The mind undoubtedly is a master force. It is not limitless in it power, but it may be truly said that the mind may make or break one.
We hear of many miraculous achievements in the building of health and the cure of disease through mental influence. By many people it is claimed that the mind can benefit only imaginary diseases. It is true that there are imaginary disorders and yet when one is sufficiently abnormal that he can produce various symptoms through the imagination there is something decidedly wrong – the person is diseased to that extent. Diseases that are imaginary and diseases that are brought on largely through fear, anxiety, worry and other depressing mental processes, usually will respond readily and quite rapidly if the mental processes can be reversed, the fear and thought of disease removed from the mind, and the wholesome, happy outlook upon life cultivated.
But there are many diseases not concerned directly with the mind and not due directly or indirectly to adverse mental influences, which respond largely or at least more rapidly to a healthful program when the mind is directed in such channels as to encourage the functions of the body and the life processes.
Health, strength and vitality certainly favor a cheerful, positive, courageous outlook upon life. Happiness and health are close friends. It is difficult to be gloomy and miserable when one is healthy. It is perhaps even more difficult to be healthy if one is gloomy and mentally depressed.
Therefore, it is a very wise precaution to cultivate a hopeful frame in mind. One should endeavor to radiate good cheer at all times. What if the day is gloomy, the sun obscured by clouds? Cultivate the sunshine in your own spirit. Those who need a sunshiny day and cheerful companions to be cheerful themselves need to cultivate the ability to be cheerful alone and when the sun fails to shine.
One important fact to remember is that it is very difficult to be gloomy and depressed when doing something for someone else. If one, no matter how depressed, endeavors to cheer up others, just the mere effort to remove a burden of depression from someone else will remove the depression from the Samaritan. Therefore the best way to help yourself is to help others.
Christian Science is a remarkable exemplification of the value of mental influence. Remarkable results have been attributed to the principles it advocates. This is admitted, by even the most prejudiced critics of this cult. These cures alone indicate clearly that the mind is the dominating force that works for good – or for evil. They prove that one’s thoughts are building up or tearing down the vital forces; that to a certain extent “thoughts are things,” that good thoughts are really tangible influence for developing mental or physical force, and that bad thoughts have an opposite influence. It is well for every one of us to determine whether the thoughts that fill our mind each day are constructive or destructive in nature.
Bear in mind that thoughts can actually destroy. I recall one woman who quite frequently flew into an extreme rage, and after each time she would be sick in bed for from three to five days with extreme biliousness, not to mention severe headache, cardiac palpitation and numerous “minor” symptoms. In one of these outbreaks, the end came suddenly. Her convulsions destroyed her as a bullet fired from a rifle would have destroyed her, even if somewhat more slowly. Many people do not have such extreme effects of emotional outbreak. It might be better if they did suffer more, since in many instances they would become of better disposition if only from the selfish motive of self-protection.
There are a great many people who have the worry habit. Everyone knows that worry cannot benefit anyone. It produces misery and has brought thousands to an untimely grave. Many of our problems require concentrated attention and consideration for their solution, but worrying provides no solution. If a problem can be solved, the necessary constructive thinking should be devoted to the solution. If it cannot be solved, worry for twenty-four hours a day will never bring the answer.
Two thoughts cannot occupy the mind at the same time. This is self-evident. If thoughts of a destructive, depressing nature such as worry, anxiety, the “blues” and other undesirable mental processes are underway; unless one is a definite melancholiac the thoughts can be made to give way to thoughts of a more uplifting character. And so long as these latter occupy the stage there can be no return of the depressing emotions.
Too many people live in the past, particularly the undesirable past. It is necessary in many instances to cultivate the forgetting habit and to cultivate health and good cheer, optimism and plans for the future. Worry should be banished as a mental poison – and it can be banished completely. It may be, and usually is, necessary to build a high degree of health. As the health improves ever so slightly there should be encouragement to continue on the beneficial program and at the same time it will be easier to banish, if only temporarily, undesirable thoughts. If continued, healthful living will banish the worry habit while it is building up superb health.
Self-pity is another evil, closely allied to worry. There are a great many people whose entire mental processes are motivated by self-pity, because of sorrows and troubles through which they have passed. They make themselves and their friends miserable by their re-living in detail their past calamities. There is no need whatever to harbor past experiences that are depressing. One good way to lose friends or to fail to make friends is by asking them to share your miseries. If one cannot escape from the evil of self-pity, at least one can keep his brooding to himself. However, it is much wiser and manlier or more womanly to avoid such thoughts – and the memory of these experiences will gradually fade away. The past is gone. Live only in the present and for the future.
Hate, avarice, envy, a hypercritical spirit – these all are poisonous in their effect upon the body and should be avoided as one would avoid any other poison. There is enough things for personal possession that one does not need to harbor hate, avarice, greed, envy and such. One may not have as much of the world’s goods, as attractive features or as pleasing a physical body as another, but one can secure as much comfort in life with what he has as can those more fortunate. Many people who have been happy and contented with little of the world’s goods have lost their contentment when fortune smiled upon them. There is much more to be gotten out of life than wealth. Money can buy only so much food and clothing and shelter. If one has enough of these, he does not need to complain. Many who have had an abundance of everything material have found true happiness when their possessions were lost. Things can be taken from one. Knowledge, health and happiness belong to the individual and no one can take these desirable possessions from one.
Let the attainment of truth be your aim. Truth is magnificent, and it is tremendously weighted with power. Whatever your ambitions or hopes in life may be, seek for the truth. In some cases the road that leads to this goal may be devious and hard to follow; dangers of all sorts may beset one as one struggles along the rugged pathway that leads to truth. But the rewards will amply repay you for very effort.
Do not be a leaner. Try to stand alone, and be yourself. Bring out your own personal characteristics. Do not be a stereotype, a parrot, a copyist. Let others live their own lives; you see to it that you live yours. Many of our public schools are educational factories turning out products stamped exactly alike. Individuality is crushed out. But the child is not like so much clay, to be moulded into any form. It is instead like a precious crystal to be shaped with regard to its original nature. Each human soul is an uncut diamond. If developed, the capabilities and powers within the mind achieve results to be expected only from exceptional human beings.
Therefore, be yourself. Hold up your head and throw back your shoulders. Remember that your life and all its possibilities belong to you. You may find yourself inspired by such a thought. It is a stimulating state of mind. Many men and women have found that upon the cultivation of this mental attitude they have found influences that led them step by step out of the valley of depression. Be inspired by the dominating determination to get all possible out of life – and to get the most out of life it is necessary to be prepared to give much to life.