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The Powerful Aid of the Mind in Rebuilding Body -- How Body Helps Mind
"The body looks," some one has said, "as old as the mind feels." By
virtue of a great mental law and at the same time chemical law we are
well within the realm of truth when we say: The body ordinarily is as
old as the mind feels.
Every living organism is continually going through two processes: it is
continually dying, and continually being renewed through the operation
and the power of the Life Force within it. In the human body it is
through the instrumentality of the cell that this process is going on.
The cell is the ultimate constituent in the formation and in the life of
tissue, fibre, tendon, bone, muscle, brain, nerve system, vital organ.
It is the instrumentality that Nature, as we say, uses to do her work.
The cell is formed; it does its work; it serves its purpose and dies;
and all the while new cells are being formed to take its place. This
process of new cell formation is going on in the body of each of us much
more rapidly and uniformly than we think. Science has demonstrated the
fact that there are very few cells in the body today that were there
twelve months ago. The form of the body remains practically the same;
but its constituent elements are in a constant state of change. The
body, therefore, is continually changing; it is never in a fixed state
in the sense of being a solid, but is always in a changing, fluid state.
It is being continually remade.
It is the Life, or the Life Force within, acting under the direction and
guidance of the subconscious or subjective mind that is the agency
through which this continually new cell-formation process is going on.
The subconscious mind is, nevertheless, always subject to suggestions
and impressions that are conveyed to it by the conscious or sense mind;
and here lies the great fact, the one all-important fact for us so far
as desirable or undesirable, so far as healthy or unhealthy, so far as
normal or aging body-building is concerned.
That we have it in our power to determine our physical and bodily
conditions to a far greater extent than we do is an undeniable fact.
That we have it in our power to determine and to dictate the conditions
of "old age" to a marvellous degree is also an undeniable fact -- if we
are sufficiently keen and sufficiently awake to begin early enough.
If any arbitrary divisions of the various periods of life were
allowable, I should make the enumeration as follows: Youth, barring the
period of babyhood, to forty-five; middle age, forty-five to sixty;
approaching age, sixty to seventy-five; old age, seventy-five to
ninety-five and a hundred.
That great army of people who "age" long before their time, that
likewise great army of both men and women who along about middle age,
say from forty-five to sixty, break and, as we say, all of a sudden go
to pieces, and many die, just at the period when they should be in the
prime of life, in the full vigour of manhood and womanhood and of
greatest value to themselves, to their families, and to the world, is
something that is contrary to nature, and is one of the pitiable
conditions of our time. A greater knowledge, a little foresight, a
little care in time could prevent this in the great majority of cases,
in ninety cases out of every hundred, without question.
Abounding health and strength -- wholeness -- is the natural law of the
body. The Life Force of the body, acting always under the direction of
the subconscious mind, will build, and always does build, healthily
and normally, unless too much interfered with. It is this that
determines the type of the cell structure that is continually being
built into the body from the available portions of the food that we
take to give nourishment to the body. It is affected for good or for
bad, helped or hindered, in its operation by the type of conscious
thought that is directed toward it, and that it is always influenced by.
Of great suggestive value is the following by an able writer and
"God has managed, and perpetually manages, to insert into our nature a
tendency toward health, and against the unnatural condition which we
call disease. When our flesh receives a wound, a strange nursing and
healing process is immediately commenced to repair the injury. So in all
diseases, organic or functional, this mysterious healing power sets
itself to work at once to triumph over the morbid condition.... Cannot
this healing process be greatly accelerated by a voluntary and conscious
action of the mind, assisted, if need be, by some other person? I
unhesitatingly affirm, from experience and observation, that it can. By
some volitional, mental effort and process of thought, this sanative
colatus, or healing power which God has given to our physiological
organism, may be greatly quickened and intensified in its action upon
the body. Here is the secret philosophy of the cures effected by Jesus
Christ.... There is a law of the action of mind on the body that is no
more an impenetrable mystery than the law of gravitation. It can be
understood and acted upon in the cure of disease as well as any other
law of nature."
If, then, it be possible through this process to change physical
conditions in the body even after they have taken form and have become
fixed, as we say, isn't it possible even more easily to determine the
type of cell structure that is grown in the first place?
The ablest minds in the world have thought and are thinking that if we
could find a way of preventing the hardening of the cells of the system,
producing in turn hardened arteries and what is meant by the general
term "ossification," that the process of aging, growing old, could be
greatly retarded, and that the condition of perpetual youth that we seem
to catch glimpses of in rare individuals here and there could be made a
more common occurrence than we find it today.
The cause of ossification is partly mental, partly physical, and in
connection with them both are hereditary influences and conditions that
have to be taken into consideration.
Shall we look for a moment to the first? The food that is taken into the
system, or the available portions of the food, is the building material;
but the mind is always the builder.
There are, then, two realms of mind, the conscious and the
subconscious. Another way of expressing it would be to say that mind
functions through two avenues -- the avenue of the conscious and the
avenue of the subconscious. The conscious is the thinking mind; the
subconscious is the doing mind. The conscious is the sense mind, it
comes in contact with and is acted upon through the avenue of the five
senses. The subconscious is that quiet, finer, all-permeating inner mind
or force that guides all the inner functions, the life functions of the
body, and that watches over and keeps them going even when we are
utterly unconscious in sleep. The conscious suggests and gives
directions; the subconscious receives and carries into operation the
suggestions that are received.
The thoughts, ideas, and even beliefs and emotions of the conscious mind
are the seeds that are taken in by the subconscious and that in this
great realm of causation will germinate and produce of their own kind.
The chemical activities that go on in the process of cell formation in
the body are all under the influence, the domination of this great
all-permeating subconscious, or subjective realm within us.
In that able work, "The Laws of Psychic Phenomena," Dr. Thomas J. Hudson lays down this proposition: "That the subjective mind is constantly
amenable to control by suggestion." It is easy, when we once understand
and appreciate this great fact, to see how the body builds, or rather is
built, for health and strength, or for disease and weakness; for youth
and vigour, or for premature ossification and age. It is easy, then, to
see how we can have a hand in, in brief can have the controlling hand
in, building either the one or the other.
It is in the province of the intelligent man or woman to take hold of
the wheel, so to speak, and to determine as an intelligent human being
should, what condition or conditions shall be given birth and form to
and be externalised in the body.
A noted thinker and writer has said: "Whatever the mind is set upon, or
whatever it keeps most in view, that it is bringing to it, and the
continual thought or imagining must at last take form and shape in the
world of seen and tangible things."
And now, to be as concrete as possible, we have these facts: The body is
continually changing in that it is continually throwing out and off,
used cells, and continually building new cells to take their places.
This process, as well as all the inner functions of the body, is
governed and guarded by the subconscious realm of our being. The
subconscious can do and does do whatever it is actually directed to
do by the conscious, thinking mind. "We must be careful on what we allow
our minds to dwell," said Sir John Lubbock, "the soul is dyed by its
If we believe ourselves subject to weakness, decay, infirmity, when we
should be "whole," the subconscious mind seizes upon the pattern that is
sent it and builds cell structure accordingly. This is one great reason
why one who is, as we say, chronically thinking and talking of his
ailments and symptoms, who is complaining and fearing, is never well.
To see one's self, to believe, and therefore to picture one's self in
mind as strong, healthy, active, well, is to furnish a pattern, is to
give suggestion and therefore direction to the subconscious so that it
will build cell tissue having the stamp and the force of healthy, vital,
active life, which in turn means abounding health and strength.
So, likewise, at about the time that "old age" is supposed ordinarily to
begin, when it is believed in and looked for by those about us and those
who act in accordance with this thought, if we fall into this same
mental drift, we furnish the subconscious the pattern that it will
inevitably build bodily conditions in accordance with. We will then find
the ordinarily understood marks and conditions of old age creeping upon
us, and we will become subject to their influences in every department
of our being. Whatever is thus pictured in the mind and lived in, the
Life Force will produce.
To remain young in mind, in spirit, in feeling, is to remain young in
body. Growing old at the period or age at which so many grow old, is to
a great extent a matter of habit.
To think health and strength, to see ourselves continually growing in
this condition, is to set into operation the subtlest dynamic force for
the externalisation of these conditions in the body that can be even
conceived of. If one's bodily condition, through abnormal, false mental
and emotional habits, has become abnormal and diseased, this same
attitude of mind, of spirit, of imagery, is to set into operation a
subtle and powerful corrective agency that, if persisted in, will
inevitably tend to bring normal, healthy conditions to the front again.
True, if these abnormal, diseased conditions have been helped on or have
been induced by wrong physical habits, by the violation of physical
laws, this violation must cease. But combine the two, and then give the
body the care that it requires in a moderate amount of simple, wholesome
food, regular cleansing to assist it in the elimination of impurities
and of used cell structure that is being regularly cast off, an
abundance of pure air and of moderate exercise, and a change amounting
almost to a miracle can be wrought -- it may be, indeed, what many people
of olden time would have termed a miracle.
The mind thus becomes "a silent, transforming, sanative energy" of great
potency and power. That it can be so used is attested by the fact of the
large numbers, and the rapidly increasing numbers, all about us who are
so using it. This is what many people all over our country are doing
today, with the results that, by a great elemental law -- Divine Law if
you choose -- many are curing themselves of various diseases, many are
exchanging weakness and impotence for strength and power, many are
ceasing, comparatively speaking, are politely refusing, to grow old.
Thought is a force, subtle and powerful, and it tends inevitably to
produce of its kind.
In forestalling "old age," at least old age of the decrepit type, it is
the period of middle life where the greatest care is to be employed. If,
at about the time "old age" is supposed ordinarily to begin, the "turn"
at middle life or a little later, we would stop to consider what this
period really means, that it means with both men and women a period of
life where some simple readjustments are to be made, a period of a
little rest, a little letting up, a temporary getting back to the
playtime of earlier years and a bringing of these characteristics back
into life again, then a complete letting-up would not be demanded by
nature a little later, as it is demanded in such a lamentably large
number of cases at the present time.
So in a definite, deliberate way, youth should be blended into the
middle life, and the resultant should be a force that will stretch
middle life for an indefinite period into the future.
And what an opportunity is here for mothers, at about the time that the
children have grown, and some or all even have "flown"! Of course,
Mother shouldn't go and get foolish, she shouldn't go cavorting around
in a sixteen-year-old hat, when the hat of the thirty-five-year-old
would undoubtedly suit her better; but she should rejoice that the
golden period of life is still before her. Now she has leisure to do
many of those things that she has so long wanted to do.
The world's rich field of literature is before her; the line of study or
work she has longed to pursue, she bringing to it a better equipped mind
and experience than she has ever had before. There is also an interest
in the life and welfare of her community, in civic, public welfare lines
that the present and the quick-coming time before us along women's
enfranchisement lines, along women's commonsense equality lines, is
making her a responsible and full sharer in. And how much more valuable
she makes herself, also, to her children, as well as to her community,
inspiring in them greater confidence, respect, and admiration than if
she allows herself to be pushed into the background by her own weak and
false thoughts of herself, or by the equally foolish thoughts of her
children in that she is now, or is at any time, to become a back number.
Life, as long as we are here, should mean continuous unfoldment,
advancement, and this is undoubtedly the purpose of life; but
age-producing forces and agencies mean deterioration, as opposed to
growth and unfoldment. They ossify, weaken, stiffen, deaden, both
mentally and physically. For him or her who yearns to stay young, the
coming of the years does not mean or bring abandonment of hope or of
happiness or of activity. It means comparative vigour combined with
continually larger experience, and therefore even more usefulness, and
hence pleasure and happiness.
Praise also to those who do not allow any one or any number of
occurrences in life to sour their nature, rob them of their faith, or
cripple their energies for the enjoyment of the fullest in life while
here. It's those people who never allow themselves in spirit to be
downed, no matter what their individual problems, surroundings, or
conditions may be, but who chronically bob up serenely who, after all, are the masters of life, and who are likewise the strength-givers and
the helpers of others. There are multitudes in the world today, there
are readers of this volume, who could add a dozen or a score of
years -- teeming, healthy years -- to their lives by a process of
self-examination, a mental housecleaning, and a reconstructed, positive,
commanding type of thought.
Tennyson was prophet when he sang:
Cleave then to the sunnier side of doubt,
And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith!
She reels not in the storm of warring words,
She brightens at the clash of "Yes" and "No,"
She sees the Best that glimmers through the Worst,
She feels the sun is hid but for a night,
She spies the summer through the winter bud,
She tastes the fruit before the blossom falls,
She hears the lark within the songless egg,
She finds the fountain where they wailed "mirage."
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