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B6. The Uses of Sickness.

In this era of our planet’s existence, there can scarcely be for anyone entire escape from ills of the body. But there are two entirely different methods of treating in mind those states of the body we call sickness. The right one is to consider and hold in mind, and ever desire earnestly, that you may be led into more and more faith that all pain, sickness, and debility, of whatever nature, are but efforts of the spirit to purge itself, and throw off from the body that which has become too gross for your spirit to use.

Here bear in mind the fact which it is necessary often to repeat, that your spirit is one thing and your body quite another; that your spirit is an ever‑increasing power, the growth of ages, and that your body is only its temporary instrument, for use in this one present phase of existence.

We are ever liable to glide unconsciously into the old belief in which we have been educated, that all there is of us is the physical body. Without the spirit, the body is only the engine, without steam to move it.

An ever‑increasing realization that spirit and body are two distinct things, and that the spirit is the only moving, building, and working force for the body, will prove a great help to your spirit to act favorably on the body, and reconstruct it anew.

The second wrongful and injurious method of using sickness, is to hold and firmly believe that you are nothing but the body you use; that it is only the body which is sick; that its only cure lies in material remedies; that its present state of sickness or debility is but an unmitigated evil, and not the means whereby it is being freed from a load of relatively dead matter, too lifeless and inert for the spirit to use. This indicates utter ignorance of the spirit; and such ignorance of the spirit brings on more and more of disease and corporeal deadness, until at last your real and only power, your spirit, is unable to carry the half dead body any longer. It frees itself from such encumbrance. You call that death. It is only the dropping of a load by the spirit, too heavy longer to be carried.

There are in the world today many people who are already half dead. In other words, their spirits do but half carry their bodies. The stooping shoulders, bent knees, feeble gait, and general failing senses of a man or woman at the age of sixty, are so many evidences that the mind using that body is in utter ignorance of its power to recuperate and regenerate that body. All that power through its character of belief is now being used to destroy the body. If the mind is in the right belief, the body will come out of its trial purified of grossness, more refined, more active and stronger than ever. In the physical sense, it has grown younger instead of older.

Even if you can but entertain and give this idea a respectful hearing, it will make a great difference for the better out of your physical ill. Because, in even changing to this extent the attitude of your mind, you have opened a door for your higher self to work for good upon the body. Belief in the truth will then help the mind to more command over the body. Command of mind over body must ultimately free the body from every ill and pain. The physical trials you may now pass through are not always to be necessary in the purging and refining process. These first trials are the hardest. As the spirit gains more and more supremacy and faith in these truths, which will be more and more proven, the body will pass through the changes incident to the growing power of the spirit with less and less pain and inconvenience.

If you receive a new and truthful idea, it will work a change in the body. Your present muscle, blood and bone are all material expressions of, and physical correspondences of, your prevailing order of thought. Change that thought, and a change must take place in the character and quality of the seen material forming the body. If the unseen power of the body is changed, that which is seen must change.

Such changes, to a limited extent, are constantly at work in daily life. Give a person in despair or discouragement, hope, or promise of something better, and a change in the body is soon manifest. The eye grows brighter, the muscles are braced more firmly, and every movement shows more vigor. A new element of thought is not only acting on that body, but has actually entered into and assimilated with it.

On the contrary, throw a thought of terror suddenly into the mind, and such is the effect of that thought‑element acting on the body and actually entering into the composition of the body, that, as known in varying instances, faces grow pale, knees totter, weakness succeeds strength, digestion is checked, insensibility is sometimes brought on, the hair has bleached in a few hours, and even instant death has been thereby caused.

The terrifying cry of “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, the cry of alarm raised in a crowd of people, brings an element and a force to act first on the minds, and next on the bodies of those people, which, though unseen, is as real, in a material sense, as is any noxious gas or vapor, likes the fumes of burning charcoal, which, though unseen, proves its existence by its fatal results.

All pain comes of the effort of the spirit to force new life into a part of the body lacking life. Or it comes of the spirit’s effort to throw off altogether such part lacking life, and replace it with new material. In cases when the spirit ceases from such effort, there comes cessation from pain and insensibility, the forerunner of the body’s death.

When disease is regarded in what we will here call the remedial light, life assumes an entirely new aspect. The life of the body becomes then a succession of rebirths or changes from coarser to finer material, each birth or change being less painful than the one preceding, until, at last, such change is accompanied only by a period of languor and physical inactivity. Or, in other words, the spirit is making the body into its own image, so that it shall be the perfect instrument to carry out its desires. Then body and spirit are wedded. They are as one.

If the mind or spirit in ignorance accepts implicitly these old errors, then that mind is already sick, though the body it uses is strong. If the mind is sick, the body in time must become sick. But when the awakened mind refuses any longer to accept these old errors, and desires that it may come to know and reject all other error, of which it may now be unconscious, that mind is relatively healthy. It is then on the road to higher and higher health. True, its body may for periods be prostrated through the changes, which a change from lower to higher mental conditions will bring about. But such periods of physical ailment become as ends to a higher health, because the mind, being in the right direction, is pushing the body in that direction, whereas the mind in ignorance, not having the vestige of an idea that it is the power which rules the body, accepts blindly the error which the body in a sense teaches it, and then uses all its force to build on and increase that error. The body used and ruled by such a mind will have disease in its worst form, until such body is at last destroyed. The body used and ruled by the mind inclined in the right direction may have ailment and suffer, but it will, if the faith of its spirit has grown strong enough, come out of the trial purified, refined, strengthened, and having more power than ever to resist evil and prevent the absorption from lower minds of their lower and injurious thought, which to the sensitive person is a prolific source of disease.

In many cases, through natural birth, the spirit is given a body with which it is at total variance. That body may come into the world freighted with a certain mind of its own. That mind comes of the lower and erroneous thought absorbed in gestation, infancy, and youth. That lower mind may rule the body for years, or for its whole physical lifetime. The real self, the real spirit, may only influence what may be called a fragment of that body, and this only at certain periods favorable to its access. The lower mind may rule much of the time with low and gross desires. For the whole thought‑current of the lower or “carnal mind” rules on this stratum of life, and meets the higher mind with obstacles or temptation at every point.

For such a spirit even to preserve at all its present body, may involve much pain and sickness. This comes of the war betwixt spirit and body. The spirit seeks to fashion the body in accord with itself, and tries to throw off the old dead thought in which the body has been educated. The body resists. The body has an individuality of its own. It desires to preserve that individuality. It feels in the effort of the spirit not only an invasion of such individuality, but an attempt to destroy that individuality forever. This is actually the case. If the individuality of the body is one of error and belief in untruth, it cannot last. It must be destroyed. Nothing can endure permanently but what is based in truth. Sickness, then, is a means for the removal of the old body, exactly as when you make a new wall of an old one, by taking away, piecemeal, portions of the old, replacing them with new and sound material, until the wall is altogether new.

There may be nothing new under the sun, but there are things innumerable, now unknown, which would be new to us. We have touched hardly the edge of our real life, and know little what it means really to live.

Nor can we take in at once much of what is new without danger. Truth must be received in small doses, otherwise a sudden flood of light, a sudden revelation of life’s possibilities, would cause so sudden a physical change, and so great a disturbance betwixt spirit and body, as possibly to destroy the body. The removal of the old, and its replacement by the new, should be a gradual process. It is akin to digestion. Too much food taken at once into the stomach brings pain and disturbance. Too much of new idea taken at once, is the putting of new wine into old bottles. The old bottle represents the old body, the new wine is new thought. All idea is actual force; and if more force be received than the old body can appropriate, there is a possibility that its working will burst the bottle.

The new material given you by this change is new and true thought or idea. That will materialize blood, bone, muscle, and nerve into a newer, finer, and stronger quality of seen substance.

A child bred in the belief that its real self is only the body it uses, that there is no power behind that body, which, if known and rightly directed, can ever rehabilitate it with new element, recuperate it, and ever make its material substance over and over again, each time newer, finer, and stronger, such a child—and many such there now are—not only has within it what may be termed the “seeds of disease,” but through its total ignorance, combined with the ignorance of other minds about it, nearly all the power of its spirit is worked the wrong way—worked to feed and strengthen disease, and so, at last, make the body unbearable for the spirit.

There is a kind and quality of mind affecting us all more or less. It is sometimes called the “unconscious mind.” It is belief in error, absorbed from others possibly in infancy and youth, which we have never questioned and never doubted—never thought to question or doubt, and which we blindly go on believing, scarcely knowing it is our belief. But such belief affects us for good or ill, just as much as that of which we are conscious of believing.

Holding such unconscious error today, thousands of hearty, athletic young men, now in the fullest possession of vigor and muscular strength, believe that at the age of fifty this vigor must begin to lessen, and that between sixty or seventy, some “ill that flesh is heir to” must necessarily beset them, and ultimately carry them off. To say to them, seriously, that a time is coming when man’s superior knowledge will enable him to keep his body as long as he pleases, and in an ever‑improving condition, would immediately call from them either ridicule or that obstinate incredulity which will not for one moment entertain a new idea as a possibility.

Nothing is more dangerous than that permanent state of mind which instantly rejects and refuses for one moment to entertain, hospitably, a new idea, because it seems to that mind wild, unreasonable, and visionary. It is the same condition which in years by‑gone scornfully rejected steam and electricity as “new‑fangled notions.” It is the condition which makes for itself a rut of thought and occupation, and travels round and round in it without any advance forward to newer life and possibilities. It is the condition leading surely to fossilization of both mind and body.

Thousands are today unconsciously imprisoned in the idea that what all human or physical life has been in the past, that it must necessarily be in the future, and that it must necessarily involve the three periods of youth, maturity, and decay. To believe this so implicitly, makes these phases of life inevitable for the believer, and bars the door against any new possibilities. Flesh is heir to no ills save those bequeathed the flesh by the spirit in ignorance. The spirit once in the truth can bequeath the flesh only more and more life; in brief, “life everlasting.”

Do you ask what are some of the errors unconsciously held by thousands about us? An individual whom you know to be a demagogue or charlatan, passes with thousands as a great man. A system of education which you know to be honey‑combed with falsity and the blind repetition of custom, they accept as perfect. War between nations which you know to be but blind idiocy, they accept as a “political necessity,” because from infancy the sound of those two words has been trumpeted into their ears and remains clinched there. Customs, usages, and habits, which you know to be not only useless, but resulting in injury or inconvenience, are perpetuated from generation to generation, unthought of, unquestioned.

The cruelty wantonly inflicted by our race on beast and bird in their natural state, in slaughtering and mutilating them for mere amusement, as well as the imprisonment of every species of biped and quadruped, dooming the inhabitants of field, forest, and air to an unnatural and suffering life, simply that we may stare at them behind their bars, is another evidence of the unconsciousness of our race to the wrong and injustice which it permits, and even endorses as right and proper.

The degraded estimation in which woman is held by great masses of men; the degraded estimation which she accepts without question or protest herself; the estimate of her by so many men, either as a pleasing toy or a convenience; the ignorance and denial by most men that she is equal to him in power for business or any pursuit, as well as the ignorance and consequent denial, both on his or her part, that she is, when rightly understood, a necessary factor to his highest success,— all these are still unconscious errors leading to grievous ills in the minds of millions on millions.

The still prevailing ignorance that thought is an element and force, working results miles from the body it uses; that every thought or idea of ours is like an unseen magnet, which if held to, will bring to us in material things the likeness of that thought; the common idea that it matters little what we think, so long as our thought is not known; the ignorance that what we think of others and ourselves has everything to do with our health and fortunes, for happiness or misery; the sloughs of physical misery and mental disturbance, into which so many plunge themselves unconsciously, through association with minds lower than theirs, and so absorbing and living in such lower thought; the ignorance that every individual has lived in the past other lives, and must in the future live more, either with or without a body,—all these form but a fragment of the unconscious errors prevalent all about us. For the mind ever calling for more truth and light, every bodily trial results in a greater and greater awakening to these and hundreds of other errors, which, so long as held in mind, bring inevitably results in pain and misery to us.

Q's note:

Self-development is the Best Gift we can ever give to someone – especially to Someone we Truly Love!


Image Credit:


Fanpop (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved July 1, 2021, from


Mulford, P. (1886-1887). The uses of sickness. Your forces and how to use them (pp.325-333). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09

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