" The body looks," some one has said, " as old as the mind feels." By virtue of a great mental law and at the same time chemical law we are well within the realm of truth when we say: The body ordinarily is as old as the mind feels.
Every living organism is continually going through two processes: it is continually dying, and continually being renewed through the operation and the power of the Life Force within it. In the human body it is through the instrumentality of the cell that this process is going on. The cell is the ultimate constituent in the formation and in the life of tissue, fibre, tendon, bone, muscle, brain, nerve system, vital organ. It is the instrumentality that Nature, as we say, uses to do her work.
The cell is formed; it does its work; it serves its purpose and dies; and all the while new cells are being formed to take its place. This process of new cell formation is going on in the body of each of us much more rapidly and uniformly than we think. Science has demonstrated the fact that there are very few cells in the body today that were there twelve months ago. The form of the body remains practically the same; but its constituent elements are in a constant state of change. The body, therefore, is continually changing; it is never in a fixed state in the sense of being a solid, but is always in a changing, fluid state. It is being continually remade.
It is the Life, or the Life Force within, acting under the direction and guidance of the subconscious or subjective mind that is the agency through which this continually new cell-formation process is going on. The subconscious mind is, nevertheless, always subject to suggestions and impressions that are conveyed to it by the conscious or sense mind; and here lies the great fact, the one all-important fact for us so far as desirable or undesirable, so far as healthy or unhealthy, so far as normal or aging body-building is concerned.
That we have it in our power to determine our physical and bodily conditions to a far greater extent than we do is an undeniable fact. That we have it in our power to determine and to dictate the conditions of " old age " to a marvellous degree is also an undeniable fact - if we are sufficiently keen and sufficiently awake to begin early enough.
If any arbitrary divisions of the various periods of life were allowable, I should make the enumeration as follows: Youth, barring the period of babyhood, to forty-five; middle age, forty-five to sixty; approaching age, sixty to seventy-five; old age, seventy-five to ninety-five and a hundred.
That great army of people who " age " long before their time, that likewise great army of both men and women who along about middle age, say from forty-five to sixty, break and, as we say, all of a sudden go to pieces, and many die, just at the period when they should be in the prime of life, in the full vigour of manhood and womanhood and of greatest value to themselves, to their families, and to the world, is something that is contrary to nature, and is one of the pitiable conditions of our time. A greater knowledge, a little foresight, a little care in time could prevent this in the great majority of cases, in ninety cases out of every hundred, without question.
Abounding health and strength- wholeness - is the natural law of the body. The Life Force of the body, acting always under the direction of the subconscious mind, will build, and always does build, healthily and normally, unless too much interfered with. It is this that determines the type of the cell structure that is continually being built into the body from the available portions of the food that we take to give nourishment to the body. It is affected for good or for bad, helped or hindered, in its operation by the type of conscious thought that is directed toward it, and that it is always influenced by.
Of great suggestive value is the following by an able writer and practitioner:
"God has managed, and perpetually manages, to insert into our nature a tendency toward health, and against the unnatural condition which we call disease. When our flesh receives a wound, a strange nursing and healing process is immediately commenced to repair the injury. So in all diseases, organic or functional, this mysterious healing power sets itself to work at once to triumph over the morbid condition. Cannot this healing process be greatly accelerated by a voluntary and conscious action of the mind, assisted, if need be, by some other person? I unhesitatingly affirm, from experience and observation, that it can. By some volitional, mental effort and process of thought, this sanative colatus, or healing power which God has given to our physiological organism, may be greatly quickened and intensified in its action upon the body. Here is the secret philosophy of the cures effected by Jesus Christ. There is a law of the action of mind on the body that is no more an impenetrable mystery than the law of gravita- tion. It can be understood and acted upon in the cure of disease as well as any other law of nature."
If, then, it be possible through this process to change physical conditions in the body even after they have taken form and have become fixed, as we say, isn't it possible even more easily to determine the type of cell structure that is grown in the first place?
The ablest minds in the world have thought and are thinking that if we could find a way of preventing the hardening of the cells of the system, producing in turn hardened arteries and what is meant by the general term " ossification," that the process of aging, growing old, could be greatly retarded, and that the condition of perpetual youth that we seem to catch glimpses of in rare individuals here and there could be made a more common occurrence than we find it to-day.
The cause of ossification is partly mental, partly physical, and in connection with them both are hereditary influences and conditions that have to be taken into consideration.
Shall we look for a moment to the first? The food that is taken into the system, or the available portions of the food, is the building material ; but the mind is always the builder.
There are, then, two realms of mind, the conscious and the subconscious. Another way of expressing it would be to say that mind functions through two avenues- the avenue of the conscious and the avenue of the subconscious. The conscious is the thinking mind; the subconscious is the doing mind. The conscious is the sense mind, it comes in contact with and is acted upon through the avenue of the five senses. The subconscious is that quiet, finer, all-permeating inner mind or force that guides all the inner functions, the life functions of the body, and that watches over and keeps them going even when we are utterly unconscious in sleep. The conscious suggests and gives directions; the subconscious receives and carries into operation the suggestions that are received.