Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Illustrating the Word “Mind”November 1862
I will illustrate the mind. Mind and matter are like the soil and the earth. The body is the earth and the mind, the soil. The earth is the foundation of the soil, which cannot be seen by the earth. The soil receives its life from the atmosphere; therefore, that is the real intelligence of man - for the minds of individuals mingle, like the atmosphere, and every person's identity exists in this atmosphere. For wisdom or belief of every man is the soil, as the rose bush is in the earth, but its odor is in the atmosphere. So it is with man. We see him as a tree and his brain as the fruit of the tree. This is his mind (or odor) which ascends from the earth and contains all the passions and feelings of the tree (or natural man).
This is as far as philosophy has analyzed man, to trace him to earth and there leave him in mystery. David says, "As for man, his days are as grass, as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth." Ps. 103:15. Job says, "Man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fall from the sea, and the flood decayeth and dryeth up; so man lieth down and riseth not; till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep." Job 14: 10, 11, 12. Here is where Job ended man, yet he had a vague hope that there might be something after this state. He believed there was a God, and he hoped he might see him at the end of the world.
Lucretius, one of the wisest and most learned of philosophers of the Pagan school says, "The nature of the soul, we know not; whether formed at the body, or at the birth infused, and then by death cut off, she flourishes as bodies do; or whether she descends to the dark caves and dreadful lakes of hell, or after death, inspired with heavenly instinct, she returns into the brutes." In another place, he says, "If men were once convinced that death is the sure end of all their pains, they might, with reason then, resist the force of all religion, and condemn the threats of poets."
Ennius used to say that Homer's ghost appeared to him from hell, and bitterly weeping, discovered to him the nature of things. Others believed that the souls of ancient poets took possession of some living man - which is the same belief as that of modern spiritualists. All this shows that the soul, which is now called the “spirit” and was at the time of Jesus called the same - is one and the same thing. I see no difference between the Christian and Pagan in this respect. Both destroy man, but the Christian introduces a belief, which would flow from Job's religion; while the spiritualist would agree with the Pythagorean doctrine.
Jesus taught to man a truth, which will destroy their philosophies and give them, in their place, wisdom. I will present some of its characteristics, as they come to me in curing disease. I have said before, that man dissolves and passes into space, carrying with him all his knowledge; but as he never has attached his life to wisdom, he only knows himself in matter. Therefore, he lives in matter, and this is the belief of nine-tenths of mankind.
Jesus tried to introduce a proof that man exists outside of his belief - and I have learned the evidence he had of this truth. It is this. Man - including his senses of sight, taste, etc., and his wisdom - is not of matter; nor has he the qualities of matter. Pagan philosophy and religion made them a part of matter, and the belief in the transmigration of souls - which is akin to modern spiritualism - observed the more intelligent belief in progression. Jesus contended that he understood what he said and did, but their prejudice was so strong in favor of his having a power, that they could not understand when he tried to teach them that his acts and words proceeded from a wisdom superior to their belief - and that it could be taught.
To question their belief was to make himself equal with God. In the same way, when I say that I know how I cure, this same class of people say I blaspheme and make myself equal with Christ. They do not know how I cure and dislike to admit that anyone else does. Consequently, they strive to make my explanation as objectionable as possible.
I will present the evidence of the faith (or truth) in me. I know that I can take a person's feelings, and I also know that if I did not come in contact with another, I should not be certain that the feelings were theirs; and hence a person's body is not a sure sign that their trouble is in their body or in some other's.
According to my experience, mind (or matter in solution) is a thing in common, which all admit contains life. Each person has his senses in this life (or mind), as a globule of water is in the ocean. So if a sensation is made on the water, each particle is affected, and each may locate its trouble in itself.
For instance, consumption is as much an enemy to man as a wolf - and man is afraid of it. When a sensation is made on this mind (or belief), which I call “matter,” and the idea consumption is called up - man's senses see the image in this matter (or mind). Fear comes, and the reflection is thrown on his idea body, and then he believes that he has the disease; while the idea of consumption is a lie, started by the error of our own belief and accepted as a truth.
In the same way, when sitting by a patient, I feel the sensation in my mind, and immediately a figure (or spirit) is made, which is reflected as an impression on my body. Now if I were not aware of the cause, I might think I was the author (or originator) of this horrid belief; but knowing that it is only the reflection from my patient's mind, the idea dies.
The wisdom that put me in possession of this truth is Christ; the wisdom above my patient. Jesus says, "Fear hath torment, and perfect love (or wisdom) casteth out fear." By this wisdom I explain their fears away and destroy their torment - and this process is a science. Is it a sin to know and teach this for the happiness of mankind - and do I make myself equal with Christ? If I do, then I will submit to the odium willingly.
In writing these pieces, I am often interrupted by patients, calling to be examined. I stopped here to see a patient, and I will state the case, as a proof of what I have written. It was a lady whom I had attended frequently, but this time her symptoms were a little changed. She felt as though she had the asthma. When I told her of this state of things, she said she had been so affected, but at this present time, she could breathe with perfect ease. Still, the fear was in her. I said it was fear, for her body showed no symptoms of it - but I could see her, in her mind, trying to make it. She told me that she had been up all night with her father, who had been very sick with asthma, and she had taken it but was better now.
Here was a fair illustration of what I have written. She said I had told her how she felt. I then said to her, “If I did not know more than you, I should have thought I was going to have the disease; but my knowledge prevented me. If you had known that your father's fears affected your mind, you would not have had the disease, unless you had believed it catching. But I believe it is nothing but a lie, condensed into a belief; and we, having attached our lives to it, are afraid.”
Here you see, the body is nothing, but the trouble is in us - and every man has a body to himself that he places a value on. He looks after it, as he does any other property; and if the expense of repairing it is more than the value, he will abandon it, as a Captain abandons his vessel. He will not lose his life to save his property, except to a certain extent.