People say: "One can't help one's thoughts." But one can.
The control of the thinking machine is perfectly possible.
And since nothing whatever happens to us outside our own
brain; since nothing hurts us or gives us pleasure except
within the brain, the supreme importance of being able to
control what goes on in that mysterious brain is patent.
This idea is one of the oldest platitudes, but it is a
platitude whose profound truth and urgency most people live
and die without realising. People complain of the lack of
power to concentrate, not witting that they may acquire the
power, if they choose.
And without the power to concentrate; that is to say,
without the power to dictate to the brain its task and to
ensure obedience; true life is impossible. Mind control is
the first element of a full existence.
Hence, it seems to me, the first business of the day should
be to put the mind through its paces. You look after your
body, inside and out; you run grave danger in hacking hairs
off your skin; you employ a whole army of individuals, to
enable you to bribe your stomach into decent behaviour.
Why not devote a little attention to the far more delicate
machinery of the mind, especially as you will require no
extraneous aid? It is for this portion of the art and craft
of living that I have reserved the time from the moment of
quitting your door to the moment of arriving at your office.
"What? I am to cultivate my mind in the street, at the
office, in the bus, and in the crowded street again?"
Precisely. Nothing simpler! No tools required! Not even a
book. Nevertheless, the affair is not easy.
When you leave your house, concentrate your mind on a
subject (no matter what, to begin with). You will not have
gone ten yards before your mind has skipped away under your
very eyes and is larking round the corner with another
Bring it back by the scruff of the neck. There you have
reached the station you will have brought it back about
forty times. Do not despair. Continue. Keep it up. You
will succeed. You cannot by any chance fail if you
persevere. It is idle to pretend that your mind is
incapable of concentration. Do you not remember that morning
when you received a disquieting letter which demanded a very
carefully worded answer? How you kept your mind steadily on
the subject of the answer, without a second's intermission,
until you reached your office; whereupon you instantly sat
down and wrote the answer? That was a case in which "you"
were focused by circumstances to such a degree of vitality
that you were able to dominate your mind like a tyrant. You
would have no trifling. You insisted that its work should
be done, and its work was done.
By the regular practice of concentration (as to which there
is no secret; save the secret of perseverance) you can
tyrannise over your mind (which is not the highest part of
"you") every hour of the day, and in no matter what place.
The exercise is a very convenient one. If you got into
your morning bus with a pair of dumbbells for your muscles
or an encyclopaedia in ten volumes for your learning, you
would probably excite remarks. But as you walk in the
street, or sit in the corner of the compartment behind a
pipe, or "strap-hang" on the Subterranean, who is to know
that you are engaged in the most important of daily acts?
Who can laugh at you?
I do not care what you concentrate on, so long as you
concentrate. It is the mere disciplining of the thinking
machine that counts. But still, you may as well kill two
birds with one stone, and concentrate on something useful.
Something that you like and are passionate about.
I wish you the best of luck in the control of your mind.
( Which by the way I don't belive in, I believe in
self-effort, not luck!). Persevere and be patient,
you will succeed!
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