Orison Swett Marden.

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I am sure those who try it will find delight
and satisfaction in the habit not only of clear-
ing the mind before going to sleep of all
worry and anxiety, all grudges and jealousies
— of everything that clouds the intellect — but
also in stoutly and persistently claiming the
things which they long for as already theirs.

Be sure that when you fall asleep there is
only that in your consciousness which will
help you to be more of a man — more of a
woman. Determine that your mind, when you
lose conscious thought, shall have in it no
black images and no dark spots, but only
beautiful images and thoughts of hope and
good will toward every living creature ; that
there shall be no failure thought, no poverty
thought, no ugly, discordant thought, but that
everything shall be bright, cheerful, hopeful,
helpful and optimistic.




There is a nobleness of mind that heals
Wounds beyond salves.

— Cartwright.

"God never made his work for man to mend."

JAMES, of Harvard Univer-
sity, says " we are just now
witnessing a very copious un-
locking of new ideas through
the converts to metaphysical
healing, or other forms of
spiritual philosophy. The ideas are healthy-
minded and optimistic. The power, small or
great, comes in various shapes to the individ-
ual ; power not to ' mind ' things that used to
vex one ; power to concentrate one's mind ;
good cheer ; good temper ; a firmer and more
elastic tone. The most saintly person I have
ever known is a friend now suffering from can-
cer of the breast. I do not assume to judge of
the wisdom or unwisdom of her disobedience
to the doctors, but cite her case here solely as
an example of what an idea can do. Her ideas
have kept her practically a well woman for



months after she would otherwise have given
up and gone to bed. They have annulled pain
and weakness and given her a cheerful, active
life ; a life unusually beneficent to those
around her."

Few people realize how largely their health
depends upon the saneness of their thinking.
You cannot hold ill-health thoughts, disease
thoughts, in the mind without having them
outpictured in the body. The thought will ap-
pear in the body somewhere, and its quality
will determine the results — sound or unsound,
healthful or unhealthful. As it is impossible
for a person to remain absolutely pure who
habitually holds pictures of impurity in the
imagination, so it is just as impossible to be
healthy while holding the disease thought.
There cannot be harmony in the body with
disease in the mind.

The health stream, if polluted at all, is
polluted at the fountain-head — in the thought,
in the ideal.

The different organs seem to be especially
susceptible to certain kinds of mental in-
fluence. Excessive selfishness, covetousness,
envy, especially affect the liver and the spleen. \
Hatred and anger have a very aggravating
influence upon some diseases of the Hdneys.


Jealousy seriously affects both the liver and
the heart.

If there is fear, worry, anxiety in the mind,
the heart's action indicates it quickly. There
is no doubt that where mental discord, such
as worry, anxiety and jealousy, have become
chronic, the heart suffers accordingly. Thou-
sands of people have died from heart troubles
which have been induced by mental discord.

Dr. Snow in the London Lancet asserts his
conviction that the vast majority of cases of
cancer, especially of breast and uterine cancer,
are due to mental anxiety and worry. Jaun-
dice from anxiety is reported by Dr. Churton
in the British Medical Journal.

The liver is affected very materially by dis-
cordant thought. Jaundice often follows great
mental shocks, especially frequent great and
prolonged outbursts of temper.

It is well known that many people are made
bilious by long-continued despondency and

Dr. Murchison, an eminent authority, says :
" I have been surprised how often patients
with primary cancer of the liver have traced
the cause of this ill-health to protracted grief or
anxiety. The cases have been far too numer-
ous to be accounted for as mere coincidences."


The functions of the skin are seriously
affected by the emotions.

Sir B. W. Richardson, in his work " The
Field of Disease," says :

" Eruptions on the skin will follow ex-
cessive mental strain. In all these, and in
cancer, epilepsy, and mania from mental
causes, there is a predisposition. It is remark-
able," he adds, " how little the question of the
origin of physical disease from mental in-
fluences has been studied."

We can never gain health by contemplating
disease, any more than we can reach perfection
by dwelling upon imperfection, or harmony
by dwelling upon discord.

We should keep a high ideal of health and
harmony constantly before the mind ; and we
should fight every discordant thought and
every enemy of harmony as we would fight
a temptation to crime. Never aiHrm or repeat
about your health what you do not zvish to
\e true. Do not dwell upon your ailments nor
-Vudy your symptoms. Physicians tell us that
perfect health is impossible to the self-dis-
sector, who is constantly thinking of himself,
studying himself, and forever on the alert for
the least symptom of disease.

Librarians report that there is an astonish-


ing demand among readers for medical books.
Many who imagine they have some particular
disease often develop a morbid curiosity or
desire to read everything they can get hold
of that bears upon the subject. When they
find, as they do frequently, that some of the
symptoms of the disease they are reading
about coincides with their own, the conviction
is still more deeply fastened in thtlr minds
that they have this disease. The strength of
this conviction is often their greatest hindrance
to a cure.

Nervous people with vivid imaginations
rarely see life in a perfectly sane and health-
ful way ; they are very apt to become morbid
and to make mountains out of molehills. Every
little ache or pain is exaggerated and inter-
preted as a symptom of something worse t<^

These people are powerfully affected by
hereditary convictions. If they have an unfor-
tunate family history ; if their ancestors died
of consumption, cancer, or any other of the
dread diseases, the conviction that they are
likely to develop one or the other of these
fatal maladies hangs like a pall over their
lives, seriously impairs their health, and para-
lyzes their efficiency.


What a terrible thing- to go through life
with such a nightmare staring one in the face !
How foolish, and destructive of all power, to
live with the spectre of death constantly by
one's side; to drag through years with the
settled conviction that you are not going to
live long ; that there are terrible disease seeds
within you which are liable to develop at any
time and carry you off!

Think of a person spending years in getting
a college and professional education, and more
years still in training for a specialty, while all
the time haunted by the possibility that he
may be thwarted by the development of some
terrible hereditary disease which may prema-
turely cut off his life ! It would be enough to
kill the ambition of a Napoleon.

I know people in delicate health who habitu-
ally hold in their minds sick and discordant
thoughts. They are always thinking and talk-
ing of their ailments. They gloat over their
symptoms, watch them, study them, look for
them, until they have what they expect — for
like produces like ; it cannot produce anything
else. A reversal of the thought — thinking of
health instead of disease, and holding in mind
the health picture instead of the disease pic-
ture — would cure many an invalid without


medicine. Healthy thought is the greatest
panacea in the world.

Many people not only cripple their effi-
ciency, but keep themselves sick, or in a con-
dition of semi-invalidism or diminished power,
by holding constantly in their minds negative
suggestions as indicated by such expressions
as : " Oh, I do not feel well to-day " ; " I feel
miserable " ; " I am weak " ; " I am half sick " ;
" My food does not agree with me " ; "I did
not sleep well last night, and I know I shall
not be good for much to-day."

If you are constantly saying to yourself, " I
am wretched, weak and sick," " I am running
down all the time," how can you expect to be-
come strong and well ? '* According to thy
word be it unto thee."

Health and vigor will never come to you if
you perpetually harp upon your weakness and
pity yourself because of your poor health.
Health is integrity. Health is wholeness, com-
pleteness, n you talk anything else, you will
get it, for " According to thy word be it unto

Imagine yourself an attorney pleading the
cause of your health. Summon up every bit of
evidence you can possibly find. Do not give
away your case to your opponent. Plead it


vigorously with all the strength you can com-

You will be surprised to see how your body
will respond to such mental pleading; such
robust, vigorous, healthy affirmative argument.

I know of a case where a physician in pass-
ing through a ward thoughtlessly said to the
nurse, in a voice loud enough for the patient
to overhear, " That man cannot live." The
young man happened to know enough about
the power of the mind as a restorative to as-
sert himself, and said to the nurse with great
emphasis, " I will live." He got well.

We do not realize how we weaken our-
selves and destroy our powers of disease
resistance by harboring the sick, the disease
thought, by holding in the mind the idea of
physical weakness and debility.

If we could always keep in the mind the
strong, robust, vigorous ideal, the health ideal,
the ideal of power instead of weakness, the
ideal of perfection, wholeness, completeness ;
if we could only keep in the mind the ideal of
the divine man God intended, and not the mere
burlesque of a man which the breaking of
laws, bad living, and sinning have produced ;
if we could only carry the ideal of personal
power, which is our birthright, there would



be -no room for the harboring- of the sickly
ideal — the weak, debilitated, decrepit ideal.

If it were possible to have the mind in us
which was in Christ, we should not have dis-
ease. Disease could not attack us any more
than impurity or sin could find lodgment in
His mind. The time will come when right
thinking will be the great preventive medicine
for all mankind, and when physical discord
will indicate that someone has sinned in his
thought. Humboldt said, " The time will come
when it will be considered a disgrace for a
man to be sick, when the world will look upon
it as a misdemeanor, the result of some vicious

I believe the time will come when disease
will not be able to fasten itself upon those
whose thought is pure, clean, and strong, be-
cause this quality of thought is healing. We
used to regard dyspepsia, for example, as the
result of a disordered stomach. Now we know
it is the result of the disordered, discordant
thought. It is the legitimate child of worry
and anxiety, of jealousy and remorse.

The time will come when greed and all
forms of selfishness will be looked upon as a
disease which we pay very dearly for in the
outpicturing of some physical discord. People


little realize what price they pay in physical
suffering for their selfishness.

We cannot think ill-health ; we cannot hold
the thought of disease ; we cannot harbor con-
victions that this disease or that is lurking in
the system — that there are seeds of disease
within us only waiting for an opportunity to
develop and destroy us without seriously im-
pairing the harmony of the body and its ef-

Every discordant thought, every thought of
ill-health, all the vivid pictures of unfortunate
physical conditions held in the imagination,
all the horrible ghosts of fear — the things we
dread and are anxious about — all the passions
of anger and hatred, jealousy and envy, greed
and selfishness, impair or ruin digestion and
assimilation, and affect the integrity of all
physical functions.

The mind is the health sculptor, and we
cannot surpass the mental health pattern. If
there is a weakness or a flaw in the thinking
model, there will be corresponding deficiencies
in the health statue.

So long as we think ill-health and doubt
our ability to be strong and vigorous ; so long
as we hold the conviction of the presence of
inherited weaknesses and disease tendencies ;


so long as the model is defective — perfect
health is impossible. The life, the health follow
the thought, the conviction.

Somehow most people seem to think that
health is something fixed by a sort of destiny
or fate ; that it is largely a question of heredity
and constitution which cannot be materially

But why should we not think the same
about our happiness, about our vocation? We
take infinite pains and spend many years in
preparing ourselves for our life-work. We
know that a successful career must be based
upon scientific principles of training, of sys-
tem and order ; that every step of a successful
career must be taken only after great thought
and consideration. We know that it means
years of hard work to establish ourselves in
life in a profession or business ; but our health,
upon which everything else hangs — upon
which it depends absolutely — we take very
little trouble to establish.

When we remember that the integrity and
efficiency of all the mental faculties depend
upon health ; that robust health multiplies ten-
fold the power of our initiative ; increases
our creative ability ; generates enthusiasm and
spontaneity; strengthens the quality of judg-


ment, the power of discrimination, and the
force of decision, the power of execution, we
should be very diligent to establish it.

We should lay a foundation for our health
just as we establish anything of importance —
by studying and adopting the sanest and the
most scientific methods. We should think
health, talk health, hold the health ideal, just
as a law student should think law, talk law,
read law, live in a law atmosphere.

Health is largely a moral question. Sys-
tematic living alone will not produce it. We
must establish it by right thinking, sane think-

Health can be established only by thinking
health instead of disease, strength instead of
weakness, harmony instead of discord, truth
thoughts instead of error thoughts, love
thoughts instead of hatred thoughts ; by up-
building thoughts which are constructive in-
stead of destructive — tearing down.

Confidence is a powerful factor in health.
We should thoroughly believe in our ability
to keep ourselves well by healthful, harmo-
nious, happy thinking.

So long as we doubt our ability to maintain
health, so long as we picture to ourselves dis-
ease and physical weakness and vicious or in-


herited tendencies — it is impossible to attain
*n a strong, normal physical condition,
'mfhe time will come when we will no more
cXVow discordant thoughts in our mind than
we would scatter thistle seeds over our gar-
dens. Knowing well that thinking is building,
our thinking will be reflected in our bodies.

To make ill-health an excuse for non-per-
formance of our great life duties will be a
reflection upon our integrity; will indicate
weakness or deception. Sickness and disease
will show that we have not been true in our
thought — in our motives — that we have sinned
and are paying the penalty in suffering and
thwarted ambition.

Many people to-day are ashamed to say
they are ill, because they know that it indi-
cates sin somewhere — a violation of the law of
harmony, of health. We are beginning to see
that it is not only unnecessary to be sick, but
that it is a disgrace for God's creatures to be
whining and ailing and complaining when they
ought to be doing the great things they were
made to do. We ought to be living the abun-
dant life which it was intended that we should
live. We were so planned that existence alone
should be a perpetual joy.

When we get a glimpse of our real divinity,


we shall absolutely refuse to be sick. We shall
be as much ashamed to confess that we a^'*
suffering from a cold, rheumatism, dyspep
or gout as we should now be to acknowledges,
theft. The coming man will radiate health
and gladness as naturally as the rose exhales
beauty and fragrance. He will radiate life and
vigor as naturally as he breathes. Because he
will think only healthful thoughts, he cannot
possibly radiate anything unhealthful. We re-
flect only the results of our thinking.

Thoughts are things, and they leave their
characteristic marks on the mind. No joy
thought can produce gloom, or health thought
disease. The fear thought held constantly in
the mind cannot produce a state of courage.
It is only the courageous thought that can pro-
duce confidence.

Some great physician has said that there
is something in man which was never born,
is never sick, and never dies ; and it is this
something — this divine, omnipotent force —
which heals our diseases. No matter what else
we may call it, it is the force that creates, that
restores us. We may call it the God principle,
the Christ within us, the divine principle, the
omnipotent force, or any name we please; it
is the creative, the all-sustaining, infinite force. -


The same Power that created us repairs us.
H we could only harmonize our lives with this
immortal principle, this best thing in us, we
would reach our highest efficiency, our great-
est possible happiness ; and until we can har-
monize ourselves with this something within
us which was never born and never dies, this
divine principle which never sins, we can
never be efficient or very happy. This is the
only reality in us — the only truth of our being.

The rust which gradually eats away the
piano strings cannot destroy the great law of
harmony. The disease which destroys the nerve
cells, the brain cells, does not affect in the least
our reality — the truth of our being. That is in-
destructible, immortal — beyond the reach of
what we call death. We all feel, like the great
German physician, that there is something
within us which can never be sick, which is not
subject to disease, and which is as immortal as
God Himself.

Man is Mind. That is the great reality of
life. The way to establish health is to think
hourly that you " live and move and have your
being " in the great God principle. That is the
underlying truth in all harmony. Like Paul,
believe that no power can separate you from
this divine love principle, this omnipotent


power. Love and truth are always working
for you. Carry the conviction constantly that
the God principle is the only power in the uni-
verse. All creation, all life, have their origin
in this.



Every volition and thought of man is inscribed on his
brain. Thus a man writes his life in his physique, and
thus the angels discover his autobiography in his
structure. — Swedexborg.

HE experiments made by Pro-
fessor Elmer C. Gates have
shown that irascible, malev-
olent, and depressing emo-
tions generate in the system
injurious compounds, some
of which are extremely poi-
sonous ; and that agreeable, happy emotions
generate chemical compounds of nutritious
value, which stimulate the cells to manufac-
ture energy.

" For each bad emotion," says Professor
Gates, " there is a corresponding chemical
change in the tissues of the body. Every good
emotion makes a life-promoting change. Every
thought which enters the mind is registered
in the brain by a change in the structure of
its cells. The change is a physical change more
or less permanent.

" Any one may go into the business of
building his own mind for an hour each day,
calling up pleasant memories and ideas. Let



him summon feelings of benevolence and un-
selfishness, making- this a regular exercise like
swinging dumb-bells. Let him gradually in-
crease the time devoted to these psychical
gymnastics until it reaches sixty or ninety
minutes per diem. At the end of a month he
will find the change in himself surprising. The
alteration will be apparent in his actions and
thoughts. It will have registered in the cell
structure of his brain."

There are many ways of ruining the body
besides smoking or getting drunk, or indulg-
ing in other sensual vices. Anger changes the
chemical properties of the saliva to a poison
dangerous to life. It is well known that sud-
den and violent emotions have not only weak-
ened the heart in a few hours, but have also
caused death and insanity.

It has been discovered by scientists that
there is a chemical difference between that
sudden cold exudation of a person under a
deep sense of guilt, and the ordinary perspira-
tion ; and the state of the mind of a criminal
can sometimes be determined by chemical
analysis of the perspiration, which, when
brought into contact with selenic acid, pro-
duces a distinctive pink color.

" Suppose half a dozen men in a room," says


Professor Gates; "one feels depressed, another
remorseful, another ill-tempered, another jeal-
ous, another cheerful, another benevolent.
Samples of their perspiration are placed in the
hands of the psychophysicist. Under his ex-
amination they reveal all those emotional con-
ditions distinctly and unmistakably."

It is well known that fear has killed thou-
sands of victims, while, on the other hand,
courage is a great restorer.

Anger in the mother may poison a nursing
child. Rarey, the celebrated horse-tamer, said
that an angry word would sometimes raise the
pulse of a horse ten beats in a minute. Experi-
ments with dogs show similar results.

If this is true of a beast, what can we say
of its power upon human beings, especially
upon a child? Strong mental emotion often
causes vomiting. Extreme anger or fright may
produce jaundice. A violent paroxysm of rage
has caused apoplexy and death. Indeed, in
more than one instance, a single night of
mental agony has wrecked a life.

The Almighty never intended that wc should
be the sport of our passions, or the victims of
harmful suggestions. The power of mastery
is within ourselves, but we must develop it,
cultivate it, use it.


That man is truly great who can rule his
mental kingdom, who at will can master his
moods ; who knows enough of mental chemis-
try to neutralize a fit of the " blues," to anti-
dote any evil, poisonous thought with the
opposite thought, just as a chemist neutralizes
an acid which is eating into his flesh by apply-
ing an alkaline antidote. A man ignorant of
chemistry might apply another acid which
would eat still deeper into his flesh ; but the
chemist knows the antidote of the particular
acid that is doing the mischief, and can kill
its corrosive, eating quality in an instant.

So the mental chemist knows how to coun-
teract the corrosive, wearing, tearing power
of the despondent, depressing thought by its
-cheerful antidote. He knows that the optimis-
tic thought is sure death to the pessimistic
thought ; that harmony will quickly neutral-
ize any form of discord ; that the health
thought will antidote the ailing, sick thought;
that the love thought will kill the hatred
thought, the jealous, revengeful thought. He
does not need to suffer mental anguish, be-
cause he always has his mental remedy with
him. The moment he applies its antidote, the
fatal corrosive power of the malignant thought
is neutralized.


If children were taught mental chemis-
try, as they are taught physical chemistry,
there would be no ailing pessimists, no victims
of the " blues." We should not see so many
long, dejected, gloomy faces everywhere. We
should not see so many criminals, so many
sorrowful, tragic failures in every rank of
society, in every walk of life.

Many of us keep our minds more or less
poisoned much of the time because of our
ignorance of mental chemistry. We suffer
from mental self-poison and do not know it.

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Online LibraryOrison Swett MardenPeace, power, and plenty → online text (page 4 of 14)