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Lesson 18 - The Recognition of the Will, The Cure of Disease
 If I do not talk enough about disease in these lessons, it is because I am rapidly losing sight of such a negative condition. It seems to me to be so weak a negation of the power vested in man--his will power--that it is scarcely necessary to give it even a passing word. Nevertheless these lessons before they are complete will make the treatment of disease fully understood by the student. The whole matter could be summed up in a single sentence; namely, self-mastery is the cure of all disease in self and others. It would not seem strange that self-mastery should cure self, but that it can cure others appears to be an assertion that needs a good deal of proof. But it can be done, and on this principle: The man who is master of his own forces is also master of the same forces in other persons. In other words, the persons who have not mastered the forces of their own lives are negative to the persons who have, and can be healed by them. All men are masters of all forces that they know to be negative to them.
And what are the negative forces? All unorganized substance is negative to organized substance. All lower forms of organization are negative to man, the highest form. Lightning, clouds, and the elements generally are what I call unorganized forces. The animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms are organized substance, but their organization is vastly inferior to that of man, and he is therefore master of them all.
"Peace; be still," said Jesus to the storm, and everything quieted down. "What manner of man is this," asked one, "that even the wind and waves obey him?" This question was asked nearly two thousand years ago, and I now answer it for the first time. Jesus knew his own mastery, and this is all that is necessary in order to check the storms or quell the waves; to stop the African simoon and to forbid the approach of the wild animals. It is all that is necessary for any man's perfect protection.
Organization confers power. Even the lower forms of organized life possess wonderful power in warding off danger, though unconsciously to themselves. The mere fact of organization puts a certain compulsion on the unorganized elements. Organization, no matter how unconscious it may be, is a certain form of protest against dissolution, and this protest is its protection to a very considerable degree.
No form of protest against dissolution, however, is perfect except that which emanates from an organization that has come into a highly conscious perception of its own rights and its own power. This high form of organization is then proof against every negative form of organization and against the unorganized elements.
Now, it is plain to be seen that as  we grow more and more into a knowledge of our own power, we become more and more free from fear. Just as soon as we see that the Law of the universe is not our foe, but that all things are waiting the development of our intelligence in order to serve us, we are at once lifted out of fear.
From my own experience I know that it is not possible to come into this position suddenly. For years I seemed to be held just in the turn of the tide where the thought was swerving round into the new. It was all I could do to hold my own against the downward current of the world's long-established opinions. I seemed to gain nothing nor to lose anything; or, more truly, there were times when I seemed to gain rapidly, and then I would lose it all and find myself in the same old tracks. Another strenuous effort to hold my own would keep me from drifting quite away from my stronghold, which was always self; and standing on self I would breast the waves once more for the sake of truth and manhood.
The effort is not precisely that of bull-dog determination. Such an attitude becomes exceedingly tiresome in time; the effort is of the intellect; it is the unflagging endeavor to recognize that the bull-dog determination is within you every moment whether you hear a bark or not. You want to keep constantly in view the knowledge that your will is equal to any emergency, whether great or small. One can lose sight of his will power entirely by habits of postponement. Do not postpone any prompting to action, nor defer doing what you really wish to do. The habit of tying up your will is like tying up an arm or a leg; you lose the use of it in time. The great necessity for death in the world is to remove paralyzed wills; inactive and inoperative wills; crippled and weak-kneed wills. Death has small power over vital wills, and when the vital will comes into consciousness of its own strength death cannot touch it at all.
Now, every form of disease you may have is simply a negation of your will, or a non-comprehension on the part of your intelligence of the strength of your will.
"But who is it that negatives my will?" you ask.
You do, yourself. Your will exists in tremendous power. It cannot possibly be diseased, or maimed, or crippled in any way; it cannot be deaf, or blind, or weak. It would not be your will if it were any of these; it would be your "won't," or your "don't want to," or something other than your will, and something not belonging to you at all. But your intelligence does not recognize this fact, and therefore everything in the shape of weakness or disease is the non-recognition of the truth concerning your will, or spirit. So you see from this that disease is unreal; it is a false belief that you will surely cease to believe as soon as you know the truth. "The truth shall make you free."
"But," you answer, "the truth is here. The intelligences of many people have accepted it just as you state it; and yet their bodies show forth very slight results; how is this?"
This is the question the present lesson intends to answer.
Why are our bodies not showing forth the truth, now that our intelligences have accepted it?
We are just emerging from a world of unconscious thought. The thought of, or the belief in, sin, sickness, and death into which we were born forms the thick, heavy, miasmic mental atmosphere, that every one of us breathes. It is dense as a fog, and no living will or soul can beat it back entirely and at once. For my part I can clear the space about me for a time, and then the heavy vapors of a world's ignorant belief close in on me again and paralyze my efforts. Then I rest a day or two, realizing fully each hour that "they also serve who only stand and wait"; for in these spells of rest I hold fast to my faith that I shall overcome, and when the  time for action arrives I am stronger than I was before.
And what is the time of action, and what kind of action do you mean?
I mean mental action: times when I close my whole organization to the old-world beliefs in sin, sickness, and death, and hold myself closed against these beliefs with a mental concentration that makes me feel invulnerable. In this I isolate my entire organism from its surroundings, and my own new and revised thought has a chance then to work out the redemption of my body. And in each of these spells of isolation I do gain a little. But the holding is hard work, and the least relaxation gives admission to the old, deadly beliefs, and I find myself slipping backward again--backward to a place where I must take another rest, but always holding firmly to my faith in myself and in the truth as I see it, and in the firm conviction of ultimate victory.
To describe this very important thing more fully, so that the student may not fail to understand it perfectly, I shall relate a bit of my experience just as it occurred. Last summer my hair began to turn darker, and kept it up for three months, until from almost pure white it had changed to a lovely golden, and was very nearly as dark as it had been in my youth. I was then, as now, giving my entire thought to the science, and I immediately believed I had found the true road to eternal youth. There were other peculiarities in my case pointing to this conclusion. I certainly looked younger and fresher than I had looked for years. During all this time I was putting up fruit, and was deeply interested in having it beautiful and good, so that my work was a pleasure that rather facilitated than retarded my thought upon my one subject of Mental Science. When the fruit was all up--although my thoughts about the science still ran in the same groove--my hair lost its color and became very gray again. This was certainly puzzling.
Yes, it was puzzling, and it caused me a whole year's thought. Indeed I have just found the solution of it.
Our very best and true and noblest thought is worthless unless it is led forth into activities. The whole tendency of the will--which is the soul of things--is to externalization. The whole meaning of the universal spirit of Life is to show forth in uses. Therefore, the personal condition of man is the condition to aspire to. It is the condition toward which all will--the universal as well as the individual--tends. To make the will manifest in acts is all a man exists for. To refuse to act will soon render a man worthless. All that is worthless dies.
My theory was all right, but so long as I sat still and never led it forth into use it availed me nothing. My temperament being lymphatic I am not fond of action, and had therefore done no work but desk work, from which I rested by lying down occasionally. But when the fruit tempted me to action, and I engaged in work that I loved to do, my whole organization was brought out under the Law of Attraction and I immediately showed forth the benefit.
The average tendency of the world is to grow in the right directions. It is now, and always has been, tending more and more to the externalization of the spirit, or will. Active, outdoor sports are now more popular than ever' and woman is being drawn from the seclusion where the ignorance of past ages had placed her to take her share in them.
Dress reform begins to mitigate the rigor of her utterly defenseless costume--the costume of the slave--and a few more disciples of Delsarte and Jenness Miller will liberate her to such splendid activities as just to hint at would make the world smile derisively.
But I shall hint at them nevertheless, regretting that it is only a hint I can give, since a full revelation is locked up from me and from us all in  the unopened store-house of the latent brain.
But the hint; yes, the hint shall be given. If the "bumblebee"--you see I prefer the children's version of the name: the sweet, observant little one's, who knew his "bumbling come tumbling," and otherwise reckless and irresponsible manner, and named him accordingly--if, then, the "bumblebee" can set the laws of causation at defiance and lift himself through the air on wings that have been incontestably proven to be a laughable failure, then the people are soon going to fly without wings. The will is all the wings that any one needs. The will is being developed more and more into activities even without the knowledge of its still latent possibilities. When these possibilities become generally known, then bolder activities will be projected, and still bolder ones, all leading up to a degree of muscular activity that will enable one to hold himself in the air and to float in it at ease.
I have spoken of muscular activity, but muscular activity is mental activity, for body is mind; and when it is once perceived to be a fact that there is no limit to the power of mind, the feat of flying will no longer be considered impossible, and the one and only impediment to its realization will be removed.
Even in this stage and generation, material as it is, we do not live by sight. Every particle of life we show forth is by faith. With more faith--faith in ourselves, in the power within us--we will recognize more life in ourselves, a thousand fold, than we now do. And this extra life will be expressed in undreamed-of activities. Why, our present condition, as compared with what it will be, is dull and heavy as that of the old saurian monsters contrasted with the fleetest horses of our time.
If, with our growing recognition of the will power within us, we felt ourselves less inclined to activity it would be a clear indication that the will was not to be expressed in activities, for the inclination is the best guide we have. But you will find by examining yourselves that with every fresh accession of will power (or fresh recognition of it) you are prompted to some new action. It is the constant effort of the will to externalize itself. But persons of leaden temperament like myself may resist this effort of the will so much and so continuously as to almost lose sight of it. I feel the presence of the will moving me to action, but I postpone the action and thus lose sight of the will that prompted it. I am not indisposed to intellectual activity. My patience rarely flags in working out my thought.
Does your will appear to be inactive? Then you must "lay for it," as the hunters say. It is there, and you must develop it. You must bring it into view by watching for it. The will has been so systematically crushed out of sight through a mistaken system of education that it is going to take a great deal of effort to make the people see that in crushing the will the man is crushed.
A man said to me, "I am going to break the will of my boy if it takes me a year to do it."
"And when you have done it," I said, "you would better finish your work by cutting his throat."
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"I mean that the world has no need of things; it needs men," I answered.
How often I have had my heart torn by seeing mothers and fathers "breaking the wills" of the sweet little souls whose "shoe latchets they were not worthy to unloose" is past computation.
You who have lost sight of your wills must surely find them, and when found, you must stand by them and affirm their value. Let your intelligence reason on your will from the basic principles set forth in these lessons until you know that it is not evil but good, and that it desires nothing but good.
Will is but one of the factors of thought; or, perhaps thought is one  of the factors of will. Indeed all the words that represent the external man run into each other in a way that makes them difficult to handle. Will and desire and thought are all factors in the building of the body. It really seems as if the will were the union of thought with desire; as if thought, by its recognition of desire, became one with desire, and the two thus merged into one, become the will. The will is the crown of the man; it is the man in fullest development. But we have not reached this point yet, this marriage of thought to desire wherein the will comes forward to clear away all obstructions and make us conquerors right now. For here are these old bodies of ours, misbuilt, shaped in the form of the world's beliefs, and not in accordance with our desires; they are held in the atmosphere of the world's negative beliefs, and as yet there is no more positive, or more true, or purer atmosphere for them to inhale. What are we going to do about it?
We are going to clear a space about us by denials, and then plant the seed of the new life by affirmations.
First of all, if I know anything at all, I know that the world's belittling, limiting, and hampering beliefs, so inimical to progression, are all wrong. I say I know this. Then, as a matter of course, I refuse to be held by them. I hold myself on guard against them every hour I live. Oh, students, "perpetual vigilance is the price of liberty," in this case as in many others, and I fear there are some of you who will say, as some of the disciples said to Jesus, "This is a hard saying," and turn back. But I can assure you that the hardest of the fight is now. After conquest the way is easier. But now we have the whole downward current of the world's ignorant thought to meet and turn aside. Therefore there is nothing to do but to hold the fort sternly and gallantly against the beliefs that are now and have always been sending the generations down to death. We do not have to accept those old beliefs, and we do not believe them. As fast as they arrive before us we will deny their right to existence until we have cleared a space about ourselves where they cannot live.
Thoughts are things. They are tangible as the nerve-centers in your bodies, and they can act on your nerves as the nerves act on the blood vessels or the muscles, etc.
The will is the man. The real man. It is the function of thought to develop the will and to establish it in personalities, thus bringing forth the real man into the activities of this busy world.
Thought, having denied all the wretched old race beliefs until each one has partly lost its hold, now begins to formulate what it conceives to be better and nobler beliefs. The time will come when, through a true conjunction of thought with desire, the will will be more developed, and then thought will discard belief altogether; it will have nothing to do with the beliefs that have ruled us so long. It will be creative, and the entire realm of belief will be beneath its feet. But we have not yet come to that. We are still where the old beliefs encompass us, and we must get out of them the best way we can. All thought can do at a certain stage of growth is to take an affirmative position in conquering race beliefs. In doing this it finally conquers fear, and when fear is conquered a mighty ascent has been made from negative to positive. It is at this place that thought, for the first time, begins to be consciously, or intelligently, creative. The desire which has always been crying out to the intelligence against disease and death, now has a response from the intelligence. "At last I perceive that there is no disease and no death," answers the thought. No sooner are these words spoken with the keenness of conviction than the nerves thrill with the news, and rush to tell it to the blood vessels which, in their turn, leave the message at the door of every atom in the body.
As powerful as thought is known to be, and as numberless as the incidents  of its accidental cures, so great is the stupidity of the age that its functions in the human system have not yet been discovered. Or, perhaps I should not say this. A good many Mental Scientists know it. Prentis Mulford hints at it. Dr. Holcombe, of New Orleans, a long-established physician of the old school, understands it as well as any one living, and makes use of it in his practice. But that the great body of medical men should know nothing about it with all the experience they have had with it, would indicate either the most inexplicable stupidity or the most persistent avoidance of it.
Dr. Holcombe says, "When one has grasped the idea that by creative laws mind (thought) is dormant in all things of the body, the minutest changes of which are in reality organic manifestations or showings forth of mental conditions, many things before incomprehensible become clear. From the standpoint of this grand truth we see how emotions (which are produced by thought) determine the most rapid changes in the secretions of the body; how fright turns the hair gray; how terror poisons the mother's milk; how great mental excitements or the slow torture of mental anxiety write their baneful effects upon the tissues of the brain; how the images made upon the mother's brain are transferred and photographed upon the body of the unborn child; how epidemics spread by the contagion of fear and the transference of thought; the thing feared in the mind being reproduced in the physical system.
"Of the idealistic theory, which is the basis of mind cure, physical appearances are only the external forms or natural embodiments of spiritual causes (human wills) which are the real motor powers. Effects are produced not by the apparent external means, but by internal and corresponding spiritual means.
"When these internal and spiritual forces (the will) can be evoked and set in action from within, the external means may be entirely dispensed with." [Which is equivalent to saying that the will, as a healer, is so far superior to medicine and all other external appliances as to make nothing of them.] "It is therefore the maxim of the metaphysician that the cause and cure of disease is always mental."
"The part which the mind has always played in the cure has been ignored, or not recognized, because of the prevalent and dominant spirit of materialism. The mind (thought) has been all the time counted out, while in reality it may have been the chief and perhaps the only factor in the case. When we are confronted with cures of the most remarkable character, cures entirely beyond the reach of our best medication, we attribute them to imagination, faith, hope, expectation. And we do rightly; for imagination, faith, hope, expectation are states of the mind, are the mind itself in substantial activity and creative energy, and when these vital forces can be evoked and directed there is no limit to the possibilities that lie in store for us."
These are the writings of an honest physician and thinker. In the quotations I interpolated the words that appear in brackets, and my interpolations go a little beyond Dr. Holcombe's thought; but I am sure he will forgive me if I have made his language stand out a little further in the light as I myself see it. I have only done as I will to be done by.
In another place the doctor says, "Thoughts are things; ideas are forces; and the spiritual life is a transcendent, organized sphere. Nothing stands alone; no thought, no mind, no faintest trace of an idea. All are associated and linked together by innumerable laws." [In my opinion there is but one law; it is the adaptation of this law to innumerable needs that gives it the appearance of many laws.] "Every thought we think is a ray of mind which radiates from us,  and is reflected from all other minds associated with us. The transference of thought is as simple a thing in the mental sphere as the radiation and reflection of light are in the physical sphere." [There is no physical sphere; and light and heat are not the reflection of love and intelligence, but love and intelligence themselves.] "The mental solidarity of the race is perfect. All the states of mind represented by faith, hope, imagination, fixed opinion, expectation, etc., may be exercised by the physician or friends and projected with more or less force and power upon the interior and unconscious minds of all who are supposed to be incapable of exercising mental powers of their own. This is the keynote to the sickness of children, and also to the secret of their cure."
Dr. Holcombe's testimony to the fact that thought can make sick and make well is all the more valuable because of his long study and practical experience in the schools of medicine. I recognize his valuable contributions to the literature of the day on this subject even while I fail to endorse all his conclusions.
That thought can make sick is the inevitable consequence of an ignorance of the fact that it acts through the whole organization. And if it can make sick, it can also make well by the same process. But thought can be educated in a knowledge of truth until it becomes, not only a curative agent, but a perfectly irresistible factor in the reconstruction of the whole human body. And now I want to tell in as concise a manner as possible how it can be made to do it.
All sickness and weakness, deformity and old age, are but denials of the individual. They are denials of the power of the will by the mistaken intelligence. Let the intelligence once come to recognize the standing and importance of the will, and to feel a measure of its strength, if no more, and the person is then ready to heal his own infirmities and those of other people. His thought becomes charged with the truth; for, remember this, that as the will pervades every part of the body it also pervades every part of the thought. The thought then being infilled with the fire of the will creates an atmosphere of positiveness about the person which is drawn into the body. It carries its own strength there and builds a new foundation for the new temple of strength and beauty that is to be erected there. It infuses every atom of the organization with a fresh sense of power, and thus makes it ready to hold fast to the new truths that will be planted farther on. It actually tells the nerves, as it were, of their own latent health and strength and awakens them to a knowledge of the fact. The nerves are the connecting link between the thought and the more external parts of the body. And through this link you can impart your best thought, accompanied by the strongest possible recognition of your will. But this is only the beginning. It is the breaking up of old conditions for the separation of the true from the false.
For self-treatment, sit alone and draw your thoughts home. Let them dwell on the power involved in the creature man. Let them see him in his greatest possible strength as the master of all things. Let them also consider that his true individuality is out of sight and is his will. Let them then know that the will was built up by desire, and that there is nothing in it that it does not desire; that indeed it is the representative of the best it has ever known--the image of its own highest ideal. When the thought reaches this point it will see how greatly the body misrepresents the will, and it is then ready to correct the errors of the body. At this juncture permit the thought to sink down into your body. It will do this if you will hold it firmly from wandering. As it sinks into the body you will feel a quivering of the nerves in every part not too dead to be aroused by it. The will which the thought carries  into the diseased body meets and arouses the will in the diseased part, which has become inoperative from lack of recognition by the intelligence. Being thus aroused it arouses the intelligence of that part and the old fossilized conditions begin to break up.
It very often happens that the effect of a strong and continuous recognition of the will, and the holding to it firmly as being the real and true man, makes one sore and lame and miserable, discouraged and ill-natured. This condition is the resistance of the old, consolidated mistakes that have been built in your body by race beliefs. Christian Science calls this breaking up of old conditions "chemicalization." You are to take no notice of it when it comes--that is, no more than you can help. You are to hold on to a belief that the will is the real you, and to ignore as far as possible the kickings and squealings of the old mistakes. They have to go, and if it is any consolation to them to make a fuss about it let them make it--that is, if your recognition of your will is not sufficient to quiet them.
But keep your will in view mentally. Do not lose sight of it. Grasp it more firmly with your perceptions. Concentrate your power of thought upon it. Hold it mentally with a strong grip.
Observe the emphasized words in the previous paragraph. There is a wide distinction between the recognition of the will and that muscular tension that many people think to be will. The true recognition of the will does not produce muscular tension. On the contrary its effect is to relax the muscles. Muscular tension in such a case would be the result of fear; and fear is no evidence of the existence of the will, but the reverse. To recognize the will is purely a mental power. It is the calm, reposeful perception of the fact that the will is the governing power of the body, and that nothing can resist it. The recognition of the will and its crowning position among the faculties have been the result of all this previous study of Mental Science whereby the "I" has been evolved and placed upon the throne, and all things subdued to its control. The will is the voice of the I, whose mandates are not to be disobeyed. Keep as much as possible in a state of recognition of your own will; for, no matter what the character of the thoughts you hold, you cannot prevent them from entering the domain of your nervous organization and imparting their quality to your entire body. They form an atmosphere about you that you live in, and if you keep them always true to your highest conception of truth, by which I mean, if you keep them charged with a consciousness of power of your unconquerable will they will cure you of all beliefs or conditions of disease, whether you ever sit for silent treatment or not. But there is a higher position to attain than the mere temporary cure of disease, as you already begin to understand.
You already know how essential it is for you to keep a hopeful state of mind. It requires firmness and a reposeful recognition of the will to do this. A firm mind is a firm body, for body and mind are one. A firm body is a healthy body. And so this lesson hinges tight on this point. The recognition of the will is the evolution of the will in the body. There is nothing in life so firm and powerful as the will. Learn to know this, that your will may become established in your body and show forth in just what you desire--health, strength, beauty, opulence, etc.
Thought and thought alone has power to develop the will. And thought must be persistent in its effort to search for the evidence of the will within the body, for in no other way can the old race errors be driven out and the true man and woman established in each personality.
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