Following the universal law, it obeys the suggestions of the objective mind, and persists in following the line indicated until it is recalled by the awakening of the bodily senses.
Moreover, therapeutic suggestions imparted during sleep inevitably react favorably upon the healer; and thus his own health is promoted by the act which conduces to the health of the patient. And thus it is that therapeutic suggestion may be likened to the "quality of mercy" which "is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath; it is twice blessed: it blesseth him that gives, and him that takes".
It is easy to foresee that when the world once understands and appreciates the wonderful therapeutic powers inherent in the human soul, a great change will be the result. When it is once understood that the power exists in every human organism to alleviate physical suffering by a method at once so simple, so effective, and so mutually beneficial, it cannot be doubted that a large proportion of the ills to which flesh is heir will exist only in history.
The most important branch of psycho-therapeutics is, however, yet to be discussed. It has been shown in this and former chapters that auto-suggestion plays its subtle role in every psychological experiment. It has been shown that the subjective mind of an individual is constantly controlled by the suggestion of his own objective mind. This is the normal relation of the two minds; and when that control ceases, the person is insane just in proportion to the degree in which the objective mind has abdicated its functions. This control is ordinarily exercised unconsciously to the individual. That is to say, we do not ordinarily recognize the operations of the two minds, for the simple reason that we do not stop to philosophize upon the subject of their mutual relations. But when we once recognize the fact, we have not only arrived at the principle which lies at the foundation of all true psychological science, but we are prepared to accept the subsidiary proposition which underlies the science of mental self-healing. That proposition is, that man can control by suggestion the operations of his own subjective mind, even though the suggestion be in direct contravention to his own objective belief.
This is unqualifiedly true, even though the suggestion may be contrary to reason, experience, or the evidence of the senses. A moment's reflection will convince any one of the truth of this proposition. It is auto-suggestion that fills our asylums with monomaniacs. That long-continued and persistent dwelling upon a single idea often results in chronic hallucination, is a fact within the knowledge of every student of mental science. That it often happens that a monomaniac identifies himself with some great personage, even with the Deity, is a fact within common knowledge. What gives rise to such hallucinations is not so well known; but every student of the pathology of insanity will verify the statement that auto-suggestion is the primary factor in every case. The patient, who is usually a monumental egotist to start with, begins by imagining himself to be a great man; and by long-continued dwelling upon the one thought he ends by identifying himself with some great historical character whom he specially admires. If he is afflicted with some nervous disorder which causes him to pass easily and habit-ually into the subjective condition, the process of fastening the hallucination upon his mind is easy and rapid, and he is soon a fit subject for a lunatic asylum.
But, whatever physical condition may be a necessary factor in producing such hallucinations, the fact remains that auto-suggestion is the primary cause.
The subject is introduced here merely to illustrate the power and potency of auto-suggestion, even when the suggestion is against the evidence of reason and sense. It must not be forgotten that an auto-suggestion which produces a hallucination such as has been described, operates on the lines of strongest resistance in nature. If, therefore, such results can be produced when opposed by the strongest instincts of our nature, how much easier must it be to produce equally wonderful results when operating in harmony with those instincts, and, hence, on the lines of least resistance.
It is self-evident, therefore, that auto-suggestion can be employed to great advantage for therapeutic purposes. Indeed, the power of self-help is the most important part of mental therapeutics. Without it the science is of com-parativelyjittle value or benefit to mankind. With it goes the power to resist disease, - to prevent sickness, as well as to cure it. The old axiom, that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," holds good in psychotherapeutics as well as in material remedies, and he who obtains the power to hold himself in the mental attitude which enables him to resist the encroachments of disease has mastered the great secret of mental medicine. That it can be done by any one of ordinary intelligence, is a fact which has been demonstrated beyond question. The best workers in the field of Christian science give more attention to teaching their pupils and patients how to help themselves than they do to instructing them how to help others. And this is the secret of the permanence of their cures, as has been fully explained in other chapters of this book.
The process by which it can be done is as simple as are the laws which govern the subject-matter.
The patient should bear in mind the fundamental principles which lie at the foundation of mental therapeutics, -
1. The subjective mind exercises complete control over the functions and sensations of the body.
2. The subjective mind is constantly amenable to control by the suggestions of the objective mind.
3. These two propositions being true, the conclusion is obvious, that the functions and sensations of the body can be controlled by suggestions of the objective mind.