June 23, 2013

LETTERS TO PATIENTS

    Chapter X of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[Continued from last week.—editor.]
[Again, Quimby wrote as if conversing with his patient and meeting objections point by point, while still carrying on the treatment. Thus he writes to one not yet convinced of the efficacy of absent help:]
I will now sit down by you as I used to, for I see I am with you, and talk to you a little about your weak back. You forgot to sit upright as I used to tell you. Perhaps you cannot see how I can be sitting by you in your house, and at the same time be in Portland. I see you look up and open your eyes, and I hear you say, “No, I am sure I cannot, and I do not believe you can be in two places at the same time.” I hear you think, not speak. . . . If you [understood], you would not doubt that I am now talking to you. . . . I have faith to believe that I can make you believe by my Wisdom. So I shall try to convince you that although I may be absent in the idea or body, yet I am present with you in the mind. . . . If you know that I am here, [in the case of present treatment] you attach your [thought] to the Christ or Truth and if you believe this you are saved from the uncertainty of seeing me in the body.
[Writing to another patient not quite clear on this point, Dr. Quimby states that when he receives a letter he always feels as though he were spiritually with the patient giving advice. Sometimes he seems to be present with several patients at once, because so many have come to him and are thinking of him. So, he says:]
I make a sort of general visit, as I used to when you were all in my office. But if I feel certain of one I make that one a text to preach from. So I believe if you can make yourself known to me by your faith I can feel you. Since I commenced writing you have come up before me so that I now recall you perfectly well, and I will give my attention to you.
[Speaking of his effort to convince a patient of “this great Truth,” Dr. Quimby writes:]
When I say this great Truth I mean this light that lighteth every one that understands it. When I first sit by you, my desire to see you lights up my mind like a lamp. As the light expands, my [spiritual] senses being attached to the light, each particle of light contains all the elements of the whole. So when the light is strong enough to see your light in your darkness or doubts, then I come in harmony with your light, and dissipate your errors and bring your light out of your darkness. Then I try to associate you with . . . a substance that is separate and part from your senses.
[In still another letter on the same subject Quimby says that sometimes he cannot see a patient when he reads the letter asking for help, because the “errors” obscure his sight. The spiritual self in a person possesses spiritual light, independent of matter. But this is so associated with matter in the average person that it becomes attached to it. In its pure operation his light sees through matter in its various combinations. Common education has placed a barrier between people. Superior intelligence is required to see through this obstacle. To communicate with the spirit in person is to endeavor to reach that part which interiorly sees and hears and is independent of time and space. This part of ourself is not known by the natural man, in his dependence on ordinary sight and hearing. It is imprisoned by “the error of common belief.” This belief is under the direction of people who are unaware that there is an intelligence independent of the body. Quimby shows that he wishes to talk with that part of the self which does not believe in the adverse suggestions to which one becomes subject through ignorance. If he can make himself felt apart from common means of communication, this experience will show that the self really possesses these higher powers. If his patient hears his inner voice, she should not put a false construction upon it or become frightened and close the inner door. For he must convince her that her supposed friends are her enemies, those who tell her “with long hypocritical faces and whining tones,” that she “looks very feeble,” and “not so well.” “These are the hypocrites that devour widows’ houses. For your science is your house, and as you are all alone you are a widow in the Science of Christ or Truth. Now Christ visited the widowed and fatherless in their distress, and told his disciples to do the same, and keep them pure and unspotted from the world of opinions. While you read this I am with you in your belief or prison, till I shall tear it down and raise you up.”]
[Again, Quimby admits in writing to a man concerning his wife’s case that he has sometimes judged for the moment by what the sick said about themselves, and advised them not to come; but on sitting with such patients he has found their trouble amounted to a “mere nothing.” He has advised others to come, on the basis of their own description, and found them far worse than he expected. This has led him to give all people opportunity to take the chance and he will then do the best he can for them. If certain of curing one whom he has never seen he would at once advise favorably. But be will not venture to give a mere opinion. If however the patient herself in this case will write to Quimby, giving an account of her own case, he will devote an hour to her, and so write that she may follow her own leadings. In this way Quimby gave inquirers an opportunity to look beneath all opinions.]
[It is noticeable that in these letters, written in 1860 and 1861, Quimby shows that he has a clear conception of the “Science of Christ,” or “Christian Science,” a term which he employed later.]
[To a patient who tried to persuade Quimby to promise that he would heal her, he writes:]
You say in your letter that I told you so and so, and you hold me to what I said, just as though I might forget it. . . . Now these promises are the very things I am trying to get rid of. . . . When my patients get me to make a promise, it seems to them as if that were all, and they never think they have anything to do for themselves. This is so common among the sick that I have become very cautious. . . . Now, do not hold me as P. P. Q. responsible to stop your cough, but hold the sick idea responsible for the cough. I must hold you, not Mrs. B. but the sick idea to its promises. . . . You must remember that Mrs. B. said she would keep up good courage, and not be afraid if she coughed a little. If I hear of your complaining about the cough, I shall hold you to your bargain. You see you are bound to keep the peace, to do all that is right so that health may come, and that you may once more rejoice. . . .
[This is the fourth and final 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.]

Quotation by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


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Editor’s Corner

Today we conclude our review or examination of Chapter 10, LETTERS TO PATIENTS, in Horatio W. Dresser’s 1921 publication of The Quimby Manuscripts.
The last letter touches on an important aspect of the healing methodology used by Quimby, and that is the need for the patient to participate in his or her own healing process. So often, the patient wants to passively sit back and let Quimby do all of the “work.”
Due to the large volume of materials, and the space constraints in his book, Dresser has abridged these letters. In the full record of this last letter written to “Mrs. Ferrell,” Quimby expands on his “promise” and their “contract” of working together:
You say in your letter that I told you so and so, and you hold me to my promise just as though I would forget you, if I had not promised that you would get well. Now these promises are the very thing I am trying to get rid of, for when you promise a child anything on condition, they never think of the obligation to their parent, but claim the reward. So it is with all my patients. It sometimes makes me smile to see how artful they will be to get me to make a promise and when I do it, it seems as that was all, and they never think that they have anything to do for themselves. This is so common among the sick that I have become very cautious how I promise, for if I do not fulfill my promises, they are sure to remind me of it. It often makes me feel as though they thought me to blame for not fulfilling my promise. And I really feel guilty myself, for I believe that our minds are under some wisdom, from a love [by] the natural man’s wisdom, and when I mentally agree unconditionally to do a thing, it annoys me much if I fail to do it.
Now I know you as Mrs. Ferrell; do not hold me as P. P. Quimby responsible to stop your cough. But this sick idea does hold me to my promise, so I will try my best to fulfill it. In doing so, I must hold you, not Mrs. F but the sick idea, to its promise. And for fear you may forget, I will just remind Mrs. F what the sick idea promised on her part. It was that she would keep up good courage and not believe in what anyone said and not be afraid if she coughed a little but keep calm and cheerful. Now, if I hear about you complaining about your cough and getting low spirited, I shall tell you of it, and hold you to your bargain. You see you are bound to keep the peace and to do all that is right, so that your health may come, and you may once more rejoice. Now I think I have sat with you some time, and this contract, I want you to read now and then, and I will sit and listen when you are reading it, and I think we will get along first rate.
The full transcriptions of these letters from Quimby to his patients are available here.
In other news, Cliff Gallant, a writer for the Portland Daily Sun newspaper, Portland, Maine, wrote a piece on Quimby for his column. You may read it here: http://portlanddailysun.me/index.php/opinion/columns
Next week, we will move into Chapter 11, LETTERS TO PATIENTS AND INQUIRERS, of The Quimby Manuscripts.
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
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