N.S.B. Cosmic Center
This page will take you into articles of psychology that are carefully selected. Emphasis and highlights are mostly ours, not made by the original author.
Here is our current selection:
The Magic of Believing (1948) by Claude Bristol
1. How I Came to Tap the Power of Belief
Is there some force, or factor, or power, or science -- call it what you will -- which a few people understand and use to overcome their difficulties and achieve outstanding success? I firmly believe that there is, and it is my purpose in this book to try to explain it so that you can use it if you desire.
Around 1933, the financial editor of a great Los Angeles newspaper attended lectures I gave to financial men in that city and read my brochure T.N.T. -- It Rocks the Earth. Afterwards, he wrote the following:
I realized that I had run across something that was practical and workable. But I didn't consider it then -- neither do I now -- as anything "
Years ago, when I started to teach this science by means of lectures and the medium of my brochure, I wasn't certain that the concepts could be grasped by the ordinary individual. But since then, I have seen those who have used it to double and triple their incomes, build their own successful businesses, acquire homes of their dreams, and create sizable fortunes. I am now convinced that any intelligent persons who are sincere with themselves can reach any heights they truly and honestly desire. I had no intention of writing a second book, although many urged me to do so, until a woman in the book business who had sold many copies of my first little book literally read me "the riot act" by stating:
It took time to sell myself on the idea. But having served as a soldier in World War I, mostly in France and Germany, and having been active for many years in ex-service men's organizations as well as a state commission for the rehabilitation of ex-service men and women, I realized that it would be hard for many individuals to make outstanding places for themselves in a world from which they had long been separated. It is with a sincere desire to help them, as well as all ambitious men and women, that I write this more full and detailed exposition of the Power of Belief. Thus, this work is written also to help develop individual thinking and doing.
Since this book may fall into the hands of some who may call me a crackpot or screwball, let me say that I am past the half-century mark and have had many years of hard practical business experience -- as well as a goodly number of years as a newspaper man. I started as a police reporter. Police reporters are trained to get facts and take nothing for granted. For a two year period I was church editor of a large metropolitan newspaper, during which I came in close contact with clergymen and leaders of all sects and denominations, mind-healers, divine healers, Spiritualists, Christian Scientists, New Thoughters, Unity leaders, sun and idol worshipers -- and, yes, even a few infidels and pagans.
The well-known English evangelist Gypsy Smith was making a tour of America at that time. Night after night as I sat on his platform, watching people stumble down the aisles, some sobbing, others shouting hysterically, I wondered.
Again I wondered when I accompanied the police in answering a riot call: some Holy Rollers in a moment of hysteria had knocked over a stove and set fire to their meeting hall. When I attended my first (and only) meeting of Shakers, I wondered -- as I did while attending various spiritualistic meetings. I wondered as I heard the testimonials at the Christian Scientists' Wednesday night meetings. I wondered when I watched a group of people immersed in the icy waters of a mountain stream and coming up shouting "
In France during the First World War, I marveled at the simple faith of the peasants and the powers of their village curees. I heard stories of miracles at Lourdes, and of somewhat similar miracles at other shrines. When in a famous old Roman church, I saw elderly men and women climb literally on their knees up a long flight of stairs to gaze upon a holy urn -- a climb that is no simple task for an athletically trained young person -- I wondered again.
Business brought me into contact with the Mormons, and when I heard the story of Joseph Smith and the revelations on the plates of gold, I was again given to wonder. The Dukhobors of western Canada, who would doff their clothes when provoked, likewise made me wonder. While in Hawaii I heard much about the powers of the kahunas who could, it was claimed, cause people to die or live by praying. The great powers attributed to these kahunas profoundly impressed me.
In my early days as a newspaper man, I saw a famous medium try to make "spirits" respond before a crowded courtroom of antagonistic scoffers. The judge had promised to release the medium if he could get the "spirits" to speak in the courtroom. Yet they failed to materialize, and I wondered why -- because the medium's followers had testified to remarkable séances.
Many years later, I was commissioned to write a series of articles on what the police call the "
Several times I have been in a hospital room in which people around me died, while others with seemingly
Moreover, I have made myself familiar with the lives of great men and women of history and have met and interviewed many outstanding men and women in all lines of human endeavor. Often I have wondered just what it was that took them to the top. I have seen coaches take seemingly inferior baseball and football teams and infuse them with something that caused them to win. In the Depression days, I saw badly whipped sales organizations do an abrupt about-face and bring in more business than ever before.
Apparently I was born with a huge bump of curiosity, for I have always had an insatiable yearning to seek answers and explanations. This quest has taken me to many strange places, brought to light many peculiar cases, and caused me to read every book I could get my hands on dealing with religions, cults, and physical and mental sciences. I have read literally thousands of books on modern psychology, metaphysics, ancient magic, Voodoo, Yoga, Theosophy, Christian Science, Unity, Truth, New Thought, Coueism, and many others dealing with what I call "
Many were nonsensical, others strange, and many very profound.
Gradually I discovered that a golden thread runs through all the teachings and makes them work for those who sincerely accept and apply them, and that thread can be named in the single word -- belief. It is this same element or factor -- belief -- that causes people to be cured through mental healing, enables others to climb high the ladder of success, and gets phenomenal results for all who accept it. Why belief works miracles is something that cannot be satisfactorily explained; but have no doubt that there's genuine magic in believing. "The magic of believing" became a phrase around which my thoughts steadily revolved.
I am convinced that the socalled secret fraternal organizations guard a real "royal secret" which very few members ever grasp. The conclusion must be that "
When T.N.T. -- It Rocks the Earth was first published, I imagined that it would be easily understood since I had written it simply. But as the years went by, some readers protested that it was too much in digest form. Others said they couldn't understand it. I had assumed that most people knew something about the power of thought. Now I realize that I was mistaken, and those who had an understanding of the subject were comparatively few. Later, over many years of lecturing before clubs, business and sales organizations, I discovered that most people were vitally interested in the subject, but that it had to be fully explained. Finally, I undertook to write this book in words that anyone can understand -- and with the hope that it will help many to reach their goals in life.
The science of thought is as old as man himself. The wise men of all ages have known it and used it. The only thing I have done is to put the subject in modern language and bring to the reader's attention what some of today's outstanding minds are doing to substantiate the great truths that have come down through the centuries.
Fortunately for the world, people are coming to the realization that there is something to this "mind-stuff" after all. I believe that millions of people would like to get a better understanding of it -- and prove that it does work.
Therefore, let me start by relating a few experiences from my own life, with the hope that they will give you a better understanding of the entire science.
Early in 1918, I landed in France as a "casual" soldier, unattached to a regular company. As a result, it was several weeks before my service record (necessary for my pay) caught up with me. During that period I had no money to buy gum, candy, cigarettes, and the like, since the few dollars I had before sailing had been spent at the transport ship's canteen to relieve the monotony of the regular menu. Every time I saw a man light a cigarette or chew a stick of gum, it reminded me that I was without money to spend on myself. Certainly, I was eating, and the army clothed me and provided me with a place on the ground to sleep, but I grew bitter at having no spending money and no way of getting any. One night en route to the forward area on a crowded troop train when sleep was out of the question, I made up my mind that on my return to civilian life, I would have a lot of money. The whole pattern of my life was altered at that moment.
True, I had been something of a reader in my youth; the Bible had been a must in our family. As a boy I was interested in wireless telegraphy, X-rays, high-frequency apparatus, and similar manifestations of electricity, and I had read every book on these subjects I could find. But while I was familiar with such terms as radiation frequencies, vibrations, oscillations, magnetic influences, etc., in those days they meant nothing to me outside of the strictly electrical field. Perhaps my first inkling of a connection between the mind and electrical or vibratory influences came when upon my completing law school, an instructor gave me an old book, Thomson Jay Hudson's
My Army classification card listed me as a newspaper man. I had been attending an Army Training School to qualify for a commission, but the whole training-school program was discontinued just as we finished the course; thus most of us landed in France as enlisted men. However, I considered myself a qualified journalist and felt that there was a better place for me in the American Expeditionary Force. Yet like many others, I found myself pushing wheelbarrows and lugging heavy shells and other ammunition.
Then one night at an ammunition depot near Toul, things began to happen. I was ordered to appear before the Commanding Officer, who asked me whom I knew at First Army Headquarters. I didn't know a soul there and didn't even know where it was located, and I told him so. Then he showed me orders directing me to report there immediately. A car and driver were provided, and the next morning found me at First Army Headquarters in charge of a daily progress bulletin. I was answerable only to a colonel.
During the months that followed, I frequently thought about the commission to which I was entitled. Then the links began to form into a chain. One day, entirely out of a clear sky, came orders transferring me to the Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper; I had long had an ambition to be on its staff, but had done nothing about it. The next day, as I was preparing to leave for Paris, I was called before the colonel who showed me a telegram signed by the Adjutant General's office at GHQ, asking if I was available for commission. The colonel asked whether I would rather have a commission than report to the Army newspaper. Foreseeing that the war would soon end and I would be happier among other newspaper men, I said I would prefer the transfer to the Stars and Stripes. I never learned who was responsible for the telegram, but obviously something was working in my behalf.
Following the armistice, my desire to get out of the Army became insistent. I wanted to begin building that fortune. But the Stars and Stripes did not suspend publication until the summer of 1919, and it was August before I got home. However, the forces I had unconsciously set in motion were already setting the stage for me.
About nine-thirty the next morning after my arrival home, I received a telephone call from the president of a club in which I had been active. He told me to call a prominent man in the investment banking business who had read about my return and had expressed a wish to see me before I resumed newspaper work. I called the man and, two days later, embarked upon a long career as an investment banker, which later led me to the vice-presidency of a well-known Pacific Coast firm.
While my salary was smart at the start, I realized that I was in a business where there were many opportunities to make money. Just how I was to make it was then not revealed, but I just knew that I would have that fortune I had in mind in less than ten years, I did have it, and not only was it sizable, but I was a substantial stockholder in the company and had several outside profitable interests. During those years I had constantly before me a mental picture of wealth.
Many people in moments of abstraction or while talking on the telephone engage in doodling -- drawing or sketching odd designs and patterns upon paper. My doodling was in the form of dollar signs like these -- $$$$ -- $$$$ -- $$$ -- $$ -- on every paper that came across my desk. The cardboard covers of all the files placed before me daily were scrawled with these markings, as were the covers of telephone directories, scratch-pads, and even the face of important correspondence. I want my readers to remember this detail, because it suggests the mechanics to be used in applying this magic which I'll explain in detail later.
During the past years, I have found that by far the greatest problems bothering most people are financial ones.
With today's intense competition, millions are facing the same kinds of problems. However, it matters little to what ends this science is used. It will be effective in achieving the object of your desire -- and in this connection, let me tell another experience.
Shortly after the idea of T.N.T. -- It Rocks the Earth came to me but before I put it on paper, I took a trip to the Orient and sailed on the Empress of Japan, noted for its excellent cuisine. In my travels through Canada and in Europe I had developed a fondness for Trappist cheese made by the Trappist monks of Quebec. When I couldn't find it on the ship's menu, I laughingly complained to the chief steward that I had sailed on his ship only to get some of the famous "Trappist" cheese. He replied that he was sorry, but there was none aboard.
The more I thought about it, the more I hungered for some of that cheese. One night a ship's party was held. Upon returning to my cabin quarters after midnight, I found a big table had been set up in one of the rooms. On it was the largest cheese I had ever seen. It was "Trappist" cheese.
Later I asked the chief steward where he found it. "
Naturally the treatment I received made a great impression on me, and in Honolulu, I often thought how nice it would be to receive comparable attention on my journey home on another ship. One afternoon I got the sudden impulse to leave for the mainland. It was about closing time when I appeared at the ticket agency to ask what reservations I could get. A ship was leaving the next day at noon, and I purchased the only remaining cabin ticket.
The next day, just a few minutes before noon, as I started up the gangplank, I said to myself in an offhand manner, "
The ship got under way. As we steamed out of the harbor, the dining-room steward asked passengers to appear in the dining room for assignment to tables. When I came before him, about half the assignments had been made. He asked for my ticket, glanced at it and then at me, saying, "
Later, when I found myself lecturing, I thought it would be wise to get a letter from the captain substantiating the story and I wrote him. He replied, "
People who have heard the story -- and who know nothing about the magic of believing -- have declared that it was mere coincidence that the captain selected me. I am positive it wasn't, and I'm also certain that this captain (who knows quite a bit about this science) will agree with me. Aboard that ship were dozens of people far more important than I could ever be. I carried nothing to set me apart, being one of those who can pass in a crowd. So obviously it wasn't the clothes I wore or the way I looked that prompted the captain to pick me out of several hundred passengers to receive personal attention.
In presenting to you this very workable science, I am aware that the subject has been handled before from many angles, but also realize that many people shy away from any approach that smacks of religion, the occult, or the metaphysical. Accordingly, I am using the language of a businessman who believes that sincere thinking, clear writing, and simple language will get any message across.
You have often heard it said that you can if you believe you can. An old Latin proverb says, "
Dr. Alexander Cannon was a distinguished British scientist and physician whose books on the general subject of thought stirred up controversy here and abroad. He declared that while today a man cannot grow a new leg (as a crab can grow a new claw), he could if the mind of man hadn't rejected the possibility. The eminent scientist claimed that if the thought is changed in the innermost depths of the unconscious mind, then man will grow a new leg as easily as the crab grows a new claw. I know, such a statement may sound incredible, but how do we know that it will not be done some day?
Frequently I lunch with a group of medical men, all specialists in various branches of medicine and surgery. I know that if I voiced such an idea, they would suggest that I have my head examined. However, I find that some of these doctors, especially those more recently graduated from our better schools, are no longer closing their minds to the role that thought plays in causing and curing functional disturbances in the body.
A few weeks before I wrote this chapter, a neighbor came to me to explain how his warts happened to disappear. During a stay at the hospital, he had wandered out on the porch where another convalescent patient was conversing with a friend. Said the visitor to the other patient, "
My neighbor said he looked at the stranger for a moment, then said: "
I told this story to a group of doctors one day. A well-known specialist -- and personal friend -- grunted, saying, "Preposterous!" Across the table, another doctor who had recently been teaching in a medical school came to my aid, declaring that there were many authenticated cases of suggestion having been used to cure warts.
I was tempted to remind them that several years before, newspapers and medical journals had reported how Heim, a Swiss geologist, had removed warts by suggestion, and had also cited the procedure of Professor Block, another Swiss specialist, in his use of psychology and suggestion for the same purpose. Back in January, 1945, Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons set up the first psychoanalytic and psychosomatic clinic in this country for the purpose of studying the relationship between the unconscious mind and the body. I kept silent, feeling that I was too outnumbered for an argument.
Since this conversation, considerable publicity was given to the findings of Dr. Frederick Kalz, a noted Canadian authority who flatly stated that suggestion works in many cases, even to curing warts that are infectious and caused by a virus. In a 1945 article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Kalz declared that, "
Another time my medical friends and I were discussing telepathy. I remarked that some of our greatest students and scholars believed in it. Dr. Alexis Carrel, of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, was not only a thorough believer in the phenomenon but declared that there was definite scientific proof that man could project his thought even at great distances into other minds.
I looked at him with astonishment, for Dr. Carrel won the Nobel Prize for his medical research. When he put forth his ideas in that remarkable book, Man the Unknown, published in 1935, he was regarded as one of the world's foremost medical scientists and investigators.
I have no quarrel with the medical fraternity. Quite the contrary, for its members are generally sincere, able, and open-minded men, and a number are among my closest friends. However, some medical specialists, especially those inclined to restrict their studies to their respective fields, refuse to accept anything that may upset their early teachings and dogmatic beliefs. This resistance is not confined to the medical profession: countless specialists in other lines, including business, know very little outside of their chosen fields, and their minds are closed to any idea beyond their limited imaginations. Frequently, I have offered to lend books to these various specialists -- only to be told, after informing them of the contents, that they were not interested.
This is the paradox: Many apparently well-educated men and women, successful in their respective fields, will, in their broad ignorance, condemn the idea of thought power and make no endeavor to learn more about it -- yet every one of them has unconsciously made use of it! Again, many people will believe only what they like to believe or what fits into their own scheme of things, summarily rejecting anything to the contrary. Countless men whose ideas developed the very civilization we live in have been hooted at, slandered, even crucified by the ignoramuses of their times. I think of the words of Marie Corelli, the English novelist who became world famous in the 19th century:
Great investigators and thinkers of the world, including many famous scientists, are in the open today, freely discussing the subject and giving the results of their experiments. Shortly before his death, Charles P. Steinmetz, famous engineer of the General Electric Company, declared, "
Much has been written and said about mystical powers, unknown forces, the occult, metaphysics (
During the years that I have appeared before luncheon clubs, business concerns, and sales organizations, as well as talking over the radio to thousands of people about this science, I have seen results that can be termed phenomenal.
As I said before, many have used it in their business to double, treble, even quadruple their incomes. My files are filled with letters from people in all walks of life, testifying what they have accomplished by using the science. As an instance, I think of Ashley C. Dixon, whose name was once known to thousands of radio listeners in the Pacific Northwest. A number of years ago, he wrote me voluntarily to say that he had studied this subject in an academic way, but had never fully believed it until he was forty-three, when he had only $65 to his name, no employment, and no jobs available. He set out to prove to himself that the science would work. I quote the following excerpts from Mr. Dixon's letter:
In 1934, during the lowest point of the Depression, the head of the Better Business Bureau in a large Pacific Coast city heard of what was happening to firms and individuals who were following my teachings. He decided to investigate my work. Later he congratulated me publicly and subsequently wrote me as follows:
This man has since risen to great heights in the business world and has written me of having seen other practical demonstrations of the workings of this science.
When I started this book, I decided to check with some of the individuals and firms who had written me to certify the phenomenal results they had achieved by using this science. Without exception, every one testified to the continuing progress he had made. One of the most outstanding accounts was related by Mr. Don Quayle, once well-known to the Disabled American War Veterans, who was long active in veterans' affairs in the Northwest. In 1937, he wrote me:
I first met Mr. Quayle just after he had started his business with one desk in the front of a plumbing shop. In the following years, it was a pleasure to see him move from place to place, his business growing by leaps and bounds, until he occupied the entire ground floor of a building on one of the main thoroughfares of a great western city. Realizing that his story of achievement was a remarkable one, I asked permission to quote his earlier letter.
At the time I grasped this science, I had no idea that I was later to put it into book form. My primary thought was to use it to save my own organization from bankruptcy. I was then vice-president of an investment banking firm, and we had been caught in the economic crisis and were headed for disaster.
I don't know whether I was inspired, but I dictated the first draft of my brochure in its entirety in less than five hours, without notes or references of any kind before me. At the same time the idea for the brochure came to me, the words, "
But after T.N.T -- It Rocks the Earth was published, it reached a woman author living in New York, who wrote me as follows:
In the same letter, she urged me to read Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke's
In the same period, it came to me in a flash why my firm was going on the rocks -- not because of the threatening outside happenings and events, but because of the mental attitude of our employees. We were all succumbing to mass fear-thoughts: we feared that the Depression was weakening our spirit and sweeping everything downhill to financial disaster. With our own thoughts of ruin, we were attracting the disaster to ourselves.
It occurred to me that to save the firm and to begin fighting the Depression itself, all I needed to do was reverse the thinking of every person connected with our organization. I set about doing that very thing. As Frank W. Camp, who wrote the introduction to my brochure declared, it was followed "
I admit that some of my statements may be ridiculed by classroom psychologists. But every day, thousands of people demonstrate for themselves that the science works. As for you, the reader, the main point to consider is whether it will work for you. The only way you can find out is to try it yourself.
I give you this science, in the confident knowledge that no matter how you use it, you will get results. But I do wish to repeat a warning given in my brochure: Never use it for harmful or evil purposes. Since the beginning, there have been two great subtle forces in the world -- good and evil. Both are terrifically powerful in their respective scopes and cycles. The basic principle operating both is mind power -- massed mind power. Sometimes evil appears to have the upper hand, and at other times good is at the controls. It is mind power that has built empires, and we have seen how it can be used to destroy them -- history has recorded the facts.
If you read this book reflectively, you will understand how the science can be used with terribly destructive force, as well as for good and constructive results. It is like many natural forces, such as water and fire, which are among men's greatest benefactors. Yet both can be hideously catastrophic, depending upon whether they are used for constructive or destructive purposes.
Therefore, take great care that you do not misuse the science of "Mind Stuff." I cannot emphasize this too strongly, for if you employ it for harmful or evil purposes, it will boomerang and destroy you just as it has others down through the centuries. These are not idle words, but solemn words of warning.