The physical phase of personal magnetism depends upon two coordinated manifestations of nerve-force, as follows:

(1) the generation within the nervous system of a plenteous supply of nerve-force; and

(2) the conscious projection, by the will, of that supply of nerve-force into the personal atmosphere, and even to a greater distance under special conditions.

By "nerve-force," as used in the above paragraph, I mean that strange, mysterious form of energy, which controls all physical movements, and yet, at the same time, appears to be something higher than physical itself. It is akin to electricity or magnetism, in its real nature, and, like these forces is impossible to define. Nerve-force is something far different from the matter of which the nervous system is composed. The nervous system, from spinal cord to the most delicate nerve filament, is at the best but a system of wires, relays, etc., over which the nerve-force travels, or, else complicated reservoirs in which the nerve-force is stored.

The ordinary nerves serve as wires and cables over which the nerve-force travels to move the parts of the body, which we will to move, or which our subconscious mentality desires to move. Certain parts of the brain are great reservoirs of nerve-force, as are also the great groups of nerve-matter called the plexus, prominent among which are the solar plexus, and the sacral plexus.

The ordinary textbooks of physiology pass over the question of the real nature of nerve-force, for their writers do not possess the secret. They dispose of the question by saying: "As in the case of electricity, while we fully recognize its existence and its power, nevertheless we do not know its real nature." And, so, the student must go back to some of the old occult writers of the past ages, and their followers in the present age, in order to get the secret.

All occultists, ancient and modern, have recognized the existence of a mighty subtle force of nature - one of nature's "finer forces" - which is most potent it its effects and activities, but which, nevertheless, defied all power of analysis or definition. The reason that science has never been able to classify nerve-force is because, like electricity, it is in a class by itself, and is different from any other form of force - so different that it cannot be classified with other forces. Science, in some cases, has endeavored to treat it as a secretion of the nervous matter, but that is a folly akin to that of the materialistic philosopher who tried to define mind as "a secretion of the brain," just as the bile is a secretion of the liver, the gall a secretion of the gall-bladder, etc. Such attempts at definition cause only a smile on the face of the wise.

The occultists, on the contrary, while not attempting to define nerve-force (recognizing it to be in a class of its own) nevertheless have discovered the source of its origin, and have given us valuable information as to its use. They have given it many names, as for instance: "vital force," "vital energy," "life force," "vital fluid," "vital magnetism," etc., and in the case of the Orientals, the terms "prana," or "akashic energy" have been applied to it. But under all of these different names, the occultists have always meant the one and same thing, i.e., nerve-force. The name I use in describing it, 'nerve-force," is employed simply because it is found specialized in the nervous system, and not because of any idea that it originates there. Indeed, as you shall see in a moment, it has a far higher and more elementary source of origin.

The old materialistic school of physiology has attempted to show that nerve-force, like the bodily material, is derived from the food we eat, and is created by chemical combustion of the latter. This, however, is only partly true. While it is true that there is a certain amount of nerve-force in fresh food (having been gathered there during the life of the plant of animal of which the food formed a part), and while it is true that a certain amount of this nerve-force is taken up by the system of the person eating the food, particularly if the food be fresh, nevertheless, the amount of nerve-force so absorbed is comparatively small, and is far too little to supply what is needed by the individual to run his physical organism. And, even the small part so obtained is not derived from the chemical combustion of the food. Food chemical combustion results in giving bodily heat, but never in creating nerve-force.

The true source of nerve-force is the same as the source of electricity, namely the universal ether that fills space. Like electricity, also, this force is available to human wants only when it is associated with. The atmosphere is charged with nerve-force, which is taken up and absorbed by the nervous system, and stored away in its great reservoirs, from whence, in turn, it flows over the nerves when required, by the physical or mental needs of the individual.

But, you naturally ask, how does the body absorb the universal nerve-force - through what channel does it enter the system. The answer is plain, viz.: In plant, animal, and human life, the nerve force is breathed into the system. In other words, the process of breathing, in its higher and lower forms, is not alone that of extracting oxygen or other elements from the air, but also that of extracting the universal nerve-force at the same time. When this is understood, it will be more easily understood why the living thing perishes so soon if the process of breathing be interfered with. The understanding of this secret of nature throws a much-needed light upon the important part played by breathing, in the life of all creatures.

Before proceeding to a further consideration of the process of the absorption of nerve-force from the atmosphere, especially in the case of the student of personal magnetism, I ask you to consider another important question in relation to the physical phase of personal magnetism, namely, that of the projection of nerve-force beyond the limits of the nervous system. You will remember that the average physiologist maintains that it is folly to hold that nerve-force can possibly pass beyond the limits of the nervous system containing it. He holds that, like electricity on the wires, it cannot pass except over the wires of the nerves. But, is this true even of electricity? I positively assert that it is not. The veriest novice in the study of electricity is aware that electricity will often leap from one conducting substance to another - jumping the gap in the shape of a spark - and then flying along the new channel. Again, even without the spark, electricity and magnetism will often affect other substances by what is known as "induction," without the actual contact of the two conducting materials. This is so common that it is a wonder that the question is ever raised. And, what is true of electricity and magnetism, in this respect, is likewise true of nerve-force, for it will not only often leap over the barriers of the nervous system, but will, and constantly does, affect other nervous systems by a kind of "induction."

Not only is the phenomena of personal magnetism a proof of this transmission of nerve-force, but the phenomena of'human magnetism" (as it has been called) in the direction of "magnetic healing" another proof - a proof, moreover, that may be obtained by any individual in his own experience.

Moreover, the experience of every individual will bear ample and generous testimony to the fact that certain persons, flowing over with vigorous nerve-force, will so radiate the energy that it is actually perceptible to those shaking hands with them, or even coming into their vicinity. These individuals fairly radiate health and vigor, and exert a positive healing and invigorating effect, on those with whom they come in contact. In a similar manner, is manifested a lack of sufficient nerve-force, by those unfortunate individuals who go around unconsciously absorbing the nerve-force of others, and, in extreme cases, becoming actual vampires sucking the vital forces from those around them. Who of you have not met this last class of persons, and have not noted how depressed and weakened one is after having been in the company of such persons for some time? The average person does not need any further proof in this case, beyond that afforded by his or her own experience.

It may be asked that if the nerve-force is inherent in the universal ether, and obtained from the atmosphere, why all persons are not equally endowed with this energy. The answer is that the life-habits of individuals differ, and just as one is physically strong and robust, and another weak and delicate, so is one individual strong in nerve-force, and another weak in it. Moreover, a change in the life habits of the person will inevitably result in a change in the amount of nerve-force absorbed and retained by him or her. In fact, one of the purposes of this book is to instruct you how you may increase the nerve-force within yourself. While the object is the increase of your personal magnetism, you will find that at the same time your general health and vigor will improve.

In addition to the amount of nerve-force being determined by the life habits of the individual, it is also true that the individual may, by the proper exercises, so "energize" his nervous system that he will largely increase the degree of activity of his nerve-force, and may render it far more available for his requirements. It isn't only a question of securing a plenteous supply of nerve-force, but also of having the same in an active condition, and in such a form that it maybe readily available for the requirements of everyday life.