Notes from the Dresser Class — 1887



Taken by:

Mrs. Harriett Hemmenway
Boston, Mass. January, 1887

These Notes of Mrs. Hemmenway's are probably the most important historical documents available to date on the early history of the NEW THOUGHT MOVEMENT.

Due to the kindness of her children, the original Notes in her own handwriting have been placed in the permanent archives of the NEW THOUGHT MOVEMENT in the BRIDEWELL LIBRARY of the PERKINS SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY of the SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY at Dallas, Texas.

First Lecture — J. A. Dresser

Opinions may or may not be the truth. When they are right opinions that is as near as most people come to the truth — because they are simply opinions of others which they have accepted. Truth is to be understood — just as 2 x 2 = 4 — & no matter if the opinion of all the world differs, we can see that we have the truth: if we understand Truth is for all & for everyone to understand for himself. Medical opinion is simply an opinion & not the truth but if accepted as truth will influence the patient accordingly.

Second Lecture

The Christ is the God in man.

All attributes of God — viz — love — strength — wisdom are God in man. So we cannot take any credit to ourselves if we have any of these good attributes — as it is God & not ourselves — so man is nothing apart from God. All that he is in reality is God. The evils in himself or in the world are nothing in themselves. They are created, by our finite minds & have no source except in our minds & as a false way of thinking for generations before us. Sin & sickness & death are errors & exist only by a false way of thinking & we must always turn away from them & give them no reality in our thought. If we understand this as literally true, that all we have in us & about us, is God it must be a deliverance to us from every fear or sin or sickness — for these evils arise only as we place reality in them & so make them appear real to us — which have no possible existence — while health & happiness & perfect safety are the reality, in which we always are & must ever be & only by thinking an untruth can we be sick or unhappy.

We are simply mediums of God.

The delusion of death is apparent — if all that we are is God, of course it must live forever — & the passing away of this body is not death — we areas must ourselves after this body has passed away as before.

We are in eternity now as much as we shall ever be & God is here as much as he is any where. If we do not work out our spiritual or real life here then we have it to do in our next existence — it is to be done some time & why not now!
Jesus was all spiritual— or lived consciously his real life — he lived only from the Christ in him & the errors we live in did not turn him from the true light — he had a perfect understanding of himself & God.

The Trinity

  1. God —

  2. God in man or the Christ —

  3. The understanding of that union of God & man.

Third Lecture

We are each a separate thought of God.

As in a mathematical problem the figures stand for — or are expressions of this principle — so we each stand for God's thought & are each of us necessary to Him.

We throw a shadow in our own light so that what we see are our own failings — uneasiness — disease etc. That is our shadow & we look straight at it & away from God, turning our back to Him & the True light. We must face round & look only at the truth than there is no shadow for us to see or to make of our own bad thoughts of ourselves.

Our finite Mind

There can be nothing to fear — it is an absolute impossibility. What we fear. that seems so real to us, is simply what we create in our finite minds out of nothing but illusions. We are a part of God & cannot be anything else & there is no reality except that part of us which is God. What we imagine or are deceived into thinking as true is made out of nothing but our own illusions & so appear evil as it has no reality in God. Why fear anything when we know that what we fear was made up by ourselves — & that we are safe always as God himself.

If there were no fear there could be no disease for disease is fear — either conscious or unconscious.

Fourth Lecture

All matter exists in mind — so our bodies exist only in our minds — if we had no mind we could have no body — it is sensations & ideas in us which we call body.

We can liken mind to the earth ready for the seed — if we drop the right seed in — or the thought of truth, happiness & harmony — health is the result — if we drop in thought of error — sin & disease are the result.

What we want is an earnest desire for truth & it will come to us. We need not struggle to comprehend — if we have the earnest desire the truth will come to us.

If we touch a person — they feel it — it is not the flesh or blood that feels — it is the real person that we cannot see — or the Christ — So the person we see is Spirit & cannot be sick or evil. They can only appear so to our & their finite minds — it is a false appearance — a delusion & must disappear when we & they know the reality of it or the truth.

Death is simply an appearance or delusion. Nothing dies — the mind conscious; & unconscious loses the idea of body & the appearance disappears. We — the real person — or mind is then just the same though not in this world of sense — but being God's life the spirit or real person must live eternally & may take on the manifestation of body here & some other idea in another existence — but it will always be the same person.

Fifth Lecture

I did not attend — Subject — poisons.

Poisons would not be poisons if we understood sufficiently — but to us now they are — the idea or spiritual essence is poisonous — not the thing itself.

Sixth Lecture

There is wisdom enough for anyone of us in any emergency — but we must look toward it & not toward the evil — if we have annoyances — we have only to think of something pleasant & continue to think that way & the annoyances drop out of existence. So with everything evil. Simply regard it as nothing — a false appearance — & turn to the positive or good — & of course the negative or evil disappears.

In illness the first thing to do is to lose our fear. Diphtheria is only panic fear. All sickness is a state of mind & if we understand it so we must lose all fear — for we know nothing can harm us except the fear — drop it & you get well.

When we are sick we must think of ourselves as well — if we can do this persistently we will become well. When we think of ourselves or others as sick or unhappy, or as having any bad habit — we fix it on ourselves or them closer. We must think of them spiritually — or as existing in God's idea or perfect — & the appearance of evil or sickness as nothing in itself, but something our or their finite mind has been deceived into thinking of itself. So it is no part of us or them — the perfect part is the only reality.

It must be our lack of faith when we are unhappy or sick — for if we realized always that we are spiritual beings & perfect, of course we could not be either unhappy or sick — & in our best moments we recognize & feel it to be truth — so as much as we can realize it — so much health & happiness do we have.

Seventh Lecture

Death is not in God's design — our life is God's life & must exist as long as God exists.

God is omnipresent — fills all space — so He fills the space where our bodies seem to be — that is we take up no space — existing only in mind & space being an idea of finite mind only — therefore He is more real than we are to ourselves — for He is the All in All.

We believe that we get all our strength from food & sleep giving them undue importance in our thought. This is an error — our strength is our life which is God — & though we must eat & sleep now in this world — yet if we realize our source of strength, they will not be as important to us as heretofore.

The two worlds that Jesus believed in were the world of truth & the world of error. The judgment day is every day — whenever we choose the good or the evil, then is the judgment.

Jesus died & came to life again to show the world that death may be overcome & is not what the world thinks it — he was the same Jesus afterward — & so shall we be the same — death brings no change to our real self.

Eighth Lecture

There is no such thing as physical strength — physical strength or physical weakness is a condition of the mind. In treating a patient for weakness, one must instill into them courage & hope, & that is the physical strength — or rather strength is the result of courage or hope — physical weakness is a state of listlessness & loss of confidence in one's self.

If this bodily life could be seen for what it is worth, it could not cause us a moment of uneasiness or worry — it is an effect of thought & unreal — the unseen or spiritual life is the real — & the more we develop that the more we really live.

The desire to help others is necessary in effecting a cure — it is a part of the Wisdom — if we are lacking in that desire & love of our fellows we are lacking in just so much of the power that cures — for Wisdom is Love — & the desire to benefit others & the power to do it all comes from the same source. We cannot cure by our own effort — but by recognizing that it is all God — the God in us — or our spiritual nature can draw out to consciousness the God or spiritual nature in another.

We do not transfer our thoughts into another's mind when we treat them. We simply turn them so they recognize their real or spiritual selves — & see that the truth is theirs & always was, but they were not conscious of it & had turned away from it.

Ninth Lecture

In curing others we must have first the sincere desire of helping them & long for them to be well & happy & put self out of thought — secondly, we must think of the patient as wholly mental or spiritual & not as physically diseased, but as mentally disturbed — & by bringing them to see the Truth, their diseases must die. We are to show them that they are really not unhappy or diseased — so we bring thoughts of Truth to them — show them haw they are each a perfect thought of God & exist only in his thought — that they are perfectly safe — perfectly happy & at perfect peace — that they cannot separate themselves from God & his infinite love & safety & peace — this disturbance of mind is created by themselves in ignorance or thoughts in error & has no existence. We need not think of their body or its ailments — simply bring the Truth to their minds & that dispels the error.

To cure ourselves we must drop our own thoughts & think of the strength, happiness, love, peace, rest that is ours if we will only believe it — & realize that our bad feelings are nothing but the result of thoughts that were not true & we need pay no attention to them, no matter how real they may seem to us.

To cure one's self of wakefulness one must lose that desire for sleep & that uneasiness that causes us to be provoked or worried at lying awake. We must not fear that we shall lie awake or that if we do, we shall not feel as well in the morning — etc. All this keeps us uneasy & wakeful. We must realize that sleep & food do not make life — We are spirit & that is eternal life & sleep or food are not as important as we think them.

We make our own happiness or our own misery indenpendant of circumstances — for no matter how sad the circumstances — or unfortunate the surroundings — there is wisdom & happiness enough — we have only to turn to it.

The hardest diseases to cure are those considered fatal by the world — it is their belief that makes the disease so stubborn — & not the disease itself that is fatal — but if everyone believes it fatal — so much more error has to be overcome by the mind — cured.

Tenth Lecture

The Wisdom is always superior to us — so any thought we have in the direction of hope, happiness, health, love is divine & superior to our finite mind & so must lift us above & out of our trouble.

We can see through our troubles, annoyances, fears etc — when we understand this science — & it does not matter whether we think of the annoyance or not — we see through it & recognize its powerlessness to harm us & so we are out of & above it.

If we understand & realize that we are well, no matter if our feelings tell us the contrary — we have only to persevere in the Truth & our feelings must in time correspond to the Truth, or would correspond instantly it we realized the Truth sufficiently.

God does not come into our error to help us — we have to turn towards Him, if we want His help — or the Wisdom. It is no use for anyone to pray for health — while they still believe in sickness — they must first discard the belief in God's plan bringing us anything evil — like sickness — & realize that it is our own ignorance & wickedness that brought it — & that it has no existence in God. He cannot help us till we turn to him in Faith — that is believing he gives us everything good — without limit — & then we receive what we desire. As long as we are looking at our failings, pains, discouragement, etc — we shall not find God.

Our false ideas of ourselves are what make us unhappy — form the true idea & you have infinite happiness & power.

It is never wisdom to repress our feelings — bad feelings are to be got rid of — hot repressed — good one's are never to be smothered.

Any error — as anger — fear — etc. give an uncomfortable feeling to the body — if long continued they cause disease of the body. Thus we see disease is wholly mental — & we make it by our ignorance & wickedness — & health & happiness are the reality — or the thoughts in Truth.

Eleventh Lecture

We must not go into the error with others. In visiting a person who is sick we must not sympathize with them in their sickness — our sympathy must be all with the true idea of them & our desire to lift them out of their mistake into the reality or health.

A little Truth will dispel error — for error is weak & unreal at best — & Truth is all powerful — so of course error must disappear when even a little Truth is understood.

If we come in contact with a person — & we have a desire to help them & they to be helped — there must be an effect for good on them, if we understand even a very little of this philosophy.

A depressed person holds their head down — when they become
happy the head straightens up — so it is always with us — the body is the exact counterpart of the mind & must change when the mind changes.

Hygiene would not be necessary if we could rid ourselves entirely of beliefs in disease — as it is now — some regard must be payed to man's laws but we must not call man's laws, God's laws for God has made man free — & the laws of hygiene are made by man — & if we understand We can ignore them just so far as we do understand.

Twelfth Lecture

Intuition comes by holding one's self receptive to the Divine Word — if we realise that all perception is the one, or God's perception & we cannot have any of ourselves, by holding our thought open for it — it comes.

If God is omnipresent & so real that he takes up all space & we fill no space, only appear to, to our finite mind, then that shows us how real a power He is, More real than we are ourselves, so that it is impossible for us to be other than safe & calm & strong — & we only feel otherwise by making false ideas, & thinking untrue thoughts of ourself — to ourself.

Be determined to be happy — circumstances are not necessary to happiness — there is Wisdom & happiness enough always — turn towards it & look for it.

One must never speak of one's self as sick or worried, etc. it gives the person to whom you speak, the thought of you in error — or the wrong thought . & their thought helps to impress the bad idea more strongly upon you — in reality you are well, for you are Spirit & it is nothing but your wrong idea of yourself that makes you uncomfortable. So say always you are well which is the Truth — & it will help you to feel so.

In treating another the patient should seem to you all mental — or nothing but thoughts & their sickness the result of their bad thoughts — if you can turn them to see their true self & have the right thought the error will vanish.