THE TRUE FORCE
Amidst the early uncontrolled experiments with suggestion there remain in our memory a few true episodes. It is told that a man, after drinking a glass of absolutely pure water, died exhibiting the actual symptoms of that poison, after it had been suggested to him that he had drunk a strong poison. A man put into an absolutely fresh and clean bed under a suggestion that in it a man died from a serious contagious illness exhibited all the signs of that infection. A suggestion was made about the start of a flood, and in his own room, a man almost perished from indisputable symptoms of drowning. It was suggested to someone that he was crossing a turbulent mountain stream, and in the presence of a large gathering he removed his shoes, took off some of his garments, and cautiously made his way upon imagined stones.
A certain physician told a strong hypnotist that the latter could influence only people with weak nerves, yet he, being a physician, would never succumb to such charlatanism. The hypnotist smiled and said, "Because of what you said, when you leave me now, you will fall flat on your back; maybe then you will begin to think differently." A number of people were present at this strange duel of words. The physician, boldly and full of indignation, turned around and walked away from the hypnotist. But after a few steps he suddenly stopped and attempted to move further as if conquering some obstacle, then stopped again, and gradually, in spite of all his efforts, fell flat upon his back. The defeat of this materialist was met with shouts of laughter from the audience. The defeated physician got up shamefacedly, and rubbing the back of his neck hurriedly left the hall.
This small episode of the demonstration of suggestion could be followed up by a number of facts about people performing that which was mentally commanded and not being able to explain to themselves what compelled them to act in this manner and no other. Aside from conscious suggestions, there are, of course, many more taking place and being received subconsciously, and also many being commanded subconsciously.
And so, it appears that symptoms of poison are engendered by thought. Symptoms of contagious diseases are created not by the contagion, but by thought itself. For a contagion or poisoning a period of incubation is needed, yet a thought calls forth the same results and produces them with lightning speed. Thus, thought is stronger than any poison, any contagion.
From another angle, if thought is stronger than the most harmful things, it could be naturally more powerful than the most healing reactions. There are widely known cases when a physician, for the benefit of his patient, is obliged to prescribe sugar water, and it gives excellent results. Naturally, not the pinch of sugar, but the thought of the recipient is so powerful. It would seem that the facts of the power of suggestion are sufficiently known to all, and yet, constantly in professional practice and also in everyday life the significance of suggestion is either forgotten or, even worse, is still denied. In this one can observe the eternal battle of narrow materialism with unlimited, highly cultivated spirituality.
It is sad to recall that often the smallest considerations exceed the salutary sendings. This does not mean that the sending was weak. Speaking simply, the recipient could not find any need for it. And so, instead of something very useful, the most minute, mediocre, and conventional suddenly prevailed. Usually this takes place amidst conditions where one does not ponder, at all about thought. There exist entire families in which a discussion about thought, as such, would be altogether inadmissible and, in any case, ridiculed.
Therefore, often the most important impellent, and the spiritual principle itself are subject to furious denials and ridicule. It is narrated that a certain warring tribe, when preparing to receive absolution for sins from its spiritual leader, always abstains from attacks and robbery. But after receiving the benediction, the robber warriors become particularly furious and rush to perform any and all kinds of assaults.
Is it not approximately the same when you see people leaving church after praying and immediately indulging in all sorts of slander? The very same often becomes obvious when observing people just afflicted by a great tragedy or seemingly affected by spiritual words; nevertheless, they become at once immersed in insufferable mean gossip and slander. In all such deplorable instances one can observe a primitive state of thought. Indeed, actual ignorance compels people not to discriminate where and in what is contained true strength.
And yet, the realization of the true power of thought can come only voluntarily. No lectures, or books, if the heart is not open to them, can enlighten any one.
A certain pedagogue suggested to his students that they think in every possible way. Behind his back the unrestrained ignoramuses called him an unhappy old bookworm. If this episode could have been transported into the surroundings of the classic Greek Academy, what a powerful ostracism would have been imposed upon the ignorant who dared to cackle at the noble word about thought. Loftily and with magnanimity must the valued concept of thought enter the consciousness. And what a steadfast friend and adviser and true well-wisher will be revealed through purified and treasured thought! Real strength is attracted and assimilated where thought is ennobled.
April 25, 1935