July 7, 2013

LETTERS TO PATIENTS AND INQUIRERS 1

    Chapter XI of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
1These letters have been somewhat condensed to avoid repetitions.
[Continued from last week.—editor.]

PORTLAND, December 16th, 1861.                         

Miss B:
Yours of the 7th is received containing $2.00 as a fee for my services on yourself. As you have shown a spirit of sympathy that I never have received before, I certainly shall not prove myself one who will not return to another as I would that another should do to me. So I receive your two dollars sent in hope of a relief and return your money, believing it came from one who is as ready to give as to receive. I believe if two persons agree in one thing sincerely, independent of self, it will be granted.
I will now use my skill as far as I am able to correct your mind in regard to your trouble. The heat you speak of is not a rush of blood to the head but it is caused by a sensation on your mind like some trouble. This causes a weakness at times at the pit of your stomach. The heat in the second stomach causes a pressure on the aorta which makes the heart beat very rapidly at times. This you take for palpitation and it causes a flash or heat, which of course you take for a rush of blood to the head. But it is not so; it is in the fluids. As the clouds in the skies change when the wind blows, so the fluids under the skin change at every excitement. The skin being transparent reveals the color; this annoys you and the false idea that [the cause] is the blood that keeps up the fire. Now just take into your mind the [idea of the] spine as a combined lever of three parts, and you will see how to correct your [thought] so as to ease the pressure. . . . Now imagine yourself sitting in a chair with the lower lever or spine at right angles with your limbs. This [will] relieve the stomach, take the pressure from the aorta and put out the fire so there can be no heat. This will produce a change in your feelings and the change is the cure.
If you will sit down on Sunday evening I will try to straighten you up so as to relieve that feeling. [When] I succeed, if you feel that I am entitled to anything in the shape of a gift, it will be received if ever so trifling. Your sincerity towards me interests my sympathy in you, and if I relieve you I shall be very glad. You have taken the way to make me try my best. This is true sympathy to sympathize with those who make the first sacrifice. It is of no consequence if it be one cent or one hundred: the sacrifice is all. It shows your faith, and according to your faith so shall your cure be. This being a new experiment, let me know how I succeed and if I change your mind, the change is the cure. I send you one of my circulars which will tell you more of my treatment. It is easier to cure than to explain to a patient at a distance. But I am sure of the principle and feel confident that I shall cure at a distance. For distance is nothing but an error that truth will sometime explode. If my faith and your hope mingle, the cure will be the result, so I will give my attention to you as far as my faith goes and shall like to hear how I succeed.

P. P. QUIMBY.                        

Miss B:
Yours of the 7th is received and I am glad to learn that I have relieved your mind by “my power,” as you call it. But you misunderstand my power. It is not power but Wisdom. If you knew as much as I do about yourself you could feel another’s feelings; but here is the trouble. What people call “power” I call Wisdom. Now if my wisdom is more than yours then I can help you, but this I must prove to you, and if I tell you about yourself what you cannot tell me, then you must acknowledge that my wisdom is superior to yours and become a pupil instead of a patient.
I will now sit down by you and tell your feelings. You may give your attention to me by [mentally] giving me your hand. I will write down the conversation that I hold with you while sitting by you. You have a sort of dizzy feeling in your head and a pain in the back part of the neck. This affects the front part of the head causing a heaviness over the eyes. The lightness about the head causes it to incline forward, bringing a pressure on your neck, just below the base of the brain, so that you often find yourself throwing your head up, to ease that part of the head. This makes it heavy so it bears on the shoulders, cramps the neck, numbs the chest, so that you give way at the pit of the stomach and feel as though you wanted something to hold you up. This cramps the stomach, giving you a “gone feeling” at the pit of the stomach. Now these symptoms taken of themselves are nothing. But you have had medical advice, or have got from some one else an answer to all these feelings. You are nervous. You think you have the heart complaint. Your blood rushes to the head. . . . [If] all these symptoms together would not make your face red, what would?
Listen to me and I will give an explanation of all the above feelings. I must go back to the first cause, say some years ago. I will not undertake to tell just the cause but I will give you an illustration. Suppose I (the natural man) were sitting by you, and we were alone. If I should go and fasten the door, and go towards you and attempt to seize hold of you, and if you asked me what I intended to do and I should say, “keep still, or I will blow your brains out,” you would see that this would frighten you. I think your heart would beat as fast as it ever did. This explanation I do not say is true. For I suppose a case, [but a shock or] start contracts the stomach, the fright or excitement [generates] heat, [and the pressure] sets your heart beating, and throws the heat to your head, this heat tries to escape out of the nose causing a tickling in your nose and you often rub it because it itches and feels hot. It then tries to escape through the passage to the ears making your cheeks red and burn and causes a noise in your ears sometimes. This after a while subsides, the stomach relaxes and the heat passes down from the stomach into the bowels. . . .
Now follow the directions in the last letter and relieve the pressure on the aorta. This will check the nervous heat and relieve the excitement and then the heat will subside. The color is in the surface of the skin and has nothing to do with any humor or disease: it is nothing but excitement. As I told you in my last, I will be with you when you read the letters and you will feel a warm sensation pass over you, like a breath. This will open the pores of the skin and the heat will escape.
I send back the five dollars till the cure is performed. I don’t like to be outdone in generosity and I am willing to risk as much as any one in such a cause as this. If I come off conqueror then it will be time enough for you to offer up a sacrifice. Till then if I accept a gift it is without an equivalent on my part. I feel as certain of success as you do, so I feel as though I run no risk. All I look for is the cure. You ask if I give any medicine. The only medicine I ever give is my explanation and that is the cure. In about a week let me know how the medicine works. Hoping to hear good news when next I hear from you, I remain,

Your friend,

P. P. QUIMBY.                        

[This is the second installment of a five—part series originally written and published as Chapter XI. LETTERS TO PATIENTS AND INQUIRERS, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]

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Editor’s Corner

Today we are reviewing the second installment of a five—part serial review of Chapter 11, LETTERS TO PATIENTS AND INQUIRERS, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.
Dresser has “condensed” these two letters and the only personal identification that he provides for us is “Miss B.”
Her name is Elizabeth Brackett, and she lived in West Boylston, Massachusetts. Geographically, West Boylston is 118 miles away from Quimby’s office in Portland, Maine, “as the crow flies,” so just like last week, this will be a case of healing at a distance, or non—localized healing.
In a search of the entire Quimby writings of historical materials that span the collections of both the Library of Congress, and Boston University, I have located four letters to this patient, and today, we will be examining all four full letters. We will proceed through them in chronological order, so that we may follow Quimby’s stated healing methodology.
For today’s discussion, I have the digital images from the microfilms on the computer screen in front of me and I will provide the documentation for each letter as we move along.
Unlike Quimby’s lifelong friend Rosilla Longfellow from last week, Elizabeth Brackett seems to be a total stranger to him.
Our first letter is from the Boston University microfilm on reel number 3, frames 0677—0678. As mentioned last week, I identified these microfilms in the Primary Resources section, of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond.
Portland, Dec 16th, 1861 [Jan 9th is crossed out and Dec 16th is written above. Therefore, the year should be 1860, and not 1861.]
Miss Brackett,
Yours of the 7th is received containing $2.00 as a fee for my services on yourself, and as you have shown a spirit of sympathy that I never have received before, I certainly shall not prove myself one who will not return to another as I would that another should do to me. So I receive your two dollars sent in hope of a relief and return your money believing it came from one who is as ready to give as to receive. I believe if two persons agree in one thing sincerely independent of self, it will be granted.
In addition to the biblical overtones, the fact that Quimby returns the money to the patient, speaks volumes to his personal character. In this last sentence, we can see the first glimpse of the communion of spirit, or unification, as discussed last week.
I will now use my skill as far as I am able to correct your mind in regard to your trouble. The heat you speak of is not a rush of blood to the head, but it is caused by a sensation in your mind like some trouble. This causes a weakness at times at the pit of your stomach. The heat in the second stomach causes a pressure on the aorta which makes the heart beat very rapidly at times. This you take for palpitation and it causes a flash or heat, which of course you take for rush of blood to the head. But it is not so, it is in the fluids. As the clouds in the skies change when the wind blows so the fluids under the skin change at every excitement. The skin being transparent reveals the color, this annoys you and the false idea that it is the blood keeps up the fire. Now just make in your mind the spine into a combined lever of three parts and you will see how to correct your form so as to ease the pressure on the aorta. Just call that part of the spine below the stomach one lever, that part above the stomach another and that part from the base of the brain to the level of the shoulders, or that vertebra neck some six or eight inches below the base of the brain, the other. This divides the spine into three levers. Now just imagine yourself sitting in a chair with the lower lever or spine at right angles with your limbs. Now bring the second lever on a line with the lower and then the first and second will be balanced. Now place the neck or upper lever so that all will balance or have the spine a little inclined in, and then you get a right position. This relieves the stomach, takes the pressure from the aorta and puts out the fire so there can be no heat. This will produce a change in your feelings and the change is the cure.
Quimby is “meeting the patient where she is.” Evidently, she previously received a medical diagnosis of her condition. We would also do well to cut Quimby a little slack on his medical knowledge. So far, he is calming her fears, and the only medical advice that he has given to this patient, is for her to sit up straight.
If you will sit down on Sunday evening I will try to see if I can straighten you up so as to relieve that feeling. Relieve this and the heat will soon vanish. I will try to exert my powers on you and if I succeed and you feel that I am entitled to anything in the shape of a gift, it will be received if ever so trifling. Your sincerity towards me interests my sympathy in you and if I relieve you I shall be very glad. You have taken the way to make me try my best. This is true sympathy to sympathize with those who make the first sacrifices—no consequence if it be one cent or one hundred—the sacrifice is all. It shows your faith and according as your faith is, so shall your cure be. This is a new experiment, let me know how I succeed and if I change your mind the change is the cure. I send you one of my circulars which will tell you more of my treatment. It is easier to cure than to explain to a patient at a distance, but I am sure of the principle and feel confident that I shall some time cure at a distance, for distance is nothing but an error that truth will sometime explode. If my faith and your hope mingle the cure is the result. So I will give my attention to you as far as my faith goes and shall like hear how I succeed.
Yours etc. P. P. Quimby
Miss Elizabeth Brackett
West Boylston, Mass.
In the last part of this first letter, Quimby is calling attention to the patient’s faith that a cure is possible. After all, she sent him money with the expectancy of receiving a cure, so he is building on this expectancy. He also sets a time for his treatment (Sunday evening), and expresses his goal of changing the patient’s mind.
We can also see that healing at a distance is a new practice for Quimby. He too, is learning from his experiences with his patients, while testing his own spiritual potentials.
Our second letter also comes from the Boston University microfilm, reel number 3, frames 0678—0679.
To the same Miss Brackett
Yours of the 7th is received and I am glad to learn that I have relieved your mind by my power as you call it. But you misunderstand my power, it is not power but wisdom. If you knew as much as I do about yourself, you could feel another’s feelings: but here is the trouble. What people call power I call wisdom. Now if my wisdom is more than yours then I can help you, but this I must prove to you and if I tell you about yourself what you cannot tell me, then you must acknowledge that my wisdom is superior to yours and you become a pupil instead of a patient.
A shift is taking place here. Quimby is redefining the woman’s role from that of a passive patient, into that of a pupil or student. He expects her to learn and participate in her own healing process.
Quimby’s use of the term “my wisdom,” is a source of confusion for many people, and is a topic worthy of a major study. Although this extends beyond the confines of today’s discussion, we do need a glimpse of his meaning before we move forward.
From his article, Disease Traced to the Early Ages and Its Causes—Religion, we find, “My God is wisdom and all wisdom is of God.” (Emphasis added.)
In addition, from his article, About Patients—Symptoms of a Patient, he writes, “So my religion is my wisdom, which is not of this world, but of that Wisdom that will break in pieces the wisdom of man.”
There are many such examples throughout the Quimby writings.
We can see that Quimby utilizes his term “my wisdom,” in connection and recognition of his higher self and God’s immanence. Although these brief remarks scarcely touch on Quimby’s definition of God, we need to understand that when he says or writes, “my wisdom,” he means something much greater and nobler than his carnal-minded “natural man.”
Next, keeping cognizant that he is 118 miles away from this patient, he is now in spiritual communion (unification) with her, and is able to read her feelings at a distance:
I will now sit down by you and tell your feelings. You may give your attention to me by giving me your hand be still and look me in the eye. I will write down the conversation that I hold with you while sitting by you. You have a sort of a dizzy feeling in your head and a pain in the back part of the neck. This affects the front part of the head causing a heaviness over the eyes. The lightness about the head causes it to incline forward, bringing a pressure on your neck, just below the base of the brain, so that you often find yourself throwing your head up, to ease that part of the head. This makes it heavy and it bears on the shoulders, cramps the neck, numbs the chest, so that you give way at the pit of the stomach and makes you feel as though you wanted something to hold you up. This cramps the stomach giving you a gone feeling at the pit of the stomach.
This contraction presses on the bowels and causes a full feeling at times and a heaviness about your hips and loggy feeling when you walk.
Now all of these symptoms taken of themselves are nothing but you have had medical advice, or have got from some one else an answer to all these feelings like these. You are nervous. You have the heart complaint—your blood rushes to the head and you are liable to female weakness. Now take all these symptoms together and if they would not make your face red, what would?
Now listen to me and I will give an explanation of all the above feelings. I must go back to the first cause, say some years ago. I will not undertake to tell just the cause but I will give you an illustration.
Now suppose, I, (the natural man) was sitting by you and we were alone, and I should go and fasten the door and then go towards you and attempt to seize hold of you, and if you asked me what I intended to do, I should say if you don’t keep still I will blow your brains out. You would see that this would be likely to frighten you and I think your heart would beat as fast as it ever did. This explanation I do not say is true, for I suppose a case and you can carry yourself back to some scene or place and then you can have a starting point. Now a start contracts the stomach, the fright or excitement is heat, this heat presses on the aorta, that sets your heart beating and that throws the heat to your head and it tries to escape out of the nose, causing a tickling in your nose and you often rub it, because it itches and feels hot. It then tries to escape through the passage to the ears, making your cheeks red and burn and causes a noise in your ears sometimes. This after a while subsides, the stomach relaxes and the heat passes down from the stomach into the bowels and affects the neck of the bladder and the water. This the doctors call female weakness, but it is not so. It affects you in other ways in your hips and causes a weakness in the back. Now all of this causes a heat throughout the system and it comes to the surface of the skin, and when the cold comes in contact with it, it produces a chill so your hands and feet are cold and clammy.
Now follow the directions in the last letter and you relieve the pressure on the aorta. This checks the nervous heat and relieves the excitement and then the heat subsides and the complexion changes. The color is in the surface of the skin and has nothing to do with any humor or disease—nothing but excitement. Now as I told you in my last, I will be with you when you read the letters and you will feel a warm sensation pass over you, like a breath and that opens the pores of the skin and the heat escapes.
I send back the five dollars till the cure is performed. I don’t like to be out done in generosity and am willing to risk as much as any one in such a cause as this, and if I come off conqueror, then it will be time enough for you to offer up a sacrifice, but till then if I accept a gift it is without a equivalent on my part. I feel as certain of success as you do, so I feel as though I run no risk, so all I look for is the cure. You ask if I give any medicine. The only medicine I ever give is my explanation and that is the cure, and so I will rest easy till the end. In about a week let me know how the medicine works.
Hoping to hear good news when next I hear from you I remain your friend.
P. P. Quimby
Elizabeth Brackett
West Boylston
Unfortunately, we do not know the contents of the circular that Quimby sent to this patient along with his first letter, but in this second letter, he is once again separating his identity of a “natural man” from his identity as a healer. You may recall he did the same thing last week in our examination of the Longfellow letter.
This patient felt she received at least a degree of physical benefit from Quimby’s first letter and treatment, because she sent him 5 dollars in her second letter. Quimby returned this money as well, as he is holding out for a complete healing.
Our third letter comes from the Boston University microfilms on reel number 3, frame 0688:
Portland, Feb 10th, 1861
Miss Elizabeth Brackett, W. Boylston Mass
Owning to a press of business your letter of Jan 10th has not been answered, but I have made you a number of calls and find you better, and I shall visit you at times till you get over your troubles. Sometime I may explain to you how you became frightened, but as it will not alter the case now, it will need no explanation, perhaps you will remember yourself. I feel as though you would get well, so let me know how you are getting along. I am getting quite interested in your case and want to know if I understand it. I believe that if persons believe in the truth, it will teach them that although they may be absent from one another in the body, yet they may be present and feel each other’s feelings.
“Truth” is another primary quality, attribute, or characteristic of God’s immanence according to Quimby. It is his teacher, and whether or not he explicitly states this in every healing session, it is Quimby the practitioner, who brings God into the healing equation.
So if you will seat yourself in a chair on Tues. eve nine o’clock, I will sit down by you and make you feel sleepy, cause the heat to pass down from your face and make you feel very calm. If you experience any sensation, let me know, and if you remember how you feel at this time 9 o’clock Sunday eve. please name it. It seems as though you were enjoying yourself, so I will bid you Good Night—
Quimby has been “visiting” and communicating with the spiritual identity of this patient on multiple occasions. He makes another appointment for “Tues. eve nine o’clock.”
Our fourth and final letter comes from the Boston University microfilms on reel number 3, frame 0962:
March 10th 1861
Miss Brackett, Boston, Mass.
Owning to a press of business, I have not had time to answer your letter until now, but I often see you and talk to you about your health.
I feel as though I had explained to the spiritual or Scientific man the cause of your trouble, which I may not have made plain in my letters to the natural man, but it may sometime come to your senses, or you may see me, then I can tell you what I cannot put on paper. As for the cause affecting you now, I feel as though I had removed the cause and the effect will soon cease and you will be happy and enjoy good health. I wait to hear that my prophecies have been fulfilled but I shall keep a lookout for your health till I hear you say that you are well.
By his reference to her spiritual or Scientific man (woman), we now have explicit confirmation that Quimby has been leading this patient to the realization of her own divine nature.
This is one of the few instances in Quimby’s writings of where we can follow his distant healing methodology over a span of time. This isn’t a strict, formula methodology, but if we were baking a healing pie of “health and happiness,” three of the core ingredients would be, recognition, unification, and realization.
We will be watching for these ingredients in the coming weeks.
In Wisdom, Love and Light,
Ron Hughes
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