June 2, 2013

LETTERS TO PATIENTS

    Chapter X of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser

PORTLAND, Feb. 9th, 1860.            

To a Patient in Hill, N. H.
Your letter apprised me of your situation and I went to see [absent healing] if I could affect you. I am still trying to do so, but do not know as I can without sitting down and talking with you as I am at present. So I will sit by you a short time and relieve the pain in your stomach and carry it off. You can sit down, when you receive this letter, and listen to my story and I think you will feel better. Sit up straight. I am now rubbing the back part of your head and round the roots of your nose. I do not know as you feel my hand . . . but it will make you feel better. When you read this, I shall be with you: and do as I write. I am in this letter, so remember and look at me, and see if I do not mean just as I say. I will now leave you and attend to some others that are waiting, so “Good evening.” Let me know how you get along. If I do not write, I may have time to call for that does not require so much time.1

P. P. Q.            

1 This letter shows what intimate connection Dr. Quimby established mentally with patients whom he treated absently. The reference to rubbing the head was to show that the absent help applied directly where needed. This tended to strengthen faith.

PORTLAND, Feb. 9th, 1861.            

To Mr. S.
Your wife’s letter was received, and I was glad to learn you were all so much better. But your wife says you still cough: this is necessary for your cure, for you have no other way to get rid of that heat in the head called catarrh. Now, this heat seems to be a mystery to every one: everybody acknowledges it and tries to account for it. Some call it nervous, but when asked to explain that they fly to some other error.
You know I told you that mind was spiritual matter. In order to illustrate my meaning so you will understand it, I will make use of an illustration that Jesus used. He said, when the skies are red, you know it will be fair weather. Now thought is something and this acts in space. For instance, the body is nothing but a dense shadow, condensed into what is called matter, or ignorance of God or Wisdom. God or Wisdom is all light. Your identity [consciousness] acts in these two elements, light and darkness, so that all impressions are [subconsciously] made in this darkness or ignorance, and as the light springs up the darkness disappears. One of these elements is governed by Wisdom, the other by error, and as all belief is in this world of darkness, the truth comes in and explains the error. This rarifies the darkness and the light takes its place. Now as this darkness is all the time varying, like the clouds, it is necessary that man should be posted about it as he would about the weather. For our happiness in this world depends a great deal on the weather. For the wisdom of man has got so far from the truth that even the weather is our enemy, so that we step out as though we were liable to be caught by a cold, and if we are then comes the penalty. All this error arises from ignorance. So to keep clear of error is to know who he is, how he gets hold of us, and how we shall know when he is coming.
To make you understand I must come to you in some way in the form of a belief. So I will tell you a story of some one who died of bronchitis. You listen or eat this belief or wisdom as you would eat your meals. It sets rather hard upon your stomach; this disturbs the error or your body, and a cloud appears in the sky. You cannot see the storm but you can see it looks dark. In this cloud or belief you prophesy rain or a storm. So in your belief you foresee evils. The elements of the body of your belief are shaken, the earth is lit up by the fire of your error, the heat rises, the heaven or mind grows dark; the heat moves like the roaring of thunder, the lightning of hot flashes shoot to all parts of the solar system of your belief. At last the winds or chills strike the earth or surface of the body, a cold clammy sensation passes over you. This changes the heat into a sort of watery substance, which works its way to the channels, and pours to the head and stomach.
Now listen and you will hear a voice in the clouds of error saying, The truth hath prevailed to open the pores and let nature rid itself of the evil I loaded you down with in a belief. This is the way God or Wisdom takes to get rid of a false belief: the belief is made in the heavens or your mind, it then becomes more and more condensed till it takes the form of matter. Then Wisdom dissolves it and it passes through the pores, and the effort of coughing is one of Truth’s servants, not error’s: error would try to make you look upon it as an enemy. Remember it is for your good till the storm is over or the error is destroyed. So hoping that you may soon rid yourself of all worldly opinions and stand firm in the Truth that will set you free, I remain your friend and protector till the storm is over and the waters of your belief are still.

P. P. Q.            

PORTLAND, Feb. 8th, 1861.            

To Miss S., Hill, N. H.
Your letter was received and I was sorry to learn that you thought you took cold. Perhaps you did, but you know all of my patients have to go through the fiery furnace to cleanse them of the dross of “this sinful world,” made so by the opinions of the blind guides. Remember that passage where it says, “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.” As Truth is our friend, it rids us of our errors, and if we know its voice we should not fear, but receive it with joy. For although it may seem a hard master, nevertheless it will work out for you a more perfect health and happiness than this world of error ever could. So listen to it and I will try to set all things right.
Of course you get very tired, and this would cause the heat to affect the surface as your head was affected, the heat would affect the fluids, and when the heat came in contact with the cold it would chill the surface. This change you call “a cold.” But the same would come about in another way. Every word I said to you is like yeast. This went into your system like food and came in contact with the food of your old bread or belief. Mine was like a purgative, and acted like an emetic on your mind, so that it would keep up a war with your devils [errors], and they will not leave a person, when they have so good a hold as they have on you, without making some resistance. But keep up good courage and I will drive them all out so that you may once more rejoice in that Truth which will free you from your tormentors or disease.
If you will sit down and read this letter, take a tumbler of water and think of what I say, and drink and swallow now and then, I will make you sit up so you will feel better. You must be [silent and receptive] just about as long as you used to be in Portland. Try this every night about nine o’clock. This is the time I shall be with Mr. and Mrs. S. You know that where two or three are gathered together in the name of this Truth, there it will be in your midst and help you. So try it and see if it does help you. If you do, let me know.
Hoping this letter will be of some comfort to you and the rest, I remain your true friend and protector till you are well, if I have the Science to cure you. So I leave you for the present and attend to others.1

P. P. Q.            

1 Despite Dr. Quimby’s great confidence in the Truth, he often wrote and spoke in this way, never making mere promises or claims. The use of the tumbler of water was to strengthen faith and aid concentration.

PORTLAND, Feb. 8th, 1861.            

To Mr. S.
In answer to your letter I will try to explain the color you speak of . . . so that you will forget it. Give me your attention while I explain. You know I told you about your stooping over: this stooping is caused by excitement affecting the head. This contracts the stomach, causes an irritation, sending the heat to the head. This heat excites the glands about the nose, it runs down the throat and this is all there is about it. It will affect you sometimes when you are a little excited, and you will take it for a cold. Remember how I explained to you about standing straight. Just put your hands on your hips, then bend forward and back.
This relaxes the muscles around the waist at the pit of the stomach. This takes away the pressure from the nerves of the stomach and allays the irritation. Now follow this and sit down and I will work upon your stomach two or three times in three or four days. It will affect your bowels and help your color. Tell your wife to sit down and give her attention and I will affect her in the same way. Please take a little water when you are sitting, say about 9 o’clock in the evening. . .1

P. P. Q.            

1 Although the absent treatment given in such a case included much more than this letter indicates, Quimby, realizing the importance of expectant attention, mentioned specific results that might be looked for. He tried to make a patient self—helpful as soon as possible.
[This is the first installment of a four—part series originally written and published as Chapter X. LETTERS TO PATIENTS, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]

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Editor’s Corner

Today we begin our review or examination of Chapter 10, LETTERS TO PATIENTS, in Horatio W. Dresser’s 1921 publication of The Quimby Manuscripts.
These letters and more, now preserved in the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center of Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, and Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, Washington D. C., provide testimonial evidences of the correspondences between Dr. Quimby and his patients.
Through these communications, we can see the challenges faced by the patients. We can also learn what Quimby expected of his patients, as he stood with them on their road to recovery.
In his letter of February 8, 1861, to “Miss S.” of Hill, New Hampshire, he writes, “Try this every night about nine o’clock. This is the time I shall be with Mr. and Mrs. S. You know that where two or three are gathered together in the name of this Truth, there it will be in your midst and help you.”
This is a reference to the Christ speaking through Jesus in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Whether this is your first exposure to these letters, or it is a review, I would invite you to follow along with us in the coming weeks.
In Wisdom, Love and Light,
Ron Hughes
P.S. Do you have your copy of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond as of yet? This is our flagship publication, and within its pages, you will find a great source of Quimby information that is published for the very first time!
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