Chapter 4 – The Affirmative Life

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

[108] Negative thoughts attract negative conditions, even if they do not actually create them, and it must also be evident that there can be no real happiness until this destructive practice is discontinued; this goes without saying, but the question is, “What shall we do to be saved?”

Every sensible man and woman who has suffered from negative thinking in the form of worry, fear, suspicion or jealousy, has also suffered from insomnia, dyspepsia, or some other form of nervous or bodily discomfort. It is reasonable to suppose then that they have tried to overcome such thoughts as have made such misery-producing consequences in their bodies; but how have they tried to do it? Usually by exercising will-power, and while they have in [109] many cases suppressed the external manifestation of their inner emotions, it has been at the cost, all too frequently, of setting up other negative conditions which have been just as injurious as if they had given them free rein.

Will-power has its limitations; hence, when the will would be something of itself, it is like a motor car with insufficient gasoline; it can go just so far and no farther. We cannot, for instance, will ourselves to believe in the sphericity of the globe and thus assert the nothingness of the sunrise, but we can learn that the globe is a sphere, or nearly so, and by so learning we can prove to ourselves that the sphere revolves and the sun stands still. In such a matter the will does not enter at all, unless it is in the determination to get at the facts in the case, but it is always this that we must get at if we would arrive at correct conclusions. “Knowledge is Power;” therefore it is the knowledge of our inseverable connection with the Source of all Being that is required, [110] if we would live the affirmative life. The affirmation of Jesus, “I and the Father are one,” angered the rabbis, but it established a truth, which, when once we grasp it, makes for a power which nothing else in all the world can confer.

As the warmth and light of the sun are one with the sun and inseverable from it, so man in his true relation to the Infinite is one with the Infinite as effect is one with the cause. This one-ness of man with his Maker is a truth, but unless we know this truth, it will be of little real use to us, for to be a thing and not to be aware of it, is the same as if we were not it. The son of a king stolen in infancy by bandits and raised as a bandit is still the son of a king, but unless he knows this he gains no advantage from the fact. Looking at ourselves from the standpoint of the material, merely, and knowing no other law than the material, we are subject to it with its penalties of poverty, pain, passion and general unhappiness. We are like men sentenced by the lower [111] courts to imprisonment for crimes they have never committed, and who do not realize the fact that there are higher courts to which they may appeal.

The lower court of human ignorance has handed down its decision through long centuries of spiritual stupidity; that man is doomed to sin and sorrow and sickness, and man has accepted this unjust sentence almost without a protest. He has felt the injustice of it all but has accepted his misfortunes as do those innocents who hear the words of a judge who, not knowing all the facts in the case, says, “Three months at hard labor.” Not realizing that there is a higher court than that of the too often unintelligent magistrate, men make no appeal, and in a similar manner live lives of sorrow, and sickness, and poverty when they might be well, and happy, and prosperous if they could be taught to appeal to something higher than popular opinion, which is almost invariably wrong.

For centuries this opinion declared that [112] aerial navigation would never be made possible. It was “contrary to law” said the wise men, who never acknowledged the possibility of a thing until it struck them in the face and blackened their eyes. Aviation would be the abolition of the laws of gravitation and of God alike, said certain theologians, and therefore it could not be, since these laws, physical and metaphysical, were opposed to it. It is, however, strange that the things that “can’t be done” are so frequently accomplished, and this without the wiseacres admitting its possibility.

The affirmative life requires that we admit, first of all, that anything that is really worthwhile is possible, and secondly that we go to work to prove this fact; for there will be no attempt to perform a feat, physical or mental, until we make the admission to ourselves that it is possible of performance. It is getting out of date to say of anything, “It can’t be done.” The race has been made to “take it back” so often that it hesitates to voice its gravest doubts. Despite all the [113] imperfections of the human mind today it is more receptive to new ideas than ever before. The New Psychology has not come before its time; neither is it the voice of one crying in the wilderness; it is the supply for a demand; the answer to a prayer for more light. Demand does not create supply, it reveals it. The demand for better conditions of mind, body and estate has not moved God to create a new supply of peace, power and plenty; it has simply opened the door of thought inward, so that man may see that the things he seeks are not external to himself but rather “within” him as God-implanted potentialities, to be worked out through intelligent affirmations of the eternal and demonstrable Good in his own nature.

When the prophet Joel cried out to the children of Israel, spent with toil, warfare and privation, “Let the weak say, I am strong,” he was antedating Coue’ by thousands of years and going him one better, for as long as one continues to say, “Day by day in every way I am getting better and better,” [114] it will imply that he is not yet well, even if he should continue the affirmation for centuries.

Paul’s statement, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” is more positive and more scientific than the modern disciple’s, for it reveals the Source from which Paul is assured of support. Like his Master he knows that “of himself he can do nothing;” and this is a very necessary thing for anyone to know. Without steam in the boiler the most perfect machinery in the world would be useless; without the underlying spiritual substance of all things words and affirmations are like “sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.” The reason why results follow affirmations, when there is no knowledge of the underlying substance which gives them their own power, is due to the fact that this power is employed even when there is no consciousness of its being employed; on the same principle that one will get illumination by merely touching a button even when he knows nothing at all [115] about electrical science; but we must not remain content merely to touch buttons, for some time we might be called upon to repair a break or a blowout.

Ignorant compliance with law is a good thing, but intelligent co-operation is better. This is true of mental healing, as it is true of all other things. What is called Faith-healing is based upon the belief that prayer in its petitionary form will move God to destroy whatever is distressing, and when this belief is sufficiently strong, the cure may be established, not because Divine Mind has been moved from its original position, but because the human mind by the force of its strong belief, has appropriated through faith a normal condition, which is lost through fear. “Thy faith hath made thee whole,” said Jesus to the woman who believed that if she could just touch the hem of His garment she would be made whole. It was not the hem of His garment nor the spoken word which effected the cure, but her own mental attitude which assured her that if she could [116] do one thing, another thing would follow as a natural consequence. It was not necessary for her to know the Law in order to avail herself of its beneficent potency, any more than it is necessary for a person to understand the chemistry of food in order to be sustained by it. However, faith-cure has its limitations, for while the woman was healed in this remarkable manner, it does not follow that she understood the process or could apply it scientifically to the cure of another. “What does it matter,” says one, “whether one understands the law or not, so long as one can be benefited by it?” This is a question prompted by selfishness, for the most natural thing under such circumstances would be to ask, “What shall we do that we may work the works of God?”

The New Psychology is the answer to this question, for it tells us that not only can we be benefited by the mental or spiritual efforts of another, but that we can so learn the laws of Mind as to avail ourselves of them even as we avail ourselves of the laws of mathematics [117] in the construction of bridges, buildings, ships and railroads.

If the parrot-like repetition of a statement like Mr.Coue’s, “Day by day in every way I am getting better and better,” can set in motion a healing energy which will reinvigorate and rebuild, what may not a higher statement based upon an understood principle do?

If the invalid can learn to say and to think of himself, “I am well because God is the health of my countenance,” and keep on saying it despite slowness of results, he will reap the fruit of faith in a radical restoration. If at times there seems to be an increase or intensification of symptoms, let him intensify his affirmations, for such conditions are often the indications of that change in consciousness which precedes the complete eradication from his system of all that has tended to make him miserable. Shakespeare says,

“Before the curing of a strong disease,
Even in the instant of repair and health, [118]
The fit is strongest; evils that take leave,
On their departure most of all show evil.”

When the epileptic boy whom the disciples could not heal was treated by Jesus, it is written, he “wallowed foaming.” We must not expect these violent disturbances, but if they should come, we must know how to handle them. Above all the noise of such fermentation we should still affirm that, “In that eternal Presence all is peace; there is no confusion.” This will produce a change similar to that which is produced when oil is poured on troubled waters.

Mental Medicine is not limited to “trifles light as air,” but, like mathematics, it contains within itself a solution for any and every problem which may present itself, simple or complex, functional or organic.

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Chapter 5

Mental Medicine
Table of Contents

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