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Excerpts from

Your Ladder to Personal Achievement
by Ernest Holmes

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Book Description
Are you at the mercy of unknown forces? Do you have any control over your life? Can you ever have the love, happiness, and good health that you desire? Yes! says this powerful book...because what happens in your life is up to you!

You can determine your future, because what you experience tomorrow depends on what you think about today. It's up to you! If your thoughts are constantly focused on sickness, depression, poverty, and restriction, those qualities will appear in your life. But, if you choose to dwell on health, happiness, abundance, and freedom...they will be yours!

In these pages, Ernest Holmes, a world famous spiritual teacher, explains why your thought has power...and he provides practical suggestions as to how you can change your life by changing your thinking. You can rise steadily up the ladder of personal achievement by following these steps. It's up to you!

Escape to Life; Successful Living; You Create Your Destiny; Who Are You?; The Real "You"; Your Personality; As You Believe; The Choice Is Yours; The Power of Prayer; Thinking Creatively; Ten Steps in Personal Achievement.

Chapter 1


It appears that every individual is afraid of something. Maybe it is only a fear of having people believe we have a fear. Maybe it is only a subjective holdover tendency from our religious forebears who devoutly believed that God must be feared. Maybe it is only the fear of what people will think about us: what we have, what we do, or how we look.

There are various sources from which people derive fear, and there are certain fundamental fears which practically all people have. Let us consider these fears, try to analyze them and see what is behind them, where they come from, and whether or not we shall be able to do anything about getting rid of them.

The fear of death is the Goliath which slays the multitudes. The reason this is such a great fear is not only because we cannot bear the thought of leaving behind the people we love, but because it involves an uncertainty of the future. And this fear of death involves all uncertainty and fear of lack—lack of time, lack of friends, lack of health, and lack of economic security that is one of the greatest fears in the world today.

Where shall we go when we die? This is certainly one of the big questions in our mind. If today is the logical continuance of yesterday, then all the tomorrows that stretch down the vistas of eternity will be a continuity of experience and remembrance. We shall keep on keeping on. We shall continue in our own individual stream of consciousness, but forever and ever expan- ding. Not less but ever more, more, and-still more.

Regardless of all we believe can be accomplished by man because of his oneness with God, I do not believe that any man can be happy unless he believes in the continuity of his own existence. I have come to believe that it is impossible for a man to be contented in this life unless he feels sure of the next one. I believe that the greatest single curative power known to the mind of man is a spiritual thought in the sub­jective mind. By spiritual thought I mean, here, an absolute inner conviction that one may trust in the integrity of the Universe and that sooner or later all things will be made right. Without that we have materialism, and a philosophy of mate­rialism never yet created a great art, a great religion, a great philosopher, or a great any- thing.

Man spends the first third of his life in preparing himself for life—physically, mentally, and financially. He is always expecting, hoping, progressing, expanding—something big, something satisfying is going to happen. Consequently, his mind is open. He is happy. He is expressing. During the next third of his life, speaking of the average man, he marries, he has a family. His whole thought and emotion is spent here. But quite frequently, in the last third of his life he begins to meet with frustrations. When the time was that everyone believed in some kind of religion, he trusted to some kind of a future. Now this is more likely than not to be shaken. Dr. Jung, one of the world's greatest psychologists, said: "As a physician I am convinced that it is hygienic—if I may use the word—to discover in death a goal towards which one can strive; and that shrinking away from it is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose. I therefore consider the religious reaching of a life hereafter consonant with the standpoint of psychic hygiene." And people who do not have it will miss something, because during that last third of life there will be little to which they can look forward. That is why we often see the last third of a man's life appear to decline when it should be another great ex­perience and a subjective preparation for some- thing even more sublime. 

The soul longs, with its deepest intensity, for self-preserva­tion. It is the spiritual conviction in that deep cryptic being of ours that we are born of eternal day and made in the image of God to traverse a heavenly way. It is the strongest emotion we have. Why is this true unless way back there, in the be­ginnings of creation, there was incarnated in us that deathless Principle of Life which of Itself knows no defeat? We may analyze ourselves all we want to, and get a certain satisfaction out of so doing, but there can never come lasting peace and happiness without spiritual conviction, the reason being that Spirit is Reality.

If a man knows that Life never began and will never end, he will be immediately fortified and inspired to begin the work of bringing out perfection in his daily life. When a man under­stands that God is incarnated in him; that he is a new creation —an individual impartation of that which is Divine—he feels a new birth. When he grasps the fact that the Divine thing in him which longs to be, will always be, then will his intellect see it and his emotion respond to it and life can no longer frighten him.

There is another fear which is as great as the fear of death, and that is the fear of life—the fear of people, the fear which comes from sensitiveness. In some respects this is the worst fear that can take hold of one. There is probably no way of weighing and measuring it as against other fears, but there is none greater than the fear of life.

Generally speaking, the man who is misunderstood, who is frequently criticized, is likely to be doing something worth­while. It is the person with whom everyone agrees that is lost in the mass of mediocrity. The head that lifts itself above the others has the rock thrown at it, so we need not be concerned when people criticize us. Of course it is normal to want people to like us, and a good thing to say to ourselves when people criticize us is: "If people knew me better they would like me." This is literally true, for if we could know every man in the right way we would certainly find something in him to admire.

Often the reason we are disturbed when people say unkind things is because we have a sense of our own inadequacy. This can be cured. A bit of conceit would cure it, but that is using one ill to erase another—a counter irritation, like applying a mustard plaster on your neck which burns so that you forget your first pain. Truly speaking, the man with a sense of infer­iority and the man who is conceited are alike just mentally sick people. No one is great and no one is small. This is obviously true for every human being has immediate access to Good, by his own acceptance, and every man can have all of It that he can embody.

However, there is nothing objective one can do when suf­fering from a hurt without becoming arrogant, which the whole world now recognizes as a defense mechanism. Besides, it does no good for in the silence of his own soul the person is still suffering, no matter how arrogant he may appear. That is why we can feel nothing but pity for the sarcastic man. We know that we are looking at a man who is attempting to hide his own hurt.

Naturally we want to get over this feeling hurt, this fear of what other people think about us. How comforting it is to know that we do not have to heal ourselves of what the other man thinks about us or about anyone. We need only to heal ourselves of what we think. It can be done. As we come to understand that a man's shortcomings are merely his diseases, like the measles and mumps, just some place that his thinking became warped, we can no more censure him than we would condemn ourselves for holding a distorted viewpoint. And if ever we become so perfect that we do not have any diseases, then we shall never see them in anyone else, and in this conscious unity with our good, people will be healed by the very atmosphere of our presence.

As individuals, working out our freedom, we want to get away from argument, from hurts, from trying to force our opinions on others, from pretending, and from the feeling that we have to suffer other people's criticism. This can be come in one, and only one, way: by seeing right through all this camouflage to the eternal Spirit back of each one of us, the One Mind in which we all "live and move and have our be­ing." All are made out of the same Stuff. When we unify, in love, with Life, we talk in a universal language with which we can speak to prince or pauper.

Of course we can understand the fear of physical suffering, not only because of the discomfort and pain, but because it disturbs all the normal relationships of life. We shall be able to overcome it when we are positive in our own minds that it is neither intended, Divinely ordained, nor endowed with perman­ence. Then, and not until then, will we believe we can escape from the bondage of suffering.

I do not know any man who has entirely overcome all the ills of the flesh, but I do know the greatest aid that can come to him is to rid his mind of all fear. Once fear is aroused it dominates the conscious operations of mind and body. We have no fight with doctors, medicine, surgery, or hospitals. We believe in every- thing that makes for the well-being of man, mentally and physically. Many of the greatest doctors in the world agree with us today that there is not a sick person on earth who would not be far better off if he consciously co­operated with spiritual healing, recognizing the fact that all things are Divine; that each thing in its place is best; and that God uses every avenue for expression.

A hundred years ago it was considered quite the thing for a woman to be "delicate." The greater her opportunities for leisure, the more one heard of her ailments. But the world is changing. Many people now are ashamed to let anyone know when they are ill. They have at least sensed the fact that it is not natural to be sick. And thousands are recognizing, in vary­ing degrees, the necessity of making their minds impregnable to the fear of disease. To many is coming the knowledge and faith that there is a great Power everywhere which works toward good rather than bad. And this is our release: seeing that there is no power in the Universe against us. As God cannot behold evil, it follows He does not know disease. There­fore disease is not a Divine Reality, never was, and never can be.

We must conclude, then, that the Great Physician within us that already has created us in His own image and likeness senses us as perfect. And when our sense of that perfection shall be complete, then perfection will be manifest in and through us. This conscious- ness of the ever-present availability of Good will go a long way toward eradicating the fear of disease.

Another great fear is the fear of want, in all of its ramifica­tions. It is one of the most amazing sights that civilization has ever witnessed that in a land of plenty, filled with abundance, thousands are unable to sleep because of their fear of not having enough to eat, enough to wear, enough with which to pay their rent, and so on. We are neither blaming the rich man because he has more than we, nor are we blaming ourselves that we have less, but we know that when we shall have learned how to live, such a state will not exist again.

Society, thus far, has been subject to want, according to economic cycles, and we may never discover in this life how to live correctly. But when the collective intelligence of the race shall arrive at a concept of freedom, the human race will be free, and not subject to the fear of limitation.

But is there any way that we, as individuals, may learn how to do away with want? I think so. We cannot wait for the world to become happy. Jesus made it plain that the place to begin is in individual consciousness: ". . . cast out first the beam out of thine own eye . . . ." If we do this we do not need to worry about whether or not the world is progressing. All the great stirrings in the world today are the result of a change of thought in one individual first, then his community, then his state, and so on.

If we are thinking clearly we shall know that it is not going to rob anyone else if we have enough. Jesus said that he came that we might "have life. . . more abundantly," and since nature has already provided enough, it must be that when we know how to take it we shall have it. By merging mentally and spiritually into the consciousness that there is enough to go around, we shall overcome the fear of want, and we shall overcome want at the same time because they are one and the same thing—the thought and the image.

We are subject to and the servant of anything that we obey emotionally, and unfortunately our possessions often possess us. If we could only come to know that there is such a thing as spiritual Substance, and that that Substance is limitless and omnipresent and that It takes form in our experience according to the mold we give It, then we would only need to open our consciousness to It and we should be able to demonstrate what we needed. It would be folly to think of saving it, for the supply is ever available. We would then be no more apt to hoard wealth than we are to save the water we failed to drink from a particular glass. We always know we can get more.

The law of nature is use or lose. The people who are truly prosperous are generous souls. Even our intellects become sluggish if unused. Our muscles become flabby from a lack of use. Talents unused seem to disappear. We must bear in mind that there is an inflow and only by permitting an outflow, to pass the blessings on, do we widen the channel for the in­flow. This thought alone should cure us of any thought of hoarding.

Jesus lived and taught but his having lived will be no salva­tion for us unless we go and do likewise. It is only our conscious unity with Good that saves. Abundance will come to every individual when he is wed to it and is conscious of that union. We shall all get over our fear of want when we come to such a consciousness of spiritual Substance that we can know that everything we do brings to us that which we need.

Many people harbor a fear of punishment. Shall we be rewarded for our virtues and punished for our mistakes? I believe that we shall be. But by reward and punishment I do not mean anything other than that sin is a mistake and punish­ment a consequence. There could not be a God who either rewards or punishes. To believe so would be a concept of dual­ism, a house divided against itself, a king angry one day and loving the next. Unthinkable! I believe in Law, a Law that governs all things and all people. If we make mistakes, we suffer. We do this right here, now, and shall no doubt do so hereafter. Reward and punishment are the logical outcomes of the uses we make of life. But this problem never enters the mind of one who is at peace with himself and with life.

The first step in overcoming any fear is to concede that God is for us. This done, we have at once overcome the fear by seeing that there is nothing to be afraid of. The world is all right and we can meet it on its own terms, but let us meet it constructively, as a gloriously becoming thing, knowing that the kingdom of God inhabits every soul. No one has ever tried and failed in a conscious cooperation with the Universe Itself.

You are king in the domain of your mind, and the genius of God is under the command of your choice. If you harbor fears, you do it with your eyes open. It's up to you!

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