Chapter 3 – The Medicine of Mind

Chapter III
W. John Murray
Mental Medicine
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1923.

[92] From time immemorial the power of thought to effect bodily changes has been known to such studious minds as have taken the trouble to seek a reason for the sudden effect of fear to produce pallor, and of joy to produce that glow which athletes speak of as “The pink of condition.” The ordinary observer sees these changes but beyond saying, “She was as pale as a ghost,” or “She blushed like a rose,” he has no concern; yet it is only as we peer back of these phenomena that we are able to enter into that world of causes where we learn that “Thoughts are Things.”

Through the New Psychology and kindred studies, medicine is no longer confined to noxious drugs or unnecessary experimentation in the field of surgery, for the most [93] advanced thinkers in the healing art are becoming more than ever aware that the state of the mind is not only the precursor of disease, but that it may also be used to prevent and heal disease. No longer is it necessary for the modern physician to stand helpless before the modern Macbeth. Shakespeare was not addressing himself to one particular person at one particular time when he said, through Macbeth, to the Doctor:

“Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?”

Neither was the Doctor addressing himself to any particular person when he answered: “Therein the patient must minister to himself.”

The helplessness of this particular Doctor still exists, but fortunately it is disappearing. [94] The most progressive men in the so-called science of medicine are not so despairing, for when medicine and surgery and diet have all been resorted to without any result, save a certain lowering of the vitality of the patient, there are those who resort to mental therapeutics in one form or another. If these progressives do not practice mental healing themselves, they recommend it, meanwhile lending all the assistance they can in their own way. This is one of the most reassuring signs of the times, and an indication of the tendency to set aside all tradition in the interest of the sick.

Psycho-analysis, in its cleanest form, is an effort to account for present ills in the individual as the result of some long forgotten shock, which, unless it is uprooted from the unconscious or rather subconscious mind, will continue to manifest itself in some form of bodily disease; much as a weed will continue to appear, and reappear, so long as it is merely cut down by the lawnmower and not completely uprooted.

[95] In the New Psychology we know that there will be no real and lasting healing unless we do “pluck from the memory (subconscious mind) a rooted sorrow” and put in its place a seed of joy; and we know that it is as easy to do this as it is to uproot a noxious weed and put a pansy seed in its place. A noted physician and surgeon has given it as his opinion that a very large percentage of abnormal tumors and uterine cancers are due to “long suppressed grief and anxiety.” This being the case it is wise for us to consider the effect of the emotions on the bodily organism, and then seek by every means at our command to overcome all such as are debilitating emotions.

Every thinking person knows that anger can make one nervous, or result in a headache, or both; but that grief can so lower the vitality as to leave the individual in such a state as to invite, if not actually to create, a malignant malady, is not yet a matter of such common knowledge as to put people on their guard against their worst enemies, [96] which are not outer conditions but inner states of consciousness. When Jesus said, “A man’s enemies are they of his own household,” He established negative thinking as the source of all physical as well as mental inharmony. It is not our wives, or husbands, or children, or even mothers-in-law who are most injurious to us. It is our fears, and doubts, and hatreds, and suspicions, and lusts. These are the enemies of our own household (mental); the inner guests which make for inharmony and ill-health. As long as these enemies of purity and peace and prosperity remain in the mind, we cannot reasonably expect relief or restoration. A wise physician, knowing the law of correspondences, had a visit from a man who had gone the rounds of the best specialists but without any lasting benefit. In addition to his original malady there was a rapidly increasing melancholia with suicidal tendency. Our wise physician knew that if the best specialists had been on the case, everything had been done from the [97] purely medical point of view; therefore a little psycho-analysis might be in order. Through loving understanding he gained the man’s confidence and trust, and presently the cat was out of the bag. He had misappropriated funds belonging to his brother, who could never have found this out even if he had been inclined to investigate. Notwithstanding that years had gone by, the man had never been able to forgive himself; nor could he return the money without being discovered. It was not fear of legal punishment that tormented him, but the possible loss of his brother’s affection; otherwise he would have confessed long before and thus eased his soul. The physician advised, and then commanded him, to confess it all to his brother and thus do the thing he feared to do, and by so doing relieve the pressure. Three days of awful dread and three nights of insomnia brought him to the state where he concluded it was better to confess than to go through another night. The brother threw his arms about him and rejoiced with [98] him that the cloud, the only cloud in their lives, had disappeared. The atmosphere was clear again and his restoration to health was miraculous to those who did not understand the situation. Through the application of true psychology, he was able to do what Jesus commanded the woman to do when He said, “Go thy way and sin no more.” The rooted sorrow having been plucked from his memory or subconscious mind, his conscious mind was able to divert the force of thought into other and more healthy channels, and the cure was effected. There was nothing miraculous about it; it was the natural consequence of natural law, operating on a higher plane than the usual, that was all. Its very simplicity bewilders us. We cannot persuade ourselves that this is the explanation, and yet it is.

Why should we marvel that a cure is effected by merely removing the pressure which causes the malady? We do not marvel that a person breathes when the pressure on his throat is removed; and in a similar manner we ought not to be surprised [99] nor regard it as miraculous, when the pressure of fear and anxiety is removed by Truth and Love, that the patient should be made free from all disease.

These are well authenticated cases to prove the disastrous effects of fear, sudden and otherwise. Sudden fear has been known to stop all functioning so that death has taken place without any physical reason for it. In the case of an epidemic, the very suggestion of the presence of a certain contagious malady is enough to prepare susceptible mentalities for the “catching” of it.

Dr. Evans asks, in his “Divine Law of Cure,” “If a condemned criminal, from the trickling of warm water over the arm, and supposing or imagining or fancying it to be blood from a divided artery, actually died without the loss of a drop of blood, why may not thought act with the same efficiency in prolonging life and in effecting those organic and functional changes that constitute the cure of what we call bodily disease?” This question was asked fifty years ago and since [100] then the answer has come, for the New Psychology declares that thought does act with the same degree of efficiency in prolonging life and healing disease. All true mental healing is based upon the fact that thought has been tried as a therapeutic agent, and has been found to be the most reliable and dependable remedy in the world. It was the only thing Jesus ever used. His method was the substitution of a sanative idea for a sickly one, and the cure was established on the principle that opposite ideas cannot occupy the mind at the same time.

The Scriptures declare that, “Perfect Love casteth out fear,” and we can grasp this idea when we remember that fire dries up water; but in both cases there must be enough. If there is enough fear, any negative condition can be produced, whether it is sickness or unhappiness or poverty; contrariwise, where there is enough faith any positive condition can be evolved, whether it be health or happiness [101] or prosperity; for in this, as in nature, it is the seed which determines the character and the color of the thing which is to be, and this according to natural law. “The supernatural is only the divinely natural not yet understood.” Why should it not be understood?

Custom, that monstrous obstacle to all progress, is constantly saying, “Thus far and no farther,” and we stand motionless, when we should leap over every barrier that would interpose itself between us and the things which belong to us by divine decree. It is not the will of God that man, made in His image, should be sick and unhappy; therefore if he is either or both, it is because he has departed consciously or unconsciously, from natural law, to which he must consciously return, if he is to be healed of his infirmities.

When we say that the invalid must consciously return to natural law and an intelligent co-operation therewith, it is because it is not enough for him to console himself with [102] the notion that he will “get well anyway in time,” for this is taking a chance: it is ignoring what ought to be destroyed speedily, lest it grow in consciousness and increase in ferocity. Weeds do not tend to remove themselves in time: either we remove them or they increase, and it is none the less true of negative thoughts, which are weeds in the garden of human life where nothing should be permitted to grow but the flowers and fruits of healthy and happy thinking.

Until now the great majority have grown up like Topsy, and some have grown very poorly, but the evolutionary process which has brought them to their present state of development, requires now this conscious working with Law, if they are to reach that “fullness of stature of manhood” which includes all that is really worthwhile, and excludes all that makes for limitation and ineffectiveness.

First of all we must know what the Law is, for by knowing this we shall know what our rights are under the Law. The Law is [103] Harmony, and anything that is not harmonious is contrary to Law; and anything that is contrary to Law, may be nullified by him who knows the Law. Again the Law of God is the Will of God; and the Will of God is the Pleasure of God: and “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” which is the inner consciousness of health and wholeness, peace and power. By knowing then what is the Law, we can place ourselves under its protection as certainly as we can have recourse to the laws of the land in case of injustice; and more so, for these are fallible while The Law is infallible.

Only know that “It is not the will of my Father which is in heaven that the sinner (or the sickly) should die, but that all should have everlasting life”–and the rest is easy. If it is the will of our heavenly Father that the sinner should be reformed and the sick be made whole, then all that is necessary is for us to know this. The tragedy has been that we have not known it, as is evidenced by the fact that the great majority still think [104] that it is not the will of our Father which is in heaven that we shall be well, but that we shall be ill for “some inscrutable reason of His own” which we are not to question.

Do we not end our prayers for health and other necessary blessings with the traditional proviso, “If it be Thy will, O Lord”? What other impression does this convey than the impression received somewhere in the remote past that it may not be the will of God that we shall receive what we ask? And yet Jesus declares, “Ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.”

In the New Psychology we are learning to take Jesus at His word, and consequently, we dare to protest against everything which is opposed to the health and happiness of man, on the grounds that discord and disease, being no part of God’s creation, lack divine authority, and, lacking this, they are destitute of substance and reality in the true meaning of this word. The materialist may not accept the statement that disease, examined under the lens of a true science, the [105] Science of Christ, is as much an illusion as is a rising and a setting sun. Learned ignorance would repudiate this Truth in the same way that it repudiated the discovery of Galileo, but one day every school child will know it to be true as every child with any knowledge of rudimentary astronomy knows today that there is in truth neither sunrise nor sunset.

Just as our opinions have been reversed through increasing understanding of natural laws, so that we now “know more than all the ancients” concerning some of the most important truths in the world; so which we know the truth about the illusions of sense which we call diseases, we shall rise superior to them, as we now rise superior to the errors of our forefathers in other respects.

We have learned to deny the reality of appearances when those appearances do not coincide with scientific discovery, and by so doing, the race has advanced by leaps and bounds; but the appearance of disease is still dignified with names that are terrifying and [106] appalling. A man who can deny the rising of the sun on an early summer morning because he knows that it is the earth which is revolving and thereby giving the sun the appearance of rising, will nevertheless find it difficult to deny disease. When the psychologist tells him that his malady is an appearance, a shadow cast upon the body by some error of thought, he will almost invariably say, “But do I not see it?” What progress could one make with a person who would persistently reply: “But do I not see it?” to the teacher of astronomy who strives to teach him that the appearance of a rising sun is an illusion?

One of the first steps in the practice of mental medicine, as in many of the other exact sciences, is to learn to correct sense impressions by scientific truth. When the first sign of disease appears on the body, instead of viewing it as a forerunner of something worse, a symptom of something with a dreadful name, we should regard it as we do any other illusion, as something [107] which cannot be true if natural law is true and science is correct. This mental attitude will at once prevent us from being afraid of it; thus it will disappear, for fear aggravates until trifles become torments. Fear is the food upon which disease thrives. Deprive it of its food and it will starve to death. When we are well, we are afraid we shall not remain so. When we are ill, as a result of fear, we are afraid we shall become worse, and we do, for our fears will always master us until they are overcome; and we can never overcome them so long as we believe that error is true or that appearances are real.

“To fly the boar the boar pursues,
Were to incense the boar to follow us
And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.”
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Chapter 4

Mental Medicine
Table of Contents

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