How to Cultivate Subliminal Thinking
STARTLING as it may seem at first thought, it is nevertheless true, as demonstrated
by the research of laboratory psychologists, that most of man’s thinking is done
below the threshold of objective consciousness. While this type of mental activity
may be called unconscious thinking, many psychologists still prefer to employ the
words sub, meaning under, and limen, meaning threshold, and thus refer to those
mental processes which take place below the threshold of objective consciousness as
As to their prevalence, an eminent psychologist has quite correctly compared man’s
total thought to an iceberg; the small section appearing above the water representing
by proportion objective thought, and the immense volume out of sight beneath the
waves representing by proportion the vast bulk of subliminal thought.
A wide variety of experiments have been devised to demonstrate that streams of
thought constantly pass through the four-dimensional consciousness of which we
have no objective recognition; and that these thought processes of the unconscious
mind are more active and numerous than those which are successful in imparting
their vibrations to the cells of the physical brain and thus gain objective attention.
One of the most interesting and convincing of these experiments illustrates the
inability of anyone to pick a name or number at random. Careful analysis by the
method of Free Association, which is explained in Chapter 6 (Course 9, Mental
Alchemy), reveals that every such attempt brings to the conscious attention a name or
number which, without being so recognized by the objective mind, is associated
with, and thus becomes the symbol of, some strong desire.
For instance, one man desired to choose a name at random for a character in a book of
fiction he was writing. Afterwards, when asked why he chose that particular name he
replied that there was no reason, as he could remember no person having that name.
Psychoanalysis, however, caused him to remember events of his childhood long
forgotten, as he thought. And a continuation of the process, much to his
astonishment, enabled him to remember a person bearing the name he had given to
the fiction character. Furthermore, the most pronounced characteristic of this person
was that which he wished to portray by the character in his story. He thought he chose
a name at random, but his unconscious mind had really given him the name of a
person he had known who exemplified the traits he wished to set forth.
Dr. Jones tells of a man who defied him to connect a chance number with anything
significant in his life. When asked to select such a number he chose at random 986.
Free association was then applied by Dr. Jones. Very quickly it brought to the man’s
mind the memory of a very hot day six years previous, when the newspaper, omitting
the decimal point, had quoted the temperature as 986 degrees F instead of 98.6 F.
At the moment this number was selected the man had just drawn back from a fire in
front of which he was seated because of its intense heat. The heat of the fire had
suggested to the unconscious mind the hottest day of which it had knowledge. This,
of course, is in conformity to the LAW OF ASSOCIATION, by which succeeding
mental images are always related through Resemblance or Contiguity with those to
which attention previously had been directed.
As this hot day in itself was not significant of any important desire, the Free
Associations were continued. And they brought out that this man was greatly worried
because of a noticeable lessening of youthful vigor and energy, which he had come to
believe was due to excesses in private life. The fire in front of which he sat reminded
his unconscious mind of the energies he had wasted in passion, and when he tried to
think of a number at random, the unconscious mind projected into his objective
consciousness one that symbolized the private dissipations that were draining his life
forces. 986 was the symbol of excess, drawn to objective attention through his desire
Cause of Laughter
–In a not unrelated way laughter is the expression of a desire whose existence is not
consciously recognized. The group of thought-cells whose energies express as
civilized conduct are strong enough to exercise considerable censorship over the
expression of gross, brutal and savage desires. Yet the three hereditary drives, and
perhaps some others, always have thought-energy in a state of tension, striving for
release. And as considerable of their energy was derived from experiences in lower
forms of life, they merely require the removal of censorship restraint, or the sanction
of civilized custom, under appropriate stimulus, to spill over into the nervous system
and produce rather violent and widespread disturbances.
Significance is attained largely through comparison with others. A person who is
conscious that he makes mistakes is apt to feel less inferior when he perceives that
other people make mistakes that are quite as serious. This tendency to bolster up the
feeling of superiority, not through the attempt to reach a higher level, but through
tearing other people down to a level as low, or lower, than one’s own, is a trait taken
advantage of by politicians and the news sheets.
The unconscious mind, in its frantic effort to maintain its own sense of superiority,
tends to believe, as a wish-fulfillment, whatever charges of incompetency or
immorality are brought against others who have attained more wealth, higher social
station, or political importance. That these individuals have attained the things it
desires, but has failed to reach, is a challenge to its sense of importance. It does not
like to admit that others have greater ability or more worth. Consequently, when
these people who have attained to greater success or importance get into difficulty, or
charges are brought against them, this gives the thought-cells related to significance
great pleasure. They feel of greater significance than before, because by comparison
the individual in whose unconscious mind they reside is made to seem equal or
superior to these others.
The tendency of some to disparage the characters of others as well as the tendency to
over-criticism, has back of it as a rule no conscious malignancy. It arises from a
conscious feeling of inferiority, and the endeavor to compensate and find satisfaction
for the drive for significance, not through constructive channels, but through the
subversive means of making others seem inferior.
Yet the same individual, who habitually believes the worst, and tells the worst, about
others; when he champions a cause or an individual, is equally prejudiced in its favor.
This is because he then sympathetically identifies himself with the individual or
cause. The cause or the individual then seems an expression of himself. He enjoys
vicariously its virtues and its triumphs; and the greater its merits and the more
pronounced its success, the more his own sense of significance is elevated.
When others make mistakes, blunder, or appear at disadvantage, this, by
comparison, raises the individual’s estimation of himself. If the mishap to another is
serious, the energies of the more civilized thought-cells are released, rather than
those of the drive for significance. There is a feeling of sympathy for the other, with
the impulse to do something to remedy his plight. No one could laugh at the death of
another; because, even though it brought a consciousness of superiority, and some
very tangible advantage, the thought-cells stimulated more directly by a tragedy are
those whose desires strain for release in efforts toward the preservation of human
But when another places himself in a position of inferiority through some error or
action of no great consequence, such as through a blunder in action or in speech, this
affords the necessary stimulus and the avenue to objective consciousness, through
which the desire energies of the drive for significance find access to the nervous
system. They generate electrical currents that flow over the nerves and produce
That which is humorous releases desire energies that have attained a high degree of
tension through presenting situations in which no one suffers severe harm. Wit also,
if cleverly applied, suddenly releases desire energies which have tension enough
when they find access to the nervous system that they produce laughter. But wit is not
altogether harmless. Too frequently it wounds someone, or tends to cause him too
painful discomfort. Therefore, while people laugh at witty remarks, because it
enables some strong desire to find violent and pleasant release, they unconsciously
tend to distrust and resent the one who thus causes others pain. People who wound
others, even when in so doing they cause laughter, are never popular.
Yet an individual can poke fun at himself and everyone will like him, because the
drive for significance finds so much satisfaction in releasing its energies through
perceiving weaknesses in someone else. And when an individual deliberately holds
up his own weaknesses, no resentment is felt: for it is recognized that he is not
suffering greatly, but apparently finds pleasure in pointing out his own follies.
It might seem strange that an individual could find pleasure in his own discomfort
were it not for our understanding of the process of conditioning. Some people never
laugh at their own mistakes who laugh boisterously at the mistakes of others. But
there are those who have conditioned themselves to view their own conduct as it
appears to others and find keen pleasure in discovering shortcomings and errors. It
gives them a sense of superiority, and thus releases the energy of the drive for
significance, to be able to recognize that which is ridiculous, even if it pertains to
Ability to do this is a valuable asset; because when we recall any situation of the past,
or view any predicament of the present, as a subject of merriment; when we honestly
can laugh at it; this releases its emotional energy. It also reconditions the
thought-elements derived from the experience, which may have been repressed, and
through the pleasant conditioning energy thus contributed, prevents the formation of
an inharmonious thought-compound.
When people take themselves and their affairs too seriously there is apt to be painful
conditioning energy built into the thought-cells whenever things do not go just as
they desire. To prevent this, a sense of humor becomes highly valuable. Furthermore,
when some repression causes difficulty, if it can be recognized through Free
Association or some other method, and can then be seen, not as the tragic thing which
it once appeared, but as having a humorous side, so that it provokes laughter, this will
release the repression, recondition the thought-cells associated with it, and remedy
the difficulty more effectively than any other method. When you can laugh at
experiences that when they occurred gave rise to shame, embarrassment, feelings of
inferiority, remorse, ungoverned grief, etc., the emotional energy they built into the
astral body will no longer be able to do much harm.
But laughter may be caused by the energy releases of other powerful desires as well
as by those of the drive for significance. The drive for Self Preservation and the drive
for Race Preservation also have thought energies that with proper stimulation find
emotional release. The typical Jewish jokes, that is the jokes in which custom makes
the traditional shrewdness of the Jewish people the central pivot, release the energy
of the Drive for Self Preservation. One individual, in such stories, through some
clever device or cunning deception, attempts to get the better of the other in a bargain.
Business transactions are related directly to self preservation, and the recognition of
the trick by which advantage might have been taken of the individual had he been
unaware of it, gives pleasure to the thought-cells relating to self preservation, and
releases their energies.
In a similar manner the traditional thrift of the Scottish people affords no end of
jokes. Self Preservation requires in all of us the practice of economies against which
there is a feeling of resentment. We would like to spend more freely, but the desire for
safety imposes restraint. Yet in comparison to the stinginess of the central character
of a Scotch joke, our own expenditures seem pleasantly generous. The energy of the
Drive for Self Preservation which has been placed under restraint by fear of
privation, thus is tapped and finds violent and pleasant release, generating electrical
currents that give rise to laughter.
Similar electrical currents, stimulated by mechanical contacts which produce the
sensation of tickling, may likewise produce the physical response of laughter.
In the jokes with sexual implications the energy release is, of course, that of the Drive
for Race Preservation. The individual may not recognize the presence of sensual
desires; but the reproductive desires have energy straining for satisfaction. Through
the cunning wording of the joke, its suggestiveness instead of its more obvious
statement, the energy of the reproductive desires are able to slip by the censorship of
the more highly civilized thought-cells and into consciousness, imparting their
energies to the nerve currents in a manner that causes laughter.
Thus the kind of jokes an individual laughs at, and the things he considers funny, are
a rather good measure of his intelligence and spirituality. Among those of little
sensibility, a serious injury, or even a disaster, to another may seem funny. Their
sympathies are dull and it gives release to the feeling of superiority. Among those
with little inclination for honesty, the cunning robbery of someone, even though it
causes great hardship to the one deprived, may seem a good joke. And crude
clowning on the vaudeville stage, or on the screen, defying plausibility in that no one
unintentionally acts so foolish, to one of low intellectual perception, will seem funny.
But a more intelligent and spiritual person will merely be revolted by such crudities.
That which is obvious in its sensual implications may evoke boisterous hilarity from
those who inhabit the slums; but would be considered merely repulsive and gross to a
more refined person. Yet much the same story, if cunningly enough arranged that its
true implication can barely be glimpsed, can be told at a tea-party to cultured people
and provoke merriment, and be pronounced quite clever.
Any number of jokes and witty retorts could be cited and analyzed to show that in
each case the merriment was due to the violent release of the energy of powerful
desires; those suppressed, because their energies are under higher tensions, more
often being the source of the emotion. For instance, an old Colonel approaching
Disraeli remarked: “Beware of tobacco, my boy. Women do not like it; it has ruined
more charming liaisons than anything else I know.”
To which Disraeli gave his famous retort: “Then you must consider smoking a highly
The Colonel’s speech was funny only because, under an apparently friendly
admonition was concealed the implication that Disraeli cared more for a liaison than
for smoking or other more legitimate pleasures. And Disraeli’s reply was funny
because of its hidden implication that if tobacco were a preventative, society would
suffer less if the old Colonel, who had merely judged Disraeli by his own poor
standards, did more smoking.
Cause of Swearing
–Because the strongest repressed desires possess energy under the greatest tension,
the jokes releasing their energies are the ones people laugh at hardest. Likewise,
people swear and cry to release desire energies of high tension which can find no
more adequate methods of expression.
The emotion of anger may find some relief through swearing if it is not permitted to
express through more overt actions. Instead of lashing at an opponent or at an
obstacle with the fist or foot the individual lashes out with his tongue, and gets some
measure of satisfaction.
Weeping may be from grief or from joy. In either case the desires are stimulated to an
intensity sufficient for emergency purposes; and when they impart their energies to
the nervous system the electrical effects produce a profound disturbance, with
glandular reactions which are beyond control.
Furthermore, even when the cause of the disturbance is not recognized, it is quite
certain that the thought-cells which have had imparted to them intense emotions at
the time of their formation, are going to seek every opportunity to release this desire
energy in some kind of action. The existence of the energy under pressure which thus
seeks release, and not finding a normal outlet, expresses in some symbolic manner
which may be decidedly disadvantageous to the individual, may be thus
unrecognized due to the opposition of other groups of ideas which exercise a
censorship over what enters the objective consciousness. Or it may be unrecognized
because of the pain which was associated with the experience at the time of its
As I have repeatedly emphasized throughout this course, pleasure is attractive and
pain is repulsive in the direction of the activity they prompt. Not only do we avoid
and dislike that which causes pain, but the Law of Association is equally applicable
to mental processes, and we avoid giving attention to mental factors which cause
pain. Just as we seek pleasant physical experiences, we also seek pleasant mental
experiences. To avoid unpleasant mental experiences, we forget them. That is why
our childhood and past vacations seem to have been such happy periods. We retain a
clear memory of all that was pleasant, and have forgotten most of the incidents that at
the time were considered almost unendurable hardships.
This tendency of objective consciousness to avoid pain through forgetting
disagreeable occurrences is well recognized by psychologists. Yet the energy of the
experiences is still present in the thought-cells of the unconscious mind, and when it
is stimulated through association, it tends to modify the conduct.
One may have had a disagreeable experience early in life with a person named
Brown, and have forgotten all about it. But in later years, although having some
pleasant relations with persons thus designated, there may be a singular inability to
remember the names of these friends. Somehow, when occasion arises to introduce
them, the name is not at hand. While the old painful experience has vanished from
objective memory, the name Brown is linked through the Law of Association with
painful energy in the thought-cells. And because the memory of this name stimulates
painful feelings in the unconscious mind, the objective consciousness avoids it so as
not to feel this pain. That is, the name is forgotten.
However, if there is enough painful emotional energy in the thought-cells which are
stimulated by this name, it may cause quite an unaccountable aversion to any person
named Brown. And even though the experience which built the energy into the
thought-cells has vanished from conscious memory, it may be strong enough to
cause actions which are beneficial to no one. It may cause an important letter
intended for Brown and Company to be accidentally mislaid; or through some other
mischance the unconscious mind may find opportunity to express the displeasure of
the Brown thought-cells in unfavorable action.
Psychiatrists who specialize in the treatment of neurosis find that this infirmity is
frequently the expression of the unconscious mind which has burdened itself with a
sense of guilt. It is quite unimportant whether the guilt is real or imaginary. A person
who sets himself an absolutely impossible standard of conduct may feel, when he
fails to live up to this false standard, that he has indulged in the forbidden, or even
committed the unpardonable sin. According to the ideas his unconscious mind has
been trained to accept, sin should be punished. Therefore those thought-cells which
have been trained to this belief, administer an amount of punishment which,
measured by their Conditioning, will satisfy this need.
All neurosis, however, is not due to a sense of guilt. Much of it, however, is due to
repressions of energies that should have found some satisfying outlet in action. One
of the most eminent psychologists remarked:”
Let no one think of his poor dear friends, A, B and C as paragons of virtue yet
afflicted with morbid anxiety, forgetfulness, motor incoordination, bad dreams, or
hallucinations, until he has studied Freud’s cases and learned to read the short
subconscious wishes that lurk beneath a virtue so extreme and bedridden.”
And it certainly often is observable that those who live in a manner that permits them
to avoid repression, expressing their animal impulses and inclinations with an
abandon that makes them poor citizens, retain vigorous health. Those who have been
brought up in an atmosphere of fear of transgression, who have been nurtured on the
merits of duty, and who have been taught that pleasure is a sin, on the other hand,
nearly all have repressions that haunt their lives and tend toward a variety of
Because such observations have been so well substantiated, there has been a
tendency in much of the literature on the subject to give the impression that the way
to health and normal life is to abandon oneself to the expression of the animal
Yet the process by which life has advanced from lower to higher levels since it first
appeared upon the earth depends, not upon expressing the inclinations in the old,
habitual channel, but in expressing the energies of these inclinations in more
effective ways. In other words, as explained in Chapter 5 (Why Repression is Not
Reality), gross expression is one detrimental extreme and repression is another
detrimental extreme; but the process by which life has advanced through the ages,
and by which our own energies should be handled, is that of Sublimation.
Cause of Hysteria
–When an individual tends to over-emphasize the importance of everything which
relates to himself it is very easy for him to become conditioned in the direction of
hysteria. When everything is taken personally, rather than looking upon the
experiences of life as part of a broader pattern, there is lack of proper appraisal of
values. The numerous incidents which are common to most lives, because of the
self-centeredness, each seem to be of tremendous importance. And as important
situations give emergency reactions, the emotional release, even for trivial incidents,
is of emergency volume. The individual thus conditions himself toward an unstable
state of emotions, toward a state in which there is loss of emotional control.
Hysteria takes many forms. In infancy it manifests as tantrum. In childhood it gives
rise to sudden and uncontrollable anger. Among adolescent schoolgirls it is exhibited
as too ready laughter and tears. At an older age it becomes the yearning for jazz,
excitement and exaggerated emotions. In adults it may develop self-pity, or so great
sensitiveness to slight that the individual reacts to unintentioned incidents with
violent anger, jealousy, revenge, or unrelenting hatred. That is, he is
over-conditioned in his emotional reactions.
Because this intensity of emotional reaction has been conditioned through placing
undue importance on events relating to himself, the first thing one so afflicted should
do is deliberately to cultivate a realization that he is no more important than others,
that the events which affect him are for the most part inconsequential, and that
normal life embraces a spirit of give-and-take.
Instead of turning his attention in upon himself, and considering events so largely in
their relation to himself, he should keep his interest as much as possible on how
others are affected. In other words, the over-sensitive person should pay as little
attention as possible to the effect of disagreeable incidents upon himself; brushing
them aside as of no consequence. He should, instead, keep his attention as much as
possible turned to the welfare of others.
But he can not expect to overcome a condition which has been built into his
unconscious mind over a long period of time in which energy of tremendous volume
and intensity has been added to the thought-cells relating to his own preciousness
merely by willing to do so. He must set to work systematically to RECONDITION
himself in reference to his sensitiveness. He must learn to take pleasure in
overlooking, ignoring, and not even recognizing those incidents and impacts that
previously would have raised an emotional storm. He must cultivate a distinct thrill
each time he maintains his poise in the face of a difficult situation.
This same process of Reconditioning is also applicable to those who, as mapped by
the prominence of the upper-octave planets in their birth charts, have nervous
systems that are over sensitive to thought vibrations or other types of psychic
influence. And to insure that greater pleasure is developed in being impervious to
undesirable impressions, the practice of such resistance should be tied in pleasantly,
as explained at the end of Chapter 5 (Why Repression is Not Reality), with the
desire of each of the dynamic structures of the astral body, and with the pleasant
realization of as many other desires as possible.
Why People Fail to Perceive the Astral World
–The influence of the Conditioning process since birth has had another pronounced
effect upon most individuals. The individual has been taught to place dependence
upon the reports of his physical senses. In order to escape the impacts of physical
existence he has had to keep his attention during the waking hours riveted closely to
the affairs of physical life. If he gave attention to what was happening on the inner
plane, this took his attention from physical happenings, and prevented him from
escaping injury. Let anyone become absorbed in inner plane affairs now, while in
downtown city traffic, and he will quickly be brought to the realization that such an
attitude invites physical disaster. He will be bumped and jostled by others, and lucky,
indeed, if not run over by an auto.
The struggle for physical survival is so intense that a little relaxation from giving
concentrated thought to physical affairs brings suffering. The dreamer and visionary,
who thus fails to turn most of his energies into channels of practical affairs is
traditionally one who is also in financial want. And thus it is, even if in childhood we
have been accustomed to view happenings on the four-dimensional plane, the pain of
continuing to do so soon causes us to cease giving such things our attention. We are
ridiculed by the older people and made to feel inferior because we imagine things.
We are taught that the three-dimensional plane and its objects are the only reality.
And these constantly repeated suggestions are given emphasis by the impact of
physical pain when we neglect physical affairs for long.
From the time they are born, most people are systematically and effectively
Conditioned through the pleasure gained when they successfully give attention to
physical affairs and the pain endured when they take their attention long from them,
to give attention only to the plane of three dimensions. There can be no mystery,
therefore, however vivid and real the four-dimensional plane and its happenings may
be, why few people are aware of its existence. Most spend their lives training
themselves to be unconscious of it.
We do not expect an individual to give much of an account of himself in the
performance of any work he is convinced can not be done and in which he has had no
previous training. And so long as the individual remains hypnotized by the
suggestions received since childhood that the only avenues of information are the
five physical senses and reason, he can not be expected to gain much information
from the inner realm.
Yet when it is recognized that the unconscious mind has access to information
beyond that which can be apprehended by physical means, and it is given instruction
to gain that information, this gives an impetus toward thus acquiring it.
If we are to put the unconscious mind to work gaining information that otherwise is
inaccessible, and it is to prove efficient in this SUBLIMINAL THINKING, we
should start to RECONDITION it. That is, most of our lives we have been
Conditioning ourselves to get information exclusively from the three-dimensional
plane. Our habit-systems to do so are well formed. And just as if we went to England,
where the auto must drive on the left-hand side of the road, we should have to
Recondition ourselves by painstaking attention and effort to keep from trying to pass
cars by driving to the right, so, if we are to get information from the four-dimensional
plane, we need to devote consistent effort to training our attention to apprehend it.
The first step in any form of character building is to have a clear cut idea of just what
you want to do. Then, with that definitely decided, the Conditioning process should
be intelligently and systematically applied according to the instructions given at the
end of Chapter 5 (Why Repression is Not Reality). To cultivate Subliminal
Thinking, therefore, the first thing is to have quite definitely in mind the type of
four-dimensional activity you wish to encourage. When this has been decided, then
start to work to do the necessary Conditioning.
You will need, of course, systematically and intently to direct the attention of the
unconscious mind toward acquiring the desired information, or toward developing
the proper facility. As this is a new habit, to which as yet it is unaccustomed, do not
expect it to do all the work. Some plan of energetically directing it to the performance
of the required activity will need be devised. And this plan will have to include a
definite system so that the matter will not be neglected.
Gaining Informatio During Sleep
–One of the best methods is to use the hours of sleep in acquiring some information
inaccessible to the physical senses, yet which can be checked as to accuracy without
It is not in the best of taste to relate personal experiences that are somewhat out of the
ordinary; but as in the passing years hundreds of students have followed similar
methods with results equally gratifying, I feel that the practical suggestions thus
conveyed to those seeking development far outweigh the transgression involved in
relating some of my own experiences in cultivating Subliminal Thinking.
In the summer of 1908 I had been trying to see clairvoyantly, and at times did so; but
the successes were so sporadic I concluded I needed some more effective method
than the one I was using. At the time it so happened there was a rural mail box at some
distance from the house where I lived. Each day, if there was mail, it was placed in
this box by the Rural Delivery between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. We
received several papers, a magazine or two, mail order catalogues, and letters from
widely distributed correspondents who were interested in astrology and occult
matters. I decided to use this mail delivery to train my unconscious mind in gathering
At the time I was engaged in intensive study, and I attributed the lack of clairvoyant
success to the high state of activity of the objective mind, which tended to broadcast
thought-waves which interfered with bringing up into objective consciousness that
which the astral faculty of sight had seen. I noted on the occasions when clairvoyant
vision was satisfactory, that for a moment or two preceding, no conscious thoughts
chased through my mind. As my difficulty seemed to be properly to cease generating
energy in the brain cells, so that energies from the thought-cells could register on
them, I decided to employ sleep to attain the desired end.
Lunch was at 12:30. Knowing there would be a mail delivery an hour or two later, I
made it a practice to take a brief nap at exactly 12:00 noon. The purpose of this nap
was to see exactly what would be in the mail box after the delivery. That is, I simply
directed my unconscious mind to inform me of the nature of the mail to be delivered.
Usually I would sleep only a few moments, and awaken with a vivid picture of the
inside of the mail box in my memory, with such papers, letters or other things which
it would contain. I made the effort to slow down the return to full waking
consciousness, with its disturbing broadcast of thoughts, holding the consciousness
in the border state between sleep and waking while I noted as many impressions as
possible about what I had seen. These impressions were mostly pictures of action,
such as one commonly sees in dreams.
Then at the 12:30 lunch I would relate in as much detail as possible what I saw and
inferred in relation to the mail I had seen as I regained waking consciousness. At first
there would be times when no image would be retained on waking. But with practice
I could remember every article in the mail box and just how it lay in reference to each
other article, as it would appear when shortly delivered. These details I would
describe to others; and they would be verified after delivery had been made.
Letters from people with whom there had been no previous correspondence were
seen quite readily, and the symbolical dream picture accompanying any important or
unusual communication revealed its purport, and from what part of the country it
came. To be sure, there were mistakes in these interpretations, but as in any art,
practice leads on toward perfection.
Both in these rural mail experiments and in later experiments which started in 1915,
after I had accustomed myself to bring the information through from the sleeping
period, it had transpired that about half of the time it would come through before
sleep had brought loss of consciousness. I would be almost asleep, when I would see
that which I sought, and would arouse myself sufficiently to write it down. The
unconscious mind merely needed a cessation of brain broadcasting in order to
impress objective consciousness with the information it had been directed to acquire.
When I came to Los Angeles in 1915 I resumed a similar training, using the sleeping
period at night to acquaint me with what the P. O. Box would contain. A majority of
the letters were answers to advertisements, from people with whom there had been
no previous contact. Yet in a mail averaging half a dozen letters daily, I could usually
tell my friends, who were checking on it, the number of letters, the section of the
country from which they came, what orders were contained in each, and the nature of
personal remarks, if any.
These experiments interested a number of friends, who formed a small group for the
purpose of developing the ability to acquire information during the hours of slumber.
At that time I conducted two evening classes a week; and on one or two other
evenings each week our group made it a practice to go to lectures such as were being
Each made the effort on the night before attending the class I conducted to note in
sleep a description of any peculiar character that might attend for the first time. And
on the night preceding attendance at some other lecture, each would endeavor to see
some event, or to describe some chance arrangement of furniture, or remember the
exact words of the speaker when he would make some outstanding observation or
These observations were written down in the morning and were compared among the
group members before the meeting took place. And it came to be not unusual for two
or more to describe some peculiarly dressed individual who had not attended before,
or for two or more to bring back from slumber the remembrance of some chance and
unusual arrangement of furniture, or for more than one to have written down the
purport of a speech which would be delivered; and on occasions for someone to give
an actual quotation of words that would be uttered.
The success of these experiments led members of the group to make the effort to
bring back into waking consciousness experiences on the inner plane of life. Some
certain destination would be chosen to visit, or information regarding some occult
problem would be sought through contacting some definite school of thought. In the
sense that the desired region was visited, or even that the information sought was
gained, these efforts were not strikingly successful. But that various members of the
group had visited the same spot, and had experiences in common, could not be
doubted. The things they saw, and the experiences they had, when written down by
each and later compared, were often as similar as would be the descriptions, written
by the same person, of a common experience on the physical plane.
The places they attempted to go in the after-life realm more often than not were
beyond their power to reach; but each would bring back a similar description of the
country through which they had struggled in trying to get there, of the incidents that
happened, and of the obstacles that caused them to turn back. Much of what was thus
seen was as fantastic as are most dreams, and was presented to the objective
consciousness, as was the information gained, in the form of images and experiences
that were universal pictographic symbols. A discussion of the import of the
symbolism of the experience at times made its significance obvious; at other times
the meaning would remain obscure.
At a still later date, the members of this group made it a practice to bring back from
slumber information of practical value in regard to events that would have some
significance in their lives a day or two hence. Incidents would be remembered from
their sleep, yet almost invariably pictured in much the same symbolism as are
ordinary dreams. But by the associations of the dream, and what occurred, they
would be able to report that a certain individual had decided to accept or to reject a
business offer, that within a day or two some money would come into their
possession, that some proposition about which they had doubts would turn out
advantageously, that some friend would become angry, that an attempt would he
made to steal a purse, or other matters that were slightly significant. That is the
unconscious mind was expected to apprise the individual of things in the offing, not
merely that would take place, but that precaution should be taken to prevent taking
place, or what it would be advantageous to make take place.
For many, many years, each morning I wrote down my dreams. Nearly always there
were three distinct in memory, each of which had its own significance. And I
endeavored a little later in the day to interpret this symbolical pictograph language by
which the unconscious mind tried to convey the information I sought to my objective
consciousness. Needless to say, what I sought was not confined to the every day
matters mentioned. Nor, for that matter, were the methods employed to gain the
information through the psychic senses, and through tuning in on higher planes and
higher intelligences, confined to the period of slumber.
But essentials of any sane method of developing the ability to acquire information
through Subliminal Thinking, are that there shall be frequent opportunity to practice:
and that there is at hand a constantly available opportunity to test the accuracy of the
information thus derived. One spends half a lifetime in practice to be able to reason
accurately; And one should not expect to become proficient in Subliminal Thinking
without persistent effort and application. Both past and present mystical folly have
jumped to the conclusion that any information from the inner world must be reliable.
Yet often it is as warped as are physical observations, and sometimes it is just plain
In remembering the experiences of the sleeping period, thought of other things is
quick to break the line of association. Coleridge went to sleep reading “Purchase’s
Pilgrimage,” in which mention is made of a stately pleasure house. He awakened
with the poem, “Kubla Khan,” fully composed. There were between two hundred
and three hundred lines all fresh and vivid in his memory. He started writing these
down as fast as his pen could travel, and had written fifty-four lines when interrupted
by someone calling on business. This person stayed about an hour; a disastrous
interruption; for when Coleridge went back to his writing, he found, to his chagrin, he
could not recall a single line more of the poem. Thus, as wonderful as it is, Kubla
Khan is incomplete.
Such methods as I have described may not be elevated in the information sought; but
it gives opportunity for practice each night; and whether that which is perceived, or
inferred, is true or false can be tested, usually within a few days.
When the information gained has proved to be correct, as many pleasant thoughts
and feelings as possible should be associated with this demonstration of accuracy, in
order properly to CONDITION similar efforts toward accuracy in the future.
The would-be aviator does not make a solo the first time he climbs into an airplane.
To commence, there is a long period of ground training. Then he goes aloft with a
pilot and is given opportunity to develop his skill in actual flying. But only after a
persistent period of practice in which his performance is checked as to its efficiency,
is he given a pilot’s license.
Such practice in Subliminal Thinking as here outlined is not the only method, nor
should one follow such practices to an extent that they prevent proper rest to result
from sleep. But, like the preliminary training given the would-be air pilot, they afford
a comparatively safe method of perfecting the required ability. After this ability has
been thoroughly demonstrated, early restrictions can be removed, and the
accomplished astral pilot can attempt record-breaking flights in Subliminal