of Mrs. Dresser's lecture of Jan. 17th 1888,
copied from Abby Perry's notes
Mrs. Dresser said that the attitude of humanity towards its existence was wholly mistaken, that mankind has regarded itself as made up of two separate entities, body & spirit (or mind) each possessing attributes & functions of its own with little or no interchange of relation that men have suffered mentally & then physically & not vice versa as is commonly supposed that before a healthful race can be established we must alter our views of the nature of matter — realize that we are born into a universe of mind & that all our ills represent only a suffering mind from which they sprang — therefore we are in reality minds, made up not of body & spirit, but of spirit alone.
She then made these three "assertions" —
That we are spiritual beings & therefore affected by spiritual influences.
That matter cannot act of itself but only through "mind".
That all effects of matter are really mind —
& also two hypotheses —
(a) There is an Omnipotent Life-principle.
(b) We are a part of it, all our power is only a part of it, for all power is of God.
1. Regarding the first assertion — it was clear that the world had grasped it very imperfectly. It has been accumstomed to regarding our bodies as matter, possessed of certain capacities & functions, our diseases as having an inherent power to develop themselves. This view is radically false. The true aspect of ourselves is that of minds, (spirits) our bodies being only the lowest manifestation of spirit. All disease, pain, has its origin in some mental ailment, manifesting itself at length in some bodily deformity or disorder.
An unenlightened world ages ago failed to mark this distinction & recognized a duality of nature rather than a unity. This erroneous view has been handed down, carrying with it the varied forms of disease & the deliverance that naturally accompanies such a conception of man's nature — but now that the error has been corrected, since it is found that man's being is a unit & not a duality, that mental error is alone the source of physical ill, & that therefore all physical ill is but the mind working through us, that we are mind (or spirit) & mind only, it becomes clear that our bodies are open to spiritual influences whether they come from outside sources or from ourselves.
To recognise that we are partakers of His nature is to realize that we are indeed Spirit, that there is but one great Thought which all share & employ.
Just as the emotions of joy or pain manifest their existence in us by external signs, so the sensations of disease are evidences of a disordered mind.
2. We have long been used to regarding matter as being possessed of an inherent capacity to produce certain results — we speak of disease as if it had within itself some latent powers of development — that which in reality alone acts is mind, governed by impressions which it has acquired from inheritance or its environment.
In proportion to the change which our point of view under-goes, so will be the disappearance of our disease.
Matter then is acted upon & through our minds, by conscious & unconscious thought. Our bodies being only the expression of ourselves, can exist only as they appear to our minds & possess qualities & attributes only as our minds put them there — if then our minds have placed disease upon our bodies, our minds must be the source of the removal, we must realize the error in which we have been trained, establish the truth that we are units, that all else is nothing but the manifestation of that unit — mind — & so start the coming inheritance of a truth that shall replace the perpetuated error & make the deliverance of disease consist in the fact that "all effect of matter is of mind."
To rid ourselves of every form of selfishness & self-conceit is to feel ourselves partakers of the Infinite Wisdom & Love & to realize that we are sons & not creatures — even as Christ was a son.
Synopsis of Mrs. Dresser's second lecture
There is an omnipresent life principle & we are in it & part of it. The question is how shall get into an understanding of this life-principle?
Now if this life principle exist at all it must manifest itself most in man, the highest creation of that life-principle, & such is the case. We are the "mediums" by which He does his work. He is in us & we are in Him. We, of ourselves are nothing. If we can realize that this is our true life, the life in God, we should never be sick. "As a man thinketh so is he" — Whichever way we look we grow into & become. If our thoughts turn upon the body, then we shall be "of body" — in harmony with body" & if we look to spirit, we grow gradually into spirit, & find at length that we are spirit. We come into harmony with spirit.
So then if there be a God & we have "no existence except that which is in Him" our thought must take in the ideas, feelings, emotions, that accord with this truth & when this has been fully grasped, we recognize ourselves as spirit, as we have thought so we have become. Mind is the only life that we see & therefore all that is not mind within us, is error to be removed by an ever enlarging conception of this life principle, this Wisdom, God.
In proportion as we get into this Wisdom, so will be our freedom from disease & pain.
The causes of disease are
1. We are so little of ourselves.
2. Reaction invariably follows action.
Concerning the first of these causes, it was shown that we have inherited the majority of our ideas. We have been born into them & thus educated into disease. If we think of ourselves as mind, spirit, we become the same, & are no longer open to physical pain & disease. We need to come into this true atmosphere.
Concerning the second cause of disease — it was shown that reaction always follows action & is equal to it. There can be no state of suppressed feeling, without suffering reaction in some form, "If action be unwise, we suffer reaction." Mental contraction, strong emotion, suppression bring reaction. To keep this mind which we are — "in harmony" — then is to avoid occasion for reaction in the form of disease or pain, for the "real self cannot ill." It is spirit part of the Infinite Spirit & thus there can be no peace but God's peace, no wisdom but God's wisdom.
Man's law is the fear of disease — God's law the denial of disease & its existence — if I be affected by God's law, I at once rid myself of error & therefore of disease.
We are living a life of mind & once thoroughly possessed of that Truth, disease vanishes — pain is annihilated & a perpetual peace permeates & controls our lives.
When one cannot sit down quietly & find God in the soul, one has lost their base.
Mrs. Colby says the God-thought seems to her the natural, the world-thought the dream — disease, inharmony seems to her illusory, even in her everyday thinking.
Nothing ever happens outside the Infinite plan — nothing afflicts if Divine will & human choice are one. Man manufactures his woes by wilful separateness from that love which is so wise, that wisdom which is always loving.
Gladly I lived & gladly I die — Stevenson