The formulation of the system of Ideal Suggestion is the outcome of a study of the laws and manifestations of mental activity. Law is universal; its understanding is the acme of scientific attainment, and its utilization the highest prerogative of man. Its clear and harmonious lines are as distinctly traceable, in their onward course, through the moral and spiritual realm, as in that which pertains to matter. Law is ordained, not to enslave us, but that we, by compliance with its methods, may grasp and wield its divine forces, and through them assert our supremacy over the kingdoms of our rightful dominion. Intelligently comprehended, it never binds man, but sets him free. Ignorance is slavery. It tethers us to the imaginary hitching-posts of tradition by conventional cords of the seen and superficial. Science has made remarkable progress in tracing the footsteps of law in the material realm, but has been largely color-blind to their imprint as they run through the great immaterial kingdom beyond. There—in the higher zone of the Real—is where they possess their greatest significance for humanity.
In presenting Ideal Suggestion as a practical healing force—made so simple that it may be comprehended by a child—it should be understood that it is not offered as a substitute for the living healer and teacher. Whenever and wherever it is practical, especially where the ailment is of a serious nature, the personal embodiment and exponent of truth should be consulted. The application of the formulated Ideals is proposed as supplementary; an elaboration and extension of well ascertained principles for home and private use. They may, in fact, be employed as supplementary to any therapeutic system. Even to the great majority, who have yet developed no confidence in powers less material than drugs, a pathway may be opened up which eventually will lead to a higher consciousness. Upward progress gradually discloses new vistas and possibilities, which before have been unappreciated; yes, often undreamed of. In the present state of public opinion and development, it is not expected that those who have not already some little growth of confidence in mental forces will depend upon them, except perhaps tentatively, and in proportion as a perception of the truth awakens and develops within them. The formulas possess no charm nor magic, and are therefore powerless except as they appeal to the inner and higher selfhood. But the lessons and suggestions, when used only as auxiliary, may prove highly educational. There is a deeper knowledge than that of the intellect. The intuitive faculty is higher and diviner, and its development is of the greatest practical importance. Many have found themselves lifted to loftier standpoints, from which grander outlooks have flashed upon them, through the use of means seemingly inadequate and simple. "God hath chosen the (apparently) weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."
To those who already have some understanding of the laws of spiritual and mental science in their relation to human wholeness, the logic, and rationality of the "Suggestions" will be easily understood. There is nothing supernatural, natural, or illogical, about them. The system is only a plain scientific application of well-understood means to ends, and is in perfect accord with law, nature, and practical religion.
Materialistic science prides itself upon its accuracy and exhaustive thoroughness, but its conventional scope does not extend beyond the boundaries of mere phenomena. Its researches touch only the shell and surface of the real. In vain it peers into clay or dust to find the springs of ultimate causation. In its traditional dealings with disease, it suppresses manifestations and symptoms, without going beneath them to their primary sources and roots. It would extinguish fire by destroying the smoke. It would wipe out contagion by trying to kill the bacteria (the destruction of which is wise secondarily, and necessary under present conditions) without ascertaining the primal causes which produce and multiply them. It would practically hold bullets and shells responsible for the carnage of a battle, rather than the passion and antagonism which urged on the conflict.
The physical organism of man manifests his own erroneous and false thinking of the past, and also, in some degree, that of the race in general. The quality of causative forces must be changed in order to the modification or improvement of their expression. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"
The purpose of Ideal Suggestion is far broader and higher than the mitigation and healing of physical ailments, however desirable that may be. Such is but an incidental part of its work, and the same is true of mental healing as that term is ordinarily employed. The grand mission of these great principles is the development of the spiritual ego; to roll the stone away from the door of the sepulcher of the lower self; to bring to birth the spiritual consciousness; to free man from the dominion of sin and selfishness, and to enthrone the real divine self—God's image—and put him in possession of his divine heritage.
There is a lower plane of "suggestion" which is attracting considerable attention, and which, to some extent, is being utilized for therapeutic purposes. It is known as "hypnotic" suggestion, the term being used to signify a mild hypnotism, or an impressed mental condition not so intense as that which is characterized by trance or deep sleep. It possesses wonderful power, and until its laws are more fully understood it is injudicious for earnest and impartial seekers after truth to give it unqualified condemnation. But however laudable its legitimate employment may be, in any given case, its essential quality is servitude. It is also evident that its possible field for abuse is very great. So long as the world is full of weak, negative, susceptible, and undeveloped personalities, its unscrupulous employment will be quite possible. Without judging it unfairly in advance of more thorough investigation—which it is receiving both in Europe and America—its kingdom is undoubtedly within the boundaries of the lower or sensuous mind. Even if it serve some therapeutic ends it can never be an ideal curative agent. In proportion to the measure of development of the spiritual selfhood, one rises above its possible dominion. The real and higher ego can have nothing to fear from it, while to those lacking soul-unfoldment it has possible abuse. Its further possibilities need not be dwelt upon in this connection, but there is one fact connected with its phenomena of great significance which is persistently ignored by traditional medical systems. Its operation proves most conclusively the doctrine of mental causation as distinguished from the physical causation of the schools. It shows that mind is the seat of all potency, sensation, and action, and that the body is only its passive instrument. Under hypnotic influence the bodily senses reverse their testimony and accept the most absurd and false impressions. Pure spring water can be transformed into poison, heat into cold, black into white, the bodily functions suspended, pain made enjoyable, in fact, hardly anything is too extravagant to be capable of realization. With the conventional theory of physical causation so completely refuted, it is impossible to find any possible ground for the supposition that a drug—in itself—by any chemical action upon the body can cure the man.
Hypnotism, and, in a lesser degree, hypnotic suggestion, carries a strong coloring of the imperfect, and sometimes unreliable personality of the operator.
Ideal Suggestion contains no possible element of personality. Its mental engravings are pure, spiritual, impersonal, and from above. They are harmonious living pictures, voluntarily received and adopted by one who understands their purpose and beneficence. It has often been observed that even in the most careful and conscientious mental or spiritual treatments, there is the possibility of an unconscious, though unwished for, personal element. To keep perfectly clear of any subtle mingling of personality requires a thorough consecration and spiritual discernment, not always easy of attainment. Ideal Suggestion presents no possibility of any such unconscious complication.
All spiritual progress and unfoldment which is the result of individual aspiration never has to be done over, because it has been accomplished not for one, but by and in him. It is walking upon one's own feet without external aid. It is drawing directly from the Infinite Fountain of life, love, and good, through the channel of one's own being. It develops self-reliance and spiritual independence, and strengthens those inner ties which bind every human soul to the parent "Oversoul."
Ideal Suggestion is especially recommended for nervous and chronic disorders of every shade and type. Its possibilities are also unlimited for the release of humanity from every kind of slavery to the animal selfhood. If the directions are faithfully and persistently followed, it will break the chains of the inebriate, and the cure will not only be lasting, but the whole life will be reconstructed. Those in bondage to the opium habit, or to other indulgences of a similar nature, including tobacco, can be set free. Some measure of desire for release is pre-supposed. However, this desire is at least latent in every human being, and with only insignificant beginnings it soon grows and develops under culture.
Those in servitude to any kind of fear, or who are carrying burdens of grief, poverty, disappointment, anxiety, or melancholia, will find Ideal Suggestion a free and sovereign remedy. To any who are overcome by, or in danger of yielding to passion, lust, envy, avarice, jealousy, or crime, it furnishes not only an antidote, but a radical cure.
There are no limitations to its power, because it lays hold upon laws and principles which are immutable and divine. The more one advances (and he can advance if he will) into the ideal exercises, as formulated, the farther he will leave behind all the negative and morbid conditions which have been enumerated. This is as true and demonstrable as a mathematical problem.
Some may infer that moral suasion and religious instruction, if given earnestly, would accomplish the same results, but they do not, for the reason that their application is unscientific. As usually employed they are out of accord with the laws of mind. Their objective aims, instead of being regarded as ideally complete, have only been hoped for. They have filled the consciousness with the impression that evil is an entity, almost if not quite as powerful as Good. They have been negative rather than positive, and therefore have lacked efficiency. Conventional sermons, moral essays, authority, petitionary prayer, creeds, and well-meant reproof, which endeavor to do away with evil and discord by opposition, cannot make them unreal, or put them out of human consciousness. The very recognition of them confers realism.
The inebriate is approached as a poor, degraded creature; is lectured, condemned, and has his habits held up before him, thereby emphasizing his false animal selfhood, whereas only his higher nature or perfect ego should be appealed to. This should be done, not only in word, but in concentrated thought and real love, for their psychological influence is all-important. The animal selfhood must be ignored, and the divine in man recognized as the man. This directly brings him into manifestation. He accepts the specification and soon fills the ideal. If the principles here outlined are followed to their logical conclusion, it will be easy to understand, not only why conventional religion has lost its original and rightful healing power, but also why it has been so unsuccessful and unscientific in dealing with the sin, woe, and degradation of humanity. It has meant well, but, relying upon its supernaturalism, it has disregarded orderly law. Instead of dwelling upon the good and the ideal, and letting evil and all its train vanish from human vision, it has mistakenly tried to conquer it by dwelling upon its magnitude and analyzing its heinousness (holding even depravity to be natural and universal), and thus its dark realism has been crowded into human consciousness. Instead of "thinking no evil," it emphasized it. If only mental pictures of the normal and ideal were ever outlined, what would become of evil?
The only way to "overcome" the world, the flesh, and the evil, is to so fill the mental chambers with the perfect, lovable, and symmetrical, that there is no room for them. As perversion has no other residence than the human consciousness, when there displaced, it is non-existent.
But when abnormity is held up and analyzed, even for purposes of warning and condemnation, its pictures are multiplied and its seed scattered. Idealism is scientific and in accord with the laws of mind. Its pathway leads directly away from all that hampers, enslaves, and degrades, and, if followed faithfully, it finally discloses freedom and harmony.
The author of this book has no personal interest in the promulgation of Ideal Suggestion, other than his desire to freely give out such truth as makes him its channel. To suppress the inner voice because its message is not yet popular, would be to adopt a timeserving and timid policy unworthy of deep and honest conviction.