In the practice of the Science of Being Well, the will is not used to compel yourself to go when you are not able to go or to do things when you are not physically strong enough to do them. You do not direct your will upon your physical body or try to compel the proper performance of an internal function by willpower.
You direct the will upon the mind and use it in determining what you shall believe, what you shall think, and to what you shall give your attention.
The will should never be used upon any person or thing external to you, and it should never be used upon your own body. The sole legitimate use of the will is in determining to what you shall give your attention, and what you shall think about the things to which your attention is given.
All belief begins in the will to believe.
You cannot always and instantly believe what you will to believe, but you can always believe what you want to believe. You want to believe the truth about health, and you can do so. The statements you have been reading in this book are the truth about health, and you can believe them; this must be your first step toward getting well.
These are the statements you must believe:—
That there is a Thinking Substance from which all things are made, and that man receives the Principle of Health, which is his life, from this Substance.
That man himself is a Thinking Substance; a mind-body, permeating a physical body, and that as man's thoughts are, so will the functioning of his physical body be.
What if a man will think only thoughts of perfect health, he must and will cause the internal and involuntary functioning of his body to be the functioning of health, provided that his external and voluntary functioning and attitude are following his thoughts.
When you will believe these statements, you must also begin to act upon them. You cannot long retain a belief unless you act upon it; you cannot increase a belief until it becomes faith unless you act upon it, and you certainly cannot expect to reap benefits in any way from a belief so long as you act as if the opposite were true. You cannot long have faith in health if you continue to act like a sick person. If you continue to act like a sick person, you cannot help continuing to think of yourself as a sick person; and if you continue to think of yourself as a sick person, you will continue to be a sick person.
The first step toward acting externally like a good person is to begin to act internally like a good person. Form your conception of perfect health, and get into the way of thinking about perfect health until it begins to have a definite meaning to you. Picture yourself as doing the things a strong and healthy person would do, and have faith that you can and will do those things in that way; continue this until you have a vivid CONCEPTION of health, and what it means to you. When I speak in this book of a conception of health, I mean a conception that carries with it the idea of the way a healthy person looks and does things. Think of yourself in connection with health until you form a conception of how you would live, appear, act, and do things like a perfectly healthy person. Think about yourself in connection with health until you conceive of yourself, in imagination, as always doing everything in the manner of a good person; until the thought of health conveys the idea of what health means to you. As I have said in a former chapter, you may not be able to form a clear mental image of yourself in perfect health, but you can form a conception of yourself as acting like a healthy person.
Form this conception, and then think only thoughts of perfect health about yourself, and, so far as may be possible, concerning others. When a thought of sickness or disease is presented to you, reject it; do not let it get into your mind; do not entertain or consider it at all. Meet it by thinking health; by thinking that you are well, and by being sincerely grateful for the health you are receiving. Whenever suggestions of disease are coming thick and fast upon you, and you are in a "tight place," fall back upon the exercise of gratitude. Connect yourself with the Supreme; give thanks to God for the perfect health He gives you, and you will soon find yourself able to control your thoughts and to think what you want to think. In times of doubt, trial, and temptation, the exercise of gratitude is always a sheet anchor which will prevent you from being swept away. Remember that the great essential thing is to SEVER ALL MENTAL RELATIONS WITH DISEASE, AND TO ENTER INTO FULL MENTAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HEALTH. This is the KEY to all mental healing; it is the whole thing. Here we see the secret of the great success of Christian Science; more than any other formulated system of practice, it insists that its converts shall sever relations with the disease, and relate themselves fully with health. The healing power of Christian Science is not in its theological formula, nor its denial of matter, but in the fact that it induces the sick to ignore disease as an unreal thing and accept health by faith as a reality. Its failures are made because its practitioners while thinking in the Certain Way, do not eat, drink, breathe, and sleep in the same way.
While there is no healing power in the repetition of strings of words, it is a very convenient thing to have the central thoughts so formulated that you can repeat them readily, so that you can use them as affirmations whenever you are surrounded by an environment which gives you adverse suggestions. When those around you begin to talk of sickness and death, close your ears and mentally assert something like the following:—
There is One Substance, and I am that Substance. That Substance is eternal, and it is Life; I am that Substance, and I am Eternal Life. That Substance knows no disease; I am that Substance, and I am Health.
Exercise your willpower in choosing only those thoughts which are thoughts of health, and arrange your environment so that it shall suggest thoughts of health. Do not have about you books, pictures, or other things which suggest death, disease, deformity, weakness, or age; have only those which convey the ideas of health, power, joy, vitality, and youth. When you are confronted with a book or anything else which suggests disease, do not give it your attention. Think of your conception of health, and your gratitude, and affirm as above; use your willpower to fix your attention on thoughts of health. In a future chapter I shall touch upon this point again; what I wish to make plain here is that you must think only about health, recognize only health, and give your attention only to health; and that you must control thought, recognition, and attention by the use of your will.
Do not try to use your will to compel the healthy performance of function within you. The Principle of Health will attend to that if you give your attention only to thoughts of health.
Do not try to exert your will upon the Formless to compel it to give you more vitality or power; it is already placing all the power there is at your service.
You do not have to use your will to conquer adverse conditions, or to subdue unfriendly forces; there are no unfriendly forces; there is only One Force, and that force is friendly to you; it is a force that makes for health.
Everything in the universe wants you to be well; you have absolutely nothing to overcome but your habit of thinking in a certain way about the disease, and you can do this only by forming a habit of thinking in another Certain Way about health.
Man can cause all the internal functions of his body to be performed in a perfectly healthy manner by continuously thinking in a Certain Way, and by performing the external functions in a certain way.
He can think in this Certain Way by controlling his attention, and he can control his attention by the use of his will.
He can decide what things he will think about.