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. The first step in the Science of Being Well is, then, to enter into complete thought connection with health.
The best way to do this is to form a[Pg 36] 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.
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 wants 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 we have never seen ourselves in a perfect body, and a clear mental image is hard to form.
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[Pg 37] 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.
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[Pg 38] 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.
In order to establish perfect functioning in every part, man 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 man, 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. Man’s liver is not controlled by a liver-principle, his stomach by a digestive principle, and so on; the Principle of Health is One.
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.[Pg 39] Imperfect thought causes imperfect functioning, which is disease. Let me illustrate: Until quite recently, physiology fixed ten days as the extreme limit of man’s endurance without food; it was considered that only in exceptional cases could he 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 forty-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 forty to sixty days, have shown that man’s ability to live without food is vastly greater than had been supposed. Any person, properly educated, can fast from twenty to forty days with little loss in weight, and often with no apparent loss of strength at all. The people who[Pg 40] 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. When a man is deprived of food he will die in from ten to fifty days, according to the way he has been taught; or, in other words, according to the way he thinks about it. So you see that an erroneous physiology can work very mischievous results.
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[Pg 41] really know. When man 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 man 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.
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 im[Pg 42]perfect conditions in your own body. You cannot study any “science” which recognizes disease, if you are to think nothing but health.
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.