New Thought Editorials > Think and Grow Well
Think and Grow Well
New Thought began as a Christian healing activity. "Father of New Thought" Phineas Parkhurst Quimby believed that he had rediscovered the lost healing methods of Jesus. He studied the Bible extensively in order to try to understand what misunderstandings were making his patients sick. Although at times he collaborated with medical doctors, he was frequently critical of "priests and doctors", who he believed were planting erroneous notions into people, notions that were actually making them sick. He successfully cured thousands of people of both physical and mental ailments, famously remarking that people sent for him and the undertaker at the same time, and whoever got there first got the case! Although there certainly can be toxins in food, water, and air, Quimby held that the most damaging toxin was toxic thinking, which was the first thing that had to be straightened out.
The best lifestyle in the world is not going to heal someone with negative, toxic thinking. Proper diet or supplements may be useful aids, but they cannot substitute for proper thinking. And what is proper thinking? Thinking about what you want instead of what you don’t want. Healer Richard Bartlett describes his own struggles to learn how to ride a motorcycle. He was supposed to be navigating figure eights around large orange cones. His attention was on those large orange cones. You guessed it: he ended up piled on top of one of those large orange cones, with the motorcycle piled on top of him! His conclusion: "Don’t look where you don’t want to go."
Viruses and bacteria are around all the time, but we aren’t sick all the time. It is prudent not to overwhelm our impressive immune system, so we try to stay in balance between rest and activity. We don’t unnecessarily tempt fate by handling snakes or eating excesses of toxic food. However, the real factor that determines illness is stress. Stress depends on our thoughts about a situation. If our thoughts are negative, we perceive that situation as stressful, and stress leads to a long list of physical and mental illnesses of all kinds, but one man’s stress is another man’s bliss. Someone who used to work for one of the big drug companies told me that these days, the placebo factor, the performance level that a drug has to exceed in order to be considered effective in its own right instead of just because the patient thinks it’s going to help, is 75 percent. It is not uncommon for people whom the medical profession has decided are not going to make it, to make it; and for people whom the medical profession has deemed certain to recover, to die. It depends on the thinking of the patient.
A single thought is not going to kill you. New Thought author Emmet Fox compares this to a cigar ash landing on your sleeve; it will not burn you if you brush it off immediately. It’s the habitual, often-repeated trains of thoughts that do the damage. Mark Twain once observed, "Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but rather coaxed down the stairs one step at a time." It takes time and patience to change a thought habit, persistently replacing the unwanted thought with a better thought. Bookstores, libraries, and the Internet are full of a century and a half of New Thought books on how to change your thinking and hence, your life.
Medicine and the medical profession should be the last resort, not the first, for dealing with illness and dis-ease. If people took responsibility for their own wellness, instead of foisting it off on the doctor, there would never be a doctor shortage because we wouldn’t need so many. If we improved our habitual thinking, we wouldn’t get sick so often. "If it’s going to be, it’s up to me".
Back to Quimby and the lost healing methods of Jesus: what were they? First, Jesus had a very highly developed relationship with his heavenly father: "The Father and I are one". Because of that relationship and his understanding of the nature of God and how God works, he had quiet confidence, strong faith, and positive expectancy of a good outcome. He gave thanks in advance, and then he commanded the illness to depart. He asked; he didn’t just wring his hands and hope. But even Jesus could not heal where there was no faith.
All creation is co-creation between God and us. We have to say yes to God’s perfect possibilities, constantly offered for us, tailor-made to the present situation. When we do, God’s power is unleashed, and healing takes place.