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Outdoor Fitness

C4. The Source of Your Strength.

The supply of your physical strength is not generated within your body. You draw it to you from without. Your mind or spirit is not within your body. It is where most you send your thought. If it is concentrated, and you are absorbed with the thought or recollection of a person one hundred miles distant from your body, your mind is mostly with that person. But if your mind is intent and absorbed in the act of lifting a heavy weight, then it is mostly concentrated on those parts of the body necessary to use in lifting that weight.

The source of all strength of muscle is in your mind. Your amount of physical strength depends on your capacity to call force to act on whatever part of the body you wish to use. Force, spirit and thought mean for us the same thing.

When you lift a weight, you call to you a current of thought whose action as turned on your muscles is to overcome the resistance of that weight.

You will drop that weight or feel a great diminution of power, if while lifting you are suddenly alarmed, or if some person suddenly diverts your attention. Why? Because the force or mind you put into such effort is suddenly drawn from the muscle machinery you use in lifting, and its current turned in another direction. It is as the steam shut off from one portion of the machinery, and turned where it acts on another.

Walking, running, lifting, any effort of muscle is as much a mental act or an effort of spiritual power as oratory or writing. No human body can move a step without thought to move that body.

Fear can paralyze every muscle, make the body weak and trembling, and rob it of nearly all physical strength. Why? Because a current of thought or force has been turned from nerves and muscles acted on in physical effort, and the current cannot at once be turned back again.

A fear current of thought or “panic” acts on all parts of the body, depresses every organ, and brings unpleasant physical sensations. A “panic” is a fear current of thought invited and given way to at first by a few, communicated to the many, and gathering strength as each successive mind opens itself to it.

There is no power in muscle or any other part of your body to lift, or walk, or run, or perform any other physical exercise save the power or thought you call to it in so exercising. The material of your body is analogous to the piston, the cogs and other gear of the steam engine, only to be moved, to lift, to draw or to do other work, when the power of steam operates on them.

When you lift a weight, you demand force to lift that weight; you put your mind in the attitude of calling for strength. Any other thought that occupies your mind in doing any physical act, is a lessening of the power brought to bear on that act. For this reason a great many people exhaust themselves, because unconsciously they try to do two things at once, and will not allow for one physical act (though it be but the opening of a door), the time necessary to direct their force properly in the doing of that act. Here is one great source of physical weakness, for this mental habit extends to the doing of all things.

When you become very tired it is because you have temporarily lost the capacity of calling unseen force to act on your body. Yet then your material body is no more tired than the iron rods of the steam engine are tired when they cease working. The engine may no longer be able to run because the force behind it may be exhausted. The body likewise is no longer able to run chiefly because its supply of force is cut off and cannot for a time be brought to bear upon it.

You can by constant practice call a great deal of power into some special department of your body. You may in so doing become a great walker or rower, or very strong in the arms and lift more than others. But you are then cultivating one set of muscles at the expense of some other department of your being, and will suffer from so doing in time.

The “athlete” may have great physical strength in some portion of his body at twenty‑five. But is it enduring? What in so many cases is his physical condition at fifty?

There is a great deal of error as regards “hardy men,” or a “hardy out‑door life,” or “hardening the muscles,” all involving the idea that a great deal of active out‑door life and physical exercise makes “tough, hardy men.” I have lived with frontiersmen, sailors and farmers, been one among them, and know that many of these are physically on the down grade at fifty. A man may not be well at all, though strong in the arms, sun‑burned and “wiry.” He often lives out his best from twenty to thirty‑five, and is gray, grizzled, and worn at forty‑five, or a bundle of aches and rheumatism.

You want for the realization of the greatest happiness a body on whose departments this power you call to you can be equally distributed—can act readily on any part you wish—can be turned readily from one part to another. You want to be strong in every part. You do not want great strength of arm or leg at risk of injury to heart or lung or some other organ, and this result is very likely to come to those who cultivate and develop disproportionately some particular set of muscles.

You want also a strength of body which comes to stay— which knows no decrease and which shall ever increase.

This you may say is impossible—is against the order of Nature, which, as mankind in the past have believed, decrees ultimate decay and death for all seen forms of life.

It is not man’s province to decree for Nature. As men seek, she is ever showing them new and unexpected possibilities. The railroad will in time give way to some less cumbrous method of locomotion. The telegraph is not the ultimate for carrying news, and man’s physical and spiritual being is as yet scarcely on the verge of the possibilities coming to it.

To bring a body whose strength shall be equally distributed you will depend on the Supreme Power, and demand for yourself an influx of equally distributed strength.

When you so depend on that power your spirit will attend to this equal distribution and use of force on your body.

This, the highest result comes of a spiritual or thought power and not of a physical power—not from physical exercise.

Every person lives not only in a world or atmosphere of their own peculiar thought and material occupation, but attracts to them from the unseen side of life minds and intelligences of similar thought, tastes, likings and occupations. The professional pedestrian attracts to him intelligences whose passion is merely walking, and who, having no physical bodies of their own, indulge their love of walking through him, and give him also the strength and inspiration of their thought while he walks.

For others can give you a literal strength through sympathy in any effort of yours in which they are interested. When hundreds cheer at sight of some favored champion in any contest of physical strength they give him a strength support and inspiration as real as that coming of any food or drink. And minds not having any material body to use, can and do act similarly on minds having a body to use, in all kinds of effort.

Minds on the unseen side of life are of every conceivable grade of intelligence even as here. Wisdom is there far above ours. So is stupidity, folly and wickedness. You attract to you of these exactly of your own mind, motive, tastes and sympathies.

Such minds may care more for what brings them immediate pleasure than of the result coming in time of such pleasure— just as you may also do with yourself. They give their strength to the pedestrian, so enabling him to prolong the great strain on his muscles. They give it to gratify themselves. When he has lost nearly all his own capacity for drawing power, still their minds concentrated on him carry him along. Their wills united to his own give him temporarily a great deal of force, but ultimately such force gains nothing.

Their power so concentrated can for a time impel the pedestrian to renewed effort and keep him braced up and on a tension, just as excitement braces you up for renewed effort for a season.

There is a limit to this condition. That is when the spirit loses capacity for calling more force to act on the body. The body then fails. Its owner is prostrated. Reaction, and perhaps the body’s death follows. Death of the body means inability of the spirit to act on it and use it.

The following of disembodied minds who have been giving a person their strength in some physical exercise, care nothing, because this strain must at last wear that person’s body out. When his body fails their further use, they leave and fasten on some other embodied mind having similar tendencies.

This extends to every occupation on our stratum of physical life. The artist, the writer, the merchant, the lawyer, who are doing a great deal of business, who work from morning till night, and sometimes far into the night, who surprise others by their endurance, are in reality not doing all of their own strength. They are acted on and driven by unseen forces about them—forces and intelligences alike in tastes and inclinations, forces powerful but still unwise and selfish.

The result is that now so common—the body so impelled will suddenly drop. Or the overdriven mind will drift into insanity or senility. These unwisely driven minds hold their bodies but for a few years, relatively speaking.

The day laborer often wears out, and is an old man at forty‑five, because he has all his physical life been similarly attended, aided and strengthened in his lifting and tugging from “sun to sun” by minds who have no taste or desire, save to lift, tug and carry, and who having no material body, lift, tug and carry through some one who has, from the same motive as the gambler, who, having no money of his own to stake on the cards, plays in a sense and realizes something of the excitement of the game in watching others.

The material of the body through incessant use may wear away, and when so worn away spirit or force cannot act on the part necessary to use, even as when a pin or cog in the engine becomes worn. There is damage and disorder very likely to ensue when the force of steam is brought to bear on that machinery.

Your spirit not only gives strength to the body to use in physical effort, but when the body rests during sleep or otherwise, it sets immediately at work to repair waste, and supply new material where it has been worn away by excessive use. The person using his or her body improperly, or, in other words, the person whose permanent state of mind does not call for a body proportionate in all its parts and powers, will have the wear of that body very imperfectly repaired.

If you have been in any degree in this injurious method of life and becoming convinced of your error you give your body more rest, you will probably experience a diminution of strength. You may then not be able to walk or otherwise exert yourself as before. This it would be natural to regard as an unfavorable sign.

But it is not. It is because your mind having changed its altitude, your old following of mind who have been giving you of their strength have now fallen off. You are let down on the basis of your own individual strength which may relatively be small. You are in a condition analogous to that of the person who when temporarily insane has the strength of a giant. In his right mind he may be very weak. Why? Because in the delirium of insanity he was supplied with a fleeting strength by the disembodied insane attracted to him through his mental condition.

In such lassitude or languor the body is really gaining strength and building itself upon a sound basis—just as in the relaxation attendant on sleep, the body is gaining strength.

Languor, lassitude and “tired feelings” are the demands of body and spirit for repairs. Very many periods of illness are only varying kinds and symptoms of exhaustion caused through bodies racked, strained and worn to that degree that spirit or force is no longer able to act on them.

To‑day thousands in every occupation do not think themselves well unless they are always on a tension. They demand a stimulation and a strength for doing their work which must last as long as they choose to do that work. They would grant Nature no time for recuperation and repair, and when Nature, through languor, lassitude or disinclination for effort, says she must have some time to repair the physical machine, they consider themselves “sick,” and demand some medicine which shall immediately start them afresh, and keep them on that tension which erroneously they regard as an indication of perfect health.

“But business requires this constant activity and exertion. We have no time for the leisure you speak of,” says one.

Yes, business does require all a person may have to give—time, strength and an incessant drain on vitality. Men at last educate themselves to this routine and can be happy in no other.

But our business system which gives most to the person who for a few years can exceed in strength and activity many others and turns him mercilessly out so soon as he shows weakness, is not in accord with Nature’s laws. Business often says: “You must work or starve,” while Nature is saying, “If you keep on in this abuse of mind and body the two will soon part company.”

Is there gain of strength through physical exercise?

Not as much as is generally imagined. The time to exercise is when you feel like so doing and can enjoy it. And stop when you begin to feel tired. A boy runs and a young animal plays because they cannot help it. That is healthfully impelled exercise.

If you walk for sake of exercise and are fatigued and exhausted thereby, you have done yourself an injury. You have given out more strength than you received. You have called a current of will to you to shove your body ahead, when the body may have in some way protested. In this mood you call also to your aid the wills and force of others on the unseen side of life who are in error like yourself on this point.

There is not an effort of yours, mental or physical, but meets with aid and sympathy from minds akin to yours in tastes, occupations and sympathies on that side of life not seen of the physical eye, but which is closely woven into and bound up with our own.

Such aid and sympathy may be beneficial or injurious.

You are exercising beneficially when you are quiet and call to yourself the thought of strength, vigor, dexterity in the use of muscle and grace in movement. You exercise beneficially as you watch the movements of a spirited horse or playful dog, or any other form of animal life which moves from the pleasure realized in movement. Because in so doing you draw to yourself the thought current of strength and vigor. This in time will enter into you, assimilate with your physical organization, and gradually bring newer elements in your body. It will gradually re‑form or re‑make new blood, muscles, sinew, nerve and bone. When the newer elements you so call to yourself are sufficiently imbued with their new life, they, or rather the spirit acting on them and of which they are the reflection or material correspondence, will demand physical exercise. You will run or jump or otherwise use your muscles, because you feel like it and are impelled to do it like the child at play.

Now, on the contrary, you may be demanding physical exercise of the body when it has no desire for it.

You exercise beneficially when as you think of your body, you demand a wholly strong body, but not one you shall in thought plan for yourself. You will temper your demand with a deference to the Higher Wisdom or Supreme Power, which knows far better than you how to bring you a body exceeding in power anything you can at present imagine.

Once you could move with the elasticity of the boy of seventeen or as the girl of seventeen should move, and in the future will move, at fifty.

You, a grown up man or woman would very soon tire to run about as a child does all day at play with its companions. In this respect the child is capable of more physical effort than you, though it cannot lift so heavy a weight as you. Why is this?

Because the minds of the group of children at play are unconsciously concentrated in drawing to their bodies a current of playful thought. Place a child by itself, deprive it of its companions, and soon it will mope and become slow in movement. It is cut off from that peculiar thought current and is literally “out of its element.”

You need to bring again this current of playful thought to you which has gradually been turned off. You are too serious or sad or absorbed in the serious affairs of life. You can be playful and cheerful without being puerile or silly. You can carry on business all the better for being in the playful mood when your mind is off your business. There is nothing but ill resulting from the permanent mood of sadness and seriousness—the mood which by many so long maintained makes it actually difficult for them to smile at all.

At eighteen or twenty you commenced growing out of the more playful tendency of early youth. You took hold of the more serious side of life. You went into some business. You became more or less involved in its cares, perplexities and responsibilities. Or as man or woman, you entered on some phase of life involving care or trouble. Or you became absorbed in some game of business which, as you followed it, left no time for play. Then as you associated with older people you absorbed their old ideas, their mechanical methods of thinking, their acceptance of errors without question or thought of question. In all this you opened your mind to a heavy, care‑laden current of thought. Into this you glided unconsciously. That thought is materialized in your blood and flesh. The seen of your body is a deposit or crystallization of the unseen element ever flowing to your body from your mind. Years pass on and you find that your movements are stiff and cumbrous—that you can with difficulty climb a fence and that you cannot climb a tree, as at fourteen. Your mind has all this time been sending to your body these heavy inelastic elements, making your body what now it is.

You cannot undo this result by physical exercise—by moving the body about when you have so earthy a body for such spirit as you can bring to act upon it.

Your change for the better must be gradual, and can only be accomplished by bringing the thought current of an all‑round symmetrical strength to bear on it—by demanding of the Supreme Power to be led in the best way—by diverting your mind from the many unhealthy thoughts which habitually have been flowing into it without your knowing it, to healthier ones.

“But bird and beast weaken and decay with years. Must not our bodies conform to the Law which governs theirs?” one may ask.

Beast and bird are in the same Law governing us. No form of material organization is outside of this Law. Beast and bird also draw force from without. They have intelligence, and intelligence means a degree of spirit. But they are more limited as to spiritual force than mankind. Our average of life is longer than theirs, because the demand of our own race to live is stronger than theirs. The mental force impelling that demand is stronger.

Like the beast, the bodies of those of our race have in the past weakened and decayed. This will not always be. Increase of spiritual knowledge will show the cause of such decay, and will show, also, how we can take advantage of a Law or Force to build us up, renew ever the body and give it greater and greater strength, instead of blindly using that Law or Force as has been done in the past to weaken our bodies and finally destroy them.

When you get in the right current of thought, and your errors in mind are one by one gradually rooted out, there can be no limit to your increase of physical strength—but you will not use it to drudge or in incessant pulling, hauling and lifting.

We are made for far higher uses and far greater enjoyments, and life is a far different existence from what it is as seen and judged from the physical senses.

Q's note:

Turn Lemons into Lessons.  Then make lemonade.  Drink it and pee all out, Baby. haha.  



Image Credit:


Google (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved July 1, 2021, from


Mulford, P. (1886-1887). The source of your strength. Your forces and how to use them (pp.451-461). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09

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