Remedies For The Fear Of Things
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
FIRST REMEDY: Improving the Body-Tone by Health-Thought. Undoubtedly one's courage-attitude toward things depends largely upon one's physical tone, for a low physical tone commonly means a weak action of the self in thought. " It's all right to talk," said a ruffian, "but courage is a mighty curious thing, and nobody 's got it with him all the time (he was mistaken in the last statement). Take me on a sun-shiny day, full of good grub and with a couple of drinks under my belt, and I 'd stand up to a regiment and take my chances. But take me before daybreak, in the rain, hungry and cold, and I'd run from one Greaser if he was hunting me." But it is equally true that a low psychic condition depresses physical tonus, and so makes the entire personality an easy prey to fear. In addition, then, to effort looking to bodily health through right living, you are urged to cultivate the assertive assumption of being now in physical vigor, which is itself a great inspirer of courage. Here we have a huge law running through all ages, utilized incompletely and confusedly by all peoples, the law that the human spirit is designed for sovereignty over its physical house or instrument. No individual or system has a monopoly on this law. Suggestion, mental healing, magnetic healing, miracles and Christian Science have merely in part exploited the universal and natural law of the great System in which we live. It is for every human to belt on to that law, so to speak, and, so doing, to assert for himself his own sovereign power and to draw to himself the universal forces of welfare.
The law is not a new, but is an ancient, law. The power to use the law and the force behind it, and the power of those forces, is no new thing. There is no new power in human nature, created in one age or another. All the power man will ever possess he now has; and the power of his almighty nature waits only discovery by the objective consciousness to do the will's command.
There is no new knowledge of truth essential to or in the nature of things. Of such knowledge the human spirit is already in perfect possession; the truth merely needs discovery as a reality which has always been in the possession of the subconscious self to be utilized for the betterment of the conscious self through the enfoldment of the subconscious self.
Progress in human life signifies, not new creations, but always merely unfoldments. Only that which has always been in the soul can be unfolded in the soul's life. If man knows any essential truth to-day, or possesses any conscious power, it is because he has simply unfolded his own nature. We background on the Infinite, and "there is no limit to the knowing of the self that knows," no limit to the power of the self which unfolds.
The method by which health-thoughts may practically operate for improved and maintained physical tone are seen in suggestion, or a valiant faith in one's own physical power.
In suggestion, one asserts, quietly, yet emphatically: "This pain is nothing; this lassitude or depression is nothing; I am well and a-l-l r-i-g-h-t, and shall surely continue so to be." We say, we throw off the condition; we do not; we throw into the condition those powerful movements of the soul which dispel the condition. I have demonstrated the truth numberless times. Elisha Kane, relates that in his early life a captain, dying of scurvy on shipboard in the polar seas, was told that there was mutiny on deck. Out of a comatose state the old sailor started with a call for his boots, and quelled the mutiny — and recovered. When your deeper self asserts its command at the suggestion of the conscious self, body inevitably tries to obey. And not only is the huge power of suggestion yours for the ills of flesh, but as well for a higher register of psychic tone and its permanent maintenance.
I know that there are some degrees of pain which may not be subdued, some conditions of the body which may not be handled, in this way. The facts disturb neither the reality of the law nor the possession of the power. They merely show that the soul has lost control of itself, and so is unable to seize upon the law and draw forth the power. But by so much as the self retains any self-control, by so much may it lay hold both on law and power.
It is to be understood that these affirmations require modification by another law — that present conditions are the outcomes of past suggestions and ways of living. In matter there are the laws of dirt, and if one lives in a dirty way, these laws of dirt will work themselves out. Nevertheless, it is not mere dirt which causes disease: it is after all the psychic under-life that makes dirt malevolent. Our psychic antecedents it is that have banked up against us the powerful evil of the past. One's physical state may be the result of years or of centuries of false living and thinking (we must recognize the facts), so that, in some cases, the law of suggestion, or of psychic power, may be invoked too late, not because the soul is not humanly sovereign, but because it is individually incapable of using its own powers. The ideal operation of the law may in all cases be far in the future. When health is thus destroyed, temporarily, or seemingly permanently, I hold it to be common sense to call in the trained physician and the demonstrated mental healer, meanwhile exercising all the psychic ability one possesses. What do I care for the theories of a doctor forbidding the mental healer? I am for health — especially my own — and I want help from any source, with any label. And what do I care for the follies of Christian Science forbidding the physician. I am for health, and the trouble is mine, not to be handled by a mere notion, even if that notion is religious and altogether sacred to some one else. As a matter of fact, the law of sovereignty cares for neither as against the other, but will obey the call of either or both if that call is or can be efficient or potent enough. And it is a perfectly dead law until the call becomes so efficient. The ideal in all this is freedom to utilize the psychic power of soul over body, by whatever means, and signifies, therefore, absolutely no bondage, to medicine on the one hand, or to suggestion or religion, or "science" on the other hand. If you can swim at all, you can swim without a board — provided you have the ability to use your power; but if you lack just there a small board will help you swim when you otherwise would drown. If you continue to practise swimming without a board, you will ultimately require none. In the education of the soul for perfect self-mastery, anything that helps is legitimate. Whether or not the use of helps will develop helplessness depends altogether on the soul itself. The resolute soul shouts: I am at liberty to use these helps now, and do so, but, please God, to-morrow I shall have the larger freedom to ignore them; meanwhile, I am for health, whatever the means.
This book urges you, in the battle for health as against sickness, to take advantage of both physical science and spiritual laws.
And yet, although some cases of physical disability may seem defiant and incurable, I am unable to find any definite rule which must exclude suggestion as an efficient remedy. The physicians are constantly affirming cases to be hopeless which the mental healers are curing. Nor am I able to discover any principle which must bid us wait the slow improvement of centuries in the matter of psychic power before we can squarely bank on the soul's sovereignty. Though some facts seem to contradict the conclusion, I find it impossible to see that inability to recover physical tone by assertive suggestion may not and ought not in any and every case to be instantly successful. Clergymen will babble a law of God that all must die. But the God they talk about is the creator of Nature in which health is a phase of reality, and there is no God worth our thought who would or could create an evil Nature, and the real God of this Universe has no power to make disease and death parts of a system in a state of perfect harmony with itself and Him, or who has the ability to foist disease or death into an individual career living in a similarly perfect state of harmony. The law of suggestion, taken in its broadest sense, is merely an expression of tendency toward harmony. When harmony becomes perfect and universal, the God I worship will be very glad to see disease and death forever banished.
But suggestion, it should be remembered, is more than a mere statement of thought, at least in its higher form: it is the dynamic power of faith. True faith is a force, as real and effective, yet as law-abiding, as the force of gravity. The idea of faith cannot be given in a simple reference to belief, for belief may be defined as an assent of the intellect, while faith is an active state of the entire self. Observe one person as he expresses belief in present or future welfare. He is mild and negative. Observe, now, a second person as he declares his faith: he may be very composed and quiet in the matter, but his whole attitude indicates confident energy. He radiates force. He is condensed power. The deepest phases of his personality are vibrant and expectant. The general difference between the two men is vital. Faith involves belief, but it then may become power in action. The activity is of the inner self no less than of the objective functions. There is in the prophetic soul a vital, profound, enriched, assertive and assumptive state of consciousness which exerts its own power, manifests its own law, amid the laws and forces of Nature. Such conditions harmonize discordant elements in the life, induce favorable currents inward from large areas without, and actually establish the prerequisites of health and further development of power. The man of doubt is always, of course, losing the faith he has, while the man of faith is forever gaining more faith, because, beginning with assumption, he sets consciousness into harmonious vibrations or activities, manages to achieve more or less since Nature must respond to his call, approximately right as it is, and so, in his hopeful feelings and his successes finds justification of past faith and ground for further faith.
In other words, health and ideal personality depend upon the amount of appropriating consciousness one can throw over environment, over a very Universe, the territory one can cover by the overspread of his assumptive consciousness, the amount of a harmonious Universe one can absorb into his own personality. I know that this has a very large sound, but here, precisely, is the characteristic of true faith, that it thrives on great things alone.
If some of my readers suggest that such consciousness comes not of mere psychic assertion, but only from the study of books and the training of the schools, I reply that the greatest truths man has discovered and the noblest victories he has achieved have all resulted from the mighty faith-power of the human soul over and above the immediate influence of all the schools of the ages.
It is for reasons thus indicated that I urge the development within of the power of faith: faith in one's own body, faith in one's own psychic ability, faith in one's own faith, faith in and for present health, confidence in the possession of buoyancy and vigor, and thus faith — assertive assumption here and now — in physical tone and fearlessness regarding every object in Nature, seen or unseen. The faith and the assumption, in some eases, may at first seem almost impossible, and, if experienced, may be very feeble, indeed, but perseverance will show the task to be less and less difficult, and will render the confident expectation itself more and more pronounced. Above all, these suggestions will as certainly unfold the tone of real courage as a law of Nature will bring man benefits when obeyed. We consider, then ---
Psychics and Medicine. The cure of ill-health demands, I hold, two things: psychic power and, to some extent in the present state of human progress, medical advice. Good health and a physician are preferable to poor health and consistency. Moreover, in real consistency, holding that all cures are psychic cures, we must recognize the great suggestive efficacy of physicians and prescriptions. In the last analysis the latter may be utterly useless, but if one cannot quite attain the level of a raw miracle, one should accept the assistance of material instruments of suggestion, for the doctor and his prescriptions may be the only means of suggestion to which some souls will at present respond.
All health-tone is a physical reaction to psychic conditions, and these psychic conditions are demands on the vital forces of the Universe. Good health is a sharing in the universal vitality through harmonious cooperation of physical and psychic functions and Nature's laws. Even if vitality is nothing other than an outcome of molecular activities or molecular conditions, the truth remains the same. Health is not a thing, it is a condition. It is not a self-state merely; it is a state of life, or of molecules, adjusted to the All-Life or to the molecular sum-total of the Universe. Ill-health is a state of maladjustment of self to law and life. It is not a thing; it is a chaotic condition. Cure of ill-health is a change of inharmonious adjustments to the All-Life (or the molecular sum-total) in the direction of harmony. Restoration of right adjustment never proceeds from without. It is always an internal process. It follows the law of life: from within out. Where growth is from within out, restoration must operate in the same manner. Hence, the self is always the prime factor in health-cure. Secondarily the self may employ any means adapted to bring about right adjustment. This is sanity. The question of medicine has to solve itself: not in the repudiation of medical practice, but in the reform of medical methods. The trouble with medicine, as with theology, is its tyrannous traditions, which always insist upon foolish consistency. A tradition is never good when you know better. If consistency forgets inner realities, it is a delusion and a snare. All real consistency is a bundle of contradictions; this is its constitution. When it holds fast to the inner realities, it becomes a search for truth. Truth is never humanly consistent, because human conceptions are always symbolic of something truer just beyond.
Remedies which are external to the self, when successful, merely assist, or guide, or inspire, the essential process of self-adjustment to the All-Life. Such assistance, guidance, inspiration, are vitalized by two qualities: the psychic self first, and secondly, Nature, which floods-in the Universal Life-Forces on right demand.
These facts explain cures without medicine. In almost all cases, according to authoritative testimony, medicines are not needed. The self and Nature would cure in any event. Where there is no medicine and a cure occurs, the psychic demand is right and strong enough to induce the incoming of the Universal Life. If the reader prefers the universal sum-total molecular activities, very well. Where there is no cure, with or without medicine, the psychic demand is inadequate. The efficacy of medicines springs from the self-action, not from inert matter. If the self-action cannot be induced without medicine, the use of the latter would seem legitimate. For, let us hold that Nature is a Balanced Indifference. At this point a great truth emerges which does not appear to be sufficiently appreciated in the New-Thought writings: what may be called the indifferent balance toward man of Nature considered as a huge System of law. Nature, though always ready to pour life into a disordered body; is absolutely impartial and unprejudiced. Regarded as a mere mechanism of law, Nature cares not whether man is well or ill — except that there is throughout the whole System a tendency toward right conditions in which the individual will share if he adjusts thereto. Nature does not violently offer itself, nor does it obstinately hold back. What Nature does for man depends upon what man does for himself, and that really means, what man does for Nature. This "what he does" is a demand or a repulsion. But the demand and the repulsion are deeper factors than mere words. I do not say, then, that one may turn the balance of Nature in his favor by simple demand for health. If some one will inform us how to secure health by raw will-power, we shall be thankful — but not wise, for then universal stability will be destroyed. Conditions are vastly important as phases of demand. But right demand is a part of conditions; it creates them in some degree, and it uses those which are beyond it. For example: I slept well during the night, awakened, called up good thoughts, rose, took a cold bath, got up a gentle heat on the body surfaces, dressed, enjoyed an appetizing break-fast, loafed a little at one chore and another, exercised thoughtfully a few minutes, practised full breathing, uttered a word of good-will to all the world, shook hands with Hope and Courage, recognized Peace within, and began the day's work. I had conformed to certain conditions, and I had thus created certain conditions in myself, and so had demanded service of the Universal Life, with full assurance that I should receive whatever I had actually laid hold on. In all this, Nature remained indifferent, neither rushing to meet me nor drawing away, but ever ready to come to my service when conditions made it possible.
The sea ebbs and flows. It is not for you; it is not against you. It simply comes and goes, impartial, unprejudiced, as it did before man appeared. Man flung himself against it, and was dashed in pieces. Man offered his spoken prayers, and the sea ebbed and flowed indifferent. Then man formulated his demands in terms of conditions, of adjustment—and the sea became beautiful, useful, a mistress loving to serve.
You build a tide-mill on one of ocean's narrows, and straightway the running tide, or coming or going, does your behest. It is as if the Atlantic were now eager in your interest. It is indifferent now as ever. The fact is, you have strength and wit to draw on unlimited but indifferent power.
Good health is the tide-mill in operation. Ill-health is the mill out of order. The sea does not wish to destroy the mill; that is done by maladjustment. The same tide which buoys up a ship may dash her in pieces on the rocks. The ship is then out of adjustment with environment.
Nature does not destroy life; it merely transfers life, or changes the conditions of life. Decay, disease, and death are transitions (trans, "over"—and ire, "to go"), transferences (trans, "over"— and ferre, "to carry"), transformations (trans, "over"— and formare, "to shape"),— a passing of the life in one individual thing to some other individual thing. The intention of Nature is for the individual, but when that intention cannot be carried out because conditions are inharmonious, Nature passes the intention, so to speak, with that which goes with the intention, life, on to individuals or fields where conditions make the intention and life possible for them. Your individual life is the result of conditions making your life possible, and when conditions of possibility of good life for you decrease or cease, conditions of possibility for life in other fields are established, and life transfers or transforms — passes over. Nature is constantly striving for the highest expression of its power, that is, the highest form of life; but toward any particular individual it is indifferent if the individual refuses or fails in conditions making life for itself impossible. Decay, disease, and death simply express the two-fold fact of indifference to the individual and transfer of life when conditions call therefor. In fact, it is in the conditions that the transition, transference, transformation takes place.
The Hindus say of the soul: "Life is tremulous, like a water-drop on a lotus-leaf." The highest form of life is a very unstable equilibrium. For this Nature ever strives. When the individual representing it goes wrong, is out of harmony, the equilibrium is upset, and is regained only on a lower level. Decay, disease, and death are such lower levels of equilibrium — each standing for greater stability until nothing but waste matter remains — so far as the individual is concerned.
Maladjustment throws the body against law and force, which move relentlessly on, whether or no. Adjustment brings the body within the reach of law and force, which then also move relentlessly on whether or no. All health is psychic harmony with the All-Life. Ill-health shows that self has thrust body out of adjustment with Nature in its highest intentions. Body can-not itself do this. In restoration to health, psychic demand, formulated in terms of right adjustment, enlists the Nature-life of worlds, just as the rebuilding or repairing of the tide-mills makes it capable of utilising, and causes it to utilize, the vast power of the sea.
Medicines have reference to conditions. They suppose, or suggest, faith — self-effort to lay hold on the Nature-life. When you call a physician you assume the attitude of demand on the flood-tide. You seek to call it in. At times the bodily weakness overwhelms the self within; the latter cannot institute the right demand; the right medicine, by its purely physical action, stimulates some organ or the general system, because the psychic factor has learned to respond thereto, and the whole self has now opportunity for assertion of its powers, because the process of overwhelming has been partially arrested. Medicines may thus be said to inspire psychic demand by affording opportunity for reaction. At times medicines relieve the system of waste, chemical compounds which the body cannot further reduce, and for which, therefore, it has no further need, or of foreign material, assisting the system to expel them. At times medicines chemically assist assimilation of proper material, because the psychic factor, again, has learned to respond thereto. In all this we have cases of medical assistance. At times medicines bring about a change in the physical or mental tone. Some medicines depress, some elevate the tone. Some transform the entire current of sensation and emotion. The psychic demand is firm, but it may be deflected in wrong directions, or a change of direction of thought and feeling may be necessary to give it full effect. Here is a case of guidance secured by outside means. It may be essential, also, to deaden pain in order to stop waste of vitality through excessive nerve-action. The patient is using all his energy in hoisting the signals of warning. In all these suppositions my contention is this: that the physical reaction is fundamentally psychic in origin, and that the psychic origin can only be gotten at by adequate means, the character of which, whether material or non-material, should be a matter of indifference to reason and good sense.
And so, I say: the primal factor of health is the psychic self. Whatever aids this factor is scientific, be the aid material, spiritual, both. And science is the whole truth —or it is nothing but a mass of personal opinions.
He who affirms that medicine is always needless lacks the power of correct thinking; he may be on the right track, but he stops short of the real conclusion. He who affirms the use of medicine to be always necessary or effective, either observes or speaks incorrectly, because he also fails to go far enough in his reasoning. He who declares that the use of medicine is morally wrong betrays a selfish determination to insist upon a barren consistency for the sake of bolstering up a theory or a system — and fails in ethical judgment. He who denounces the exercise of psychic powers not recognized by his theory or system as black magic reveals himself a victim of mediæval bigotry. He who denounces all psychic cures as unreal or unscientific repudiates the bed-rock of medical practice. He who is wedded to either psychic or medical treatment alone contradicts his own position, whatever it be. For, if psychic treatment is sole truth, demand for health may disregard all conditions — food, air, sleep, exercise, use of physical functions, relation of the soul to the material, or so-called material, world. But, again, if medical treatment is sole truth, treatment for health may disregard all psychic realities — relations between soul and body, self control, confidence in the physician, his remedies, his regimes, in self, and hope, courage, obedience. In either case, all the conditions represent other than the theory something of the opposite theory.
The wise man asserts his inner self, through that makes demands on the Universal Life, and gladly avails himself of all demonstrated assistance, often taking the last chance with the unknown if convinced that such course can at worse do him no harm.
But always is it the Universal Life that cures ill-health by response to the inner demands of the assertive self. Thus it appears that the psychic factor is the one great physician. If the psychic factor accomplishes its legitimate work, tone of health will inevitably react for vigorous courage-tone of the soul itself.