Practical Mental Influence by William Walker Atkinson (Part 3 of 3)

[amazon-product align=”right” alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″ region=”us” tracking_id=”varsblah-20″]1602061386[/amazon-product]Last week, in the second part of this review, we looked at direct influence through fascination and hypnotism as well as indirect influence at a distance and en masse. Again, it all comes down to thought. As Atkinson writes: “[People] are constantly sending out strong waves of thought-vibrations, which have a drawing, attracting influence upon all with whom they come in contact.”

Magic: Black and White

“[Every] natural force or power is capable of producing either beneficent or baleful effects to man, according to the circumstances of the case.”

Mental Influence is built on one principle, which means that good and evil arise from the same source. It all comes down to individual intentions: “On the one hand we see and hear of the mighty power for good Mental Influence is exerting among the people today, raising up the sick, strengthening the weak, putting courage into the despondent and making successes of failures. But on the other hand the hateful selfishness and greed of unprincipled persons in taking advantage of this mighty force of nature and prostituting it to their own hateful ends, without heeding the dictates of conscience or the teaching of religion or morality.”


“A good thought always has the power to neutralise an evil one and a person whose mind is filled with Love and Faith may combat a multitude whose minds are filled with Hate and Evil.”

We can protect ourselves by creating a burning desire for the opposite of what we fear: “He who thinks Hate may be affected by Hate thoughts, while he whose mind is filled with Faith and Love is surrounded by [resistant] armour which repels the invading waves, and causes them to be deflected, or else driven back to their senders.” Understanding that thought waves only affect minds that think similar thoughts will prevent the spread of “mental microbes”.

Manifesting the full extent of our true inner power requires us to understand who we really are. Beyond the temporary physical bodies we inhabit and the transient thoughts that fill our minds resides the Flame of Spirit: “This consciousness comes to the individual by reason of his contact with the great One Life of the Universe… This inner Will is Real Power and when once recognised may be drawn upon as a source of unending and unfailing Strength.” It’s the part of us that will never die.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

Practical Mental Influence is the most rigorous book on the law of attraction I’ve read so far. Instead of talking from the mental or spiritual realm (where a bit too much is simply assumed), Atkinson proceeds from the physical one. Yes, “the Three are but varying phases of One”, but it’s easier to accept his assertions when they’re backed by ‘hard sciences’ nobody disputes. If only today’s books on the subject were as thorough as this one written over 100 years ago!

And yet this book is also ranks as the most challenging. Even the most open-minded reader may be tempted to toss it aside when Atkinson uses metaphysical terms like “psychic wires” and “astral tubes”. Still, there are some interesting new ideas if you’re up for a (very) patient look.

Atkinson states that strong thoughts can overcome obstacles in travelling far and wide “with incredible speed”. They can also last a long time: “[Just] as a ray of light travels through space for millions of miles and for centuries after the star itself has been blotted out of existence… so do the vibrations of Thought continue long after the thought, yes, long after the brain which sent them forth has passed into dust.” I guess the movie Source Code wasn’t so farfetched after all!

He uses this to explain why certain places have a certain vibe: “Every place has an atmosphere of its own, arising from the thought vibrations set in motion by the various persons who have inhabited or occupied them. Every city has its own mental atmosphere, which has an effect upon persons moving into them. Some are lively, some dull, some progressive, some old-fogeyish, some moral, some immoral – the result of the character of the early settlers and leading spirits of the places.”

But things get confusing when Atkinson states that the temptation to do something bad is not our fault: “If you feel yourself inclining toward doing something which in your heart you feel that is not to your best interests, judged from a true standpoint, you may know that, consciously or unconsciously, someone is seeking to influence you.” Does this mean we aren’t in control of our lives after all? Or do we experience these effects because we somehow ‘attracted’ them? It’s not clear.

Ultimately, the aim is to develop Mental Influence to help others realise “the higher truths of life”. This is especially valuable for those weighed down by a lifetime of negative thoughts that they cannot dissipate or neutralise by themselves. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with spending a few quiet minutes picturing your friends and family happy and well; some might even call this prayer. But does using Mental Influence to get other people to do what we want always count as black magic? What if it’s in their interests too? What if nobody is harmed? Again, it’s not clear, which makes me think it might be better not to go down that blurry road at all lest we inadvertently reap the “frightful whirlwind on the mental plane”.

Still, it’s comforting to know that we are directly in touch with a Source of Power (God, The Universe, etc.) that is stronger than anything else: “[The] assertion of the “I” within you will dissipate the influence around you and you will find yourself standing in a centre of Peace surrounded on all sides by the ocean of mental tumult and agitation… It may sound simple to you, but a little use of it will make you deem it the most important bit of practical knowledge you may possess.” In this day and age, we need all the protection we can get.

If you enjoyed this post, please remember to Like, Tweet, and Share it using the links at the top or bottom of the page. And remember to subscribe to free alerts or follow me on Twitter to be notified when the next review is released. For more on the subject, read my review of The Mastery of Destiny.