experiments for the last twenty years or more have carried me
through the idea “matter” till I have landed beyond
of this narrow sphere and risen into that state where matter is
~ Phineas Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Experiments in Detaching the Senses from the Body1864
I will now give some experiments to show how a person's senses may be detached from the body and yet be as active as ever. I have said that mind is matter, and our senses are not matter. As ideas are matter, the idea “man” is matter in a certain form; and our senses, being attached to the matter - they become one. This is called “man” - or the inner and outer man.
Now the connection to man is a mystery; yet experiments show that they can be separated, and both have an existence. This is shown in mesmeric experiments and often in fevers, etc. The body can be in one place, and the senses can be in another. This connection of the two is the mystery to solve.
My experiments, for the last twenty years or more, have carried me through the idea “matter,” till I have landed beyond the influence of this narrow sphere and risen into that state where matter is created. I know how it is spoken into existence, and I can return to the earthly man, who thinks his body and senses are one-and-the-same, and show him what is real and what is false and how the idea “man” is attached to the idea “matter.”
I shall take some patient that I have cured to prove my assertion. I will take a captain that had lost the use of his limbs. He had been in the army, and being under great excitement, when he would lie down to rest, the anxiety that he felt by the danger that surrounded him kept his mind excited; and the fear of being aroused at any moment kept his mind in constant action, like a steam engine, all ready to move at any time.
His senses, being attached to his belief, and his belief, being matter and containing all the elements of war - he would fight in his sleep. This would create dangers, and he would have his company out to prepare for the fight. So he kept his senses attached to a body that he had made with his company and detached his senses from the body that lay sleeping on the ground. So he became like a person mesmerized. His senses had become detached from his body, and his body was like a person's body in a sound sleep or dead.
So when I sat by him, I found his senses were away from his body. I could hear persons walking so far off that it would be impossible for a person in a normal condition to hear them. Every sound started me - and this was the way with the young man; and his body was as lifeless as a dead man's. He had no pain in it, but it was perfectly useless. The doctors pronounced him past cure; and so he was, to all medical treatment.
Now to cure this man was to put his senses (or self) in communication with his natural body; for he had a spiritual body, and when he was asleep he, to himself, was awake; and then his mind was as active as any person's, and he would drill his company and give off his orders, as though he was in the field. Now how could this cure be brought about? Not by medicine - but by a science, which I felt I knew. So I sat down and let my senses follow his, and this brought me away from my body. So after being under his influence, I attached my senses to his body and addressed myself to that.
At last I made him see his new body - like waking a person from a sleep - till he could balance his arm, till it rested on his elbow, and use a little power to direct it. This excited him, and a warm perspiration started. That aroused him, and his sense of hearing became less sensitive, and then his senses came nearer to his body; and as quietness was darkness, he could not find the company; so his fear decreased, and his anxiety left, and he began to improve from that very hour. And in a few weeks, he began to walk and finally got well.
Now the science was in putting the theory in practice, like a man putting the theory of navigation into practice. He may teach the theory; this is one of the Godhead. The vessel is another. Now to attach his theory is to embrace the “Holy Ghost” (or application), and when that is done - this is wisdom. This is what is meant when Jesus said, “Go ye into Jerusalem, and tarry till the Holy Ghost shall direct you.” Jerusalem was the theory (or learning) of the world. So the theory of navigation is Jerusalem, and the person must go into that - in a vessel - and stay till the holy ghost (or application) teaches him how to apply it.
Now man - like a vessel - is under a captain, and his voyages are sometimes along shore. Most men make the voyages along shore without the least knowledge of navigation; and the pilots (or doctors) are of that class of persons that can teach the points of a compass and how to take the sun - but when the storm of life begins, and it is necessary to know where you are, then the cloud thickens and darkness sets in; the lightning flashes and thunder rolls; and the wind whistles through your ears; and the whole body is in a trembling condition; and your mast (or legs) spring; and everyone is working; and the cry is, “Breakers ahead!”
Then you call on the “Holy Ghost” (or that third power - practice, not theory). This is the state of the sick. The doctors are very good fair weather pilots, but when your vessel is in danger, they are of little account. You will do as well to clew up your sails and heave to and lash your helm, and lay still till the storm is over. And if you are lucky, you will come out all right. So don't put your trust in man's theory, but try the theories, and see if they will stand the test in the day of trouble.
I have said that all disease is in the mind. I will try to explain it more clearly. I will separate the mind from the senses, and the senses from the thing called “disease.” Now to cure a trouble is to know how it is made. As men reason, they reason upon mathematical principles; but as they stand on a false basis, they will land - sooner or later - in trouble. Disease is the effect of one kind of reason. The cure is the opposite kind of reason. One is based on science and the other on belief (or opinion).
To give the reader an idea of my manner, I will take the case of a lady that came to see me. I will show how I changed the mind and how the cure was affected. I sat down by the lady, and she affected me in this way. I felt a heat in the back of my neck, accompanied with pain. This affected my shoulders and the pit of my stomach. Now all this pain (or heat), of itself, contained no wisdom - only the state of mind. This is mind; and out of this, everything grows or is made. This was the condition of the lady.
Now she had a belief that she had a cancerous tumor, and in fact thought she had one coming. The belief was in this heat; for the heat was the mind (or soil) to have the cancer. Now her beliefs contained the elements of a cancer, to her - so she received the belief, and this made the disturbance in the mind. Now who was it that made the disturbance? Not wisdom, but the devil (or error). Now the sensation made her inquire what it was, and some error (or ignorant physician) gives his opinion that it is a cancer. So she believed this opinion and went to work to make the phenomenon.
So now I had to change her mind and destroy her belief. This set her senses free from the error, and this was the cure. As my reasoning is from what I consider a false report taken for a truth, I have to make the change by illustrations. So I said, “Your disease is all in your mind. You think you have a cancerous tumor.” This she said was a fact - and not in the mind - so I went on to prove my theory and put it into practice. So I began by a parable.
Suppose I ask you if you ever saw a quince, and you say, “I don't think I have.”
I say, “ Will you tell me how it looks, how it smells and how it tastes?”
This you cannot do, so you admit your ignorance. Then I commence to explain how it grows on a tree, like a small pear tree, and I describe it to the best of my ability. You listen. Now all the time your mind is going through a chemical change, and you really create a quince, after my description.
Now this quince is a spiritual one, but it has a real name - so you start up excited to find a quince; and as fruit is known by names, you approach a fruit store and look at the various kinds of fruit. At last your eye strikes on the kind you think is a quince, so you buy one and come and show it to me and say, “I have found a quince.”
I say, “Are you sure?”
You say, Pretty sure.”
“Have you not a doubt?”
“Why, I cannot say certainly, but I am as sure as I can be, without being certain.”
So I say to you, “It is a quince.”
Now this is wisdom. But in the quince, there was no life, nor wisdom; and in the name, there was no life, nor wisdom - to you. But when I put your senses and the name to the thing called “quince” - then out of this came life (or a truth). This is wisdom. Now for the application to you, to cure your idea “cancer” - for that is what you are afraid of.
But first I will say that all reason contains three elements of the trinity. Wisdom contains them all, and so does man's opinion - and science, the same. Now man's trinity is the word, the flesh and the opinion. Science is the word; the flesh is the thing; and the theory is applying the thing to the thing named. Now I shall speak of man's trinity that creates diseases.
When you heard the name of “tumor” or felt the sensation of heat, of course - being a little excited and your curiosity awakened - you went to find the cause of your trouble; so your senses would enquire of everyone what it was. At last you got the idea of “cancerous tumor.” Now of course you would look for it, the same as you looked for the quince; so your senses would look all over the body, and of course you would be very anxious to find where it generally located itself, or stopped. At last you settle that you have found it by the direction you have had from me, so you come to me and say, “I have found it.”
I ask you where - you say in the stomach. I ask you when you got it and how it came there. This you can't tell, only that it came without your knowing it. So I say you have made it yourself by listening to the devil (or error) in the opinion of the medical faculty (or public opinion). This you can't believe, so I then commence to explain the trinity of disease.
As I have already said, the belief is a lie, the effect and the explanation. I shall give the elements of error, or the three principles. One is a lie or an old superstition or belief in a disease. This is the idea called the “devil.” He was a liar from the beginning, and he is the father of all disease. So he tells a lie out of his own self and explains it on some scientific principles, according to his belief. Now as he is very pious and religious, he has introduced every kind of fashionable ideas; and being very unassuming, he has now the good wishes of all the people. So much so, that his word is now the law of the land, and all that do not bow down to his will, he will smite with some disease of his own make.
So his kingdom is of this world of opinion, and if you will just look, you will see that every idea of his is in his heaven. Not one thing he ever said is true; but all say he is the author of death and hell and heaven. He created angels, made spirits and witches, and made a great throne up in the heavens and invented all kinds of disease and every sort of misery that can be imagined. So his kingdom is a kingdom of darkness.
Now if every person should cease to exist, his kingdom must fall - for it is all built in the air; yet he is reverenced and prayed to, and the people kneel down and ask him to have mercy on them. His laws are the laws of the land; in fact, he is the God of the world, and his opinion is law. So when you disobey his opinions - you disobey a law.
Now see where the God of science stands outside of all this deception; and see that all this sort of worship is all idolatry and superstition. But as science never acts, but for good - its kingdom is not of this world; for to be good is to be wise, and this goodness is health and happiness and is the destruction of error and disease. Now wisdom knows from the beginning that everything that is comes from his wisdom. So man's wisdom can make the distinction between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the devil (or opinion).
God created the earth and every living creature that is in or on it; and he created the skies - but he never inhabited them, except as birds inhabit. The devil's kingdom is in the air (or out of sight), and all its inhabitants are spirits of those that had an existence in or on the earth. It has all kinds of physicians and all kinds of diseases; and they are both spirits, prowling around, seeking whom they may devour; and they have their agents through whom they communicate their will. So in any trouble in this world that affects the human family, the spirits of this devil are ready to administer to their wants. So as they, through their mediums, invent all kinds of evils, they give the evil to the people by a sort of description (or illustration). For instance, this devil wishes to destroy you by one of his evils. He commences by telling you about some idea that exists in the world (or mind); for the mind is where the prince of darkness dwells.
I will stop here and say a word or two about a young man that first called to see me. I sat down and found him very much frightened and nervous, from a little sensation of suffocation. He thought he had the heart disease, and when I told him what it was and all it amounted to, he was all right. Now if it was not for this evil in the mind, there would not have been any cause of alarm; and if I had not explained, he might have died at almost any time - for he said it would wake him up two or three times in the night.
Now I say that science calls these evils “lies,” and the sick have been made to believe that the very things (or evils) that they bring on themselves, by their own acts, are something that has come upon them, without any of their action - when in reality they are the author of their own existence. The word “cancer” is a lie, and the devil (or error) is the father of it, and it originates in his brain - and this residence is in man's mind. His kingdom is in the opinions of man.
Now to get a description of his lie, he gives the symptoms; so that the symptoms are accompanied with language that will illustrate the evil in such vivid terms that it is almost impossible to deny its existence. So then you begin to have your curiosity excited to know all about it - as the young would sit down by the chimney corner and listen to some ghost story, till the ghost would haunt them all night, and they would wake up in the morning all exhausted by some foolish story that never had any existence, outside of the mind.
Now as mind is matter, this direction becomes attached to the senses. Then the senses are under the direction of this blind guide, and he commences to create in the mind an image after the one the doctors set up. So in their ignorance, they watch the growth of the seed sown in the mind. While asleep (or ignorant), it grows and is nourished by the person, till the proof begins to appear, in the form of symptoms. Then the fears are further excited, and the doctor is called, and after he hears the story (or description), he says he thinks you have a cancer.
Now of course you are excited to fight the evil, and get rid of it. So you inquire where the locality is, and the doctor asks where he seems to dwell the most to you. You say sometimes in the head and sometimes in the shoulder and in the side, and over all the chest, and in the stomach, and runs up to the throat and feels hot. “Then,” says the doctor, “that is he - it is a cancer in your stomach.”
So now you are directed to that locality. This makes you nervous, and the next thing a new disease, and so on, till you use up all your mind creating the evils the devil has invented. So your senses, being attached to them - you reason that you and your belief and your senses are all one. So this makes up the “devil's trinity” - the word, the flesh and the devil. The devil is the author of his own words; and the flesh is the phenomenon. So that when he speaks a lie, he speaks of himself; for he is a liar and abideth in it. To cure is to show the father is in the belief.