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Hearing and Doing

Our thoughts are the text; our lives preach the sermon.

Let what is natural in you raise itself to the level of the spiritual, and let the spiritual become once more natural.
Thus will your development be harmonious, and the peace of heaven will shine upon your brow—
always on condition that your peace is made, and that you have climbed your Calvary.
—"Amiel's Journal"
Our own spirit is the vestibule which we must enter, as threshold to the temple of the eternal,
and wherein alone we can catch any whisper from the holy of holies.
—James Martineau

Some college professors admitted to me some time ago that the world is turning more and more toward the search after health along mental or psychical lines, conceding that the more advanced students believe not only that health is obtainable through mental effort alone, but that the time is near when great numbers of people will so seek thus to regulate their lives that human life shall be greatly prolonged. It is true beyond doubt that scientific minds are investigating this subject today as never before. Medical men may strive to side-track the issue by appealing to hypnotism or some other agency, but they are not succeeding to any marked degree.

The doctors make strenuous efforts to procure legislation prohibiting the practice of Mental and Christian Science, ostensibly because these schools are inimical to the public welfare, but really because they tend to reduce medical incomes. Yet intelligent physicians everywhere are dispensing more and more with the use of drugs, and are confining themselves to the giving of advice as to diet and the making of hygienic suggestions.

My object in referring to this is to show that progress in the spiritual and psychic realms is undoubtedly being made; yet a still more encouraging fact is that very many people who formerly took regular mental treatment are now beginning to rely largely on their own efforts to keep well. This is as it should be, because we have a right to regulate our own health. We all have the power, but unfortunately we do not always use it intelligently. In order to control and direct the power of life, we must focus our attention upon it in the natural way, and not imagine that, if ill, five or ten minutes' effort will make us well and strong. The age of miracles has not yet arrived.

Let us see how intelligence may be brought to bear on the different phases of this subject. In the first place, let us consider the morbid, or diseased, side of human life, in order to discover how we get into wrong conditions—because if we know this we may also learn how to get out of them: by retracing our steps.

The very best scientists in the world today no longer regard the brain as the generator of thought, but rather as an instrument through which thought acts. They recognize that thought is independent of the brain, though it acts upon it. The entire physical body is only one of our possessions, and is not by any means our greatest possession. We have the right to do with it as we will, so long as our authority is exercised in accord with law; that is, so long as the will is used to produce a harmonious effect upon the body, because if used otherwise the will is bound more or less to injure this house we live in.

A great many people suppose they are thinking when they are really doing nothing of the kind, but are using their brains to such a degree that an undue amount of blood is drawn to the head, where, becoming congested, it accelerates the vibrations of the upper portion of the body till the head is very hot and the feet are very cold. The physical effect produced here is the result of wrong thinking, not right thinking, which has never yet caused a congestion of any kind. Right thought cannot produce a rapidity of vibration that will result in an overheated head.

When we refer to certain persons as being "hot-headed," we mean that they become angry easily, for anger is an emotion that drives the blood unduly to the brain. There is a very delicate part of the body called the mucous membrane, and when the rate of vibration is thus increased it becomes inflamed, the result being what is known as a "catarrhal" condition. Again, we are very sensitive as to what people say or think of us, and are frequently so affected by their words or thoughts that this membrane becomes similarly inflamed; moreover, we have a disturbance of the stomach, and we say it results from something we have eaten or drunk—but it means simply that we have allowed ourselves to be annoyed by what someone else has said or thought.

No one can produce in us a wrong method of thinking unless we allow him to do it. Let us cease trying to shift the responsibility from our own shoulders on to those of someone else by insisting that another's failure to do this or that has caused our suffering; for it is a very poor excuse. We suffer for our own misdeeds, and when we lend ourselves to the sinful side of life we have a right to expect no other result. It rests with each individual whether he shall be related to the world about him in a strong and healthy way or in a weak and diseased way.

It is better to know the truth about these things—to face the whole truth—than to go on year after year laying the responsibility for our mental and physical conditions at the doors of other people or other things, when we ourselves are solely responsible. It is not enough to say that we are "negative" and that we "take on conditions" from others. If we are negative it is because we have allowed ourselves to become so without reason. If wrong thought reaches us from other people it is because we open wide our door and tacitly invite it to enter. We literally call out what others say or think of us. There is something within us that, coming in touch with the identical quality in other people, stirs it into activity. When this result does not follow, it means that we have risen above it. If it seems to come and has no effect upon us, we have proof that we are not one with it; that is, that we have no fondness for it. We do not like to have unkind things said of us by others; yet if we ourselves say unkind things we become one with that habit of thought and thus call forth just such remarks, which adversely affect us mentally and therefore physically.

We become one with whatever we love. We become intimately related also to those about whom we say unkind things—to the unkind thought of the world; the converse of this proposition being equally true. If we love to say and do kind things, we are one with the good deeds and the good people of the world.

And so it is with health, with wholeness; for health and wholeness, harmony and heaven, mean virtually the same thing. When a person is healthy he is harmonious. How many harmonious people are there in this world—people who can say that they are well in every part of their being—perfectly whole and perfectly harmonious in both mind and body? This is a question that I feel we all should ask ourselves. If we are not in full enjoyment of this state, it is time for us to begin to think about heaven right here and now—about health and harmony at the present time. What is the use in dragging out a miserable existence? If we are not harmonious in our own minds, and if our bodies are ill, where shall we find the happiness of life? We create our own heaven and are the authors of our own health. The power is God-given.

It is right that each and every individual should present his body whole and acceptable unto God, for this is his reasonable service. He should present a body whole to that higher part of his being which is the God part, so that this inner harmony may have its reflection in outer harmony—that the soul at peace and rest may show itself forth in peace and rest of mind and body. If we are not doing this we are not living up to our highest knowledge of life. It is done by creating the desire first in mind, every wholesome thought leading to a mental condition in which we love to talk about health and strength and harmony in preference to sickness and disease and other disagreeable things. Thus do we become one with the healthy-minded, who show forth health in their bodies; but it must be accomplished by each individual for himself.

No mental healer is able to do more than to help his patient on to the true path, whereon he must walk unaided. Very often I have met people who had taken mental treatment and who for years had made splendid progress; yet a time came when the treatment seemed to have no beneficial effect. Why was this? The reason is plain.

When a person comes to take treatment new desires and new impulses fill his mind and soul; but he does not always act upon them. Some, sooner or later, actually die to all knowledge of them. All mental and spiritual treatment has for its object the helping of people to help themselves, and if they refuse they must take the responsibility for whatever trouble may ensue. "For whosoever hath," said Jesus, "to him shall be given; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." If we have desire for a better and a stronger life, but make no effort to manifest or realize it, even that which we have shall be taken away. Hence do we find some who no longer derive benefit from treatment. The regaining of their health must come through knowledge of those obligations which they themselves assumed in the past.

There are people who go about with weak and diseased bodies, finding fault with everything and everybody with whom they come in contact. There is no New Thought about this course of procedure: it is the very oldest kind of thought. No true mental scientist takes that attitude toward anything. A true mental scientist is one who understands the principles and applies them. He may go to a metaphysical meeting every night, but if he fails to act upon the theories expounded he is not a mental scientist but a common "follower" of the New Thought; and, instead of being a help, he may become a hindrance more deterrent than an open enemy of the cause.

If we desire to be one with the New Thought we must accomplish this through our love for its teachings. Instead of wasting so much time in thinking of our own welfare, let us think of the welfare of others. The mind that is centered on thoughts of the personal good to be got out of life is sure to get the least good out of it. It is the one who in the right way thinks and cares for others that is going to get the most good. It is not our duty to carry others through life or to work out their salvation for them, but to show them the right way—to make their lives a little easier, a little happier and a little better.

If we are to become true followers of the New Thought movement, it is not enough to listen to some teacher for an hour or two, and then go away and think and talk about something else. This is not an act of love. It may make us feel good for the time being, but we are storing up for ourselves judgment; for with knowledge comes responsibility. If we are learning how to live and do not act upon our knowledge, we are simply storing up future troubles.

I think perhaps one of the most discouraging things that come into the life of the New Thought teacher is not that people neglect to come, because an attendance may be secured anywhere; not that people do not listen attentively, because they do, and then often go away and omit to act upon the knowledge they have acquired; but to see certain ones come year after year and listen to lectures, all the time carrying about with them the elements of mental or physical weakness. One is inclined to ask himself whether preaching after all is not in vain.

Each soul is a thought of God, and each thought is perfect; but are we giving due expression to it—are we properly working out that which God has in wrought? Are we using God's gifts and developing our God-given qualities? Thus only can we fulfill the perfect law. We cannot with impunity continue to listen and learn and then deliberately disobey, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, the law of God as it is made clear to us. The way of life is not difficult. The way of health, strength, and happiness is not hard; it is, however, one that each individual must choose and tread for himself.

Whatever we see that is beautiful in this world, and whatever the heart desires—whatever is true, pure, and upright—let us become one with it by trying to be it and to love it. There is no other way. We can be what we will to be, but we must will it with both mind and heart. When we think and also feel we become one with the object of our attention. If our thought goes out to the good, the true, and the wholesome, we manifest these qualities in our lives; and if our thought goes out in divine love, we become one with eternal Love. If our thought goes out in loving-kindness toward all people, we become one with them. When the mind dwells on what the heart feels, we become one with that on which it dwells.

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Charles Brodie Patterson

  • Canadian New Thought author
  • Born in Nova Scotia in 1854 and died on June, 22nd 1917

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