The whole science of psycho-therapeutics is embraced in the foregoing propositions. They contain all that a patient, who undertakes to heal himself or to ward off the encroachments of disease, needs to know. The process of making a particular application of these principles is equally simple, and must be obvious to the intelligent reader. At the risk of repetition, a few general directions will be given.
We will take, for illustration, a simple case of nervous headache, and suppose that the patient resolves to cure himself. He must, first of all, remember that the subjective mind is to be treated precisely as though it were a separate and distinct entity. The suggestion must first be made that the headache is about to cease; then, that it is already ceasing; and, finally, that it has ceased. These suggestions should be made in the form of spoken words, and they should be steadily persisted in until the desired effect is produced. A constant reiteration of the declaration that the head is better will inevitably produce the desired result; and, when the effect is distinctly felt, the declaration should be boldly made that the pain has entirely ceased. If any remnants of the pain are felt, the fact should be ignored, and the suggestion persisted in that it has ceased. This should be followed by the declaration that there will be no return of the symptoms; and this should be made with an air, tone, and feeling of perfect confidence.
The only practical difficulty and obstacle in the way of success with a beginner lies in the fact that at first he lacks confidence. The education of his whole life has been such as to cause him to look with distrust upon any but material remedies, and there is a disinclination to persist in his-efforts. But he should remember that it is the suggestions conveyed by this very education that he is now called upon to combat, neutralize, and overcome by a stronger and more emphatic counter-suggestion. If he has the strength of will to persist until he is cured, he will find that the next time he tries it there will be much less resistance to overcome. Having once triumphed, the reasoning of his objective mind no longer interposes itself as an obstruction but concurs in the truth of his suggestions. He then possesses both objective and subjective faith in his powers and he finds himself operating on a line of no resistance whatever. When he has attained this point, the rest is easy; and he will eventually be able to effect an instantaneous cure of his headache, or any other pain, the moment he finds himself threatened with one.
These remarks apply, of course, to every disease amenable to control by mental processes.
It will be observed that in the process of applying the principles of auto-suggestion to the cure of disease the patient is not called upon to tax his own credulity by any assertion that is not a demonstrable scientific truth. He is not called upon to deny the existence of matter, nor does he find it necessary to deny the reality of the disease which affects him. In short, he is not called upon to deny the evidence of his senses, to assert a manifest impossibility, nor to maintain an exasperating absurdity as a condition precedent to his recovery. The fact that cures can be made and are constantly being made by those who instruct their patients that a denial of the existence of matter and of the reality of disease is a necessary condition to their recovery, is the strongest possible evidence of the truth of the proposition that the subjective mind is constantly amenable to control by the power of suggestion. For it is a fundamental truth in psycho-therapeutics that no cure ever was, or ever can be, effected by mental processes until the subjective mind of the patient is impressed with a belief in the efficacy of the means employed.
It is obvious, however, that it is more difficult to impress a manifest absurdity upon the subjective mind of a man of common-sense than it is to impress him with a belief in a demonstrable scientific truth. Hence it is that, by methods now in vogue, both healer and patient are handicapped just in proportion to the tax laid upon their credulity. The point is, that in impressing a patient with a new scientific truth we should seek to make it as simple as possible, and avoid anything which will shock his common-sense. Christ enjoined upon his followers the simple scientific fact that faith on their part was a condition precedent to their reception of the benefits of his healing power; and he compelled them to believe, by publicly demonstrating that power. He would have had little success among the people with whom he had to deal if he had begun his treatment by telling them that they had no disease ; that leprosy is a figment of the imagination, and has no existence except in the mind; or that blindness is merely blindness of the mind, and not of the body; and that the body itself has no existence except as a form of belief.
He even resorted to material remedies, as in the case of the blind man, when "He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam. He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing."1
The Christian scientist would doubtless say that the clay and the subsequent washing in the Pool of Siloam did no good, except as they acted through the mind. This may be true; but in either case it teaches a valuable lesson, which it would be well for all classes of mental healers to remember. If the clay had a curative effect, it shows that the Master did not disdain to employ material remedies as an auxiliary to his healing power. If, on the other hand, it possessed no curative power, it shows that the Great Healer did not hesitate to employ any legitimate means at hand to confirm and increase the faith of the patient.
But this is a digression which pertains rather to the general subject of mental healing than to that of self-healing, which we are discussing. It is believed that the few simple rules herein laid down will enable any one of ordinary intelligence to become proficient, by a little practice, in the science of self-healing. It is not a mere theory, without practice, which has been here developed. It has been demonstrated over and over again to be eminently practical, not only as a means of healing disease, but as a means of warding off its encroachments. Indeed, its chief value will eventually be found to consist in the almost unlimited power which it gives one to protect himself from contracting disease. To do that it is only necessary to hold one's self in the mentaLattitude of denying the power of disease to obtain the mastery over him. When the patient recognizes the first symptoms of approaching illness, he should at once commence a vigorous course of therapeutic autosuggestion. He will find prevention much easier than cure; and by persistently following such a course he will soon discover that he possesses a perfect mastery over his own health.
In this connection it must not be forgotten that the method of healing during sleep is as applicable to self-healing as it is to healing others. Indeed, perfect rest and recuperative slumber can be obtained under almost any circumstances at the word of command. Dreams can be controlled in this way. If one is troubled by distressing or harassing dreams, from whatever cause, he can change their current, or prevent them altogether, by energetically commanding his subjective mind to do so. It is especially efficacious for this purpose to direct his subjective mind to employ itself in healing some sick friend. If one habitually does this at the time of going to sleep, he will not only be certain to obtain recuperative sleep for himself, but he will procure that contentment and peace of mind which always result from a consciousness of doing good to his fellow-creatures. The exercise of the power to heal in this way is never a tax upon the vital energies of the healer, but always redounds to his own benefit as well as to that of the patient. The reason of this is obvious. The normal condition of the subjective mind during the sleep of the body and the quiescence of the objective faculties is that of constant activity.
This activity, under ordinary conditions, entails no loss of vital power on the part of the sleeper. On the contrary, that is the period of his rest and the means of his recuperation. If the activities of his subjective mind are directed into pleasant channels, his bodily rest is perfect, and his recuperation complete.
1 John ix. 6.
It is for this reason that the method of healing during sleep is better for all concerned than any other system of mental healing yet discovered. It follows the lines of nature, in that it employs the subjective powers at a time when they are normally active; and it employs them in such a way that the ordinary peripheral impressions, which often disturb the sleeper and produce unpleasant dreams, are overcome by a more potent suggestion. Any other method of mental healing, where the subjective powers of the healer are called into action, entails a certain loss of vital power on his part, for the simple reason that subjective activity during waking moments is abnormal. It is true that when the work is not carried to excess the physical exhaustion may not be perceptible; but any Christian scientist will testify that any great amount of effort in the line of his work produces great physical exhaustion. And it is noticeable that this exhaustion ensues in exact proportion to the success of his treatment.
This success being in proportion to the subjective power exerted, it is reasonable to infer that subjective activity during waking hours and physical exhaustion bear to each other the relation of cause and effect.