W. F. (Warren Felt) Evans.

The primitive mind-cure : the nature and power of faith, or, elementary lessons in Christian philosophy and transcendental medicine online

. (page 11 of 18)
Online LibraryW. F. (Warren Felt) EvansThe primitive mind-cure : the nature and power of faith, or, elementary lessons in Christian philosophy and transcendental medicine → online text (page 11 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

lution of the spiritual image in the body, is not always, nor
generally, instantaneous, but is progressive. The creation of
the world instantaneously by the divine Jiat is not now enter-
tained by thinking men anywlicre. It is a tenet that has
passed out of science and philosophy. In fact, creation is
not now an accomplished event. It is not a thing done, but
one that is in the process of being done. The divine idea is
not yet fully realized or actualized. The world is an unfin-
ished picture. As the Platonists would say, it is in a state
of becoming. The divine idea, the universal divine life, a
mysterious power of order and arrangement, is at the very
centre and heart of things, struggling to work itself out into
a complete material expression. Universal nature is moved
from within by the Universal Mind, of which our minds are
a part.


In giving treatment to the body, which is our world, it \s
not so much our aim to impart life to it from without —
though this can be done — as it is to aid the inner life, the
real conscious self, and the true idea of our being in its
birth into actuality or a material expression. The body,
which is the external sheU of our being, becomes fixed. The
tschamping, shampooing, or massage may remove the hard-
ness of the shell so that it can more readily take shape from
the inward idea. All motion, all progress, all development,
is in the direction of the least resistance, as James Hinton
demonstrated. To remove obstructions, to break up the
fixedness of the body, which is the characteristic of old age,
to accelerate the process of excretion and disintegration, is
to aid the process of the reformation of the body from
within. In the germ of the animal body, as in the seed of
the plant, there is the living idea of the future organism.
And that idea forms the body after the pattern of itself. It
is function (or idea) that creates its appropriate organ, and
not the organ that makes the function. For instance, the
heart is made to beat, and this action commences before its
tissues are formed, even when it is only a fluid mass of proto-
plasmic jelly. So it is always the function, the idea, which
creates its organic expression. Thus it is, and of necessity
must be, in regard to the whole body.

If we will form the true idea of man, and apply it to our-
selves, and hold it steadfastly in the mind, and believe in its
realization, by one of the deepest and most certain laws of
our nature, it will tend to recreate the body after the pattern
of that mental type. Creation is a begetting, and nature
means that which is born. It is the product of the divine
idea expressing itself in our minds on the plane of sense.
The renewal of the body by the creative power of the divine
idea of man is the true palingenesis or regeneration. (Mat.
xix: 28.)

It seems to be a divine law that all animal bodies are


reuewed at least once a year. The crab and the lobster
annually cast off the old shell, and a new one forms from
within. The serpent sheds his skin, and this is the last
step in the renewal of his body. Birds cast off their
feathers, and this takes place by a cause or force that acts
from within outward, and it is the last stage in the process
of their renewal. The ox and the horse shed their hair in
spring. The tree renews itself once a year, and a new one
grows around the older ones, which in time decay, leaving
the trunk hollow. Perennial plants die down to the root,
where the infant plant-germ remains, and starts into life with
youthful vigor in the spring. All these phenomena are
illustrations of a general law of life that is called rejuvenes-
cence. Man should move forward in this divine order. If
we keep the mind ever young, the body can be left to take
care of itself. Man, in health, casts off the external shell
once a year, for there is nothing in the animal world that is
not in man. He "renews his youth as the eagles"; but
what the new body shall be depends on the character of the
controlling idea hu^l fixed belief, for the outer shell will shape
itself into its material expression. As God creates the
world by the Divine Idea, so we, in the same way, create
our bodies, which are a microcosm, or world on a small scale.
Every step in the disintegrating and renewing process is
influenced by the governing idea, for the body exists, like
everything else, in thought, and is what we think it to be.
It is formed after the pattern of the image which we form of
ourselves in the mind. If that is the divine and true idea of
man, it will make our humanity diviue, a thing of health, and
harmony, and beauty, even in its ultimate manifestation in
the body. If Jesus, as Swedenborg athrms, made his human-
ity divine even to its ultimates, it was effected by maintaining
in thought, and steadfastly holding before his mind, the
divine idea of man. Every new and higher conception which
we form of the inward nature of man, and consequently of


ourselves, b}- an undeviating law, tends to an outward bodily
expression. It is the living germ, the seed of a new state,
having a divine creative potency in it. A seed is one of the
most marvellous things in nature. It is the embodiment of
the idea of the future plant, containing in it a conatus or
tendency to develop, under the proper conditions of soil and
air, in the external world. So the kingdom of heaven, or
the true spiritual condition of man, in its incipiency, is like
a grain of mustard which a man plants in a field, and which
afterward becomes unfolded into a ti-ee, " bearing fruit and
yielding seed after its kind." (Luke xiii : 19.) It is the
business of the psychological physician to plant in the mind
of the patient the fruitful idea of a better condition. He is
like the husbandman that goes fox'th to sow, and often, from
a single idea that finds lodgement in the interior mind, there
is afterwards reaped an abundant harvest. (Mat. xiii : 3-9.)
The kingdom of heaven, says Jesus, is also like leaven, which
a woman took and hid in three measures of meal (the sheah
was a peck and a half) until the whole was leavened. (Mat.
xiii : 33.) If we can impart a new life to a patient, however
little it may seem to be, it will propagate itself and multiply
itself until it reduces the whole organism to its own nature.
If our mode of thought is on a higher range, and our spiritual
state above his, it will be easy to do this, on the priiicii)le
that water runs down hill, or descends from a higher to a
lower level. And whatever can be done at all by the psy-
chological method, can be done easily and without labored
effort. "The Father, who dwelleth in us. He doeth the

In the application of this important law to self-cure, we
need to fix in our minds the change we know ought to be
effected, or form the idea of the state to which we aspire,
and in a measure we have already become what we desired
to be. It is our right and privilege to believe this. As an
artist said to Emerson, " A man cannot draw a tree without


becoming in a certain sort a tree," so we cannot form the
true idea of an animal witliout becoming in some degree that
animal. In forming the true conception of a child, so that
we could paint him as he is internally and externally, we
become as a child, and think and feel as a child. The idea
we form of an angel is not a mental picture or image of
some one else, but is that of our true self. So we cannot
form the true idea of ourselves, or of any mental state, with-
out becoming in some good degree, the realization of it. To
steadfastly believe this, and tenaciously adhere to it, is to
experience the dawn of the state to which we aspire, and
this by one of the deepest and most uniform laws in the
whole world of mind.




Much of the efficiency of the will is lost by our not under-
standing its true nature and the best method of its use.
The highest conception of an act of the will is that it is an
inward divine impulse towards a good end or aim. Paul
affirms that it is God who worketh in us to will and to do of
his good pleasure. (Phil, ii : 13.) The will is the inner-
most root of our life, and forever flows forth from the
Divinity within us, the tlieocentric region of our spiritual
being. This is also true of faith, which Paul also declares
to be " the gift of God," or an emanation from Him.
(Eph. ii : 8.) Hence, Jesus said to his disciples, "Have
the faith of God." (Mark xi : 22, marginal reading.)
Paul, in one of his Epistles, says that the life which he lived
in the flesh, he lived by the faith of the Son of God
(Gal. ii : 20), which is identical with the divine spirit of
man and is in man. In another place he says, when it
pleased God to reveal his Son in vie, immediately I con-
ferred not with flesh and blood, or no longer took counsel of
the sensuous mind, as having a higher guidance within.
(Gal. i : 16.) The imagination is also, when used in dis-
tinction from the fancy, a divine spiritual power, and as a
mode of thought, is one of the most subtle and potent forces
in the universe. The fancy belongs to the psychical or animal
soul region, which is the region of illusion and sensuous fal-
lacies. But thought is a manifestation of God. It is a
power that arises perpetually out of the One Life, and is
never sundered from it. (II Cor. iii : 5.) The will, the


fuith, the imagination, are the highest powers of the human
mind, as they are an activity of the divine reakn of our being
— a stirring of deep divinity within us. If the end towards
which these powers are directed is not a worthy one, we
then, as it were, cut them loose from the Divinity in us, and
they become only a spontaneous and perverted activity of the
self-hood, or the selfish action of the animal soul. But there
lies back of every vu'tuous and beneficent exercise of will,
the hfe and tranquil omnipotence of the Deity. The Divine
Mind is not sundered from our voUtional activity, in our
psychological effort to relieve pain and cure disease, any
more than you can disconnect a ray of light from its central
source. The will, and imagination, and faith are from God,
and are God in man. Pythagoras taught his disciples that
God is the Universal Mind diffused, as it were, through all
things, and this mind, or intelligent life-principle, by virtue
of its universal sameness, and that it is the inmost essence
of all things, could be communicated from one object to
another, and could be made to create all things by the indi-
vidual will power of man. (Isis Unveiled, vol. 1, p. 131.)
This is strong language, but there is a profound truth in it
which comes from a philosophy older than the enlightened
sage of Samos. Marvellous things, and to the world miracu-
lous things, have been done by the sjiirit, which is the divine
and miraculous man. The inseparable connection of a wise
and good man with God, was a spiritual verity better under-
stood by the older philosophers than by modern scientists,
who seem to have wholly lost sight of it. It was taught as an
esoteric doctrine in their occult science and wisdom-religion.
Of modern philosophers, no one appears to have appre-
hended this sublime truth with greater clearness than Johann
Godfried Fichte. He says of the will of man : " Every
virtuous resolution (and we may say the same of every
benevolent healing intention) influences the Omnipotent Will
(or Life) , if I may be allowed to use such an expression, not


in consequence of a momentary approval, but of an everlast-
ing law of his Being. With surprising clearness does the
thought now come before m}' soul, which hitheito was sur-
rounded with darkness, — the thought that my will, as such
merely, and of itself, can have any results (or conse-
quences)," (Destination of Man, p. 110.) In another
place he says: "The will is the effective cause, the living
principle of the world of spirit^ as motion is of the woi'ld of
sense, I stand between two opposite worlds ; the one visible,
in which the act alone avails, the other invisible and incom-
prehensible, acted on only by the will. I am an effective
force in both these worlds. My will embraces both. The
will is in itself a constituent part of the transcendental world.
By my free determination I change and set in motion some-
thing in this transcendental world, and my energy gives
bu'th to an effect that is new, permanent, and imperishable."
(Destination of Man ^ p. 98.)

In using the will with a healing intention upon ourselves,
or in making a psychological impression upon another, it
first acts in and upon the Universal Life-Principle, and by
reaction upon the mind of the patient or upon our own, as
the case may be. And in this way we meet with no obstruc-
tion and tendency to contradict, as we often do when we
approach the patient from without and verbally address him.
A true healiug influence goes forth from our inward spirit,
but this is only an individual manifestation and personified
expression of the One Spirit which is in fuU accord with the
human spirit. In the psychological method of treating
disease, it is a fundamental doctrine in which we must
become immovably grounded, that a voluntary activity of
mind is the only power and causal agent in the universe.
Mind and will are the first principle of motion. On this
subject Bishop Berkeley truly says : " It is plain pliilosophirs
amuse themselves in vain when the}' inquire for any natural,
efficient cause distinct from a mind or spirit." (Principles


of Human Knowledge, sec. 107.) In our effort to relieve
suffering and cure disease by mental action, we may feel
sure that we are acting from the realm of causation.

If we comprehend the principles laid down in what has
been said above, as to the true nature of the will, and can
appropriate them, we are prepared to receive instruction in
the use of thia spiritual power in its most intense and effi-
cient form of action. It is to be observed that the will
belongs to the Universal Life-Principle. It is not an active,
but a passive or reactive potency. It is included in the
department of the love or feeling, and in its highest form is
the Chokma or Sophia of the Kabala, which in its correla-
tions or descending degrees becomes the living force of the
world. Thought or intelligence is the active or masculine
potency, and the will the passive and feminine power.
Thought speaks, and the will responds. In making a psy-
chological impression, active thought or intelligence is the
power, and the will of the patient is the responsive echo.
The conception of the will as an active power, and a power
capable of originating action of itself, has been a fundamen-
tal mistake in modern psychology, but one of which the
ancient science of mind is free.

Thought is the highest active principle in the universe,
and the will is an equally potent reactive force. But the
most intense form of its action in a psychological, curative
effort, upon ourselves or others, is not when it is put foi'th
as a command, but as a positive affirmation. It does not
say, "Be thou so and so," but rather, "You will be well,"
and in its highest expression, "You are well." It is to be
remembered that the will is strengthened by faith, which is
the ground of all reality, and the basis of all possibility.
(Mark ix : 23 ; xi : 24.) The will is guided and qualified by
the imagination. When it goes forth in an affirmation, the
will, faith, and imagination are combined into a unity.
Men instinctively use this form of will, without being able


to give a reason for it. In the government of cliildi-en in
the school or family, when the child is directed to do a cer-
tain thing, and rcpUcs, " I will not," the parent or teacher
says to him, " You will do it," rather than " I command you
to do it." In military life we witness great numbers of men
controlled by one despotic mind. The commanding general,
in issuing his orders to his subordinates regulating the move-
ments of a campaign or a battle, simply says to each of
them, "You will do this or that," "You will move with
your soldiers to youde'r position," and it is done. In the
first chapter of Genesis we have a sublime exhibition of the
omnipotent, creative Thought, going forth as Will. It is
not as in our common translation, " Let there be light, and
there was light " ; but, in the more eloquent simplicity of the
original it is, "God said (or thought) Light is; and light
was." It is only thought formulating itself in a positive
afiBrmation. The more closely our finite minds imitate this
divine form of expressing the will's potency, the more largely
it will partake of God's omnipotence. This explains the
reason of the influence of simple suggestion to one who is in
the magnetic state. To say to a person, " You will be
sick" or "You are sick," has an influence in making them
so. To suggest to him "You are better" has more power
to make him so than a thousand orders or commands. So
to say to a wicked man that he is good, or will be so, has
more reformative influence than all our commands or threats
that we can utter. When the will goes forth in the form of
a command, it throws the thing to be realized into the future ;
but when united with faith, and put forth as a positive
affirmation, it views the thing to be done, the change to be
effected, as a present reality, an accomplished fact. Hence
Jesus said to the nobleman of Capernaum, " Thy son liv-
eth " ; and that very hour the fever left him. (Luke iv :
46-54.) To the invalid at the pool of Siloam he said:
" Thou art made whole (or saved) ; sin no more, lest a


worse thing come upon thee." (John v : 14.) To the
woman who had a spirit of infinnity for eighteen years, call-
ing her to Mm, he said, "Woman, thou art loosed from thine
infirmity." (Luke xiii : 12.) And wherever in the language
used by Jesus, the will seems to express itself in an impera-
tive form, the real meaning is an affirmation, and the origi-
nal is usually capable of that translation. When the leper
of Capernaum said to him, "If thou wilt^ thou canst make
me clean," he replied "I will it; be thou clean"; that is,
thou art clean — a form of expression which is based on the
recognition of the fact, that in his inner being, his immortal
self, he was free from the leprosy, and that it had an ex-
istence only in the body, which is no part of man. It is
only an illusory veil which conceals the real man from view.
The affirmation of Jesus, addi-essed to the inward man, was
responded to by the man's will, and there was awakened in
him a consciousness, a feeling of the truth of it. Thus the
will exhibited its true nature, as a reactive principle, a re-
sponsive echo of thought. It is the Verily, the Amen of the
New Testament ; a word derived from the Hebrew Amtma,
meaning truth. The rabbins believed it to possess a won-
derful power. Its full significance is, when it is the response
to an affirmation, " That is truth, and I believe it."

It is proper to remark, in closing, that a strong will-force
makes no more exertion in a silent curative effort, directed
to ourselves or others, than the mind makes in believing and
affirming that two and two are four. All labored effort, all
strain, all struggling is not will, but the lack of it. We
should recognize the fact, the eternal verity, that the thing
to be done, as the cure of a malady, or anything that may be
viewed as the "good pleasure" of God, is from this very
fact, in an effort to become an actuality. And the attitude of
the will towards it is properly expressed by the word fiat,
which means " let it be done or become." "If we ask any-
thing according to his will, we know that he boareth us."


(I John v: 14.) The thing to be done, the object to be
effected is like a spiral spring which is pressed down by a
weight laid upon it. Yet there is a tendency in it to rise,
and it will do so, and assume its cone-like form as soon as
the obstruction is removed. We are potcntiall}' already what
we ideally aspire to and long for, and will some tune become
so actually. For an idea that has life in it will assert itself.

All the volition that is necessary in making a psychological
impression upon a patient is that of a wish or benevolent
desire, expressing itself in an afDrmation. This is the
radical meaning of the word volition, from the Latin volo, to
wish. This adds to the thought — the mere intellectual con-
ception — an element of life-force. The influence of desire
or emotion is to give intensity to the thought, to render it
more vivid, or living, as the word means. Desire alone is
powerless ; and thought alone is lifeless and ineflicient. They
must be combined into a harmonious unity. In the language
of the Hermetic philosoph}', they must be made into a cross,
in which the upright line is the intellect, and the horizontal
or base line is the love or the emotional nature. This makes
a living force, what Swedenborg calls the power of truth
from good. It may be represented by the light of winter
which is in excess of heat, and the life of the world is then
dormant. In spring, the light, which answers to the truth,
is equally combined with heat, which corresponds to love,
and everything starts into life. In every genuine act of
faith there is a union of thought and emotion, or an intellec-
tual conception and a feeling that it is true. This is what
makes it the " word of power."

It is taught in one of the sacred books of the Hindus, the
Atharva-Veda, that the exercise of such loill-power is the highest
form of prayer, and it is instantaneously answered. For we
realize in proportion to the intensity of our desire and the
strength of our faith freed from all doubt. For desire is the
incipiency of the thing or state desired, and faith is its full




We see everywhere in nature the indications of a universal
and intelligent force which governs the world. We behold,
in whatever way we look,

" The tokens of a central force,
Whose circles, in their widening course,
O'erlap and move the universe."

It is the common bond and life of nature, and exhibits a
conatus to repair the hurts of every living thing, — of plants
and animals, from the mushroom to the sovereign of an
empire. It is the office of the physician to influence, direct,
and control the universal principle of life, to come to its aid in
its curative endeavor, and to intensify its action and diminish
or increase its quaiitum. Says Lord Lytton, who, if not an
adept, was deeply versed in the arcane philosophy of the
East, "To all animate bodies there must be one principle in
common, — the vital principle itself. What if there be one
certain means of recruiting this principle? And what if
that secret can be discovered ? " {A Strange Story, p. 104.)
Van Helmont, to whom science owes a debt of gratitude the
world has never paid, was the discoverer of hydrogen gas,
and he affirms that the life-principle is of the natiu-e of a
gas, a word which etymologically signifies spirit, like the
German geist. In this sense, that of a universally diffused
and omnipresent and omniactive substance of life, the asser-
tion of Van Helmont was made, and only in this sense can



it be accepted. It is stored up in exhaustless and overflow-
ing abundance in the bosom of nature. It cannot be
destroyed, or increased, or diminished. It cannot be created
or annihilated. It is one and indivisible, and can be con-
trolled in its lower dcgi-ees of manifestation by the intelli-
gent will of man, which is the highest form of its develop-
ment and expression. It is identical with what is called
magnetism, which is a word of Persian origin, and signifies
the " wisdom-principle." The life-principle is in itself
without quality, and is a blind force obedient to a control-
ling influence. It is submissive to the will of the spiritual
man, and servilely obeys it. It acts according to the direc-
tion given to it by our imagination, and tends to realize our
idea, as the hand and brush of the painter follow the image
which they copy from his mind. Of this universal life-prin-
ciple Madam Blavatsky observes : " We breathe and imbibe

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryW. F. (Warren Felt) EvansThe primitive mind-cure : the nature and power of faith, or, elementary lessons in Christian philosophy and transcendental medicine → online text (page 11 of 18)