It is impossible, in a little work of this description to explain why it is that one person inherits a weak and ailing body and another enjoys a strong and robust constitution. Sufficient for us here to notice that the days of rude, rugged health are passing, and that man is becoming more highly strung, nervous and psychic in his make-up. The old type of rude, unconscious health was due to the animal-like nature of man, which caused his body to be governed more completely by the instinctive mind. Less evolved humans are not affected, apparently, by the mental storms, psychic changes, and spiritual disharmonies that disturb the health of the more evolved types. We have an illustration of this in the case of some forms of insanity. The patient “goes out of his mind,” with the result that his bodily health becomes wonderfully good. The instinctive mind takes control of things, and rude, robust animal health is the result. When the patient was sane and his mind filled with worry, ambitions, plans, cares, lusts, hates and griefs, he was probably very far from well. This would be due to the disturbing effects of his thoughts and uncontrolled emotions. When, therefore, his conscious mind gave way and he became happy in an imbecile way, he ceased to think of these disturbing things, with the result that the instinctive, animal mind was able to work undisturbed.
It is of no use sighing for “the good old times,” when people were rugged and strong in the way that savages are rugged and strong, for evolution has decreed that man shall change into a higher and more nervous and sensitive type. In this sensitive type wrong thoughts and emotions quickly produce pain and suffering. The majority of people do not know what good health is. Not only do they suffer from minor ailments, such as headaches, indigestion, rheumatism, neuritis, but they also never feel hearty or completely well. They are strangers to the joy of living. Life does not thrill them: nothing quickens their blood: they have no moments of vivid ecstasy—in other words, they do not live, they merely exist at a poor dying rate.
Again, the majority of people are susceptible to infectious diseases and epidemics, yet, if they were really well, they would be immune. Instead, however, of seeking immunity through health, they are seeking it through the use of vaccines and serums, thus adding to the burdens which the body has to bear. All attempts in this direction are bound to end in failure, for, as fast as one disease is suppressed another one will appear.
Many people look upon disease and sickness as inevitable, yet the truth is that health is the normal state and ill-health an abnormality. In tracing back ill-health to its source, we find, first of all, that it is due to disobedience of natural law. Large numbers of people break nearly every known natural law of health, and are surprised that they become ill. Yet the wonder is that they are as well as they are. Yet, while obedience to nature’s laws and the use of nature-cure methods will carry us a certain part of the way, we find that there must be causes even deeper than those which are physical. We are confronted by the fact that there are many people who obey every known physical law of health, who bathe, exercise, breathe, eat and drink scientifically, who adopt nature-cure methods instead of drugs and serums, who yet cannot find health. Therefore we must search deeper and go to the mind in order to discover the cause of ill-health.
When we look to the mind we find a prolific cause of sickness. Man thinks himself into ill-health and disease. It is well known that thinking about disease and sickness produces them in the body. People who are for ever thinking about disease, illness, operations and other morbid subjects, become a prey to these things. Those who believe that sickness is inevitable, manifest it in their life. Morbid thinking produces a morbid state of the body, causing it either to fall an easy prey to infection or to break down into chronic ill-health, or even disease. Allowing the thoughts to dwell upon morbid things is a sure way to sickness and invalidism.
Man is not only made ill by his negative thoughts and emotions, he is also under the hypnotic spell of the race mind. “The God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which belief not.” We are all under the spell, more or less, of a huge illusion. The evil, disease, sickness, and other imperfections that we see and experience, have no reality, in reality, but have an existence in unreality.
Although they are not real in a real sense, yet they are real to this present limited consciousness. By realizing the truth, and by thinking and living in its light and power, the hypnotic spell becomes broken, not completely, else we should not grow old, but to such an extent that a state of greatly improved health can be enjoyed.
We are also hypnotically affected by suggestion, which reaches us from a thousand different sources. The conversations of friends and acquaintances, affect us adversely. Their belief in disease and sickness as realities, and in its inevitableness, colours all their conversation, and, unless we guard against it, this unconsciously affects us. Newspapers, magazines, books, all steeped in the same error, also influence us unless we have become too positive to be affected. From innumerable sources it is subtly suggested to us that disease, sickness, infection are realities that cannot be evaded, and to which we are prone. The effect of all this, putting it in simple and elementary language, is to divert the life power into wrong channels, thus producing disease and ill-health in place of perfection.
The normal state of health has to give place to an abnormal state of disease or sickness. The normal health-state is, however, restored when Truth is realized, and the life lived in Its light and power. Absolute Truth and Perfection stand behind all the illusions and imperfection of the sense of life. It is by realizing the Truth and the perfection of the Reality, and by establishing the thought-life in Truth so that our thoughts cease to be negative and based on error and illusion, that health is to be found.
It is often said that ill-health is the result of sin. It is, for thinking about disease, sickness and ill-health, believing them to be inevitable, is one of the greatest of sins. The way of life is to walk (think and act) after the Spirit (which is perfect, whole, immortal and incorruptible) and not after the flesh (corruption, disease, sickness, death). By thinking “after the flesh” we dishonour God who is absolute Wholeness and Perfection, and cut ourselves off from the Divine Life and Power.
But there are other ways by which wrong thinking destroys the health. Thinking thoughts of lust is a prolific cause of unhappiness, sickness and nervous disease. The divine forces of life are directed into a wrong channel, resulting either in indulgence and inevitable weakening of body, brain and will, or in repression and its consequent nervous diseases. If the thoughts are allowed to dwell upon impurity, evil results must follow in some form, either in action or ill-health, or both. Thought must be controlled and reversed continually. Not repressed, but reversed, be it noted, for there is a tremendous difference between the two. Repression creates nervous trouble, but by reversing or transmuting the thoughts the life becomes transformed, and the bodily health greatly improved.
Further, indulging in thoughts of hate, resentment, ill-will, fear, worry, care, grief, and anxiety, produces ill-health, and, by lowering the tone of the body, lays it open to infection and disease. We therefore see that the state of the mind and the character of the thoughts are important factors which cannot be ignored. It is useless to treat either ill-health or disease if they are merely the external effects of hidden causes of the mind. In order to effect a cure we have to get back to the cause of the trouble.
Thought control is a great assistance. Substituting a right or positive thought for a wrong one, will, in course of time, work wonders in life. In the subconscious, we have an illimitable power of extraordinary intelligence. According to our thoughts, this wonderful power either builds up health, harmony, and beauty in our life and body or just the reverse.
The power is good, the intelligence is infinite, but it goes wherever our thoughts direct it. By our thinking, therefore, we either create or destroy, produce either good or evil. If therefore, all our thoughts are good, positive, and constructive, it follows that both our body and our life must become built up in harmony and perfection. The question is, can this be done? It can be done if we have the desire, and are willing to discipline ourselves and persevere in the face, often, of seeming failure. Some readers may say, at this point, that they have no desire to be so frightfully good, that they are not prepared to give up lust, impurity, hate, anger, malice, and thoughts and emotions of this kind. Very well, if this is so, they must go on and learn, through suffering, the lesson which they refuse to learn willingly. Others may say: “Yes, I want to control my thoughts, but how can I cease to worry when I have so much about which to worry, and how can I cease to hate when I have been so deeply wronged?” This brings us to an even deeper cause of ill-health than that of mind, viz., the attitude of the heart. Our scriptures tell us that “as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” By “heart” it meant the soul or feeling, desiring part of man. It is here where the conflict between the self-will and the Divine Will, between the desires of the flesh and the longings of the Spirit, takes place. The real root cause of all unhappiness, disharmony, and ill-health is spiritual, and not merely mental or physical. The latter are contributory causes, but the former is the fundamental cause. Spiritual disharmony is, in reality, the cause of all ill health and disease. Until spiritual harmony is restored, man is a kingdom divided against itself, which, as our Lord said, cannot stand. Healing, then, must be spiritual. Until this harmony exists there can be no overcoming of hate thoughts, fear thoughts, or worry thoughts, and until these are overcome there can be no true healing. Our Lord’s healing was the gracious healing of the Spirit. It restored inward harmony by forgiving sin, by changing the heart’s desires, by bringing the will of the subject into harmony with the Divine Will of the Whole. Our Lord’s healing was not accomplished using suggestion, neither was it achieved by human willpower; it was done by bringing into the harmony of the heart and desires and will with the Divine Will. At the same time, there must have been a revelation of the truth that the Will of God is love, wholeness, joy, and perfection, and not disease, sickness, and misery.
Mind healing does not become possible until we have made our peace with God.
Until we have surrendered entirely to the love principle, we cannot overcome our hate thoughts and malice thoughts or resentment thoughts, by transmuting them into thoughts of love. Until we surrender to the Divine Will and leave all our problems to the Infinite Mind, we cannot cease to worry and fear. Mental discipline and thought-control are necessary after this inward change has taken place, for we all have to work out our salvation, but the essential thing is the inward heart surrender in love and trust. So long as we hate our brother, or fear what the morrow may bring forth, or worry about the things of this life, we can never be well. When, however, we have become attuned to the Divine Harmony, and have learned to control our thoughts and emotions and to transmute fleshly and material desires into loving service, a state of wholeness is the inevitable result. Old, deeply-seated disorders die away, and a steady improvement in the state of health takes its place.
To regain health, it is necessary to raise oneself continually to the Divine Ideal of health, harmony, and perfection. But this is useless if there remains a clashing of the personal will with the Divine Will, or if there is any hate, malice, envy, or fear in the heart. The will must be surrendered to the greater Will (this, in reality, is our highest good, for the fulfillment of the Divine Will is the happy destiny of man): the heart must forgive and be filled with love; fear must be cast out, and replaced by confidence and complete trust before we can enter into that happy, care-free, restful state which is necessary for healing. Health is harmony—a delicate balance and adjustment between spirit, soul, mind, and body. This harmony is dependent entirely upon the greater harmony between ourselves and God. So long as there is a conflict of will, so long as there is hate or resentment, so long as there is selfishness or while there is fear, this harmony cannot exist. Therefore, the bed-rock cause of health is spiritual harmony, all healing being a restoration of harmony between man and his Divine Source. When this harmony is restored, man is no longer a kingdom divided against itself, for he becomes established in unity: he works with the Universe and the Divine Laws of his being, instead of against them. The Divine Life and Power flow through him unimpeded, promoting perfect sub-conscious functioning. His thoughts become cleansed at their source (“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me,” “Cleanse Thou me from secret faults”). He becomes free from the hypnotic spell of the race mind: his eyes, through the influence of the Divine Spirit, become open to the Truth; therefore he is no longer blinded by the Prince of this world. In the Divine Union, he becomes free. (In Christ all are made alive).
The subject of grief and its effect upon health has purposely been left to the last. No amount of right thinking will prevent bereavements in this life.
These form part of the necessary discipline of life, and it depends entirely upon how we meet our trials whether they shall be hurtful or the greatest possible blessing. By rebelling against life’s discipline, griefs become hurtful, but the hurt is not in the bereavement itself, but the attitude of the mind and heart. Until the soul can drink the cup of sorrow willingly, and say “Thy Will be done,” bereavement is hurtful, destroying both health and happiness. The cause of the hurt is, however, in the hardness of the heart, and not in the bereavement itself. There must, therefore, be submission and an acknowledgment that the discipline is necessary. This does not imply, however, a weak giving-in to grief and mourning. One who has been bereaved can never, it is true, be the same again, for he or she becomes more chastened, more loving, more sympathetic, richer, and more mellow. The loved one can never be forgotten, but that is no reason why the heart should be bowed down by grief and the life made desolate by sorrow. In such cases, true religion, not religiousness, is the only thing that can satisfy the soul, harmonize the mind, and heal the body. To be established in Truth, knowing that all is well: that God makes no mistakes and that there is, in reality, no death but only change, is the only way by which bereavement can be made to be a blessing in disguise. When this stage is reached, grief is overcome, death is swallowed up in victory. The only panacea for all life’s troubles is conscious harmony with our Divine Source and the Divine Will and Purpose which desire only our highest good.