Chapter 8 – Suggestion and Auto-Suggestion

Chapter VIII

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

[144] Speaking of suggestion and auto-suggestion, Mr. Coue’ says: “It is a method which every one should follow–the sick to obtain healing, the healthy to prevent the coming of disease in the future. By its practice we can insure for ourselves, all our lives long, an excellent state of health, both of the mind and of the body.” Whatever biased physicians may say, there is abundant evidence to prove that Mr. Coue’ has accomplished marvelous results by suggestion, and that he has also taught those who have come to him to heal themselves by their own power of auto-suggestion, which he declares is the secret of all the healing that he has ever accomplished, for it is his opinion that unless the patient “believes” and acts as if he believed, [145] there will be no lasting benefit; if indeed there will be any benefit at all.

Has it not been said of One greater than Coue’ that “He did there no mighty works because of their unbelief?”

There are those who believe that the sick can be healed regardless of their belief or lack of it, but this is as foolish as it is to believe that a person can communicate with another person over a telephone whether or not he takes down the receiver. There is as much law back of the communication of a sanative idea from one mind to another as there is back of a conversation over the telephone between one person and another. Any suggestion that does not become an auto-suggestion is valueless on the same principle that any truth spoken by one to another, which does not become an accepted truth, is as nothing; for it is as true now as it ever was that, “Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.”

The numeration table is a suggestion to the child-consciousness of the basis of mathematics [146] which he is taught to memorize long before he knows what he is doing, and frequently before he is reconciled to the necessity of it, for the child would much rather play than memorize numeration tables and alphabets. What is the object of memorizing if it is not to impress the subconscious mind of the child with the truth of mathematics, or rather the basis or foundation of it, so that it will have something to build upon as it advances in understanding? In the child’s future use of the science of numbers, instead of having to look up in the written or printed numeration tables the relation which one number bears to another, he will have it at his “finger tips,” nay, it will be closer, for it will be in his “heart” or subconscious mind. When we learn a thing “by heart” it simply means that we have impressed it upon the subconscious from which it will spring forth spontaneously as occasion requires, so that we shall do almost automatically, what once we did through conscious effort.

[147] A suggestion to a patient from another, or an auto-suggestion by the patient to himself of the truth of his being, so that he will say when he is to all appearances very ill, “I am well,” may have as little real meaning for him as the suggestion has for the child who says to himself “three and two makes five,” during his period of memorization, but the fact remains that he is nevertheless memorizing a truth, as time will reveal in both cases, if the suggestion is persisted in.

Educators have not generally known this; therefore, when the child has said petulantly, “Why should I repeat this over and over again?” the reply has been, “You cannot learn it in any other way.” Of course this is true, but it is not all of the truth and the child is no more reconciled than he was before. It should be explained to the child, as it is by teachers who are students of the new psychology; for they are teaching their little pupils that every time they repeat the numeration table, an impression is being made upon something inside of them; just [148] as every time they strike their lead pencil against a sheet of white paper a little black mark is made, which will be added to by another black mark with each successive strike until a patch of black will be the result.

Modern teachers of the languages are now realizing that students are impressed more by what they hear than by what they see; and so instead of having them study dry and difficult verbs in silence, words and phrases are memorized as children memorize them by speaking or reading them aloud. In this way a vocabulary is evolved, small to be sure, but always on the increase until this vocabulary can be used to ask questions and to give answers. Rules of grammar and syntax come later, as they should, when they will not bewilder and confuse, as they so often do when the cart of verb conjugation is put before the horse of memorized words and phrases.

Let the student of a foreign language be able to ask for what he wants, no matter [149] how simply; then there is an incentive to go on; but with a head full of the grammar of it and a heart filled with fear of giving expression to it, he is more helpless than the infant who can make its wants known in a language which has been acquired by a purely subconscious method of absorption.

As a result of suggestion or auto-suggestion the plastic substance of the subconscious mind receives our mental pictures and returns them to us, much in the same fashion that echoes result from sound. Not infrequently we mistake our own for the thoughts of others, as children are apt to think that the echo of their own voices are the voices of other children in the far-off hills from which the sound seems to come. Until we learn that the origin and the remedy alike of all our ills lies within ourselves, our maladies seem to proceed from other sources than our own thoughts and emotions. It may not be pleasant to discover that our difficulties are largely, if not entirely, of our own creating; but there is vast compensation in the discovery [150] that the same power of thought which made us ill, will make us well again. The same power which will make a motor car go forward, will also make it go backward. What reversal is to the motor car, suggestion is to the man. It is indispensable then for us to suggest only such things to ourselves and others as will make for health and happiness.

Man’s body and his affairs generally are as sensitive to thought and imagination as the mercury in the thermometer is sensitive to atmospheric changes, the difference being that the thermometer cannot resist while man can and should.

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Chapter 9

Mental Medicine
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