We will have to come up higher if we conquer death; and to conquer death is the next great movement of the race.
Nothing short of the conquest of death here in this world, and in the present generation, will satisfy my demand.
And I hold to this demand: every atom of my body clings to it. I wonder what death can do with me under the circumstances?
But I am not holding death as a foe; I feel as if it were already conquered, and well conquered, in my knowledge of its weakness. The thoughts of it no longer clog my ascending hopes as they go out in the wake of the ideal, that I never lose sight of any more.
All life points toward an ideal. The very first effort at organization points toward it. When the first two atoms come together under the Law of Attraction a hope is born that leads in the direction of something better; something as yet unattained. This hope is the motor of every individual growth.
There is always a light shining ahead toward which the lower atoms of an organization are drawn, no matter whether that organization is vegetable, animal or human. The Principle of Life is the same in every expression of itself.
The ideal of the child is—unconsciously to itself perhaps—to become a man or woman; to attain what it considers the freedom of its parents. It attains this stature and ceases to grow. No God decreed that the height of a man should be six feet; his environment decreed it, and the type was formed. Thus on the unconscious plane of existence all forms of life bear a certain relation to each other, dependent upon the innate strength or power of each form; and thus—on the unconscious plane—there is harmony. That is, there is a balancing of forces whose grand total is harmonious. This condition is the primitive Eden. But the serpent entered Eden, the serpent whose other name is Wisdom, and there was a fall. That is, there was an unbalancing of natural or unconscious forces; a breaking up of the old conditions, in order that higher conditions might be attained.
This is the true process of growth; a thought in advance of any previous thought is born, and it calls upon all below it for support or sustenance. Then, all that is below it begins to arise in obedience to it. In this upward flow the apparent solidity of previous conditions is disturbed; all nature, everything, finds the impediment to its upward progress removed, for a space at least. The birth of the new thought is so much release to the whole pent-up spirit of growth, and puts all things on the move toward a higher ideal.
The knowledge of the fact I have just stated lies very close to the foundation of Mental Science healing. There is but one fact underlying it; the fact that all is mind. Put a higher thought in the head, and every other thought is attracted upward toward it. Man is purely a mental creature, and what I have just said discloses at once the law of his growth. If he were dead matter he would be immovable; the atoms of his body would be subject to that force called the Law of Gravity, and no thought—no matter how high or how powerful—could attract them upwards.
The reason I make so much of this point, and go over it so often, is because it lies at the base, and is the foundation of all my argument in favor of the conquest of death in the present generation.
But all thought bears a certain relation to all other thought. All thoughts are inter-related through the law of their being, the Principle of Attraction, this law being life itself, or love, the creative and generative principle. And so in this sense—looking at them from their subjective side—they are all one; the grand total forming that unseen power men call God, and that we call the Principle of Attraction.
All individualities are in process of ascending from the earth. Every new thought that is horn into the world is positive to the thoughts below it, and calls upon them to rise to its plane. And they do rise. Not a student of human nature hut has the ability to lift every organized creature, if he will only follow his ideal and be so faithful to it as to gain from it new and heretofore unknown impressions concerning his own power and the power of the race. But people will not trust the ideal they find within themselves; they remain in the roots of their being and will not break the sod over their heads and come out in the stem and flower and fruit of the higher unfoldment. They are like seeds planted in the soil, which, when a few rootlets have struck out into the cold sod, say, "Behold! here I am, alive and all right, and this is all there is of me;" and so saying die, instead of having faith to follow that small, dim hope within themselves that leads upward toward light.
The men and women of this generation are nearly all like these senseless seeds. They say, "If we trust the ideal, heaven knows where it will lead us; we don't want to be made fools of." And again, a few start and fall back saying, "We cannot accept all the glory which dawns on us as we ascend; it is too luminous to be trusted; it is too good to be true; it is like a constantly brightening pyrotechnic display, each succeeding burst of light being more brilliant than the former one. We had better stay on the ground where we belong, than to take the risk of being disappointed at last, for surely this thing cannot continue." With this latter class it is as if the seeds had advanced their stalks to that point where the warmth and brightness of the sun began to be seen, and had then retired within their shells again.
Few persons have ever yet quite climbed out of their shells in following this ideal. They have not dared trust it. But I dare. I am going to find out the potencies bound up in a human being if it leads me into the very heart of the inferno.
But truly I have been through it, and I got out of it by following my ideal; by trusting it. And I shall get still farther away from it by following my ideal still farther, and by putting still more implicit confidence in it. I am putting all I have and all I am getting into an idea; an idea that is to be the test of humanity; an idea that is to discover whether man is a bond slave to his conditions and environments, or whether he may not develop out of himself the capacity to break through his environments and prove himself Maker and Creator.
The intensifying consciousness of my long fixed belief in the possibilities of men to overcome all things, even death, has cast its light ahead of itself: and while I am not yet free, I feel a strange elation that renders me fearless even while I know that dangers environ me as well as others.
As an idealist I see enough in the might, the grace, the purity, the justice, the beauty and the opulence of the ideal—before whose shrine every particle of my lower being is in obedience—to trust it utterly; and this trust banishes fear, even though I know that the same foes to human progress exist today that always have existed.
Those foes have never been anything but consolidated forms of ignorance, and will never be overcome but by growing intelligence; and intelligence—at this day can only conquer ignorance by following where the ideal faculties lead. Ami this is why we came to Florida resolved to concentrate in this choice spot the highest intelligences of the nation in the formation of a nucleus to the world's new civilization.
Let no one imagine for a moment that the arrogance of an overweening egotism is m this assertion; it is not so; it is rather the embodiment of a tremendous hope founded upon our unfaltering belief in race capacity; race genius. Nobody knows how much we believe in ourselves and others; not more in ourselves than in others; not more in others than in ourselves. The race is one in universality of intelligence, and we value every soul of the race as some specialized expression of the infinite opulence of mind.
And we see so clearly that all things, all conditions on the present plane of life, are exhausted; we see that the vital principle is entirely sucked out of them, and that nothing but burnt-out ashes remain; and, therefore, we are the more willing to abandon them and turn our eyes in search of something better.
It is a fixed fact that no person can search without finding; and what a wonderful thing this is, and what a field of thought it opens up! If no one can search without finding, it proves that all things desirable exist, and can be called into external manifestation simply by searching; or, in other words, each desire of the human mind is co-related to the things desired; and search (which implies belief or faith) will reveal it. This being the case, there is no excuse for poverty or disease, old age or death, and we are the prime fools of all the planets for believing m them.
Slowly, but with certainty, we come up higher into a knowledge of the great law revealed in the foregoing paragraph, and as we do so we can feel within ourselves the growth of fresh powers; powers that add to our ability to conquer every obstacle in the way of the actualization of the ideal.
We see the ideal before us all the time, and the more we contemplate it, the more we lose sight of the world's old beliefs in sin, sickness, poverty, old age and death, and consequently the more we become liberated from these things.
Actually and practically liberated from them. The more the mind frees itself from them the more the body frees itself from them; and this is because mind and body are one. "As a man thinketh so is he." Therefore, in following the ideal with our best hopes and desires, and in gradually coming to believe in it with greater fervor than we have ever believed in what we call "the real," we are casting off all our previous convictions as to man's limitations, and getting into a wonderfully large, clear place in our understanding of human life.
When I treat a patient I see him mentally from the ideal standpoint, and I address myself to the ideal self that resides in him. The ideal residing in him is a free thing; it is not hampered with any perceptible limitation; it is not diseased; no one can have a diseased ideal; the ideal is that which we hold before us as the most desirable thing we can imagine. Therefore, I recognize this ideal part of him as by far the stronger part, because all his hopes and desires are centered in it, and all it lacks of being the real, visible part of him is that he has not clothed it with flesh and blood by believing in it. He not only does not believe in it, but it has never occurred to him that it was worthwhile to do so. He is utterly ignorant of the importance of believing in it; and the law of growth which declares that belief is the power that clothes the ideal, thus bringing it from the subjective into the objective domain of life, is a dead letter to him.
But I know that this law is one of the unalterable verities of the universe, and that from the beginning of individual existence it has been the means, and the only means, by which creatures have climbed the scale of life from the monad to man. I not only believe in this law (belief is a dead word with which to express my attitude toward it) but I know that it exists; I know it with the fullest understanding of it in all its bearings, and in all its relations to all things from atoms to planets; and it explains them all. It is a key to new knowledge that will recast every work on astronomy, and relegate to the lumber room of wornout ideas a hundred theories now held in high esteem by scientific men.
As I search for the ideal in a patient, and as my recognition of it and of its importance and power grows stronger, all his old beliefs are lost sight of. I no longer see them; they make less and less impression on me with each treatment, until in the course of a few weeks or months they disappear—not only from my view, but owing to the fact of thought transference, they disappear from his view also; and he sees that he is well.
In this slight description of individual treatment, I have conveyed a hint concerning the salvation of the whole race. This salvation is to be accomplished by the practical recognition of the ideal faculties within it. The race is not living in this recognition; it is living almost exclusively in recognition of the lower faculties; the faculties that ally it with the heavier and deader forces of the earth; hence, it has trials and tribulations without number. It is in a hand-to-hand struggle with these deader influences, so that it even earns its bread by tremendous effort, and in the long run it earns nothing but its bread. Life is one constant conflict, and death gains the victory at last and closes over every antagonist.
The understanding of mind and its power alone brings relief. The first suggestion of this thing implies the getting away from matter, by the intellectual conception that matter is not matter (in the old acceptance of the word) but mind; farther, that there is no obstacle to the constant progress of mind, in which progress every new thought is a conquest that lifts the thinker in the scale of being from death, toward more life. Every step in the study of this great truth liberates the student to a certain degree from every one of his previous environments, and makes the next step easier.
Contrast this progress with the old way wherein a man's struggles become greater at every step until they crush him, and the grave closes over him. The new thought leads in a direction diametrically opposite to the old thought. The latter leads to death; the former to the complete triumph over death; one leads to the abandonment of the ideal; the other to the practical realization of it; one is submitting to be conquered; the other is conqueror.
Some say, "I dare not pursue the ideal; the effort to overcome is too great." It is not near so great as the constant fight with the dense, and still denser, forces one must contend with as he travels the downward road toward death. In going deathward the poor pilgrim weakens with each foe he meets. In going lifeward he is strengthened by every foe that besets his path; for he conquers one at a time, and each conquest makes him stronger for the next one. Indeed, in the direction he is traveling he is gradually getting out of the realms of foes; he is finding that what at first seemed to be his foes are really his servants and assistants. This change in the situation comes about through his finding out that an obstacle is simply a gymnasium bar on which to strengthen his muscle.
And yet in all this long chapter I have not really reached the point I particularly wanted to make. It is this: The beliefs of the world in the deadness of matter, and in sin, sickness, old age, poverty and death, are the only foes we have to overcome, and we do not need to overcome them at all. All we need do is just to leave them. We can go away from them by looking toward the ideal with all the faith the most earnest desire can prompt, until a belief in it (strong enough to overbalance the world's beliefs as organized in our bodies) comes to us. It will come in every instance where the idealist is faithful to his highest aspiration.
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More Articles by This Author Helen Wilmans
- Born in 1831 and died in 1907
- Studied under Emma Curtis Hopkins
- Was a journalist and author
- Was active in the Mental Science Movement
- Was charged with postal fraud for healing through mail. Fighting this charged caused her lose most of her fortune.