ALMOST everyone now-a-days is anxious to practise thought-transference, and dreams of the delights of communicating with an absent friend without the assistance of telegraph or post. Many people seem to think that they can accomplish the task with very little effort, and are quite surprised when they meet with total failure in their attempts. Yet it is clear that one must be able to think ere one can transfer thought, and some power of steady thinking must be necessary in order to send a thought-current through space. The feeble vacillating thoughts of the majority of people cause mere flickering vibrations in the thought-atmosphere, appearing and vanishing minute by minute, giving rise to no definite form and endowed with the lowest vitality. A thought-form must be clearly cut and well vitalised if it is to be driven in any definite direction, and to be strong enough, on arriving at its destination, to set up there a reproduction of itself.
There are two methods of thought-transference, one which may be distinguished - as physical, the other as psychical, one, belonging to the brain as well as the mind, the other to the mind only. A thought may be generated by the consciousness, cause vibration in the mental body, then in the astral body, set up waves in the etheric, and then in the dense molecules of the physical brain; by these brain vibrations the physical ether is affected, and the waves pass outwards, till they reach another brain and set up vibrations in its dense and etheric parts. By that receiving brain vibrations are caused in the astral and then in the mental bodies attached to it, and the vibrations in the mental body draw out the answering quiver in consciousness. Such are the many stages of the arc traversed by a thought. But this traversing of a " loopline " is not necessary. The consciousness may, when causing vibrations in its mental body, direct those vibrations straight to the mental body of the receiving consciousness, thus avoiding the round just described.
Let us see what happens in the first case.
There is a small organ in the brain, the pineal gland, the function of which is unknown to Western physiologists, and with which Western psychologists do not concern themselves. It is a rudimentary organ in most people, but it is evolving, not retrograding, and it is possible to quicken its evolution into a condition in which it can perform its proper function, the function that, in the future, it will discharge in all. It is the organ for thought-transference, as much as the eye is the organ of vision or the ear of hearing.
If anyone thinks very intently on a single idea, with concentration and sustained attention, he will become conscious of a slight quiver or creeping feeling—it has been compared to the creeping of an ant—in the pineal gland. The quiver takes place in the ether which permeates the gland, and causes a slight magnetic current which gives rise to the creeping feeling in the dense molecules of the gland. If the thought be strong enough to cause the current, then the thinker knows that he has been successful in bringing his thought to a pointedness and a strength which render it capable of transmission.
That vibration in the ether of the pineal gland sets up waves in the surrounding ether, like waves of light, only much smaller and more rapid. These undulations pass out in all directions, setting the ether in motion, and these etheric waves, in turn, produce undulations in the ether of the pineal gland in another brain, and from that are transmitted to the astral and mental bodies in regular succession, thus reaching the consciousness. If this second pineal gland cannot reproduce these undulations, then the thought will pass unnoticed, making no impressions, any more than waves of light make an impression on the eye of a blind person.
In the second method of thought-transference, the thinker, having created a thought-form on his own plane, does not send it down to the brain, but directs it immediately to another thinker on the mental plane. The power to do this deliberately implies a far higher mental evolution than does the physical method of thought-transference, for the sender must be self-conscious on the mental plane in order to exercise knowingly this activity.
But this power is being continually exercised by everyone of us indirectly and unconsciously, since all our thinkings cause vibrations in the mental body, that must, from the nature of things, be propagated through the surrounding mind-stuff. And there is no reason to confine the word thought-transference to conscious and deliberate transmissions of a particular thought from one person to another. We are all continually affecting each other by these waves of thought, sent out without definite intent, and what is called public opinion is largely created in this way. Most people think along certain lines, not because they have carefully thought a question out and come to a conclusion, but because large numbers of people are thinking along those lines, and carry others with them. The strong thought of a great thinker goes out into the world of thought, and is caught up by receptive and responsive minds. They reproduce his vibrations, and thus strengthen the thought-wave, affecting others who would have remained unresponsive to the original undulations. These, answering again, give added force to the waves, and they become still stronger, affecting large masses of people.
Public opinion, once formed, exercises a dominant way over the minds of the great majority, beating unceasingly on all brains and awakening in them responsive undulations.
There are also certain national ways of thinking, definite and deeply cut channels, resulting from the continual reproduction during centuries of similar thoughts, arising from the history, the struggles, the customs of a nation. These profoundly modify and colour all minds born into the nation, and everything that comes from outside the nation is changed by the national vibration-rate. As thoughts that come to us from the outer world are modified by our mental bodies, and when we receive them we receive their vibrations plus our own normal vibrations—a resultant—so do nations, receiving impressions from other nations, receive them as modified by their own national vibration-rate. Hence the Englishman and the Frenchman, the Indian and the African, see the same facts, but add to them their own existing prepossessions, and quite honestly accuse each other of falsifying the facts and practising unfair methods. If this truth, and its inevitableness, were recognised, many international quarrels would be smoothed more easily than is now the case, many wars would be avoided, and those waged would be more easily put an end to. Then each nation would recognise what is sometimes called " the personal equation", and instead of blaming the other for difference of opinion, each would seek the mean between the two views, neither insisting wholly on its own.
The very practical question for the individual that arises from the knowledge of this continual and general thought-transference, is: How much can I gain of good, and avoid of evil, seeing that I must live in a mixed atmosphere, wherein good and evil thought-waves are ever active and are beating against my brain ? How can I guard myself against injurious thought-transference, and how can I profit by the beneficial ? The knowledge of the way in which the selective power works is of vital importance.
Each man is the person who most constantly affects his own mental body. Others affect it occasionally, but he always. The speaker to whom he listens, the author whose book he reads, affect his mental body. But they are incidents in his life; he is a permanent factor. His own influence over the composition of the mental body is far stronger than that of anyone else, and he himself fixes the normal vibration-rate of his mind. Thoughts which do not harmonise with that rate will be flung aside when they touch the mind. If a man thinks truth, a lie cannot make a lodgment in his mind; if he thinks love, hate cannot disturb him; if he thinks wisdom, ignorance cannot paralyse him. Here alone is safety, here real power. The mind must not be allowed to lie as it were fallow, for then any thought-seed may take root and grow; it must not be allowed to vibrate as it pleases, for that means that it will answer to any passing vibration.
There lies the practical lesson. The man that practises it will soon find its value, and will discover that by thinking, life can be made nobler and happier, and that it is true that by wisdom we can put an end to pain.