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The Laws of Health

The glorious creature laughed out even in sleep.
But when full roused, each giant-limb awake,
Each sinew strung, the great heart pulsing fast,
He shall start up and stand on his own earth,—
Then shall his long triumphant march begin,—
Thence shall his being date,—thus wholly roused,
What he achieves shall be set down to him.
When all the race is perfected alike
As man, that is; all tended to mankind,
And, man produced, all has its end thus far:
But in completed man begins anew
A tendency to God.
—Browning's "Paracelsus"

Health is essential to man's well-being, since happiness and success in life are alike dependent upon it. Man cannot appear at his best in any line of activity if his body is diseased. Believing health to proceed from accurate knowledge of and conformity to the laws that regulate and control the life of man, I desire, as concisely as possible, to point out their nature and operation. I do not believe that there is any good reason why anyone should be ill, but good health does not come to an individual without the exercise of some effort on his part; and the compensation is far greater than that accruing from the same amount of effort put forth in any other direction.

We all wish to be well and happy. There is only one way to reach this state. In the past we have sought it in the tangible substances of the world that lies all about us—to make our bodies well through the use of so-called material remedies—and sometimes they seem to help, though usually affording no relief. Thus we have experimented year after year, trying first one thing and then another; or perhaps we have had no belief in drugs but have been very careful about our diet; or we may have studied the rules of hygiene and regulated our lives accordingly. And yet how few, with these aids alone, have been able to express perfect health and strength! We may not be censured for employing them, for most others do the same until they find through experience that none of these things bring perfect wholeness or happiness.

There is another realm, however, to which we have access—the world of the invisible, the world of cause, the world of the soul. "But," says one, "it is so far away that I can only hope to know it when the labors of this life are finished and God's kingdom is reached—when health and happiness shall be mine eternally." Is this the true view to take of human life here and now? Did not Jesus say that God's kingdom "cometh not by observation;" that we cannot say, "lo, here!" or "lo, there!" for "behold, His kingdom is within you?" Did not one of his disciples teach that "ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" Even now is the day of salvation. Can the salvation that lives in a diseased body be complete? Is not the fullness of God's salvation offered for our acceptance at the present moment? This is the message that Jesus tried to convey to the minds of men—the glad tidings of which the angels sang: that the Father cares for His children and freely offers health and happiness to all who will accept these blessings.

All good things are true because they have their source in God, in whom is "neither variableness nor shadow of turning." The "turning" has all been done by us. We have turned away from the proffered gifts. We have not realized that all things are ours to enjoy. But before we can enter into the enjoyment of our universe we must have a knowledge of good in our individual lives. We must know that God is ever present, and that He "worketh within us to will and to do." When we have learned this truth the greater revelation awaits us: that God is the All-in-all, and that the soul, our real self, is subject to no law but the law of God, which is the law of love. When this illumination enters the life it becomes changed; the old ideas pass away and all things are made new. The "new heaven and the new earth" have come into the life eternal, which is here and now. Only as this truth is lived and consciously realized, does it become a living reality in the individual life.

Let us consider some of the things necessary to the adjustment of our lives to this divine law. A little study of self—a study that is perfectly honest and sincere—will bring to our minds many things of which we do not fully approve.

At times our minds become anxious and even fearful; perhaps we allow anger, or malice, or jealousy to find lodgment therein. This wrong way of thinking and feeling makes the mind discordant and unrestful, expelling all real happiness and mental peace. Moreover, mental discord and unrest are manifested in physical sickness and disease, because our bodies and souls are more dependent for health and strength on mental harmony and brightness than on either food or drink. We have been very solicitous as to our bodily diet, but frequently we are heedless of the more important food of our minds.

In reversing this erroneous course, let us be careful to start right. Perhaps for years we have been regarding ourselves as material beings, who might at some future time become spiritual, live in a distant heaven, and be and act altogether different from what we are and what we do on earth. Yet the fact remains that heaven is within us. The spirit is the quickening power, not the flesh; and if the spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in us our mortal bodies shall also be quickened through the same agency.

What a change of mind would result if only these truths were realized—God working in our lives to will and to do; the spirit within us the quickening power; the body only the temporary house that the spirit has builded for its use! In this realization the saying of Jesus is plain: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will build it up." The ego is more than its body, and when we get the thought clear in mind that we are spiritual beings we will lay far less stress on the physical and pay more attention to our real selves.

There is no other force or power in the world than spirit. God has given to each of us a mighty kingdom to rule. By the control and direction of our individual lives through the immortal spirit we can realize the truth of this. It is only when we grasp more power than we know the use of—more than we have rightfully developed—that there comes the misdirection of energy that causes mental and physical disturbance.

Sometimes through wrong thinking we shut off our spiritual reservoir of power—we limit ourselves. This condition comes through paying too much attention to the gratifying of worldly desires and not enough attention to cultivating the desire for higher things. The natural growth of anything should be as harmonious as that of a flower—accepting each day, each hour, as it comes, all that has been provided for its growth; yet we often ignorantly close the channel through which alone all things essential for our perfection can come.

Only to man has God given the conscious power to control his personal life; to make for himself what condition he wills; to create for himself a heaven or a hell. If the spirit dominates his life and he realizes his God-mind power and trusts absolutely to it, enlightenment and guidance will come through the indwelling spirit and he will express mental and physical health and strength. We should not seek to rule the kingdom that is beyond us, nor the one that is below us. Let us rule today, in the only kingdom that is ours, and day by day its powers will be revealed and we will reverence the God within the temple by keeping holy (whole) and sacred the sanctuary in which He dwells.

Light enough is given to rule each day in our kingdom, but not enough "for the morrow;" and peering into the future will not enable us to live stronger or better lives. We live day by day, and if we live today thoroughly poised in mind, taking no anxious thought concerning anything, we will have fitted ourselves to live the morrow when it comes.

Let us keep the mind clear and bright, fill it with wholesome thoughts of life, and be kindly in our feelings toward others. Let us have no fear of anything, but realize that we are one with universal power,—that power which can supply our every need,—that health, strength, and happiness are our legitimate birthright, that they are ever potential in our inner lives, and that our bodies may express them now. If we take this mental attitude and adhere steadfastly to it, the body will very soon manifest health and strength. There is no other way, and time is only wasted in seeking elsewhere the kingdom of God.

The control of self, the direction of the whole life, has been committed to our care. We are to be faithful and not shrink from any of the responsibilities connected with it; for through such fidelity we shall hasten the time when health demonstrated shall be made manifest on earth "even as it is in heaven."

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