This section of the book is from the "Handbook of Nature Cure Volume One: Nature Cure vs. Medical Science" book, by John L. Fielder.
The foregoing explains why affirmations of health are justified in the face of disease. The health conditions must be first established in the mind before they can be conveyed to and impressed upon the cells.
The well-being of the human body as a whole depends upon the health of the billions of minute cells which compose it. These cells are so small that they have to be magnified several hundred times under a powerful microscope before we can see them. Yet they are independent living beings which grow, accumulate food, work, and die, like the big cell—Man.
These little cells are congregated in communities which form the organs and tissues of the body, and in these communities they carry on the complicated activities of citizens living in a large city. Some are carriers, bringing food materials to the tissues and organs, or conveying waste and morbid matter to the excretory channels of the body. Other cells manufacture chemical substances such as sugar, fats, ferments, etc., for the production of which complicated factories are required.
The marvellous work performed by these minute organisms, as well as observations made in the dissecting room, and under the microscope, strongly indicate that these cells are endowed with some sort of individual intelligence. They do their work without our aid or conscious volition. Nevertheless, they are greatly influenced by the varying conditions of the mind. While their activities seem to be controlled through the sympathetic nervous system, they stand in direct telepathic communication with "headquarters" in the brain, and every impulse of the mind is conveyed to them.
If there be dismay and confusion in the mind, this information is telegraphically conveyed over the nerve trunks and filaments to every cell in the body, and as a result, these little workers become panic stricken and incapable of rightly performing their manifold duties.
The cell system of the body resembles a vast army. The mind is the general at the head of it. The cells are the soldiers, divided into groups of special work.
Much of the work of an army is carried on through well-established departments, as the commissariat, hospital service, scout and pickets, etc. Though the life and the activities of the army are so well-regulated that they seem automatic, nevertheless, much depends upon the commander.
The vital processes of the human organism, digestion, assimilation, elimination, respiration, circulation of the blood, etc., are going on without our volition whether we be awake or asleep. These involuntary activities are impelled by the sympathetic nervous system, while the voluntary functions of the body are controlled through the motor nervous system. This division, however, is not a sharp one, the two departments frequently overlapping one another.
The sympathetic nervous system resembles the commissarial department of the army which attends to the material welfare of the soldiers, while the motor nervous system, with headquarters in the brain, corresponds to the commander with his executive staff, the nerve centers in the spinal cord and other parts of the body being the subordinate officers in the field.
While the physical well-being of the army depends upon the almost automatic work of its various departments, its mind and soul is the man commanding it. He determines the spirit, the energy, and the efficiency of the vast organization.
If the commander-in-chief lacks insight, force, and determination, the discipline of the army will be lax and its efficiency greatly impaired. If he be a craven without faith in himself and in the cause he represents, his lack of courage, his doubt and indecisions will communicate themselves to the whole army, resulting in discouragement and defeat.
The most successful commanders have been those who were possessed of absolute confidence in themselves and in the efficiency of their army, who in the face of grave danger and discouraging situations pressed on to the pre-determined goal with dogged courage and resolution. Determination and pertinacity of this kind create the magnetic power which imparts itself to each and every individual soldier in the army, and makes him a willing subject, even unto death, to the will of his commander.
When the pest was invading Napoleon’s army, that great general entered the hospitals where the victims of the plague were lying, took them by the hand, and conversed with them. He did this to overcome the fear in the hearts of his soldiers, and thus to protect them against the dread disease. He said: "A man whose will can conquer the world, can conquer the plague."
To my mind this was one of the greatest deeds of the Corsican. At a time when "New Thought" was practically unknown, the genius of this man had grasped its principle and was making them factors in his apparent success. "Apparent", because, while we admire his genius, we deplore the ends to which he applied his wonderful powers.
At times when the battle seemed lost, Napoleon would go to the front where the danger was greatest, and by the mere sight of him the hard-pressed soldiers under his command were inspired to superhuman efforts and final victory.
As long as the glamour of invincibility surrounded him, Napoleon was invincible, because he infused into his soldiers a faith and courage which nothing could withstand. But when the cunning of the Russians broke his power and decimated his ranks on the icebound steppes, the hypnotic spell was broken also. Friends and enemies alike recognized that, after all, he was but a man, subject to chance and circumstance. From that time on he was vulnerable, and suffered defeat after defeat.
The power of the mind over the physical body and its involuntary functions (the functions which are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system) may be illustrated by the demonstrated facts of hypnotism. Through the exertion of his own imagination and his will power, the hypnotist can so dominate the brain, and through the brain, the physical body of his subject, as to influence not only the sensory functions, but also heart action and respiration. By the power of his will, the hypnotist is able to retard or accelerate the pulse and respiration, and even to subdue the heartbeat so that it becomes hardly perceptible.
If it is possible thus to control by the power of the will the vital functions in the body of another person, it must be possible also to control these functions in our bodies. Many Hindus and Yogis have developed this power of the mind over the physical body to a marvellous extent.
Herein lies the true domain of mental therapeutics. We can learn to dominate and regulate the vital activities and the life currents in our bodies so that they will do their work intelligently and serenely, even under the stress of illness and danger. We can by the power of will direct the vital currents to those parts and organs which need them most, and we can relieve congested areas by equalizing the circulation, by drawing thereupon the surplus blood and nerve currents, and distributing the vital fluids over other parts of the body.
We must be careful, however, to use our higher powers in conformity with Nature’s intent; that is, we must not endeavour to suppress Nature’s cleansing and healing efforts. It is possible to do this by the power of the will as well as by ice bags and drugs.
Mentally and emotionally, as well as physically, we must work with Nature and not against her. When we understand the fundamental laws of disease and cure we cannot well do otherwise.