This section is from the book "Mental Therapeutics Or Just How To Heal Oneself And Others", by Theron Q. Dumont. Also available from Amazon: Mental Therapeutics or Just How to Heal Oneself and Others.
In these lessons I shall give you the essence and substance of the best scientific knowledge regarding the prevention and cure of physical ills by the power of the mind.
But in presenting the theory and practice of Mental Therapeutics to you I shall carefully avoid all reference to mysticism or occultism, or strange metaphysical and philosophical theories. Mental Therapeutics is a science, not a superstition; it is something based on sound scientific facts, and not upon vague imaginings.
Nature surely contains enough wonders for us, without the need of our exploring any so-called supernatural realms in our search for the relief of the ills and pains of mankind. The Power that has called us into being has placed at our disposal many wonderful means of self-help, and self-cure. There is no need for us to become "spooky" or uncanny when we begin the study of Mental Therapeutics, nor when we carry the theory into the realm of actual practice. There are greater wonders and mysteries wrapped up in the domain of Nature than have ever been dreamed of by man in his search for the supernatural.
Neither is there any need of dragging the religious element into Mental Therapeutics, for it has no direct connection with the scientific side of the subject. There is no one who has a greater, deeper, or more profound respect, veneration, and reverence than have I for the Power which is back of all Nature, and which is yet manifest in every one of her activities. Moreover, I firmly believe that a firm faith in that Power has an uplifting effect upon the minds and souls of persons, and therefore tends to keep them in health, and to restore health when it has been lost. But, I believe that theology and Mental Therapeutics are two distinct, fields of human thought and activity. I do not believe in making a religion of Mental Therapeutics, and of mixing theological doctrines with the scientific methods of applying the latter.
In fact, while many persons have received benefit from Mental Therapeutics administered under the guise and form of religious teaching, I also believe that many more persons have been repelled and kept away from the wonderful benefits of this form of treatment by reason of the strange and queer theological teachings of some of the healers. There is no reason in the world why any person should forsake his or her chosen religion-the faith that has been of such great comfort and consolation to him or her during many years of life-in order to obtain the benefits of the" new" healing methods. Rather do I believe that the best therapeutic methods of this new system may be applied with the best results when the patient is supported by the comforting assurance of his or her own chosen faith.
Under the guise of mental healing maiiy persons have been induced to forsake the faith of their fathers, and the faith of their youth; too often with the result that they have become like ships without a rudder, drifting and floating backward and forward with every passing current. These people have let go of the old, without getting a firm hold on the new. At the last, all religion may be summed up in three general principles, viz.: (1) Belief in the existence of a Supreme Being or Power, from whom all life proceeds; (2) faith in, and dependence upon, the goodness of that Being or Power in all the affairs and circumstances of daily life; and (3) living the Right Life, in accord with the highest teachings of the best faiths, and in accordance with the dictates of one's own conscience. Having these principles, and living up to them as closely as one can, one is truly religious, no matter what his faith or profession.
So, my students, in these lessons you will not be torn away from the safe anchorage of your religious faith, nor asked to accept some strange and new theology as a precedent to your learning the art and science of healing yourself and others. While, as I have said, all thinking men recognize the presence and being of a Supreme Power, and seek assistance and aid from, and depend upon it accordingly; still we shall find that this Supreme Power has placed within our grasp the means and methods whereby we may study and practice this science, as we would any other science. Mental Therapeutics is neither a religion, nor a theology; it is a scientific system of healing by natural means and methods.
Moreover, although Mind is the great force and power with which cures are made under the system of Mental Therapeutics, we shall not be asked to accept any particular metaphysical theory of "What is Mind?" We do not insist upon teachers of physical science telling us exactly what Matter is! The truth is that they do not know; neither does any one else know. And, likewise, no one knows just what Mind is; nor are they likely to know. Mind, Matter, and Energy-these are the three great manifestations of the Supreme Power; and it has pleased that Supreme Power to render them perhaps forever unknown to us in their final nature. The sanest attitude to take toward these mysteries is that of Herbert Spencer, i. e., that Mind, Matter, and Energy are the threefold aspects of the manifestation of that "Infinite and Eternal Power" from which all things proceed; and which, like the Power that has called them into being, is Unknowable at the last.
But, while we do not know "just what Mind is," we most assuredly do know just how it works. Like electricity, the nature of which we do not know either, we have harnessed Mind to do work for us. We have in Mind a wonderful and most potent force or natural energy, and we have learned how to guide, direct, and apply its energies and power in the direction of the healing of physical ills. We have discovered that Mind works as regularly, and as surely, as does electricity. And we know that we may set it to work in special direction, surely and invariably, when we provide the channels for its expression.
As we proceed with these lessons, we shall discover also that not only does Mind prevent and cure diseases, but that it also causes diseases. Fear has slain more human beings than the most malignant fever. Its victims are numbered by the millions. And not only does it kill, but it cripples and incapacitates millions, and renders them miserable and unable to live normal lives and to perform efficient work for themselves and those dependent upon them. Like all other great forces, Mind acts negatively as well as positively-it harms as well as benefits. Wisdom consists in learning its laws and principles of operation; and thereby learning to prevent its undesirable working, and to encourage, cultivate and direct its beneficent activities.
In these lessons I shall try to bring order out of chaos in mental healing. There has been so much ill-digested teaching on the subject, and so much fanciful and often absurd theorizing, that the intelligent student is often perplexed when he begins the study thereof.
A writer upon this subject, in a recent magazine article, has well said: "Past teaching respecting the influence of the mind upon the body has been clouded and distorted by the errors of superstition, the inaccuracies of ignorance, and the exaggeration of fanatical extremists whose prejudiced observations and reports were more or less colored by commercial motives or sectarian enthusiasm. And so it was no little wonder that teaching mental healing grew into a mass of religious contradictions, unreliable observations, and groundless assertions. It has required much painstaking labor on the part of modern physiologists and psychologists to clear away this accumulation of rubbish and ignorance, and to lay a scientific foundation for a rational system of mental hygiene based upon the known laws of mind and matter."
The student will notice that in these lessons I have not confined myself solely to the psychology of Mental Therapeutics. I have accepted the facts of modern physiology as correct; and have directed the use of the power of the mind along the lines of these physiological facts. One of the great mistakes of unscientific practitioners of mental healing has been the fact that they have refused to accept physiology as existent; but have used the mind in a general hit-or-miss fashion. The scientific practitioner, on the contrary, acquaints himself with the physiology of the normal person, and then bends the mental energies toward restoring this normal state and condition of functioning. By knowing just how the organs of the body function in health, the practitioner is better able to picture in the mind of the patient (and in his own mind) exactly what conditions are desired to be created. As the mental picture is the pattern around which Mind creates, it will be seen that the importance of creating the right kind of mental pattern cannot be overestimated. There is a great truth of Mental Therapeutics stated here; and the student will do well to make note of it.
But, while we shall be led into the study of elementary physiology in connection with the psychology of cure, we shall not be bothered with technical scientific terms. Wherever possible these technical terms shall be discarded. When it is impossible to proceed without them we shall explain them in simple terms, so that any person of average intelligence will be able to understand them. True knowledge does not consist of a parrot-like memorizing or repetition of long words, or foreign terms; rather does it consist of an understanding of the real meaning of the things described; particularly as regards the question of "how they work."
I ask my students, here at the very beginning, to lay aside all preconceived ideas and acquired prejudices. Not that they must accept my theories and methods in preference to their own, regardless of the comparative value thereof; but rather that they should cultivate an open mind to what I have to say, until they are able to grasp the why and wherefore oŁ it. In some cases they may think that I mean something quite different from my real meaning; this by reason of their unfamiliarity with my terms. We all have our own terms, and we are suspicious of new ones. Therefore, we should always be sure that we really understand the real meaning of the terms used by others.
Finally, we must once and for all get rid of the idea that Truth is the exclusive possession of any one school of thought or practice. There is a little good in almost all schools and methods; and the most good is always obtained by analyzing the different theories and methods, and then taking the essence of all that is best, discarding the waste material. This is the true scientific method-the "eclectic" method, combining the best of the many forms and phases examined; selecting the best in each, and combining this in one general system and method. Any other plan results in narrowness and bigotry, both of which is quite unscientific, and quite contrary to common sense.
Having now understood the methods and general plan of these lessons, let us now proceed to investigate, examine, and understand the working principles and the basic theories of this great system of the healing art-Mental Therapeutics.