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displaced, and thereby rendered non-existent. Enlist-
ing all law in his behalf, through an understanding
of, and compliance with its methods, he uses it
as though it were his own. He re-enforces himself
with supernal and cosmic energy by thinking God's
thoughts after him.

But let us more specifically attempt to translate
this new consciousness, or higher thought, into near
and concrete application and expression. This new
philosophy of life and being is no fine-spun meta-
physical abstraction, but of the utmost practicality
and utility in every-day living. We may first in-
quire, What does it do for the body, that most useful
instrument which man has so persistently mistaken
for himself ?

The illuminated intuitive perception soon confers
such a sense of spiritual supremacy and harmony
that, as a natural result, the body increasingly ex-
presses hearty co-operation and wholeness. It is
the one thing necessary for its own welfare that it
should glide into its secondary, befitting, and nor-
mal position. Its dethronement from the role of a
tyrannical ruler is the very act which works out its
own salvation.

" Order is heaven's first law ; " therefore misplace-
ment is lawless, disorderly, and destructive. As a



96 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

willing subject the body exercises a sweet ministry
and useful service for its owner, and becomes an out-
ward reflector and translator of mental and spiritual
harmony.

The vital and unseen forces build the body, and
not the body the forces. The thought forms the
brain, and not the brain the thought. The visible
form is the stereotype plate, cast from the fused im-
material composition of past mental states. Matter,
whether erected into vegetal, animal, or human con-
figurations, is moulded and qualified by the soul-
forging which goes on within.

Let us inquire for a moment as to the necessity
for some more potent energy than that afforded
by conventional means for the healing of prevalent
maladies and the overcoming of human ills and
weaknesses. Do we find that these are fleeing away ?
and are we satisfied to rest in past attainments ?
Is it not desirable to occupy a more elevated van-
tage-ground, from which we may effectively charge
and drive out the multiform host of abnormal and
perverse intruders ?

Even . hygiene has but a limited range, so long
as man fails to study the laws of his own being,
and gives all his attention to external conditions.
He critically examines and analyzes every known
thing, "in the heavens above, the earth beneath, and
the waters under the earth," except the one thing
most important, — his own constitution. The more



WHAT IS MAN? 97

deeply tie penetrates into the apparent complexity
of adverse environment, the more discouraging and
hopeless the outlook. Every new discovery lures
him more deeply into a materialistic bog. So soon
as one hostile element is vanquished, another yet
more subtle is found concealed in ambush behind
it. From the sensuous standpoint, humanity is men-
aced within and without.

The germ-theory has brought a mental picture of
innumerable hostile organisms which are supposed to
be lying in wait for our destruction. But in reality
the great majority of these are friendly ; and those
that seem otherwise, when not scavengers, are con-
comitants or effects rather than causes. Pathology
becomes so abnormal that the very elements are
rated as antagonistic. Hygiene is invoked to ward
off all these numerous ills which fear, expectation,
and acceptance have armed.

But in the present state of human consciousness,
collectively, we have to yield to some limitations
which past and present belief has imposed. In the
cases of contagions and epidemics, quarantines and
barriers must be imposed until there is a general
affirmation of freedom. We are, in measure, bound
by laws of our own imposing until there is a general
emancipation. Collective improvement can therefore
only be gradual and evolutionary.

But the ideal to develop is that of an inner and
spiritual armor — as scientific as it is spiritual —



98 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

that will become an impenetrable shield. We need
an intelligent, subjective dominance and control of
the creative forces of thought, until full emancipa-
tion from the distortions of sense-perception be
accomplished.

Imagine the human body in normal expression.
What a beautiful and sacred divine masterpiece !
It is a graceful and be jeweled high altar, conse-
crated by the spiritual flame within, which should
be kept in a living glow. Its sacrifices are such as
kindle life, the dispensation of dead and bleeding
offerings having forever passed away.

The physical organism is a sanctuary of the hu-
manized divinity, the grandest visible expression of
deific energy, in exquisite and symmetrical propor-
tion. It is the highest known embodiment of divine
art and architecture. It is also the most perfect
exponent of the law of active co-operation. Every
member is supremely honorable, in its time and
place ; and any seeming dishonor has been gratui-
tously thrust upon it by perverted thought. The
body here outlined is that of normal objective ex-
pression of the developed higher selfhood.

But turning from the ideal to the average out-pic-
turing, we find this instrument which is so beautifully
capacitated, to be, in actual expression, discordant
and tyrannical. Instead of exercising a sweet and
peaceful ministry, it demands constant service and
indulgence. It deviates from the normal, refuses



WHAT IS MAN? 99

harmonious co-operation, and becomes capriciously
unreliable. It reaches this condition as the result
of a perverted and inharmonious quality of con-
sciousness.

The ego has surrounded itself with a thought
environment of discordant vibration with the estab-
lished order. The negatives of fear, anxiety, envy,
pessimism, avarice, lust, malice, selfishness, material-
ism, one or more, are in evidence ; and at length overt
manifestation conies in some form of disorder. The
thinker within has reversed the established order ;
and the day of judgment, when the tribunal at the
soul-centre renders his righteous verdict of condem-
nation, arrives. Mental and spiritual science points
out the road to be traversed in order to bring one
back to conformity to law ; and thus judgment is
satisfied, and through a new consciousness, harmony
is restored on all planes of expression.



100 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.



OTJB RELATIONS TO ENVIRONMENT.

The threads which connect us with objective things
are woven into our life-fabric, and determine its qual-
ity. This is true in its application alike to circum-
stances, events, principles, and persons. We are not
only influenced and modified by relations, but are
made by them. The ego is the vital centre of a
network of derived, shared, and related ties over
which vibrations are continually passing. The ideal
condition to be sought is harmony with the cosmic
order.

It is apparent that if the quality of relations de-
termines character, a consideration of our power to
modify and improve them becomes of great impor-
tance. There are but two possible ways in which
changes in our relations to the external world can
take place. One involves an alteration in the ob-
jective things or circumstances themselves, — either
through our own efforts or those of others, — and the
other, a change in ourselves, or in our attitude and
disposition towards them.

We find, however, that our power to reconstruct,
or even to modify, outside conditions, in order to
mould them to our liking, is exceedingly limited.



OUR RELATIONS TO ENVIRONMENT. 101

To improve our external surroundings we may, per-
haps, move from place to place, and thus find new
conditions and society ; but even when this is practi-
cable, it does not always furnish the desired improve-
ment. Our duties or business will not always admit
of such experiments, even if they were uniformly
successful. In removing ourselves from the presence
of seeming ills, we are liable " to fly to others which
we know not of."

But .our closest and most real environment is that
of our own mentality, or thought world, which we
carry with us, and which cannot be readily altered
by a mere change of locality. A moment's consider-
ation will show that a vast majority of the ills that
encompass us are of our own making, and belong to
our own economy. They are not a real part of us,
however, though they may often seem so to be.

Our limited ability to control external conditions
so as to ideally shape and color them, makes it evi-
dent that the main field for improvement lies at our
own end of the lines of relationship. From our spir-
itual centre or ego radiate lines which connect us
with every part of the universe of God. Invisible
telegraphic wires keep us in communication with
every material object and spiritual entity, and cur-
rents of attraction or repulsion are ever crossing
over them. Everything is sending its message to
us. The stars, the sky, the cloud, the air, heat, cold,
the landscape, the flower, — each and all are trans-



102 STUDIES IX THE THOUGHT WORLD.

mitting their communications to our consciousness.
Events, transactions, joys, fears, good and ill, all
flash their varied and peculiar despatches to the
heart of our being, — the ego.

Are we weak and passive recipients of all these dis-
cordant sounds ? and are we bound to receive them
as unwelcome? or can we, in great measure, trans-
form and harmonize their significance ? These are
not mere questions of curious speculation or meta-
physical abstraction, but of intense and living prac-
ticality. If it be in any degree possible, through
spiritual culture and unfoldment, to improve and
rule our relations, rather than to remain in utter sub-
jection to them, we should be alive to such an oppor-
tunity and privilege. We frequently say what we
will do " under the circumstances ; " but is there a
possibility that we can get over the circumstances ?
Is there a kind of spiritual alchemy at our command,
by which the freight of base metal which comes to
us over the lines of relationship may be transmuted
into the fine gold of utility and harmony?

Spiritual problems, like those of mathematics, are
solved by scientific rules because they have a simi-
lar exactitude. Let us suggest a proposition which
every one may utilize in some degree, and which, if
observed, may prove an " open sesame " to higher
conditions, and then test it as we try a key in the
wards of a lock. The messages that we receive over
all the mult If or in invisible wires of relationship are



OUR RELATIONS TO ENVIRONMENT. 103

the exact reflection and correspondence of those we
send out. Even though, we fail to recognize their
features, they are of our own design and engraving.
Our own thought regarding person, place, state, or
thing is flashed back, even though we may not
identify it.

Let us try to bring out this principle of universal
application by means of a simple illustration. A
nervously sensitive person lives upon a noisy city
thoroughfare. For some reason it is not practicable
for him to remove to a more quiet locality. The
roar of traffic over pavements and the buzz of elec-
tric cars become intolerable, and prevent repose by
day and by night. The sensitive one is antagonized,
and sends out a current of unreconciled and rebel-
lious thought, and in return each rumble and buzz
telegraphs back its harsh and troublesome message.
Now apply the rule. Though at first it seem me-
chanical, and even absurd, let the sensitive one affirm
and send out thoughts : " That noise is music to my
ears ; that roar is necessary, and it is therefore good.
It conduces to the convenience of many whose com-
fort I highly value. It shall not be evil to me, for
I will make it good. I am learning to love its music,
and I will send out no other thought. I actually
enjoy it." .

Let the nervous person faithfully persevere in the
course indicated for a few weeks, and see if the roar
does not become a veritable lullaby. What a boon



104 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

if we can transform stnrnbling-blocks into stepping-
stones ! We become despondent, and perhaps ill, be-
cause we think things are against us ; and each thing
sends back a transcript with the same coloring. Two
persons experience similar pains or illnesses. One
regards his experience as an unmitigated calamity,
undeserved, without good cause, and only evil.
Things are against him ; and he is impatient and
rebellious, or else wilts before them. In either case
intensity is added. Every sensation thus voices back
his own thought. The other person soliloquizes :
" This experience is educational and necessary, else
it would not exist. All law is beneficent, even that
which produced this result ; and it must tend toward
my spiritual development, and is therefore good. I
cheerfully accept this teaching, and will profit by it.
In the future I will try to avoid past mistakes, and
i think no evil.'' " The judgment is thereby accepted,
the suffering fades out, and the seeming evil becomes
a good ; and all for the reason that the good thought
came back like an harmonious echo.

The law of non-resistance is immutable and divine.
" But I say unto you that ye resist not evil : but
whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn
to him the other also." " Absurd ! " says the worldly
policy. But non-resistance conquers. Bising supe-
rior to the affront, it transforms the whole transac-
tion. Again, "Love your enemies," and so they are
overcome and changed into friends. The "enemy"



OUR RELATIONS TO ENVIRONMENT. 105

may not always be a person, but possibly an event,
an illness, a seeming calamity, a fear, or misfortune.
As soon as messages of love are sent to them, —
which may be in the shape of a realization that
seeming evils are really good in disguise, — they
lose the hostile attitude which they have occupied
in our consciousness. They remove their repugnant
masks, and are found to be friends. We must re-
solve that nothing shall antagonize us. Whether
here or hereafter, unlimited antagonism is hell. As
we repel things, they repel us.

But should we not antagonize evil ? Only by
showing a better way. It may be admitted that in
the present evolutionary stage of society, civil gov-
ernments must possess executive force ; but even now
the law of non-resistance is available for the indi-
vidual. As rapidly as unselfishness comes into rec-
ognition, not only as the highest, but as the most
profitable law, governments will become organized
channels for altruism.

In proportion to its intensity, antagonism is sui-
cidal. How many allow trivial matters, even pos-
sibly mere questions of taste and fancy, to make
them critical and uncomfortable. Individuals, sects,
and parties antagonize each other, not so much for
what they really are, as for what subjective coloring
makes them appear to be. The quality of environ-
ment is largely what we make it. If we recognize
and emphasize the negative and evil, even with pur-



106 STUDIES in THE THOUGHT WORLD.

pose of correction, we not only unwittingly aid in
bringing it into manifestation, but we receive it back
with interest.

Thought is a projectile which always hits the tar-
get ; and if silently telegraphed specifically, or even
at random, it is gathered up and echoed back in like
grade and measure. Love " thinketh no evil " is
one of Paul's scientific declarations. We must learn
to control our thoughts rather than let them control
us. If left to their own free course, without disci-
pline and supervision, then, like a rudderless boat,
we become the sport of every passing breeze and
current. The will must exercise itself in the selec-
tion of right thought material. "With what meas-
ure ye mete it shall be measured to you again."
This is even a truer philosophy of thought inter-
change than of transactions of a material nature.
Every sound, whether of harmony or discord, has its
corresponding echo.

God, being the sum-total of all our other relations,
must have our supremest homage and love. Mes-
sages of aspiration, oneness, and communion, flashed
out from our end of the line of his relationship,
come back in vibrations, sweet, heavenly, and har-
monious. The law of attraction and correspondence
is universal. As sons of God we should, through
law, reign over the realms below us. The divine
element in humanity is creative, and must be exer-
cised. Thus we may evolve good, and bring it into



OUR RELATIONS TO ENVIRONMENT. 107

manifestation. While we may not at once be able
to attain to that altitude where the universal benefi-
cence of the divine order is fully apparent, we may
climb and aspire, and each step will open up a
broader horizon of the real.



108 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.



DIVINITY AND HUMANITY.

" More near than aught thou call'st thy own,
Draw if thou canst the mystic line,
Severing rightly His from thine,
Which is human, which divine."

What is the normal relation between God and
Man ? Can there be any distinct boundary line be-
tween them ? Is there a divine side to man which
opens ont into the unfathomable deeps of the deific
nature ? These are the most important questions
which can occupy the human consciousness.

History is largely composed of the records of the
attempts of humanity to build walls of separation.
Men have been continually putting up bars around
themselves, leaving God outside. To a great degree
they have also shut out Nature and their fellow-men.
They have drawn sharp lines between their own
souls and the Universal Soul. They have been like
pieces of chain disconnected by severed links from
anything substantial, or like sections of water-pipe
parted from the reservoir. Man's nature, when
walled in, becomes a dry and barren desert. There
is no freshness, no verdure, no growth. The build-
ing of division walls has been so general and so long



DIVINITY AND HUMANITY. 109

continued that disunion has become the rule. Not
only is divinity excluded, hut humanity itself is
shattered into fragments.

In the more infantile condition of the race, there
seems to have been a divine nearness and intimacy
which has been lost. As wealth, power, material
improvement, and civilization increased, they usurped
the whole mental horizon of mankind. Man has
never been destitute of so-called religions, but they
gradually became formal and devitalized. To the
patriarchs of simple and devout life, God — the Great
Unseen — was a present and all-important factor.
"While their concept of the divine character was lim-
ited and low, it was near and real. In ages of Ar-
cadian simplicity, and among the primitive Aryans,
Nature was the great revelator, and an intimate
sympathy with her harmonies and mysteries fresh-
ened and vitalized humanity. Even the pantheism
and paganism of the Greeks contained so much of
the intuitive element, that Paul declared that God
was not far from every one of them. " As certain
even of your own poets have said, For we are also
his offspring." We owe them perhaps more than
we are aware for many high ideals of beauty, purity,
and spirituality. God revealed himself through his
Son to the Hebrew, and so to the world ; but he had
always been revealing himself through Nature and
the intuition, and this revelation was distinct in the
Greek consciousness.



110 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

But later, a material artificial civilization sprang
up, and formal systems and institutions began to
multiply, and increasingly they grew out of touch,
with the divine and unseen. The intellectual faculty
became more highly developed, and it overshadowed
the inner perception. The primitive church, pure
and spiritual at first, gradually became theological,
institutional, and polemic. Scholasticism, always in-
tellectually capricious, formulated system upon sys-
tem ; and each raised a wall of exclusiveness, and shut
itself out, not only from divine involution, but from
human sympathy and oneness. Divisions and subdi-
visions, sects and schools, multiplied, each contract-
ing its own domain, and each seeing only a fragment
of the universal unity of truth in its field of vision.

Now, for the first time in ages, the process seems
to be' reversed. Ancient walls are slowly crumbling,
and the sweet sunshine of larger truth is dispell-
ing darkness and narrowness, and a unifying charity
is dissolving all barriers. The beautiful outlines of
God the Father, and Man the Brother, are seen to be
not only bright, but near — • nay, within. Men are
" feeling after God," and finding him. Beligion —
the binding of man to God — is assuming its vital
and original, significance; and the binding is waxing
stronger on man's part by his growing consciousness of
the transcendent beauty and attractiveness of the di-
vine nature, not only in general, but within himself.

The apparent retrograde since the days of Greek



Divinity and humanity. Ill

idealism and of primitive Christianity, when the
human spiritual perception was relatively in a state
of high development, is only a swing of the pendu-
lum, the grander and wider progress being always
upward. Spiritual evolution comes unevenly, and
through apparent wide vibrations. A seeming sus-
pended development, or even a temporary retrograde,
stores up energy to give a new and unprecedented
impulse to the pendulum of progress. Times of
apparent rest or declension furnish the soil in which
new and more luxuriant crops of human attainment
mature in the divine sunlight.

The Dispensation of the Spirit comes on apace.
That increasing God-consciousness which forms the
basis of, and has outward attestation in mental and
physical healing, is also manifesting itself in the
broadening of theological systems, and in the'spirit-
ualizing of science itself. The church is awakening
to the fact that she has been deficient in that living
experience of spiritual vitality which alone can lift
her out of a barren intellectual formalism. Litera-
ture is being enriched by a warm influx of lofty
idealism which brings out in high relief the deific
features of man's inner nature. Science is emerging
from its cold, earthy materialism, where it has hiber-
nated, into a marked appreciation, not only of imma-
terial orderly force, but of unity, design, beneficence,
and divine substance. It is now as " scientific " to
study the nature and destiny of the human soul as to



112 STUDIES IN THE THOUGHT WORLD.

spend a lifetime in the investigation of bugs, fishes,
animals, geology, or astronomy. Man is finding that
to know himself is at least as valuable an accom-
plishment as a knowledge of molecules and bacteria.
Poetry, which always has had much of the divine
sparkle in its melodies, glows with an increasing
inspiration. Even fiction is being lifted out of the
base realism which, by a false standard, has been
rated as " artistic," and is moving like a smooth-
running vehicle to convey higher ideals into the
living domain of human consciousness.

The disjointed fragments of truth are being gath-
ered up and fitted, each in its place, " without the
sound of hammer," into the universal temple. The
harmony, inter-relation, and goodness of all things
are disclosed, and, by a living attraction, they are
cemented and unified. The world, by a super-sensu-
ous preception, is feeling God within and around it ;
and while the Bible is no longer regarded a~ the only
channel for revelation, its testimony is confirmed and
its spiritual foundations broadened.

The brightened glow of Immanuel carries with it
everything that man has lacked for the rounding out
of his complex nature. As he discovers the universal
beneficent trend pervading both the macrocosm and
the microcosm, he finds the manifested God,



HAS MENTAL HEALING A VALID BASIS? 113



HAS MENTAL HEALING A VALID SCIENTIFIC
AND RELIGIOUS BASIS? 1

As this topic is somewhat unconventional, the au-
thor may be pardoned for a few preliminaries that
are somewhat personal and explanatory. He has no
professional interest along this line, his position be-
ing that of an independent investigator and seeker
for truth. He does not appear as the advocate of
any school, system, or cult, but only as one who,
from force of circumstances, has been led to some ap-
preciation of great principles, a knowledge of which
the world greatly needs.

A personal experience, some years since, of unusual
depth and intensity, involving an application of the
new philosophy, was the starting-point of a most


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Online LibraryHenry WoodStudies in the thought world : or, Practical mind art → online text (page 6 of 15)