Hence a man must say to himself : "I am not a body, I have a body." If he insists on this point of view he will, in time, learn to make the body as well as the mind, obey him. When he knows that the mind is his own to direct as he will, then it is easy for him to see that the body is his own, to be used and directed in the same way.
Now it is well within the truth to say that a man succeeds in life just as he learns to do his work with mind and body as his two great servants. He must be able to say, of himself, as Jean Jacques Rousseau said of his friend Ignacio de Altuna, "His body was well formed for the residence of his mind." If he wants to have a strong body, he must devote his thought to strength; if he wants to be a rich man, he must think and plan and work thoughts of riches. If he wants to be of great use in the world, he must direct his thought upon utilitarian activities. Any or all, of these conditions will come about if he keeps on think ing about them.
It sounds easy, does it not? And yet, most people fail to master mind and body, although success depends on this very mastery.
Why do they fail? There are certain things about the mind and body which must be understood early in life if we wish to succeed. In the years of childhood and youth, and before the man knows just what he wants to do in the world, mind and body are full of strength and freshness. He uses them with little or no thought. He does not realize that they are his servants. Almost insensibly he comes to believe : "I am the mind and body. What they do, I am." But, in fact, he should believe, "I have a mind and a body. What I do with them, I am." When this view of the matter comes before him, the man decides to be the master of him self. It looks simple, and he begins. He then discovers that both mind and body have become more or less automatic. They seem to act of themselves. He tries to make them do what he wishes, but in spite of his command they slip back into the old habit of machine-like action, and he decides it is no use to try further.
Every man and woman comes to this place some time in life, and must decide either to be the ruler of the mind and body or yield to them and let them run their courses.
The successful men and women are those who, at this period, fight it out and win. The great horde of people who do not succeed in the world, are those who give up this essential struggle.
A man who owns an automobile, understands that it will carry him where he wants to go, if the motor is always in good condition, and he tries his best to keep it so.
When the gasoline tank is empty, he fills it again with gasoline because that is the food which the machine needs. He does not say :
"This time, for a change, I will give you some wonderfully fine wine instead of gaso line." He knows that the motor would refuse to move with this liquid in the tank, for its nature is to be active only if it receives the proper material.
Now, a man is a divine, thinking being. He knows that he can do his work with the proper nourishment. But often he so far forgets him self as to believe he can select anything he will for food and drink and still run the machine. Hence, habits are formed that do not produce power.
The first lesson, then, in regard to the body and its use, is to learn what kind of fuel it needs in order to do the best work.
So sensitive is the physical mechanism that one can tell in a moment whether it is being nourished or not. A sensible man soon learns what kind of gasoline makes the machine do the most work. When he is assured of this the rest is easy.
A motor runs best when it is kept clean in every part, seen and unseen. A good motor, fed with good gasoline, oiled with the best lu bricant, and made clean every day, is a wonder ful unit of power. It will respond to almost any demand and be efficient for years.
So with the physical body. Supply it with the proper fuel ( food and drink), keep it clean within and without, and the wonderful results that will come from it, in use and endurance, make the best mechanical motor in the world look like a child's toy.
There is one more thing to be said about mind and body, and then a man's understand ing of them is as complete as the practical needs of daily life require. This refers to their rela tion to the world about us. The world in which we live offers countless temptations to both mind and body. The world of environment makes us crave things. The objects of environ ment beckon us. We want to see them, hear them, feel them, taste them, and smell them.
And it is often right that we should do so; but a man who wants to succeed in life knows that he must decide what the senses shall do. He will never permit them to decide for him. He knows that he must keep himself in hand and never give in when he should hold back.
The moment he has reached this point, he is a king in a kingdom. The mind is his prime minister, the body and the senses are his serv ants. The things of the world are his for the asking ( for he is a king), and the people of the world are sacred to him because he knows that each one of them has just as much right to be king, or queen, as he has.