Skip to main content

Geneviève Behrend: Why I Took Up The Study Of Mental Science

Geneviève Behrend author of Your Invisible Power

Download PDF of this page

Listen/Download Audio of this chapter

Your Invisible Power
Geneviève Behrend

Published 1921, First Edition

Why I Took Up The Study Of Mental Science
Chapter 8

I have frequently been questioned about my reasons for taking up the study of Mental Science, and as to the results of my search, not only in knowledge of principles, but also in the application of that knowledge to the development of my own life and experience.

Such inquiries are justifiable, because one who essays the role of a messenger and teacher of psychological truths can only be effective and convincing as he or she has tested them in the laboratory of mental experience. This is particularly true in my case, as the only personal pupil of Thomas Troward, the greatest Master of Mental Science of the present day, whose teaching is based upon the relation borne by the Individual Mind toward the Universal Creative Mind which is the Giver of Life, and the manner in which that relation may be invoked to secure expansion and fuller expression in the individual life.

The initial impulse toward the study of Mental Science was an overwhelming sense of loneliness. In every life there must come some such experiences of spiritual isolations as, at that period, pervaded my life. Notwithstanding the fact that each day found me in the midst of friends, surrounded by mirth and gayety, there was a persistent feeling that I was alone in the world. I had been a widow for about three years, wandering from country to country, seeking for peace of mind.

The circumstances and surroundings of my life were such that my friends looked upon me as an unusually fortunate young woman. Although they recognized that I had sustained a great loss when my husband died, they knew that he had left me well provided for, free to go anywhere at pleasure, and having many friends. Yet, if my friends could have penetrated my inmost emotions, they would have found a deep sense of emptiness and isolation. This feeling inspired a spirit of unrest that drove me on and on in fruitless search upon the outside for that which I later learned could only be obtained from within.

I studied Christian Science, but it gave me no solace, though fully realizing the great work the Scientists were doing, and even having the pleasure and privilege of meeting Mrs. Eddy personally. But it was impossible for me to accept the fundamental teachings of Christian Science and make practical application of it.

When about to abandon the search for contentment and resign myself to resume a life of apparent amusement, a friend invited me to visit the great Seer and Teacher, Abdul Baha. After my interview with this most wonderful of men, my search for contentment began to take a change. He had told me that I would travel the world over seeking the truth, and when I had found it would speak it out. The fulfillment of the statement of this Great Seer then seemed to be impossible. But it carried a measure of encouragement, and at least indicated that my former seeking had been in the wrong direction. I began in a feeble and groping way to find contentment within myself, for had he not intimated that I should find the truth. That was the big thing, and about the only thing I remember of our interview.

A few days later, upon visiting the office of a New Thought practitioner, my attention was attracted to a book on his table entitled “The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science,” by Thomas Troward. It interested me to see that Troward was a retired Divisional judge from the Punjab, India. I purchased the book, thinking I would read it through that evening. Many have endeavored to do the same thing, only to find, as I did, that the book must be studied in order to be understood, and hundreds have decided, just as I did, to give it their undivided attention.

After finding this treasure book I went to the country for a few days, and while there studied the volume as thoroughly as I could. It seemed extremely difficult, and I decided to purchase another book of Troward’s, in the hope that its study might not require so much of an effort. Upon inquiry I was told that a subsequent volume, “The Dore Lectures,” was much the simpler and better of the two books. When I procured it, I found that it must also be studied. It took me weeks and months to get even a vague conception of the meaning of the first chapter of Dore, which is entitled “Entering Into the Spirit of It.” I mean by this that it took me months to enter into the spirit of what I was reading.

But in the meantime a paragraph from page 26 arrested my attention, as seeming the greatest thing I had ever read. I memorized it and endeavored with all my soul to enter into the spirit of Troward’s words. The paragraph reads: “My mind is a center of Divine operation. The Divine operation is always for expansion and fuller expression, and this means the production of something beyond what has gone before, something entirely new, not included in the past experience, though proceeding out of it by an orderly sequence of growth. Therefore, since the Divine cannot change its inherent nature, it must operate in the same manner with me; consequently, in my own special world, of which I am the center, it will move forward to produce new conditions, always in advance of any that have gone before.”

It took an effort on my part to memorize this paragraph, but in the endeavor toward this end the words seemed to carry with them a certain stimulus. Each repetition of the paragraph made it easier for me to enter into the spirit of it. The words expressed exactly what I had been seeking for. My one desire was for peace of mind. I found it comforting to believe that the Divine operation in me could expand to fuller expression and produce more and more contentment-in fact, a peace of mind and a degree of contentment greater than I had ever known. The paragraph further inspired me with deep interest to feel that the life-spark in me could bring into my life something entirely new. I did not wish to obliterate my past experience, but that was exactly what Troward said it would not do. The Divine operation would not exclude my past experience, but proceeding out of them would bring some new thing that would transcend anything that I had ever experienced before.

Meditation on these statements brought with it a certain joyous feeling. What a wonderful thing it would be if I could accept and sincerely believe, beyond all doubt, that this one statement of Troward’s was true. Surely the Divine could not change its inherent nature, and since Divine life is operating in me, I must be Divinely inhabited, and the Divine in me must operate just as it operates upon the Universal plane. This meant that my whole world of circumstances, friends and conditions would ultimately become a world of contentment and enjoyment of which “I am the center.” This would all happen just as soon as I was able to control my mind and thereby provide concrete center around which the Divine energies could play.

Surely it was worth trying for. If Troward had found this truth, why not I? The idea held me to my task. Later I determined to study with the man who had realized and given to the world so great a statement. It had lifted me from my state of despondency. The immediate difficulty was the need for increased finances.