It is somewhat difficult to convince persons that look upon all suggestion as hypnotic that there is any difference between the suggestion given by a spiritual scientist and that given by a hypnotist. I shall try to show, however, in this paper, that the difference is a radical one.
A suggestion given by a hypnotist may be a good or a bad one; but he wills his subject to do, or not to do, as the case may be, using the influence of his will in such a way that the hypnotized person is practically at his mercy. It is claimed by many advocates of hypnotism that the moral nature of the subject cannot be perverted by a wrong suggestion; and that, although he will follow out and act upon one that is not in itself evil, yet when an evil suggestion is given the subject has sufficient moral stamina to resist it—that is, not to act upon it. This, I admit, may sometimes happen; but in the great majority of cases the theory is not tenable. I am persuaded that the average hypnotic subject will act as readily on a wrong suggestion, when entirely under the influence of the hypnotist, as on a right one.
From careful observation I have become convinced that hypnotic suggestion is a reversal of certain laws that regulate life, and that any seemingly good effects that flow from it will prove in the end to be detrimental to the well being of the subject. We are too ready to reach conclusions when we perceive certain changes in mind and body that at the time apparently affect the patient for good. The history of medicine proves this conclusively. The things that produced the quickest results were at one time considered the most valuable remedies. For instance, mercury was first thought to be an invaluable medicine, but its after-effects have undoubtedly been many times more disastrous to the body than any disease that it seemed to remove. Again, few persons will question the effect of antipyrene in reducing fever; yet this drug has killed more people than it has ever helped—by bringing about an unnatural condition and thus forcing such a reaction that the heart was unable to perform its functions. And this is true of all the different serums: the seeming present good is as nothing in comparison with the evils flowing from a poisoned state of the blood.
It will take time for the masses to become convinced of these things; but sooner or later it must become evident to thinking minds that unnatural actions and reactions of mind and body can in no way be conducive to health— that health and strength must proceed from natural mental actions, which in turn give place to natural physical actions. If we would make a careful study of the human mind we would perceive that it acts most truly when allowed the greatest freedom to follow its natural bent—that anything in the nature of compulsion tends to restrict its normal development. We would also see that mental freedom and harmony inevitably keep the body in a healthy (harmonious) condition.
The true office of individual minds in their action upon others is to present truths, not to try to enforce their acceptance. We should never use our wills to force another to do, or to refrain from doing, even that which w0uld be best for him if 'he followed our suggestion. Spiritual treatment has for its object the presentation of eternal truths, leaving it optional for the patient to receive and act on them or to reject them, as he may choose. In this respect it differs essentially from hypnotic and all other methods in which the reverse of this plays the most prominent part. Many well-meaning persons engaged in the healing art introduce certain things into their treatment that in a sense are akin to hypnotism. Anything that will not in the end prove beneficial to a patient, no matter what the seeming present good may be, is not a good thing to suggest to the mind of another. ‘Any suggestion that has not for its object the elevation of the moral and the betterment of the physical side of life cannot be helpful. And anything that tends to deceive, so that the mind is diverted from the realities of life, can never bring gain to anyone.
Now, I do not question the honesty or sincerity of the persons using these erroneous methods. Personality should play no part in our discussion. We want to know more about the laws that influence our lives for good, rather than to enter into personal controversies that are really of no benefit to anyone. The question before us, then, is one of principle—the dealing with principles—and not an attack on any person or body of persons.
Every thought that enters the mind of man must to some degree affect his life, either for good or the reverse. All true suggestion, then, must have for its aim the presentation of the truth and nothing but the truth. When, therefore, any one denies away the visible universe, the visible body of man, sin, disease, the sorrow and distress of life, etc., he is not dealing with the truths of life, but rather dwelling in its shadows. The visible universe and the visible body of man are the clothing of invisible forces or powers that lie back of them. The sin, disease, and sorrow of life, while not real or eternal, have an existence that can never be overcome through any mental process of denial. Evil is overcome only by good. It is only as the heart of man becomes fixed on the eternal realities of life and truth that evil disappears; and it is only as the sunshine of God’s love enters the mind of man that the unreal shadows of life vanish. Why should we perpetuate the existence of evil and disease through “denying” them? Do our minds become more illuminated? No; the process of denial is after all one of weakness and despair. It never elevates nor spiritualizes the life. The things we mentally deny we must picture in mind; and thus the mind becomes filled with unwholesome thought pictures.
The mental scientist stands fairly and squarely on the affirmative side of life, declaring that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Every suggestion he gives has this as a background. Every thought-picture has in it the radiance of light and truth. Knowing that all knowledge is of God, he realizes that all knowledge must be good—therefore there can be nothing evil in the wisdom or power of God. Thus we see that spiritual healing overcomes the false existence of evil and disease by the affirmations of eternal, omnipresent good and of eternal life and health, recognizing but one will in the universe—the Will of God becoming manifest in the life of man. In the light of this truth, no spiritual scientist may exert the human will in such a way as to compel another to think or act as he may wish. In every treatment he gives, his own personality sinks out of sight, and only the principles—the truths of life—are brought into the foreground. Every thought of self is obliterated.
In God “we live, and move, and have our being.” There is a spirit within man that when recognized by the mind is perceived to be one with the universal Spirit. He is one with the universal Soul of things. This is what spiritual treatment seeks to bring about—the recognition of the indwelling Spirit of God; the becoming at one with God; the human will disappearing before the Divine Will; the light shining in the darkness becoming a living flame, so that soul and mind and body are enlightened thereby. It is a knowledge of this truth that brings the absolute freedom of life, whereby a man becomes a law unto himself, disclosing in his own life God’s perfect image and likeness. The health, strength, and perfection of life can come only in this way.
If we should succeed in banishing pain through the mental process of denial, the temporary good would in no case be beneficial, because pain, after all, is an index to the violation of law. Through pain we become aware that something is wrong. If the pain be lasting, sooner or later we shall ask ourselves the reason for it. And when we perceive that it is the physical result of wrong mental conditions, we are bound to shape our thoughts in a higher and truer way. Thus we gain more knowledge of life through the observance of discordant states and afterward by overcoming them.
The great law of contradictories shows us in the end the “straight and narrow way” of life. The good of life becomes manifest through that which contradicts it. Sooner or later we realize that sin of mind and disease of body are not natural conditions; then we seek to replace them by true ones. The seeming evil of the world, therefore, is that which in the end shows us the way of life. By “denying away” the evil, we deprive ourselves of the experience necessary for our development. Darkness proves the reality of light. Ignorance proves the reality of knowledge. Sickness proves the reality of health. When we have proved the reality of anything, then the seeming, or that which contradicts reality, is seen in its true light as being only the shadow. In our pressing forward to the light we leave the shadow behind, and it has lost all power adversely to affect our lives. Thus “the tree of knowledge” by which we solve the mysteries of life is the tree of good and evil; and the evil is only dissipated from the mind of man by overcoming it with the good—by realizing that good is an eternal reality and that evil is only the negation of good. It is this negative side, acting as a background, that makes evident to the human mind eternal life, love, and truth.
Spiritual treatment, therefore, has for its sole object the understanding of the laws that regulate life, in order that conformity may come through such knowledge. The body of man is not treated for health or strength. Physical weakness or infirmity is indicative of an untrue mental state. Change this mental state to a true one, through overcoming the false ideas by the truth, and the physical man so responds that the body becomes completely transformed through the renewing of the mind. Spiritual treatment is sowing the seed of God’s word in the mind of another. That seed, if the ground is prepared for it, will bring forth fruit after its kind.
In giving spiritual treatment, the healer should first realize the things he desires to impress on the mind of his patient. He must feel them as soul-states first, and see them as thought pictures next. He should also be positive concerning the truth of them. In giving his treatment his mind must be single to them, so that his soul and mind become absorbed in what he is doing to the exclusion of everything else. He should realize that he is one with all life—one with the life of God and one with the life of man; for it is such realization that brings rest and peace of mind and health and strength of body.
More Articles by This Author Charles Brodie Patterson
- Canadian New Thought author
- Born in Nova Scotia in 1854 and died on June, 22nd 1917