SEVEN STEPS IN
The Law which will enable you to make the best and fullest use of your subconscious power may be stated thus:
Subconsciousness is always amenable to control by suggestion.
This lesson aims to explain the law so that you may take advantage of its operation. Hence it is necessary first of all to make sure you know just what is meant by the terms employed in the foregoing statement.
From Lesson 2 you have learned all you need to know at this time about subconsciousness and its powers. More extensive explanations and techniques for control will be given you in the Tarot course. From the first part of this lesson you will learn the exact significance, in this instruction, of the words amenable, control and suggestion.
The standard dictionary defines amenable as: 1. Liable to be called to account; subject to authority; 2. Submissive; tractable.
Every one of these shades of meaning applies to our use of amenable in connection with subconsciousness. You can call subconsciousness to account whenever it seems to be falling short in its work. It is always subject to your authority. It is extremely submissive and always tractable. Its response to your authority is no grudging surrender, nor is its submission at all unwilling. It is easily led, easily directed, and the ease with which you may manage its operations is amazing.
What has been written about subconsciousness often gives the impression that the art of bringing its activities under our direction is a difficult, mysterious undertaking. Nothing could be further from the truth. Subconsciousness is always easy to manage and never resists our efforts to control it. Just because it is so easy to govern, it often seems to be extremely stubborn. The solution of this paradox is that whenever we think of subconsciousness as being resistant, it immediately plays up to the suggestion we have given, and will continue to do so until we give it a strong, definite counter-suggestion. The first thing to learn, then, is that subconsciousness is easy to manage, once you know how to do it.
To control any force is to exercise a directing or restraining influence over it. This needs emphasis. Many suppose that applied psychology will enable them to remove all restraint from subconsciousness. This is a dangerous fallacy. Subconsciousness cannot direct itself. Much less can it direct us. Its marvelous powers must always be definitely limited if they are to do us any real good. The unrestrained expression of subconsciousness is insanity. Every year state hospitals open their doors and make ready their padded cells for persons who have surrendered themselves to the unrestricted impulses of subconsciousness. Nobody can gain health, success, happiness, or growth on any level, by letting subconsciousness run wild.
On the other hand, control does not mean meddlesome interference. We must give directions, but we must be careful to leave this inner, deeper mind of ours perfectly free to obey our directions in its own way. Suppose we want health. We know that subconsciousness carries on all the body-building work. Our concern is not with the processes, but with their outcome. The second point to bear in mind, therefore, is this: Your conscious work ends when you have formulated a clear, distinct image of the result you desire and have turned over that image to subconsciousness in such a way that it will be acted upon.
Take care always to express perfect confidence in the powers of subconsciousness. To be in doubt, to be anxious about results, to indulge in too many repetitions of your suggestions, is to express a pattern of your fears instead of a pattern of your expectations. Then subconsciousness immediately goes to work to materialize the fear pattern it has received, for the emotion is as vital as the image.
Thus you need to be thoroughly familiar with Lesson 2 before attempting the practice given in this and subsequent lessons. Lesson 2 provides you with knowledge of facts which will enable you to banish all moods of doubt or anxiety as to the power of subconsciousness; and, in conjunction with what you will learn from this present lesson, that knowledge will help you to approach the work of directing subconscious forces in the spirit of full confidence which is indispensable to success. When you know what subconsciousness can do, you will make your demands on it in complete assurance that they will be carried out to the last detail.
Concerning the meaning of suggestion there is much confusion of tongues. Some say that a suggestion is anything which makes an impression on subconsciousness. This is true, but it is also vague because nothing except a suggestion makes any impression on subconsciousness and what we need to know is just what will make the necessary impression.
Others limit the term suggestion to commands impressed on the mind during mesmeric, hypnotic, or hypnoidal states. Actually, such states are themselves results of suggestion, and except in the abnormal conditions they present, subconsciousness is distinctly not amenable to direct commands.
If we go back to the dictionary, we find all authorities agreed that there must be some degree of subtlety in suggestion. A suggestion is a hint. As we employ it, the term retains this connotation of subtlety. An effective suggestion is indirect. Subconsciousness more readily responds to what is implied than to what is explicitly affirmed, stated, or commanded.
It does this because of a characteristic described in the preceding lessons. Subconscious reasoning is deductive. It is natural for this part of your mentality to work out hints and carry them to their logical conclusions. To employ your subconscious powers to the best advantage, you must take this characteristic into account.
A suggestion is anything which HINTS at the subconscious response desired.
You do not have to coerce subconsciousness. You do have to acquire the art of gently intimating what you want done. Hence an old occult text, which teaches applied psychology under the guise of alchemy, says the work of controlling our hidden powers must be done "suavely, and with great ingenuity."
You should understand now what is meant by the statement: Subconsciousness is always amenable to control by suggestion. All the wonderful powers described in Lesson 2 are yours to direct. The responsibility for right direction rests on you. Your subconsciousness is always responsive and it is easy to govern when you work with it in the right way. What you have now to learn and practice is the art of conveying to subconsciousness the kind of impressions which intimate what must be done.
To gain proficiency in this art takes a little time, and some perseverance, but the actual work is by no means difficult. What makes it seem so to many persons is their ignorance concerning the correct procedure.
Quacks play upon this ignorance. They intensify it by claiming theirs to be the only method whereby the elusive, remote, mysterious subconsciousness they tell about can possibly be reached. Thus they spread abroad the false notion that controlling subconsciousness is arduous, difficult, and perhaps dangerous.
Really it is nothing of the kind. The truth is that you have been controlling subconsciousness by suggestion all your life; but since you have been giving your willing servant all kinds of hints, the result of its perfect obedience to your suggestions has been destructive as often as it has been constructive.
For instance, you probably would like to enjoy perfect health and you may have tried many methods for attaining it. Possibly you have some knowledge of mental therapy and have used affirmations, statements, or some form of words intended to make your subconsciousness respond. If you have succeeded, it is because you have learned how to give effective suggestions. If you have failed, it is because your affirmations and commands were counteracted by the suggestive power of your habitual ways of thinking, imagining, speaking and acting.
Even a perfectly conceived suggestion of health will fail if it be contradicted by hundreds of fear-thoughts, by persistent carelessness in the selection of food, or by refusal to give your body its necessary supplies of water, air and light.
What you do and think all day long is recorded in subconsciousness. If your deeds give the lie to your words, the suggestion which reaches and affects your inner consciousness is the suggestion of your actions, not that of the statements you have learned from some book or teacher.
To make a mental pattern of perfect health and then starve your body by denying it the materials with which to build is to give your subconsciousness the strongest kind of suggestion that what you really want is disease. Then you get what you ask for.
To formulate a mental pattern for success in a business venture is excellent and necessary; but subconsciousness will not proceed to work on that pattern if you spend what resources you now possess in foolish ways. Nor will it build your business if you let your home and office be in disorder. Success and order are synonymous. Until you keep order as well as you can, all the success suggestions you can possibly find time to repeat will be over-balanced by the subtle hints of failure conveyed by the disorderly condition of your surroundings.
These examples are given to make it clear that subconsciousness is not only amenable to suggestions given at certain times, but rather is always amenable and obeys the predominant suggestion. Nothing in true occultism will give you a magic formula to win success if you are disorderly; to be healthy if you neglect the ordinary rules of hygiene; or to be happy if you persist in making negative interpretations of your experience.
Subconsciousness is controlled from the level of self-conscious awareness. What we think, say and do throughout the day furnishes the bulk of impressions received by subconsciousness. We have, first, to give some consideration to our bodies. Then we need to devote attention to what we say. After this we shall be ready to watch our thoughts.
The work begins with our bodies because all we accomplish must be done through their instrumentality. This is not a course on diet or hygiene and it will not enter into details concerning those matters.
Get the facts about what your body needs in the way of food, water, air and light. The facts, not the fantastic theories of faddists and quacks. Then put this knowledge to practical use.
By so doing you will give your subconsciousness the strongest possible hint that you want it to build you a healthy body. In subsequent lessons you will find instructions as to the formulation of the right sort of mental patterns, but remember that you can no more build a healthy body without the needed materials than you can build a house merely by looking at the architect's plans.
When you have learned what you require to build a healthy body and are supplying what it needs, turn your attention to your environment. Begin with your clothes. See to it that they are clean and well cared for. Next turn your attention to your abode and make sure the place where you sleep is spotless and orderly. Make your working quarters as orderly as you can even though you may not be so free to carry out your personal ideas. Those details for which you are personally responsible can always be kept in order.
Follow these simple, easy rules, and you will give your subconsciousness the most powerful kind of success suggestions.
What to do in the way of controlling words and thoughts will be explained in later lessons, and developed more fully in the Tarot courses. Skill in constructive speech and in the formulation of truly creative thoughts comes from definite practices which require somewhat extended description.
Begin at once to put the counsel of this lesson into practice. Thus you will take your first steps in using the law this section of the instruction explains.