from these to the
various manifestation thereof. Master the principles, and then learn to
apply them.

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