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Make yourself beautiful by thought (1912)

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Make yourself beautiful by thought (1912)
Author Hereward Carrington, who earned his PhD six years after this article was published in 1912, was a fairly well-known British investigator of psychic phenomena. The piece below elicits comparison to the the 1937 book Think and Grow Rich, as well as modern-day theories put forth by The Secret and by those who use the law of attraction concept.

Aida Overton Walker

Any woman may make herself beautiful by thought — and here is the way to do it

by Hereward Carrington

Could you devote a little time daily to making yourself beautiful? Have you a retroussé nose which you wish to make straight? Have your cheeks fallen in or filled out unduly? Are the outlines of your figure different from your ideal of what they ought to be?

If you are less beautiful than you wish, you may follow the suggestions contained in this article and benefit any defects which may be present. You can certainly improve your appearance, if improvement is possible, by devoting a little time every day to certain practices and exercises — simple, yet effectual. As they involve no physical exertion, they should, perhaps, be more popular than they are.

Two men were arguing one day as to the question of women’s mental and physical beauty.

“Beauty is only skin deep,” sadly remarked one philosopher.

“That’s deep enough for me,” replied the other. “I’m no cannibal.”

Most women appreciate the value of beauty. They do not have to be told its worth. Indeed, they perhaps overestimate it. No matter. It is a great power, and every woman desires to be more beautiful than she is — to add to her physical charms, which exert so potent a sway over the emotions of men.

The number of “beauty parlors,” of creams and cosmetics, of flesh builders and flesh reducers upon the market betoken the extent of interest in the subject. How eagerly they are, one and all, bought and utilized whenever occasion demands! Every internal and external measure is tried, in many cases without success. Is there no new method of beautifying the face and form which might be tried? None which would bring about the desired results without injurious effects?

It will be observed that all the methods which have been mentioned so far are physical methods — those which deal with the body direct rather than with the mind. And yet we know that the mind has a most potent influence and power over the body. Let the cast of mind be of a certain stamp or character and it be inevitable that the face and features will, in time, betray it.

ALSO SEE: How happiness can make you beautiful (1899)

Observe the face of a criminal. We say that it is “hardened”; but so is that of the sailor, if we mean by that weatherbeaten and influenced by the purely external changes and conditions. No, the face of the criminal betrays the thoughts which flow through the brain beyond. If his face be hardened and seared, his thoughts are likewise. If the face betrays the mean and sordid scoundrel, are we not almost invariably safe in thinking that his personality and character is of a like stamp?

The soul transparent

On the other hand, we have all seen faces which remind us more of heaven than of earth — faces so transparently good and pure that we feel we can fairly see and almost touch the soul within. True, a beautiful face sometimes hides a fiend incarnate. But such cases are comparatively rare; and there is always something about such a person which the careful and clear-visioned reader of character will detect, and mentally label “Fraud.” But in 99 cases out of 100, we should be right in our diagnosis: we should rightly assume that a face of that character betokened an equally charming and beautiful nature.

If all this be true — as we know it is — why should we not draw some conclusion from these facts? Why should we not assume that some law is here in operation which, if we only understood it, we could control and utilize to our own profit and benefit?

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I am positively assured that right thought, properly applied and utilized, will have the effect of making the face more beautiful, while wrong thoughts will have the opposite effect. In a certain sense, we already know this to be true. Worry, fear and kindred emotions play havoc with a beautiful face, while joy and happiness make it radiate with health and beauty. The “cross, irritable dyspeptic” can be singled out anywhere; while the joyous, happy nature is just as much in evidence and just as easily distinguishable.

But it may be objected that while all this is true, it is another matter definitely to change the very shape and outline of the face and form. In one case, the face wears a certain expression. In the other, the face itself is changed. Is there not a distinction here — and so great a distinction that no comparison can well be made?

No; it appears that we have only two manifestations of varying intensity of the same thing. The features can be molded over just as surely and effectually as a potter’s clay. Strange as this may appear, it is nevertheless true. Allow me to offer a few brief analogies which may make this appear less incredible.

One striking theory which certain biologists have advanced is that various physical peculiarities have appeared simply because the animal felt the need of having such organs or parts, and grew them in consequence. Thus, the camel stores up a superabundance of reserve fat in its “hump” upon which it draws during its long marches across the desert, when the “hump” decreases in size, etc. The camel felt the need of the “hump” and it grew. This is a very crude way of expressing the theory, but there it is. It is usually ascribed to Darwin, but this is an error; Lamarck is the naturalist to whom we owe this ingenious hypothesis.

Now, whether or not the camel grew the hump consciously is beside the question. The fact remains that its outer form was changed according to its inner needs or desires. Here is a definite example of the power of life to affect matter, and particularly the matter of the physical body.

If you sit and look at your finger for any length of time, you will feel the blood coursing through its veins (and arteries) at a great rate. By merely directing your attention to the part, more blood is centered there and doubtless a greater supply of nervous energy. To a certain extent, we can control the organic processes of our bodies.

Doubtless you have all heard of the various personages who, from time to time, have been able to affect and influence their bodies to such an extent that actual “stigmata” occurred. By contemplating the figure of Christ upon the cross for a number of weeks, for example, Louise Lateau of France, involuntarily reproduced upon her own body bleeding marks similar to the wounds in the figure of Christ. This fact was attested by several well-known physicians.

Mary Pickford, head-and-shoulders portrait

Thought controls lives

It does not appear at all incredible, then, that we can, to a certain extent, control the very shape and contour of our bodies and faces by means of properly-directed thought. I have known several men and women who were well along in years, yet who, by constantly thinking themselves “young” kept themselves looking fresh and vigorous from one year to another.

I have a half-formed theory to advance which may, at first sight, appear slightly fantastic, but it may be worthy of consideration. It is this: That the physical body which we know is molded by and built upon another body — a sort of ethereal “double” or duplicate — the “spiritual body” of St Paul, which exactly resembles the physical body. It is upon this body, in fact, that the physical body is built.

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The food we eat is constantly being converted into living tissue, but why should this tissue take on the outward form and appearance of a body, and why should all bodies be exactly alike? Why should humanity invariably grow to a height of from five to six feet and no taller? Why should they not grow until they were seven or eight feet or even taller? What determines the shape, contour and general else of the body? Perhaps you have never thought of the matter in this light before, but it is certainly worth a thought if no power, no force, formed and determined the shape of the physical body, it would surely be formless and shapeless.

In view of these facts, it certainly appears rational to suppose that the physical body is determined by the inner, casual body within. The outer body is shaped by the inner forces.

There are definite analogies for this in physical science. If you hold an ordinary horseshoe magnet beneath a piece of paper and scatter iron filings upon the upper surface of the paper, the filings will arrange themselves according to the “lines of force,” or magnetism, which the magnet sends out. Here we see matter depositing itself along lines of energy. The direct energy tells it where to go and it places itself there, or is placed there by the impelling power behind.

Think yourself beautiful

It is possibly the same with our physical bodies. The guiding and controlling life force which rules the organism during life directs and controls the matter of the body so long as it is alive. The inner, casual body determines the exact shape and characteristics of the outer gross physical body. If this be true, we may surely assume that this inner body is controlled very largely by thought and the power of will. It would doubtless be sufficiently plastic to be molded in this fashion. In this manner, the outer body would be shaped and molded also indirectly.

We now see how it is that thought — thinking — may make one beautiful and actually mold and determine the shape and character of the face and form. The inner, casual body would be affected thereby, and the outer body would gradually conform, and take on the nature, character and expression of the inner thought body. (This thought body is by some considered to be the body which survives death, and it is this body which we will resemble after that great change has been effected.)

In order to make yourself beautiful by thought, therefore, all you have to do is to make up your mind exactly as to what you want, just what features you want altered, what parts of your person you want filled out or made thin, and then set to work to will and think those changes.

Imagine these changes actually taking place within you. Feel it. Believe it. And by and by you will begin to perceive a change. This will give you confidence, and as time goes by, you will be gratified and astonished to see yourself gradually assume the appearance of the ideal you had in mind. You will have made yourself over! You will have made yourself beautiful by thought.


Top photo: Aida Overton Walker, an African-American vaudeville performer, in 1912. Second photo: Actress Mary Pickford, circa 1912. For more information about the law of attraction, you can visit the above references, as well as see a book by the Chicken Soup for the Soul author: Jack Canfield’s Key to Living the Law of Attraction: A Simple Guide to Creating the Life of Your Dreams.

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