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Studies in the thought world : or, Practical mind art online

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den decay of teeth, fatal ansemia, skin diseases, ery-
sipelas, and eczema. Passion, sinful thought, ava-
rice, envy, jealousy, selfishness, all press for external
bodily expression. Even false philosophies and lim-
ited and untrue concepts of the Deity make their
unwholesome influence felt in every bodily tissue.
By infallible law mental states are mirrored upon
the body ; but because the process is gradual and
complex, we fail to observe the connection. Mind
translates itself into flesh and blood.

What must be the physical result upon humanity
of thousands of years of chronic fearing, sinning,
selfishness, anxiety, and unnumbered other morbid
conditions ? These are all the time pulling down
the cells and tissues which only divine, harmonious
thought can build up. Is it surprising that no one
is perfectly healthy ? Because of its being common,
abnormity is rated as normal, or " natural."

The helpful or depressing influence of mind is
present in every function, — throbbing in the heart,


breathing in the lungs, and weaving its own quality
into nutrition, assimilation, sensation, and motion.

It may be objected that children are not respon-
sible thinkers. But they are little sensitive mirrors,
in which surrounding thoughts and conditions are
reflected and duplicated.

A conscious fear of any specific disease is not ne-
cessary to induce it. The trickling rill of conscious
thinking has rendered turbid the whole sub-conscious
reservoir. The accumulated strands of the uncon-
scious fear of generations have been twisted into
the warp and woof of our mentality, and we are
on the plane of reciprocity with disease, regardless of
the particular form in which it appears. Our door
is open to receive it. What is it ? A mental spectre.
A kingly tyrant crowned by our own sensuous beliefs.
It has exactly the power that we have conferred upon
it. We' have galvanized it into life. As a negative
condition it is existent, but not as a God-created

Perhaps there are no more significant examples of
the power of suggestion in history than those experi-
ences known as stigmatization. Like everything else
not superficially evident, it has been rated as " super-
natural." The term, as most persons are aware,
refers to marks, tatoos, or scars branded upon the
body, corresponding to the wounds believed to have
been inflicted upon Jesus at the Crucifixion. The
graphic realism of art ; as employed in the Boman


Church, produced vivid mental pictures of the Pas-
sion. A crucifix held before the eyes, adored, kissed,
and concentrated upon by sensitive and highly
wrought natures tended powerfully towards physical
out-picturing as a natural result. Such manifesta-
tions were denominated miracles.

The first historic example which is beyond a doubt,
is that of St. Francis of Assisi (Sept. 15, 1224).
While intensely meditating upon the tragedy of Cal-
vary in his cell on Mount Alverno, wounds appeared
upon his body. There were five deep scars, those
upon the hands and feet having the appearance of
nails thrust through, and a severe one in the side
which occasionally bled. These facts are attested
by his reliable biographers, Thomas of Celano and
Bonaventura, and also by Pope Alexander IV., who,
with many other witnesses, declare that they had
seen them both before and after his death. A simi-
lar phenomenon occurred in the next century in the
case of St. Catherine of Siena, a sister of the order
of St. Dominic. It seems probable that St. Paul's
declaration, " I bear in my body the stigmata of
Jesus," has the same significance ; but of this there
is no collateral evidence. Beginning with St. Fran-
cis, 'and coming down to the present time, there are
about ninety well-authenticated cases of stigmatiza-
tion on record, of which eighteen were males, and
seventy-two were females. Generally the order of
infliction was the same as that recorded of the Cruci-


fixion, the first token being a bloody sweat, followed
by scars of the thorny crown, then the hand and foot
wounds, that of the side being last.

The stigmatization of the nun Veronica Giuliana
(1696) was remarkable. She drew upon a paper an
outline of the images which she said had been en-
graved upon her heart. After her death (1727) a
post mortem made by Professor Gentile and Dr. Bor-
dega revealed in deep outlines the cross, scourge,
etc., upon the right side of that organ. Other cases
are also recorded of heart-marking when no scars
appeared upon the surface. In still others, very
severe pains were locally experienced without any

A young woman in Saxony (1820) was subject to
stigmatic trance. She appeared as if dead on Good
Eriday, and revived on Easter Sunday.

The stigmata have appeared sometimes in colored
circles of various hues, often of blackish gray, and
sometimes in rose-colored patches. In many cases
the scars, and even the bleeding, would occur on
Good Eriday, and disappear on the following Easter
Sunday. Details might be multiplied. Instances
occurring in recent times, minutely recorded, and
well known in medical annals, have merely been
classed as remarkable or abnormal by conventional
science, and thus dismissed. Intelligently to turn
such herculean mental forces in the opposite and
beneficent direction seems not to have been thought


of, because the law of operation was not grasped.
Everything strange was thought to be " supernatu-
ral," and that was a finality. Stigmatic pains and
wounds were superstitiously regarded as special
tokens of divine favor. But we now know that to
gaze absorbedly upon the placid, beneficent portrait-
ure of the Christ, as represented by some of the
modern artistic ideals, would be beautifying and up-
lifting in the highest degree.

Outcroppings of so-called " miraculous healing "
have appeared all through the ages, and still con-
tinue at various shrines, and from contact with sacred
relics. A notable instance is found in the Bambino
(image of the infant Jesus), which is contained in
the Church St. Marie in Araceli, Rome. This little
bejewelled image is conveyed to the houses of wealthy
Roman citizens in cases of dangerous illness, with
remarkable results. Numerous cures at Lourdes and
Traves, France, are well known and admitted by all
who have made any careful investigation. The facts
are undoubted, but the philosophy of the process has
been mystified and misunderstood.

The possible intensity of mental energy is shown
in many of the phenomena of hypnotic suggestion.
Red or blistered letters or designs are marked upon
the arm of a subject, following the simple tracing
of a pencil, or even the finger, under the supposition
that it is a hot iron.

The principle of mental causation is widely rec-


ognized in an endless variety of phases among bar-
barous and half-civilized races. Aboriginal tribes are
near to nature, and keen in locating causes. Thus,
charms, incantations, dances, images, and ceremonies
have a wonderful influence for healing. They divert
the mind, stimulate the faith, and awaken recupera-
tive forces to action. If baseless superstition can be
so efficacious, what is not possible by a judicious use
of thought reformation ?

But as if to heap up evidence, " Ossa on Pelion,"
come the latest developments of physical science in
confirmation. Recent experiments in the laboratories
of psycho-physicists — notably those of Prof. Elmer
Gates, recently of the Smithsonian Institute — chem-
ically demonstrate mental causation. In a recent
interview he says : —

" Bad and unpleasant feelings create harmful chem-
ical products in the body which are physically in-
jurious. Good, pleasant, benevolent, and cheerful
feelings create beneficial chemical products which
are physically healthful. These products may be
detected by chemical analysis in the perspiration
and secretions of the individual. More than forty
of the good, and as many of the bad, have been
detected. Suppose half a dozen men in a room.
One feels depressed, another remorseful, another ill-
tempered, another jealous, another cheerful, another
benevolent. Samples of their perspiration are placed
in the hands of the psycho-physicist. Under his


examination they reveal all these emotional condi-
tions distinctly and unmistakably."

Some one may inquire, What about the observance
of hygienic law ? Man fails to study the laws of
his own being, and gives all his attention to external
conditions. He critically analyzes everything in the
whole cosmos, except the oue thing most important,
— his own constitution. From the material stand-
point, environment seems discouraging, and even
hopeless. So soon as one hostile element is van-
quished, another, yet more subtle, is found concealed
in ambush behind it.

Bacteriology has let loose an infinite "host of insid-
ious enemies which threaten us at every vulnerable
point. Even nature is interpreted as adverse, and
the very elements are thought to be in hostile com-
bination against poor humanity. Human pride flat-
ters itself that the causes of its ills are outside. It
would avoid responsibility. Under the influence of
an effeminate artificialism, which is really abnormal,
we unwittingly link deadly qualities to air, water,
climate, fog, heat, cold, cloud, rain, or sunshine, when
by concordant vibration on our part they would be
friendly and normal. There is no mistake in the
cosmic plan. Hygiene builds a great dam to stay
the current of threatening evils ; but in vain, for it
rises and soon flows over. It is built higher, and the
leaks patched ; but it yields, for its foundation is
upon the quicksand.


But it will be urged that hygienic observance is
rational, and that experience indorses and enforces
compliance with it. Must we not destroy adverse
bacteria, and maintain barriers against contagions
and epidemics ? It is freely admitted that for the
present we must observe many of the limitations to
which we, and those before us, have yielded alle-
giance, or as a community suffer the penalties. But
the ideal to develop is that of an inner and spiritual
armor, as scientific as it is spiritual, that will be-
come an impenetrable shield. The creative forces of
thought must be brought under intelligent control,
until emancipation from the distortions of sense-per-
ception is accomplished.

Let us now briefly touch upon the practical appli-
cation of the healing-power of one mind as exerted
upon another. The fact that thought vibrations can
be projected, and strike unisons in another mind, has
been scientifically demonstrated, and few will deny
it. Certain persons of highly trained and concern
trative power can gradually induce a new quality of
consciousness in the receptive mentality of others.
A degree of passivity and harmony of purpose in the
recipient is necessary. Soon the invalid begins to
think differently of himself. The better thought
seems to be entirely his own ; but in reality he has
been assisted. There is no hypnotic imposition, but
only the calm, concentrated working of two minds
for one result. A re-enforcement, or thought minis-


tration, is sent to where it is most needed. The
healer has no power in hfls own personality ; but his
projected ideal, for which he is only a kind of chan-
nel, is the working force. With a clear and clean
mind of his own, he looks through and beyond the
adverse external appearances of the other, striving
to awaken a perfect ideal that may at length be
brought into expression. He penetrates to where
influences are radiated outwards. Gradually, visible
sequence and manifestation fall into line.

The patient is like a discordant instrument which
needs tuning. A successful healer must be an over-
flowing fountain of love and good- will. He makes
ideal conditions present. The patient's mental back-
ground is like a sensitive plate, upon which will
gradually appear outlines of health and harmony
as positively presented.

This is no mere narrow professionalism. All can
exert healing influence in some degree. Every one
should project thought-ministrations of wholesome
and perfect ideals into other minds. We are think-
ing, not for ourselves, but for the world. Thoughts
are positive forces. Even their unconscious vibra-
tions go out in never-ending waves ; but when con-
sciously projected with an aim, their impact upon
the resonant strings of other minds stirs them to
action. Every ego is a creative centre. .Not that
he forms anew, but brings something of the Univer-
sal into manifestation. Thought energy, so cheaply


valued and so aimlessly squandered, can be made
infinitely more valuable than material treasures.
We make ideals our own by holding them ; and this
both actualizes them and gives them to others.
Material ownership has but one objective, but a
single ideal can be held by thousands. Every owner,
instead of consuming it, only makes it richer, and
passes it along.

But turning from the influence of one mind upon
another, let us briefly consider self-development. Be-
ginning on the lowest plane, what can one do for
one's own physical ailments ? Granted, as already
shown, the wonderful potency of mental pictures, the
amazing importance of intelligent and ideal think-
ing is at once evident. If thought energy be so
great and vital, the most important question for
each one is, How can I control and direct it ? In
every mind there are more or less indefinable fears,
spectres, imaginings, forebodings, and morbid de-
pressions which we would fain dismiss, but find it
impossible. They are the ■• skeletons in our closets,"
of whose existence even our most intimate friends
are unaware. And now comes the startling knowl-
edge that these mental tenants, besides being gen-
erally disagreeable, are actually engaged in pulling
down the physical organism. How shall we be rid
of them ? They cannot be forced out by mere wishing,
any more than darkness can be* driven from a room.
But as light will dissipate darkness, so truth and


ideals will displace error. But even in these seeming
evils there is a beneficent purpose, when rightly in-
terpreted. They come to goad the consciousness,
and make it uncomfortable in the dark, damp base-
ment of its nature, in order that it may be induced
to mount to the upper and sunny apartments.

It is the office of pain to disengage the tendrils
of our being from negative and material conditions,
otherwise we might always remain, and finally be-
come, reconciled to sin and abnormity. The estab-
lished order wisely provides penalty for arrested
development ; and when understood it is educational.
Conformity to law is the antidote. Thought must
be trained and ideals held until they become em-
bodied and expressed. y An ideal is a present pos-
session, and by immutable law it seeks to out-picture
and actualize itself visibly. Let us illustrate in a
simple and practical manner.

Suppose that physical sensation says to one, " You
are ill," or " You are very weak." Acquiescence on
his part, and that of his friends, is a surrender to
the body, a positive servitude. He is no less a
vassal because the condition is so common. He
should rather turn the thought energy most intensely
in the opposite direction. Let him reply mentally,
with firm emphasis, " I " (the real ego) " am well."
"I am strong." "I am whole." "lam soul." "I
rule the body." " I vibrate in unison with the
Universal Strength, and open my whole nature to


it." Let him repeat and affirm these and similar
ideals, even if at first mechanically, and they will
gradually change his consciousness concerning him-
self. He thus triumphs over animal sensation, and
assumes the rule of his own rightful kingdom. The
principle has endless forms of application which will
suggest themselves. Can one do this thoroughly and
successfully the first time ? Assuredly not. As
well ask if a child who is just learning the alpha-
bet can read a poem. All development is a growth.
The affirming of ideals should, therefore, begin
months before the time of their seeming necessity.

One's ideals are his most intimate companions.
They impress their quality upon him far more deeply
than do personal friends. Shall they be health,
harmony, happiness, love, purity, and strength ; or
disorder, inharmony, malice, fear, sensuality, and
weakness ? Choose ye, and they will install them-
selves in the consciousness. We adopt them, and
they mould us.

As a rule, we mentally dwell upon the plane of
physical sensation. But such a slavery can be grad-
ually overcome if we will heed the law and firmly
hold the ideal.

The great reservoir of sub-conscious mind auto-
matically impresses its quality upon the physical
organism. But its contents can be gradually changed
by the introduction of the Jittle rill of conscious
thought of a different kind.


Let us briefly outline a system which, if persist-
ently followed, will repay one an hundred-fold.
Take some available hr-ir each day, and quietly
and rest fully be alone ir the silence. Bar out all
current events, anxieties, and sensations, and retire
to the inmost sanctuary of soul. Bring in the
highest ideals that one wishes embodied, and sit
face to face with them. They will increasingly be-
come one's condition, and discords will be displaced.
Any wakeful hour at night will also serve an ex-
cellent purpose. Besides its restorative potency, it
will grow to be a veritable mental and spiritual
banquet — the most delightful of all the experiences
of life. This is idealism, practically and scientifi-
cally applied.

Besides the ideals before suggested, there are some
that are greater and more purely spiritual in char-
acter, which virtually include all other good things
that are below them in grade. We venture to hint
at a few : I am one with the Eternal Goodness. I
am filled with the Universal Spirit. " In Him we
live and move and have our being." I project
thought vibrations of love to God and all humanity.
All is good. I recognize the divine in me as my
real ego. I deny the bondage of matter; I am
spirit. I rule. I am pure, strong, well — poten-
tially whole. "All things are yours."

Through concentration these healing and uplift-
ing truths are engraven upon the consciousness in


a vastly deeper degree than by mere ordinary sur-
face thinking. The individual not only thinks them,
but gives himself to them.

The contemplation of pure and elevating works
of art, especially a placid and spiritual type of por-
traiture, is also very helpful as a prolonged sug-
gestive exercise. In the same wa} 7 visible mottoes,
graphic and positively ideal in character, are ex-
cellent to dwell upon. Through the medium of the
eye, by exposure, their truth becomes photographed
upon the deep living consciousness. We become or
grow like what we mentally live with. Shall we
choose beauty and wholeness, or deformity and dis-
ease ? We do not desire suffering and stigmata,
but the true, living, joyful, Christly perfection.
The results of a six months' trial of pure sci-
entific mental gymnastics will be both a surprise
and a delight. It will greatly enrich life, and
increase the power of accomplishment upon every
plane. * It will be a veritable revelation to victims
of insomnia, dyspepsia, nervous prostration, and
pessimistic depression, not to mention numerous
other mental and physical infelicities. It is an
accessible realm to rich and poor. It costs only
earnest effort.

Let us now note a few of the more distinctive
religious aspects of this higher philosophy of life.
Historically, it is easy to see that it is in accord with
revelation, and with the purest ideals of all religions,


While rebuking scholastic and dogmatic systems
on the one hand, and pseudo-scientific materialism on
the other, it vitalizes and makes practical the prin-
ciples of the Sermon on the Mount. The healing of
to-day is the same in kind, though probably not
equal ir. degree, to that of the primitive church.
Jesus plainly recognized it as an act within, or a
changed consciousness. His definite and repeated
explanation was : " Thy faith hath made thee whole."
In a pre-eminent degree he could touch the key of
that faith, but it did the work. Healing is in accord
with spiritual law, which is ever uniformly the same
under like conditions. As outward and practical
attestation, it ought never to have dropped out of
the church. The divine commission to preach the
gospel and heal the sick includes two different sides
of one whole. By what authority is one declared
binding through the ages, and the other ignored ?
Who will assert that God is capricious, so that a
boon for one era should be withdrawn from another ?
" These signs shall follow them that believe." Are
such limited to time, race, or location ? As ecclesi-
asticism and materialism crept into the early church,
and it became allied with the state, notably in the
time of Constantine, and personal ambitions and
worldly policies sapped its vitality, spiritual trans-
parency and brotherly love faded out, and with them
went the power, or rather the recognition of the
power, to heal.


A normal concept of God as Omnipresent Good
strongly aids in producing the expression of health.
Seeming ills are not God-created entities, but hu-
man perversions and reflected images of subjective

Both science and dogmatic theology, not yet recog-
nizing the universal beneficence of law, infer that
negative or so-called evil tendencies in man may
keep on growing indefinitely. Materialism logically
leads to pessimism. But the evolutionary trend is
forward. As a disciplinary and educational process,
evil, which may be defined as distorted thinking,
does continue for a while ; but it meets with an ever-
increasing friction which the divine beneficence has
fixed in the established order. Subjective distortions
will at length accomplish their educational purpose.
One of the great healing forces is the deep intuitive
perception that there is no evil — which includes
everything that is called bad — as a universal objec-
tive principle, but that it is only a name for views
through subjective lenses that are colored and abnor-
mal. It is therefore obvious that the highest ideals
are normal and true, and that everything less is in a
deep sense untrue.

There is a spiritual, as well as a sensuous, chem-
istry. The most accurate proportion of material
substances must be blended to produce a given com-
pound ; so a soul-structure, to be symmetrical, must
be as carefully composed. Prophets and poets are


becoming expert spiritual chemists ; and the true
elements of the kingdom of heaven — which is sub-
jective harmony — are being scientifically recognized.
Just those constituents that are able to satisfy the
universal soul-hunger of humanity will be judiciously
sought out, and their combination intelligently pro-
vided for.

Scientific idealism is the expert alchemist, whose
invaluable services are at the command of every
earnest soul. Man is a secondary creator, and a
boundless quantity of unmanifested good encompasses
him on every side.- There is a profusion of health,
strength, beauty, opulence, harmony, and courage
heaped up about him waiting for appropriation. The
higher consciousness is the channel through which
they may be embodied. Through positive formative
thought we gain the title-deeds to invaluable posses-
sions. With the wand of affirmation we project them
into expression and actuality. Vitality is pressing
in upon us on every side in the attempt to break
through our false limitations. There is no loss and
no decay, and every perfection stands patiently wait-
ing for our nod of recognition.

The physicist has ever been searching for the great
secret of matter, but it ever eludes pursuit. No
scalpel will ever penetrate deeply enough to touch
it, nor microscope be powerful enough to bring it
into the field of vision. sensuous man ! why
continue your quest for the "living among the


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Online LibraryHenry WoodStudies in the thought world : or, Practical mind art → online text (page 8 of 15)