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[This is taken from Theron Q. Dumont's The Power of Concentration.]
In bringing this book to a close, I again want to impress you with the inestimable value of concentration, because those that lack this great power or, rather that fail to develop it, will generally suffer from poverty and unhappiness and their life’s work will most often be a failure, while those that develop and use it will make the most of life’s opportunities, I have tried to make these lessons practical and I am sure that many will find them so. Of course the mere reading of them will not do you a great deal of good, but, if the exercises are practiced and worked out and applied to your own individual case, you should be able to acquire the habit of concentration in such measure as to greatly improve your work and increase your happiness.
But remember the best instruction can only help you to the extent to which you put it into practice. I have found it an excellent idea to read a book through first, and then re-read it, and when you come to an idea that appeals to you, stop and think about it, then if applicable to you, repeat it over and over, that you will be impressed by it. In this way you can form the habit of picking out all the good things you read and these will have a wonderful influence on your character.
In this closing chapter, I want to impress you to concentrate on what you do, instead of performing most of your work unconsciously or automatically, until you have formed habits that give you the mastery of your work and your life powers and forces.
Very often the hardest part of work is thinking about it. When you get right into it, it does not seem so disagreeable. This is the experience of many when they first commence to learn how to concentrate. So never think it a difficult task, but undertake it with the “I Will Spirit” and you will find that its acquirement will be as easy as its application will be useful.
Read the life of any great man, and you will generally find that the dominant quality that made him successful was the ability to concentrate. Study those that have been failures and you will often find that lack of concentration was the cause.
All men are not born with equal powers, but it is the way they are used that counts. “Opportunity knocks at every man’s door.” Those that are successful hear the knock and grasp the chance. The failures believe that luck and circumstances are against them. They always blame someone else instead of themselves for their lack of success. We get what is coming to us, nothing more or less. Anything within the universe is within your grasp. Just use your latent powers and it is yours. You are aided by both visible and invisible forces when you concentrate on either “to do” or “to be.”
Everyone is capable of some concentration, for without it you would be unable to say or do anything. People differ in the power to concentrate because some are unable to Will to hold the thought in mind for the required time. The amount of determination used determines who has the strongest will. No one’s is stronger than yours. Think of this whenever you go against a strong opponent.
Never say “I can’t concentrate today.” You can do it just the minute you say “I will.” You can keep your thoughts from straying, just the same as you can control your arms. When once you realize this fact, you can train the will to concentrate on anything you wish. If it wanders, it is your fault. You are not utilizing your will. But, don’t blame it on your will and say it is weak. The will is just the same whether you act as if it were weak or as if it were strong. When you act as if your will is strong you say, “I can.” When you act as if it were weak you say, “I can’t.” It requires the same amount of effort, in each case.
Some men get in the habit of thinking “I can’t” and they fail. Others think “I can” and succeed. So remember, it is for you to decide whether you will join the army of “I can’t” or “I can.”
The big mistake with so many is that they don’t realize that when they say “I can’t,” they really say, “I won’t try.” You can not tell what you can do until you try. “Can’t” means you will not try. Never say you cannot concentrate, for, when you do, you are really saying that you refuse to try.
Whenever you feel like saying, “I can’t,” say instead, “I possess all will and I can use as much as I wish.” You only use as much as you have trained yourself to use.
An Experiment to Try. Before going to bed tonight, repeat, “I am going to choose my own thoughts, and to hold them as long as I choose. I am going to shut out all thoughts that weaken or interfere; that make me timid. My Will is as strong as anyone’s else. While going to work the next morning, repeat this over. Keep this up for a month and you will find you will have a better opinion of yourself. These are the factors that make you a success. Hold fast to them always.
Concentration is nothing but willing to do a certain thing. All foreign thoughts can be kept out by willing that they stay out. You cannot realize your possibilities until you commence to direct your mind. You then do consciously what you have before done unconsciously. In this way you note mistakes, overcome bad habits and perfect your conduct.
You have at times been in a position that required courage and you were surprised at the amount you showed. Now, when once you arouse yourself, you have this courage all the time and it is not necessary to have a special occasion reveal it to you. My object in so strongly impressing this on your mind is to make you aware that the same courage, the same determination that you show at certain exceptionable times you have at your command at all times. It is a part of your vast resources. Use it often and well, in working out the highest destiny of which you are capable.
Final Concentration Instruction. You now realize that, in order to make your life worthy, useful and happy, you must concentrate. A number of exercises and all the needed instruction has been given. It now remains for you to form the highest ideal that you can in the present and live up to that ideal, and try to raise it. Don’t waste your time in foolish reading. Select something that is inspiring, that you may become enrapport with those that think thoughts that are worth while. Their enthusiasm will inspire and enlighten you. Read slowly and concentrate on what you are reading. Let your spirit and the spirit of the author commune, and you will then sense what is between the lines—those great things which words cannot express.
Pay constant attention to one and one thing only for a given time and you will soon be able to concentrate. Hang on to that thought ceaselessly until you have attained your object. When you work, let your mind dwell steadily on your task. Think before you speak and direct your conversation to the subject under discussion. Do not ramble. Talk slowly, steadily and connectedly. Never form the hurry habit, but be deliberate in all you do. Assume static attitudes without moving a finger or an eyelid, or any part of your body. Read books that treat of but one continuous subject. Read long articles and recall the thread of the argument. Associate yourself with people who are steady, patient and tireless in their thought, action and work. See how long you can sit still and think on one subject without interruption.
Concentrating on the Higher Self. Father Time keeps going on and on. Every day he rolls around means one less day for you on this planet. Most of us only try to master the external conditions of this world. We think our success and happiness depends on us doing so. These are of course important and I don’t want you to think they are not, but I want you to realize that when death comes, only those inherent and acquired qualities and conditions within the mentality—your character, conduct and soul growth—will go with you. If these are what they should be, you need not be afraid of not being successful and happy, for with these qualities you can mold external materials and conditions.
Study yourself. Find Your Strong Points And Make Them Stronger As Well As Yo Weak Ones And Strengthen Them. Study yourself carefully and you will see yourself as you really are.
The secret of accomplishment is concentration, or the art of turning all your power upon just one point at a time.
If you have studied yourself carefully you should have a good line on yourself, and should be able to make the proper interior re-adjustments. Remember first, last, and always, Right thinking and right Living necessarily results in happiness, and it is therefore within your power to obtain happiness. Anyone that is not happy does not claim their birthright.
Keep in mind that some day you are going to leave this world and think of what you will take with you. This will assist you to concentrate on the higher forces. Now start from this minute, to act according to the advice of the higher self in everything you do. If you do, its ever harmonious forces will necessarily insure to you a successful fulfilment of all your life purposes.
Whenever you feel tempted to disobey your higher promptings, hold the thought “My-higher-self-insures-to-me-the-happiness-of-doing-that-which -best-answers-my-true-relations-to-all-others.”
You possess latent talents, that when developed and utilized are of assistance to you and others. But if you do not properly use them, you shirk your duty, and you will be the loser and suffer from the consequences. Others will also be worse off if you do not fulfill your obligations.
When you have aroused into activity your thought powers you will realize the wonderful value of these principles in helping you to carry out your plans. The right in the end must prevail. You can assist in the working out of the great plan of the universe and thereby gain the reward, or you can work against the great plan and suffer the consequences. The all consuming fires are gradually purifying all discordant elements. If you choose to work contrary to the law you will burn in its crucible, so I want you to learn to concentrate intelligently on becoming in harmony with your higher self. Hold the thought:
“I-will-live-for-my-best. I-seek-wisdom, self-knowledge, happiness-and-power-to-help-others. I-act-from-the-higher-self, therefore-only-the-best-can-come-to-me. The more we become conscious of the presence of the higher self the more we should try to become a true representative of the human soul in all its wholeness and holiness, instead of wasting our time dwelling on some trifling external quality or defect. We should try to secure a true conception of what we really are so as not to over value the external furnishings. You will then not surrender your dignity or self respect, when others ignorantly make a display of material things to show off. Only the person that realizes that he is a permanent Being knows what the true self is.
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