You have no doubt met people in your life whose very presence emanated an indefinable power. Perhaps you persuaded yourself that their strange-seeming influence was due to something perfectly ordinary: physical stature, or good looks, or worldly reputation. To speak of a person's aura would strike most people, steeped as they are in the dogmas of a materialistic age, as merely superstitious.
What then of the reactions of animals to human beings? How instantly your own dog may sense the kindness of some people, the animosity of others. There are some people to whom animals flock like filings to a magnet. Other people can hardly get an animal to come near them. It may reasonably be said that animals are not influenced nearly so much by the outward manifestations of human consciousness as by a kind of telepathy.
Years ago I was told of one man, slight of stature and not particularly strong, whose very presence made even lions and tigers cower in fear. At the other end of the spectrum, countless tales have been told of saints who, by the sheer purity of their love, befriended wild beasts, and converted hardened criminals to a spiritual life.
Affected Not Just by Words or Appearance
It would help you to be aware that your own power, too, is not limited to your command of words or to your outward appearance — that you affect others (more, perhaps, than either you or they realize) by a much subtler quality.
I remember a brother disciple of mine who was going through a test, and not taking it very well. He would sometimes come into my room and sit on the edge of my bed for a few minutes, his back bowed in misery. After he left, a cloud of gloom always remained behind him. I could only dispel it by a determined attitude of cheerfulness, and by japa (continuous mental chanting).
Reducing these various influences to their simplest possible terms, we may say that some people attract us, while others repel; that some people's power to attract or repel is greater than that of others; and that this power is conveyed not only through the senses, but perhaps even more so by some subtler medium.
In objective nature, the closest observable phenomenon to this may be found in the principle of magnetism. For a long time it was not known why the poles of two bar magnets attract or repel each other. Then it was discovered, as every high school student now knows, that a magnet emits subtle lines of force that can be actually traced by iron filings on a piece of paper. By means of these emanations, the north pole of one magnet will attract the south pole, but repel the north pole, of another. Two south poles also, placed together, will repel each other.
Get The Latest From InnerSelf
The Power of Magnetism
The principle of magnetism affords us more than an analogy. It was long thought that only metals could respond to magnetic influences. Then, in a series of experiments conducted at Northwestern University, in Illinois, it was found that snails are influenced in their movements by the earth's magnetic polarity. The experimenters found also that snails can be made to change their normal patterns of movement if bar magnets of similar magnetic strength to the pull on a compass are buried in the ground, and pointed away from the North Pole.
Other experiments have shown that mollusks open and close in rhythm with the movements of the moon, that people's moods may be affected (magnetically, it would seem) by the phases of the moon, and that animal organisms have their own magnetic field very similar to that which has long been known in metaphysical circles as the aura.
Magnetism, like the power of gravity, is a definite force, and, though not perceived by the senses, can definitely be cognized. The way it operates in the material world is very similar to the way it operates on subtler, spiritual levels, for matter is but a lower manifestation of spiritual realities.
Living Organisms Have a Magnetic Field
To understand how a living organism may have a magnetic field of its own, we have only to consider the fact that a magnetic field is created every time a current is passed through an electric wire. The nervous system, too, transmits scientifically measurable electrical impulses; in so doing it sets up its own magnetic field. As a matter of fact, electricity is a relatively negligible aspect of this energy-flow, an almost physical effect (gross enough for physical instruments to detect) of energies far subtler, and far stronger.
The essential feature of magnetism is its power of attraction and repulsion. The material manifestation of this force, in the behavior of magnetized pieces of metal, is only the most outwardly observable effect of a power that is essentially divine — like the janitor in an office, whose function is limited to the simple act of cleaning, and who even in this function acts only on behalf of the office head.
Divine love, too, is a kind of magnetism. So also, on grosser levels, are human love, and happiness, and hatred, and fear — in fact, every state of consciousness in active manifestation. For energy, as a vehicle for different kinds of awareness, assumes innumerable aspects, and there by generates innumerable kinds of magnetism. Love attracts love. Fear excites more fear.
If one's energy-flow is directed toward a particular person, and if there exists on any level in that person a similar state of awareness (and therefore of magnetism), one can attract or repel him depending on whether the interchange is sympathetic or antipathetic. Thus, while hatred is negative and might therefore seem to exert only a repelling force, if it is reciprocated in the other person the magnetism between them becomes attractive.
Love, on the other hand, although apparently purely attractive in its influence, if in no way reciprocated can become a repulsive force, causing mutual separation.
Magnetism Can Influence Others Positively or Negatively
We influence others by our magnetism, and are in turn influenced by them. It is possible by negative thoughts to harm them, and similarly, in turn, to be harmed by them. To think negatively about another person, especially if one does so with magnetic power, constitutes a grave misuse of the law, and invariably results in far greater harm to oneself as the instrument of such in harmony. (Similarly, to bless others attracts to oneself the greatest blessings.)
Nothing would be gained from teaching students how to harm others by magnetic power. Yet much good may come from knowing how to protect oneself against possible harmful influences from others, and this knowledge demands some understanding, at least, of how magnetism can be operated for evil.
Remember, there must be an openness to magnetism of any kind before one can receive it. For this reason, black magicians in various primitive cultures try to instill fear in their victims, or try in other ways to find a vibrational opening for their harmful energies. It is important, then, to know how to close oneself against the wrong kinds of magnetism.
Protecting Yourself from Negative Magnetism
Magnetic self-protection may be accomplished by refusing, on the one hand, to respond on a negative level (for example, with fear, anger, or hatred), and by surrounding oneself, on the other hand, with strong positive magnetism. It may help you to surround your self-styled enemy mentally with divine light. It is possible, however, if his influence is strong, that your very desire to help him will only constitute an emotional opening through which his vibrations can harm you.
Remember, the desire to help must be truly impersonal. Unless it is so, you may find it better to place a cross of light mentally upon your ill wisher. Imagine that you are using your thumb for this purpose. (Of all the fingers the thumb is the most related to will power.) If you practice this technique with great will and strong faith, any evil coming toward you from others will be arrested at its source, and only good vibrations will be able to reach you. In this way also, while protecting yourself you will not in any way be harming your opponent, though his own negative thoughts may indeed rebound upon him since they cannot reach their intended goal in you.
It may sometimes be necessary by specific thoughts to seal individual chinks, so to speak, in your magnetic armor (for example, to break any attachment that you feel towards a particular individual whose influence you fear). Generally speaking, however, what is most needed is simply to surround yourself on all levels with harmonious vibrations. Remember, no negative energy will be able to penetrate a powerful positive force field, unless indeed you make yourself vulnerable in some particular, to a specific ray of thought or emotion.
Strengthening Your Magnetic "Armor"
It is especially emotions that creates weakness in one's magnetic "armor." Harmonize your emotions, therefore, by deep meditation. Then, with a conscious effort of will, radiate harmonious feelings outward from your heart center in all directions to the world around you.
Remember also that it is wise always to remain open and receptive to good magnetic influences. Do not, therefore, seek to protect yourself against the harmful thoughts of others by assuming an attitude of coldness or indifference to them. Indifference, though it may indeed protect you, will also deaden you to the finer vibrations in the world around you; it will make you less divinely receptive.
It is better always to respond with a consciousness of light and of impersonal, divine love. Remember, the good thoughts that others send you must also find an opening in you, to influence you. Therefore is it said that spiritual healing requires not only power on the part of the healer, but also dynamic, receptive faith on the part of the person to be healed.
How To Strengthen Your Positive Magnetism
The principle of magnetism, and of energization itself, will be more deeply understood if you consider what it is that magnetizes a bar of iron. Every iron molecule possesses a magnetic polarity of its own. The reason, then, that a bar of iron may manifest no overall magnetism is that its molecules may be turned every which way, in effect canceling one another out. The more these molecules can be oriented in a north-south direction, the more magnetism the bar of iron will manifest.
A bar of metal becomes magnetized when it is placed next to an already-magnetized piece of iron. Similarly, to acquire strong magnetism oneself it is important to mix with people who already have the kind of magnetism that one wants to develop. To develop success-magnetism, mix with successful people, not with failures. Mix with artists to develop an artistic magnetism; with devotees, to develop spiritual magnetism.
I remember my guru asking me, on the occasion of our first meeting, how I had liked his autobiography. This book had changed my whole life. Because of it I had crossed America to offer my life to his guidance as a disciple. Autobiography of a Yogi was, in fact, the greatest book I had ever read, and still is.
I tried lamely to say how deeply it had affected me. "That," Master remarked, simply, "is because it has my vibrations." A new thought to me at that time! It left me fairly bewildered. But over the years I have realized its truth. For words convey more than ideas. They are channels of actual magnetic power by which a writer's soul can touch the souls of his readers. That, especially, is why it is good to read the writings of true saints: Their words convey some of the power of a direct, physical blessing.
A strong, positive magnetic aura around your body will prevent not only people's negative thoughts from affecting you, but also negative or harmful circumstances and happenings, even disease, from coming to you. When you yourself are good, only goodness will affect you. Or if, owing to the darkening influence of past karma, anything comes your way that in most human contexts would appear negative, you will find it either minimized, or becoming turned to good account.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Crystal Clarity Publishers. ©2002.
This article was adapted from:
The Art and Science of Raja Yoga
by J. Donald Walters.
This is the most comprehensive course on yoga and meditation available today, giving you a profound and intimate understanding of how to apply these age-old teachings, on a practical, as well as spiritual, day-to-day level in this modern age. Over 450 pages of text and photos give you a complete and detailed presentation of hatha yoga (yoga postures), yoga philosophy, affirmations, meditation instruction, and breathing techniques. Also included are suggestions for daily yoga routines, helpful information on diet, and alternative healing techniques.
About the Author
Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) has been since 1948 a close, direct disciple of the great yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda. Swami Kriyananda has shared his guru's teachings in many countries throughout the world for more than fifty years. He has given thousands of lectures and classes, written over seventy books, composed more than 400 musical works, and recorded numerous albums of his music. Swami Kriyananda is the founder and spiritual director of Ananda Village near Nevada City, California. In existence since 1968, there are some 800 resident members living at Ananda Village, and in its branch communities in California, Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island, and Italy.