The mind can think of one thing only. Fear is an acute form of negative concentration—worry its chronic form. If you learn how to place your mind upon a particular subject and inhibit or “shut off” all other thoughts, the fascination of fear and worry shall have no power over you.
Most of the things you fear never happen—others can be routed by a bold front. Even if something ugly does befall you, you have the power within to enable you to ‘bear up’ heroically. Fear is a mere negative thought-habit. It is a negative tendency in the mind. You can best eradicate this weed from your mind by cultivating the positive attitude of Courage. There are particular sets of brain-cells being created or destroyed by particular types of thoughts. The best way to destroy negative brain-cells is to develop positive brain-cells. If you want to Kill off Fear-thoughts, do not fight them. That would be like trying to realise how dark a place is and then starting to pitch it out by the handful. You know you cannot do it. Just open the blinds and let in sunshine and the place will be flooded with light. The mind hypnotised by negative thoughts has been compared by a mental scientist to a dirty wash-bowl full of dirty water. Take the wash-bowl near a tap and turn the tap on. The steady pour of clean water will soon wash off all the dirty water and fill the wash-bowl with clear water. So the only way to root out and destroy evil thoughts is to turn a steady stream of positive thoughts to overcome all fear thoughts, you should think courage-thoughts. Don’t crawl on your belly; don’t call upon Heaven to witness that despicable creature you are. No—a thousand times—no. Act Courage. Think Courage. Say Courage. That’s the way. Turn your face towards the rising sun. Take “Courage” for your watchword. Affirm it as far as you can. Fasten it deep and strong in your mind. Always tell yourself that you are full of courage, morning, noon and night; never tell yourself that you are weak.
Now, in order to inhibit fear-thoughts and exhibit Courage-thoughts, you must possess CONCENTRATION. You should be able to take your mind off a certain subject and put it on something else at your will. Do you know what Concentration means? Let me give you in my own words something I remember reading about Napoleon. When banished to St. Helena and suffering from disease, one day his doctor expressed his curiosity as to the secret of his success and astonishing power. Napoleon replied “Doctor, there are drawers in my brain. When I want to think of politics I pull out the drawer of politics, when I want to think of Josephine, I pull out the drawer of Law, and so on; and when I shut all these drawers, I can go to sleep.” The doctor smiled incredulity blandly. “Doctor, I can show you this minute. Doctor, I shut all drawers”—even while saying this, Napoleon fell with a thud on his pillow. He was fast asleep. The man of science and medicine examined him in all ways, but Napoleon had fallen actually fast asleep. This is Concentration and Mind-Control. I don’t admire men of Napoleon’s selfish types. Their place is in dark hell. They use their power for preying upon others. But that his powers of mind were great, I don’t deny. Napoleon in his past life had been a great Yogi, but the remnants of self and cumulative force of bad Karma precipitated the bloody results you all know in connection with Napoleon’s career. No doubt, this man was only a means used by God to bring about certain changes and revolutions.
To develop Concentration, pay attention to the daily work of your life. Don’t neglect small things. Put interest and attention into whatever you think, say, or do. Be a wide-awake man. Don’t go about your work half-asleep. Wake up and display a few signs of life. Be progressive. Think much and to the purpose.