AMONG those who admit the fact of healing by metaphysical methods there are many who insist that the cures are simply the result of suggestions made upon the subconscious mind of the patient by the healer, or made by the sufferer upon his own subconscious mind by means of autosuggestion. Having had some experience with these methods, I feel sure that, while some healing may be due to suggestion, there are many in which there is evidently a deeper power at work.
We are indebted to Coué, and to his followers, for the scientific study of autosuggestion and for the discovery of some of the laws that govern its action, and there is no doubt that there have been many cases of healing by this method. In fact, the natural healing power, which the Father has be-stowed impartially upon saint and sinner, works automatically, without suggestion, in many cases of sickness and injury. A simple cut, let alone and kept clean, will heal spontaneously. The general tendency in sickness is toward recovery, if there be faith in a good outcome and if there are no thoughts of fear or worry to interfere with the process of healing. This faith in a good result is faith in the power of the Father working in us. As I said, the Father has given this power to all alike, and we may expect it to be stimulated by suggestion.
However, when a person is healed without the use of any affirmations, when he does not even know that he has been receiving healing treatments from another, it shows that a power other than suggestion is at hand, unless we are willing to admit that telepathy may be freely used at all times, and many are not ready to acknowledge this. And how are we to explain telepathy itself, except on the supposition of an all-pervading intelligence? So even if telepathy be the explanation, we see in it the action of a higher power.
I have seen a heavy drinker made to stop the habit of drinking by absent treatments given with-out his knowledge, and he was not a believer in spiritual methods, or even in mental therapy. I think that simple suggestion cannot do such a thing in three days, as I saw it done; for I have found that the treatment of drug addictions by pure suggestion is a slow process. I have recently seen two cases of tonsillitis cured in a few hours by absent treatment, given without the knowledge of the patients. In addition I have seen one case of healing by spiritual means, where autosuggestion had previously failed.
It is difficult to select cases of sickness cured by metaphysical means in which all possible use of suggestion can be eliminated from consideration, for the reason that if a person asks to be healed, this shows that he has some faith, and the expectation of being cured is, of itself, a form of autosuggestion. The cases just referred to come as close to the condition of pure metaphysical healing as it is possible to find.
If we turn to the application of spiritual methods for other purposes than the relief of sickness, we find definite indications of some higher power at work. Among the testimonials received and published by Silent Unity there are many from persons who tell of being helped out of financial difficulties, and who speak of receiving aid from unexpected sources, such as the payment of money long due, presents from friends or relatives, and calls to positions. Some people will say at once, “coincidence,” but this word does not adequately explain the large number of such cases about which I have read in the Unity publications. In one case of this kind, with which I am personally acquainted, a man was told to affirm the statement “Divine order is now active in my mind, my body, and in all my affairs.” He was told to study this statement and to try to realize the truth contained in it. There is no particular suggestion in this statement; it is simply a general truth. Within a few days his affairs began to improve, and within a week he received two checks in payment of accounts several years old, so old that he had forgotten all about them and was obliged to hunt up some old books to verify the amounts of the payments.
In another case of which I know, the realization that the Father has provided a place for everyone led a girl to a position in twenty-four hours, when she had been out of work for several weeks. Can these results be explained by autosuggestion? I think that they cannot. We admit that autosuggestion can bring from the subconscious mind ideas that will better one’s business or one’s personal condition, hints to do or not to do certain things, ideas that might help one’s progress, but we can hardly admit that this process is able to bring help, without the aid of a higher power, from other persons in the ways mentioned.
Suppose that, instead of our need’s being health or prosperity, we are seeking certain knowledge or information. Those of us who have studied and applied these methods know that a strong desire for information, if truly meant and if backed by faith, will unfailingly bring us what we want. The fact that our getting this information is the result of the activity of a higher power is seen here more strongly marked than in any other case. The information sought may come quickly, or after the lapse of time. It may not come directly, but we do receive it in some way. Many of us have learned to rely upon this method. A large number of persons use it, at times, without being aware of what they are doing; they only know that in some seemingly miraculous way they have obtained what they sought, and they usually look upon it as merely a coincidence. But it happens too frequently to be due to chance. Let me give some examples showing how this process works.
One evening, while writing an article, I found that I needed a work on psychoanalysis. The hour was late, so I laid away my notes and said to myself, “I must stop at the library tomorrow and look this matter up.” Then I forgot all about it. The next day passed and I did not think of the matter again until I had settled down at home and had picked up my notes. Just then my wife entered the room and handed me a volume, saying, “Mrs. E would like to have your opinion of this book.” It was a copy of the latest work on psychoanalysis! Was this merely a coincidence?
Two weeks later I wanted some information on another subject, and just the book that I needed came to me in an unexpected manner. Similar “coincidences” have happened several times since.
One day, not long ago, I was walking along the street when something seemed to lead me to the public library. As I entered I said to myself, “Well, if there is something here for me I shall soon find it.” Walking up to a case I picked out a book that, to me, seemed to be the only one there, although it was in the center of a full shelf. When I opened it I found material for which I had been vainly searching, some of which I used in an article at once.
A few months ago I used the passage in St. Paul’s sermon at Athens, “As certain even of your own poets have said.” I wondered at the time what poet or poets Paul was quoting, and I expressed, mentally, a wish to know. An hour later I went to an encyclopedia to look up another matter. I picked up a volume, opened it, and read, in the middle of a page, “Cleanthes whose Hymn to Jupiter is quoted by St. Paul in his speech at Athens.”
Several months ago, while looking up some points in the Mohammedan religion, I expressed a wish that I might meet some person who could give me their real interpretation. Two months ago, through a chain of very peculiar events, there came to my home here in California an imam, a descendant of the Prophet; his home is in Damascus. We became good friends at once, and we two, Moslem and Christian, discussed Truth for two hours at our first meeting.
No; these are not coincidences. They are proofs that we are in communication, mentally, with a higher intelligence that knows all things and gives us the knowledge that we desire if we have faith that we shall receive it. Faith is the power that keeps us in close contact with the supreme Intelligence and enables us to get these results. The process is undoubtedly an autosuggestion which tunes our minds to the infinite mind, so that we transmit the request and receive the reply, but the real fulfillment is done by the Higher Power.
To call upon this Power we need not use any set form of prayer. A sincere desire firmly expressed is all that is needed, if it be backed by faith. Neither need one be a Truth student. This power is given to everyone by the Father, and it works for all.
Last year many men were out of work for months. One afternoon I met a man who lived near me; he is not a student of Truth. He told me that he had just lost his job.
“Well, it does not seem to bother you much,” I said. “You will soon get another.”
“Will I!” he exclaimed. “I can’t understand some people who are always idle. There is always work of some kind. I have never been without a job for more than two or three days at a time in my life. I shall have work in a few days.”
This expression of his faith in his ability to find something to do was a prayer, and it was answered. The very next evening he told me that he had found a position better than the one that he had lost.
To accomplish anything healing, prosperity, or any of our other aims we must have faith, first in God, with whom we are one; second, in His power working in and for us; and third, in our ability to use this power. If we are lacking in faith in our-selves, we are lacking in faith toward God, who is the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent self of each of us. This does not mean that we should cultivate the self-confidence of the egotist, but it means that we should know that as sons of God we can call upon His power for aid, that we can freely use that which He has placed at our disposal.
The man just referred to did not have the egotistical self-sufficiency that some people call faith in themselves, but he had confidence that somewhere there was work for him. His prayer of faith was answered, and he was led to the place prepared for him, while hundreds who had no faith of any kind were walking the streets.
None of these incidents that I have given can be accounted for by autosuggestion alone. Our faith in the supreme Intelligence calls into play a higher power that comes to our aid at once and accomplishes its good work, whether within our bodies or outside of them. A realization of the never-failing presence of this power will do far more for the seeker than simple autosuggestion will do, although the latter may be a step in the process.
There is another thing that shows the difference between suggestion and spiritual realization.
If a person uses autosuggestion for some definite purpose, he may accomplish that purpose, but that is all that he will accomplish by suggestion; then too, the man who concentrates on leadership in some one line is continually suggesting power to himself, and he develops power in the direction that he de-sires, but frequently he does so at the expense of health and happiness. The one who uses autosuggestion for health may secure health, but he will secure nothing else. He must make separate suggestions for each thing he desires.
But consider the man who takes up the method of spiritual realization, the man who learns to know God as his whole good: his health, happiness, and prosperity. You will see a change in the whole life of that man. He will become calm and poised. Nothing will trouble him, and he will be happy under all conditions. He will develop a strength and a power that he never before possessed. All the circumstances of his life will change for the better. If he has been ill he will regain his health. If he has been poor he will become prosperous. He will easily surmount difficulties before which others halt. Happiness and harmony will be his lot. We need only to watch those who take up Truth wholeheartedly to see these changes take place.
This is far more than can be done by mere auto-suggestion, or by suggestion from others, and the results are quicker. So I believe that, while suggestion may account for some cases of healing, it cannot account for all of them, or for the coming of permanent peace, happiness, and prosperity. It cannot account for the help that comes, unsought, from other persons or for new opportunities that present themselves. The changing of conditions out-side ourselves must be due to the working of a higher power.
All the evidences point to the working of the one Presence and the one Power in, through, and for each of us when we call upon it and place our faith in it.