Every word is supposed to have a meaning.
Now words are like nuts.
Some are full - some partially full - and some are empty.
~ Phineas Quimby


Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Dr. Phineas P. Quimby

Learning to Heal


How can a person learn to cure the sick? As a pupil in mathematics learns to work out a problem. Every word is supposed to have a meaning. Now words are like nuts. Some are full, some partially full, and some are empty. The food (or wisdom) is in the word, and if the word contains no wisdom, then it is like husks or froth; it fails to satisfy the desire of the person who seeks the substance. Natural food is to satisfy the natural man, and spiritual food (or wisdom) is to satisfy the inner (or scientific) man. The child, before it begins to know, is a blank. It falls into the hands of the natural man and is fed by natural food, while its spiritual food is opinions, expressed in words.

Therefore, as I said, words contain more-or-less truth; all are not full, and some are empty. But when a person speaks a word that conveys the real substance and applies it to the thing spoken of - that is which is called the “bread of life,” and he neither hungers nor thirsts for wisdom, in regard to that.

The sick have been deceived by false words and have fed on food that contained no wisdom. Hungry and thirsty, they apply to strangers for food. They ask for health (or the bread of life), and the natural man, taking bread as a natural substance, brings bread to them - but their state (or mind) does not hunger for natural food; therefore, to them, it is a stone.

There is a bread of which, if a man eat, he is filled. This bread is Christ (or Science). It is the body of Christ. Jesus said, "Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life. For my flesh is meat, indeed, and my blood is drink, indeed."

The Jews of his day were like the scholars of the present day. Bread is bread, blood is blood, and they said, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” They do not understand that wisdom is a body and that opinion is a shadow. The natural man's belief is his body, and to eat and drink the world's wisdom is to eat condemnation (or disease).

Now I will illustrate a cure. I sit down by a sick person, and you also sit down. I feel her trouble and the state of her mind and find her faint and weary, for the want of wisdom. I tell her what she calls this feeling that troubles her, and knowing her trouble, my words contain food that you know not of. My words are words of wisdom, and they strengthen her; while if you should speak the same words and the sound should fall on the natural ear, precisely as mine do - they are only empty sounds, and the sick derive no nourishment from them.

I will describe this food, that you may taste it and be wiser for your meal. In order to prove that food satisfies a person's hunger, I must find a person who is hungry; and in order to prove that my words satisfy the sick, I must take one who hungers and thirsts for the bread of life (or health).

The lady I have now in my mind felt an uneasy feeling, as though she was hungry. Being weak and faint from exhaustion, she applied to a physician for food to satisfy her desire, for she was famished for the want of wisdom, in regard to her trouble. Instead of giving her wisdom that would have satisfied her, he - in his ignorance - gave her these words full of poison, "Your trouble is a cancer in the breast."

As she received these words, she grew more faint and exhausted, till she became sick at her stomach. She ate of this poisonous food, till the seeds of misery began to agitate the matter. The idea began to form, and a bunch appeared on the breast. As she attached the name “cancer” to the bunch, the name and the bunch became one body. The physician's words contained the poison; the poison produced the bunch. Their ignorance associated the name with the bunch and called it “cancer.”

I was called to see the lady, and being perfectly ignorant of her trouble, I felt the faint, hungry feeling. And as I felt the effect of the doctor's food (or opinion) on her, I said, “The food that you eat does not nourish you; it gives you pain in the heart.” (This I said in reference to the way she reasoned in regard to her trouble.)

How do you know?” she asked.

I told her then that she thought her trouble was a cancer, and she admitted that it was so. I then told her that she had no cancer, except what she made herself.

I admit the swelling,” said I, “but it is of your own making. You received the seed from the doctor, and he prepared the mind (or matter) for its growth; but the fruit is the work of the medical faculty.  Let us see how much of the idea cancer exists in truth. The name existed before the bunch; then the bunch, before it appeared, must have been in the mind - for it was not in sight when the word was first applied to it or when you were first told that you had one. You know that you can be affected by another mind?”

"Certainly," she said.

I wish to show you,” said I, “that every phenomenon that takes form in the human body is first conceived in the mind. Some sensation is felt which we cannot account for. We then conjure up some idea, which we create into a belief. It is soon condensed into a form and a name given to it. Thus every phenomenon taking the name of disease is a pattern of some false idea started without the least foundation in truth.

Now this bunch, I call a phenomenon, for I cannot call it a cancer, because if I do, I admit a thing outside the mind. The senses are the man, independent of flesh. That is one thing; the word cancer is another. Now I want to find the matter that the word is applied to. To say a thing exists and to prove its existence are two different things. If any doctor will tell me where that cancer was before it was in sight, I will ask him how he knows. Let him say it was in the blood - that the state of the blood indicates the presence of cancerous humor. Now do you deny that I told you your feelings?”

Certainly not,” she says. “Then have I a cancerous humor?”


(Then there is no wisdom in that argument.)


He never knew you had an ill-feeling, till you told him. Then where did he get his knowledge? Not from you, for you never thought of a cancer. It must have been from what you said about your pain. Suppose I had said that I felt these same pains, and you had kept your peace - then according to his theory, I must have a cancerous humor. Now I know that I have no humor, nor had I an idea (or pain), till I sat by you; therefore his story of a cancer is a lie, made out of the whole cloth, without the least shadow of truth. It is like stories of Sinbad the Sailor or some other fable that has no existence in truth.”

Then you will say, “What is this bunch?'”

It is a bunch of solid matter, not a ghost or any invisible thing, but it was made by yourself and no one else. I will tell you how you made it. You will remember I spoke of your having a heat. This heat contained no good or ill, but it was a mere decomposition of the body, brought about by some little excitement. It troubled you, for you say your dress fretted the parts. Then your superstitious fears of disease began to haunt you in your sleep, creating an action in the part of your breast where the error had made a stand, till finally you called on the doctor and got his opinion of what he knew nothing. You commenced then to form the idea, till at last you excited the muscles to such an extent that the bunch has appeared. If now I have proved the cure, I have affected it, and the bunch will disappear. Do you wish to know why?”


Have I not explained that the doctor's theory is based on a lie?”


Can the effect remain when the cause is removed?”

I presume not.”

How do you feel?”

I feel easy.”

How do you feel in regard to your trouble and in regard to what I have said?”

I think you are right and that it looks more reasonable than the doctor's story.”

Then your senses have left his opinion and have come to my wisdom. This is the new birth. You have risen from the dead, if you are free from the doctor's ideas. This truth has destroyed death and brought life and health, through science. Now I say unto you, take up your bed (or this truth), and go your way. And when the night of error comes, spread out the garment of wisdom that enfolded Jesus, and wrap yourself in its folds (or truth), till the sun of life shall shine in upon your body (or truth), and you rise free from the evils of the old belief."




Dr. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby



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