Concentration is the key to omnipotence and one who is capable of concentrating his or her mind to a point wherein he becomes able to eliminate life, death and eternity, maintaining only one ideal, one point, or one nucleon of attention -such a one is capable of ruling the earth and overturning the entire plan of civilization. Concentration is the most badly needed factor of the new civilization.
The inability to concentrate and the eternal entrance of outside dissenting factors into the radius of mentality, forms the basis of failure and is the greatest thing that stands between the student of nature’s mysteries and the attainment of his divine achievement. Without concentration of effort and consecration of life to the ideal, whether material, intellectual, or spiritual, success is impossible in any marked degree.
The wandering mind is the curse of our age. It wants to attain a certain end but has not the courage to exclude other things for the attainment of that end. It has not strength to go against the tide or to balk at its own lower nature. Wishing to attain but without the courage of that wish, the average soul drifts through life, dreaming of success but attaining only failure. Individuals must have a point, an aim, and an ideal. Those who are successful are the ones who sacrifice everything, life itself if necessary, to the attainment of that ideal; in spite of opposition and the ever-present human weakness, to live only to attain that ideal to the exclusion of all else. The reward of this mental aim and determination is attainment.
It is the secret of commercial success, it is the secret of the scientist and philosopher, and it is also the secret of the power of the World Saviour. The accomplishment of the end justifies the use of every honest, conscientious means. It does not justify ill even to produce good, but it does require the complete cooperation of the faculties of the individual. Fifty percent efficiency is usually sufficient in the business world and is in fact all the employer expects. He expects the office boy to fumble the papers, with his mind on the baseball game, for he lives in just such a world himself. He comes to business in the morning on Monday and all that day he sees pictures of golf links before his eyes; he wakes up with a start to sign a paper, while his mind is tuning in his radio for Havana. This is the way the business world is run usually.
Here and there arises one, an expert, who climbs, within a few short years, over the heads of older and apparently wiser men and becomes the marvel of his generation. People wonder how he accomplishes it. The answer invariably is through concentration and consecration. You cannot have your mentality divided between pleasure and labor, between self and service, between your own desire and the needs of the multitudes, and succeed. You must chose one, adhere to it, struggle for the attainment of it, with vigilance as your watchword and labor as the pass-key. The result is success, and in this old world nothing succeeds like success.
This is especially true among those who take the path of occultism and consecrate their lives to an ideal. Few will understand this ideal, few will appreciate the consecration and still fewer will recognize the end to be attained, but, in spite of this, the student of life’s mysteries will never succeed in solving them until he gives himself, his life, and the labors of his hand, to the one end. He may lose much, but the thing that slumps off is the thing which is impermanent, unreal and unnecessary. Man’s needs are few but his requirements are eternally multiplying and he must learn to sacrifice his desires to the end which he has consecrated himself to. He is usually prepared and willing to make sacrifices but there are usually one or two things which he does not care to sacrifice but feels confident that he shall attain without those things. In this, he is wrong but usually does not discover the fact until his hair is gray with age and his heart is broken with suffering.
Whatever your walk of life, whatever your attitude towards life, remember that it is a game which requires the complete attention of the player. Like the game of chess, with its many moves and turnings, if your mind is once taken from it your opponent will win. Failure is the opponent of Time and a cunning player at the game of life realizes that failure is the result of inattention, the result of lack of confidence in self, the result of a lack of adjustment to a plan in which the individual, as a compound unit, should cooperate completely and entirely to the end which the mentality and soul has decided should govern life. When our hands work against each other we are as a house divided and must fall, when our lives are split between our whim and our duties, we are a house divided and cannot stand. Concentration is the answer to the problem.
One-pointedness of desire will succeed regardless of the thing which is the aim of life. It is equally the means of success for the merchant, the mechanic, and the seer. The successes of life are those who have sacrificed everything for that success, while the failures of life are those who have failed to cooperate with themselves. There are many things each one of us wants to do; we want to be Napoleons, we want to he Edisons, we want to achieve the height of public prominence in politics or religion. Every happiness that the world demonstrates we would have our share of. One minute we gaze at the lofty pinnacles upon which stand the forms of the immortals and we wish we stood there also; in the same glance we see the simple happiness and peace of the little cottage, the laughing children, the old hearthstone and long to be there too for our share in the joys of simple things. We see the apparent joy of riches, we see the plaudits of power; each point of the compass carries an attraction which we long to possess. And the youth of today, standing at the parting of the ways, wishes all the joy and none of the sorrow, all the laurels and none of the endeavor. One day he wishes to be great, the next day he gives himself to selfishness and greed. In other words, he is unconsecrated and without concentration.
The sage, standing at the parting of the ways, makes his life decision and swears by all that is holy within him and all that he hopes to be that he will remain firm upon that decision, and if he is too weak to reach the end you will find him lying somewhere on the path, with his eyes to the front and the same resolve in his soul, even though he could not attain the end. He chose with his eyes open and lived and died upon the strength of that choice. When he chose to walk the path of the World Saviour, of the servant of men, he closed his eyes to the path of power, he closed his eyes to the beckoning fingers of greed, he turned, mayhaps with a sigh, from the hearthstone and the children’s faces. All these he wanted but he knew that he could but succeed in one; and so, strong in his decision, he turned his back upon things he wanted, things he thought he needed, and took the trail that led to the highest that his soul conceived of. Many times again he saw the gloomy shadow of power beckoning to him, promising him all things, many times again he heard the laughter of children’s voices and saw in dream and vision the things which he left behind; many times he was tempted to turn back; many times he half believed he could accomplish all, could have them all; but in his soul he knew that no human being was great enough to span them all. So he left them all, to the furtherance of his objective, the thing he had sworn to do.
This is the story of the great capitalists, the great scientists, the world-famed philosophers, and the gods themselves. Surrounded by naggings and hamperings, criticized and deluged with abuses, tempted upon every turn to forsake a way that shows no progress, they remain true to themselves-and now the world bows humbly at their feet. The price of power is sacrifice, the price of gold is sacrifice, the price of philosophy is sacrifice, the price of mastery is sacrifice – the sacrifice of all else to the attainment of one end. And consecration is that obligation taken to the soul by the soul that it shall attain one fixed, determined and especial end, and concentration is that attitude of consciousness in which the bodies, mental, emotional and physical, unite under the direction of the spirit to the accomplishment of that one fixed and especial end.
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Source: “The All-seeing Eye” Magazine (April 1924). By Manly P. Hall
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