D5. Uses of Diversion.
Man will endure heat, cold, hunger, thirst, or any other form of physical inconvenience far easier when his mind is strongly bent on some aim or purpose. Without such aim or purpose the suffering from these causes will be much greater. So long as his mind is on that purpose his thought is diverted from the action of heat or cold, or any other cause of pain to the body. As he ceases to think of these things he ceases to feel them.
People will rush through fire while in a state of excitement and scarcely feel it, though the flesh is burned and blistered. Their minds drawn in another direction did not allow the body to sense any pain from the action of heat upon them.
People at the theatre will sit through a thrilling play and feel no inconvenience from a heated stuffy atmosphere. Absorbed in the drama, their minds are temporarily diverted from the thought of the unpleasant atmosphere about them. I mean that their minds are diverted or drawn from their bodies in the most literal sense. Their minds then as one form of element and their bodies as another have at such times but the smallest channel or thread of connection. The mind is then blended with that of the actors. The body is in a seat with just enough of spirit acting on eyes and ears to make them perform their functions.
Soldiers have sometimes received wounds in battle and knew nothing of them until the conflict was over. Their minds were in the excitement of the fight so much diverted from their bodies as to make those bodies insensible to the entrance of the bullet.
The spirit can be so completely drawn or diverted from the body as to cease to think of or remember it has a body, and when it forgets the body, the body ceases to feel pain from any cause.
A person when hypnotized has his spirit drawn or diverted from his body. In this condition the body feels neither cut of knife nor puncture of needle.
The body of itself feels nothing. It is the spirit which really feels every so‑called physical sensation. Divert the mind from the body and it becomes an almost senseless mass of matter.
Alcohol, morphine and ether are more spiritualized material substances. They act on the spirit, not the body. They lift, for the time, the spirit above its usual thought atmosphere. When the spirit is so diverted from the body by these agencies, it ceases to act on the body. When the spirit ceases to act on its machine, the body, all sensation ceases through the agency of the body.
Have you not at times when ill or “out of sorts,” or very much fatigued, had all these disagreeable sensations chased away by conversing with some new and interesting person? Have you not for a time after such conversation felt “as light as a feather?” Why? Because the mind in such conversation had been diverted from the thought of fatigue or other unpleasant sensation. Your mind in connection with that of the other person had brought another thought current to act on you. Flowing to you such current had brought newer and fresher element. Then your spirit has literally been refreshed. Bear in mind it is always the spirit and not the body that is refreshed, lifted up or weighted down.
The spirit never is wholly within the body. It acts on and stands in the same relation to it that the wind does to a sail. The wind swells and shapes the sail. But it is not generated in the woof and web of the sail. Neither is your spirit generated inside your body, nor is its force at all times within your body.
Death, we say, frees the body from pain. So it does, for the spirit is then drawn entirely from the body. But it does not free the spirit from pain. It carries still the thought of pain with it. The sick on this side of life are still sick when they pass over to the other. For when the spirit passes from the body it carries with it the same mental conditions it had when it was severed from the body. A mind weighted down here with the thought and belief in sickness does not throw that sickness off when it leaves a body.
If you accept the scriptural record with any faith you find in it mention of those called dead, who are by no means at rest or free from evil in some form.
Freedom from pain attained temporarily by artificial methods can be realized permanently by a natural and healthy spiritual growth. One result of such growth is an ever increasing power for diverting or turning the mind, so that when we are disturbed physically or mentally we can forget the disturbance.
We cannot so divert our thoughts at once from the seat of pain. But we can now commence a mental exercise which will continually increase this capacity. This exercise lies simply in the thought of diverting the mind from the body and fixing it on something else.
We find this principle illustrated through life in many ways, by which the mind is diverted from any center of physical pain, and so long as diverted there is less pain. Even the raging toothache ceases when we approach the dentist’s door. The mind ceases then to center on the tooth, and is centered on the thought and dread of the greater pain of its extraction.
No matter what sickness may attack us, we need to keep it ever in mind that such sickness, be it a cold, a boil, a fever or a colic, is the result of some mental condition affecting the body disagreeably. You say often of a cold, “I caught it because I sat in a draught, last night. Or, I exposed myself to the night air.” Now you have sat in draughts or exposed yourself in other ways supposed to be productive of colds, scores of times, without taking any cold. You say likewise of a colic or other stomach disturbance, “I got this because of eating this or that article of food.” You have eaten of the same kind of food before and will probably again without such disturbance. It was due to some condition of mind you were in at the time of eating or exposure. Perhaps you had recently been associating with some poor mentally diseased creature, who sees coughs, colds and colics in everything and never takes a bite to eat without harrassing mind and stomach with the thought whether it will agree with him or her. You have from that person absorbed such thought and it materializes for you a colic. Or you have been much in the thought atmosphere of some person who sees a cold in every fresh breath of air and consumption flying in at every opened window. Some one, who could they build a world of their own, would have it roofed in, steam heated, and every gale and breeze perpetually barred out. You absorb a dose of such person’s thought, and you absorb the stuff that colds and rheumatism are made of. In the future, instead of saying, “I caught cold from sitting in a draught,” you will say, “I caught my cold or cholera morbus from Mr. or Mrs. Sickspirit, whose mind is a perpetual orgie of disease, whose sick thought is contagious, and whose sick mind I temporarily carry about with me, with all its attendant physical disturbance.”
The thought of others is “catching,” be that thought healthy or unhealthy. The contagion from minds full of belief in disease and who dwell in the thought of disease is a subtle poison.
For this reason above all others do we need to be careful with whom we associate.
Some particular article of food may never agree with you. That is because you made up your mind that it never should agree with you. You may have long ago absorbed the thought of such disagreement as above mentioned from some one else. You have never made a protest against such thought. You accepted such thought and have been adding to it all these years. You may say that such disagreement is “constitutional.” Of course it is constitutional. You have made it constitutional. You have of thought, built and fashioned a stomach specially adapted to disagree with that special food. For your prevailing mood of mind shapes your features, your form, your stomach and your gait. If you walk with a shamble you are walking out and expressing a shambling thought or mood.
Can you cure at once the shamble or the constitutional hostility of your stomach to warm biscuit, cucumbers, or late suppers at night? Probably not. You have been for years carefully, though unconsciously, arranging your digestive machinery for these disagreements. Some time is necessary for your altered mood of mind in this regard, to rearrange and reconstruct these organs, so that in this land of freedom you may enjoy a little interior liberty as to what you may eat and drink. For neither Congress nor the Constitution of these United States can provide against the many internal tyrannies of the stomach.
Now the mood of entertaining the idea that all physical ailments are primarily owing to some state of mind, and next the idea that the permanent cure can come by getting your thought away from that ailment, will be a great aid to any medicine you may take, and it will help any doctor you may have the more quickly to cure you.
You can commence this training for throwing the disturbance out of the part affected simply by keep‑in your mind, so much as you can, the thought of diversion. Demand also of the Supreme Power ability to so turn your mind quickly from one thing to another. You are then commencing to get power to throw your mind off of what is injurious for it to fasten on. You have also commenced gaining power to divert from yourself an injurious current of thought. Remedial thought element commences then to flow in on you. Marked favorable results may not come at first, because your mind is slow and feeble to act in this new direction. You have unconsciously for years taught yourself to dwell on whatever ailment affects you. Your thought at first moves slowly in the other direction. Your mind at first is as a rusty hinge unmoved for years. Your mind is working with medicine, when you say “I am taking this remedy to cure or ease my mind and not my body. I take this medicine as an aid to divert my mind from the part disturbed. For it has fastened on, say the stomach, as a thought there of pain. I take this as a help to the spirit to throw that thought off.”
Herbs and minerals now used as remedies, and many that have not yet found their place as remedies, do have certain specific spiritual qualities for the relief of certain ailments, and the relief of certain organs and parts of the body when disturbed. Nothing material is outside the domain of spirit. Every plant and mineral has some certain specific spiritual quality and power of its own. We are not at war with medicines. They are, when properly administered, great aids to the spirit.
In any sickness it will benefit us greatly to pray or demand something to divert the mind from the part affected. It is the constant thinking of an ailment that increases it. The sick are often aided by well‑meaning friends to do nothing, but lie still and think of their sickness. All effort about them should be with the intent to make them forget it. This is not done by the sight of anxious faces, vials of medicine and the sound of whispered conferences as to the patient’s condition.
Demand diversion for your spirit of the Supreme, and you will the sooner have varied material agencies, surroundings, individuals brought to you, or such thought current will literally carry you to different scenes and surroundings. These also are aids for diverting the mind out of moods from which it cannot detach itself unaided.
A person builds up a cold or other disease by constantly thinking of it. I would not say to you, however, “Get your mind off that cold or other complaint. Cease to think of it.” That might be requiring of you an impossibility at present. It would be as unreasonable as to require of you the performances of a trained acrobat, supposing you are not one. For mind like muscle is susceptible of training, and with training comes more and more power to control it. Indeed muscle training is but another form of mind training. Behind the muscle lies the mind of its owner. That is the element which he sends into the material part. He becomes more and more skilled in so sending it. He sends in thought the image or picture of what he would do with arm or leg or other part of the body. So sending that thought into the machinery to be trained as he exercises from day to day, such thought not only animates the muscle or muscles, but builds and shapes them to the use he requires of it.
You can apply this same mental force in diverting your mind from any organ that is affected. Did the physical athlete know this law, his muscles would not begin to grow stiff and refuse duty with advancing years. But he gives way to the idea of coughs, colds, or other ailments as he feels them. His mind has no skill to throw them off. He goes on in the old‑fashioned way, thinking of them, building on them, adding to them, and as the years go on, each successive attack, come in what form it may, is stronger and stronger. Weakness and decay come. His body is no longer able to obey the demand of his spirit. For it is the spirit acting on the body that runs and jumps, turns on the bars and flies from the trapeze. It is the spirit acting on the body that enables the acrobat to turn a double somersault. He performed that feat in mind many, many times before his spirit had sufficient power to make his body do it. He was always in the mood of so doing and ever seeing himself turning double somersaults. That unvarying mood was really the greater help to him than all his physical practice. You can use the same law in always picturing yourself to yourself as healthy, strong and agile. You need not in mind put any limits to your health, strength and agility either. It is as cheap to see yourself jumping twenty feet as ten. This mood of mind builds up health, strength and agility. The same force (which we call imagination) inverted, builds up rheumatism, dyspepsia and consumption.
The spirit of the athlete is as strong at seventy as it was at twenty‑five. Why then does his body have the “weakness of age?” Because while he trained it to act on a few muscles, he was not training it to divert it from the thought of disease. On the contrary, in ignorance he was training it when affected by any malady to add to the force of the disease. Had he known that every disease or feeling of weakness is a thought acting on the body, and that such thought (or thing) can be diverted and thrown off as he would throw off a venomous snake, the result to him would have been very, very different.
When a disease has become “chronic” (rheumatism for instance), it is because the thought of it has with the patient become chronic. Such patient has industriously hammered the idea of rheumatism into himself and probably been assisted by those about him. There has been little diversion from such thought. Even if he travel, he packs the idea of rheumatism with him. He meets others at some “Springs” or “Health Resort,” who are also packing it. And the query, the watchword, and reply, day in and day out, week in and week out, at home or abroad, is, “How’s your rheumatism?” “Any better?” “Rheumatism,” “Cure for rheumatism;” “Rheumatism, Rheumatism, Rheumatism!” He goes to bed with the idea, sleeps with it, gets up with it, eats breakfast with it, talks about it to others, and trades misery with other rheumatics. Especially is this the case at the health resort where people try to get well by talking and thinking disease.
What the demons of rheumatism, dyspepsia, or other disease want is eternal study, talk and reflection on rheumatism, dyspepsia, or other disturbance. What they need for one thing to be cast out, is a picnic, where they shall not be heard of, thought of, or talked of. What thousands of sick people need, is to be carted to some place where sickness is thought of as little as possible, and where people try to make every day a new day. But what sickness does not want is any change. It wants to remain in a perpetual dress rehearsal of its own misery. So far from casting the sore or ulcer out of its mind, it wants to look at it every half hour to see how it is getting along.
After sweltering and agonizing through the heat of summer, praying fervently for cooler weather, you will probably soon after cooler weather comes wake up some morning with your fall or winter’s cold. You expect one cold at least during the winter and of course you get it. Now begin directly to divert your mind from such expectation. Say “I do not expect a cold this winter.” That thought alone is for you the commencement of a great mental reformation. Still the cold may come. You can’t expect immediate freedom from disease when you have been courting it all these years and transgressing, possibly, every spiritual law in the universe, as all of us have done. If you wake up some morning stiff in the joints, sluggish in body, sore in throat or lung, watery in the eyes and nose, and irritation in the throat, you can, in addition to the thousand other remedies prescribed for a cold, try the thought of diversion. Do, if you can, something different from the routine of your daily life. Get one meal away from home, sleep in another bed, wear your best clothes, smoke a cigar if you have never smoked one, take a new route home from the office or workshop, soak your feet, drink tea where you have coffee, or vice versa, take a sweat and eat something you never did before. You need not try all these alterations of habit in one day. Do anything you are not in the habit of doing, providing you can do so with a clear conscience. All these, and many things I have not mentioned, serve as helps to divert your mind from your physical disturbance. The principle is useful in all other troubles, mental and physical.
Now this thought of diversion and its grand use is never to leave you. It may be hidden and buried up for periods, but it will come out again stronger than ever. It may apparently go to sleep at times, but for each successive waking it will assert itself to you with more and more power. You will find yourself gliding imperceptibly into greater diversity of life and habit. You do not want to force yourself into diversion. You do not want to make it mechanical. You do not want to write a list of the different things you are going to do each day, something as some of us have done in our youth, when we made those grand and spasmodic attempts at the beginning of the year on goodness and regular habits, with the lengthy catalogue written out and hung up in the bed‑room of our home for retiring and getting up in the morning, and the time for this study and the time for that, and other things we were going to do, and many things we would never do again, all of which was faithfully observed from thirty to ninety days, after which we fell into the bad old ways. “For the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But if the spirit is willing and it once gets hold of a truth it never lets go of it. It will act on that truth from time to time and prompt the body to its observance. The spirit cannot be mechanical. It is a creation of impulse. It does nothing but that it realizes pleasure in the doing. On the contrary, the body with its material mind insists on set times and seasons for prayer and praise, impulse or no impulse, emotion or no emotion. That makes so much of what is called religion a mere form and a mockery. One’s worship of God is no worship at all when there is no feeling or impulse in it. Nor can we force such feeling or impulse. It must come spontaneously or it is not genuine. It may come through, but a spark at some unexpected moment—when at your desk, in your workshop behind your counter. That spark is worth a million perfunctory observances. Pray that you may have it oftener, and you will have it.
Go to a family where there is the least diversion, where the routine of life is the same from day to day, as if moulded in cast iron, and you will find a sick family. All the sick are not in their beds. Indeed, the majority of the sick are out of bed. Sickness covers a great deal of ground. It takes in irritability, fretfulness, bloodless and sallow complexions, gloomy imaginations and all weakness and decay. As thus far we have all fallen short of the glory of God, or in other words fallen short of the glorious destiny intended, by the Infinite Spirit for every man and woman, it follows that we are all more or less sick in body or mind. I know this assertion may seem very unreasonable to the hale, hearty, vigorous man of twenty or thirty, but if he accepts the idea that in forty or fifty years more his body must wither and decay, then he has in his spirit (not his body), the thought seed of sickness, and it will, if retained, most assuredly bear its baleful fruit. It costs nothing to try and throw such seed out of one’s mind, and if we cannot believe otherwise than that decay and death are the common lot, there is a Power which can aid us to see things in a different light.
I am not implying here that diversion is the sole panacea for removing disease and re‑creating the body. It is one factor to these ends and a most important one. Many other ways will be shown those who get on the right track, and shown not so much by others as from within, the only place where the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Eternal life and self derived knowledge is located.
Thousands of people walk the streets, having at some period of the day some disagreeable physical symptom. It may be a slight headache, or a feeling of heaviness, or some one of the hundred ways that the stomach has of making itself disagreeable, or some form of mental depression. Such feelings are apt to come on at a certain time of day and are often associated with certain habits and surroundings. Get off the track of such habit or surrounding and the symptom often disappears, because you break then those mental conditions building up the ailment. You break those cobwebs of thoughts being spun around you, which eternal routine converts into cables binding you to a monotonous walk around of life, and the disease coming with it.
Never varying habit brings a positive hostility to any change. It makes eternal sittings in chimney corners. It puts off and puts off your proposed call or walk or ride, or the doing of anything to vary your life. It makes stronger and stronger a disagreeable mental sensation as you think of your intent to vary. Break through this. Visit the museum, the park, the locality, the family you have so long had in view, but did not visit, because you knew not why, except that when you could do so some trivial objection always sprung up to keep you in the old rut, and pass more hours in that semi‑lethargy of domestic dullness, when people (even husbands and wives) yawn or feel like yawning in each other’s faces, and long for something new, while hugging the chains of connubial monotony.
The universe abounds with a never ending variety of things to give us happiness. The more spiritualized and refined we become the greater our power to sense, feel, appreciate and use these endless stores. The more we learn to trust the Supreme Power for good, the more are we moved into variety and diversity of life. The man who becomes blasé, who imagines that he has seen it all, and that life has nothing new in store for him, is a man who senses only the material part of things. He is wearied of life, because believing only in the material, his physical senses become jaded and worn for lack of any quickening and recuperation through the spiritual. Let us then so set our minds as to grow more and more into the mood of ever demanding of the Supreme Power all ways, all means, all wisdom, all knowledge, all faith, all power to make of life what it should be, an Eternal Paradise.
Worry doesn't change an outcome!
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Mulford, P. (1886-1887). Uses of diversion. Your forces and how to use them (pp.633-644). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09