Here’s an interesting quote from William Walker Atkinson:
“To us the word Spirit expresses the idea of the real essential nature of the Universal Power, and which is also manifested in man as the center of his being – his essential strength and power, from whence proceeds all that renders him an Individual. Spiritedness does not mean the quality of being ethereal, “goody-goody,” spiritual, otherworldly, or anything of that sort. It means the state of being “animated,” meaning, “possessed of life and vigor” – so that the state is really that of being filled with Power and Life. And that Power and Life comes from the very center of one’s being – the “I AM” region or plane of mind and consciousness.
Spiritedness is manifested in different degrees among different men – and even among the animals. It is an elementary, fundamental, primitive quality and expression of Life, and does not depend upon culture, refinement or education – its development seems to depend upon such instinctive or intuitional recognition of the Something Within – the Power of the Individual which is derived from that Universal Power of which we are all expressions. And even some of the animals seem to possess it.
A recent writer on the “Taming of Animals” expresses instinctive realization of Spiritedness among some of the higher animals as follows:”Put two male baboons in the same cage, and they will open their mouths, show all their teeth, and ‘blow’ at each other. But one of them, even though he may possess the uglier dentition, will blow with a difference, with an inward shakiness that marks him as the under dog at once. No test of battle is needed at all. It is the same with the big cats. Put two, or four, or a dozen lions together, and they also, probably without a single contest, will soon discover which one of them possesses the mettle of the master.
Thereafter he takes the choice of the meat; if he chooses, the rest shall not even begin to eat until he has finished; he goes first to the fresh pan of water. In short he is ‘king of the cage. ’Now, then, when a tamer goes into a den with a big cat that has taken a notion to act ‘funny,’ his attitude is almost exactly that of the ‘king beast’ above mentioned would be toward a subject rash and ill advised enough to challenge his kingship.”
You will notice in the above quotation, that the writer states clearly that it is not always the baboon with the fiercest tusks that is the master, neither does the “king lion” necessarily assert his dominion by winning a physical fight – it is something far more subtle than the physical – it is the manifestation of some soul quality of the animal.
And so it is with men, it is not always the biggest and strongest physically who rule -the ruler becomes so by reason of the mysterious soul quality which we call Spiritedness, and which men often call “nerve,” or “mettle,” or “sand.” When two individuals come into contact with each other there is mental struggle – there may not be even a word uttered – and yet soul grapples with soul as the two pairs of eyes gaze into each other, and a subtle something in each engages and grapples with a subtle something in the other. It may be all over in a
moment, but the conflict is settled for the time, and each of the mental combatants knows that he is victor or defeated, as the case may be. There may be no feeling of antagonism between the parties engaging, but nevertheless there seems to be an inward recognition on both sides that there is something between them always leads. And this leadership does not depend upon physical strength, intellectual attainment, or culture in the ordinary sense, but upon the manifestation and recognition of that subtle quality that we have called Spirit.”
What Atkinson is calling Spirit here might as well be called Will. Particularly when combined with a strong magnetism.
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