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The Spiritual Basis of Health

Viewed from its absolute center, life appears to be a perfect unit; while from any eccentric point, its proportions seem more or less distorted, and an infinite number of independent centers are seen. Each eccentric observer, on discovering what he imagines to be an unbalanced whole, tries to rectify matters, as far as possible, by forcing an adjustment of the world around his finite standpoint. But every effort of this description serves to aggravate the difficulty by conflicting with a Universal purpose. No man can comprehend his relation to the world, or find abiding peace and satisfaction, until he discovers that a common center exists for all lives, and then comes into a sympathetic relation with its attracting influence. "Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." The highest ideal of healing is self-revelation—the discovery of one's correct relation to the absolute center of Being. Only by apprehending the significance of life in its totality, by appreciating not alone its individual phases, but its universal phase as well, can complete, permanent harmony be established in one's life. Effort is not necessary; but, rather, renunciation of effort, and recognition of the fact that all expressive power proceeds from an absolute center. True efficiency, and personally directed effort, are contrary to one another; they increase and diminish in an inverse ratio. Great truths are marvelously simple; only error is mystifying. Even the most perplexing mathematical problem becomes easy when the fundamental principle involved is once grasped. Any instrumentality that leads one to be conscious of a deeper selfhood serves as a healing medium. It may be an objective event or personality, or a purely subjective experience. It sometimes happens that when individuals imagine themselves face to face with death, and feel that their finite lives are about to suffer dissolution, they for the first time discover the Absolute Principle as the basis of their lives; and, through consciousness of spiritual vitality thus gained, bodily vigor is renewed. The existence of an eternal Reality is a fact too simple for one to discover while enchanted by the glamour of illusory phenomena; but when they fade from sight, it stands clearly forth. There are moments in the life of every human being, when he realizes something of the Absolute. For a time the perplexing problems, doubts and distractions of ordinary life vanish; then the vision fades, and is remembered only as an indistinct dream. But, in truth, ordinary consciousness is the dream, and those rarer experiences the real life.

Self-manifestation, or realization of our essential nature through the evolution of consciousness, is the supreme end of finite existence. This nature seems to be physical, psychical, or spiritual, according to the quality of consciousness through which it is interpreted. When observed on the sensuous plane, it appears as physical; on the rational plane as psychical; on the intuitional plane as spiritual. Certain material phenomena afford illustrations of the metamorphoses of human consciousness. Every mentality passes through nebulous and chaotic stages of vague subconsciousness on a plane substantially physical in its aspects until, by more positive tendencies of concentration, it reaches a higher state, in which psychic energies, previously latent, are evolved. Those energies develop in degree and quality until, surpassing the boundaries of the psychical plane, they assume the characteristic of spiritual power, and radiate in truth and love—the light and heat of the spiritual realm. The absolute, unchangeable Reality, the Source of all expression, exhibits these three widely different aspects. The interposing mental medium is the varying factor. At present, many people are so fascinated by the marvels of recently discovered psychic phenomena that they are inclined to linger on that intermediate plane, instead of rising to the spiritual plane, where alone the highest craving of their nature can be satisfied. A sense of freedom from bondage to material notions and associations, and recognition of their capacity to so modify the action of vital bodily processes as to avert symptoms of disease, often leads men to substitute personally conceived and directed effort for the deeper spiritual power, which alone can accomplish the complete emancipation of the individual in all his relations. The true goal of life cannot be reached by merely playing upon psychic energy and ordering it in channels of our own selection; for, by that method, we seek to determine events, and adjust effects from the eccentric standpoint of our finite personality, independent of the Absolute Cause or Eternal Will. Genuine spiritual experiences are born in a realm above the personal, and come spontaneously to those alone who have ceased striving after results of their individual choosing.

Self-revelation transforms bodily conditions by removing the obstructing element of blind, personal control, and allowing the vital energies free exercise in their normal channels. When one realizes spiritual strength, health, and freedom, the bodily correspondences of those states must inevitably follow. The body is composed of atoms—centers of force; force is the lowest aspect of Will, and Will is a phase of consciousness. In the last analysis, every man's relation to the material world is that of a superior center of consciousness to vastly inferior ones. The general structure of the body is largely determined by considerations beyond the control of human faculties in their ordinary range of exercise; for it conforms to long established, persistently cherished racial conceptions. Cells and organs exist as bodies within the body they constitute. Each is endowed with specialized functions which it exercises, in conformity to the requirements of other members and organs of the body, quite independent of any conscious volition on the part of the individual in whose service their activities are enlisted, and upon whose authority their existence depends. But the ego—King of this bodily realm—has power to mold it anew, to quicken its activities and revitalize its processes by imparting life-giving qualities to the whole system. The ego may assert its authority, and through the mind dominate the whole complex bodily structure, by polarizing the atoms of which it is composed until they entertain affinities conducive to harmonious and sympathetic growth. On the other hand, every inharmonious attitude of the mind exerts a blighting, devitalizing influence on the bodily system and, if persisted in, gives rise to expressions of disease and disintegration. Sometimes even the mere suggestion of uncleanliness while one is eating, is sufficient to induce nausea. In such instances effect follows cause with great rapidity, and the relation subsisting between them is quite evident; but in deep-seated organic affections, where the disturbing suggestion operates subconsciously, and therefore more persistently, progress is generally too slow, and the process too intricate, to be readily perceptible; so that it is often exceedingly difficult to trace physical effects back to their causes in the mental realm. Emotional suggestions are just as potent to affect organic, cellular, molecular and atomic conditions and relations within the body, as they are to change the attitudes of individuals toward one another in the larger body of human society. Antagonism and agitation demoralize and dissipate the vital energies, and interfere with healthy functional activities; but love and peace promote vital and orderly relations by encouraging sympathetic and united action among the lower units of which the body is composed.

Every psychical center is endowed with both active and passive instincts; it is capable of affecting other centers, and of being affected by them. Each cell, molecule and atom of our bodies, being a psychical center, responds, in some measure, to influences proceeding from other centers. Every human being may regulate and determine, to a greater or less extent, the relations and operations of these inferior centers of his body, not merely by consciously and perpetually exercising control over them, but by awakening capacities latent in them, and inducing them to act in their proper channels. Vital tendencies within the domain of body can be modified either by our own thought or by that of other minds; and, as such influences operate subconsciously, those changes may be wrought without our conscious knowledge. On the other hand, our bodies, being associated groups of psychical centers, are endowed with potency to affect our consciousness, whenever we are in a mood to accept suggestions from inferior sources.

They often echo back impressions they have previously received from their indwelling sovereign. Agreeable or disagreeable sensations may be occasioned by suggestions from a bodily source.

In the endeavor to realize our freedom, it is first necessary to conquer the opposing forces that most intimately and obstinately beset us, by establishing dominion over our own bodies. This can only be achieved by encouraging that quality of emotion and thought which tends to transform the bodily realm into a Kingdom of orderly subjects, accustomed to obeying their ruler's behests and co-operating with his purposes. Specific thoughts of disease, persistently indulged in, either promote extraneous growths or interfere with a normal exercise of the organic functions; for, in time, the condition of the organs conforms to the prevailing character of the thought that dominates them. If that is healthy, positive and vital, corresponding tendencies will be induced in the bodily centers, and every constituent part of the complex organism will perform its natural functions in sympathy with the spirit that pervades the entire system.

Our bodies, then, are reservoirs of expressive energy. They may be made either invaluable allies or obstinate opponents. We may surround ourselves with "body-guards" of willing friends or determined foes. If we cherish sentiments of ill-will, resentment, intolerance, ugliness, "righteous indignation," restlessness, discontent, fault-finding, self-condemnation or "the blues," the psychical centers become so charged with the resultant of those emotions, that they will surely react upon us, sooner or later. One may be suddenly seized and overpowered by a malady lurking in ambush in this bodily storehouse of psychic forces, where he has long nurtured seeds of disease unawares. But if he lives habitually in the positive atmosphere of the higher realms of consciousness, the psychical centers of his body become so permeated with vital and beneficent energy, that their reflex influence constantly tends to strengthen and confirm his very attitude. "To him that hath shall be given."

Whatever we sow in emotion or thought, lives in both the lives of others and the psychical treasury of our own bodies; and in due season we shall reap its reaction. Every hateful thought returns like a boomerang to the sender; but friendly thoughts make for us congenial allies, within as well as outside of our bodies. The resultant of each thought is treasured within our bodily Kingdom, waiting to add its mite toward rendering our future happy or miserable.

When we relinquish our hold on the body, its individual particles having no longer a centralizing, attracting power to unite them and administer their affairs, disperse and seek other affinities. The different members and particles of which the body is composed are not parts of one's self; nor is the individual man a part of the Universal Life; but all members and all individuals are diversified expressions of the one life, reflections of the Principle of principles. The body presents a picture of health just so long as its particles are permeated with, and polarized by, the healthy, beneficent thought of its indwelling spiritual sovereign. When he loosens his hold on it, it degenerates into an ill-governed Kingdom, in which internal dissensions and rebellions are rife; and, unless checked, they will eventually overthrow and expel their ruler. We need periodically to relax our grasp of the body, by resting and sleeping; otherwise habits of tension are acquired, which cause friction by undue restraint, and disturb the normal functional activities.

Symptoms of disease are due to derangement of the natural functions of the bodily parts. Nearly every person is so sensitive to suggestions from subconscious sources, that any appreciable change in the attitude or relations of the constituent parts of his body, produces, under ordinary circumstances, a corresponding change in his own states of consciousness.

Such sensations as pain or sickness are ordinarily due to suggestions we receive from a bodily source. A condition of the body may be the occasion of a mental state, as in the case of a wound, which is accompanied by the feeling of pain; but it is not, in the stricter sense, the cause of the sensation—that lies in our acceptance of the suggestion offered. This is clearly demonstrated in instances where attention is completely diverted from the object or incident that suggests the sensation. A sudden shock has been known to restore deranged organic functions to their normal operation. In the hypnotized subject's consciousness, the suggestion of the hypnotizer is paramount to that received from his own body; so that he may be prevented from accepting the suggestion of pain in case of bodily injury.

Medicine acts directly upon the bodily atoms, on the chemical plane of subconsciousness, and induces them to assume such altered relations that they will have a tendency to exert psychical influences which suggest to the patient normal mental states, and thus promote in him the consciousness of health.

Mental methods are incomparably superior to material ones, because they appeal directly to the ego, the rightful ruler of the whole bodily domain, and encourage it to govern, instead of to be governed. In this way they open the door to the development of self-hood.

Every human being is in some measure influenced by suggestions that come to him from the relatively lower subconscious, or the relatively higher superconscious realm. He may sink to the plane of sensation, where bodily forces will determine the direction of his thought and produce experiences of sickness, pain and depression; or he may rise above the level of material consciousness, so that higher forces will control and mold his life. By exercising intuition, we come into relation with higher influences, and realize the satisfaction of a free, spontaneous existence; for we are no longer drawn down toward the material pole of life, but approach the spiritual pole, and become atoms of a higher body, in which perfect harmony prevails, because all its members are polarized by the spiritual consciousness.

Every state of consciousness serves as a lens to focus the diffused rays of love and truth upon mentalities that lie within its range. When colored by prejudice and opinion, or marred by flaws of caprice and selfishness, its capacity as a concentrating medium is impaired, for it projects unfaithful and distorted images; but if pure, transparent, and free from the obstructing element of personal bias, the picture it projects is one of ideal perfection.

Whenever we live in an atmosphere of spiritual consciousness, we inevitably radiate love and truth through all the affairs of the lower planes of life, so that they assume a natural, orderly arrangement, and subserve a spiritual end. But when we dwell habitually on the physical or psychical planes, even if successful in avoiding immediate discord and disaster, we fail to realize the supreme end of life. Jesus, recognizing a direct relation between bodily symptoms and a deeper, spiritual attitude, said, when healing the sick: "Thy sins are forgiven thee." "Go and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee."

The complete unity of life is disclosed to the spiritual, or super-psychical, consciousness alone. The necessity of watching and regulating bodily symptoms disappears when we rise to that plane. In healing disease by mental methods, one establishes communication with the mind of the patient, and awakens in him the consciousness of health, which causes the lower centers that constitute his body to assume more normal relations; for the higher consciousness, if repeatedly and persistently affirmed, will ultimately dominate the lower.

Self-revelation, in the deepest sense, awakens a desire to reveal others to themselves. How far is it right or expedient to intrude our thought upon others? Ought we to try to influence men to see truth against their inclinations? In a general way, thoughts originating on the personal plane are liable to interfere with another's freedom, and so to occasion undesirable results; but good alone can come from permitting the higher consciousness to be so directed toward another that elevating spiritual ideals shall be projected within the reach of his vision. In fact, every moment of our lives, whether we intend it or not, we are sending out thoughts that appeal to someone.

Every thought that is born of the higher consciousness, is instrumental in advancing the true end of existence, by drawing men into closer relations with the Absolute Principle of life; therefore it aids in the eternal process of self-manifestation.

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Frank H. Sprague

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