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Topic: Quimby Manuscripts
Section: Chapter 10 - Letters to Patients, part 2 of 2
Table of Contents to this Topic
PORTLAND, March 3, 1861.
To Mrs. D.
In answer to your letter I will say that you know I told you that your disease was in your mind. Now your mind is your opinion, and your opinion is that you have scrofulous or cancerous humour. . . . This opinion shows itself in your system. . . . As I change this something or opinion, it must change the effect, . . . and in the change it will produce these feelings, because it is in the fluids. As this change goes on it must affect your head and also your side, and it ought to affect your stomach. This will bring on a phenomenon like a cold . . . this carries off all the false ideas and relieves your system of that bloat and heat. Keep up your courage. It is all right.(1)
(1) Although Quimby speaks of disease as "in the mind," he speaks of the error or opinion as "something," and mentions the bodily effects without denying that such changes are produced in the physical system. But he turns the thought as quickly as possible to the regenerative changes presently to come.
PORTLAND, March 3rd. .
T o Mr. R.
When your letter was received I went to your relief, but I cannot say that I affected you. But now I will sit down and try to affect your stomach so that you will not want to smoke. I feel . . . that if you were aware of the evil influence of the enemy that is prowling around you, enticing you to smoke, you would not harbor him one moment; but hurl him from you as you would a viper that would sting you to the heart. I know that opinions are something and they are our friends or our enemies. So the opinion you have of smoking is a false one and is an enemy to you. It is subtle like the serpent that coils around you like a boa constrictor till you feel its grasp around your chest, making your heart palpitate and sending the heat to your head. Then you will struggle to rid yourself of his grasp, till overpowered you become paralyzed. He will laugh at your folly when your fear cometh. Remember that "love casteth out fear," and fear hath torment. Science is love. Fear is disease: torment is your reward. So watch lest he enter your house while you are asleep and bind your limbs, and when you awake find yourself bound hand and foot. So remember what I say to you as a friend. P. P. Q.
March 3rd, 1861.
To Miss G.
I will now sit down and put on paper what I did at the time I received your letter. I went to you [in spirit] at that time and have visited you at times ever since. I wish now to let you know that I am still with you, sitting by you while [you are] in your bed, encouraging you to keep up good spirits and all will go right. If you cough, it is to get rid of the heat that has gone to your head. P. P. Q.
March 10th, 1861.
T o Miss B.
Owing to a press of business I have not had time to answer your letter until now, but I often see you [in spirit] and talk to you about your health.(1) 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 sometimes 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 fulfilled. But I shall keep a lookout for your health till I hear you say that you are well.
P. P. Q.
(1) Quimby conversed with his patients in the same friendly way in spirit as during the talks which followed treatments in his office. He addressed the inner self, speaking what to him was the direct truth, in contrast with the patient's consciousness in bondage to opinion.
March 10th, 1861.
To Miss S.
In answering your letter I will say that I have used my best efforts to help you, and I feel as though I had [succeeded]. Now I will once more renew my promise not to forsake you in your trouble, but to hold you in the influence of this great Truth that is like the ocean. While your bark is tossed by the breeze or storms of error and superstition, while the skies are dark with error and you are moved by your cable or belief, feeling as though you may be blown on to the rocks of death, you may look to that Truth that is now beating against the errors and breaking them in pieces, scattering them to the winds and even piercing the hardest flinty hearts, grinding them into pieces. This Truth shall shine like the sun and burn up all these errors that affect the human race.
So be of good cheer and keep up your courage, and you shall see me coming on the water of your belief and saying to the waters or pain, "Be still," soothing you till the storm is over. Then when the sun or Truth shall shine, and the pure breeze from heaven spring up, slip your cable and set sail for the port of health, there to be once more in the bosom of your friends. Then I will shake hands with you and go exploring for some other bark that is out in the same gale.
P. P. QUIMBY.
March 10th, 1861.
To Mrs. W.
I have not been able to answer your letter until now. But I have often . . . talked to you. How much you have been aware of it, I cannot say. But I now see you and your husband sitting looking as easy as possible. I shall visit you as an angel, not a fallen one, but one of mercy, till you are able to guide your own bark.
It is true your husband can travel the briny deep, but he has never entered this ocean of this higher state. . . Our belief makes our bodies or barks, the sea is troubled, error is the rocks and quicksands where we are liable to be driven by the cross-currents while the wind of error is whistling in our ears. . . . Now keep a good lookout and you will see the breakers ahead. So brace up and see that your compass is right. Keep all snug and fast. Remember what I told you . . . not to lose control of yourself, but stand on deck and give your orders, not in a whining way, but bold and earnest. Then your crew will obey your orders. You will steer clear of all danger and land safe in the port of health.(1)
P. P. QUIMBY.
(1) Quimby habitually inculcated the affirmative attitude by employ?ing the terms familiar to his patients according to their occupation
PORTLAND, March 19th, 1861.
To Mr. A.
Your change of mind when you got your religion was the effect of error, not of Truth. So you worship you know not what. But I worship I know what, and "whom you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.". . . This same Christ, whom you think is Jesus, is the same Christ that stands at the door of your dwelling or belief, knocking to come in and sit down with the child of Science that has been led astray by blind guides into the wilderness of darkness. Now wake from your sleep and see if your wisdom is not of this world. . . . To be born again is to unlearn your errors and embrace the truth of Christ: this is the new birth, and it cannot be learned except by desire for the truth, that Wisdom that can say to the winds of error and superstition "Be still!" and they will obey.
It is not a very easy thing to forsake every established opinion and become a persecuted man for this Truth's sake, for the benefit of the poor and sick, when you have to listen to all their long stories without getting discouraged. This cannot be done in a day. I have been twenty years training myself to this one thing, the relief of the sick. A constant drain on a person's feelings for the sick alters him, and he becomes identified with the suffering of his patients: this is the work of time. Every person must become affected one way or the other, either to become selfish and mean, so his selfish acts will destroy his wisdom . . . or his wisdom will become more powerful. . . .
It is not an easy thing to steer the ship of wisdom between the shores of poverty and the rocks of selfishness. If he is all self, the sick lose that sympathy which they need at his hand. If he is all sympathy, he ruins his health and becomes a poor outcast on a charitable world. For the sick can't help him and the rich won't. (1)
(1) The resource, Quimby points out elsewhere, is found through knowledge that this Wisdom is from God; brings strength, guidance, freedom. Contrast Quimby's spirit as disclosed in this letter with that of later therapeutists who lacked his great sympathy.
[Whenever in his letters to the sick Dr. Quimby speaks of spiritism we find him sceptical concerning alleged messages from the "dead." In one letter he says, "As my mode of treating disease is entirely new to the world, the spiritualists claim me as a medium. I deny this, but believe that mind acts on mind, and that it is the living, and not the dead; so here is where we differ" He then goes on to tell about a woman who was greatly misled by an unscrupulous medium. The result was so serious that the woman left her husband in a fit of jealousy, and when Dr. Quimby was called had tried to take her own life by cutting her throat. After hearing all sides of the case, and finding the woman virtually insane, Dr. Quimby sat by her to restore her, her state being so violent that he had to hold her by main force. After four or five hours she was brought to her senses and so quieted that she fell asleep. Then followed Quimby's explanations to both husband and wife, showing how they had been misled, the explanation was convincing and a complete reconciliation followed. This instance shows the thoroughness with which Quimby searched matters out to the end. He endeavored to give a complete substitute for spiritism by showing how one mind can mislead another.]
[Sometimes Quimby declined to take cases of certain types, inasmuch as he was working alone and had the force of public opinion against him. What he says with reference to blindness in a letter to an inquirer in 1861, is significant. He says, "I should not recommend any one like your description to come to see me, for I have no faith that I could cure him. If a man is simply blind I have no chance for a quarrel, for we both agree in that fact. But if a person has any sickness which he wants cured and is partially blind besides, then I might affect his blindness, but that is thrown in. I never undertake to cure the well and if a man is blind and is satisfied I can't find anything to talk about: if I undertake to tell him anything he says, Oh! I am all right but my eyes. So he is spiritually blind and cannot see that his blindness had a beginning . . . I refuse to take such cases till my popularity is such that my opinion is of some force to such persons; for opinions of popular quacks are law and gospel about blindness, and so long as the blind lead the blind they will both fall in the ditch."]
[When asked if he could cure any one using intoxicating liquors, he answered by considering all matters involved. Quimby did not undertake to judge a man simply because he drank. For he wrote, "I judge no man. Judgment belongs to God or Science, and that judges right, for it contains no opinion. Giving an opinion is setting up a standard to judge your neighbor by, and this is not doing as you would be done by." He goes on to say that if some one under condemnation as a criminal who has taken to drink comes to him, he pleads his case by tracing every factor to the foundation. Convincing the man that he has been misled by his enemies and has taken to drink to "drown his sorrows," Quimby brings him to his reason, the victim of persecution abandons his old associates, and is ready to change his habits. But, says Quimby, "if he likes smoking or drinking, he is satisfied and wants no physican. If [he is] sick and I find that liquor is his enemy, then it is my duty to tell him so. If I convince him, he has no more difficulty." Quimby's caution in indulging in any opinion of his own is indicated in a letter, dated April 10, 1861, in which he says:]
An opinion involves more responsibility than I am willing to take. Moreover, an opinion is of no force . . . and it might do a great deal of harm. I always feel as though disease was an enemy that might be conquered if rightly understood. But if you let your enemy know your thoughts, you give him the advantage. Therefore I never give the sick any idea that should make them believe that I have any fears Making health the fixed object in my mind, I never parley nor compromise. Once when your sister remarked she never expected to be perfectly well, I replied that I never compromised with disease, and as she had been robbed of her health I should not settle the case except on condition of the return of her health and happiness. . . . When your sister came to me I found her in a very nervous state from the fact that she had lost her sister and expected soon to follow her. This made her very nervous and stimulated her to that degree that she appeared to be quite strong. As I relieved her fears she became more quiet. This she took for weakness. But every change has come just as I told her it would. [Thus Dr. Quimby gradually brought his patient into the affirmative attitude, so that she could see for herself.]
[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. . . .