MAN can build up his mind and make it what he wills. In fact, we are mind-building every hour of our lives, either consciously or unconsciously. The majority of us are doing the work unconsciously, but those who have seen a little below the surface of things have taken the matter in hand and have become conscious creators of their own mentality. They are no longer subject to the suggestions and influences of others but have become masters of themselves.
They assert the “I,” and compel obedience from the subordinate mental faculties. The “I” is the sovereign of the mind, and what we call WILL is the instrument of the “I.” Of course, there is something back of this, and the Universal Will is higher than the Will of the Individual, but the latter is in much closer touch with the Universal Will than is generally supposed, and when one conquers the lower self, and asserts the “I,” he becomes in close touch with the Universal Will
and partakes largely of its wonderful power. The moment one asserts the “I,” and “finds
himself,” he establishes a close connection between the Individual Will and the Universal Will. But before he is able to avail himself of the mighty power at his command, he must first effect the Mastery of the lower self.
Think of the absurdity of Man claiming to manifest powers, when he is the slave of the lower parts of his mental being, which should be subordinate. Think of a man being the slave of his moods, passions, animal appetites and lower faculties, and at the same time trying to claim the benefits of the Will. Now, I am not preaching asceticism, which seems to me to be a confession of weakness. I am speaking of Self-Mastery – the assertion of the “I” over the subordinate parts of oneself.
In the higher view of the subject, this “I” is the only real Self, and the rest is the non-self; but our space does not permit the discussion of this point, and we will use the word “self’ as meaning the entire man. Before a man can assert the “I” in its full strength he must obtain the complete mastery of the subordinate parts of the self. All things are good when we learn to master them, but no thing is good when it masters us. Just so long as we allow the lower portions of the self to give us orders, we are slaves. It is only when the “I” mounts his throne and lifts the scepter, that order is established and things assume their proper relation to each other.