Monday, June 26, 2017

Wake Up and Live! by Dorothea Brande

Wake Up and Live! by Dorothea BrandeDorothea Brande started out as a failure, then pivoted to success.

In her words:

TWO YEARS ago I came across a formula for success

…which has revolutionized my life. It was so simple, and so obvious once I had seen it, that I could hardly believe it was responsible for the magical results which followed my putting it into practice.

The first thing to confess is that two years ago I was a failure. Oh, nobody knew it except me and those who knew me well enough to see that I was not doing a tenth of what could be expected of me. I held an interesting position, lived not too dull a life—yet there was no doubt in my own mind, at least, that I had failed.

What I was doing was a substitute activity for what I had planned to do; and no matter how ingenious and neat the theories were which I presented to myself to account for my lack of success, I knew very well that there was more work that I should be doing, and better work, and work more demonstrably my own.

Of course I was always looking for a way out of my impasse. But when I actually had the good fortune to find it, I hardly believed in my own luck. At first I did not try to analyze or explain it.

For one thing, the effects of using the formula were so remarkable that I was almost on the verge of being superstitious about the matter; it seemed like magic, and it doesn’t do to inquire too closely into the reasons for a spell or incantation!

More realistic than that, there was—at that time— still a trace of wariness about my attitude. I had tried to get out of my difficulties many times before, had often seemed to be about to do so, and then had found them closing in around me again as relentlessly as ever.

But the main reason for my taking so little time to analyze or explain the effects of the formula after I once began to use it consistently was that I was much too busy and having far too much fun.

We all live so far below the possible level for our lives that when we are set free from the things which hamper us so that we merely approach the potentialities in ourselves, we seem to have been entirely transfigured. It is in comparison with the halting, tentative, hesitant lives we let ourselves live that the full, normal life that is ours by right seems to partake of the definitely super-normal.

When that is seen, it is easy to discover that all men and women of effective lives, whether statesmen, philosophers, artists or men of business, use, sometimes entirely unconsciously, the same mental attitude in which to do their work that their less fortunate fellows must either find for themselves or die without discovering.

Occasionally, as the reading of biographies and autobiographies shows, enlightenment comes through religion, philosophy, or wholehearted admiration for another; and the individual, although often feeling still weak in himself, is sustained by his devotion, is often capable of feats of endurance, effectiveness or genius which cause us to marvel at him.

But those who are not born with this knowledge of the way to induce the state in which successful work is done, who do not learn it so early that they cannot remember a time when they did not know it, or who for some reason cannot find in religion or philosophy the strength that they need to counteract their own ineffectiveness, can still teach themselves by conscious effort to get the best from their lives.

As they do so, many other things which have puzzled them become clear.

But this book is not the history of the growth of an idea. It is intended to be a practical handbook for those who would like to escape from futility and begin to live happily and well.

(From the Introduction)

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Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death

Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death by F. W. H. MyersEver wonder what really happens when you dream, or when death occurs?

How about those moments you have an inspiration “out of the blue”? And why do affirmations work for certain people and in certain circumstances, but not for everyone and all the time?

FWH Myers lived a very full life, even surviving near death in his 20’s as only member of his gold-mining expedition. When he finally turned to getting trained as an M.D., his background led to the odd and unusual, the metaphysical instead of the straight materialist dogma of how the world worked.

These works are but a partial presentation of an ever-growing subject on personality and its survival after the body dies. This book is an exposition rather than a proof. What Myers tried to do is to render knowledge more easily gained by coordinating it in a form as clear and intelligible as his own limited skill and the nature of the facts themselves permitted.

Willis Harman listed Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death as among the ‘‘pioneering books in the exploration of supraconscious processes,’’ along with two contemporaneous classics, R. M. Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness and William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience.

As William James forcefully argued, Myers made the first attempts to map out the full range of the subliminal mind as a universal human phenomenon. In the process, he ‘‘quite overturns the classical notion of what the human mind consists in,’’ making the unconscious not secondary but central.

It was also the inspiration for Dorothea Brande in her breakthrough of Wake Up And Live.

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About the Author:

Frederic William Henry Myers (6 February 1843, in Keswick, Cumberland – 17 January 1901, in Rome) was a poet, classicist, philologist, and a founder of the Society for Psychical Research. Myers’ work on psychical research and his ideas about a “subliminal self” were influential in his time, but have not been accepted by the scientific community.

Myers was educated at Cheltenham College and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he received a B.A. in 1864, and university prizes, including the Bell, Craven, Camden and Chancellor’s Meda.

Myers was interested in psychical research and was one of the founding members of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in 1883. He became the President in 1900. Myers psychical ideas and theory of a subliminal self did not impress contemporary psychologists. Psychologists who shared an interest in psychical research such as Théodore Flournoy and William James were influenced by Myers.

In 1903, after Myers’s death, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death was compiled and published. This work comprises two large volumes at 1,360 pages in length and presents an overview of Myers’s research into the unconscious mind. Myers believed that a theory of consciousness must be part of a unified model of mind which derives from the full range of human experience, including not only normal psychological phenomena but also a wide variety of abnormal and “supernormal” phenomena. In the book, Myers believed he had provided evidence for the existence of the soul and survival of personality after death.

Reviews:

“Exhaustive array of the phenomena of genius, sleep, hypnotism, sensory automatism, phantasms of the dead, motor automatism, trance, possession and ecstasy, with elaborate argument to prove that personality survives death.” -University of the State of New York Bulletin

“Probably the most complete and authoritative interpretation published of the conclusions reached by the special students of psychic phenomena.” -The Outlook

“Brilliant, almost dazzling conception of the ‘subliminal self’….Surveying the whole wide range of mental phenomena, the singular alterations and disintegrations of personality in disease, its evident limitations of faculty, counter-balanced at times by seemingly supernatural extension of faculty, Myers saw valid reason for asserting that the self of which we are normally aware – the self which one has in mind when he speaks of ‘my self’ – in is reality only a split-off from a larger self, just as the ‘secondary personalities’ of hypnotism and hysteria are split-offs from the self of everyday life. And to this larger self, the subliminal self, he referred, on the one hand, the intellectual uprushes and outpourings of genius and the achievements of humanity in time of stress, when, as the phrase is, a man seems to be ‘lifted out of himself,’ inspired with new energy, and capable of accomplishing deeds he had never dreamed possible to him; and, on the other hand, Myers likewise attributed to the subliminal self, as a faculty peculiarly its own, the power of telepathically transmitting messages from mind to mind and receiving and retaining them until some favoring condition permitted their presentation to the ordinary consciousness.” -New Outlook

“It is the impression that the unseen and eternal is beyond the reach of physical science, and it is the special object of faith. No one (we venture to say) will be persuaded by this book that does not end all, if not persuaded already. For faith is not belief in the existence of a religion beyond the reach of the senses. It is present intercourse with a living personality who is in the unseen, who has passed through bodily death. It is neither merely intellectual, nor merely emotional, it is the response of the whole personality to the personality now in the Beyond. That is the assurance of survival. There is no other; nor can be….And yet, how fascinating the book is. How unanswerable its many cases.” The Expository Times

“A full discussion of strange psychic phenomena of all sorts, including evidence of communication from departed spirits.” -The Literary Digest

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

An Introduction to Cosmic Consciousness

An Introduction to Cosmic Consciousness by Dr. Richard Maurice BuckeThere is an ages-old unexplained mystery of genius and enlightenment.

Many people talk of “seeing the light” as a temporary, intense affair where all the world’s knowledge and understanding is unveiled to an individual in a brief moment outside of time.

He carefully researched and compiled all the illuminated individuals he could find. As a trained M.D. and psychiatrist working in a mental institution, he was in a unique position

Bucke provides three dozen very consistent examples of ‘cosmic consciousness.’ Some of these were contemporary case-histories which he collected. Bucke proposed that these enlightened figures are evolutionary jumps, the precedecessor of a more advanced species. Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Dante, William Blake, Shakespeare and others were included.

According to Wikipedia, Burke’s experience started in 1872, while in London, Bucke had the most important experience of his life — a fleeting mystical experience that he said consisted of a few moments of cosmic consciousness. He later described the characteristics and effects of the faculty of experiencing this type of consciousness as:

  • its sudden appearance
  • a subjective experience of light (“inner light”)
  • moral elevation
  • intellectual illumination
  • a sense of immortality
  • loss of a fear of death
  • loss of a sense of sin

Bucke’s personal experience of the inner state had yet another attribute, mentioned separately by the author: the vivid sense of the universe as a living presence, rather than as basically lifeless, inert matter.

Describing this scene in his book: “The supreme occurrence of that night was his real and sole initiation to the new and higher order of ideas. But it was only an initiation. He saw the light but had no more idea whence it came and what it meant than had the first creature that saw the light of the sun.”

Bucke did not immediately record the details and interpretation of his experience. This was not done until years later, and only after he had researched much of the world’s literature on mysticism and enlightenment and had corresponded with many others about this subject.

His 1901 final work was the masterpiece of an eclectic genius, whose life encompassed medical science and mystical transcendence, and posits a higher form of sentience that only a few humans have ever achieved.

This is an edited introduction to Bucke’s original work.

About the Author

Canadian mystic and doctor RICHARD MAURICE BUCKE (1837-1902) was a pioneer in the medical treatment of mental illness; his famous friendship with Walt Whitman was the subject of the 1992 movie Beautiful Dreamers. He also wrote Man’s Moral Nature (1879) and an 1883 authorized biography of Whitman.

He was for several years an enthusiast for Auguste Comte’s positivist philosophy. Huston Smith said of Comte’s philosophy: “Auguste Comte had laid down the line: religion belonged to the childhood of the human race…. All genuine knowledge is contained within the boundaries of science.” Comte’s belief that religion, if by that is meant spirituality, had been outmoded by science contrasts with Bucke’s later belief concerning the nature of reality.

In January 1876, Bucke became the superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1877, he was appointed head of the provincial Asylum for the Insane in London, Ontario, a post he held for nearly the remainder of his life. In his work with asylum inmates, he was a who encouraged organized sports and what is now called occupational therapy.

In 1882, he was elected to the English Literature Section of the Royal Society of Canada.

On February 19, 1902, Bucke slipped on a patch of ice in front of his home and struck his head. He died a few hours later without regaining consciousness. (from Wikipedia)

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