A NEW SYSTEM OF MENTAL THERAPEUTICS

The science of psycho-therapeutics is yet in its infancy. Thus far just
enough has been learned to stimulate research. It has been demonstrated
that there is a psychic power inherent in man which can be employed for
the amelioration of his own physical condition, as well as that of his
fellows. When this is said, nearly all the ground covered by present
knowledge has been embraced. It is true that many wonderful cures have
been effected, many marvellous phenomena developed. Nevertheless, all
are groping in the dark, with only an occasional glimmering of distant
light shed upon the subject; and this light serves principally to show
how little is now known, compared with what there is yet to learn.

In one view of the situation, however, it may be said that much has
already been accomplished. In the conflict of theoretical discussion,
and by means of the various and seemingly conflicting methods of
operation, certain laws have been discovered which may serve as a basis
for new experiments and new discoveries. It is the province of science
to collate those laws and to classify the facts whereever found, and
from them to try to reason up to the general principles involved. When
this is done, fearlessly and conscientiously, a decided step in advance
will have been made. Some new law may then be discovered, or at least
some new method of operation may be developed, which shall add to the
general stock of knowledge of the science, and enlarge its field of
usefulness.

It is the object of the writer to offer a few observations in this
chapter, in a direction believed to be substantially new, and briefly
to present some conclusions at which he has arrived from a careful
examination of premises which seem to have been well established by the
experiments of others. Before doing so it will be necessary first to
state the premises upon which the conclusions are based; and in doing
this, care will be taken not to travel outside of well-authenticated
experiments.

The first proposition is, that there is inherent in mankind the
power to communicate thoughts to others independently of objective
means of communication. The truth of this general proposition has
been so thoroughly demonstrated by the experiments of members of the
London Society for Psychical Research that time and space will not
be wasted in its further elucidation. For a full treatment of the
subject the reader is referred to “Phantasms of the Living,” in which
the results of the researches of that Society are ably set forth
by Messrs. Edmund Gurney, F.W. H. Myers, and Frank Podmore. It is
hardly necessary to remind the intelligent reader that the methods
of investigation employed by these able and indefatigable laborers
in the field of psychical research are purely scientific, and their
works are singularly free from manifestations of prejudice or of
unreasoning scepticism on the one hand, and of credulity on the other.
It is confidently assumed, therefore, that the power of telepathic
communication is as thoroughly established as any fact in nature.

Now, telepathy is primarily the communion of subjective minds, or
rather it is the normal means of communication between subjective
minds. The reason of the apparent rarity of its manifestation is
that it requires exceptional conditions to bring its results above
the threshold of consciousness. There is every reason to believe that
the souls, or subjective minds, of men can and do habitually hold
communion with one another when not the remotest perception of the fact
is communicated to the objective intelligence. It may be that such
communion is not general among men; but it is certain that it is held
between those who, from any cause, are _en rapport_. The facts recorded
by the Society for Psychical Research demonstrate that proposition.
Thus, near relatives are oftenest found to be in communion, as is
shown by the comparative frequency of telepathic communications
between relatives, giving warning of sickness or of death. Next in
frequency are communications between intimate friends. Communications
of this character between comparative strangers are apparently rare.
Of course the only means we have of judging of these things is by the
record of those cases in which the communications have been brought to
the objective consciousness of the percipients. From these cases it
seems fair to infer that the subjective minds of those who are deeply
interested in one another are in habitual communion, especially when
the personal interest or welfare of either agent or percipient is at
stake. Be this as it may, it is certain that telepathic communication
can be established at will by the conscious effort of one or both of
the parties, even between strangers. The experiments of the Society
above named have demonstrated this fact. It will be assumed, therefore,
for the purposes of this argument that telepathic communion can be
established between two subjective minds at the will of either. The
fact may not be perceived by the subject, for it may not rise above the
threshold of his objective consciousness. But for therapeutic purposes
it is not necessary that the patient should know, objectively, that
anything is being done for him. Indeed, it is often better that he
should not know it, for reasons set forth in a former chapter.

The second proposition is that a state of perfect passivity on the part
of the percipient is the most favorable condition for the reception
of telepathic impressions or communications. It needs no argument to
establish the truth of this proposition. It is universally known to be
true, by all who have given the slightest attention to psychological
science, that passivity on the part of the subject is the primary
condition necessary for the production of any psychic phenomenon.
Passivity simply means the suspension of the functions of the objective
mind for the time being, for the purpose of allowing the subjective
mind to receive impressions and to act upon them. The more perfectly
the objective intelligence can be held in abeyance, the more perfectly
will the subjective mind perform its functions. This is why a state
of profound hypnotism is the most favorable for the reception of
suggestions, either oral or mental. That this is more especially true
of mental suggestions is shown by all experiments in mesmerism. It may,
therefore, be safely assumed that the most favorable condition in which
a patient can be placed for the reception of telepathic suggestions
for therapeutic purposes is the condition wherein the functions of his
objective intelligence are, for the time being, entirely suspended.

The third proposition is that _there is nothing to differentiate
hypnotic sleep from natural sleep_. Startling as this proposition may
appear to the superficial observer, it is fully concurred in both by M.
Liébault and Professor Bernheim.

“There is no fundamental difference,” says the latter,[30] “between
spontaneous and induced sleep. M. Liébault has very wisely
established this fact. The spontaneous sleeper is in relationship
with himself alone; the idea which occupies his mind just before
going to sleep, the impressions which the sensitive and sensorial
nerves of the periphery continue to transmit to the brain, and the
stimuli coming from the viscera, become the point of departure for
the incoherent images and impressions which constitute dreams. Have
those who deny the psychical phenomena of hypnotism, or who only
admit them in cases of diseased nervous temperament, ever reflected
upon what occurs in normal sleep, in which the best-balanced mind
is carried by the current, in which the faculties are dissociated,
in which the most singular ideas and the most fantastic conceptions
obtrude? Poor human reason is carried away, the proudest mind
yields to hallucinations, and during this sleep–that is to say,
during a quarter of its existence–becomes the plaything of the
dreams which imagination calls forth.

“In induced sleep the subject’s mind retains the memory of the
person who has put him to sleep, whence the hypnotizer’s power
of playing upon his imagination, of suggesting dreams, and of
directing the acts which are no longer controlled by the weakened
or absent will.”

There are, in fact, many analogies between the phenomena of normal
sleep and the phenomena of hypnotism. For instance, it is well known
that the recollection of what occurred during hypnotic sleep is in
exact inverse proportion to the depth of the sleep. If the sleep
is light, the remembrance of the subject is perfect. If the sleep
is profound, he remembers nothing, no matter what the character of
the scenes he may have passed through. The same is true of dreams.
We remember only those dreams which occur during the period when we
are just going to sleep or are just awakening. Profound sleep is
dreamless, so far as the recollection of the sleeper informs him.
Nevertheless, it is certain that we dream continuously during sleep.
The subjective mind is ever awake during the sleep of the body, and
always active. Our dreams are often incoherent and absurd, for the
reason that they are generally invoked by peripheral impressions.
These impressions constitute suggestions which the subjective mind, in
obedience to the universal law, accepts as true; and it always deduces
the legitimate conclusions therefrom. For instance, it is probably
within the experience of every reader that an accidental removal of
the bed-clothing during a cold night will cause the sleeper to dream
of wading through snow, or of sleigh-riding. And the dream will be
pleasant or otherwise just in accordance with the character of the
other attendant peripheral impressions. If the dreamer is in good
health he will dream of pleasant winter scenes and experiences. If his
stomach is out of order, or overloaded, he will have a nightmare, with
a winter setting of ice and snow and all that is disagreeable, dank,
and dismal.

As we have seen in the preceding chapters, the subjective mind reasons
deductively only from premises that are suggested to it, whether the
suggestions are imparted to it by its physical environment, as in
sleep, or by oral suggestion, as in hypnotism, or telepathically, as
in the higher forms of mesmerism. Its deductions are always logical,
whether the premises are true or false. Hence the absurdity of many
of our dreams; they are merely deductions from false premises. The
suggestions or impressions imparted to us during sleep being the result
of accidental surroundings and stimuli, modified by the state of our
health, our mental work during the day, and a thousand other things
of which we can have no knowledge, and which are beyond our control,
are necessarily of a heterogeneous character; and the deductions from
such premises must of necessity be incoherent and fantastic to the last
degree.

It is obvious, therefore, that the subjective mind is amenable to
control by suggestion during natural sleep just the same as it is
during hypnotic, or induced, sleep. It might not be unprofitable in
this connection to enter into a general inquiry as to how far it would
be possible to control our dreams by auto-suggestion, and thus obviate
the discomforts incident to unpleasant nocturnal hallucinations. But
as we are now engaged in a specific inquiry into the question of how
far the subjective mind can be influenced for therapeutic purposes, the
general field of speculation must be left for others. It is sufficient
for present purposes to establish the proposition that the subjective
mind is controllable by the power of suggestion during natural sleep.

Recurring in this connection to the preceding proposition, that “a
state of perfect passivity on the part of the patient is the most
favorable condition for the reception of telepathic impressions or
communications for therapeutic purposes,” the conclusion is obvious
that the condition of natural sleep, being the most perfectly passive
condition imaginable, must of necessity be the most favorable
condition for the reception of telepathic suggestions for therapeutic
purposes. It is especially adapted for the conveyance of therapeutic
suggestions, for the reason that for such purposes it is not necessary
that the suggestions or impressions should rise above the threshold of
the patient’s consciousness. Indeed, as we have before observed, it is
better that they should not. The object being merely the restoration of
health, it is not necessary that the objective mind should feel, or be
conscious of, the impressions or suggestions made. It is precisely as
it is in hypnotism; the suggestions, whether oral or telepathic, are
made to the subjective intelligence; and, in case of profound hypnotic
sleep, the objective mind retains no recollection of the suggestions.
In either case the subjective mind is the one addressed; and that,
being the central power in control of the functions and conditions of
the body, accepts the suggestions and acts accordingly.

There are not wanting facts which show clearly that the power exists to
convey telepathic messages to sleeping persons, causing them to dream
of the things that the agent desires. As long ago as 1819, Councillor
H.M. Wesermann, of Düsseldorf, recorded, in the “Archiv für den
thierischen Magnetismus,”[31] a few experiments of his own which show
this to be true. The following items are reproduced in “Phantasms of
the Living,”[32] from the original article above mentioned:–

“_First Experiment, at a Distance of Five Miles._–I endeavored
to acquaint my friend, the Hofkammerrath G. (whom I had not seen,
with whom I had not spoken, and to whom I had not written for
thirteen years), with the fact of my intended visit, by presenting
my form to him in his sleep, through the force of my will. When I
unexpectedly went to him on the following evening, he evinced his
astonishment at having seen me in a dream on the preceding night.

“_Second Experiment, at a Distance of Three Miles._–Madame W., in
her sleep, was to hear a conversation between me and two other
persons, relating to a certain secret; and when I visited her on
the third day, she told me all that had been said, and showed her
astonishment at this remarkable dream.

“_Third Experiment, at a Distance of One Mile._–An aged person in
G—- was to see in a dream the funeral procession of my deceased
friend S.; and when I visited her on the next day, her first words
were that she had in her sleep seen a funeral procession, and on
inquiry had learned that I was the corpse. Here there was a slight
error.

“_Fourth Experiment, at a Distance of One-Eighth of a Mile._–Herr
Doctor B. desired a trial to convince him, whereupon I represented
to him a nocturnal street-brawl. He saw it in a dream, to his great
astonishment. (This means, presumably, that he was astonished when
he found that the actual subject of his dream was what Wesermann
had been endeavoring to impress on him.)”

It would thus seem to be reasonably well established that the state
of natural sleep is the best possible condition for the reception of
telepathic suggestions for therapeutic purposes.

The next inquiry in order is, therefore, as to what is the best means
of conveying telepathic suggestion to the sleeping patient. In a
previous chapter it has been shown that a successful mesmerizer must
necessarily be in a partially subjective condition himself in order
to produce the higher phenomena of mesmerism. It may, it is thought,
be safely assumed that the phenomenon of thought-transference cannot
be produced under any other conditions. Indeed, it stands to reason
that, inasmuch as it is the subjective mind of the percipient that is
impressed, the message must proceed from the subjective mind of the
agent. In other words, it is reasonable to suppose that, the subjective
or passive condition being a necessity on the part of the percipient
or subject, an analogous condition is a necessity on the part of the
agent or operator. This fact is shown, not only in mesmerism, but in
the methods of Christian scientists. The mesmerist, as we have seen,
quietly fixes his gaze upon the subject and concentrates his mind
and will upon the work in hand, and thus, unknowingly, it may be,
partially hypnotizes himself. The Christian scientist sits quietly by
the patient and concentrates his mind, in like manner, upon the central
idea of curing the patient. And, in either case, just in proportion
to the ability of the operator to get himself into the subjective
condition will he succeed in accomplishing his object, whether it is
the production of the higher phenomena of mesmerism, or the healing of
the sick by telepathic suggestion.

If, then, the passive, or subjective, condition of the agent is
necessary for the successful transmission of telepathic suggestions or
communications, or if it is the _best_ condition for such a purpose, it
follows that the more perfectly that condition is attained, the more
successful will be the experiment. As before observed, the condition
of natural sleep is manifestly the most perfectly passive condition
attainable. It is necessarily perfect, for all the objective senses are
locked in slumber, and the subjective mind is free to act in accordance
with the laws which govern it. Those laws are, it is true, at present
but little understood; but this much has been demonstrated, namely,
that the subjective mind is controllable by the mysterious power of
suggestion, and is always most active during sleep.

Theoretically, then, we find that the most perfect condition either
for the conveyance or the reception of telepathic impressions or
communications is that of natural sleep. The only question that remains
to be settled is whether it is possible for the agent or operator so to
control his own subjective mind during his bodily sleep as to compel or
induce it to convey the desired message to the sub-consciousness of the
patient. To settle this question, we must again have recourse to the
record of the labors and researches of the London Society for Psychical
Research. It might well be inferred that this power must necessarily
be possessed, when we take into consideration the general law of
suggestion, coupled with the fact that the subjective mind is perfectly
amenable to control by auto-suggestion. If the law of suggestion is
valid and universal, the conclusion is irresistible that this power
is inherent in man, even without one experimental fact to sustain it.
Fortunately, we are not left to conjecture in regard to this important
question. The literature of psychical experiment is full of facts which
are demonstrative. Some of the experiments recorded in “Phantasms of
the Living” show that a vastly greater power exists in this direction
than would be required to convey a simple therapeutic suggestion to a
sleeping patient. The following experiments are recorded in “Phantasms
of the Living.”[33] In the first case, the Rev. W. Stainton Moses was
the percipient, and he corroborates the following account, written by
the agent:–

“One evening I resolved to appear to Z at some miles’ distance.
I did not inform him beforehand of the intended experiment,
but retired to rest shortly before midnight with thoughts
intently fixed on Z, with whose room and surroundings I was
quite unacquainted. I soon fell asleep, and awoke next morning
unconscious of anything having taken place. On seeing Z, a few
days afterwards, I inquired, ‘Did anything happen at your rooms
on Saturday night?’ ‘Yes,’ replied he, ‘a great deal happened. I
had been sitting over the fire with M, smoking and chatting. About
12.30 he rose to leave, and I let him out myself. I returned to
the fire to finish my pipe, when I saw you sitting in the chair
just vacated by him. I looked intently at you, and then took up a
newspaper to assure myself I was not dreaming; but on laying it
down I saw you still there. While I gazed, without speaking, you
faded away.'”

The next case was recorded by the agent, Mr. S.H.B., at the time of the
occurrence, and his account of it is duly verified by the percipients.
It is as follows:–

On a certain Sunday evening in November, 1881, having been reading
of the great power which the human will is capable of exercising,
I determined, with the whole force of my being, that I would be
present in spirit in the front bed-room on the second floor of
a house situated at 22 Hogarth Road, Kensington, in which room
slept two ladies of my acquaintance,–namely, Miss L.S.V. and
Miss E.C.V., aged respectively twenty-five and eleven years. I was
living at this time at 23 Kildare Gardens, a distance of about
three miles from Hogarth Road; and I had not mentioned in any way
my intention of trying this experiment to either of the above
ladies, for the simple reason that it was only on retiring to rest
upon this Sunday night that I made up my mind to do so. The time
at which I determined I would be there was one o’clock in the
morning; and I also had a strong intention of making my presence
perceptible. On the following Thursday I went to see the ladies in
question, and, in the course of conversation (without any allusion
to the subject on my part), the elder one told me that on the
previous Sunday night she had been much terrified by perceiving me
standing by her bedside, and that she screamed when the apparition
advanced towards her, and awoke her little sister, who saw me also.

I asked her if she was awake at the time, and she replied most
decidedly in the affirmative; and upon my inquiring the time of the
occurrence, she replied, “About one o’clock in the morning.”

This lady, at my request, wrote down a statement of the event, and
signed it.

This was the first occasion upon which I tried an experiment of
this kind, and its complete success startled me very much. Besides
exercising my power of volition very strongly, I put forth an
effort which I cannot find words to describe. I was conscious of a
mysterious influence of some sort permeating in my body, and had
a distinct impression that I was exercising some force with which
I had been hitherto unacquainted, but which I can now at certain
times set in motion at will. S.H.B.

The next case of Mr. S.H.B.’s is different in this respect, that the
percipient was not consciously present to the agent’s mind on the night
that he made his attempt:–

On Friday, Dec. 1, 1882, at 9.30 P.M., I went into a room alone and
sat by the fireside, and endeavored so strongly to fix my mind upon
the interior of a house at Kew (namely, Clarence Road), in which
resided Miss V. and her two sisters, that I seemed to be actually
in the house.

During this experiment I must have fallen into a mesmeric sleep,
for although I was conscious, I could not move my limbs. I did not
seem to have lost the power of moving them, but I could not make
the effort to do so; and my hands, which lay loosely on my knees,
about six inches apart, felt involuntarily drawn together, and
seemed to meet, although I was conscious that they did not move.

At 10 P.M. I regained my normal state by an effort of the will,
and then took a pencil and wrote down on a sheet of note-paper the
foregoing statements.

When I went to bed on this same night I determined that I would be
in the front bed-room of the above-mentioned house at 12 P.M., and
remain there until I had made my spiritual presence perceptible to
the inmates of that room.

On the next day (Saturday) I went to Kew to spend the evening,
and met there a married sister of Miss V. (namely, Mrs. L.). This
lady I had only met once before, and then it was at a ball two
years previous to the above date. We were both in fancy dress at
the time, and as we did not exchange more than half-a-dozen words,
this lady would naturally have lost any vivid recollection of my
appearance, even if she had remarked it.

In the course of conversation (although I did not think for a
moment of asking her any questions on such a subject) she told
me that on the previous night she had seen me distinctly upon
two occasions. She had spent the night at Clarence Road, and had
slept in the front bed-room. At about 9.30 she had seen me in the
passage, going from one room to another; and at 12 P.M., when she
was wide awake, she had seen me enter the bed-room and walk round
to where she was sleeping, and take her hair (which is very long)
into my hand. She also told me that the apparition took hold of
her hand and gazed intently into it, whereupon she spoke, saying,
“You need not look at the lines, for I have never had any trouble.”
She then awoke her sister, Miss V., who was sleeping with her, and
told her about it. After hearing this account, I took the statement
which I had written down on the previous evening from my pocket and
showed it to some of the persons present, who were much astonished,
although incredulous.

I asked Mrs. L. if she was not dreaming at the time of the latter
experience; but this she stoutly denied, and stated that she
had forgotten what I was like, but seeing me so distinctly, she
recognized me at once.

Mrs. L. is a lady of highly imaginative temperament, and told me
that she had been subject since childhood to psychological fancies,
etc.; but the wonderful coincidence of the time (which was exact)
convinced me that what she told me was more than a flight of
the imagination. At my request she wrote a brief account of her
impressions, and signed it.

S.H.B.

One of the authors of “Phantasms of the Living” (Mr. Gurney) on
one occasion requested Mr. B. to send him a note on the night that
he intended to make his next experiment of the kind, whereupon the
following correspondence ensued:–

March 22, 1884.

DEAR MR. GURNEY,–I am going to try the experiment to-night of
making my presence perceptible at 44 Morland Square, at 12 P.M. I
will let you know the result in a few days.

Yours very sincerely, S.H.B.

The next letter was received in the course of the following week:–

April 3, 1884.

DEAR MR. GURNEY,–I have a strange statement to show you respecting
my experiment, which was tried at your suggestion, and under
the test conditions which you imposed. Having quite forgotten
which night it was on which I attempted the projection, I cannot
say whether the result is a brilliant success, or only a slight
one, until I see the letter which I posted you on the evening of
the experiment. Having sent you that letter, I did not deem it
necessary to make a note in my diary, and consequently have let the
exact date slip my memory. If the dates correspond, the success
is complete in every detail, and I have an account signed and
witnessed to show you.

I saw the lady (who was the subject) for the first time last night,
since the experiment, and she made a voluntary statement to me,
which I wrote down at her dictation, and to which she has attached
her signature. The date and time of the apparition are specified in
this statement, and it will be for you to decide whether they are
identical with those given in my letter to you. I have completely
forgotten, but yet I fancy that they are the same. S.H.B.

This is the statement:–

44 Morland Square, W.

On Saturday night, March 22, 1884, at about midnight, I had a
distinct impression that Mr. S.H.B. was present in my room,
and I distinctly saw him whilst I was quite wide awake. He came
towards me and stroked my hair. I _voluntarily_ gave him this
information when he called to see me on Wednesday, April 2, telling
him the time and the circumstances of the apparition, without any
suggestion on his part. The appearance in my room was most vivid,
and quite unmistakable.

L.S. Verity.

Miss A.S. Verity corroborates as follows:–

I remember my sister telling me that she had seen S.H.B., and that
he had touched her hair, _before_ he came to see us on April 2.
A.S.V.

Mr. B.’s own account is as follows:–

On Saturday, March 22, I determined to make my presence perceptible
to Miss V. at 44 Morland Square, Notting Hill, at twelve, midnight;
and as I had previously arranged with Mr. Gurney that I should post
him a letter on the evening on which I tried my next experiment
(stating the time and other particulars), I sent a note to acquaint
him with the above facts.

About ten days afterwards I called upon Miss V., and she
voluntarily told me that on March 22, at twelve o’clock, midnight,
she had seen me so vividly in her room (whilst widely awake) that
her nerves had been much shaken, and she had been obliged to send
for a doctor in the morning.

S.H.B.

Mr. Gurney adds:–

“It will be observed that in all these instances the conditions
were the same,–_the agent concentrating his thoughts on the object
in view before going to sleep_. Mr. B. has never succeeded in
producing a similar effect when he has been awake.”

The foregoing instances have been quoted merely for the purpose
of showing that the power exists in mankind to cause telepathic
impressions to be conveyed from one to another, not only when the
percipient is awake and the agent is asleep, but when both are asleep.
It is true that they do not demonstrate the proposition that the power
can be employed for therapeutic purposes when both are asleep; but the
inference is irresistible that such is the case. They do, however,
demonstrate the existence of a power far greater than one would
naturally suppose would be required to convey a therapeutic suggestion.
In the cases cited, the impressions were brought above the threshold
of the consciousness of the percipients. It may well be inferred that
a power sufficiently great to cause the percipient, in his waking
moments, to see the image or apparition of the agent, or even to dream
of him when asleep so vividly as to remember the dream, must be easily
capable of imparting any thought, impression, or suggestion which is
not required to be raised above the threshold of consciousness.

All that would seem to be required is that the agent, before going
to sleep, should strongly will, desire, and direct his subjective
entity to convey the necessary therapeutic suggestions, influence, or
impressions to the sleeping patient.

It is thought that the following propositions have now been, at least
provisionally, established:–

1. There is, inherent in man, a power which enables him to communicate
his thoughts to others, independently of objective means of
communication.

2. A state of perfect passivity on the part of the percipient is the
most favorable condition for the reception of telepathic impressions or
communications.

3. There is nothing to differentiate natural sleep from induced sleep.

4. The subjective mind is amenable to control by suggestion during
natural sleep just the same as it is during induced sleep.

5. The condition of natural sleep, being the most perfect passive
condition attainable, is the best condition for the reception of
telepathic impressions by the subjective mind.

6. The most perfect condition for the conveyance of telepathic
impressions is that of natural sleep.

7. The subjective mind of the agent can be compelled to communicate
telepathic impressions to a sleeping percipient by strongly willing it
to do so just previous to going to sleep.

The chain of reasoning embraced in the foregoing propositions seems to
be perfect; and it is thought that sufficient facts have been adduced
to sustain each proposition which is not self-evident, or confirmed
by the common experience of mankind. The conclusion is irresistible
that _the best possible condition for the conveyance of therapeutic
suggestions from the healer to the patient is attained when both are
in a state of natural sleep; and that such suggestions can be so
communicated by an effort of will on the part of the healer just before
going to sleep._




It is not proposed herein to detail the many experiments which have
been made with a view of testing the correctness of this theory,
my present object being to advance the hypothesis tentatively,
in order to induce others to experiment as I have done. It must
suffice for the present to state that over one hundred experiments
have been made by the writer and one or two others to whom he has
confided his theory, without a single failure. Some very striking
cures have been effected,–cures that would take rank with the most
marvellous instances of healing recorded in the annals of modern
psycho-therapeutics. It is obvious that details of names and dates
could not properly be given, for the reason that the cures have been
effected without any knowledge on the part of the patients that they
were being made the subjects of experiment. I do not feel at liberty,
therefore, to drag their names before the public without their consent.
Besides, if they were now made acquainted with the facts, their
recollection of the circumstances of their recovery would in many
instances be indistinct; and, as a matter of course, all of them have
attributed their sudden recovery to other causes.

I have taken care, however, in many instances to acquaint third
persons with intended experiments, and to request them to watch the
results; so that I have the means at hand to verify my statements if
necessary.

The first case was that of a relative who had for many years been
afflicted with nervous trouble, accompanied by rheumatism of the most
terrible character. He was subject to the most excruciating spasms
during his nervous attacks of rheumatic trouble, and was frequently
brought to the verge of the grave. He had been under the care of many
of the ablest physicians of this country and of Europe, finding only
occasional temporary relief. An idea of the suffering which he endured
may be imagined from the fact that one of his hips had been drawn out
of joint, by which the leg had been shortened about two inches. This,
however, had been partially restored by physical appliances before the
psychic treatment began. In short, he was a hopeless invalid, with
nothing to look to for relief from his sufferings but death.

The treatment began on the 15th of May, 1890. Two persons were informed
of the proposed experiment, and were requested to note the time when
the treatment began. They were pledged to profound secrecy, and to
this day the patient is not aware that he was made the subject of an
experiment in psycho-therapeutics. After the lapse of a few months, one
of the persons intrusted with the secret met the invalid, and learned,
to her surprise and delight, that he was comparatively well. When asked
when he began to improve, his reply was, “About the middle of May.”
Since then he has been able at all times to attend to the duties of his
profession,–that of journalist and magazine-writer,–and has had no
recurrence of his old trouble.

Of course, this may have been a coincidence; and had it stood as a
solitary instance, that would have been the most rational way of
accounting for it. But a hundred such coincidences do not happen in
succession without a single break; and more than a hundred experiments
have been made by this process by myself and two other persons, and
not a single failure has thus far been experienced, where the proper
conditions have been observed. In two cases the patients have not
been perceptibly benefited; but in both of those they were notified
of the intended experiments, and were profoundly sceptical. But these
failures cannot be charged to the account of this method of treatment,
for the simple reason that the fundamental principle of the system was
deliberately violated. That is to say, the best conditions were not
observed,–in that the patient was informed beforehand of what was
intended. In such cases the healer is handicapped by probable adverse
auto-suggestion, as has been fully explained in former chapters. The
principle cannot be too strongly enforced that neither the patient
nor any of his immediate family should ever be informed beforehand
of the intended experiment. Failure does not necessarily follow the
imparting of such information; but when the patient or his immediate
friends are aware of the effort being made in his behalf, there is
always danger of adverse auto-suggestion on the part of the patient,
or of adverse suggestion being made orally or telepathically by his
sceptical friends. The conditions are then no better and no worse
than the conditions ordinarily encountered by those who employ other
methods of mental healing. I have successfully treated patients after
informing them of my intentions; but it was because I first succeeded
in impressing them favorably, and their mental environment was not
antagonistic.

One fact of peculiar significance connected with the case of rheumatism
above mentioned must not be omitted; and this is that the patient was
a thousand miles distant when the cure was performed. Others have been
successfully treated at distances varying from one to three hundred
miles. The truth is, as has been before remarked, space does not seem
to exist for the subjective mind. Experimental telepathy demonstrates
this fact. Cases of thought-transference are recorded where the
percipient was at the antipodes. The only thing that operates to
prevent successful telepathy between persons at great distances from
each other is our habit of thinking. We are accustomed to regard space
as an obstacle which necessarily prevents successful communication
between persons. It is difficult to realize that space is merely a
mode of objective thought, so to speak, and that it does not exist as
an obstacle in the way of subjective transmission of impressions. We
are, therefore, handicapped by a want of faith in our ability in that
direction. In other words, our faith is in inverse proportion to the
distance involved. When we can once realize the fact that distance does
not exist for the soul, we shall find that a patient can be treated
as successfully by telepathic suggestion in one part of the world as
another. The only exception to the rule will be when the patient is at
the antipodes; for then the healer and the patient will not ordinarily
both be asleep at the same time. But space, or distance between the
agent and the percipient, does not enter _per se_ as an adverse element
to modify the effects of telepathic suggestion.

The diseases thus far successfully treated by this process have been
rheumatism, neuralgia, dyspepsia, bowel complaint, sick headache,
torpidity of the liver, chronic bronchitis, partial paralysis, pen
paralysis, and strabismus. The last-named case was not treated by
myself, and I very seriously doubt whether I could have commanded
sufficient confidence to be successful. But a lady, whom I had
instructed in the process, asked me if I thought there was any use
in her trying to cure a bad case of strabismus, her little niece,
about ten years of age, having been thus afflicted from her birth. I
unhesitatingly assured her that there was no doubt of her ability to
effect a cure. Full of confidence, she commenced the treatment, and
kept it up for about three months, at the end of which time the cure
was complete. In this case the best conditions were rigidly adhered to,
no one but myself having been informed of the intended experiment. A
volume could be filled with the details of the experiments which have
been made; but as it is foreign to the purpose of this book to treat
exhaustively any one phase of psychological phenomena, but rather to
develop a working hypothesis applicable to all branches of the subject,
the foregoing must suffice.

Little need be said regarding the mode of operation, as it is apparent
from what has been said that the method is as simple as it is
effective. All that is required on the part of the operator is that
he shall be possessed of an earnest desire to cure the patient; that
he shall concentrate his mind, just before going to sleep, upon the
work in hand, and direct his subjective mind to occupy itself during
the night in conveying therapeutic suggestions to the patient. To that
end the operator must accustom himself to the assumption that his
subjective mind is a distinct entity; that it must be treated as such,
and guided and directed in the work to be done. The work is possibly
more effective if the operator knows the character of the disease
with which the patient is afflicted, as he would then be able to give
his directions more specifically. But much may be left to instinct,
of which the subjective mind is the source. It seems reasonable to
suppose, however, that if that instinct is educated by objective
training it will be all the better. This is, however, a question which
must be left for future experimental solution, not enough being now
positively known to warrant a statement as to how far the healing
power of the subjective mind is, or may be, modified by the objective
knowledge or training of the healer.

Be this as it may, the fact remains that all men possess the power
to alleviate human suffering, to a greater or less degree, by the
method developed in the foregoing pages. For obvious reasons it is
not a method by which money can be made. But it is pre-eminently
a means of laying up treasures where neither moth nor rust can
corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal. Each one has it in
his power to alleviate the sufferings of his neighbor, his friend,
or the stranger within his gates; but his compensation must consist
in the consciousness of doing good, and in the hope of that reward
promised by the Master to those who do their alms in secret. There
is, nevertheless, a practical and immediate reward accompanying
every effort to heal the sick by the method herein indicated. In
consists in this,–that every earnest effort to convey therapeutic
impressions to a patient during sleep is inevitably followed by a
dreamless sleep on the part of the healer. It would seem that the
subjective mind, following the command or suggestions of the healer,
occupies itself with the work it is directed to do, to the exclusion
of all else; and hence the physical environment of the sleeper fails
to produce peripheral impressions strong enough to cause the dreams
which ordinarily result from such impressions. Following the universal
law, it obeys the suggestions of the objective mind, and persists in
following the line indicated until it is recalled by the awakening of
the bodily senses.

Moreover, therapeutic suggestions imparted during sleep inevitably
react favorably upon the healer; and thus his own health is promoted
by the act which conduces to the health of the patient. And thus it is
that therapeutic suggestion may be likened to the “quality of mercy”
which “is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon
the place beneath; it is twice blessed: it blesseth him that gives, and
him that takes.”

It is easy to foresee that when the world once understands and
appreciates the wonderful therapeutic powers inherent in the human
soul, a great change will be the result. When it is once understood
that the power exists in every human organism to alleviate physical
suffering by a method at once so simple, so effective, and so mutually
beneficial, it cannot be doubted that a large proportion of the ills to
which flesh is heir will exist only in history.

The most important branch of psycho-therapeutics is, however, yet
to be discussed. It has been shown in this and former chapters that
auto-suggestion plays its subtle _rôle_ in every psychological
experiment. It has been shown that the subjective mind of an individual
is constantly controlled by the suggestion of his own objective mind.
This is the normal relation of the two minds; and when that control
ceases, the person is insane just in proportion to the degree in
which the objective mind has abdicated its functions. This control
is ordinarily exercised unconsciously to the individual. That is to
say, we do not ordinarily recognize the operations of the two minds,
for the simple reason that we do not stop to philosophize upon the
subject of their mutual relations. But when we once recognize the
fact, we have not only arrived at the principle which lies at the
foundation of all true psychological science, but we are prepared
to accept the subsidiary proposition which underlies the science of
mental self-healing. That proposition is, that man can control by
suggestion the operations of his own subjective mind, even though the
suggestion be in direct contravention to his own objective belief.
This is unqualifiedly true, even though the suggestion may be contrary
to reason, experience, or the evidence of the senses. A moment’s
reflection will convince any one of the truth of this proposition.
It is auto-suggestion that fills our asylums with monomaniacs. That
long-continued and persistent dwelling upon a single idea often results
in chronic hallucination, is a fact within the knowledge of every
student of mental science. That it often happens that a monomaniac
identifies himself with some great personage, even with the Deity, is
a fact within common knowledge. What gives rise to such hallucinations
is not so well known; but every student of the pathology of insanity
will verify the statement that auto-suggestion is the primary factor
in every case. The patient, who is usually a monumental egotist to
start with, begins by imagining himself to be a great man; and by
long-continued dwelling upon the one thought he ends by identifying
himself with some great historical character whom he specially admires.
If he is afflicted with some nervous disorder which causes him to pass
easily and habitually into the subjective condition, the process of
fastening the hallucination upon his mind is easy and rapid, and he
is soon a fit subject for a lunatic asylum. But, whatever physical
condition may be a necessary factor in producing such hallucinations,
the fact remains that auto-suggestion is the primary cause.

The subject is introduced here merely to illustrate the power and
potency of auto-suggestion, even when the suggestion is against
the evidence of reason and sense. It must not be forgotten that
an auto-suggestion which produces a hallucination such as has been
described, operates on the lines of strongest resistance in nature. If,
therefore, such results can be produced when opposed by the strongest
instincts of our nature, how much easier must it be to produce equally
wonderful results when operating in harmony with those instincts, and,
hence, on the lines of least resistance.

It is self-evident, therefore, that auto-suggestion can be employed
to great advantage for therapeutic purposes. Indeed, the power of
self-help is the most important part of mental therapeutics. Without
it the science is of comparatively little value or benefit to mankind.
With it goes the power to resist disease,–to prevent sickness, as
well as to cure it. The old axiom, that “an ounce of prevention is
worth a pound of cure,” holds good in psycho-therapeutics as well as
in material remedies, and he who obtains the power to hold himself
in the mental attitude which enables him to resist the encroachments
of disease has mastered the great secret of mental medicine. That it
can be done by any one of ordinary intelligence, is a fact which has
been demonstrated beyond question. The best workers in the field of
Christian science give more attention to teaching their pupils and
patients how to help themselves than they do to instructing them how to
help others. And this is the secret of the permanence of their cures,
as has been fully explained in other chapters of this book. The process
by which it can be done is as simple as are the laws which govern the
subject-matter.

The patient should bear in mind the fundamental principles which lie at
the foundation of mental therapeutics,–

1. The subjective mind exercises complete control over the functions
and sensations of the body.

2. The subjective mind is constantly amenable to control by the
suggestions of the objective mind.

3. These two propositions being true, the conclusion is obvious,
that the functions and sensations of the body can be controlled by
suggestions of the objective mind.

The whole science of psycho-therapeutics is embraced in the foregoing
propositions. They contain all that a patient, who undertakes to heal
himself or to ward off the encroachments of disease, needs to know.
The process of making a particular application of these principles is
equally simple, and must be obvious to the intelligent reader. At the
risk of repetition, a few general directions will be given.

We will take, for illustration, a simple case of nervous headache,
and suppose that the patient resolves to cure himself. He must, first
of all, remember that the subjective mind is to be treated precisely
as though it were a separate and distinct entity. The suggestion must
first be made that the headache is about to cease; then, that it is
already ceasing; and, finally, that it has ceased. These suggestions
should be made in the form of spoken words, and they should be
steadily persisted in until the desired effect is produced. A constant
reiteration of the declaration that the head is better will inevitably
produce the desired result; and, when the effect is distinctly felt,
the declaration should be boldly made that the pain has entirely
ceased. If any remnants of the pain are felt, the fact should be
ignored, and the suggestion persisted in that it has ceased. This
should be followed by the declaration that there will be no return of
the symptoms; and this should be made with an air, tone, and feeling of
perfect confidence.

The only practical difficulty and obstacle in the way of success with
a beginner lies in the fact that at first he lacks confidence. The
education of his whole life has been such as to cause him to look with
distrust upon any but material remedies, and there is a disinclination
to persist in his efforts. But he should remember that it is the
suggestions conveyed by this very education that he is now called upon
to combat, neutralize, and overcome by a stronger and more emphatic
counter-suggestion. If he has the strength of will to persist until he
is cured, he will find that the next time he tries it there will be
much less resistance to overcome. Having once triumphed, the reasoning
of his objective mind no longer interposes itself as an obstruction,
but concurs in the truth of his suggestions. He then possesses both
objective and subjective faith in his powers, and he finds himself
operating on a line of no resistance whatever. When he has attained
this point, the rest is easy; and he will eventually be able to effect
an instantaneous cure of his headache, or any other pain, the moment he
finds himself threatened with one. These remarks apply, of course, to
every disease amenable to control by mental processes.

It will be observed that in the process of applying the principles of
auto-suggestion to the cure of disease the patient is not called upon
to tax his own credulity by any assertion that is not a demonstrable
scientific truth. He is not called upon to deny the existence of
matter, nor does he find it necessary to deny the reality of the
disease which affects him. In short, he is not called upon to deny
the evidence of his senses, to assert a manifest impossibility, nor
to maintain an exasperating absurdity as a condition precedent to his
recovery. The fact that cures can be made and are constantly being made
by those who instruct their patients that a denial of the existence
of matter and of the reality of disease is a necessary condition to
their recovery, is the strongest possible evidence of the truth of
the proposition that the subjective mind is constantly amenable to
control by the power of suggestion. For it is a fundamental truth in
psycho-therapeutics that no cure ever was, or ever can be, effected by
mental processes until the subjective mind of the patient is impressed
with a belief in the efficacy of the means employed. It is obvious,
however, that it is more difficult to impress a manifest absurdity upon
the subjective mind of a man of common-sense than it is to impress him
with a belief in a demonstrable scientific truth. Hence it is that,
by methods now in vogue, both healer and patient are handicapped just
in proportion to the tax laid upon their credulity. The point is,
that in impressing a patient with a new scientific truth we should
seek to make it as simple as possible, and avoid anything which will
shock his common-sense. Christ enjoined upon his followers the simple
scientific fact that faith on their part was a condition precedent to
their reception of the benefits of his healing power; and he compelled
them to believe, by publicly demonstrating that power. He would have
had little success among the people with whom he had to deal if he had
begun his treatment by telling them that they had no disease; that
leprosy is a figment of the imagination, and has no existence except in
the mind; or that blindness is merely blindness of the mind, and not of
the body; and that the body itself has no existence except as a form of
belief. He even resorted to material remedies, as in the case of the
blind man, when “He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle,
and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto
him, Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam. He went his way therefore, and
washed, and came seeing.”[34]

The Christian scientist would doubtless say that the clay and the
subsequent washing in the Pool of Siloam did no good, except as they
acted through the mind. This may be true; but in either case it teaches
a valuable lesson, which it would be well for all classes of mental
healers to remember. If the clay had a curative effect, it shows that
the Master did not disdain to employ material remedies as an auxiliary
to his healing power. If, on the other hand, it possessed no curative
power, it shows that the Great Healer did not hesitate to employ any
legitimate means at hand to confirm and increase the faith of the
patient.

But this is a digression which pertains rather to the general
subject of mental healing than to that of self-healing, which we are
discussing. It is believed that the few simple rules herein laid down
will enable any one of ordinary intelligence to become proficient, by
a little practice, in the science of self-healing. It is not a mere
theory, without practice, which has been here developed. It has been
demonstrated over and over again to be eminently practical, not only
as a means of healing disease, but as a means of warding off its
encroachments. Indeed, its chief value will eventually be found to
consist in the almost unlimited power which it gives one to protect
himself from contracting disease. To do that it is only necessary to
hold one’s self in the mental attitude of denying the power of disease
to obtain the mastery over him. When the patient recognizes the first
symptoms of approaching illness, he should at once commence a vigorous
course of therapeutic auto-suggestion. He will find prevention much
easier than cure; and by persistently following such a course he
will soon discover that he possesses a perfect mastery over his own
health. In this connection it must not be forgotten that the method
of healing during sleep is as applicable to self-healing as it is to
healing others. Indeed, perfect rest and recuperative slumber can be
obtained under almost any circumstances at the word of command. Dreams
can be controlled in this way. If one is troubled by distressing or
harassing dreams, from whatever cause, he can change their current, or
prevent them altogether, by energetically commanding his subjective
mind to do so. It is especially efficacious for this purpose to direct
his subjective mind to employ itself in healing some sick friend. If
one habitually does this at the time of going to sleep, he will not
only be certain to obtain recuperative sleep for himself, but he will
procure that contentment and peace of mind which always result from a
consciousness of doing good to his fellow-creatures. The exercise of
the power to heal in this way is never a tax upon the vital energies of
the healer, but always redounds to his own benefit as well as to that
of the patient. The reason of this is obvious. The normal condition of
the subjective mind during the sleep of the body and the quiescence of
the objective faculties is that of constant activity. This activity,
under ordinary conditions, entails no loss of vital power on the part
of the sleeper. On the contrary, that is the period of his rest and the
means of his recuperation. If the activities of his subjective mind are
directed into pleasant channels, his bodily rest is perfect, and his
recuperation complete.

It is for this reason that the method of healing during sleep is
better for all concerned than any other system of mental healing yet
discovered. It follows the lines of nature, in that it employs the
subjective powers at a time when they are normally active; and it
employs them in such a way that the ordinary peripheral impressions,
which often disturb the sleeper and produce unpleasant dreams, are
overcome by a more potent suggestion. Any other method of mental
healing, where the subjective powers of the healer are called into
action, entails a certain loss of vital power on his part, for the
simple reason that subjective activity during waking moments is
abnormal. It is true that when the work is not carried to excess the
physical exhaustion may not be perceptible; but any Christian scientist
will testify that any great amount of effort in the line of his work
produces great physical exhaustion. And it is noticeable that this
exhaustion ensues in exact proportion to the success of his treatment.
This success being in proportion to the subjective power exerted, it
is reasonable to infer that subjective activity during waking hours
and physical exhaustion bear to each other the relation of cause and
effect.