Practical Mental Influence

5. Mental Imaging

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By William W Atkinson (1908)

In our last chapter we called your attention to the first of the two principal factors in the manifestation of Mental Influence, namely, "Mental Concentration. "In the present chapter we shall consider the second factor tending to render possible the said manifestation, namely, "Mental Imaging."

What is known as a "Mental Image" in occultism, is the mental creation, in the imagination of a "picture" of the things, events or conditions that one desires to be manifested or materialized in actual effect. A moment’s thought will show you that unless you know "just what" you desire, you can take no steps toward attaining it on any plane of manifestation. And the more clearly your desires are perceived in your imagination, the clearer is the work of proceeding toward the realization of that desire. A Mental Image gives you a framework upon which to work. It is like the drawing of the architect, or the map of the explorer. Think over this for a few moments until you get the idea firmly fixed in your mind. And now the same rule holds well on the plane in which the manifestation of Mental Influence takes place. The occultist first builds up, in his imagination, a Mental Image or Picture of the conditions he wishes to bring about, and then by concentrating his influence strongly, instead of in a haphazard way as is the case with the majority of people who do not understand the laws and principles underlying the manifestations of the forces of mind. The Mental Image gives shape and direction to the forces, which is being concentrated upon the desired object or subject. It may be compared to the image on the glass of the Magic Lantern, through which the focused rays of the lamp pass, the result being that a corresponding image is reproduced upon the screen or curtain beyond. The analogy is a very close one indeed, if we remember that the minds of the majority of people are more or less blank screens or curtains upon which play the pictures produced there by outside influences, suggestions, environments, etc. , for very few people realize their individuality, and are merely reflections of the thoughts and ideas of other people.

An eminent authority, Sir Francis Galton, who was one of the leading authorities upon psychology of preceding generations, has said on this subject: "The free action of a high visualizing faculty is of much importance in connection with the higher processes of generalized thought. A visual image is the most perfect form of mental representation whatever the shape, position and relations of objects to space are concerned. The best workmen are those who visualize the whole of what they propose to do before they take a tool in their hands. Strategists, artists of all denominations, physicists who contrive new experiments, and in short, all who do not follow routine, have a need for it. A faculty that is of importance in all technical and artistic occupations, that gives accuracy to our perceptions and justice to our generalizations is starved by lazy disuse instead of being cultivated judiciously in such a way as will, on the whole, bring the best return. I believe that a serious study of the best way of developing and utilizing this faculty, without prejudice to the practice of abstract thought in symbols, is one of the many pressing desires in the yet unformed science of education. "

And what Galton has said of the value of the use of this faculty of the mind in the affairs of the material plane, so it is likewise true of the manifestations on the mental plane. You know that the clearer a Mental Picture you possess of anything that you want – the better you know just what you want – and the better you know the latter, the better able you are to take steps to get it. Many people go through life wanting "something," but not really knowing "just what" they do want. Is it any wonder that they do not realize or materialize their desires any better? And the same thing holds well on the plane of manifestation of Mental Influence. If one wishes to materialize anything by the use of the influence, is he not handicapped by a lack of Mental Image of just what he wants to materialize, and is he not helped very much by the creation of a mental "pattern" or plan, in the shape of a mental picture, through and around which he may direct his thought-currents?

The occultists manifesting the greatest degree of Mental Influence acquire by practice this art of creating Mental Images of that which they wish to materialize. They train their Imagination in this way until the very act of creating the Mental Image acts strongly toward the actual materialization or event, as "actually existing" in their minds before they attempt to concentrate their Thought-Waves upon the task of accomplishing it. Then the Mental Picture, being completed and standing in strong outline, they focus their mental force through it, just as in the case of the magic lantern before referred to, and the picture is reproduced on the screen of mentality of other people.

The imagination may be strengthened in many ways, the principle being constant and persistent practice. The practice of recalling to the memory of scenes previously witnessed, and then whether describing them to others or else drawing a rough picture of them will help in this matter. Describe to others scenes that you have witnessed, occurrences, details of appearances, etc., etc., until you are able to reproduce mentally the aspects and appearances of the things. Then you may begin to draw mental pictures of things desired as if they were being drawn on the screen of your mind. See, mentally, the things as actually occurring – create a little playhouse of your own, in your mind, and there enact the plays that you wish to witness in actual life. When you have acquired this, you will be able to project your mental pictures on the screen of objectivity in actual life with far greater effect.

In thinking of this subject, you would do well to remember the illustration of the magic lantern, for the figure is a good one, and will enable you to carry the idea better in your mind. You see, in giving you this suggestion, we are really telling you to form a mental picture of the mental magic lantern, using the illustration given – you see how much easier it is for you to think of it in this way and how much easier it is for you to manifest it in practice.

Build your Mental Images by degrees, commencing with the general outlines, and then filling in the details. Always commence by trying simple and easy things, and then working up to the more complex and difficult feats.

And now, I offer a word of warning at this point to all. Do not allow your imagination to "run away with you" – do not become a dreamer of dreams and a doer of nothing. You must master your imagination and make it your servant and not your master. You must make it do your bidding, instead of allowing it to dictate to you.

You will see in the succeeding chapters the important part that Mental Imaging plays in the different phases of Mental Influence. Even when we do not refer directly to it by name, you will see that the "idea" sought to be conveyed by one mind to another – the feeling, desire or mental state sought to be transferred from one mind to others – must and does depend very materially for strength upon the clearness and completeness of the Mental Image held in the mind of the person seeking to do the influencing, the "projector" of the Mental Image of his mental magic lantern, upon the screen of the minds of others. Carry this principle well in mind that you may see its operation in the different forms.

6. Fascination


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