A Restorative System For Home and Private Use
Preceded By a Study of
The Laws of Mental Healing
Many who have faithfully followed the directions given in this book have sent their spontaneous testimonies concerning great mental and physical benefits received.
With this issue of the fifth edition, the author would say that he will be pleased to receive other declarations--concise and to the point--where positive good has been realized, not for his own gratification but as a witness to the Principle
LEE AND SHEPARD PUBLISHERS
ELECTRONIC EDITION PUBLISHED BY CORNERSTONE PUBLISHING, 2001.
COPYRIGHT, 1893, BY HENRY WOOD
Fraternally dedicated to all seekers for
with whom it stands above
Sect, System, or Conventionality.
God Is Here
Divine Love Fills Me
God Is My Life
Christ Is Within
I Am Soul
I Am Part of a Great Whole
All Things Are Yours
I Am Not Body
I Will Fear No Evil
I Will Be Thou Made Clean
Spirit Is the Only Substance
I Am Free
There Is No Death
I Look Upward
I Am God's Child
Pain Is Friendly
I Make Harmony
I Rule the Body
Health Is Natural
Mental Healing Is Scientific
Healing Is Biblical
Prayer Is Answered
I Am Healed
Be Ye Therefore Perfect
Suggestion of some kind is the great mental motor. It may enter the human mind either in thought-waves projected by another mind, or through the avenue of an outer sense. Hypnotic suggestion stirs the mind on the sensuous plane by the dominant imposition of the force of another personality. Ideal Suggestion is the photographing of pure and perfect ideals directly upon the mind through the medium of the sense of sight. It is voluntary, and free from any admixture of personality or imperfection. By the cultivated vigor of thought-concentration it develops wonderful power and utility.
The principles presented are unconventional and often misapprehended, but the dawn of their general recognition is at hand. If the author can add even a small contribution to the influences which will hasten their acceptance, he will find abundant recompense for this attempt at their popular interpretation. While they involve laws and forces which extend above and beyond the domain of the pure intellect, they are orderly and have scientific adaptability. The molding influence of the spiritual and internal man upon his external counterpart will soon receive merited appreciation. Causative forces lie hidden below the surface, and if common observation fails to cognize them it is due to the color-blindness of materialism.
If the principles set forth embody living realities they should be sought for their own sake; if otherwise, they will soon come to naught. Knowledge of Truth is the highest human attainment.
That part of this work which is devoted to Ideal Suggestion is naturally preceded by an outline of the general laws of mental healing. The attempt is made to present them in a simple manner, free from technicality and occult terminology. The author, though having had some unusual opportunities for gaining an understanding of this subject, is not a professional "healer," and does not practice nor give advice concerning disease. His position is that of an independent conservative investigator and student of Truth. The conclusions formed are the result of a careful and extended observation of the experiences of scores of persons, together with a study of the literature and philosophy of the subject, in addition to a personal experience of depth and intensity.
It is not for a moment expected that Ideal Suggestion will, in all cases, displace regular mental treatment. But the better the whole subject is generally understood, the broader will be the field of activity for every good living teacher and healer. This system, though now presented as a formulated course of personal development for the first time (so far as the author is aware), has amazing possibilities.
It points out in plain terms the road which if earnestly followed will lead to the quiet but effectual relief of many chronic ailments and nervous inharmonies which are so much in evidence in modern life. If one, in great degree, can do this for himself and in his own home, by wholesome effort, the advantages are obvious.
"Progress, man's distinctive mark alone,
Not God's, and not the beasts': God is, they are;
Man partly is, and wholly hopes to be."
Before attempting to give an outline of the laws of mental healing, it may be well to briefly consider some of the difficulties which are encountered, not only in its practical application, but also in its popular acceptance as a system having a real and scientific basis.
Truth is eternally and unchangeably complete, but to human consciousness it is constantly growing. The only changeable factor related to it, is the ever-expanding capacity of the mind of man for its fuller recognition. Every new development of any importance finally comes into its abiding-place only through friction, misapprehension, and opposition. What there is already occupies all the space, and there is no place for a new-comer, especially if it be a disturber. Over and over again history records the declaration, "There is no room in the inn." Every new development, even in physical science, has had to traverse a thorny path before coming into an assured position; and, in the higher realms of religion, government, jurisprudence, ethics, and economics, each new advancement has been cradled in a manger. The authority and self-sufficiency of existing institutions never leave any corner vacant. While the more impressive examples of this rule are farther back, in the recent past, slavery was declared not only to be right, but to exist by Divine and biblical authority, — and this in the North as well as the South.
It would be illogical to expect any exception to the rule, in the reception of so radical an advance as mental healing — or, more correctly, the recognition of the law of mental causation. It is an intruder. If admitted, its philosophy will necessitate a re-examination of systems which are dignified by hoary antiquity and eminent respectability. Institutions that have exercised unquestioned authority; that are entrenched behind barriers of intellectual scholasticism, and that possess social and financial supremacy, instinctively feel that their infallibility is called in question. Piles of ponderous, dusty tomes thereby become mere relics of by-gone speculation.
While mankind generally, as individuals, earnestly desire to find the truth, formulated systems, backed by prestige, literature, and authority are ultra-conservative. They yield not an inch, except by compulsion. When final acceptance becomes imperative, the New — after being freshly christened — is dovetailed in as a part of the Old. You are assured that it is but a slight modification of what was there before, and finally, that they always thought so. A typical example may be noted in the manner in which the medical fraternity has received the phenomena of mesmerism. For several decades it was barred out, not only as useless, but as fraud and delusion. More recently, under the title of hypnotism, or hypnotic suggestion, it was permitted to peep in at the door; and now, rechristened as " psycho-therapeutics," it seems likely to gain a gradual entrance.
While the theory of mental causation for physical disorder fully accords with everything vital and fundamental in religion, considered as a life; is in harmony with all high spiritual philosophy; rebukes materialism, and develops the highest ideal in humanity, yet the fact that it has not been incorporated into ecclesiastical and theological " confessions," causes the church, as an organization, to misunderstand and oppose it. The fact that spiritual healing was regarded by the primitive church as the natural outward attestation of the inner higher life, seems to have no significance to the church of today. When the Founder of Christianity gave his great commission, "Preach the gospel and heal the sick," did he not mean all that he said? Is the power of Truth partial, local, and limited to a single age? If God be infinitely good, unchangeable, and orderly in His manifestations, could He withdraw powers and privileges that had been already bestowed? If divine law is not suspended nor violated, the same "gifts of healing" that have once been exercised must be operative today, under corresponding spiritual conditions. On the divine side, spiritual law must always be uniform, otherwise God's methods would be self-contradictory. Many eminent men of advanced thought in the church who now admit the immutability of law, spiritual as well as material, have apparently failed to observe its logical outcome. It follows that the direct assurance of the Christ that, "These signs shall follow them that believe," either limits true believers to one epoch, or else proves that "works of healing" have a permanent and lawful basis. Does it not appear that worldly policy, intellectual theology, and ceremonialism, as they came into the church in the time of Constantine, extinguished the early, simple, vital, spiritual potency which since that transition has never been fully regained.
Turning to therapeutic systems, mental causation is in substantial harmony with the highest and best thought of the seers and philosophers, from Plato down to the present time. It is only medical science, as it has gradually degenerated into a great drug prescription system, that seeks for primary causation in the inert clay of the body. The wise physician makes a mental, as well as a physical diagnosis and is logically led to the utilization of immaterial forces.
Popular prejudice against mental or psycho-therapeutics arises largely from an inability to cognize the factors involved. Prevailing materialism makes it logical to rely upon that which appeals to the senses. A majority are color-blind to the highest order of forces, and forget that, even in the external world, it is not matter, but the immaterial energy that moulds it, that produces all phenomena. Occidental civilization in its general trend is distinctively external, almost superficial.
The general identification in the public mind of mental healing with "Faith cure," is another prolific source of misapprehension. While there are many sincere clergymen and laymen who believe in “miraculous" healing in answer to prayer and anointing, simple justice requires that a broad distinction be noted. Faith healing, as generally understood, involves a direct and special interposition on God's part, in response to petition. It implies that He is subject to changeableness and improvement, and that the expected result is an exception to, or reversal of, universal law. On the contrary, mental healing is entirely based upon law, which, though belonging to the higher domain, is orderly and exact. It enjoins human compliance with existing law, already perfect and incapable of improvement. While a vital faith on man's part is a powerful healing element, it should have an intelligent and scientific basis. The divine order cannot be capricious. If God be infinitely and eternally perfect, His part is already complete, and it only remains for man to come into harmony with truth, which is the divine method. Faith healing, defined as a local exceptional action of God, improved and set in motion by petition, is a relic of decaying supernaturalism. It is true, however, that many cases of healing take place among its disciples. Even pure superstition — as illustrated by the result of pilgrimages to shrines and contact with sacred relics — often heals, because, though the modus operandi is misunderstood, it starts into action saving mental and spiritual recuperative forces.
Spiritual healing is beyond ordinary intellectual apprehension. Transcending as it does the plane of the reasoning faculty, it cannot be proved by argumentative logic. It concerns the inner ego, and can only be comprehended by the deeper vision of the intuitional and spiritual nature. There is much objective truth which we are utterly unable to cognize until we have unfolded something of its kind and correspondence within ourselves.
Popular misapprehension also arises from the mystical and technical presentation of psychological principles, which, though inherently simple, are made to appear unreasonable, and sometimes fanatical. Although there is truth above reason, as ordinarily defined, there is none against reason. There is spiritual as well as intellectual common-sense. Extreme statements, even if ideally true, should not be popularly presented in unqualified form, for they lead to unnecessary misunderstanding and antagonism. Those who cannot leap to the climax at one bound, may often be led there by gentle advances. It is not a question as to the existence of truth, but of the unfoldment of the vision to behold it. This view was clearly enunciated by the Christ. He often withheld the highest statements because his hearers were not ready for them, and repeatedly stated that he did so. It is true that larger apprehensions of truth require an increase of fitting terms to represent them, but complex and occult verbosity is to be avoided. If men are unable to reach up to abstractions, instruction must reach down, not by any admixture of error, but by " precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little."
The new advance also encounters the usual amount of satire and ridicule which falls to the lot of every radical departure from traditionalism. Homoeopathy passed through all the same phases, but at length fought its way to recognition and standing. Legislative attempts to crush therapeutic progress by the erection of a medical monopoly have been made in several States, but they are so plainly in opposition to the spirit of the age, that they have not proved of much practical account. It is as foolish and tyrannical to erect a monopoly in medicine, as it would be in religion, politics, or ethics. The Presbyterian or Baptist creeds may as well be legally enforced as that of allopathy. Any institution asking for special legal protection cannot seemingly place great reliance upon its own merits. Under our form of government individual liberty, so long as it does not infringe upon that of others, is the chief corner-stone. To impose any special system of therapeutic practice upon an individual is clearly unconstitutional.
Sensational and exaggerated accounts of occasional failures in the new practice are spread broadcast by the daily press, while it is rare that any allusion is made to the numerous cures of those who had previously exhausted the “regular" systems. While thousands of young and robust people die under conventional treatment, after short illnesses, every week, no question is raised nor criticism made. No matter what the circumstances may be, if in the "beaten track," everything is taken for granted. Everyone has the right to die, if he will only do so according to regulation.
But failures do occur in mental practice. No matter how perfect a principle may be, it cannot have perfect application, because of local limitations. The imperfection of the practitioner and the lack of receptivity in the patient — to say nothing of surrounding antagonistic thought — are limitations. It is not a mere question of swallowing a remedy, but certain ideals must be brought to the front in the minds of both -]\ healer and patient, and there must be positive co-operation. Recovery, as a rule, is progressive growth, and is manifested as the ideal mental conditions gradually gain supremacy. Many expect sudden and magical improvement, and therefore, being disappointed, abandon treatment before a sufficient period has elapsed for the legitimate results to appear. Some are unconsciously non-receptive because of a mental resolution that nothing shall in the least disturb their favorite creed, opinion, or philosophy. In this way their door is unwittingly barred against their own improvement. Some are harboring secret sin, or giving place to currents of thought colored with selfishness, envy, sensuality, jealousy, or avarice; and, though unaware of the difficulty, their minds are closed against the truth which could set them free. That which is distorted cannot in a moment become symmetrical, and even after thorough thought-reconstruction, the body cannot at once fully conform and change its expression. But every faithful compliance with the laws of healing — laws which are immutable — will have its legitimate effect in the degree that their requirements are complied with, and this can be depended upon. Limitations can be overcome, but patient effort is required. The ocean of thought-atmosphere in which we live is sensuous, and therefore a vast opposing influence — real, though intangible — must be surmounted. It is easy to float with the tide, but to break away from crystallized environment demands courage and persistence. The all-enveloping human thought-currents are powerful. Even the Great Exemplar, in some places, “could not do many mighty works," because of prevailing unbelief.
Many shrink from such a searching inward reconstruction, because they instinctively feel that it will reveal them to themselves. They are willing to look outward, but cannot abide introspection.
A prevalent distrust of mental practitioners on account of their lack of a course of conventional study, especially in pathology, is also quite natural. But it is well to remember that in spiritual discernment and efficiency “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." A study of pathology is a pursuit of abnormity. If mind is the field of operation, it is evident that it must be kept pure, clean, and entirely free from disorderly and diseased pictures. Thoughts, ideals, and suggestions must all be of health, perfection, and harmony. It is therefore plain, that from the standpoint of mental causation, pathological research would not only be useless, but positively harmful. The uniform and only diagnosis of the mental healer must be health, really, potentially, and inwardly, even though not yet outwardly actualized. He may divine the particular location of the lack of wholeness, but all the more he sees and emphasizes the potential and inner perfection of that special part or organ. He idealizes it as already sound, and holds the thought firmly until the patient comes into at-one-ment. Thoughts are outlines to be filled in, and they must be drawn upon the lines of the pure, the true, and the beautiful.
There is also some prejudice because a majority of the exponents and teachers of mental science belong to the so-called "weaker sex." Generally men are more intellectual, though less intuitive, than women, and they are also much more strongly bound in scholastic and traditional grooves and systems. "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." Human knowledge is largely theoretical and external, but human insight, which is generally more acute in the feminine mentality, is more penetrating and exact. This is distinctively the woman's age, and the world is now beginning to realize the beneficent fruits of her recent development and greater freedom. What more natural than that the rosy dawn of new esoteric truth should soonest be recognized by her more sensitive spiritual vision?
It is unreasonable and unjust to ignore the testimony of hundreds and thousands whose lives have been saved through the rational employment of mental therapeutics. Such testimony is positive in quality, unlimited in quantity, high in character, and its veracity should be unquestioned. There is probably no city or town of any considerable size in the United States where there are not plenty of conclusive examples that can easily be found by any impartial investigator. By a careful and extensive personal investigation we have found that the great majority of those who are engaged in teaching health (a better expression than healing) were formerly confirmed invalids who had exhausted conventional remedies without improvement before resorting to mental treatment. Upon restoration to health they so thoroughly realize the merits of the higher thought, that they feel impelled to communicate it to others. If one has discovered and utilized a great boon, it is both a duty and a privilege to tell the news to suffering humanity. It becomes a "gospel," or good tidings that cannot be suppressed. The allegation sometimes made, that mercenary motives are usually foremost, is both unjust and untrue as applied to the great majority engaged in this profession. Financial considerations, unless entirely subordinate, would be fatal to success in practice.
If disease and abnormity, mental and physical, were in the process of gradual extermination through conventional applications, there would be little reason for a search for anything better. On the contrary, we find that disorders are steadily growing more subtle and complex. Specialists multiply, and each finds just what he looks for. Not only physicians are increasing in number in much greater proportion than the population, but diseases and remedies are also being multiplied. The more human abnormity is held up and analyzed, the more its various shades, phases, and complications become manifest. As our civilization recedes from nature, and Artificialism in all directions grows more pronounced, we become hyper-sensitive to discord and morbidity. Insanity, insomnia, and nervous degeneration are increasingly prevalent, and even the physical senses more than ever before require artificial aids and props. We are depending upon the Without rather than the Within. These, and other related general tendencies might be elaborated and proved in detail, but being plainly evident it is unnecessary.
Under such conditions, if any new philosophy be presented which claims rationality and beneficence, is it not wise to give it impartial investigation? In the closing decade of the glorious and notable nineteenth century can we afford to copy the intolerance of past periods, and conclude that Truth is a complete and closed revelation? Why expect new advances in electricity and the physical sciences, and at the same time deny that in the far more important realm of man's interior life and nature there is anything better for him than the universal discord and disorder of the past? If but a small part of the claims of advanced mental science be realized, the world greatly needs all it can possibly get. If anything promises to lighten the great aggregation of woe that hangs like a black cloud over the whole human horizon, it should at least be fairly examined and tested before condemnation.
"For of the soule the bodie forme doth take;
For soule is forme, and doth the bodie make."
The human body is a holy temple. The external sanctuary of the soul, unlike temples made with hands, is built from within. It is the acme of God's material handiwork; the masterpiece of the Divine Architect. The living statue is modeled and shaped with transcendent delicacy, grace, and symmetry. It is a cosmos in miniature; an epitome of the natural universe. Robing, as it does, the offspring of the Infinite, it is hallowed and sanctified. The breath of God has gently swept through its aisles and corridors and dedicated it as His own cathedral. Its walls and towers are built of living stones. Something has been taken from every known substance and blended in beautiful and harmonious proportion to form the finished structure. From its deep recesses the aortal organ sends out its rhythmical energy, which penetrates every highway and byway to the utmost limits. Its drum-beat never tires, and its measured pulsation is unceasing. Five temple gates open outward into highways which extend to the world of form, and through them messages and freights are going and coming in endless succession.
The body is a superlative example of co-operation; a general partnership where each member holds a unique office. It unceasingly works, not so much for itself as for all the others. Each one is an example of altruistic energy and ministry. Every tissue and molecule is on the alert, and its part is promptly and intelligently performed. All are good, for each is divinely perfect, and therefore the various offices of the members are alike honorable. Any seeming dishonor is only an abuse and degradation of that which has received Christly consecration. Says Paul in his letter to the Romans, "Nothing is unclean of itself: save to him that accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean." All God's creations are good, and all impurity exists only in the perverted human consciousness. This beautiful and perfect instrument is the ideal human body, untouched by abnormity.
But turning from the normal and ideal to actualized expression, we find the instrument discordant and unreliable. Instead of exercising sweet ministry, it at length demands to be constantly pampered and indulged. It insists upon much consideration, flattery, and idolizing, and finally mounts the throne as a capricious monarch. It compels homage; refuses to render reasonable co-operation, and, if its sway continues, finally destroys all harmony and revels in discord.
God made man a “living soul," and therefore he is a soul, not has a soul. His body is a temporary material correspondence; a set of instruments for his convenience on the plane of sense. Through their use, the real man — who can never be seen or heard — translates and manifests himself outwardly.
Just behind the seen and material human organism there is a sensuous mind, the most outer and fleshly of the immaterial part, which pertains especially to the body and acts directly upon it. Next within is the intellectual zone, and still deeper, in the innermost, is the spiritual ego, the divine image. This is the Christ-plane, where dwells the perfect humanity. Here should be the throne and abiding-place of the consciousness. When there seated its primal spiritual energy is radiated, and it shines through, controls and harmonizes, the lower planes and expressions. When thus dominated, these inferior domains, in their own order and place, are concordant and symmetrical.
When from ignorance or perversion the human consciousness builds its tabernacle in the outer and inferior planes of its organism, the result is inversion. That which otherwise would be orderly becomes chaotic. This abnormal inward condition finds outward expression in sin, suffering, disease, and all kinds of inharmony. It has reversed the divine order, and the "day of judgment," when the inner tribunal renders its righteous verdict of condemnation, has come. To satisfy this judgment and restore harmony through the resumption of the true and normal ideal, is the aim and object of mental and spiritual science.
Matter is only a form of expression, and has no character or basis of its own. It is “clay in the hands of the potter," never an actor, but only acted upon. It appears, disappears, and reappears only to outwardly articulate different qualities and grades of life. Life, or spirit, is the only intrinsic reality. The physical man is merely the out-picturing of his inner and intrinsic counterpart. The body is a grand composite photograph of previous thinking and mental states. It is "a living epistle known and read of all men." Owing to the great complexity and apparent slowness — by our sensuous measurement — of the printing process on the outer form, its vital relation to the inner type has not been superficially evident. It is quite true that the model has received some early color and bias from heredity, but this does not in any way affect the order of manifestation, which is uniformly from within outward.
If bodily harmony or inharmony be the natural and direct result of the past prevailing quality of thought, it is at once evident that the only normal and scientific healing agency is resident in mentality. No stream can possess purity unless its fountain be pure. There is no exception to the rule that to modify or correct any effect we should address ourselves to the cause. It is also rational and scientific to carefully discriminate between primary and secondary causation. The latter is really not causation at all, but only a link in the chain of orderly sequence. Through the whole cosmos of God, cause and effect are bound by a tie that no man can sever.
It follows that notwithstanding materia medica may be respectable and “regular," its logical assumption is fallacious. It lacks an exact and scientific basis. It is an antiquated experimental system of modifying and dealing with results. It would be reasonable, provided that the soul (man) were a function of body. Its philosophy can only be interpreted by the assumption that such is the case. Where would this hypothesis lead? It is evident that the functions of anything cannot outlast the thing itself, because they depend upon it and have no basis of their own. When the body dissolves, its functions or exercises must also perish. This is blank materialism with no immortality of spirit. With the utmost liberality of interpretation it seems impossible to discover any other alternative. Materia medica is a complicated cumulative structure of formula, which assumes a resident energy in material objects which have no life or force in themselves wherewith to add to the vigor of the human organism. God's life or spirit in man — conventionally called "nature" — will always express itself healthfully when unobstructed. "Loose him and let him go."
Surgery is an exact science in which there has been great advances in the recent past. The surgeon is a mechanical expert who with great skill adjusts the parts, and then the divine recuperative forces vitalize and accomplish the work. Without these forces all the surgeons in the world could not heal the smallest cut.
Newly discovered material remedies while fashionable and much in the public mind have some power, but as they recede their efficacy actually seems to fade away. This suggests that their potency resides more in their mental accessories than in the drug. Sometimes, through personal belief, a “bread-pill" proves to be a powerful cathartic, but only general belief would insure uniform results. The “discovery" of a remedy is generally in the nature of a chance, or an experiment, thus possessing but a very slight original basis; but cumulative belief gradually adds and confers power which is not inherent. Good remedies should remain, but as a matter of fact they pass rapidly by in an endless procession. Fashions and fads — of which the "Elixir of Life" and "Lymph" are recent examples — are no less capricious in medicine than elsewhere, and nowhere do they reign with more autocratic sway. Diagnosis, and even death itself, is somewhat subject to fashion and conventionalism. At the present time the correct exit seems to be via “heart-failure."
A great variety of unconscious mental influences and accessories surround the drug and subtly clothe it with power. Among them may be mentioned the psychological influence of the physician, conscious and unconscious; the trust and confidence of the patient; individual and general belief in the mysterious power of the prescription, together with the elements of faith, imagination, hope, and expectation secretly at work in the minds of patient and friends; and last, but by no means least, beneficent mother "Nature," which is really Mind below the surface of consciousness. The patient recovers, and the result is credited to the drug. If it were possible to thoroughly eliminate all these enumerated accessories, then, and then only, could its inherent power for good be ascertained. But we may fancy that we have a crucial test in the cases of infants, the sleeping, insane, or idiotic, who are incapable of knowledge or mental operation. Not in the least. By well-ascertained psychological law, all these influences are so present in the psychic atmosphere that they impress themselves upon unconscious mentality, and most of all upon the sensitive and passive mind of an infant.
It may be admitted that the great army of material props cannot be ruthlessly swept away until something higher replaces them in human consciousness. There is an unconscious homage paid to whatever seems to possess power; therefore, almost universal materialistic thought mistakenly locates energy in sensuous objects. These are not real forces, but only the phenomena of forces. However, from the outlook of the plane of sense, nothing higher can come into the field of vision. The two kingdoms are distinct.
In the general criticism of a “system" there is no disparagement cast upon the honesty and ability of its professional exponents. It has been handed down, and they cannot be held responsible for it. As rapidly as is practicable they are outgrowing its limitations. As a rule they are professionally much in advance of their creed, while for the personal qualities of devotion, self-sacrifice, honor, and courage, they are the peers of any other class or profession. They naturally fill a demand which has existed, and will exist for some time to come. In the economy of evolution everything comes and goes at the proper time, and therefore materia medica should and will keep its place until the world is ripe for something higher. It is therefore not "bad," but only a passing stage. Each stage forms a terrace from which the next step higher can be reached.
It is often claimed by those who believe in the special and " supernatural," and who profess to worship one Great Force, — "and Him only," — that we should use "divinely bestowed means," and then pray that the "means" should be blessed. But there is no warrant for the assumption that drugs are "means" in any true sense. They will not sever cause and effect, nor make an atonement for violated divine order. If we are out of the path which has been made smooth for us by law, — complied with, — we must come back again. If we have crossed its righteous lines we shall be goaded — and that beneficently and correctively — until we again parallel them. The crossing of lines signifies subsequent crucifixion.
Another assumption often put forth is, that there is a correspondence between food and drugs. Not so. One is normal, the other abnormal; one contains nourishment, the other does not; one furnishes natural material for the life-forces to grasp and build up, the other proposes to alter and correct the life-forces themselves. Can they ever be wrong? They are the divine energy in humanity and never need correction. This vital force being immutably accurate, only requires that we remove obstructions and come into at-onement with it, in order that it may have free course. There is a mistaken idea that the drug, by some mysterious magic, will remove penalty. Food meets a normal demand; not to add more life, but to furnish material for life's outward expression. As the drug is not needed for any such purpose, its presence is an anomaly. There is but One Force, and to create other forces — which is possible only in the consciousness — is in the nature of idolatry.
The power of mind over matter is a trite expression often employed; but, like many other abstract statements, its great utility has hardly been dreamed of by the world in general. We " look on things after the outward appearance," but in reality that which is before us is only symptomatic. As well try to suppress heat without extinguishing the flame, as to truly heal by merely restraining expressive sequence.
Human pride naturally seeks for the causation of its ills from without. It is interesting to note the prolific ingenuity which shifts all responsibility upon external things. One would naturally conclude that He who made the air, water, climate, heat and cold, cloud and sunshine, had made innumerable mistakes. These elements are often regarded as unfriendly, and they have a variety of deadly qualities gratuitously linked to them by human ignorance and perversity. God's creations are all good ; but when they are antagonized they become, to us, subjectively evil. As we make them unfriendly, to us they are unfriendly. "As a man thinketh so is he." Just here is the weak point in formulated modern hygiene — so called. Though it is a great advance upon the drug, it emphasizes outside conditions. Not that we should disregard reasonable and common-sense regulations, but that the supreme dependence should be within. The true ideal is to get gradually less and less dependent upon externals, so as not to always act "under the circumstances."
An invalid is sent to some country with a mild climate, or induced to visit a German spa, and an improvement is the result. Thought which has been centered upon the body and its inharmonies is diverted into new channels, therefore the body is loosed from its pressure, and its inward energy and elasticity cause a rebound towards health. It is unnecessary to observe that the climate and the spa receive all the credit.
It is significant that the normal constitution and laws of the human mind require that it be centered upon the highest and the inmost. Man will be restless until he learns to rest his thinking upon God, and that not alone objectively, but upon His image within. By a singular infatuation, and in disregard of universal human experience, men continue to look for satisfaction and fullness in the external. Material scientific progress is the great ignis fatuus which is supposed to lead to a prospective Golden Age or general millennium.
It is physiological fact, that when thought, for any length of time, is concentrated upon any part of the body, it causes an increased flow of circulation in that direction. Abnormal conditions manifested by the body are always the result — even though not directly traceable — of past perverted mental conditions. Surface indications are utterly unreliable in locating inherent causation.
Asceticism was a mistake, or, at most, only a half truth. The body is not a thing to be repressed and mortified, for the reason that it is inherently good. When the conscious life-energy and thought has its chief outlet and exercise through the higher and spiritual nature, the body will need neither watching nor repressing. As a subordinate, it will be divinely harmonious. "Take no thought for your body." Thought centered upon the body presses downwards and obstructs its harmonious and free expression.
The hyper-sensitive victim of drafts or indigestion increases his morbidity every hour that he feels himself to be the victim of these conditions. Dwelling in the feelings of the body is only a false and animalized sense of life. It puts man upon a low plane, where he meets, absorbs, and subjects himself to all the multitudinous disorders that have been built up in human consciousness. He should make his home in soul; in the body, but not of it; and this will give him such a grasp and control of his corporeal structure that it will not be open to every discordant wave that is wafted towards him in the sensuous atmosphere. The body was not intended to be an opaque shell to obstruct the inner light, but rather the pure crystal through which the rays shine out, beautifying itself and illuminating its related environment.
"Mind is the great lever of all things; human thought is the process by which human ends are ultimately answered."
At no previous time have the influence and potency of thought received such careful and discriminating investigation as is now being centered upon it. While a few seers of keen and intuitive perception have grasped the great fact that thought is the universal substance and basis of all things, never until the present era has this vital truth penetrated the more general consciousness.
The thought or volition of God is the basis of all phenomena; and man is now learning that his own thought-power is a force, the intensity and utility of which has been almost undreamed of. The intuitive comprehension of this truth is no longer limited to a Plato, Paul, or Emerson, but is grasped by many minds who are striving to give it articulation.
If man be the "offspring" of God, made "in His image," what more natural than that some thought correspondence should exist between them? The search-light of an intelligent and earnest desire for universal law — as a great harmonious unit — is being turned upon many problems which have been regarded as settled, and they are receiving a careful and scientific reconsideration such as heretofore has been impossible. Many dogmatic formulas and theories have been built up, and, when they have become hoary and respectable, it has been assumed that if any facts did not fit them, so much the worse for the facts. They were at once waived aside as unworthy of investigation. Whether or not it were possible, everything had to be bent to conform to what Authority thought truth ought to be. Shackles of tradition and intolerance are now loosened, and it is possible to make a full search not only for phenomena, but for the soul and causation which lie hidden back of them. The stiff and unyielding forms of antiquated and external institutions are softening, and responsiveness and receptivity to truth is the result.
Two great groups of forces are striving for mastery. On one side is ranged “realism," pessimism, and the Without; and against them, idealism, optimism, and the Within — a war of "Gog and Magog." From the dawn of human history, with a local and partial exception in the times of the primitive church, the forces of the Without have held sway; but now the legions of the Within and the Ideal are mustering in unparalleled power.
A general line of cleavage is running through religious denominations, therapeutic systems, governmental and economic theories, temperance, and ethics. The great opposing powers are not personalities, but thought-qualities, and therefore the warfare is located entirely within the confines of mind.
The kingdom over which human thought is the rightful sovereign is primarily subjective; but through its objective relations its reign is projected outward. Being a positive active force, it shapes and controls matter, which is only passive material, powerless and inert. As human thought traces, follows out, and harmonizes with the divine thought-pattern, it takes on wonderful potency. It becomes re-enforced and indorsed by that almighty power of the divine economy called Law.
In the human physical organism thought is at work, like a carpenter in a house, either building up or pulling down. Thought, or thought-quality, gives tone and character to all the chemical changes and transmutations which continually go on within the bodily structure. Materialism recognizes the mind as a bodily function, thinking as cerebration, and ideas as brain secretion. Were this a fact, mind could never exist apart from its physical base.
It is true that we do not consciously direct our digestion, assimilation, heart-action, or breathing; but we I must not forget that the consciousness which is on the ^surface is only the merest fraction of the great stored up sub-conscious deeps of the mental reservoir. The life-forces operate with supreme exactness and intelligence, and there can be no intelligence without mind. The wonderful complexity, accuracy, and delicacy of our deeper unappreciated mental operations would astound us, were we able to behold and analyze them. But though we cannot consciously explore our own mental recesses, we can trace and understand the laws which govern their courses and activities. The most fundamental of these laws relating to thought-sequence is, that the body is a general expression of the quality of past thinking, not merely of yesterday, last week, or last year, but of its composite for the past life.
This stored-up mental reservoir is a submerged personality which thinks, reasons, loves, fears, believes, accepts, and draws conclusions beneath and independent of consciousness. It is this, and not the matter of the body, that takes disease or contagion when the conscious ego is unaware of exposure. It is through this mind that medicines, and even poisons, produce their effect, instead of through chemical action, as is usually supposed. The absence of any such "chemical action” when these things are put into a “dead” body (body with mind removed) shows this conclusively. The usual sequential effects cannot come to the body directly, but must come through the pathway of mind. The hidden or great / recognizes the quality or potency which general belief, and past subjective assent and consent to such belief, has linked to the so-called chemical agents or remedies, and it therefore responds.
This deeper or trans-conscious mind can only be gradually changed, and that by means of a stream of changed conscious thinking, which must be poured in for a considerable time. It may be compared to a cistern into which a small stream of turbid water has been flowing for a long period, until the process has rendered the whole contents turbid. Now begin to turn in a stream of pure sparkling water, and gradually the character of the whole aggregation will be changed. Just so by a controlled thinking power we can now begin to rectify the reservoir of mind by turning in a stream of pure wholesome thought, until the quality of the whole is purified. When this has been thoroughly accomplished the deeper ego will not accept or fear disease and contagion, but will go among them unscathed. Realizing the importance of a rectification, we should each lose no time in turning such a sparkling rill of positive thought into the submerged mentality, as will make it grow clearer and stronger, so that when disorder or inharmony knocks at its door, it will respond: Depart; I never knew you! The recognition of man's two differing minds, and a reasonable discrimination between their provinces and operations, explains a great mass of phenomena otherwise unintelligible.
The idealism of today is entirely different from that of the past. It was formerly speculative, capricious, and unreliable, because of the general non-recognition of law. This was largely the case even so recently as the days of Bishop Berkeley, and, to quite a degree, even in the times of our own Emerson. But under the reign of the ascertained Order it becomes exact and scientific. Utility is the watchword of the present age. What is idealism good for? Does it lift up humanity and restore weak minds and disordered bodies?
We find that the great force called thought has scientific relations, correlations, and transmutations; that its vibrations project themselves in waves through the ether, regardless of distance and other sensuous limitations; that they strike unisons in other minds and make them vibrant; that they relate themselves to like and are repelled by the unlike; that their silent though forceful impact makes a distinct impression ; in fact, that they are substantial entities, in comparison with which gold, silver, and iron are as evanescent as the morning dew.
When we learn the laws which govern any force, we tame and harness it for service. Electricity has been waiting to serve us since the days of the pre-Adamites, but until now it has waited in vain, because of the entire lack of the scientific application of law. Every conceivable force and phenomenon, when traced back, has for its original basis, Mind in operation; and this activity is regular, orderly, and to be relied upon.
Turning more directly to thought-power as both the producer and healer of disease, the recognition of its laws of operation have a striking correspondence, in their newly discovered utility, to those of electricity. While prevailing conventionalism welcomes the service of the cruder force, it looks with suspicion upon the higher, being but dimly aware of its great possibilities.
Thought always seeks embodiment. The thought of the engineer materializes in the completed engine, and that of the architect in the finished building. Both of these thought-forms will outlast their external expression, because they are built of more durable material.
Medical annals are crowded with examples of the disastrous effects upon the human organism of fear, anger, envy, jealousy, worry, hate, and other abnormal passions and emotions. No fact is better understood than that these qualities of thought pull down, disintegrate and paralyze the physical forces and nerve centers. Even false philosophies, mediaeval theologies, false conceptions of God, and especially the belief of the general doctrine of endless vindictive punishment, make their unwholesome influence felt in every bodily tissue. Pride, ambition, selfishness, and pessimism tend to the disturbance of many delicate physical processes, which finally result in chronic and even acute disorders. Anger suspends digestion, acidulates the blood, and dries up the secretions.
It is said that Swedenborg, when under inspirational conditions, could see that the deviating quality of thought changed the action of the lungs, the heart, the stomach, the liver, and kidneys with kaleidoscopic quickness and in exact correspondence. Man often has fear stamped upon him before his entrance into the outer world; he is reared in fear; all his life is passed in bondage to fear of sickness and death, and thus his whole mentality becomes cramped, limited, and depressed, and his body follows its shrunken pattern and specification.
What could be expected after generations of chronic sinful, fearful, antagonistic, selfish thought, clouded still more deeply by mental pictures of an angry God and endless hell, authoritatively proclaimed as solemn and terrible realities? Think of the millions of sensitive and responsive souls among our ancestors who have been under the dominion of such a perpetual nightmare! Is it not surprising that health exists at all? Nothing but the boundless divine love, exuberance, and vitality, constantly poured in, even though unconsciously to us, could in some degree neutralize such an ocean of morbidity.
Notwithstanding the well-understood power of abnormal thought in disintegrating the human organism, the corresponding opposite seems to have been ignored by the regular schools. It is logical and natural to look for opposite results from opposite causes. It further seems to have been assumed that humanity has no control over its thinking; that the thought-motor drifts like a helpless craft on every current and eddy, and that it must necessarily take aboard all the rubbish that floats in the vicinity. It is only ignorance and weak self-limitation in man that gives the reins to thought, and allows it to carry him as a captive into all the morbid negations and inversions that open to his distorted gaze. Perverted thought so abuses its sacred office that it goes out of its way to seek out the bitter, the misshapen, and the abominable. It almost revels in the unnatural and chaotic. It builds its subjective structures from its ruling consciousness, and subjectivity and objectivity act and react each upon the other. It often feeds upon "realistic" and debasing fiction, under the delusion that it is “artistic." It entertains sensuous mental pictures, though worldly policy and outward respectability may restrain their external expression. The bitter fruit of such thinking does not come immediately, but,
"Though the mills of God grind slowly,
Yet they grind exceeding small."
The seed sown brings forth its own kind. The "day of judgment" comes on apace. Not a great general assize, where sentence is arbitrary and from without, but a self-imposed hellish condition within, which beneficently punishes to prevent man from going on to the length of self-destruction. Perverted thought makes a saving and indispensable education and evolution severe in attainment and dear in price.
Good seed no less certainly will produce a crop of its own quality. If bad thought will pull down, good thought will harmonize and build up; in fact, the good is infinitely more powerful, for it has the divine basis of reality. Perverted thought, though subjectively real, is only a distortion and a delusion. It may temporarily fill the mental horizon, but it has no abiding basis. All the real forces in the universe are working for good. The sequential pain-penalty of perverted thought, though intense, is kindly, because it is not vindictive, and possesses only a corrective significance.
We should think just as though our thoughts were visible to all about us. Real character is not outward conduct, but quality of thinking. The teaching of the Great Exemplar on this point was positive, but the world has ignored its scientific exactness. If bad thinking be so disastrous to the mental and physical organism, it is a question of supreme importance how it may be improved and reformed.
Thought is not now under perfect control because of past bad thinking habits. While to some extent thought-pictures unbidden, and even unwelcome, may thrust themselves before the mind's eye, we need not sit still and passively gaze upon them. If we have been drifting, we must grasp the helm, man the oars, and drift no longer. If positive and wholesome occupants take up their abode in the mental chambers, those of unwholesome quality will vacate. Every cherished ideal adds a tinge of its own hue and quality. There is no more of the element of chance in the outcome than in the solution of a mathematical problem.
High, healthful, pure thinking can be encouraged, promoted, and strengthened. Its current can be turned upon grand ideals until it forms a habit and wears a channel. By means of such discipline the mental horizon can be flooded with the sunshine of beauty, wholeness, and harmony. To inaugurate pure and lofty thinking may at first seem difficult, even almost mechanical, but perseverance will at length render it easy, then pleasant, and finally delightful.
The soul's real world is that which it has built of its thoughts, mental states, and imaginations. Our divine heritage of creative energy gives us the power to invoke and uprear a mental structure either symmetrical or deformed. If we will, we can turn our backs upon the lower and sensuous plane, and lift ourselves into the realm of the spiritual and Real, and there "gain a residence." The assumption of states of expectancy and receptivity will attract spiritual sunshine, and it will flow in as naturally as air inclines to a vacuum.
We must refuse mental standing-room to discord, and by right thinking call into existence a wholesome and inspiring environment. Think no evil, and have eyes only for the good. Optimism is of God, and it stimulates and attracts its possessor along the upward road towards the ideal and the perfect. Pessimism creates and multiplies unwholesome conditions, and galvanizes them into apparent life.
Not only thought-exercises, usually classed as sinful, are to be displaced, but concepts of disorder, deformity, and mortality should also be barred out. The mental photography of crime, evil, and disease presented in bold head-lines by the sensational press should receive a discriminating and righteous condemnation.
Disease primarily is only a mental specter, but it constantly inclines to bring forth an outward and visible progeny. A conscious fear of any particular disorder is not necessary to its production, but the general acceptance of disease as an entity, together with unconscious fear, — hereditary, or taken on from environment, — puts us on its general plane, and then it may embody any one of its many forms. It is not a creation of God, but a product of false and inverted human thought. It has only that power with which traditional theories, beliefs, and fears have crowned it. It is an inheritance built up of falsities and delusions; a cumulative structure of morbid impressions seen in the illusive atmosphere of ignorance and sensuousness. It owes its existence entirely to abnormal usurpation. Man must free himself from “the law of sin and death," by grasping his higher and spiritual selfhood; and this is no impossible or chimerical attainment.
While during this generation none may fully attain the pure ideal, on account of the great ocean of surrounding materialism in which all are immersed, yet even now enough is practical to prove the mathematical exactness of the principle, and that health and wholeness are teachable and have an absolute educational and scientific basis. Past thought has limited us in all directions. We have tethered ourselves to self-imposed posts by imaginary cords.
But the general thought-atmosphere is growing purer, and the increasing number of those who live in the higher consciousness will render ideal attainment less difficult in the future. It is morally certain that during the twentieth century the dark clouds of sin, disease, and death will be dispelled to an amazing degree.
It is better to study health than abnormity, because all thought-pictures press for outward expression. To advertise and emphasize disease by dividing, subdividing, and multiplying its phenomena, and by giving it formidable and scientific (?) names, is the mistake of the ages. No sculptor or architect would ever make any progress towards perfection were he to spend his whole time in a study of imperfect and deformed models. The quality of thought sent out by pathology only adds to the burdens which already press heavy upon humanity. It is a well-known fact that medical students are often subject to attacks of the special diseases which they are studying. A formal diagnosis often stamps its unwholesome verdict upon the patient. He sees the specification, accepts it, embodies it, and thus fully fills its outline. One feels a little palpitation of the heart. A formal and solemn diagnosis suggests probable heart-disease, and at every turn he is cautioned — to beware! A current of fear and abnormal thought is turned upon the aortal organ, and the very prognostication further deranges its action. Such a heartless procedure, though "regular," deserves thorough condemnation. Even when friends are informed and the patient kept in ignorance, the mischief is not much lessened, because the very thought atmosphere is diseased. To announce to a sensitive patient that a fever is likely, at once raises the pulse, and there it is — by appointment. Even to name the disease to an invalid, especially if it be designated by a high-sounding scientific (?) or Latin term, gives it not only character, but standing.
The individual ideal, as also that of the true healer, is to wash the mind clean of all specters of abnormity, and fill it with pictures of health, beauty, symmetry, strength, purity, and earnest aspiration towards perfection. Like all truth, they will press towards outward symmetrical embodiment.
The most thorough and impartial investigation proves that thought is the veritable organizer of all physical conditions. To add to the vitality of our material tabernacle, we must radiate true thought from its inner potential fountain, until it thrills the whole organism. Thus the spiritual Innermost of man, the Christ which is "The Word," is made flesh, or comes into externals. Thus the Word is “spoken," for from thought within it becomes articulate without. But it must be unmixed with doubt, fear, and faithlessness; therefore, "speak the word only, and thy servant shall be healed."
The whole product of God's creative thought was pronounced good. In the measure that man proceeds on the divine plan he not only will "think no evil," but will specify and uprear the good, the true, and the beautiful.
The nature of man is complex. In the ascending evolutionary scale his physical organism stands upon the fifth great plane, having been preceded by the elementary, chemical, vegetal, and animal subdivisions. He is now evolving a spiritual faculty, which is regarded as a sixth plane or state of consciousness, and has within him the germ of a seventh, as a final supreme attainment. The sixth order or sense is also denominated the intuition; and the seventh, the divine, or Christ-plane, where man meets God and becomes at one with him.
Some of the esoteric systems of the Orient find seven elements in Man, in the following ascending order: first, the physical organism; second, the vitality; third, the astral body; fourth, the animal soul; fifth, the intelligent or human soul; sixth, the spiritual soul; seventh, the divine soul, or God-consciousness. Other systems count but five grades or planes in the human economy, making the distinctions a little broader than those just enumerated.
But in this work, as no study of occultism or theosophy is proposed, every practical purpose will be subserved by a consideration of the three great planes of human consciousness, with which all are familiar. They may be defined as the sensuous nature, or physical consciousness; the intellectual talent, or reasoning consciousness; and the intuitive faculty, or spiritual consciousness. This trinity forms the individual unity, the soul of man, or, more correctly, man.
Consciousness may be described as the relation of the ego to its immediate thought-environment. The occupant of a three-story house may use either floor as his permanent abiding-place, or may move about, dividing his time between them. The human ego has the freedom and range of its threefold kingdom, circumscribed and limited only by the growth of habit and inclination. The lower or sensuous realm is not evil, but intrinsically good in its own order and place. For all normal and wholesome purposes the ego does, and should, visit and occupy the lower story of its nature, for such occupation is lawful and orderly. But the infinite wisdom and beneficence of the Creator, in the economy of man, as elsewhere, provides for a regular and beautiful method of progress, and this must be observed in order to a harmonious and perfect fruition. It is provided, that in the various departments of human consciousness, the ego must make constant progress in its residential preferences, from the lower towards the higher, otherwise arrested development, inharmony, disease, and finally inversion, take place. If the occupant become enamored with the sensuous attractions and delights of the lower apartments, or even linger too long midway, losing through inertia or habit the earnest desire to go higher and "gain a residence," a course of degeneration sets in.
The ruling daily and hourly consciousness is all the time building up the soul-structure with material of its own quality. The great majority of the human family are strangers in the supreme zone of their natures, and remain persistently below, until forced upwards by the discomfort and decay which they invite by arresting development. Many who rarely mount above, are almost unaware of the existence of their upper, sunny apartments, or at least have no appreciation of their beauty and healthfulness.
The great distinguishing feature of the sensuous consciousness is that it practically views the material body as the self. This radical mistake is the great ground-current which galvanizes into life and activity all human miseries, abnormities, and diseases, mental and physical. If the ego roams in the murky atmosphere of this low plane, which is impenetrable to the sunlight from above, a host of negative phantoms shadows, and specters take on veritable reality and overwhelming power. In the measure that consciousness lives, moves, and has its abiding-place among the hollow forms of sense, it relates itself to, and depends upon, the external system which we call Nature, and therefore falls into subjection to outward environment. This constitutes the “natural" or Adamic man, or, as denominated by Paul, the carnal man. In his constitution are located sin, disorder, and all inharmony. When the ego is aroused and lifted to the realm of the spiritual life, into the presence of the divine image within, there comes the possession of a legitimate supremacy over sense-relations and material thralldom.
The overcoming of disease is not the chief and primary object in the aspiration to spiritual consciousness, but only incidental to such a new order of relationship. The divine spirit is an educator; "He will guide you into all truth." As man listens to the voice within, the outer chorus of discordant noises is hushed, and there come peace and harmony. This is the Christ-principle, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Man's way to find God, and all God-like wholeness, is through the Christ in himself. The church early lost the apostolic life and healing power, because of the substitution of ecclesiastical and external authority for the inward oracle and divine illumination. She exchanged transcendent power, vitality, and all their outward expressive attestations, for external ceremonialism, pomp, and ritual, and was thus shorn of her primal strength. She still clings tenaciously to the local and historic inspiration and experience, therefore her life is in the past. If life were ever inspired it should be inspired now, for the Christ spirit and quality are as truly living as when incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth.
The illuminated spiritual consciousness does not disparage any legitimate intellectual pursuit, or undervalue scientific, artistic, or industrial professions and occupations, but rather ennobles, gilds, and refines them. All that is true in nature, science, religion, and inspiration, is in perfect accord, for all the different sides of Truth supplement and indorse each other. They are parts of God's one great revelation of Himself and His methods, but each appears in the color and garb of its own plane of expression.
Religion may be defined as a life characterized by spiritual consciousness and right thinking. Holiness (originally wholeness) is the natural result and attestation of the spiritual life. Religion of this vital quality restores, because it bestows abundant life. Religion considered as belief, dogma, ritual, or as outward conduct, has no such power and vitality. The Master said, “No man cometh unto the Father but by me;" that is, through the Christ principle or quality within. Every human child of God possesses the divine germ, and with its unfoldment there come all potency and possibility.
How can we make a practical application of these grand forces, of the possession of which we are so often unconscious? In what "matter-of-fact," everyday procedure can one unfold the divine within him and realize its fruition? How can a weary traveler on the highway of life, who is carrying a burden of mental or physical inharmony, anxiety, and discouragement, leave them behind and gain veritable harmony and illumination?
Thought discipline and control is the key which unlocks spiritual storehouses of strength and attainment; and earnest desire and aspiration — which is "prayer without ceasing" — is the motor which furnishes power and intensity. Whenever the thought is not occupied with one's daily duty or profession, it should be sent aloft into the spiritual atmosphere. There are quiet leisure moments by day, and wakeful hours at night, when this wholesome and delightful exercise may be engaged in to great advantage. If one who has never made any systematic effort to lift and control the thought-forces will, for a single month, earnestly pursue the course here suggested, he will be surprised and delighted at the result, and nothing will induce him to go back to careless, aimless, and superficial thinking. At such favorable seasons the outside \ world, with all its current of daily events, is barred out, and one goes into the silent sanctuary of the inner temple of soul to commune and aspire. The spiritual hearing becomes delicately sensitive, so that the “still, small voice” is audible, the tumultuous waves of external sense are hushed, and there is a great calm. The ego gradually becomes conscious that it is face to face with the Divine Presence; that mighty, healing, loving, Fatherly life which is nearer to us than we are to ourselves.
This is “the secret place of the Most High," and here we receive tokens from the One “in whom we live, and move, and have our being." There is no verbal petition for material favors, for, "all things are yours;" but there is loving communion, harmony, and gratitude, and they are mingled with a divine overflowing. There is soul-contact with the Parent-Soul, and an influx of life, love, virtue, health, and happiness from the Inexhaustible Fountain. There is growing at-one-ment, and something of the divine beauty and perfection is photographed upon the human soul. The divine in man sees and feels its affinity and likeness to its Great Source, and there is intimacy and companionship. Eternal and transcendent Truth flashes its pure and gentle light into the chambers of the soul, and there is no mistaking its divine features and vestments. The living Christ within, who perhaps has been hidden by external forms and dogmas, is revealed; and the ego exclaims, in the language of Thomas, " My' Lord and my God!" This is the true "Mount of Transfiguration," and on its summit Law, Prophecy, and the Logos meet in loving communion.
The light and inspiration from the “Mount" in the soul-centre flash their vitality outward, and every nerve and tissue in the physical expression feels the divine thrill. Their harmonious vibrations directly dissipate mental and physical morbidity and disease. The process is not miraculous, but orderly, scientific, and in full accord with the laws of man's constitution. These experiences are possible to every soul, and their fullness may be realized in proportion to the measure of earnestness and aspiration.
Truth is not a code of moral legislation, intellectual formula, or medical lore imposed by outside authority, but a disclosing of God's features and methods within the human consciousness. We miss the divine overflowing because we have lost our spiritual plasticity through the sharp mechanical lines of external formalism. As the physical organism is only soul made manifest, the highest good of the inner is the salvation of the outer. The soul-man being the natural head must insist upon regulating the affairs of his own household. The usurpation of the flesh-man (who is only a claimant, and no man at all) lies at the foundation of all human infelicity. It is the "Fall," which is an ever-recurring mistake, rather than a matter of local history; a soul-education, purchased more or less dearly, according to the measure of understanding. Said Browning: —
"I count life just a stuff
To try the soul's strength on."
The serpent of the lower self desires a knowledge of good and evil. As everything objective is intrinsically good, evil can only be known subjectively and experimentally. All is good, and the seeming otherwise is the result of distorted and inverted vision, which produces a morbid consciousness, and this externally manifests itself in deformity and disorder. The whole cosmos, without deviation, is friendly to man, — as a soul, — all apparent unfriendliness being located in the perverted vision of the flesh-man. When this “pretender" is willing to occupy his normal and secondary place, the whole order of nature is also friendly to him. The material man is not man, but only man's instrument and expression. The supreme human necessity is a ruling consciousness of the true self as spirit, here and now. Man is everywhere laboring under the delusion that he is now a fleshly being; but, though using a corporeal instrument, he is as truly spirit as he ever will be."
"We are spirits clad in veils;
Man by man was never seen;
All our deep communing fails
To remove the shadowy screen."
Man's wrong consciousness and false thinking are expressed in disorderly externals, and he therefore believes that he is ill. He is divine and cannot be ill. His disease is a beneficent chastisement which kindly comes to drive away his only enemy, — his own false consciousness, — so that he will “come to himself." It is the hunger, thirst, and cold that will finally cause him to turn back to the Father's house for sustenance and shelter. It is wise to return before wandering into the “far country” and taking the severe lessons of husk-food and famine, which are necessary when consciousness clings to its dark and damp basement.
The recognition of all life and energy as God in manifestation, is an uplifting and healing state of consciousness. To behold Him immanent in all nature, and incarnate in all humanity, transmutes and purifies everything that is common and unclean. It makes perfect ideals operative and present. With such a conscious environment all our lines of relationship bring only messages of the good. We cease to recognize abnormity, until it finally vanishes from our consciousness and becomes non-existent to us. Discords become only preludes to harmony, and God appears as infinite and perfect Love, beneficent Law and Intelligence. This brings heaven (harmony) into the present life as a possible condition.
The noblest and most helpful thought that we can possibly bestow upon those about us, is the realization that they are divine incarnations. They are “quickening spirits," innermostly children of God. To see and firmly hold them in such a light is the strongest and purest "mental treatment" that can be given for their restoration to wholeness and harmony.
A Careful study of all the factors involved leads to the conclusion that health is teachable. Mental healing is not a result of the influence of one personality impressed upon another, but comes through the agency of Truth, made operative by correct thinking and ideal delineation. No healer, however eminent, has any inherent power to restore the health-consciousness, but he can point out the road, and, arm in arm, lovingly conduct his willing brother along its gradual ascent. We may also reverently infer that the divine power, even when it was fully manifested by the Christ, never healed otherwise than through compliance with the orderly laws of man's constitution. The "kingdom of God" comes not by observation, never breaking through or disregarding eternally ordained methods, but quietly, silently, and along the smooth lines that are immutably true and always in readiness.
Man's greatest need is a knowledge of himself, but he lives so generally in the objective, that, while studying almost everything else, he casts only an occasional glance within. Education popularly signifies pouring in, rather than educing, or drawing out. To the great majority, the grand and boundless kingdom of subjectivity, with its delicate laws, harmonies, and adjustments, is a terra incognita. Science, with the aid of modern appliances, holds the fixed stars in its grasp, divines the laws and order of their constituents, movements, relations, and destiny, but gives little attention to the more wonderful universe — the human Mind — at its own end of this grand line of relationship. From the heavenly bodies down through the vast range of materiality, to bacteria, molecules, and atoms, all alike receive thought, research, and investigation, while science, which professes to be all-inclusive, almost entirely passes by man, — the soul, — notwithstanding he is a mirror and an epitome of the whole cosmic economy. Said one of the world's greatest philosophers: "Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult lesson in the world," and another: "The proper study of mankind is man."
Man's physical organism, like that of all other animate creatures, is built by its invisible resident, and not for him. Life expresses itself through matter, but this process is never reversed. Matter, being utterly inert and passive, is seized upon by life or mind forces for the purpose of outward manifestation. In the great evolutionary scale, every grade and quality of life organizes itself in just such an embodiment as exactly corresponds to its nature. The tiger-life builds the tiger-form, and so with all other kinds of life, man being no exception. Life — organized mind — is ever carving its own statuesque correspondences, true to the unseen model. Mind, in its modeling, follows not only species, but also quality to the utmost detail. Beauty, ugliness, symmetry, and distortion are alike placed upon pedestals by their immutable sculptors. But practically, though to some extent unconsciously, mind has been degraded by pseudo-science to a property or function of matter. Theology, therapeutics, sociology, and ethics have also been greatly obscured by the thick dust of materialism. But at last science is coming to a late and forced conclusion that the so-called properties of matter are only sensuous limitations. They are simply provisional and educational, for matter plays an important part as a foil in soul-development. Man, as a soul, should affirm his rule and dominion over his body as distinctly as over any other machine he uses. He should gain a positive sense that his physique is not himself, but rather his most obedient servant. As a spiritual ego he should also disconnect himself, in consciousness, from his lower or sensuous mind, while intuitively asserting his supremacy over it, and also over intellect and memory.
As he rises above all inferiors, they lose their tyrannous dispositions and drop into beautiful ministry and subordination.
New recuperative energy can come into the human organism only through mind, but if this statement were limited to conscious mind, it would be wide of the mark. Only a small fraction of mind is upon the surface of consciousness. The human mentality may be likened to a great reservoir, into which present consciousness is always sending a trickling stream of its own hue and quality. Truth, filtering in, if long continued, at length transforms the whole to its own complexion. It is a crystal stream of right thinking. Treatments from another, through thought-vibrations received, bring the truth into the deeps of mind more directly than it comes by filtration from consciousness. The healer, through cultivation and discipline, develops such a power of concentration that his thought-waves have great clearness and intensity. It is not a hypnotic projection of will-power, but transcendent clear-sightedness. It draws a beautiful true picture, suggests an ideal, which the patient cordially accepts and adopts. Man has always possessed divine recuperative forces, but they were latent and below the surface of consciousness. He is like a discordant musical instrument containing splendid possibilities, which are only waiting to respond in unison to active harmony. His perverted and materialistic vision must be clarified, so that he can see things in their true perspective. The healer gently takes him by the hand and guides him up into his soul's “Mount of Transfiguration," where he beholds his real ego in garments of light, pure and glistering. He is thrilled with the glow of the divine image within, and it directly tends to shine forth into outward expression. The phosphorescent vibrations of love and good-will, flash through the murky atmosphere of morbidity and arouse the latent capability.
Healing ministry is not merely religious attestation; it is also scientific, because service is a fundamental law. Human inequality and variety are necessary, otherwise there would be no opportunity for the exercise of the law of ministry. Unequal conditions furnish a vantage-ground for a divine and human outpouring, and this will continue until all fragmentary and separated interests are unified. When the current of spiritual altruism overflows the boundaries of self, its crystalline tide submerges the muddy pools on every side. The patient looks within over his mental field, and discovers that the germs of wholeness that have been silently planted have germinated, and that, with his own co-operation, a crop is assured. Or his soul may be compared to a sensitive canvas, upon which the healer has drawn beautiful outlines for him to fill in with harmonious coloring.
To beautify the reflection in a mirror, we do not manipulate the glass, but change the object reflected; and so, in order to reflect a superior body, the mental pattern must be perfected. It is as natural for pessimism and evil thinking to outwardly materialize their ugly features, as for the printed photograph to be faithful to the negative. Mental pictures and thoughts of disorder, whether from perverted thinking, reading, or conversation, all stimulate objective correspondence. Disease, studied for scientific or even therapeutic purposes, has the same propagative tendency.
When man feels himself to be a finited expression of divinity, — a spiritual entity, pure and simple, — he begins to publish his ideals in the external. They permeate him to the physical extremities. If he looks upon himself as “a poor worm of the dust," and a "depraved" worm at that, he will increasingly fill out the measure of his own thought. The doctrine of "natural depravity" gives men a decided impetus in that direction. On the contrary, if they can be induced to look at and magnify the divine within them, they are not only on the road to salvation, but are saved.
All outward phenomena are like stereoscopic views: they can be changed by shifting the slides, but not by a manipulation of the canvas.
The practical universe to each one is that which is built of thoughts, mental states, and delineations. No evil or disease will disfigure its pure and beautiful proportions unless it be self-imposed. There is nothing in the objective world that has any power to harm us, because it is powerless to enter unless we open the door. It behooves us to exercise our God-given creative energy to uprear and invoke pure ideals, and to arrange them after the divine plan. It is not merely a sentiment of poetic license, but a statement of scientific exactitude, that when we dwell in and link ourselves to the Infinite strength, we have no relations with weakness, evil, and disorder.
Our weak and negative states leave us open to "take on" outside prevailing conditions. If any particular order of disease or infirmity is prevalent, we open the gate, — or rather it is already open, — and it walks in, and we coddle and entertain it. We are shaken with the wind and float with the current, because we present the negative rather than the positive pole of our nature. If several persons are equally exposed to a contagion, some take it and others do not, and this proves conclusively that it has no positive power, but that the result is purely a question of receptive condition. All the power there is in disease has been gratuitously presented to it through ignorant self-limitation.
The weak negative condition of the individual and the race cannot be entirely overcome at once, but it is high time for a general movement to conquer. Soul must rise superior to environment, dominate body, and free itself from degrading and long-continued servitude. The law of the Infinite never fails, and by compliance with its provisions we enlist its unlimited might in our behalf. The shifting systems reared by intellectual scholasticism are forever being shaken, and are unworthy of dependence.
It may plausibly be urged that we are entirely subservient to what is known as hygienic law. True, in our present state of development it would be unwise to defy its reasonable and plain provisions; but yet, as we learn to depend upon higher law, we can gradually lessen our abject servitude to the lower. In all orders and grades of activity, the higher rules the lower, the inner the outer, and the immaterial the material. It is true that a law is never repealed nor suspended, on its own plane, but it can be overcome from above. When one lifts a weight, the higher law of the human will does not repeal or suspend gravitation, but overcomes it. An extreme carefulness regarding draughts, diet, exercise, and exposure, tightens the bonds of servitude to the details of hygienic regulation. One who confers such a supremacy upon particulars can never become "a law unto himself," which is the condition of true freedom. He who fears that he will take cold, is always taking cold. Said Job, "The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me." Material law is supreme upon its own plane, but as the clay is molded by the potter, so the body should be ruled and shaped by its owner. The truth makes men free in the measure that they gradually rise to the larger liberty and potency of the higher law.
Every mental and spiritual quality radiates and propagates itself, and brings its outward correspondences into action. Thought-waves are like musical vibrations. If certain strings of a piano are struck, the corresponding notes of other pianos nearby are stirred into action. Deep calls unto deep, and like unto like.
Anyone who talks much of illness radiates a diseased consciousness. There are people so artificial, that they almost seem to "enjoy poor health." For a social greeting, a simple benediction would be far preferable to the stereotyped " How are you?" or " How is your health?" Health is always good, even when there is an evident lack of its proper expression. That threadbare, conventional topic of conversation, the ailments of self and neighbors, is a promoter of the conditions specified.
One who regards soundness as normal and to be expected, sheds it broadcast, and his very presence will strengthen and uplift. The spiritually developed mind carries with it a veritable halo, the very touch of which soothes and restores, while materialistic thought ever gravitates towards the earth and mortality.
In past time the most eminent sages and philosophers have recognized the real self as divine and innermostly holy (whole). Socrates called it the divine self. It is the true oracle, whose voice is deeper and wiser than any utterances and opinions of the intellect. We must affirm it as the only true ego, — the divine image, — until the fact becomes firmly lodged in the consciousness.
The Bible has been regarded simply as a moral code, but a deeper insight shows that it is also full of scientific exactitude. Science is a knowledge of applied law. The “Sermon on the Mount" is thoroughly scientific in the most exact sense of that term. The so-called science of the past did not recognize these facts, because its investigations were limited by the boundary of lower law, or the kingdom of materiality. Isaiah showed a profound knowledge of higher law when he declared, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." To " wait upon the Lord " is to conform to divine methods and ideals.
Wholeness is the manifesting of the true self, the showing forth of divine principle. Spiritual law is thoroughly utilitarian. As we perceive it and pursue the course it has marked out, it lends us its infinite potency. The ascending path to clearer perceptions of Truth is through the faithful exercise of those we already have. The Truth is far better than we can imagine, therefore we cannot plume our ideals for too lofty a flight. We must “think no evil," dwell only in the good, and build nothing else into the walls of our soul-temple. It is often said of some particular thing that, "it is too good to be true," but in reality the good is beyond adequate expression. As the superb strength, majesty, and perfection of the oak lie enwrapped in the acorn, so in our divine innermost is contained all potency, all harmony, all good. We let our light shine by radiating its glory, and in so doing incidentally make the otherwise opaque body transparent to its beams. The divine that is in you is you. The deific incarnation in Jesus is not lowered or disparaged, but all humanity, in varying degrees of unfoldment, is lifted towards it.
In addressing our friend we should hold his true self in our consciousness, for by appealing to that we help it into manifestation. "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." The Adamic condition is error and carnality, which lead to death; and this death is not physical dissolution, but the extinguishment of the sense of the good. In Christ all are "made alive;" that is, the Christly consciousness is life, health, and peace, and this causes all its seeming opposites to vanish. Such terms as the devil, hell, a roaring lion, an angry God, the consuming fire, and many other objective terms, represent states of consciousness. These are produced by an idolatrous mistaking of the unreal for the Real. "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve," or build into the mind-structure. Lip-service is naught, for all real homage is "in spirit and in truth."
The belief in physical causation has been the great racial mistake, and nowhere has it been more pronounced than in the highly intellectual and so-called scientific world. Keen searchers after causation are peering into matter to discover it, but no scalpel will ever reach it, nor microscope bring it to light. "Lymphs" and "elixirs of life" will never add an iota to the fullness of the perfect — though unrecognized, and therefore unrealized — divine vitality. Even the unit of matter itself — the supposed atom — has never yet been touched nor beheld. Its very existence, therefore, is only an intellectual abstraction. The soul or life of a thing is the real thing, and this is as true of a tree as of man. The matter — whatever that may be — in either case is grasped by the life and mind-forces for temporary expression only.
A study of health, as of any other perfect and normal entity, tends towards its actualization; but research in morbidity, of whatever variety, is unwholesome. Every discovery of a new malign bacterium, or disease-germ, adds one more weight to the burden of apprehension that is oppressing humanity.
A positively developed spiritual nature is invulnerable to any “evil" thing known in the whole universe of God. No claim of animal magnetism, hypnotic suggestion, witchcraft, ill-luck, external circumstance, malign astrological influence, nor even adverse heredity, can shake a soul-structure of Truth.
The believer in inherent human depravity is all the time forging new links in the chain which binds him to disorder and limitation. He labors under the delusion that sin (error that comes through ignorance) has entailed upon him the “anger of God," and that vindictive penalty is due him. Penalty there surely is, but however severe, it is kindly and corrective. It is the "flaming sword" that prevents men from going on to the length of self-destruction. Evil is the aspect presented by any definite stage of development or evolution, as seen from a plane more advanced. In such a light its deviation from law is obvious, but law will finally bring it into line.
We read that "the prayer of faith shall save the sick;" but since the days of the primitive church — judging from its fruits — that kind of prayer has not been general. The prayer of doubt and uncertainty, or the petition that salvation may come, does not avail. The kind of prayer that is needed is the realization that salvation is already complete, and that its full expression devolves entirely upon ourselves. The usual petition that we may be submissive to disorder, pain, and trial, has not made, and never will make them normal or lovable. The formulas of theology practically deny the power and inclination of God to work among men as he formerly did, and yet they declare him unchangeable, — the same yesterday, today, and forever. If those who profess Godliness manifested its fruits and outwardly showed its attestations, the world could not help believing and accepting.
Constant solicitude regarding the physical welfare of our near friends, and the fear that something adverse may befall them, starts currents that actually tend towards that which is feared. The attitude of perfect trust in the growing and ripening good of all things, is only reached as the spiritual standpoint is gained. The pure optimistic ideals which the higher evolution shows to be true and scientific, are a great saving element to humanity.
It is important for everyone who is trying personally to apply these principles, to understand that all progress is vibratory and uneven. The higher standpoint is only reached through a long series of “ups and downs." To the quickened insight a possible retrograde in consciousness may seem to reach almost back to the starting-point, but in reality the outlook is broader, and the standards and aspirations have already been advanced. All our mistakes, if rightly considered, are thoroughly educational; for only through them can we learn our lessons well. The lower and false selfhood will fight with desperation, and before finally yielding will renew the conflict again and again; but Truth is invincible, and error must at length give way. The purifying fire seems to burn us, but in reality it destroys only "the wood, hay, and stubble" which claim our selfhood. With all its threatenings it only cleanses, polishes, and brings out in high relief, the beauty of the divine humanity. All so-called evils and disorders are existent as conditions, but have no reality as entities. Conditions and educational experiences serve their purpose and come to an end, but all true verities are eternal, because they are divine. — J Love is the great healing power of the universe. 'We are miserable because we are full of conscious and unconscious antagonisms, and believe that “things are against us." On the contrary, every real force in existence is friendly. Whenever we send out loving thought in generous profusion, every part of our environment echoes back a sweet benediction. Even seeming enemies, personal and impersonal, are no exception. I Love invigorates. Its electric thrill sends new life through sluggish minds, weak bodies, and paralyzed limbs. At the Beautiful temple gate, Peter and John concentrated such a current of healing love upon the lame man, that he at once walked, leaped, and praised God. That wonderful power has not been withdrawn from the world, for God never takes back; and it only needs the same consecration and positive spiritual clearness in some modern Peter and John for like manifestations now. Love is the great universal Spiritual law of attraction which binds God and all His Creatures into harmonious unity, wipes away all tears, and heals all seeming infelicities.
The formulation of the system of Ideal Suggestion is the outcome of a study of the laws and manifestations of mental activity. Law is universal; its understanding is the acme of scientific attainment, and its utilization the highest prerogative of man. Its clear and harmonious lines are as distinctly traceable, in their onward course, through the moral and spiritual realm, as in that which pertains to matter. Law is ordained, not to enslave us, but that we, by compliance with its methods, may grasp and wield its divine forces, and through them assert our supremacy over the kingdoms of our rightful dominion. Intelligently comprehended, it never binds man, but sets him free. Ignorance is slavery. It tethers us to the imaginary hitching-posts of tradition by conventional cords of the seen and superficial. Science has made remarkable progress in tracing the footsteps of law in the material realm, but has been largely color-blind to their imprint as they run through the great immaterial kingdom beyond. There — in the higher zone of the Real — is where they possess their greatest significance for humanity.
In presenting Ideal Suggestion as a practical healing force, — made so simple that it may be comprehended by a child, — it should be understood that it is not offered as a substitute for the living healer and teacher. Whenever and wherever it is practical, especially where the ailment is of a serious nature, the personal embodiment and exponent of truth should be consulted. The application of the formulated Ideals is proposed as supplementary; an elaboration and extension of well ascertained principles for home and private use. They may, in fact, be employed as supplementary to any therapeutic system. Even to the great majority, who have yet developed no confidence in powers less material than drugs, a pathway may be opened up which eventually will lead to a higher consciousness. Upward progress gradually discloses new vistas and possibilities, which before have been unappreciated; yes, often undreamed of. In the present state of public opinion and development, it is not expected that those who have not already some little growth of confidence in mental forces will depend upon them, except perhaps tentatively, and in proportion as a perception of the truth awakens and develops within them. The formulas possess no charm nor magic, and are therefore powerless except as they appeal to the inner and higher selfhood. But the lessons and suggestions, when used only as auxiliary, may prove highly educational. There is a deeper knowledge than that of the intellect. The intuitive faculty is higher and diviner, and its development is of the greatest practical importance. Many have found themselves lifted to loftier standpoints, from which grander outlooks have flashed upon them, through the use of means seemingly inadequate and simple. "God hath chosen the (apparently) weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."
To those who already have some understanding of the laws of spiritual and mental science in their relation to human wholeness, the logic, and rationality of the “Suggestions " will be easily understood. There is nothing super-natural, ««-natural, or illogical, about them. The system is only a plain scientific application of well-understood means to ends, and is in perfect accord with law, nature, and practical religion.
Materialistic science prides itself upon its accuracy and exhaustive thoroughness, but its conventional scope does not extend beyond the boundaries of mere phenomena. Its researches touch only the shell and surface of the real. In vain it peers into clay or dust to find the springs of ultimate causation. In its traditional dealings with disease, it suppresses manifestations and symptoms, without going beneath them to their primary sources and roots. It would extinguish fire by destroying the smoke. It would wipe out contagion by trying to kill the bacteria (the destruction of which is wise secondarily, and necessary under present conditions) without ascertaining the primal causes which produce and multiply them. It would practically hold bullets and shells responsible for the carnage of a battle, rather than the passion and antagonism which urged on the conflict.
The physical organism of man manifests his own erroneous and false thinking of the past, and also, in some degree, that of the race in general. The quality of causative forces must be changed in order to the modification or improvement of their expression. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"
The purpose of Ideal Suggestion is far broader and higher than the mitigation and healing of physical ailments, however desirable that may be. Such is but an incidental part of its work, and the same is true of mental healing as that term is ordinarily employed. The grand mission of these great principles is the development of the spiritual ego; to roll the stone away from the door of the sepulcher of the lower self; to bring to birth the spiritual consciousness; to free man from the dominion of sin and selfishness, and to enthrone the real divine self, — God's image, — and put him in possession of his divine heritage.
There is a lower plane of "suggestion" which is attracting considerable attention, and which, to some extent, is being utilized for therapeutic purposes. It is known as "hypnotic" suggestion, the term being used to signify a mild hypnotism, or an impressed mental condition not so intense as that which is characterized by trance or deep sleep. It possesses wonderful power, and until its laws are more fully understood it is injudicious for earnest and impartial seekers after truth to give it unqualified condemnation. But however laudable its legitimate employment may be, in any given case, its essential quality is servitude. It is also evident that its possible field for abuse is very great. So long as the world is full of weak, negative, susceptible, and undeveloped personalities, its unscrupulous employment will be quite possible. Without judging it unfairly in advance of more thorough investigation, — which it is receiving both in Europe and America, — its kingdom is undoubtedly within the boundaries of the lower or sensuous mind. Even if it serve some therapeutic ends it can never be an ideal curative agent. In proportion to the measure of development of the spiritual selfhood, one rises above its possible dominion. The real and higher ego can have nothing to fear from it, while to those lacking soul-unfoldment it has possible abuse. Its further possibilities need not be dwelt upon in this connection, but there is one fact connected with its phenomena of great significance which is persistently ignored by traditional medical systems. Its operation proves most conclusively the doctrine of mental causation as distinguished from the physical causation of the schools. It shows that mind is the seat of all potency, sensation, and action, and that the body is only its passive instrument. Under hypnotic influence the bodily senses reverse their testimony and accept the most absurd and false impressions. Pure spring water can be transformed into poison, heat into cold, black into white, the bodily functions suspended, pain made enjoyable, in fact, hardly anything is too extravagant to be capable of realization. With the conventional theory of physical causation so completely refuted, it is impossible to find any possible ground for the supposition that a drug — in itself — by any chemical action upon the body can cure the man.
Hypnotism, and, in a lesser degree, hypnotic suggestion, carries a strong coloring of the imperfect, and sometimes unreliable personality of the operator.
Ideal Suggestion contains no possible element of personality. Its mental engravings are pure, spiritual, impersonal, and from above. They are harmonious living pictures, voluntarily received and adopted by one who understands their purpose and beneficence. It has often been observed that even in the most careful and conscientious mental or spiritual treatments, there is the possibility of an unconscious, though unwished for, personal element. To keep perfectly clear of any subtle mingling of personality requires a thorough consecration and spiritual discernment, not always easy of attainment. Ideal Suggestion presents no possibility of any such unconscious complication.
All spiritual progress and unfoldment which is the result of individual aspiration never has to be done over, because it has been accomplished not for one, but by and in him. It is walking upon one's own feet without external aid. It is drawing directly from the Infinite Fountain of life, love, and good, through the channel of one's own being. It develops self-reliance and spiritual independence, and strengthens those inner ties which bind every human soul to the parent "Oversoul."
Ideal Suggestion is especially recommended for nervous and chronic disorders of every shade and type. Its possibilities are also unlimited for the release of humanity from every kind of slavery to the animal selfhood. If the directions are faithfully and persistently followed, it will break the chains of the inebriate, and the cure will not only be lasting, but the whole life will be reconstructed. Those in bondage to the opium habit, or to other indulgences of a similar nature, including tobacco, can be set free. Some measure of desire for release is pre-supposed. However, this desire is at least latent in every human being, and with only insignificant beginnings it soon grows and develops under culture.
Those in servitude to any kind of fear, or who are carrying burdens of grief, poverty, disappointment, anxiety, or melancholia, will find Ideal Suggestion a free and sovereign remedy. To any who are overcome by, or in danger of yielding to passion, lust, envy, avarice, jealousy, or crime, it furnishes not only an antidote, but a radical cure.
There are no limitations to its power, because it lays hold upon laws and principles which are immutable and divine. The more one advances (and he can advance if he will) into the ideal exercises, as formulated, the farther he will leave behind all the negative and morbid conditions which have been enumerated. This is as true and demonstrable as a mathematical problem.
Some may infer that moral suasion and religious instruction, if given earnestly, would accomplish the same results, but they do not, for the reason that their application is unscientific. As usually employed they are out of accord with the laws of mind. Their objective aims, instead of being regarded as ideally complete, have only been hoped for. They have filled the consciousness with the impression that evil is an entity, almost if not quite as powerful as Good. They have been negative rather than positive, and therefore have lacked efficiency. Conventional sermons, moral essays, authority, petitionary prayer, creeds, and well-meant reproof, which endeavor to do away with evil and discord by opposition, cannot make them unreal, or put them out of human consciousness. The very recognition of them confers realism.
The inebriate is approached as a poor, degraded creature; is lectured, condemned, and has his habits held up before him, thereby emphasizing his false animal selfhood, whereas only his higher nature or perfect ego should be appealed to. This should be done, not only in word, but in concentrated thought and real love, for their psychological influence is all-important. The animal selfhood must be ignored, and the divine in man recognized as the man. This directly brings him into manifestation. He accepts the specification and soon fills the ideal. If the principles here outlined are followed to their logical conclusion, it will be easy to understand, not only why conventional religion has lost its original and rightful healing power, but also why it has been so unsuccessful and unscientific in dealing with the sin, woe, and degradation of humanity. It has meant well, but, relying upon its supernaturalism, it has disregarded orderly law. Instead of dwelling upon the good and the ideal, and letting evil and all its train vanish from human vision, it has mistakenly tried to conquer it by dwelling upon its magnitude and analyzing its heinousness (holding even depravity to be natural and universal), and thus its dark realism has been crowded into human consciousness. Instead of "thinking no evil," it emphasized it. If only mental pictures of the normal and ideal were ever outlined, what would become of evil?
The only way to “overcome" the world, the flesh, and the evil, is to so fill the mental chambers with the perfect, lovable, and symmetrical, that there is no room for them. As perversion has no other residence than the human consciousness, when there displaced, it is non-existent.
But when abnormity is held up and analyzed, even for purposes of warning and condemnation, its pictures are multiplied and its seed scattered. Idealism is scientific and in accord with the laws of mind. Its pathway leads directly away from all that hampers, enslaves, and degrades, and, if followed faithfully, it finally discloses freedom and harmony.
The author of this book has no personal interest in the promulgation of Ideal Suggestion, other than his desire to freely give out such truth as makes him its channel. To suppress the inner voice because its message is not yet popular, would be to adopt a timeserving and timid policy unworthy of deep and honest conviction.
Instructions for the use of the Suggested Ideals below:
First — Retire each day to a quiet apartment, and be alone IN THE SILENCE.
Second — Assume the most restful position possible, in an easy-chair, or otherwise; breathe deeply and rather rapidly for a few moments, and thoroughly relax the physical body, for by suggestive correspondence this renders it easier for the mind to be passive and receptive.
Third — Bar the door of thought against the external world, and also shut out all physical sensation and imperfection.
Fourth. — Rivet the mind upon the “meditation" (left-hand page), and by careful and repeated reading absorb its truth. Then place the “suggestion” (right-hand page), at a suitable distance from the eyes, and fasten them upon it for from ten to twenty minutes. Do not merely look upon it, but wholly GIVE YOURSELF UP TO IT, until it fills and overflows the entire consciousness.
Fifth — Close the eyes for twenty to thirty minutes more; behold it with the mind's eye, and let it permeate the whole organism.
Sixth — Call it into the field of mental vision during every wakeful hour of the night.
Finally — If disordered conditions are chronic and tenacious, there need be no discouragement if progress is not rapid, nor if "ups and downs" occur. Absorb the ideals REPEATEDLY, until no longer needed. The cure is NOT magical, but a NATURAL GROWTH.
Ideals will be actualized in due season.
Supplementary — After the power to focalize the mind upon ideals is developed, which may often be done in a few weeks, the use of the visible texts as mental pictures will become unnecessary. They are aids during the educational unfoldment of the concentrative faculty. In time the suggestions may be made graphic without their employment. At each sitting, it may be well to alternate five-minute periods of intense concentration with like seasons of perfect rest and receptivity and closed eyes. Be an open receptacle, and let the omnipresent love, good, and strength flow in. For sure progress, use some one of the exercises DAILY. Select the one that seems most fitting.
Man through a careless or mistaken consciousness separates himself from God, and this produces infelicity and disease. Thought confers subjective realism either upon ideal entities or upon seeming bad conditions. What we dwell upon we become, or at least grow like. Thought must have an outlet, otherwise it stagnates. God is the great normal Reality for it to rest upon. Consciousness must be open to the divine harmony, else it becomes disorderly and abnormal. It takes on character from that to which it links itself, — God, if it be God; change and discord, if materiality. It is therefore easy to be outwardly and morally correct and yet be Godly. The highest human consciousness is that of God, and this is "Godliness which is great gain." To change from a controlling self-consciousness to a ruling God-consciousness, is to find harmony and health. The vision must be clarified so as to behold God everywhere, within and without, as all Life, all Love, and All in All. Discord cannot long abide the divine companionship. Take the Name, and through the medium of the outer eye engrave it on the tablet of the inner consciousness.
Unselfish love is divine. God is not merely lovely. He is Love. As gravitation inheres in universal matter, so love permeates universal Spirit. It is a vast atmosphere in which we live, even though unconsciously. It inspires life and infuses vigor. It “casts out fear." "Fear hath torment," and kills. Love heals. Thought-messages of love sent in any direction come back in sweet echoes. They are like light reflected and re-reflected* in a series of mirrors. As love comes in, its opposites vanish from the consciousness. It sees only the good. Its lower forms are only kindergartens for the training of its broader spiritual manifestations. Thoughts are things, and love is thought-ministration. As we love everything, everything will love us. Directed towards our trials and pains it transforms them and renders them educational. "Love never faileth." Under its divine inspiration, duty becomes privilege, and weakness, strength. It thrills both mind and body, and is good news to every nerve and muscle.
It glows in the cheek, shines in the eye, promotes the digestion, quickens the assimilation, sharpens the senses, toughens the sinews, and sends the divine electricity through every vein and tissue. It cools the fevered temperature, rouses the vitality, dissipates restlessness, and brings order out of chaos. Divine love cures.
To the deceptive and sensuous consciousness, life seems limited and narrow, but it is really a part of the One, — the Universal Life. The concept of separation closes the divine influx and causes dryness and leanness. Life is a continuous divine communication. The heart-throb of God pulsates through humanity. Life can never die nor diminish. External forms change, but life goes on. Man is a "living soul" Physical sensation is but a lower manifestation of life. "Man shall not live by bread alone." The divine exuberance fills every space not closed against it. Our little stagnant pool must be connected with the surging and purifying tides of the great ocean of abounding vitality. All is at our disposal.
I am now filled with the divine energy. I open my soul to it and let it possess me. It overflows so that I give it out to those around me.
As a child of God I deny limitation and claim my waiting heritage. God is Life, and Life is All.
Life, eternal life, is mine, and it fills my whole being.
Christ is the name given to the divine human ideal. It represents the type that was manifested through the personality of Jesus. The highest inner consciousness is the Christ. He is already within, but remains undiscovered so long as we think of ourselves as flesh. He is found when we recognize the true spiritual ego, which is, humanity filled with divinity. Blood represents the inmost quality and character, — not the death, but the life. The resurrection is the lifting of consciousness from the physical to the spiritual. The "mind of Christ" is the Savior of humanity. It knows neither sin, disorder, nor death. It manifests the perfection and divinity that before have been only latent. As we embody the Christ-mind we become “sons of God." With Him we are crucified in the lower self and “made perfect through suffering." We rise from the tomb of mortality set free from its error and corruption. The "mind that was in Christ" gives us dominion over the dreams and illusions of mortal sense. It breaks our bonds and sets us free. It heals, restores, invigorates, and harmonizes. In its name and by its strength I am healed. I am perfect — every whit whole.
I Am soul; not have a soul, but am soul, here, now, and forever. My body is no part of me, though it outwardly expresses my past quality of thinking. Sin, disease, suffering, fear, grief, and death, are not entities having independent existence. They are shadows, morbid pictures, images, dreams which have only a seeming life. They give us sensations which make them real to the sensuous mind, therefore they picture themselves on the body. Displaced by the Real, they shrink to their native nothingness.
Truth is the Christ-mind in me. "I in them and thou in me." Love is God feeling through me. My soul is God's life finited. The “Kingdom of Heaven" (Harmony) is within me. The real I, or innermost self, cannot be ill, sin, nor suffer. It is perfect and immortal. Only the false, sensuous self is disordered; therefore, the conscious ego must be removed from it. Illusions of evil are "works of the Devil," which are dispelled and destroyed by the Christ-mind. My cure is the natural unfolding into outward expression of the soul's divine life, health, harmony, joy, and peace.
Humanity is one. I am living and loving, not for myself, but for the race. If I rise, I help to lift all about me, and if I fall, I drag others down. Loving thought, sent out, has a positive healing influence both on sender and recipient. We live the life of humanity, — others in us, and we in them. We cannot be saved disconnected from relations. Our highest privilege and office is to be channels through which the divine life shall flow out to invigorate and inspire. The essence of salvation and of true healing is the death of selfishness. If the soul-currents do not course from within outwards, they sink in a deadly vortex. A son of God is one who breaks the chains of captives, opens prison-doors, and proclaims freedom. Giving out, or ministration, is the great and highest law, divine and human. Simple altruism sometimes heals, because it lifts consciousness from the lower inharmonious self and turns it outward and upward. Thought sent out in loving waves never returns void. The race is one, and all lines of relationship converge in God. I heal and am healed.
In the divine strength "all things" are ours. In proportion as we recognize its all sufficiency, we have life, love, help, rest, bliss, light, peace, faith, honor, power, purity, health, beauty, growth, energy, relief, wisdom, strength, harmony, ability, freedom, dignity, liberty, fluency, rapture, support, delight, sonship, courage, concord, soundness, goodness, wholeness, vitality, gladness, nobility, guidance, symmetry, serenity, pleasure, progress, kindness, abundance, enjoyment, judgment, affection, constancy, eloquence, perfection, perception, revelation, aspiration, contentment, discernment, inspiration, refreshment, brotherhood, nourishment, co-operation, restoration, improvement, beneficence, satisfaction, completeness, spirituality, intelligence, illumination, trustfulness, emancipation, enlightenment, companionship, unselfishness, understanding, and reconciliation. All these are things, and they are contained in the divine promise and fullness.
In the past we have often mistakenly thought that their opposing negations were realities. I now deny the seeming, and fill my mental horizon only with the good, the true, and the divine. What a glorious heritage! "All things are yours."
I have physical expression, but am not body. I have never seen my friend, nor has he beheld me. I have never even seen myself. Matter has been seized upon by the life-forces, — or mind, — and built up into a form of sensuous expression. All potency resides in spirit, and all material organisms are the products of its orderly energy. Life sets up its own animated statues with perfect correspondence. The color and tone of mentality come out in every form and feature. Every mental picture of the past is trying to outwardly embody itself, even though years have intervened. It is infallible law that we show forth, and are, the total composite of past thinking. Let us put away pride, and admit that all primary causation is from within. We charge our ills to the weather, water, air, climate, draughts, dampness, work, cold, bacteria, malaria, and contagion. These may be occasions, but our receptivity is the primary and real cause.
I deny the rule and tyranny of body, but affirm its utility as a servant and instrument. I will think such things as I wish embodied.
I am spirit. I rule.
The highest and purest human perception is that which sees no evil and understands that all things, real entities (for subjective conditions are of our own making), are made by Good in good and for good. This is self-evident, for the manifestation of God must be universal, else how could He be omnipresent. Subjective thought and experience is the only lens through which evil can be beheld. "Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold evil." Only finite and unfolding beings need the educational and corrective discipline called evil, which is the "growing pains" of good. Soul must have an experience in matter.
The roots of illness have their rise in conscious or unconscious fear. Fear is a recoil from the view of mental false images. Their reality is conferred by consciousness. Mental impressions of disease, death, and hell, are pictures of non-entities, except as we make them real, to us. In building our thought-world we should leave out negative material. Our real world is our thought-world and not the " things" that are about us. Those words of Jesus, so often repeated and emphasized, Fear Not, are deeply significant. They are religious, and also scientific. "I will fear no evil."
Faith is absolutely essential. We must believe or we will never move. Doubt and unbelief end in stagnation and death. Positive belief, even if mixed with error, leads by degrees towards truth. Its very positiveness puts it in a process of self-rectification. Will is life. The illumined will is the divine energy, or God in us. It is a manifestation of the Eternal Will, the supreme ego. Nothing can withstand its energy. It takes hold upon forces that are infinite. To live vigorously, we must live by faith. Our nourishment is unseen, but real. Those who are doing the most to uplift the world are those whose intensity of faith first reconstructed their own souls. "I will" is a projectile that hits the mark, a power that “removes mountains." Doubt is disintegration. It leads into the Slough of Despond. It is leaden, nerveless, and cowardly. "I will" is the pilot that grasps the helm and steers the human craft Godward. Its vitality includes regeneration and even creative power. "Faith is the substance" (present realization) "of things hoped for." "I will: be thou made clean."
God is Spirit (not a spirit, as incorrectly translated). If God be Spirit His offspring must be spirit also. True, forms and organisms are built by its subtle and orderly energy, but they are only shadows cast by the unseen substance. Dust is seized upon by its living potency and molded and fashioned to express its quality and plane. It is only our dull materialism that confers substantiality upon the seen. Spirit is solid and indestructible. I am spirit. Matter serves me as a temporary correspondence and servant. I am not body, but spirit, Now. Space, time, and locality are only provisional, sensuous limitations. To build of enduring material we must build in spirit. The spiritual realm is here as much as hereafter. It is the rich divine exuberance in which we live, move, and receive vitality. A spiritual glow within sends its warm invigorating energy outwards. I hereby link myself to the unchangeable. I am compassed with good, and living in an eternal fountain of strength. All potency is in spirit. My trust is in the unseen, which is the Real. Through it I am filled with Life.
Freedom is harmony with Law. Law is not only universal, but beneficent. I deny my past condition of servitude. I am no longer bound by the chains of appetite, passion, impulse, custom, creed, fashion, societies, politics, traditionalism, or the animal nature. I deny their power. Only the spiritual self is free, and I recognize that as my real ego. I deny the bondage of matter. It is no longer a prison-wall. I repudiate the tyranny of the senses. They are my servants; no longer masters.
I open my mind to truth, and welcome it from whatever quarter it may come. I assert my supremacy over outward circumstances, and deny the power of both physical pain and pleasure. My consciousness goes beyond the body and all its belongings, and dwells with the divine and spiritual self.
"Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
"He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."
"For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death."
"There is no death! What seems so is transition." Man lays aside the curtain which, in his servitude to the senses, he has hung between God and himself, and calls the process death. Paul declares, “I die daily." This is to grow spiritually. It is an elimination of the base, the earthy, the sensual. We fear so-called death because our sense of life is material. But Life is spiritual. Material forms disintegrate, but life never dies. All real life is eternal life. Physical sensation is only a temporary manifestation of life, — a passing phase. So-called death is no stay to development. The only death is the cessation of the false sense of life. The ideal is to spiritualize our bodies so that transition will be as gentle as stepping into an adjoining room. Enoch walked with God and was translated. Let us hope that the New Dispensation, now opening, will make it possible, in the not distant future, to displace conventional death by a gentle spiritualization or transition. The dominion of death consists in the fear of it. This is the “last enemy" that shall be destroyed. "If a man keep my word he shall never see death."
Things which we hold in our consciousness soon become our possession. Universal evolution, which sees all things “in a state of becoming," is the great modern inspiration. The feeling within us, that conditions, social, political, economic, ethical, and religious, are really growing better, has a wonderful healing power in itself. Temporary, local, and apparent declensions do not affect the universal trend. The imperfection of today is the stepping-stone for to-morrow. Life is richer, love stronger, truth more beautiful, nature fairer, music sweeter, art diviner, than we have ever dreamed. God is infinitely better than we can imagine. There is no failure, and pessimism is only the shadow of a disordered dream. An eternal unfolding is going on which shows infinite wisdom, order, foresight, and beneficence. We are on the way towards the “Father’s House." Evolution interprets all seeming confusion. Present discord will glide into the harmony of the future. We are pressing on towards the supreme ideal, which includes wholeness on every plane, for the individual and the race. I look upward.
The divine heredity overlaps all inherited human ills. The fact that I am God's child must rule my consciousness, until, like the rising sun, it dissipates the fogs and mists of ancestral inharmony. In a vastly deeper and more vital sense I am God's child than that of my parents. As children of God we have a divine patrimony, — spiritual and material. It includes everything that is good; i.e., God-like. "For we are also His offspring." "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are." Not shall be, but are. But instead of this we have called ourselves "miserable worms of the dust." There is no surer way of becoming “worms" than to think that we are worm-like, rather than God-like. God's (our Father's) image in us must be uncovered and brought to the front. "I and my Father are one." This is true of the Christ that was in Jesus, and also of the Savior that is in us. God is not ill, and His children neither inherit disease nor have it sent upon them.
Soul: Why dost thou come to torment me? I would have peace and be free from thy dominion.
Pain: I am thy friend, and my mission is beneficent.
Soul: How can that be while thy presence so distresses me? I pray thee, depart.
Pain: My face seems repulsive and cruel, but my character is only revealed upon acquaintance.
Soul: What then is thy mission?
Pain: I am a warning monitor to save thee from thy baser self; an angel of mercy to lift thy consciousness — even though by goads — to higher life and harmony. Accept my judgment and profit by my discipline, and my cruel features will be transformed. Thine own attitude towards me determines my aspect to thee. See me as thy friend, and my correction will become gentle. I educate and refine. Thy hostility sharpens my shafts.
Soul: I now interpret thy mission. Thou dost link bitterness to sin to turn us from it. But for that, we should forever disregard divine law, and finally destroy ourselves.
Pain: Only my flaming sword prevents it. Thou hast rightly interpreted.
I Go into the silence and open my inner hearing to the " still, small voice." The sanctuary of soul is the "Holy of Holies;" the trysting-place of the divine and the human. The tribunal of God is at the soul-center of man. The divine likeness is here unveiled. It is the "manger" where the Christ-consciousness comes to birth, while external discords are only the beasts of the stall. It is the angel who brings "good tidings of great joy." Here the resurrection takes place, when the stone of the lower self-consciousness is rolled away. Here is the divine affinity which feels its oneness with God. "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, there! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you." That kingdom includes wholeness, harmony, and health. The sun of righteousness arises with “healing in his wings."
The Lord was not in "the wind," “the earthquake," nor” the fire," but in the “still, small voice." As we feel the Presence, we receive an impress of its beauty and perfection.
There are invisible threads which connect us with every object which makes up our environment. Vibrations are ever passing over these connections, backward and forward, and it is for us to control their purpose and quality. Every star, sun, person, circumstance, and principle is exchanging messages with us. The despatches we send are echoed back in duplicate quality. Love for love, antagonism for antagonism, pain for pain. Everything bears the aspect that we give it. Love gilds every object upon which we project it, and its sheen is reflected back in rays of golden light. By its magic, stumbling-blocks become stepping-stones. Love "thinketh no evil," and I follow its example. I create a harmonious environment by projecting thought only of the good. God created all things good, and in the kingdom of my own consciousness I will do the same. I will think only harmonious thoughts, and thereby make harmony. All is good.
There is no axiom plainer than that the higher should control the lower, and no one but a positive materialist can deny that man is above his body. The "fall of man" consists of his dropping into subjection to his animal nature. When the body rules, it soon becomes an unrelenting tyrant, but, if it occupies a secondary place, it is serviceable and beautiful. Man must assert his superiority. Spiritual victory must be achieved and old things become new. Desire and aspiration are laws of growth. Demand brings supply, and nothing in the universe can hold it back. Every soul is invested with a divine dignity and should reign in its own kingdom. Man is a prince, and to abdicate his heirship is to fail of his grand end. I will never surrender my God-given prerogative. I deny the rule of the seen, sensuous, and the material. I am surcharged with spiritual potency and life. I link myself to that which cannot be shaken. I ascend the mount of spiritual vision and realize divine sonship and rightful dominion. I rule the body and bodily mind.
Health is natural. The natural is that which is in harmony with orderly law. All law is beneficent, therefore the degree of harmony in anything is the test of its naturalness. God is the Author of nature, and natural law is divine method. Inharmony, disease, and unhappiness are unnatural, because they are discordant with all that is normal and ideal. Nature does not know any lack of conformity. Man is naturally, generically, and potentially whole. All illness is a deviation, and comes from artificiality. Thought, the human creative faculty, misses the mark.
The spiritual should mould the material, the inner the outer; and all human experience proves the reasonableness of such an order of relation. It follows that human vitality can be increased only from within, and that drug-medication is abnormal and adds no new life. It deals only with effect, and is clearly unnatural and irrational. Man must hold before him an undeviating pattern, and thereby grow into its likeness. Nature is not "sickly," and for man — its crowning feature — to be disordered proves his continual “fall" into materialism. Nature, rightly interpreted, is spiritual. The universal order speaks only of wholeness and harmony.
Science is systematized truth, as manifested under the operation of law. The great obstacle to the general acceptance of mind-healing has been the mistaken popular notion that its elements were mystical, occult, magical, or capricious. Nothing could be further from the truth. The laws of spiritual science are as exact as those of mathematics. Every hour of positive high affirmation of the ideal perfection of mind and body, tends directly to actualize such conditions. When this principle is intelligently grasped it is at once seen to be scientific. There is no more uncertainty about its trend than there is about our nearing an object if we walk towards it. Even though orderly mental forces may sometimes be set in motion by pure superstition (as through shrines and holy relics), the result is no less logical. The usual limitation of “science" to the realm of matter is its degradation. There is no fact better fortified than that mental states and qualities tend to embody themselves. Thousands of instances, illustrations, and analogies prove such a sequence to be scientifically accurate.
The whole tenor of the Bible indicates that healing is expected as the natural result of the quickened spiritual life. Preach the gospel, and heal the sick, are both included in the great divine commission. They are the inner and outer sides of one whole. The external is the visible sign and attestation of the genuineness of the spiritual and internal.
"He that believeth on me" (is this limited ?), "the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto the Father." (John XIV. 12.)
"And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." (Matt. X. 7, 8.)
"And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark XVI. 17, 18.)
The Psalms are full of declarations, to the effect that wholeness is the natural result of abiding in God. Healing is biblical.
Prayer is communion, aspiration, soul-contact with God. The ideal prayer is not a petition for things, for Infinite Love has already bestowed the best, though we may be unconscious of it. To expect a change on God's part would imply that He is imperfect. The ruling desire of each soul is its prayer, therefore each one prays "without ceasing," wisely or unwisely. If it be for wealth, pleasure, renown, or sensuous gratification, the answer is upon the same low plane. The response comes, but proves unsatisfying. But true prayer wields divine forces and makes them ministries of blessing. It discovers and utilizes divine law. Every prayer for the best is eternally answered — on God's part — but not to us — unless we come into at-one-ment.
"All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them." (Mark xi. 24. New Version.)
If ruling desire binds me to God, I shall receive what is God-like. I link myself there, and not to dust. I pray to be whole, and on God's part the answer is eternally complete. To pray is to lift the soul into unison with the Eternal Goodness.
As the building is complete in the mind of the architect before it appears outwardly, so the divine innermost is already perfect, waiting for me to bring it into the external. I am well, because the spiritual is the real, even if it be not yet outwardly manifest. How shall I actualize the inward ideal? By thought concentration upon it, and by identifying the conscious ego with it. I am spirit, not matter. I am whole, despite outer appearances. The real ego being perfect, I am potentially sound in mind and body. The spirit of wholeness is in contact with every fiber and tissue of my organism. In God's strength I affirm that my (naming seemingly diseased parts or members) are already well, strong, and beautiful. The spiritual body of correspondence is divinely complete, and that is the I. I bolt the door of thought against every mental picture of imperfection and disorder. I hold only the perfect, and affirm nothing less. I also claim entire supremacy over intellect and memory. I will forget the evil and remember the good. I am whole, mentally and physically.
"But Jesus saith unto him, Follow me; and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
I hereby bury my negation, weakness, fear, selfishness, and all doubt under a mountain of positive, intense, living Truth.
I am perfectly sound in mind and body. Nothing in the universe can hinder my progress.
I am the child of God. The divine will is my will.
It is only good. I understand and feel it.
I am strong in the Lord, one with my Father.
I am in loving relation to the universal order.
I am peace to all my environment.
I am Love, and radiate it everywhere.
Goodness is flowing into me.
Christ is formed in me and is the All.
I have overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil.
I “walk after the Spirit."
"For all things are yours ; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."
One great field which the author of Ideal Suggestion believes will open to it in the near future, is the reformation of inebriety. The world is struggling with the problem of finding an efficient remedy for the slavery to intoxicants. There is no common agreement as to the best means to accomplish this purpose, and the efforts put forth are spasmodic, unsystematic and unscientific. The great organized movements for the suppression of intemperance have changed during the last few decades, and in some respects the trend seems to have been reactionary.
The Washingtonian movement, with the moral enthusiasm which followed, and education and moral suasion in general, have been largely displaced by efforts toward legal prohibition and external suppression. No disparagement is cast upon prohibition, so far as it goes, but it does not cure inebriety. It is unfortunate that it has popularly come to be regarded as synonymous with temperance, and therefore it has largely overshadowed and displaced organized moral agencies. Under the most favorable conditions it is external, and inadequate to the great end desired by its well-meaning and conscientious advocates.
Another phase of present thought, is the idea that inebriety is a disease of the body, and that it can be cured by material medication. This view has gained considerable acceptance from the fact that many cures take place through the power of numerous, subtle and unconscious mental influences which are generally unappreciated or ignored. It is unnecessary to enlarge upon this solution of the seeming results of medication; for those who have perused Part I. of this book will find every phenomenon abundantly accounted for in accordance with the laws of mental causation.
Inebriety is cured temporarily by "hypnotic suggestion." Vivid mental impressions imposed by another mind change the victim's likes, tastes, and even his ruling appetite. This assertion does not need to be verified to any who are aware of the progress of hypnotic research in a few of the noted institutes of Europe, and to a much less extent in this country. The mere experimental stage has been passed.
The inebriate needs to be set free — cured from within — which involves the overcoming of the old consciousness by a new and higher one. Suggestion is the human motor. To pass a saloon, suggests a drink. A feeling of depression or weakness does the same on account of the known temporary exhilaration which follows. On the other side, things external, especially the palpable, forfeited respect of his fellows, suggests to the victim that he is a victim. Everything within and without concurs regarding his degradation. The lower selfhood is emphasized, and the consciousness sinks into animalism. Now what does he need? Most assuredly vivid suggestions of the opposite and higher. In some way they must be lodged in his mind. If he have any desire for release — and almost everyone does in some degree — Ideal Suggestion furnishes a systematic means to the end. In proportion as it is thoroughly followed, mental laws insure positive results.
Let us briefly outline a possible reformatory conducted in accord with the laws of suggestion as they shape mental action. What would be the modus operandi 1 In the first place the inebriate in man would not be recognized, but utterly ignored. The theory in all instruction and intercourse would be, that the divine in man is the man. He is ideally whole, potentially perfect, — a child of God. Everything must emphasize that suggestion. All this would naturally include the exercises in mental photography as formulated in this work. These and kindred ideals would be graphically impressed upon the mental field of vision. This action, to the outer sense, could be heightened by the employment of words in electric light, or formed of tiny gas-jets in a background of darkness, instead of the common printed text. An hour's exposure to such ideals during each day would produce a remarkable impress upon the mental vision. The rational use of some such unique means will be easily grasped when it is understood that the object is a vivid mental picture. Take such "suggestions” as "I am free," "I am soul," or "God is here." After a few days they would stand out before the mind, by night and by day. They would be seen in words of fire before the saloon-entrance, and flame up in the mind's eye at every call of the appetite. The higher self-consciousness thus gained would make it plain to the man that it was only the animal, and not himself who craved the stimulant.
Such an institution is today only an imaginary one ; but it would be in accord with the laws of mind, and it is to be hoped that it may have a practical trial in the not distant future. In the past, under traditional and materialistic theories, retreats and asylums have entirely disregarded the immutable order of mental causation. Their aims have been good, but their methods have not fitted the laws of mind, and the power of ideals has been unappreciated. Now that human duality, or the double consciousness, is becoming understood, the way is open through idealism for a great advancement. It is quite true that the philosophy here advanced may seem strange, and perhaps visionary, to many whose thinking has been superficial, but such has been the verdict which at first has greeted every great advance of history.