Murray Course in Divine Science – Lesson 2 – The Brain and the Mind

Lesson II
Rev. W. John Murray
The Murray Course in Divine Science
Society of the Healing Christ
New York, 1927.

There is a great confusion of thought displayed in the use of the word “mind,” and since we are to study the effect of the mind upon the body, and the nature of mind itself, above all as we are to show the nature of man, it is well to give first our attention to the physical origin known as the brain.

This confusion of thought extends even to the use of the word “brain,” for, strictly speaking, we have two brains, just as we have two hands, two legs, two eyes, two ears and so on with other members and organs of the body that are paired.

We have two brains, one on each side of the head. However, these are not for double use, as we use but one brain. This pairing of the brains is not the same as that of the eyes and ears, for if we lose the sight of one eye or the hearing of one ear the sight of the eye and the hearing of the ear remaining intensifies and in a way makes up for the deprivation. The brains are an exception to the rule of double usefulness for paired organs. We use but one brain, the other remaining idle. The brain that we use is opposite to the hand we favor. If we are right-handed we use the left brain and if we are left-handed we use the right brain. The first effort at speech made by an infant determines the use of the right or the left hand and correspondingly the use of the left or the right brain. To understand all the implications of this fact necessitates a discussion of man as a separate and superior species.

This takes us into the subject of “Evolution,” so-called. Modern teaching as to man’s origin would lead us to believe that we have been evolved from a primordial cell or jelly through everything that wiggles and creeps, swims, walks or flies, from the invertebrate form to that of the vertebrate (possessing a spine) and through the land animals up to where we are at present. Darwin did not declare this to be the case. He submitted a Theory of the Origin of Species, merely as a theory, but many of his followers have built upon it the general plan that we now know as “Evolution,” which accounts for our being on the line of “progression,” through a conscious demand for new needs of being, as also by a survival of such species as were best fitted to survive. Thus, Evolutionists declare, we have come to be what we are.

Considering man anatomically, from the physical side merely, there is much to be said for this theory. It is obliged to be more than plausible to convince the many people who are in the ranks of evolutionists.

The anatomical structure of the vertebrates is the general plan upon which man may be said to have been built. There is a remarkable resemblance anatomically between a man and an ourang-outang, or a chimpanzee, and this has been stressed so much that the popular idea of an evolutionist is that of one who believes that man is descended from the ape. The manner of generation and birth, in both, are the same. The unborn baby and the unborn ape at one period of gestation cannot be told apart. There is even a rudimentary tail to the unborn human that is eliminated before birth. With allowable differences between the arms and legs and the skin and features there is a startling resemblance physically between man and ape. As for the expression of the eyes, that of some monkeys is more intelligent than that of some men.

Furthermore, and this is the point we wish to bring out, the brains of an ape are almost identical with those of a man. It has been said that so far as physical structure goes there is less difference between the brains of a man and those of a chimpanzee or ourang-outang than there is between the latter and the ordinary monkey. The pattern of the principal fissures in an ape’s brain is identical with that of a man’s. Huxley showed that the human brain has not even one peculiarity not found in a baboon’s brain.

But there are two overwhelming facts against the theory of Evolution as commonly understood–that is, the accounting for the origin of man by tracing him through all animal life down to the protoplasm or primordial cell. The first is that each species is inclusively fertile and exclusively sterile. The feline may range through all forms, from the tiger to the kitten, but it never becomes canine or bovine, for example. Each species can interbreed, but it cannot breed outside of its own kind. New forms or new types may be produced from interbreeding within each species. The race-horse of today is the descendant of the little Eohippus which was no larger than a large dog and which had three toes, or rather, a twice-cleft hoof, and from the horse and the ass a mule may be produced, but there progress ceases. The lines between the species are impassable boundaries, fixed by an immutable law of nature, and no one has ever been able to show where this law has been set aside.

The second fact is the all-important consideration, since it proves incontestably man’s distinctive creation as a companion of the divine. There is one physiological standard by which alone man can be measured, and that standard accounts for the immeasurable distance between man and all other animals. It is the nature and significance of the Word of man. An impassable gulf stands between the minds of those who can speak and the minds of dumb animals. “They cannot be the same being in kind, however similar their bodily relationship may be,” says Wm.Hanna Thomson, “because the more we recognize what the presence of the Logos (the word) in man implies, the plainer becomes the reason why he stands alone in this world.”

The faculty of speech consists not in uttering words but in making them. No human being was ever born with a word. Every word has been made in his own brain by man himself through his mind. No speechless race of man has ever been found, and the speech of every race of men, whether savages or tribes of the lowest intelligence, consists of verbs, nouns and partitives. In other words it has a grammatical basis. Some of the finest languages known to man are spoken by uncivilized men. Max Muller says: “We have before us in the Turkish a language of perfectly transparent structure, and a grammar the inner workings of which we can study as if watching the building of cells in a beehive. An eminent Orientalist remarked that we might imagine the Turkish language to be the result of the deliberations of some famous society of learned men. But no such society could have devised what the mind of man produced, left to itself in the steppes of Tartary, and guided only by its innate laws or by an intuitive power as wonderful as any within the realm of Nature.”

Thus, from the first purposive gesturing or pointing of a baby’s hand, and from the first word articulated by tongue and throat, up to the achievements of a Mezzofanti, who spoke twenty languages, the human creates word centers in his brain. This is shown by the fact that in the hemisphere of the brain that is unused there is no speech functioning or mental area. Words are created in the brain by the individual himself, who, in creating them, automatically modifies his own brain. We repeat and repeat until we develop a brain record of the word. And a strange thing about this process is that each language learned occupies a separate part of the brain structure, so that a man may know several languages and suffer an accident to the brain that will destroy all record of one language while the brain retains intact the record of the other languages.

However, this discussion of the brains, the two lobes or hemispheres containing gray matter in the frontal parts of the head and in the cerebellum, with their strange but no longer mysterious convolutions, has to do not so much with instruction pertaining to the brain as with instruction concerning the mind, the principal purpose being to prevent confusion of thought and to emphasize the power of the mind in the use of its instrument for speech.

We often hear the remark that a man is “brainy,” or a woman is “brainy,” the thought attempted to be carried being that one person is better endowed with brains than another, and before modern discoveries concerning the nature and office of the brains had reached their present state there was a so-called science of phrenology, which was based on the shape of a man’s head as indicative of the size, quantity and character of the brains. But science tells us that one man possesses no better brains than another, that differences in brain weight mean nothing and the shape of the head less. Each of us has two perfect brains to start with, just as we have two good eyes, ears and lungs. It is the use that we make of the brain that is the determining factor in the matter of brain power, brain energy and brain capacity. What we have in our brains is the result of the mind’s effort to charge the brains with what we learn or wish to learn, or study, and hence, without attempting to explain the relation of the brain to the nervous system and the muscular economy we will get at once to our point in declaring that what makes one man a poacher and another a Shakespeare is not the brains but the mind. We have discussed the brains and their marvellous organization for the purpose of clearing away some of the confusion that is ordinarily associated with the word “mind.”

The brain is not the mind any more than the violin is the musician. The brain is the instrument of the mind. We cannot contemplate mind in its formal aspect without being clear on this subject. Scientists whose province is the study of the brain regard it merely as an instrument upon which the invisible, intangible inner spirit that constitutes the individual plays for its expression of thought through words that it creates and compels the brain to record.

What is this mysterious thing that we call mind? Scientists allude to it as the ego, the personality, the intelligence. Physiologists have no agreement as to a proper word for that which constitutes the self in each individual. Divine Science recognizes it as mind, soul and spirit. The brain, let us say, is the instrument, the mind the player, the soul receives from spirit and is the source of supply to the mind, the spirit contacts with Divine Spirit and is therefore the avenue or opening to the All. Briefly, the mind is the intelligence of the soul, the soul is, to use an electrical term, the “condenser” of the spirit and the spirit is an emanation of Divine Spirit, of eternal origin and continuance. The spirit is the divinity that resides in man. We shall probably use the words mind, soul and spirit inter-convertibly, because of the intimate relation of the three, which are all intimately related to the Divine Mind, reflected in man.

The point which interests us at present is the necessity of emphasizing the influence of the mind upon the body. The mind controls the body not only in a directive way, but in a creative manner. What man does in a creative way is effected by the mind and the mind’s creative domain is within us as well as outside of us. Every movement that we make is originated in the mind. We cannot lift a finger without the operation of the mind. What we believe is the result of the knowledge we have acquired through the mind, governed or directed by the will, the dynamic motor of the mind.

Thought is the supreme motive power of the body. If there is no thought, no operation of the mind, we are inert, dead. This is shown in the loss of consciousness through shock, or a blow, and in sleep. If we are unconscious we cannot move a muscle. Sleep is the counterfeit of death. It is thought that governs us, directs our movements, sustains us in action and calls a rest when the body can go no further.

If we wish to witness the effect of thought upon the body we have only to observe a man in a state of extreme fear. His blood “freezes.” His limbs shake. His heart contracts. The blood disappears from his face and he trembles in an ague of apprehension. The thing he fears may have no significance–a shadow, a picture in his mind of death in some form, or what he conceives to be a supernatural being. Or observe him in a state of violent anger or of excessive joy. His thought inflames and changes bodily aspect and action until the man is scarcely recognizable. Previous to such a state of mind the man might have complained of intense suffering. Under the power of the dominating thought all suffering has disappeared, been displaced. In fact any man is immune to suffering while under the influence of a dominating thought.

Men in a high state of excitement know nothing of cold or heat or wounds or disease. People known for years as paralytics, incapable of movement, have sprung from their invalid chairs and rushed out of a burning building. People have dropped dead on reading a message containing information that was entirely untrue, the thought from the letter or telegram delivering a mortal stroke to the body.

On the other hand, look at the constructive power of thought on the body. A sickly, lank, weak boy becomes a Roosevelt, a strong, powerfully-muscled man, the author of “The Strenuous Life.” Men and women given up to die have made up their minds to live and have become strong, healthy and long-lived. Pale, anemic beings have grown into sturdy, stalwart manhood and womanhood. A child who is deaf, dumb and blind and has never received a thought from another until she is seven years of age, becomes a Helen Keller, who, at eighteen, graduates from Radcliffe College in history, languages and mathematics, to say nothing of music.

Thought governs us, thought makes us, thought creates for us the conditions we desire. The mind is the supreme governor of the body, in joy, in pain, in sensation, in action and in the formation of the plans the body carries out that bring to us the desires of our heart.

Do not confuse the mind with the brain. An idiot has a defective mentality, a lunatic, a disordered mentality. A maniac may have a deranged or injured brain. Upon all three the mind, set to work, can accomplish great changes and perhaps complete recovery. In the case of those who become sub-normal, drunkards, thieves, harlots, dope fiends and the like, the soul’s admonitions to the mind have been ignored and unheeded and the mind has acted from sense impulses with resulting chaos in the moral control. Soul and spirit, always above the mind, with abundant power of right direction and food for right thinking, have been awaiting the opportunity to guide and direct, to furnish a plenteous supply of the good, but the lower tendencies have had constant access to the mind through the will to wrong-thinking and wrong-doing. Mind is always working to correct the thought engendered by the senses and when this fact is once realized the will may be resolved in the direction of right-thinking with the result that Thought can thus be engaged to correct and reform, to renew and restore.

Thus we can make invalids and wrecks of ourselves or we can make strong, healthy, wholesome beings of ourselves. We can think positive thoughts or we can think negative thoughts. We can choose to be diseased and sickly or well and strong, and by bending our mind in the one direction or the other we can tear down or build up, we can go up the mountain of high endeavor or we can sink into the valley of nothingness and extinction.

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Methods Recommended for Putting Into Daily Application
“When, from the lips of Truth, one mighty breath
Shall, like a whirlwind, scatter in the breeze
The whole dark pile of human mockeries;
Then shall the reign of mind commence on earth,
And, starting fresh, as from a second birth,
Man, in the sunshine of the world’s new spring,
Shall walk transparent; like some holy thing.”

Golden Grains

Thoughts are very potent things, and work for weal or woe.

Denial and Affirmation
(Memorize and Repeat Often)
No mortal mind or Thought has any power. God is the only Mind, the only Presence, and the only Power.

I am now expressing, in every Thought, word and action, that Divine Spirit which is Life, Love, Harmony, Beauty, and Perfection, and by my Thought I am declaring my Unity with God, the Principle of Eternal Good.

Practice for the Day
How may the habit of Wrong Thinking be changed and the habit of Right Thinking be most quickly effected?

Answer: By reversing every thought that is unlike God.

As the brain cells become more plastic through Right Thinking, new pathways will form in the brain, recording and retaining the character of Thought, and confirming the new ideals and purposes of life.

The mind, open to the soul’s direction, grows by what it feeds upon, and this mental chemistry is continually crystallizing in conditions of health or disease, abundance or limitation, success or failure, according to the constituents of Thoughts.

There is a general order of Thought, productive of health, strength and peace of mind and of this order are those God-inspired thoughts expressed in faith, love, nobleness and good will. We renew our bodies as we renew our thoughts and our lives are changed with Thought for Life. It is a scientific law that whatsoever we desire to be we shall be, when our habitual thought corresponds with our desire.

“The source of all power is the mind,” and nothing blossoms more beautifully than the mind when it is fed on thoughts of love, happiness, good cheer and helpfulness to others. Every good and every right thought instigates an impulse to a good deed, and a good deed is a seed that multiplies many times in the Garden of Life.

Life is a steady climb upward, and each glimpse of Truth, each right thought or act, becomes a part of your consciousness and externalizes itself in bodily health, vigor and harmony.

Weave the Truth into your life as a working reality. Know that help is within yourself. Accept it. Believe it. Use it.

Knowledge of Truth is knowledge of God and the solution of all your problems, of all your mental and physical disturbance, is to know God aright.

Do not stop with the knowledge that you possess this indwelling power, but LIVE it–let God reveal Himself through your every thought and act.

Affirm positively every day that you are in every way giving expression to the demonstrable, living Truth, which lifts you up out of the errors of your own Wrong Thinking into the Spiritual realm of Reality and Harmonious Being.

The Kingdom of Heaven is within, and to know this is the realization of Right Living, Right Thinking and conscious communion with the Christ in you.

The Silence
Sit in the Silence for 15 minutes each day: morning and night. Seek a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Relax physically, let your mind be passive, put yourself in harmony with the Divine Mind, and know that you are one with God. Then wait quietly and patiently on God for that inner illumination which comes when the soul is open to the Spirit.

Hold the consciousness that, within you, is the power to BE and to DO.

Remember that your soul is the real YOU, and in the Silence learn to think God’s thoughts from the very innermost of yourself. Then may you be sure that every earnest and right thought and desire will be brought into manifestation.

“The more thou searchest the more thou shalt marvel” at the wisdom and glory of God.

Thought for the Silence
“Be still and know that I AM God. The glory of God expresses itself through me. The strength of God supports me in all that I do. The Wisdom of God leads me into paths of Peace, Power and Prosperity.”

Read with this Lesson
Pages 121 to 129 inclusive of the “Astor Lectures.” [Online at this website.]
“Concentration” (booklet) [Online at this website as Chapter 2 of “Mental Medicine.”]

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Morning Devotions, Health, Abundance, Protection

Morning Devotions

On Arising. I arise, O Lord, to do Thy will. Thy will is perfect, working in me as unchanging Peace, Power and Perfection.

While Making One’s Ablutions. I am cleansed by the Purifying Water of Life from all that is unlike God. Nothing “common nor unclean” can attach itself to Man, the Divine Idea.

On Dressing. Clothe me, O Lord, in the garb of Righteousness (right thinking). Girt about with the armour of Truth and love, nothing can by any means hurt me.

Before Breakfast. “There is nothing from without that defileth a man,” therefore the food of which I am about to partake is blessed by Him who has provided it. It nourishes and invigorates me.

After Breakfast. I thank God that He has supplied me with that bread which cometh down from Heaven, of which I may freely eat and live.

On Going Out. Divine Love preserves my going out and my coming in, from this time henceforth, and even forevermore. I face the duties of the day knowing that “underneath are the ever-lasting arms,” sustaining and supporting me.

The order and Harmony of the Christ Consciousness, established in me throughout all eternity, is expressing itself now as perfect Health.

My God has supplied all my needs, according to His riches, by the Christ-Consciousness of Abundance in me.

The Lord is my Keeper. He will not suffer my foot to be moved. He that keepeth me neither slumbers nor sleeps. No harm shall come nigh my dwelling, for I live in God, in whom is no imperfection and no inharmony.

1. How do we do our thinking?

2. Is the brain the source of thought?

3. In what lies the difference between man and all other creatures?

4. Is the theory of man’s ascent through other species provable?

5. Why should we avoid the use of the word “brain” when we speak of the mind?

6. Is the influence of the mind upon the body powerful? In what way?

7. Can we be well or prosperous if we choose to be?

8. How is thought constructive? How is it destructive?

9. How can we produce the physical results we desire and how can we realize our ambitions?

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The Murray Course in Divine Science
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