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The Conquest of Death: The Greatest Effort of the Age: Coming to Florida to Create a Nucleus for the Growth of this Idea

We located in Florida to work out an idea. We wanted to clear a space in the atmosphere of the world's diseased and dying beliefs, and plant our new hopes and aspirations in it.

We held to beliefs far beyond the world's power to accept at the time, and we wanted to give our beliefs a chance to prove their reality as nearly as possible, unmolested by opposing thought; so we came to a place where we were, in a great degree, alone at first, and began to make preparations for the coming of others; we knew we had the right to expect others who would be drawn to us under the Law of Attraction. And we were right.

A friend wrote, "Now, don't go to squandering money down there on a wild goose chase. Take what you have and put it in four percent bonds."

This suggestion of prudence did not influence us. Prudence goes hand in hand with ignorance of one's own power, and we were trying to conquer all such ignorance. Money is a good thing, a backing for one's plans; but when it assumes a position of such importance as to abolish the plans for fear of harm to itself, then it is time for its owner—its slave, rather—to examine himself and see where his spirit of manhood has fled.

I have had the most intimate acquaintance with poverty, and I am not afraid of it. All the mental and moral strength I have has been acquired in the hand-to-hand conflict by which I conquered it. Having conquered it joyously, hilariously, jubilantly, and experiencing the vitality that comes of such conquest, am I to stop conquering now (this was my reply to my friend) and lay down my arms and go to sleep, rocked in the security of four percent bonds, and let the ashes of the dying years drift over me and snow me under, as it has done to thousands, and as it is doing to nearly every one of our wealthy men and women today?

I want money only as it serves a higher purpose than its mere getting. I only want it in order to see what can be done with it. I want it that I may appropriate it to higher and nobler building than the world has ever seen. And I do believe today that it has been this lofty aspiration alone that made me master of poverty, and bestowed on me the purse of Fortunatus; that purse in which only one coin finds lodgement, but is still inexhaustible; the purse whose momentary replenishment depends on the courage of its possessor to spend—in perfect trustfulness—what seems to be the last dollar he possesses.

For wealth is in the man and not in his money. Money hoarded is a more serious impediment to a man's progress than most people will readily concede or are aware of. It deprives one of the necessity of effort; it stultifies genius; it lulls to sleep; it destroys the stimulus to conquest, and eventually the power of conquest. And when a man's power of conquest is destroyed, he is dead—even though he still creeps abroad in the sunlight and makes an obstruction of himself in the pathway of live men.

If I never see the day when I can pile one bank bill on top of another I am still going to express my life in works. If I have to die as the majority of the people are dying, I had as well die in a poor house as in a palace. But I do not intend to follow the beaten track that every soul has traveled since the beginning of time; the track that leads only to the grave; a fact that utterly condemns it for me, and that has already turned every thought of my life in an opposite direction. I am going to do that which will make money my slave, and not my master. Therefore, all I now have and all I shall get shall be appropriated to solving this great mystery of life and death; this mystery relating to the Law of Growth; to the powers of the individual to conquer all things.

And we have been talking about it long enough. We have already written volumes about it, and it is time to act.

Intellectual power in the individual comes from the concentration of the mind upon an idea, until the truth or falsity of the idea becomes apparent. Likewise the power of the race in the unfoldment of a race problem must come from a concentrated effort to discover a hitherto unfolded racial capacity; and this is the meaning of the movement we are inaugurating here.

"Suppose that it fails," says doubting Thomas. Well, suppose that it does. Who is afraid of a failure? We are not. It will only be one more failure in a world whose every effort has failed; failed and yet succeeded; for each failure has pointed more clearly toward final success; the success that enables man to conquer his every environment and prove his ultimate mastery of his own life and all the conditions that surround him.

When I first began to study Mental Science I was in Chicago. The thought swept that city like a tidal wave, and it brought war and not peace. It was an awakening that aroused souls to their deepest depths, and brought to the surface the dregs of all characters, in order that these dregs might be cast out. I found myself in the very center of a swirling storm of contending ideas that carried many off their feet.

There was no peace to be had there. There was no chance for that 'concentration of the intellect which alone divides error from truth. I needed solitude. I did not know that I needed it then, but I now know it. The burning desire within me for greater knowledge of the truth put its demand upon my surroundings, and almost against my seen and felt desires I was swept down to a little country town in Georgia. There I found the silence so requisite to the thought that unfolds all lives who trust and believe in nothing but the absolutely good.

By slow degrees one great truth came to me. By slow degrees it strengthened in my brain until it stood forth perfect and invincible. This truth is, that man is a creative force; that he has created himself on the unconscious plane of his existence until he has attained his present position as a citizen of the world, and that the same creative power resides in him now, enabling him to continue to create himself consciously, or from the basis of a clear understanding as to the method by which his creative force can be exercised.

Having reached this truth, its vitalizing influence carried me away from the quiet village where I was living, and took me and my class—which had grown larger than the town could accommodate—to a splendid summer resort, where there were room and lovely quarters for all of us, and where, between the Mental Science lessons, we had every amusement and recreation our expanding, happy lives demanded.

But this condition was not the ultimate toward which the truth I have spoken of was pointing. I knew perfectly well that something more and quite different would come; but I did not hurry, I rested quietly in a conviction that as I ripened in a knowledge of the Law of Attraction (the Law that men call God) in time I should know, and have the power to act.

The attrition of different minds develops—not always positive truth, as many believe—but it does develop—a splendid vitality that leads' in the direction of all growth in truth. This attrition is what is now needed; and to effect this, undisturbed as nearly as possible by the world's hampering beliefs, was the object of our coming to Florida. We wanted to build a nucleus or starting point for the new thought where the truth would have a chance to grow in freedom. We agreed that the place should not take the form of a community; that not even any promises of cooperation should hamper our inclinations. Those who desired would own their own homes; others could live at the hotel, or rent rooms for private housekeeping. For my part I love a home of my own. I love to beautify it both within and without. I think half the pleasure in life consists in the cultivation of beauty; and I believe that the love of the beautiful will eventually make our bodies as beautiful as the angels. We ought to dwell in an atmosphere of beauty every day; and this atmosphere must be evolved from our own selves, and it will be; and presently our town will be a marvel of beauty, so the fame of it will go out to all the world, and people will cross the ocean to see it. It is already coming to be so, though only four years old in the year of 1900.

But not only will they cross the ocean to see; they will come for its life-giving and healing influences. Eight in this spot will the healing power be generated by our deep intent and never ending search for more and more truth, until people will come from the ends of the earth to breathe it in and be healed by it. "All that a man hath will he give for his life." Even now, with the small amount of truth I myself, alone and unaided, have evolved by deep, interior, honest thought, the conviction of my power to heal has crossed the seas, and is bringing me cries for help from hundreds of the afflicted souls who have not found relief in medicine.

From the intellectual growth developed here, new lines of activity will spring into life. Healers and teachers will be educated, and the place will become a center for the dissemination of truth and the evolvement of peace, beauty, happiness and freedom.

I do not doubt that those who come here to live will soon learn the true reason of their coming. They will be taught this from the expansion of intelligence that will come to them. Their destinies will be changed in the mere fact that they have abandoned themselves to the realization of the ideal. Their lives will then, henceforward, be spent in higher pursuits than any of us can, at this time, more than faintly outline. It is time civilization took a long step upwards. It is going to do so from the very movement that holds, even in imagination, the possibility of such a step.

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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.
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