Iron Regimes Of The Self Striving For Mastery
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
In the preceding work there is a genuine striving of the self for poise and control, of course, but the spirit sought is more easily and more quickly secured, perhaps, than are the practical details of the labor now to be entered upon, and the idea of effort is there-fore here more particularly emphasized. We have, now, the following:
FIRST IRON REGIME : Of Correct Interpretation. Remembering our theory of signs, we may formulate a general sign-outline of the people we meet, as follows:
The sign of the sarcastic.
This outline does not, of course, exhaust human nature, and is presented in no pessimistic mood of mind. A much longer indication of attractive signs might be worked out, since man, the world over, is more worthy than ignoble. The outline has its pur-pose in our study of fear and the growth of courage. We have here a fair list of the signs of people whom you, perhaps, fear, and the showing is made in order to suggest the remedies.
Fundamentally considered, the physical and the psychic life of all human beings correspond, field for field; there being one general physical life and one general psychic life covering the whole humanity. The chemistry of bodies is universally one, and one is the essence of the human self. In the common field of physical substance there are individual differences, of course, as in the blood, for example, wherein may lurk an excess of some one of the poisons contained in the Great Sympathetic System, which excess (or lack) may kill or induce insanity, or as in other functional structures, which may give the body some characteristic tendency. So, also, in the common psychic ground, variations appear which individualize the person. In either case the differences are due, it would seem, to departures from the general etheric movements common to the whole of human nature. Regarding the general movements as signs to which we give current interpretations "man," "woman," "health," "power," "attractiveness," etc., we may say that certain etheric activities in the personal field are interpreted as kind of man, woman, individual, spirit, and so on. The observed signs are very evident facts, but their origin lies in subtle, invisible etheric activities in the physical (and by personal inclusion, the psychic) fields, and if we could pass beyond the cruder facts, the facial expressions, the voice and word, the external conduct, we should still be dealing with movement-signs those of the ether within itself.
If you observe smoke-rings, you know that here is rotational movement; if the smoke streams away, you know that here is an underlying transitional movement; if the smoke volumes and billows, you know that here is a chaos of movements. So the varying ether-movements reveal first in the crude or evident facts of life, indicating sarcastic, or cold, or brutal dispositions, and the like. Your conclusions about people are your interpretations of the signs that they habitually carry on the outside. Interpretation, then, is one of the tasks of life. It is error, however, to rest content with the merely evident signs, but we should seek to know the slighter and more difficult marks, since these originate in subtle etheric activities and have to do with deeper realities of the personal self. Such realities may, indeed, when discovered, modify very greatly the interpretations which are based on observation of the cruder personal evidences. Thus, the sign of sarcasm may be frontal to a further sign of actual kindness, that of coldness may overlay simple dignity, or defensive reserve, or timidity, and so on.
Always, then, the handling of fear must involve correct interpretation of person-signs taken together, so far as these may be discovered. Securing such correct interpretation requires patience and intent observation and the controlling of conclusions until the latter seem inevitable. That sentence, indeed, outlines the essentials of all possible regimes for fears of the kind now before us. Fear is always in a hurry. I do not mean merely that its tendency is panic. I mean that the mind of fear is spasmodic, partial in its observation, hasty in its judgments. It welcomes signs that feed and stimulate its own nature; it moves by jerks and rushes; it grudges controlled deliberation. It wants the conclusions "Cause for fear! Get away!" It is unable, of its own motion, to secure the interpretation "No cause! Hold on! Fear-Sign modified! Now for the real facts!" Hence, the sarcastic person is always to be feared; the ridiculer is an occasion for agony; the egotist is a pest; the brusque is a bear; the crafty is like a snake; the cold is a block of ice; the superior is a judgment on "white trash;" and the malevolent has murder in his eye; all when the very reverse may be true, if only the inner signs could be discovered. As a matter of fact, some sarcastic people carry the proverbial big heart of the ox. There are people who ridicule only those whom they love; it is mere play of affection. My friend, the gem expert, always has his sport at my expense when others are present, but his loyalty is unimpeachable. Similarly in the various cases mentioned above: the inner sign reverses hasty interpretation of the more evident. Even the malevolent man may prove a coward. If there be a "boss" devil, he exists because he fears the whole vast Universe. Every soul that entertains fear, banquets at hell's table. Remember, and hold fast, and conquer!
We see, then, that the people we fear may have been misunderstood. Along with every cure for this sort of trouble, therefore, must go ---
SECOND IRON REGIME: Of Control for Interpretation. This means the control of all fear-impulses until the exact truth is discovered. If you fear the varieties of people you meet as here outlined, your remedy consists in affirming: "I fear you not until I know there is actual cause for fear." You so affirm and you thus suppress the impulse to yield to fear, and so hold yourself courageously. Our life is a satisfaction of impulses. The impulses spring from very deep sources, at times; in body-tissue, perhaps; even in the elemental cells. If an impulse of fear arises, it must be substituted by an impulse of courage-thought. You can train the tissue and cell and self to satisfy in the fear-impulse by forever yielding to the demand. You can train these factors to satisfy in the opposite action by commanding the subconscious self accordingly and thus by creating a tendency in tissue and cell toward courage. The fear-impulse habit seems preferable so far as satisfaction is concerned because this satisfies not only the instinct of self-preservation, but as well the feeling of self really preserved. But the seeming is false. The outcome of fear is the lessening of self; the reward of courage is an increase of self. The satisfaction of self increased is the supremest in all existence.
Thus, you should affirm as above, persistently and confidently. Of course you do not perfectly succeed at the first, for you are establishing a new mental habit, and one which "goes against the grain," and such a goal requires time and effort. But if you resolutely continue in the regime, you will infallibly conquer the rush-tendency of the fear involved.
In time you may still hold to your original interpretation of the external personal sign; you may still say, "Here is a sure sign for fear," but a strange thing will now appear: you will find that the fear-factor has become merely a reason-factor in the field of self-interest and self-preservation. The reason-factor displaces the fear-feeling. You will take care of your-self, but distressing emotions will have disappeared. The fearful person who can develop self-control for correct interpretation of fear-signs, will infallibly find simple reason-signs in their place. Since this book is a fear-killer, not a mystical body-guard against danger or hurt, our goal will in such case be fully realized. Whatever reason may say about the sarcastic person, or any other disturbing sort, fear as a feeling is now dead. The idea of fear has lost its power. Reason, like the white corpuscles of the blood, has devoured its enemy, fear.
REGIME CONTINUED. Of Interpretation for Control. It is useless to defer a judgment unless you seek a better one. The purpose of the preceding regime looked to the habit of suppressing impulse until justified. Deferring fear long enough means starving it. In the meantime, however, a correct interpretation must be sought by re-reading evident signs, by unearthing subtler signs which may modify the former, and by relating such subtler to the cruder signs observed. In other words, you are urged not to conclude that you ought to fear, the sarcastic person, the cold, the brusque, and so on,-- but patiently to study your man and discover whether or no some deeper sign in his make-up may not appear which in itself shall modify your interpretation of him, and thus show that you have no occasion for fear at all. Here is a long regime, to be sure, yet one of the greatest value, since it is really practice in self-control and the elimination of the fear-impulse. If your final interpretation rids you of cause for fear, the result will amply repay your labor.
Nevertheless, this victory is. only partial, and it is rather cheap at that. If you fear not one person or another merely because you have discovered no cause for fear for example, that the supposedly crafty is honest according to his standard, the brusque really kind hearted, the malevolent a coward, and so on, you have not injured fear at all, but have simply left it ready for you on the very next occasion. The battle is yet on. If, then, you find that your original interpretation of the person dealt with was correct, that it still holds, unmodified by any fear-dispelling elements in his character, it remains to go on interpreting the facts correctly, exactly as they are. But when you do this, clearly and coolly, you actually begin to displace the fear-thought and fear-impulse by deliberate reason. You are trying to understand the situation, which is a matter that fear-feeling never does and never wants to do. Now, this is precisely our goal. You find out why you fear a person meanwhile repressing the fear-thought and the fear-impulse and controlling self for a correct interpretation, and you thus discover that you have bona fide occasion for adjusting yourself to that person, for handling that person, one way or another, in your own rational self-interest; but no cause whatever for indulging the fear-feeling, because you now know him, and know exactly what to do with reference to his particular case. If we know what a person is, how to handle him, then how can there be in him any cause for feeling afraid of him? We have thus gotten rid of the fear-feeling, and have left merely facts for reason to deal with. The person may still be dangerous, still design evil to us, but the case is now one for the steady address of reason, and all occasion for agitation or distress of any sort has vanished.
We come, then, to specific treatment of the fears indicated in the outline. The regimes that follow, like the preceding, it should be remembered, are to be applied as the case requires, now to a particular variety of people, now to several varieties, now to all varieties here listed or to your own thought suggested.
THIRD IRON REGIME: Of Confession and Brother-hood for Raw Human Nature. The most of us are still in the raw state of human nature. The "clay" of personality is "good stuff," but it is often angular, unpolished, irritating. In pain it becomes heated., and it cracks. By attrition it is rounded and smoothed, but it is also sometimes broken. It is just as it is packed into communities, societies, continents, centuries. And thus characteristics become jagged points, rough edges, afflictive surfaces.
Now, every piece of the human "clay" is tempted to suppose itself whole, sound and right. Each soul feels: "The difficulty lies in that man or that woman. These people are wrong, and they hurt me. Mean-while, the raw nature of the self is apt to be ignored or unrecongized, and intolerable demands are wont to be made upon other people to endure us and to afford us comfort, profit and pleasure. And fearful people are the most intolerable in this respect. For the things noted are true in every human being. We are all more or less undeveloped; we believe ourselves to be in the right; we ask freedom for personal expression; we desire that others shall be careful in relation to ourselves and we forget our own unfinished and unreasonable state. We fear, and we wish a cure for fear, yet we very slightly emphasize the fact that we are as others are, and that these others may fear also and have the same desire for freedom therefrom. Ourselves are human; other people are just occasions for fear, scarcely human, excessively disagree-able. Fear is the most selfish thing in the world.
You see, then, that we must return our minds to fundamental facts. We also are in the raw. Other people are really human.
You will find it wholesome and vastly helpful to force yourself steadily to realize other people in their human nature: more or less imperfect, more or less ideal, always pursuing self-interest, in greater or less bondage to one thing or another, disturbed by foolish fears, trying to live, trying to adjust to life, trying to succeed. You may often banish all sorts of uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and impulses by saying, and repeating, and realizing: "Why, that is just a man just a woman a human being, the common nature bulking large in him or her as also in me. That 's my brother my sister. He and she would not hurt if they knew me, since I wish them well, and I will see to it that they do know me as I am, wishing them well." You are commended to this attitude. To brother the world is to build the king's courage.
The facts, however, that people are sarcastic, egotistic, supercilious, and the like, cannot be banished by mere theory, You who insist upon this truism are, therefore, invited to enter on a further regime given below.
FOURTH IRON REGIME: Of Association with Sarcastic People. When we become familiar with people, they seem somehow to have changed. At the first meeting, the very "newness," and some particular feature or characteristic, seize and hold our attention, and it is as if these things constituted the whole of the persons themselves. Later, how-ever, other features and traits come into conscious view, with the result that the general appearance is by this fact more or less modified. So in our present study. The sarcastic person, for example, is never quite the same to you after acquaintance that he was at your first meeting with him. You often find that first impressions have not been exactly correct. It is for this reason that you are urged to acquire familiar first-hand knowledge of the sarcastic person's inner-self. In any event fear should never be based on mere hearsay. You may finally discover that this person's characteristic is entirely harmless after all just a trait, a foible, not in the least an occasion for disturbance. In the meantime, it is suggested that you be master of the self and hold to the front the mood of confident courage. Do not suffer depression because you do not forthwith succeed in your efforts, but resolutely continue the regimes here set forth. Above all, do not avoid the cause of your fear. Rather associate with the sarcastic person, find him out, get used to him. During this effort, cultivate the smile of indifference and the feeling of being out of reach of his shafts of wit and acid. The discovery by this person that his sarcasm does not disturb you, will destroy the zest of his indulgence, and the outcome will be its discontinuance so far as you are concerned; or, at any event, you will consciously escape his power. If you lose the impulse of fear and the cringe of hurt because your courage has lifted you into another world, the goal is then attained. You now know this person, are accustomed to his ways, and know how to handle him, to adjust yourself in relation to his habit, and so have gained the victory of freedom from fear.
And remember, that the moods contrary to fear are omnipotent in respect to its feeling and disturbance by just so much as you secure and control them from the radiant centre of peace and good will. To that centre comes every soul possessed of the loftiest courage. This is not a "preachment" on idealism or being good; it is merely the very best sort of common sense. Kirschoff, by means of the spectrum, discovered gold in the sun the essence of gold. But no man has ever discovered in that centre of fire and light traces of sewerage or signs of a prize-fight, because our sun is a consuming furnace. The true radiant centre in any human soul always destroys both hates and fears.
FOURTH IRON REGIME CONTINUED: For People Who Ridicule. A further occasion for the present regime is found in the fear of ridicule. Now, the weight of ridicule depends upon its source. If it proceeds from people who are beneath you, in your knowledge of them, only the slightest effort, if any, is required to ignore it. One may be laughed at by inferior folk without a feeling of distress. Children who shouted of old: "Go up, thou bald head!" did not deserve being devoured by bears and no honor to the prophet or his primitive God that the history records the event as having taken place. The children knew no better and the prophet was bald. Here is a symbol, then, of a class who indulge in ridicule. You need not fear fear thus caused, because such fear is itself ridiculous. The trouble with your distress on account of ridicule, however, is not so easily disposed of, since its secret is the fact that the occasion may actually obtain in yourself. There may be reason for such ridicule. This suggests the following regime:
FIFTH IRON REGIME: Of Self-Reform. If it is only when ridicule arises within your own ranks of Iife, or from superior ranks, that fear seems to be justified, then it is suggested that you do all in your power to remove any possible occasion therefor. Let us understand, however, that the fear-feeling (and it is this only that hurts) is never justified by any kind of fact or condition in life. The thing which may be justified is reason, based on facts, and acting calmly in wholesome self-interest. Such reason always wants to know what the facts are. If the facts are that the fearing person is open to ridicule or the irresistible smile and exposes himself thereto, those facts are either beyond his control or they are subject to removal. In the latter case the burden of effort should go, not to his struggle against fear, but to some change in the facts. When the cause of ridicule is removed, the problem of freedom from its fear is solved. The invitation, then, suggests the elimination of all occasion for ridicule in the person suffering from the distress of it. This may turn out to be a very difficult task, of course, but the encouragement is certain that the transfer of attention from ridicule and its pain to, self-improvement and the thought of victory with the consequent dawning of courage will dispel fear and begin to introduce the sense of respect self-respect at least, attracting the respect of others.
SIXTH IRON REGIME: Of Self-Valuation. Since the cause is not always removable, this regime seeks to counteract the fact. Once lived a lovely woman who was a dwarf. After every appearance on the street, she sobbed herself ill. Children had ridiculed her deformity. This woman should have remembered, with pride: "No one who knows me ridicules my misfortune. I am myself power beyond the hurt of infants either of years or of mental growth." More-over, she should have cultivated acquaintance with these children, and their love and regard. Such an attitude must have greatly smoothed her way. The suggestions apply in all similar cases. Whatever be the occasion of ridicule, if you cannot remove it, cultivate something of the stoic's indifference through loyal appreciation of the nobler self with which you are surely endowed. There is a mood of self-valuation that lifts us above the smile or the jeer or any affront. Insist on thinking well of your own personality. Remember, and hold fast, and conquer!
If you chance, in some innocent way that is not a misfortune, to be ridiculous (which is at one time or another the fate of most of us), and those who cannot suppress the sense of humor are worthy your respect, it is suggested that you admit the facts as, say, in dress, manner, occupation, particular act, or what-not and then join in the laugh. Nothing disarms the laugh of ridicule like the laugh of good nature. Acquire the divine gift of laughter! Remember, and hold fast, and conquer.
SEVENTH IRON REGIME: Of Self-Valuation Continued against the Egotist. A third variety of people whom you fear is the egotist and the really superior person. If the word, "fear," seems here too strong, it is nevertheless true that you are uncomfortable with the people indicated. They inspire within you a feeling of inferiority, and in their presence you are in some manner overcome, more or less, so that always you "put your worst foot forward" when under their observation. Such is a general statement of the case. You are asked, then, to scrutinize the following statements in regard to their possible relation to yourself:
Statement One (As to all the fears here mentioned). It is the consciousness that you are under observation which induces your embarrassment. So long as you know that people are unaware, and will not become aware, of your presence, you experience no emotional fear of them. Now, it is very likely that they do not observe you as inferior in any way, and perhaps do not particularly observe the characteristics which you imagine would suffer in comparison with their own. in other words, the substance of the details of their supposed observation may be purely imaginary on your part. You have created an observation or a thought for these people of which they are entirely unconscious. This may, at least, be the case.
You are therefore invited to practise total indifferent e to the supposed (or, possibly real) critical observations and opinions of all so-called superior people especially of all egotists; that is, to cease imagining such critical observation as a fact. The method consists in assuming that the person in mind does not critically observe you, and that he is of a friendly disposition toward you. The regime totally disregards the facts in any case; no matter even if you know the observation takes place and is critical; you are to assume think, assert that there is no such observation and that the person is most friendly toward you in all his thoughts. You are distressed by supposed criticism; the remedy will be found in the persistent possession of the idea that there is no criticism at all. You crowd out your fear by saturating mind with a thought which does not lead to fear, but rather suggests self-satisfaction and courage.
Statement Two. The truth is, oftentimes, that those whom you hold to be egotists or consciously superior people, entertain precisely the same opinion of yourself. As those whom you may fear may fear you, in which case either occasion for fear is outlawed or negatived, so, many who embarrass you by their imagined superiority regard you as talented, worth fearing, perhaps, or an egotist. This regime, therefore, urges you to cultivate a high opinion of yourself in the interest of the conquest of fear. The apparent vice in such a suggestion disappears in its purpose, the building up of a foundation for courage. Moreover, if this particular fear is your trouble, an increase of self-valuation is your special need. Excessive egotism may be a disease, but there is no doubt whatever that the fear-feeling because of other people's superiority is a disease, and a very subtle one, as well. Personality in health always thinks cordially of itself, for the thought is one phase of the instinct of self-preservation. And whatever may be your opinion of the egotist, he may truly represent a great value in life. When egotism signifies the thought, "I am power! I know what I can do!" it is then a virtue because it is an asset, a stimulant, a cordial to courage. The thing this world needs most is large and prevailing courage.
Statement Three (for all chapters). I say there is no value in self-depreciation, abnegation, humility, and that these qualities are often vices and enemies to human welfare. Reason demands that a soul assert itself as a sovereign traveler toward a glorious destiny. Assertion, not humility, is the virtue of developing life. He who, in the equity of universal brotherhood and the white life, assumes: "I am I sovereign among human lords," and asserts himself for all rightful sovereignty, by so much aids the nature of things toward the "one far-off, divine event" of perfected worlds.
I distinctly deny that the lordliest of earth's inhabitants was meek and lowly except in the sense of being in harmony with the Infinite, and I affirm that He was the most self-assertive and imperial exponent of balancein miraculous equilibrium the most self-assertive and imperial soul the world has ever known. To imitate this king is to "call no man master."
Those who embarrass you because of their superiority are very likely calling you "superior." I have been unreasonably lauded by people whose presence demanded the application of my own regimes. It is probable that a similar disclosure might be made in the case of every human being.
The affirmation of your own power and value, couched in words, thought with emphasis, continued into settled habit, is, therefore, the injunction for this form of fear.
Statement Four (for this regime only). The "worst foot" is almost always a fiction, or becomes fact by blunder-inspiring imagination. You are urged to persist in the effort to banish the thought of this "worst foot." It is also suggested that you refuse to call up or dwell upon any supposed instance of mistake or of awkwardness in your past experience. Feed on the happy memories! Erase from memory every fact, incident, experience which you believe has showed your weakness! Live alway on your own signs of power! Remember, and hold fast, and conquer!
You are also urged to rid yourself of the habit of thinking, "I shall not be myself in this person's presence." The positive method therefor is now the affirmationin thought-words emphatically spoken (mentally), repeated again and again and again, "I am myself! I am power! I also am worth while! I am free! I am courage!" In order that you may cultivate a good solid sense of your own abilities and value, you are urged to think these things, assert them as true, realize in mind-feeling precisely these and no contrary. Remember, and hold fast, and conquer.
Statement Five (for all chapters). The vast majority of people think too little of themselves. False religious teaching has made us feel that it is evil to think well of the self. It is, on the contrary, evil to estimate self as a "worm of the dust," or any such thing. It is because I so believe, and to cure all fears, that I have written the suggestion above italicized.
Statement Six (for this regime only). In all common thinking it is assumed that a "better nature" advises against self-assertion. But by what criterion, I ask, are we to discover this "better nature?" A better nature than is sometimes in evidence we certainly all possess, yet I am unable to see that those advices of the so-called "better nature" which persistently go "against the grain" and demand disagreeable self-effacement are necessarily right as a matter of exact fact. We may think, with the philosopher, about the "Changeless and True Consciousness" and the "Fickle or False Consciousness," and hold that whatever the "Changeless" or "True" affirms must be right and should be obeyed. The clear fact, how-ever, is that we are one unitary consciousness, educated in one way or another, and morally educated in the West of the world to believe that the " better nature" ought to advise all sorts of things contrary to a so-called "evil" nature, and that when it does so advise, it is for our good. But the moral education of the world's Eastern consciousness does not always agree with the details of the Western education. It is a question of education. And in the West it has turned out that the "better nature" has advised things that have subsequently been held wrong. The conclusion is that the "Changeless consciousness," or the so-called "True Self," has shown itself mistaken and has no infallibility; is precisely as ignorant as the man whom it tortures for the simple reason that it is the man. You see, therefore, that no one's mere inner feeling about a supposed virtue is to be accepted as law. The "better self" may be mistaken. Our true teachers are reason, experiment, experience. Always the question of virtue is this: Does the idea, belief, act, work well among all people and in the long run? If so, the thing is right. There is a kingdom of law the Universe of Law which infallibly works well in the long run. This law is right because it works well, and it works well because it is right. The Universe must be self-preservative for highest unfold-ment. The long-run working of things cannot be destructive. The working well means some kind of essential preservation for development of possibilities. Only trial can find out what works well and is therefore right. No one's mere feeling can decide a right or a wrong, since no feeling can determine whether or no a thing will work well, universally and forever. Only experiment and experience, interpreted by reason, can so determine.
I do not mean, however, that you are not to go by your feeling of right and wrong, for the feeling is a product of past human experiment, experience, and reason. I mean that you are not to suppose that because a thing seems right or wrong for you, it is therefore right or wrong for all and through all time. This distinction invites liberty of thought, and it surely would have saved the world much close contiguity to hell and many people great suffering, on the one hand, and intimate relationships with devils, on the other hand.
Statement Seven (for all chapters). It has never been demonstrated that fear and self-abnegation have worked well for man. These things in themselves have always worked evilly. And forever, on the contrary, when man has sought self-interest consistently with other-interest, asserted all his well-working powers and put fear and self-belittling totally out of his life has he unfolded and come to success. Hence the advices of this regime.
If your consciousness of other peoples superiority induces embarrassment, your remedy, in addition to the suggestions of preceding regimes consists in meeting such other person's atmosphere with a positive outgo of self-assertion and courage from your own. This brings us to a further discussion.
EIGHTH IRON REGIME: Of Offsetting Assumption. Having entered the work of self-valuation, you are now urged to repel the influence of those who evidently feel their superiority and embarrass you by throwing out from yourself a counteracting influence. The will, in this regime, acts from the vantage-ground of your habituated self-valuation. The latter is the leverage of the will. It is always to be remembered that the will can never achieve anything without some solid ground for its action. If you belittle yourself, you cannot will aggressive antagonism to superiority, simply because you have already surrendered. So long as you admit superiority, you cannot overcome fear of criticism. Affirming the superiority or the worth of self, you have ground on which to repel or will repulsion of embarrassing influences. On this affirmation-assumption, you should in thought go out by will to meet the superior person's atmosphere with a positive assertion of antagonism; that is, by thought and force of will, surround your person with a vibrant antagonism (feeling) to his overweening self-sufficiency. The fact that you are doing so should not be evident to that person, of course. The regime consists in quietly resisting (affirming that you resist assuming a mental attitude that thinks resistance to) his aggressive, self-assertive personality. What-ever you believe this person to be in his attitude toward yourself, that you are to be in thought and feeling toward him. In the meantime it is suggested that you hold steadily in mind the absurdity of this person's egotism, proceeding all along to study his characteristics as a source of amusement to yourself. How can you suffer embarrassment with one whose assumptions are ridiculous? The methods thus indicated will, meantime, beget familiarity with the person in hand, and you will become in time so accustomed to the thing you have feared that fear will vanish for lack of fresh inspiration. Fear always dies with its old impulses, and if you can exhaust these impulses, your task is accomplished. The study for such inspirations thus brings us to a further regime.
NINTH IRON REGIME: Of Character-Analysis. There are certain types of mind which can only find expression in vociferous talking. With such people you are, perhaps, ill at ease and not in full command of yourself. Always in their presence your ideas seem weak and your language inadequate. They overwhelm you. It is likely that you really fear them.
Now, the loud talker commonly believes himself right, at all times, on all subjects. His emphasis of voice and words is due to this supposition: the power of self-conviction is in him so great that it compels immense vocal and linguistic activity. Some psychologists would say that his vocal and linguistic activity induces the habit of opinionativeness, as they affirm that a man fears because he runs rather than runs because he fears. It is probable that the people before us are loud talkers because they believe in their own opinions in a rowdyish way. Some minds are deficient in equity everything is, with them, just hard law and fact. Such minds do not think of other minds as possibly being correct in their action. Others are so constituted that what they see exhausts all vision; there is no world besides their own. In both cases violent expression is indispensable to the mind's life. They must think with triphammer blows or air-blast rushes and talk like a steam siren.
This analysis suggests the remedy for fear of such persons. They are not worth the fear. If you are thus troubled, you are urged to remember that you are surrendering peace of mind to another person's constitutional weakness or mental defect. A studied recognition of the loud talker's psychic deformity will breed in yourself a feeling of indifference to his voice and opinions which will effectively destroy all fear in his presence. Such a course may also beget a sort of tolerance born of pity for his unconscious mental exposure.
Among such opinionated people is found that happy class whose interpretations of law and fact always run their way. I have discovered, however, that these are sometimes the quietest and least obtrusive of personalities. As an illustration, here is a man who never intrudes his presence or his opinion upon others, and yet no case in which his interests are concerned could be conceived wherein all the law and all the facts would not naturally, rationally and inevitably make his way. Thus would any intelligent person, court or jury even the Almighty surely hold. This man is as mild as lady, but his way of seeing things is a mental law for all mankind and he can-not help the fact that it is so. The son of our illustrating friend is exactly like the father in this respect, except that the son's opinionativeness breeds the loud voice and the confident word. I once asked the son if he ever made any concessions on any subjects. His ears heard the question, but the rush of his mind induced mental deafness, and the matter in hand was bombarded with stock-phrases. The man could not help himself. Since such was the case, he seemed na occasion for fear. You can calmly endure the loud talker if you know him and understand how helpless he is before his own psychic impulses. Whether loud or mild, his interpretation of all things by his own light and interest is likewise merely s deformity, to be classed with nearsightedness or defective hearing.
Having read the psychic signs of your man, now, you see that embarrassment or any sort of nervousness on your own part must result simply from your own weakness. If you persistently consort with these people, come to see through them, and then resolve to be rid of your fears concerning them, their influence upon you must necessarily cease.
This regime has referred to two classes only, but it is more or less applicable to all the varieties of people mentioned in the present chapter, with the possible exception of the malevolent.
Somewhat allied to the classes above discussed is the kind of people who are called brusque or bearish. The brusque person hurts the feelings of others either because he is naturally harsh or because he likes to do and say the unexpected thing. Mental pain resembles the sense of humor in respect to the thing not expected: the shock emphasizes the feeling. You cannot foresee the brusque person. It is not his word alone, nor his act alone, that you fear: it is the rasping cross-cut of the unexpected thing. This man knows things, when you think he does not know them, and he never says or does as you would like. He is usually "contrary-minded," and he enjoys the fact. Brusqueness is always due to the possession of a certain amount of wisdom, keen opinions, and an indulged fondness for startling others by the unusual expression of uncommon notions contrary to the general run. Sometimes it covers the kindest disposition of heart, sometimes it backgrounds in a tragic past, sometimes it is the guise of an ugly soul. You fear the brusque person because he gives you distress. This distress is itself a fear. You fear a fear, you see, and that fear you indulge for a poor human specimen whose centre of etheric action is either
Altogether kindly toward you,
You are invited again to read the above interpretations, as you pass into the following regime:
TENTH IRON REGIME: Of Counter Analysis of Brusque People. The re-reading suggested gives us certain curious results in which you will discover again as always heretofore the foolishness of fear in its emotional aspects.
To fear the kindly heart is, of course, unnecessary. You are invited always to search for the kindly heart in this world. If you assume the corresponding mental attitude, the etheric movements of your personal atmosphere will influence the atmosphere of even the brusque person to disclose his real nature. If he turns out to be ugly, you are so far on your way in the matter of handling him. If he turns out to be kindly, there 's an end. The talismanic sentence here may be: "I give you good will for good will."
To fear a man's self-covering which he throws around himself because of his past, is weakness. You are invited to ignore the fact that he has any past it is his own and to assume the iron mask against his present. Our talismanic sentence now is: "This mere covering of yours is harmless. Wear it, if you will. It cannot contact with my soul."
To fear the mere word or manner of an ugly person is to surrender before you are really hurt. You are invited to assume the attitude of alertness, without its external signs, and, meanwhile, inwardly to smile at his manner and word. The concealed attitude of alertness discerns the other person's actual intentions: the latter give you information because you are psychically receptive and awaken within you certain protective impulses. As a general rule, these impulses should be obeyed, since they proceed from the alert subconscious. You are thus acting, not from fear, but in accordance with the highest reason obtainable. The talismanic sentence may be as follows: "I am alertly listening that I may catch your real intentions and hear my subconscious warnings and commands with regard to the same. Your external signs are harmless."
To be suppressed by or to fear another person's mere contrariety of speech and action, is to yield to the unexpected when it ought to be anticipated. If you know a man will surely say or do some unusual thing, the remedy consists in bringing to the fore and utilizing that knowledge. The talismanic sentence is: "I expect you to speak and act contrary to all precedent and reason, for such is your weakness, and I am therefore on guard against the desired effect of shock and disturbance which you seek to produce."
To fear one who takes unworthy pleasure in an-other's pain, is to place yourself below that person's level. It is your privilege mentally to rise above him, and, while guarding in all ways against actual hurt, to shake off all feeling of fear by sheer imperiousness of willed courage. Hence the talismanic sentence: "Your unworthiness condemns you, and my courage not only defeats you but compels your respect."
The brevity of these suggestions may tend to obscure their value, for they are easily read and easily forgotten. You are therefore urged to apply the regimes in actual and prolonged work. It is error to expect that inveterate tendencies can be overcome by the mere reading of a book. The law that reaction exactly equals action holds universally good. The effort to reform a tendency must equal the action which has developed it. The reform may proceed more swiftly, however, if only that sovereign creative power, the will, be brought resolutely to bear on the effort. This fact insures your success. But you are invited to re-member that the most strenuous and exacting and wearying thing in the world is prolonged vigorous action of the will set to one achievement. It is for this reason that people fail. The book you are reading instructs in a fine work, practically and correctly, but the book cannot furnish the action. All rests with the student who must be a reader and a doer. One who owns the power-books has revealed in correspondence this common trait: "The mind that is avid for more and more instruction, none of which it is (seemingly) willing to act upon and make good." It may therefore be urged that you actually and persistently test the regimes here set forth. If you will do this, the result is inevitable. Courage will arise from the grave of fear. Re-member, and hold fast, and conquer!
In addition to the above regimes, you are now re-quested to observe the following:
ELEVENTH IRON REGIME: Of Like for Like. Mere retaliation is always weakness, and is therefore not advised by this regime. The method is purely one of self-defense, and should always be so accepted. You are seeking freedom from fears, so that apparent retaliation will be justified provided no reaction of irritation go with it. Maintaining perfect calmness, you are now requested to meet brusqueness with brusqueness, contrariety with contrariety, surprise with surprise. In attempting this work, you must remember that you are trying, not to cure the other person's faults, but to conquer your own fears because of his faults. Should the method develop controversy, it must be abandoned for the time being, for its continuance would then lead astray. The point is, that you are to maintain inner calm while quietly employing the other man's weakness. The idea is, not a deadly duel on your part, but a fencing with a choice of weapons left to the opposing party. Whatever weapon he may choose, be you the better of the two. This regime, be it understood, of course, is to be resorted to only as a final effort in the interest of courage, and always must the fact be kept in mind that it requires the very highest skill, since you must, simply must, maintain perfect inner poise of mind and nerve. The questions are "Can you be brusque and self-controlled? Contrary merely for the sake of peace and quiet? Contrary in the interest of ultimate harmony?" The answers are affirmative, but you are urged to re-member with Epictetus that a gourd does not grow in one night. The regime assumes that you are determined to prove equal to its demands. This being so, you will find developing within you a feeling of indifference for all those elements in the brusque person's character which heretofore have inspired your fears, and such indifference will undermine and destroy the fears them-selves. In the meantime, the brusque person, discovering that he is unable to move you, will weary of his attitudes. He cannot forever beat the wind which he neither retards nor deflects.
Moreover, since brusqueness is a weakness, and since weakness is gregarious, the brusque person shows a failing in his fondness for the respect of others of some one or more human beings. Now, respect lies not very far removed from fear. Sufficiently dilute your fear of a man with negative feeling, and it becomes respect only. Or, sufficiently inject positive feeling into mere personal respect, and you have a case of fear. You respect a neighbor. Infuse a certain feeling into the respect: you now stand in awe of him. Increase the awe to a given degree: you are overwhelmed with fear. It is said that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." This means that wisdom begins in acknowledging a Being who can never be exhaustively known. You cannot merely respect the Infinite: the feeling you entertain for the Infinite has too much feeling to be other than just fear-thought or awe. Always shall you (justly) fear-thought in reason acknowledge that Infinite, for, as you unfold yourself to in-creasing apprehension of Him, it is He (the Infinite) that you unfold, and that Infinite and yourself, petal of the Unspeakable Flower of Reality is forever subjectively More both to Himself (that Infinite) and to you the petal on the Flower. Always shall you fear-thought your finite and that Infinite Self, since you can never exhaustively know either the one of the other. The Infinite Subjective your "Great Within"cannot exhaustively know Self, for the Self infinitely underhides the knower. So, the More, the limitlessly unexplored of you, shall always underhide your self-knowing. One ideal of life is self-respect, and it needs but to know self but a little more deeply to stand in awe of its immensities, and in that awe the human being finds the first shadowy substance of that true wisdom which is "the fear of the Lord."
These reflections bring us to the conclusion that fear for any human being is indefensible, since each one is ideally a phase-person of the Infinite Unsearchable, the "I Am That I Am," so that you are yourself even such an one, royally dowered, and need fear none who is also just a phase of the Universal Life. And if some people are practically mal-developed or partially developed phases of that Infinite, their traits which you fear are mere weaknesses, and, therefore, no occasion for fear at all.
The brusque person desires respect from others. His methods of seeking what he desires are merely false. Were the methods normal, you would not fear him. Being false, they are open to criticism; and because open to criticism, are unworthy your fears. False though they are, however, you are at liberty to utilize the end he seeks your respect the idea of respect for your own freedom from his thralldom. You are, hence, invited to meet his manners and words with studied respect for his opinions, ways and character. You thus not only communicate to him agreeable modifying ether-movements; you also develop within your-self a feeling of genuine courage.
TWELFTH IRON REGIME: Of Respect-Winning Efforts. The desire for respect usually carries with it a good valuation of the self-respecting attitude. The brusque person indeed, any of us respects respect. In this feeling we disclose the qualities which we desire.
The thief respects in another the traits and skill he covets most. The ideal man of honor values those characteristics which he seeks to embody. Evidently, then, the winning of respect must be preceded by the discovery of the things other people profoundly desire by way of qualities, traits, manners, characteristics, and the like. If only you know the secret ideals of men, money, power, learning, etc., you possess the key to their regard. Recalling, now, our previous study of human signs, both visible and hidden, it is certain that if you can win the respect of the person whom you fear, so that this respect becomes mutually known, you will infallibly have banished all occasion and impulse of fear in his presence. For this reason you are invited to study your man, to get at the qualities he craves most in himself, and then to embody them in yourself to imitate them while cultivating them, if they are to you respectable, and to imitate them, whether or no, so far as concerns a cure of your fear. You need not cultivate unworthy qualities, of course, in the pursuit of this regime. Becoming a thief does not win a thief's respect, although becoming a skilful one may do so. People admire excellence in what themselves are, but they really respect excellence in qualities which they feel they ought to desire. Desire never grows on the one level alone. Always are there deeps under deeps in the world of desire. Somewhere in any man are the deepest desires of his life, and these deeper desires run toward the highest idealism so far as the man can make out his ideals. If, then, you imitate the brusque person's brusqueness (except as in a former regime), you fail to win his respect in the true sense. You must find the qualities which he craves in his better soul. Hence, you are urged to imitate and cultivate these until they are you own, and so urged with the assurance that you will thus infallibly win his respect. Mean-while, you have banished fear and called courage to the fore.
THIRTEENTH IRON REGIME: Of Quiet Self-Mastery (for all chapters). If, in the presence of any person whom you fear, you will retire into an imaginary strong-hold, moated on all sides and with drawbridge up, you will be enabled to repel all assaults, whether of visible word or act, or of unseen etheric movements. You here never let yourself go. You here always refuse admission to any disturbance. Safe within, and viewing this person through barred plate glass, as it were, you say: "Since I am here, in perfect command, none of your words, opinions or acts, have power to reach me. I am immune to all your attacks."
FOURTEENTH IRON REGIME: Of Simple Dignity. The quality of dignity is seldom a birthright, is capable of being overdone, and may, in admirable form, be acquired by long-continued, intelligent effort. By the majority of people this high value is seldom attempted because of a vivid conception of its spurious imitation. Dignity in one person you admire; it is seen to be genuine. Dignity in another person you condemn because you know it is false. The present regime, then, urges the cultivation of a dignity that befits your personality, your life-level, your occupation, and any particular occasion. What such a dignity is you must discover by looking within for the ideal which seems to be right to you, as made certain by the reception of it which other people may accord. When you feel that you are right about a thing, criticism simply refers the feeling to a deeper phase of the self, and in the long run the deepest self, called upon for decision in the matter by such criticism, will give you the last word; that is for you the right conclusion. You are urged to seek a true conception of dignity fitting for yourself, and then to adopt such dignity, standing, meanwhile, within your citadel or stronghold, and, thus panoplied, to ignore the intention lurking behind sarcasm, ridicule, or brusqueness. You will find assistance in the thought and words now given: "I value myself too highly to retort, or to cringe, or to fear. `None of these things move me.'"
FIFTEENTH IRON REGIME: Of Using People for Practice. By so much as one learns how to use another person for any purpose, by so much does one lessen the possibility of fear for that person. You thus turn the one you fear into an instrument of practice for overcoming the fear. If you will apply the regimes of this chapter, seeking to know sarcastic, egotistic, superior and brusque people, you will infallibly find yourself rising above them, or becoming immune to them be-cause of the very familiarity induced by the practice, no less than because of the practice itself. For example: you fear some overbearing person, but you set him up as a target for these regimes; you make him a stone on which you sharpen any method; you compel him to serve you as a test of the regimes outlined. Always during the process, you mentally inform him: "Why, you are an implement on which I am practising and by means of which I develop a perfect courage. Observing these instructions, the death of your fear is guaranteed.
SIXTEENTH IRON REGIME: Of the White Life. When you are consciously right right in yourself, in your position, in your attitude and speech you have but to remember your fortress and the iron mask of dignity to render fear a foreign reality. Consciousness of being "out of true" somewhere must of course breed cowardice. A sense of right needs but the command of will to summon invincible courage. The sarcastic person, the boorish, the one who ridicules, the brusque, the superior, even the malevolent, cannot inspire fear in the soul that knows itself to be right. So, the deformed Roman philosopher told all Rome and Cesar, under the guise of a dialogue, that no thing or man could do evil to him, the noble soul, whose bodily mask was like to a broken back. "Now can no evil happen to me; for me there is no robber, no earthquake; all things are full of peace, full of calm; for me no way, no city, no assembly, no neighbor, no associate hath any hurt." For you, as the Hindoo sages well say, are not there eyes, hands, body, flesh, blood, nerves? You are you infinite in your "great within," deathless in that infinitude, impregnable in your harmony with right.
The Universe is a vast complex of etheric movements, vortices, rings, undulations, translations,every type of which is established and in that sense permanent, no individual movement of which can be destroyed except by conflict and in the interest of the whole. Imagine one ring always preserving harmonious relations with all other movements the adjustment intended by the nature of things. This ring possesses, therefore, the power to repel where it cannot adjust, and can by no possibility be destroyed so long as such harmony continues. The ring is your psychic self when consciously right. The Universal System guarantees you while in the right. And here is your sovereign remedy for fear and your breeder of courage-consciousness, invincible right living and being.
Observe, however! Right, as a known possession, may not always obviate the feeling of fear, because men and women do not know how to use the sense of right. The use of a consciousness of being right is outlined in this book. You are urged not to be content with a knowledge that you are in harmony with the nature of things, as is done in countless cases, but to apply that knowledge, as, by this talismanic sentence: "Imyself am courage, to the full limit of being now consciously right in my intentions and my actions and my existence."
And observe, again! No method may slay fear at a stroke. You have the wind and tide of fifty thousand years of evolution to contend with, it may be, and you are therefore invited to maintain patience and persistence in your efforts to be rid of fear. Moreover, you have with you the ultimate intention of that fifty thousand years, so that the fears which have come to you out of the long past may surely be slain by the struggles of your life, and the courage, which that intention of evolution has had always in view since "star-mist and fire-dust" became tenuously real, may be developed to all your need by the persistence of just this little thing your will. Remember, and hold fast, and conquer!
The will, set to a good purpose, is the Universe on the march.
SEVENTEENTH IRON REGIME: Of Feeling Debarred from Reason Against Crafty People. Fear in regard to crafty people (and in all the cases cited in this chapter) is an emotion imposed upon reason. This feeling is absent where the person is not supposed to be, say, for example, crafty. Recognition of the signs of such a character calls upon reason to be on guard, and this demand is a phase of active self-interest; but exactly at this point the psychic addition occurs and the fear-feeling arises. To permit that addition is to overthrow reason rather than respect its dictates. The feeling is unnecessary, for reason will attend to all the facts with-out the feeling, and the unnecessary addition can accomplish no single thing except to injure the one who indulges it. You are therefore urged to discriminate between your recognition of the signs of craftiness (or any other unworthy quality in those whom you meet) and your instinctive impulse to conserve your own self-interest, on the one hand, and all feelings of uneasiness, foreboding or fear, on the other hand. And you are also urged, while properly alert in the recognition of the signs of craftiness (or other quality), to resolutely eliminate every feature of disturbing elements, that is, of fear-feelings and fear-thoughts. To accomplish this, you banish such feelings, you rise above them, you substitute the thought and mood of courage try to feel courage. The talismanic sentence is this: "Alert toward all your machinations, I indulge no emotion what-ever concerning your intentions. I am courage in the face of such intentions." The goal, here observe, is not prevention of craftiness in other people, but is destruction of fear-feeling induced by craftiness. Not all the books in print might accomplish the former goal; the second may be achieved by one power your will.
It is now asserted that whoever fears in the feeling-sense of this book anything in earth or heaven or "hell," fears solely because he wants to fear.
It is possible to live the span of one human life without one fear. There are those who actually so live. They stand for a true self-interest, of course, and they try to protect their own, but they do not know the feeling of fear.
It is now further asserted that any mere quality, such as fearlessness, which any human possesses naturally, any other human being may acquire by intelligent and persistent effort referring, however, to reason-ably normal classes.
EIGHTEENTH IRON REGIME: Of Self-Interest Reason Against Malevolent People. Actual malevolence is not often observed. In the great majority of instances injury to others is due to a malevolent impulse which is momentary or really foreign to the person in which the trait appears. Here is a case of average human nature gone wrong, not of wrong human nature developed. There is a difference. Let us say that Milton's Satan is the negative of demoralized holiness. Goethe's Mephistopheles is the positive of developed evil. The ancient Greeks never conceived of either character.
Rome could give us in her last days an "in-carnation" of Satan, as seen in Nero, who was affirmatively badin his later life: an evolution of the death-throe of Rome. Alexander the Great or Napoleon was the negatively deteriorated struggle of life's expression of power. The real "bad man" is seldom discoveredand he is always insane. The right-man twisted is everywhere in evidence. In the one case we have concentrated etheric anarchy against whatever is because it is. In the other case we have merely etheric con-fusion.
It is a fact that you can so cultivate the farsighted self-interest reason, acting always in the mood of right and courage, that you can pass through any experience with malevolent people, either of the kind who are developed evil, or of the kind who are the degenerate of the human average, maintaining all senses alert for the long-run best thing under the circumstances, and with absolutely no feeling of irritation or of fear whatever. To achieve such a desirable goal, you are urged to follow all the regimes of this book, so far as applicable to your case, until self-poised self-control, acting on the farsight of your best interest, together with a combining sense of courage and power, have become habituated with you and identified with the deepest things in your nature. These desirable results you may surely bring about, if only you will persevere in your efforts. Remember, and hold fast, and conquer!