Portland, Feb. 22nd, 1862
I was very glad to receive your letter of Dec. 1st but since then have been too busy to answer it until now. And now I scarcely know how to commence, knowing that I am about to tread on holy ground, and feel like Moses who viewed the promised land lying before him but could not enter with all his errors, so he saw for others what he was not permitted to enjoy in the natural man.
This truth that I practice is as plain to me as mathematics, but the developing of that science depends upon the progression of all other improvements, for if the world was ignorant like the savages, that wisdom called mathematics would still exist but their darkness could not see it. So as the light of God or wisdom springs up, man learns the truth and applies it to the phenomena of his day so it can be understood. This we call mathematics or God's wisdom revealed to man. I think that all controversies in the world are in matter, and man has attached himself to the idea of matter and lives and dies in it till the light of wisdom opens his eyes to the truth that his life is in this great light that sees matter as nothing but shadows.
I will try to illustrate my ideas by a parable. You know what the phenomenon called mesmerism is. Clairvoyance is perfect light. Matter is annihilated except as it is admitted. Thought-reading is another state in matter, like darkness, so that thought-readers see or feel by the light of another, while clairvoyance sees by its own light. Our senses are in one or the other of these states of light and darkness. The separation of these states has always been the great problem. They who were sitting in darkness saw this light spring up, but as the prince of darkness had sway, they crucified the light. Now, the world attaches their senses to the thing they can feel and see, but Jesus attached his to the light, so that his light was in their error and they saw it not.
By this time I hear you say, Show me this light or truth and it will satisfy me. I answer, Have I not sat by you and told you how you suffered and yet you cannot see me? The light of the body or wisdom is the eye, and if your wisdom is all light, your light is all wisdom, but if your light is darkness or thought-reading, it is darkness to wisdom. Such is this to those who cannot understand, but I feel as though you said, “I understand that.” How do I show to the world my light? For a light under a bushel gives no light to those outside. So to let your light shine, you must make some physical demonstration of it.
When I sit down by a patient, their thought is their wisdom or opinions and to me there is no light in them. My light or wisdom sees through their darkness or belief and I, knowing that their sufferings are the effect of this world's wisdom, take them by the hand and guide them by my light till I raise them from the dead or error into the light of science or heaven. This is my heaven. My hell is where I was and where all others are till they come to a knowledge of this great truth, that man is outside of matter. When he knows this, he cuts himself clear and floats in the ocean of light where matter is to him a shadow, moved around by a wisdom attached to it, and their ignorance knows not that they are not of the matter but outside. I will illustrate.
Suppose I create a dog in my mind and mesmerize a person till I make him see it and finally I succeed. Now his senses or light is in my idea—the dog—he sees it but does not see the creator. And seeing the dog with life, he of course thinks the life is in the dog. If he never comes out of that state, then the dog follows him; and if I present it to him, then to himself he has a dog, but to his neighbors he is insane. . . . All the while I know I am the author. Suppose I call the great God of all: Clairvoyant. All matter to him is nothing.
P. P. Quimby
Source: Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond, beginning on page 111.
by Horatio W. Dresser
[Continued from last week.]
"For several years, Mr. Quimby traveled with young Burkmar through Maine and New Brunswick, giving exhibitions, which at that time attracted much attention and secured notices through the columns of the newspapers.
"It should be remembered that at the time Mr. Quimby was giving these exhibitions ... the phenomenon was looked upon in a far different light from that of the present day. At that time it was a deception, a fraud, a humbug; and Mr. Quimby was vilified and frequently threatened with mob violence, as the exhibitions smacked too strongly of witchcraft to suit the people.
"As the subject gained more prominence, thoughtful men began to investigate the matter, and Mr. Quimby was often called upon to have his subject examine the sick. He would put Lucius into the mesmeric state, and prescribe remedies for its cure.(1)
(1) These descriptions and the remedies prescribed were in accord with the medical practice of the day, as Mr. Quimby was not yet enlightened in regard to the mental factors of disease. The discovery on Mr. Quimby's part that mind was the chief consideration marked a turning-point in his thought. Ed.
"After a time Mr. Quimby became convinced that whenever the subject examined a patient his diagnosis of the case would be identical with what either the patient himself or some one present believed, instead of Lucius really looking into the patient, and giving the true condition of the organs; in fact, that he was reading the opinion of some one, rather than stating truth acquired by himself.
"Becoming firmly satisfied that this was the case, and having seen how one mind could influence another, and how much there was that had always been considered as true, but was merely some one's opinion, Mr. Quimby gave up his subject, Lucius, and began the developing of what is now known as mental healing, or curing disease through the mind ...
"While engaged in his mesmeric experiments, Mr. Quimby became more and more convinced that disease was an error of the mind, and not a real thing. As the truths of his discovery began to develop, and grow in him, just in the same proportion did he begin to lose faith in the efficacy of mesmerism as a remedial agent in the cure of the sick; and after a few years he discarded it altogether.
"Instead of putting the patient into a mesmeric sleep, Mr. Quimby would sit by him; and, having given him a detailed account of what his troubles were, he would simply converse with him and explain the causes of the troubles, and thus change the mind of the patient . . ."
Despite the fact, however, that Lucius when in the mesmeric sleep would often read what was in the mind of the patient and diagnose the case according to opinions expressed by physicans, Lucius also discerned at other times the actual state of the body. That he possessed remarkable clairvoyant power in such cases is shown by experiments in which Lucius described events and things at a distance, when en rapport with the mind of some one in the audience who thought of some distant place which he wanted Lucius to visit. There is also documentary evidence to show that Lucius could accurately describe the condition of the body after death.
There was much to learn from these experiments, therefore, besides the significant fact that a patient would often feel in regard to his own body as medical diagnosis suggested that he feel. Lucius would sometimes prescribe a remedy so simple or so absurd that Mr. Quimby saw there could be no virture in the medicine. Plainly, both the disease and its cure must be explained on another basis. This we see clearly when we realize that Mr. Quimby himself experienced the benefits of the clairvoyant descriptions, thereby overcoming what had appeared to be threatening diseases, although the true explanation was not the one offered by Lucius.
[This is the third installment of a four part series originally written and published as Chapter III. QUIMBY'S RESTORATION TO HEALTH, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
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Remembering SSMR is an article written by C. Alan Anderson Ph.D. (1930-2012) for the Summer 2012 issue of INTA New Thought quarterly magazine. Dr. Anderson was a co-founder of the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion, and in this article, he discusses the beginnings of that organization. Remembering SSMR is Anderson’s final published writing, and is now available in our on-line archives here.
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