Mental healing, metaphysical healing, mind cure, spiritual healing and Christian Science all come under the same head; there is no difference between them in the range of their action or the basis upon which they are founded. All are forms of self- hypnotism. But hypnosis is something of itself, and in itself, which calls for extensive consideration, its basis being a sort of artificial catalepsy. Whoever is hypnotized is thrown out of his normal modes of perception; his own external perceptions are closed to him and he sees only from the basis which the operator presents to him. Mental healers and Christian Scientists make use of certain ideas and abstractions in formula which take the mind off the body, though it is generally believed that thought” is the means by which the healing is effected. Now thought differs entirely in its nature and relation according to the knowledge of the thinker, and to use a prescribed formula, as do the adherents of these healing cults, is by no means to employ thought. What passes for ‘thought” is the idea that diseases are caused by thinking of them, and that the only way to over come them is by thinking of that which is not disease. Of course, this is only a formula.
Are there cures brought about by such practices? Certainly; by each and every system, no matter how much they suffer from one another in their claims. Just so, there are cures made by every remedy” ever proposed under the sun. Testimonials are found for every kind of remedy and to every kind of formula that was ever presented mankind. Medical practitioners bring about their cures also, and even the ‘quack” remedies advertised in the newspapers bring floods of testimonials from people who have been cured of disease after having been given up by physicians. Since, then, healing is brought about in many ways, it is clear that neither the fact of healing, nor any number of testimonials, have any value as evidence that any one of these systems of healing is a true system.
We need to inquire into these systems from the point of view of Theosophy, for let it be understood that the Theosophist does not attack any form of belief nor any form of philosophy what ever; he merely compares them with Theosophy. If that comparison shows a lack in their theories of explanation and a failure to give human beings a true basis to think from, by which they shall gain a realization of their own nature and the laws ruling everything in every place, it can not be said that Theosophy is at fault, but that the partial philosophy under consideration has failed to withstand the test.
People are attracted to these partial systems of thought by the healing of disease promised. What they need to look for is not the cure, but the cause of disease. The fact that no one specific method is a cure-all ought to show that there are different kinds of disease; some, the result of bad habits, lack of exercise, wrong diet, and the failure to observe the ordinary laws of hygiene; others, nervous diseases, the effect of wrong ways of thinking, of worriments of various kinds. There are also diseases which are mechanical and organic, where certain organs have become affected to such an extent that they can not respond to normal action in accord with the other organs. The organs are materially formed of the matter of the three lower kingdoms—mineral, vegetable and animal—taken from the food eaten and transmuted into the organs. Consequently, where some kind of element is discovered to be lacking, something of a material nature may be added which, in most cases, in itself will restore the organ to its natural condition. Diseases caused by wrong habits are, of course, cured by correcting the habits. Where an irritation and nervous condition has been caused by too much thinking about some ailment that may exist in the body, mental” operators have their great field of ‘success”; for when the mind is with drawn from the ailment, the body has within itself the power to restore itself to a normal condition in many, many cases. Where the mind is self-centered and concentrated, it does not permit the body to resume normal operation, but rather increases the disease, since the power of the consciousness of the being is placed upon that. The body has its own immunizing power, if left alone.
The body is a mechanical instrument which has been brought into being and is kept in action by the thinker who inhabits it. But those who put forward ideas in regard to mental healing have never concerned themselves for a single moment with determining the cause of humanity’s having such bodies, being born into such bodies at this time on the earth. They do not inquire where they themselves have come from, whither they are going, and what the purpose of life is. All these panaceas for ills fail absolutely to recognize the operation of law—the operation of cause and effect. They call for no understanding, nor do they present a basis for right thinking, right conduct, and right progress. Therefore, people who take up these lines get nowhere. If perchance, by taking their minds off the disease, the body gets better of itself, they have gained no knowledge by the experience; they are only made better able to continue along their ignorant lines; they die when the time comes no wiser than when they were born, believing this to be the only physical existence they will ever have.
To minds engaged with universal ideas, such as the Self of all creatures, the Divine Law of Justice, the evolution of all grades of beings, the great cycles of men and planets and universes—ideas of healing these temporary bodies appear very, very small. For what does healing mean? Getting rid of the effects which we ourselves have produced, consciously or unconsciously. What does a diseased body mean but that we have ignored our own natures and acted as though we were bodies, and broken every law of hygiene that we know of? If we lived according to the laws of hygiene as we know them, these diseases would not be upon us. The savage does not know anything about Christian Science; the Red Indians of the past knew nothing about mental healing of any kind, but they had remarkably healthy bodies. Was it their thought? No, for the Red Indians did much murder. It was not their thinking that made them healthy. It was their mode of life—because they lived naturally. It is our modes of life that make us unhealthy. It is our modes of thought that make us take up these modes of life. We have not discerned what we are, and consequently we have acted in ignorance.
All these healing systems are presented for one purpose—to enable us to relieve ourselves of the responsibility of our own acts. In Occultism that is a crime. We may use natural bodily methods, but we may not try to drag the Spirit itself down to relieve us of the diseases that we have brought upon ourselves. That we can think for a moment that Spirit, the root of all being, can be dragged down to relieve us of those troubles brought upon ourselves is a blasphemy to anyone who thinks deeply, and a denial of the Real Self. The body is a machine, which represents the effects of causes set in motion, whether ignorantly or consciously. We should recognize that being a machine—an instrument formed from the matter of the earth—it can be kept in balance by restoring those elements it lacks. We should not think too much of the body, nor think of it at all, save as an instrument—our present physical automobile, so to say—which we ought to keep in running order and use as we would any machine. We have to run it according to the laws of its operation to make the body a perfect instrument; but we should keep our consciousness on the plane to which it belongs—not chained to the body.
In these mental healing processes there is a great danger. The powers of Spirit are far greater than any known power we possess—greater than dynamite, or the applications of electricity. Moving along these lines blindly as many do is liable to bring disaster, has brought insanity time and time again. We hear the “demonstration” of cures, but we do not get the demonstration of failures. They are many. Mental healing may throw the disease back into the place from which it came, back into the mind, but just so surely will it come out in some other form and also with more force than before. The spiritual nature itself will not permit us to avoid the results of causation which we ourselves have set in motion. Those abstractions which take the mind off the body, such as “God is all Good,” “There is no imperfection,” set certain currents in motion in what is known as the Pranic or Astral body. These currents act and re-act and interact between the inner and outer body, and in the end are bound to produce injury, no matter what the present benefit may appear to be. At the best, we have only delayed the day of settlement.
The only way in which the affairs of life may be brought into their proper relation and harmony is by an understanding of our own nature, and fulfilling it. That course would make a heaven of this civilization, compared with what it is now. It would obviate nine-tenths, yes, one hundred percent, of those diseases which now afflict us, whether individual or general, sporadic or epidemic. For all diseases are caused by men, individually and collectively; even the catastrophes in nature are the result of man’s misunderstanding of his own nature, and the thinking and acting based upon it. The spiritual power that lies in man’s thinking goes much farther than the formulation of it. Whatever of error he produces finds its return from all parts of nature—from fire and air and earth and water—for all the elements are but the embodiments of so many degrees of intelligence, and we affect them against the nature of the whole, which is a synchronous evolution. We hinder the lives and they resent it. Even the forces of our bodies are composed of lives or different kinds; the very organs in our bodies are composed of different kinds of elemental lives, all having their relations to different parts of nature.
All these healing schemes, ‘isms, and religions are attempts to dodge our responsibility. Our complaints about our environments are attempts to dodge our responsibility. Our belief in this God or the other God, or this system of belief, this salvation, are attempts to dodge our responsibility. We have to accept that responsibility, and stay with it, first, last and all the time. For we are all bound up in one great tie; we can not separate ourselves from each other, nor from any other being. The high beings above us who have passed through the stages which we are now passing through are just as closely related to us—and more so—than we are to each other; for They desire to help us in every way, if we would only allow Them. Savior after Savior has come to the earth for our benefit, but no one can give us any more benefit than to point to the truths that have been given all down the ages. We must take advantage of that knowledge and advance out of the state in which we have placed ourselves. No Savior can save us. No God can protect us. No devil can torment us. For both the God and the devil are within. The devil is the misunderstanding of our nature. The God is that place in ourselves that we come to know and realize and see reflected in the eyes of every living being. It is the God in us which demands self-advancement, self-induced and self-devised exertions, and the full acceptance of responsibility.