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1. In order to sever all mental relations with disease, you must enter into mental relations with health, making the process positive, not negative -- one of assumption, not of rejection. You are to receive or appropriate health rather than to reject and deny disease. Denying disease accomplishes next to nothing; it does little good to cast out the devil and leave the house vacant, for he will presently return with others worse than himself. When you enter into full and constant mental relations with health, you must of necessity cease all relationship with disease.
2. The first step in the Science of Being Well, then, is to enter into complete thought connection with health.
3. The best way to do this is to form a mental image or picture of yourself as being well, imagining a perfectly strong and healthy body, and to spend sufficient time in contemplating this image to make it your habitual thought of yourself.
4. This is not so easy as it sounds. It necessitates the taking of considerable time for meditation, and not all persons have the imaging faculty well enough developed to form a distinct mental picture of themselves in a perfect or idealized body. It is much easier, as in "The Science of Getting Rich", to form a mental image of the things one desires to have, for we have seen these things or their counterparts and know how they look. We can picture them very easily from memory. But if we have never seen ourselves in a perfect body, a clear mental image is hard to form.
5. It is not necessary or essential, however, to have a clear mental image of yourself as you wish to be; it is only essential to form a CONCEPTION of perfect health, and to relate yourself to it. This Conception of Health is not a mental picture of a particular thing. It is an understanding of health, and carries with it the idea of perfect functioning in every part and organ.
6. You may TRY to picture yourself as perfect in physique -- that helps -- and you MUST think of yourself as doing everything in the manner of a perfectly strong and healthy person. You can picture yourself as walking down the street with an erect body and a vigorous stride. You can picture yourself as doing your day's work easily and with surplus vigor, never tired or weak. You can picture in your mind how all things would be done by a person full of health and power, and you can make yourself the central figure in the picture, doing things in just that way. Never think of the ways in which weak or sickly people do things; always think of the way strong people do things. Spend your leisure time in thinking about the Strong Way, until you have a good conception of it, and always think of yourself in connection with the Strong Way of Doing Things. That is what I mean by having a Conception of Health.
7. In order to establish perfect functioning in every part, a person does not have to study anatomy or physiology so that he can form a mental image of each separate organ and address himself to it. He does not have to "treat" his liver, his kidneys, his stomach, or his heart. There is one Principle of Health in a human being, which has control over all the involuntary functions of his life, and the thought of perfect health, impressed upon this Principle, will reach each part and organ. A person's liver is not controlled by a liver-principle, his stomach by a digestive principle, and so on. The Principle of Health is One.
8. The less you go into the detailed study of physiology, the better for you. Our knowledge of this science is very imperfect, and leads to imperfect thought. Imperfect thought causes imperfect functioning, which is disease.
9. Let me illustrate: Until quite recently, physiology fixed ten days as the extreme limit of a human being's endurance without food. It was considered that only in exceptional cases could a person survive a longer fast. So the impression became universally disseminated that one who was deprived of food must die in from five to ten days. And numbers of people, when cut off from food by shipwreck, accident, or famine, did die within this period. But the performances of Dr. Tanner, the 40-day faster, and the writings of Dr. Dewey and others on the fasting cure, together with the experiments of numberless people who have fasted from 40 to 60 days, have shown that a human's ability to live without food is vastly greater than had been supposed. Any person, properly educated, can fast from 20 to 40 days with little loss in weight, and often with no apparent loss of strength at all. The people who starved to death in ten days or less did so because they believed that death was inevitable. An erroneous physiology had given them a wrong thought about themselves. According to the way he has been taught, when a person is deprived of food he will die in from 10 to 50 days, or, in other words, according to the way he thinks about it. So you see that an erroneous physiology can work very mischievous results.
10. No Science of Being Well can be founded on current physiology; it is not sufficiently exact in its knowledge. With all its pretensions, comparatively little is really known as to the interior workings and processes of the body. It is not known just how food is digested. It is not known just what part food plays, if any, in the generation of force. It is not known exactly what the liver, spleen, and pancreas are for, or what part their secretions play in the chemistry of assimilation. On all these and most other points we theorize, but we do not really know. When a person begins to study physiology, he enters the domain of theory and disputation. He comes among conflicting opinions, and he is bound to form mistaken ideas concerning himself. These mistaken ideas lead to the thinking of wrong thoughts, and this leads to perverted functioning and disease. All that the most perfect knowledge of physiology could do for a person would be to enable him to think only thoughts of perfect health, and to eat, drink, breathe, and sleep in a perfectly healthy way. And this, as we shall show, he can do without studying physiology at all.
11. This, for the most part, is true of all hygiene. There are certain fundamental propositions which we should know, and these will be explained in later chapters, but aside from these propositions, ignore physiology and hygiene. They tend to fill your mind with thoughts of imperfect conditions, and these thoughts will produce the imperfect conditions in your own body. You cannot study any "science" which recognizes disease, if you are to think nothing but health.
12. Drop all investigation as to your present condition, its causes, or possible results, and set yourself to the work of forming a conception of health.
13. Think about health and the possibilities of health, of the work that may be done and the pleasures that may be enjoyed in a condition of perfect health. Then make this conception your guide in thinking of yourself. Refuse to entertain for an instant any thought of yourself which is not in harmony with it. When any idea of disease or imperfect functioning enters your mind, cast it out instantly by calling up a thought which is in harmony with the Conception of Health.
14. Think of yourself at all times as realizing this conception, as being a strong and perfectly healthy personage, and do not harbor a contrary thought.
15. KNOW that as you think of yourself in unity with this conception, the Original Substance which permeates and fills the tissues of your body is taking form according to the thought, and know that this Intelligent Substance or mind stuff will cause function to be performed in such a way that your body will be rebuilt with perfectly healthy cells.
16. The Intelligent Substance, from which all things are made, permeates and penetrates all things; and so it is in and through your body. It moves according to its thoughts, and so if you hold only the thoughts of perfectly healthy function, it will cause the movements of perfectly healthy function within you.
17. Hold with persistence to the thought of perfect health in relation to yourself. Do not permit yourself to think in any other way. Hold this thought with perfect faith that it is the fact, the truth. It is the truth so far as your mental body is concerned. You have a mind-body and a physical body. The mind-body takes form just as you think of yourself, and any thought which you hold continuously is made visible by the transformation of the physical body into its image. Implanting the thought of perfect functioning in the mind-body will, in due time, cause perfect functioning in the physical body.
18. The transformation of the physical body into the image of the ideal held by the mind-body is not accomplished instantaneously -- we cannot transfigure our physical bodies at will as Jesus did. In the creation and recreation of forms, Substance moves along the fixed lines of growth it has established, and the impression upon it of the health thought, causes the healthy body to be built cell by cell. Holding only thoughts of perfect health will ultimately cause perfect functioning, and perfect functioning will in due time produce a perfectly healthy body. It may be as well to condense this chapter into a syllabus:
Your physical body is permeated and filled with an Intelligent Substance, which forms a body of mind-stuff. This mind-stuff controls the functioning of your physical body. A thought of disease or of imperfect function, impressed upon the mind-stuff, causes disease or imperfect functioning in the physical body.
If you are diseased, it is because wrong thoughts have made impressions on this mind-stuff. These may have been either your own thoughts or those of your parents -- we begin life with many sub-conscious impressions, both right and wrong. But the natural tendency of all mind is toward health, and if no thoughts are held in the conscious mind save those of health, all internal functioning will come to be performed in a perfectly healthy manner.
The Power of Nature within you is sufficient to overcome all hereditary impressions, and if you will learn to control your thoughts, so that you shall think only those of health, and if you will perform the voluntary functions of life in a perfectly healthy way, you can certainly be well.
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