Brains and How to Get Them
by Christian D. Larson
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1913. Contents: Building the Brain; Making Every Brain Cell Alive; Principles in Brain Building; Practical Methods in Brain Building; Vital Secrets in Brain Building; Special Brain Development; Inner Secret; Finer Forces; Subjective Concentration; Principle of Concentration; Development of Business Ability; Accumulation and Increase; Individual Advancement; Genius of Invention; Musical Prodigy; Talent and Genius in Art; Talent and Genius in Literature.
NEW DISCOVERIES IN BRAIN BUILDING
When we consider the human brain, together with mental brilliancy, mental power and mental capacity, we find three factors in particular that stand out distinctly; and we also find that the more we have of these three factors, the more brains we possess.
The first factor is the physical cells of the brain.
The second factor is the quality of the mind acting through the brain.
And the third factor is the actions of the mind itself.
The actions of the mind we may also speak of as mental force; that is, that power in the mind that is distinct both from mental quality and the physical side of the brain; and we always find that the possession of an exceptional degree of this mental force or power, always means mental brilliancy as well as high mental activity.
The fact that these three factors, when highly developed, invariably produce a greater quantity and a higher degree of brains, leads us to inquire how the further development of these factors may be promoted; and we now know that these factors can be developed.
In the past we lived largely in the belief that the increase of talent or ability was something that we might not expect - something that was hardly possible in any case; and therefore we felt it necessary to be content with what ability we might happen to be born with. This however, we do not believe any more, because any number of intensely interesting experiments conducted along these lines have proven conclusively that brains can be developed.
This same fact is being proven every day by a great number of individuals who are constantly building up the mind and its power, through the best methods that they have been able to find in modern psychology. We have all noted how certain people have improved during certain periods of time when they gave attention to the newest principles of mind development; and in many cases such improvement has been remarkable. We may therefore proceed in the conviction that brains can be developed, and that an individual can develop his own brains, not only to a certain degree, but to any degree desired.
Considering the first factor - the cells of the brain - we come face to face with a very interesting fact that has been evolved in recent years through certain laboratory experiments, and this fact is, that the cells of the brain can be increased in number and improved in quality through the mere act of increasing life and power in the various groups of the brain cells.
To illustrate, we will suppose that you divide your brain into five or six divisions, and take, say, one-half hour, twice every day, for the purpose of concentrating attention upon those various divisions, for the express purpose of increasing life and energy throughout the brain; you will find, in the course of a few weeks' time, that every part of your brain will be more active than it was before; and you will note a remarkable increase in the power and capacity of the mind as a whole. We all are familiar with the fact that whenever we concentrate attention upon any group of cells, either in the body, or in the brain, we invariably increase life, energy, and nourishment among those cells; and the result must be development.
These experiments in concentration prove that the circulation can be increased anywhere in the human system, at the point of concentration; and we know full well that whenever we increase the circulation, we supply added nourishment as well as added life force. We understand therefore, that by providing the different divisions of the brain with added nourishment and life force, through this process of concentration, we provide those very essentials that nature requires in order to build more cells, as well as develop further the cells already existing in that particular group.
This same mode of concentration tends to increase brain activity, and wherever brain activity is increased, there we always find a corresponding improvement in quality, together with finer mental action, deeper mental action, and a more refined mode of mental functioning, which invariably, leads to superior thinking.
The development of the brain through this method does not necessarily mean an enlargement of the brain on the whole, for the fact is that the higher development of the brain tends to produce more cells and smaller cells, so that where one crude cell might have existed before, we may produce a dozen or more finer cells; and the law is, that the finer the cells of the brain, the more perfect the brain becomes as an instrument through which ability, talent and genius may be expressed.
However, if this process of brain development is continued for a number of years, the entire cranium will have increased in size to some extent. We find in great men and great women who have used their brains and minds extensively all through life, that the measurement of the cranium has increased slightly every ten years; and in some instances we find that the circumference of the cranium has increased one entire inch after the age of sixty. This fact proves conclusively that brain development may be continued far beyond the half century mark; and that ability may be increased remarkably even after the three score and ten has been passed; in fact, the new psychology is proving conclusively that we can increase ability, talent, brain capacity and mental power every year as long as we live, so that any man may become far more brilliant at the age of one hundred than he might have been at any previous time in his life.
When we consider this process of brain development, and the possibility of increasing the number of cells in the brain, we meet a very interesting fact. We will suppose that a certain group of cells in your brain is composed of just one hundred cells. This means that there would be one hundred points of action through which the mind could act in that particular part of the brain; but if you could double that number of cells you would have two hundred points of action through which the mind could be expressed along that line; and in consequence mental capacity and power would exactly double along that particular line of expression.
Then suppose that you would promote your development further, and build twelve small, highly refined cells for every one brain cell you previously had; the capacity of the mind would become just exactly twelve times as great as it was before. You would have twelve times as many channels for the expression of talent and genius as you had previously; and the creative power of your mind would be twelve times as large as it was in the past.
It may not be possible for every brain to increase the number of cells to this extent; but every brain can double and treble its number of cells; and a large number, especially those who are faithful, will find it possible to increase the number of brain cells to eight, ten, and twelve times during the course of several years of steady brain development.
This fact brings us face to face with marvelous possibilities; it proves conclusively that there is no need of any one, at any time, being discouraged on account of a lack of ability or lack of opportunity, because even a few months of development of the brain will bring the individual to a place where he will be able to handle and master problems and propositions that he never could have managed before. Besides, this increase of development of the brain will give added ability and power in proportion and we all know very well that however discouraging the present may be, we shall find it possible to take advantage of new and exceptional opportunities the very moment we can add to our ability and power.
In this connection, we must remember that every cell in the brain serves as a channel for mental action. Therefore, the more cells we have in the brain, the more mental actions there will be; and the increase of mental actions means increase of mental capacity, mental power, and also mental creative force.
Mental action, however, does not depend on size, so that a brain cell does not have to be large in order to serve as a perfect channel for mental action. The fact is that the smaller the brain cell is, the more perfect it becomes as a channel for mental action. Therefore, we see the advantage of securing smaller brain cells and more brain cells; and this we may accomplish through the process of brain development, which we shall here outline.
We find that all such development tends to rebuild all the cells of the brain; and in re-building those cells, the brain texture is made finer, and the cells themselves smaller and more numerous. The psychology of all of this is very simple, as we shall find the more deeply we study this important subject.
The study of brain development also proves conclusively that the brain or the mind does not wear out. We had that opinion in the past, but it has been discarded as absolutely untrue. The use of the brain does not, in itself, tend to wear upon the brain, for the fact is, that use should constitute, and does constitute exercise; and the more we exercise any faculty or factor, the greater will be the development of that faculty or factor.
The same is true of experience. We have been in the habit of believing that experience will wear on the human system; but the contrary is the truth. Every experience should increase the power of the mind, and the reason why is simple. Every new experience you pass through, should, and naturally does, lead the mind into a new field. It adds a new dominion to the field of consciousness; and our capacity to apply consciousness must increase accordingly. When consciousness acts in a limited field it is limited; but when that field is enlarged consciousness is enlarged in proportion; and the larger the field of consciousness, the larger, the greater and the more brilliant becomes the mind.
Every new experience, every new line of growth, and every new line of mental activity, will naturally add to the powers and the domains of the mind. Thus we secure a larger mental field, and this is one of our principal objects in view. We should always look upon experience in this way; and if we take this view of experience, we tend to encourage the mind to go farther and farther in the expansion of consciousness, whenever a new experience is entertained or enjoyed. The result will be that every experience will have a tendency to enlarge the mind and add to the field of consciousness.
In building up the cells of the brain, we may consider a few simple methods that have proven themselves most effective through actual experience. This study, however, is very recent, and there are only a few who have undertaken to demonstrate the effectiveness of the principles involved; but we have secured enough facts to substantiate absolutely the science of this new brain development. We may therefore proceed with the full conviction that the results desired will be secured.
The first principle to consider is that of concentration, and the power of concentration to increase life, energy and circulation in any part of the human system where we may choose to concentrate. You can prove this power through various experiments. Concentrate your attention upon your hand, and in a few minutes your hand will become warm. Very soon you will note the veins on the back of the hand beginning to swell, proving conclusively that the circulation there has been increased to a very large extent. Concentrate your attention upon your feet, with a desire to increase the circulation all the way down through your body, and you will soon feel a glowing warmth all over the surface of the skin, and the feet themselves will become quite warm.
This method has been found very effective in preventing a cold, in case we should feel such a condition coming on; because it is a well known fact that the increase of the circulation all over the body will tend to open the pores of the skin, and thus enable nature to eliminate those very conditions that are brewing in the system when a cold is threatened.
There are many ailments in the human system that can be prevented or overcome in the same way, because we know very well that the increase of the circulation, with life and energy is all that is necessary to cure a disease, or prevent any ailment, whatever the circumstances may be. We understand therefore that we can, through the process of concentration, increase life, energy and circulation anywhere in the system, and therefore in any group of cells in the brain.
Begin by concentrating attention upon the different parts of the brain; and during the process of concentration try to feel deeply; that is, try to enter into the spirit of this concentration; and express, through your concentration, a very deep desire for the increase of life, energy and action in that group of cells upon which your concentration is directed. It is a positive fact that this method alone will, during a year's time, if practiced every day, increase brain capacity from fifty to three hundred percent in almost any brain that we might mention.
The mere development of the brain, however, and the cells of the brain, is not all that will follow through this method; for the fact is, that most of us have talents and powers within us that are constantly clamoring for expression, but that cannot find expression, because the brain is not sufficiently developed to act as a proper channel.
There are many people in this condition. They feel genius within them, but that genius cannot find expression. They are restless and ambitious, but they do not know what to do with themselves, because the power within them is pent up, so to speak, and is unable to do anything along any definite line. In the minds of these people the brain cells are not attuned to the powers and genius within them, and therefore they accomplish nothing. But if these people would take up this method of concentration upon the brain, they would soon develop the brain sufficiently, and refine the brain sufficiently, to give at least a part of this genius and power within them an opportunity for this expression; and gradually as they continued this development, more and more of the genius within them would find expression, until they would pass from what appeared to be ordinary mental capacity to exceptional genius.
The fact is that there are thousands of people in the world who have exceptional genius within them, but their brains are not fine enough to give this genius an opportunity to come forth and act. All of these people therefore would become highly talented and possessed of genius in actual action, if they would develop their brains; and this simple method of concentration will do far more than we ever dreamed along this particular line.
There are many instances in history where people have been practically of no value mentally, until after forty, fifty or sixty; then suddenly exceptional ability came forth; and this fact can be explained when we know that remarkable genius, if active in the within, will continue to try to express itself and refine the brain, until finally the brain becomes sufficiently developed to give that genius expression; but if we do not assist this genius within, it may take a half a century or more before the brain will, in this indirect way, become fine enough through which genius may act. But we need not wait for this slow and indirect process; in fact, we must not wait; we must proceed at once to build up our brains so that we may give what genius we have full opportunity to work itself out and become a power in life.
In applying this mode of concentration, give a few moments, two or three times every day, to every part of the brain, dividing the brain into eight or ten divisions; and always concentrate with deep feeling, and in a calm, gentle attitude; but be tremendously in earnest. Try to feel the finer life and the finer forces of life as you concentrate and try to enter into the very spirit of the process. The result will be increased brain and mental activity in every instance; and as this process of development is continued, brain development will continue until we may succeed in building up the brain with ten or twelve times as many cells as the brain had before; and also in building up cells that are highly refined, highly cultivated, thereby becoming perfect instruments, through which the highest degree of genius and talent may find expression.
Another exceptional advantage to be gained, through this mode of concentration is this, that the entire brain will come more perfectly under our control so that whenever we want to change mental action, we can bring about that change almost immediately. We are all familiar with the fact that the average brain responds very slowly to any changed line of thought. It moves and lives in a groove; and where the individual may desire to act along another line for a time, it is almost impossible to do so, because the brain does not respond to the new field of mental action selected. In other words; such brains find it necessary to work at about the same thing every day, and they continue this all through life, a state of affairs which is by no means desirable, as it means a narrow world of nothing beyond mere existence.
However, if we make it a practice to concentrate upon the brain every day, we train the will to gain more and more perfect control of the brain; and we also make the brain itself more responsive to all our desires and intentions. Therefore, whenever we wish to act along another line, or take up some other work, the brain will adapt itself almost immediately to the new demand; and we can proceed with the new line of work with practically no loss of time. This, we realize is of an immense advantage, for we all come to places, every few days, when we are called upon to consider subjects and problems with which we are not dealing constantly; and if we can direct the brain to respond immediately to this new line of mental action, we can take up those problems at once, and deal with them as if we had been working along that line for years.
In this process of brain development, the principal thing to consider is that of making the entire brain active. We know that in the average brain, only about one cell out of every ten is active; and even among very fine brains, fully one-half of the cells are almost totally inactive. Therefore, if we would wake up, so to speak, the whole brain, and make every cell active, we might in that way alone, increase mental activity and brain capacity fully 100 percent; and in some instances, to a far greater degree.
Here we find the principal reason why most minds are so limited in capacity and endurance. We know that the average mind becomes exhausted very soon and the reason is that the average mind uses only about one-tenth of the cells of the brain. If the mind could use all the cells of the brain instead of only one-tenth, we should have ten times as much brain capacity and endurance as we had before. We realize therefore the tremendous value of this simple method of brain concentration; but in all this work, we must remember that the brain is a very delicate instrument, and responds only to those actions that are deeply calm and tremendously in earnest. We must train ourselves therefore, to feel the deeper, finer mental forces of body, personality and mind; and we must try to get into constant touch with those finer elements that are at work in the deeper subconscious field. Most minds feel this energy to a considerable extent, and most people who are ambitious have moments when these finer energies are felt to the very depth of the soul; and it is at such moments that ambitious minds feel as if they could accomplish anything, and it is certainly true that we can accomplish anything if we learn to apply all the talent and genius and power that we possess. But we must awaken the deeper, finer and more penetrating forces of mind and soul, because these forces are both limitless and invincible.
For practical purposes, it might be suggested that each individual take five or ten minutes every morning for brain concentration; then five or ten minutes more in the middle of the day; and, possibly ten or fifteen minutes in the early part of the evening; but whenever we have three or four minutes at any time of the day, it is a splendid practice to become quiet and turn attention upon various parts of the brain, with a desire to promote the increase of life, energy and power. We should go about this process, however, in a very gradual manner, and always be calm and serene, but tremendously in earnest. We should look for results from the very beginning, although we must never permit ourselves to become discouraged, should results fail to appear at once. This system will do the work. It will develop the brain; and all we need do is to persevere to secure the results we desire.
An important fact to remember is, that this mode of brain concentration is not to be used for a short time only. It should be used constantly all through life, because it will not only promote continuous development, but will prevent brain cells from becoming dormant; that is, it will continue to make the whole brain alive; and as long as the whole brain is alive the brain will be young, vigorous, virile and wide awake.
The reason why people lose their memory and their mental brilliancy after they have lived thirty, forty or fifty years, is because they permit so many brain cells to become dormant; but this can be prevented by the simple practice of concentrating upon the entire brain for a few moments every day; and as we proceed with this concentration, we should turn on the full current, and try to increase steadily the natural amount of energy that is generated by the brain and the mind. And one thing is certain, that after we have continued this mode of development for a time, until the brain begins to respond to the will, we shall find a decided increase of power, talent, ability and capacity along every line. We may not notice much increase until the brain begins to respond to the will, and to this process of concentration, but this response will come in a few days or a few weeks to most minds; and after that time most excellent results may be expected in a greater and greater measure.
The second factor is that of quality; and quality consists of any number of elements, the principal ones being mental refinement, high mental activity and complexity of mental activity. To improve the quality, therefore, of the brain and of the mind, the first essential is to refine all our thinking; and the most direct course to pursue in mental refinement is to try to form correct and finer mental conceptions of everything of which we may be thinking. In other words, we should train ourselves to think towards the ideal side of every circumstance, every condition, every factor and every living entity that we may observe or meet in life; in this manner our thinking will become more and more refined, and the, quality of mind and brain will improve accordingly.
Another essential in the improvement of quality is to cause the mind to pass from the simple to the complex in all its mental conceptions. To illustrate: If you are thinking of a certain object and have only one general idea of that object, your thinking at that time is very simple. But if you try to consider that object from every imaginable point of view, you will find, that instead of forming one idea of the object, you will form a score or more. Your mental conception therefore of that object will become very large, very extensive and very complex. That object will give you ten, twenty, fifty or possibly one hundred different ideas, instead of one idea which would be the case if you thought of that object in a general way only, and only along a certain line. It is a most excellent practice to make it a point to try to think of every object or subject from as many viewpoints as possible. This will not only give the mind many new ideas, but it will train the mind to act along many new lines, and in addition will improve the quality of the mind in every form and manner.
An important gain in this connection is that of enjoyment. We all have the privilege to enjoy life in as many ways as possible, provided the enjoyment is wholesome and beneficial; and we shall find that the more complex the mind becomes, that is, the more channels there are in the mind, through which we can think and act, the greater will be our enjoyment of everything that we may entertain in life. We will be able to appreciate an immense universe instead of merely a few elements, as before; and we will begin to live in a world that will contain hundreds and even thousands of times as many interesting states or fields of consciousness as we found in the world in which we lived in the past. In brief, our state of existence will become a harp of a thousand strings instead of merely a harp of a few strings, as is the case with the average person.
Our object should always be to enlarge life, to enlarge consciousness, to enlarge the field of the mind, and to multiply the number of channels through which the mind can find action, because the more lines of expression there are, the more talent and genius we can apply in practical life; and we shall find that the practice of making all thinking more complex, that is, learning to see everything from every imaginable viewpoint, will tend directly to produce this enlargement of the mental field; and results will be numerous as well as highly desirable, in every form and manner.
The study of mental quality is one that is very large and very deep; and it is a subject that will be considered more thoroughly as we proceed in this study; but for practical purposes the above will be sufficient; and we will therefore proceed to the third factor - the increase of the actions of the mind itself.
Every faculty must have a certain amount of energy and life; and to increase the energy and life of each particular faculty, we must learn, first, that it is what we realize in that faculty that actually finds expression.
We might define the actions of the mind as the inner power of thought, or what might also be called, the thinking of the faculty or the talent that is being employed. To illustrate, take the faculty of music. We shall find that it is large, active and brilliant in proportion to how well the musician can really think music; and to think music, we enter into the spirit of music itself. The mind acts in the world of music, or in the real soul of music instead of simply viewing the element of music from a distance. We shall find it to be a fact, that if we wish to increase mental activity through any talent or faculty, we must think that talent, and think that talent more and more: and we think a talent whenever mind or soul expresses itself through the soul of that talent, forming at the time distinct and definite ideas of the talent itself. Whenever we employ a faculty, we find that a certain force is being expressed through that faculty, and that force consists of thinking what is absolutely in that faculty itself.
To illustrate: When you think music, you do not think of music, but you really think music; and there is a vast difference. You must understand the difference, if you wish to attain genius. When you think invention, you do not think of invention, but you think invention itself. When you think business you do not think of business, but you think business itself; that is, you think through the life and spirit of the business faculty in your possession; and when you think business, your business faculty is acting, not round about the business element, but is acting through the business element; and is consequently producing definite and valuable business ideas. You will find that when you think business according to this definition, your mind will naturally create better business ideas, better business plans and methods than it has ever done in the past, because you are acting in the business faculty itself, in the very spirit, soul and essence of it, and in that part of the mind that has the power to apply itself in the commercial world.
It will be very evident to the student that it is difficult to define in words, what it is to "think" your talent, or to think a faculty. It is something that we must realize through our own experience; but when we attain this realization we shall find that when we make a special effort to enter into a faculty and talent whenever we think of that talent, and at the same time try to think what the talent already is and can do, we are getting down to rock bottom in this immense field.
We should proceed therefore to try to think the ability or talent we possess, or the ability and talent we wish to develop, whatever that ability may be; and by so doing, we will increase the real vital activity of that ability or talent in itself, and thus enter into that indefinable something in the mind that we speak of as native talent or as native genius. It is indefinable; it is real; it is natural; it is inherent; it is second nature. It is an inseparable part of the mind.
We should also make it a point to think of every talent as a growing talent. Think of your faculties and talents as evolving, developing and creating more power. Picture in your mind every talent as being in a process of building. Think of your consciousness as delving deeper and deeper into this vast interior mental process, where talent and genius are created. Think of your whole mind as becoming more and more alive. We know there is something alive in the mind that we call talent. There is a mental power that comes from the depth of the soul; and when the brain begins to respond to that power from within that power will work itself out through all the cells of the brain, and the result will be that all those cells will become direct channels for a larger, a greater and a stronger expression of all the ability, talent, power or genius that we may arouse within. It is then that the mind becomes a live wire, so to speak; and when the mind becomes a live wire, we shall have no more dormant brain cells and no more inactive forces in our mental world. Every power, faculty and talent we possess will begin to work, and will work constructively as well as effectively along the lines that we have decided upon. The result will be that capacity, power, ability, talent and genius will increase along all lines; and this increase may be continued steadily and uninterruptedly as long as we live.
We must proceed in the conviction that we not only have the power to arouse all the latent capacity and talent within us, but we also have the power to build up and develop that capacity and talent to any degree desired, and for an indefinite period; and here we should remember that the mind has the faculty of rebuilding itself, again and again, on a larger and a larger scale for any length of time. The mind that you have today can double its own power and talent during the present year; and next year this mind that has been doubled, can repeat the process and double once more this larger life and capacity that has been gained. Later, this process can be repeated again and continued indefinitely.
It matters not therefore how small a mind you may have today, you can double the power of that mind again and again as long as you live, until it becomes a prodigious mind, and you become a mental giant. Remarkable possibilities therefore lie before us in this wonderful study; and those who will persevere in the correct application of these principles, will succeed in making real the ideal of these possibilities, steadily and surely in every direction; so therefore no matter how high our ideals may be, or how difficult the undertakings we have in view, those undertakings can be carried out successfully, and every ideal realized. The power to do those things does exist within us; and whenever we want more power than we have now, we need only remember that every human mind has the faculty of rebuilding itself on a larger scale, again and again, for any length of time.
BUILDING THE BRAIN
Function of the Brain - The brain is to the mind what the piano is to the pianist, or what any instrument of expression is to that which is being expressed. To develop the brain, therefore, to the very highest degree is necessary if the mind is to make full application and tangible use of every power that may be latent in the great within of the subconscious. The brain as a whole, as well as every cell in the brain, must become perfectly responsive to every action the mind may make, and must possess the capacity to give that action the full volume of power required. The brain must possess the capacity of much work, and must also possess that fineness of quality that is necessary to the highest order of work. In brief, to supply the demands of genius, the brain as well as the mind must be able to furnish both quantity and quality.
Modern Methods - The methods employed in modern education tend in a measure to develop the brain. The practical use of the mind will develop the brain in parts, but such development is both indirect and inadequate. The average mind is much greater than the brain it is trying to use; therefore, it does not accomplish what it has the power to accomplish. To develop the brain even to a slight degree, would in many instances give the mind almost twice as much active capacity and ability as is possessed now, while if such development were promoted thoroughly and in conjunction with further mental development, there would be a decided increase in ability; and in many instances actual genius would appear. In the average brain there are millions of cells that are practically dormant. They are never called into action, and in consequence serve only as obstacles to the efforts of the mind. In fact, in many brains more than half of the cells are not in use. They are constantly being enriched or reconstructed, but they do not serve the mind in any way; and such brain cells as do not permit the expression of the mind will invariably prevent that expression.
Active Brain Cells - The more active brain cells we possess the more mental power we can express. The mental power and ability that is back of the physical brain is limitless, but the cells of the physical brain are only channels through which talent and genius are coming forth. To increase the number of active brain cells, therefore, is one of the chief essentials in the development of genius. When all the cells that now exist in the brain are made active, the mind, if correspondingly developed, will become exceptional in brilliancy and power. But if the mind should so develop that the present number of cells would not be adequate, the number could be increased without changing the regular size of the brain to any extent, although the brain as a whole always becomes a little larger when high development of both brain and mind is taking place. In the crude brain the cells are large and sluggish. In the developed brain the cells are small, refined and very active. In fact, the smaller the brain cell the better it becomes as an instrument of the mind, the reason being that the more closely the cell approaches a point of action, the more perfect the concentration of mental action; and the more perfect the concentration of any action, the greater the power and efficiency of that action.
When the brain is well developed all the large sluggish cells will be removed, and the space will be filled with an extra number of small active cells; in consequence a well developed brain has several times as many cells as an undeveloped brain, although the size of the two brains may be the same. And since the cells of the well-developed brain will all be alive ready to respond to the mind, we can readily see the advantage of thorough brain development.
The Three Essentials - The brain of the genius is always very fine in the quality of its substance; and this is the first essential. The second essential is an increase in the number of active brain cells. In fact, where we feel real genius we find every brain cell thoroughly alive and in a high state of vibration. The third essential is the awakening of the subconscious life of every brain cell. The brain of the genius is very strong on the subconscious side; and this is one reason why such a brain sometimes gives expression to what seems to be superhuman attainments. Every cell contains a subjective or subconscious life; that is, an inner life that is far greater in power, capacity and efficiency than any phase of life that may exist merely on the surface; and when this subconscious life is fully alive in all the brain cells, we will naturally have a brain that is inexhaustible in capacity and power.
Necessary Elements - There are a number of elements that go to make up genius. One of these is unlimited capacity for work; and this is secured when the subconscious life and power of every cell in the brain becomes alive. Such a brain will not be used up no matter how complex, how intricate or how extensive the actions of the mind may be. It is equal to every occasion that the mind may meet, no matter how difficult, and it can easily hold out until the task is finished. The average brain is used up after a few hours of full mental action; and the reason is found in the fact that its capacity is limited. In such a brain, the deep, inexhaustible subconscious life is not awakened, therefore it has but little to draw upon. In the brain of the genius, however, there is any amount of life and power upon which to draw. Every cell is literally alive with unlimited subconscious life, and therefore no matter how great the demands of the mind may be, the brain is fully equal to all of those demands.
Increased Capacity - When the mind is inspired by great ambitions, the desire to do great things in the world becomes stronger and stronger. In consequence, the mind will attempt to obey these desires; in fact, it will have no peace until it does. But if the brain does not have the power and the capacity to work as much and as long as the mind may require in order to carry out these ambitions, failure will inevitably follow. And here we have one reason why so many important undertakings with every opportunity for remarkable success have failed almost from the beginning. The men behind those undertakings had the ambition and the courage to proceed, but they did not have the brain capacity to hold out, the reason being that their brain cells were not alive with the limitless power of the great within. This inexhaustible brain capacity, however, can be developed by anyone, because the subconscious life of every cell is very easily awakened, and the more we draw upon this larger interior life, the easier it becomes to secure more. The problem is to take the first step; that is, to enter into conscious touch with the subconscious side of things; and when this is done, we have the key that will unlock all the greater powers that are latent within us.
How to Proceed - To give more life and action to every part of the brain is necessary before real brain development can begin; but to promote this, the three great divisions of the brain must receive special and distinct attention. Each part must be dealt with according to its special function, and every effort to increase the life and action of that part must be animated with the desire to promote the power and efficiency of that function.
The function of the fore brain embraces principally the power of intellect, memory and imagination. The mind acts directly upon this part of the brain when it reasons and knows, and also when it creates ideas, forms plans, evolves methods, analyzes laws and principles, understands, comprehends, discriminates, or exercises the elements of insight, perception or discernment.
The function of the back brain embraces working capacity, force, determination, push, power, reserve force and kindred elements. The mind draws upon the back brain whenever force is required in the actual doing of things, and acts upon this part of the brain when trying to control, direct and master anything in the physical personality. The function of the top brain embraces aspiration, ambition, consciousness of quality and worth, attainments of superiority, perception of ideals and the realization of higher mental states of conscious existence.
The mind acts through the top brain whenever it soars to greater heights, or whenever it builds for greater things anywhere in the physical or mental domain. When the top brain is large and active the finer things of life are readily discerned, but when this part of the brain is small or sluggish nothing is appreciated but that which can be weighed or measured.
Full Development - The combined use of all the different parts of the brain is necessary to secure results along any line. Every effort requires intelligence and imagination as well as power and working capacity. And no effort is worthwhile unless it is prompted by the desire to press on towards the greater, the superior and the ideal. Every part of the brain, therefore, should be well developed. Every part helps every other part, and the best results are secured along any line when all parts of the brain are equally developed. Abnormal development in some parts may give expression to exceptional genius, but such genius is one-sided. It is not properly balanced, and for that reason can never be at its best. When genius is queer, eccentric, peculiar, or addicted to what is called "the artistic temperament" it is not the best developed form of genius; it is not real genius, but the expression of extraordinary powers that are only under partial control; that is, they may be controlled to do great things through a certain faculty, but they are not controlled to act in harmony with all the faculties; and it is only when all the faculties act in harmony that the highest attainments and the greatest achievements become possible.
Real Genius - Where we find real genius we find exceptional capacity for work and remarkable talent for high efficiency. But we do not find such genius to be eccentric, very sensitive or difficult to get along with. The real genius is broad-minded and can get along with anybody. He is a mastermind and can therefore adapt himself to all kinds of conditions, and can use all kinds of conditions through which to reach the greater goal in view. The real genius is well balanced, and therefore has not simply the power to do great things, but also the power to live a great life.
The reason why so many among those who possess certain grades of genius are eccentric or oversensitive, is found in the fact that certain parts of their brains are not sufficiently developed to act in harmony with those better developed parts through which the genius in question is expressed. But when these neglected parts become well developed, those people will not only become well balanced characters and charming personalities, but they will also gain the power to do greater things than ever before.
Building Brain Cells - To develop any part of the brain more energy and more nourishment will be required in that part, and these two essentials may be provided through subjective concentration. When we concentrate subjectively upon any part of the human system we produce more mental action in that part. This increase of mental action will cause more life and energy to be generated in that part. It will also attract surplus energy from other parts of the system because much gathers more; and in brief, will increase the circulation in that part, thus supplying the added nourishment required.
When we concentrate upon any part of the brain we promote the building of brain cells. Wherever an increase of energy and nourishment is provided the cell building process will be promoted. And if that concentration is inspired with a strong desire to attain the greater and the superior, the new brain cells will have superior qualities.
Accordingly they will become fit instruments for the expression of real genius. The concentration of attention upon every part of the brain will also cause all the inactive cells to become alive, though in order to secure the best results in this respect the mind should try to feel the finer forces of the brain, and the finer activities of those forces while concentration is taking place. So long as concentration is mechanical there are no results, but when the process of concentration works through the finer life forces it becomes a living process, and the desired results will invariably follow.
Special Methods - To build brain cells in any part of the brain, and to cause all of the cells in that part to become alive, concentration should aim to promote the natural functions of that part; that is, when we concentrate upon any part of the brain we should express a strong, deep and persistent desire to do that which that particular part has the natural power to do.
When concentrating upon the back brain, be determined. Mentally act in the positive, determined attitude; desire power, and aim to push forward every purpose you have in view. Feel the increase of capacity and try to realize that the energies of the back brain are constantly accumulating, becoming stronger and stronger, until you feel as if you had sufficient power to see anything through. This process of concentration will accomplish three things. The inactive cells of the back brain will become alive. And the more living cells there are in any part of the human system the more power and capacity there will be in that particular part. Secondly, new brain cells will be formed; and as all of these new cells will be alive, there will be further increase in the power and the working capacity of the back brain. And third, the natural function of the back brain will be promoted. You will have more force and more push. You will become more positive and more determined, and your power to see things through to a finish will increase in proportion. In addition, there will be a steady increase of creative energy, and this is very important, because to possess an enormous amount of creative energy is one of the principal secrets of genius.
When concentrating upon the fore brain use the imagination extensively. Create mental pictures of every mental state of being that you can imagine. Form plans of all kinds, and try to promote practical methods for every imaginable undertaking in the world. Use the power of analysis thoroughly upon every idea, law or principle that you may encounter in your thinking, and try to form your own original conclusion as to the nature of it all. Try to feel intelligence, and picture mental brilliancy in every cell throughout that part of the brain. But do not permit your thinking to become heavy or laborious. Keep attention in touch with the finer forces of the brain, and have expansion of mind constantly in view. This concentration will do for the fore brain what it was stated the previous exercise would do for the back brain, and in addition it will develop the power to create ideas of merit; and there is no mental power that is more important than this. Everything that man has formed in the visible world was first an idea. And as the best ideas produce the best results in practical life, we realize therefore, that those who develop the power to create better and better ideas will steadily rise in the scale, occupying more important places every year in the world's work.
When concentrating upon the top brain aspire to the highest you know. Give full expression to all the powers of your ambition. Desire superiority, and try to feel consciously all the elements of worth that you know to have existence. Live in the ideal. Transcend the world of things and let your mind soar to empyrean heights. Think of everything that is high, noble and great, and desire with all the power of your soul to realize it all. Then know that you can. Have full confidence in yourself. Have faith in all your desires and ambitions. Think that you can. Feel that you can, and inspire that feeling with the loftiest thoughts that you can possibly form in your mind. Concentrate in this manner every day, or several times every day when convenient. A few minutes at a time is sufficient, and if done properly, a year's time will produce improvements that no one at first could believe.
Additional Methods - Another most excellent exercise is to concentrate upon every group of cells in the brain, giving a few seconds to each group, and then picture genius in every cell during the process. What we mentally picture, we create; therefore by daily picturing genius in every brain cell, we will tend to create genius in every brain cell. We thus develop the brain of the genius, and whatever we may wish to attain or accomplish we will then have a brain that can positively do what we wish to have done.
To awaken and increase the subconscious life in the brain cells, the following method should be employed: Turn attention upon the back brain and think with deep feeling of the subconscious life that you know permeates every fibre. Continue for a few moments, and try to enter into this finer mental life. Do not be anxious for results, but be calm and well poised, and deeply determined to secure results. In a few moments move attention to the right of the brain and repeat the process. Then move attention to the left of the brain, repeating the process in each case. In each part try to enter into the finer subconscious life, and desire the awakening of this life with the deepest and strongest desire possible. The entire exercise may continue for ten or fifteen minutes, and may be taken once or twice a day.
"Brains and How to Get Them"
by Christian D. Larson
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