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This volume is the second of a series, the first of which is "THE SCIENCE OF GETTING RICH." As that book is intended solely for those who want money, so this is for those who want health, and who want a practical guide and handbook, not a philosophical treatise. It is an instructor in the use of the universal Principle of Life, and my effort has been to explain the way in so plain and simple a fashion that the reader, though he may have given no previous study to New Thought or metaphysics, may readily follow it to perfect health. While retaining all essentials, I have carefully eliminated all non-essentials; I have used no technical, abstruse, or difficult language, and have kept the one point in view at all times.
As its title asserts, the book deals with science, not speculation. The monistic theory of the universe—the theory that matter, mind, consciousness, and life are all manifestations of one Substance—is now accepted by most thinkers; and if you accept this theory, you cannot deny the logical conclusions you will find herein. Best of all, the methods of thought and action prescribed have been tested by the author in his own case, and in the case of hundreds of others during twelve years of practice, with continuous and unfailing success. I can say of the Science of Being Well that it works; and that wherever its laws are complied with, it can no more fail to work than the science of geometry can fail to work. If the tissues of your body have not been so destroyed that continued life is impossible, you can get well; and if you will think and act in a Certain Way, you will get well.
If the reader wishes to fully understand the monistic theory of the cosmos, he is recommended to read Hegel and Emerson; to read also "The Eternal News," a pamphlet by J. J. Brown, 300 Cathcart Road, Govanhill, Glasgow, Scotland. Some enlightenment may also be found in a series of articles by the author, which were published in The Nautilus, Holyoke, Mass., during the year 1909, under the title, "What Is Truth?"
Those who wish more detailed information as to the performance of the voluntary functions—eating, drinking, breathing, and sleeping—may read "New Science of Living and Healing," "Letters to a Woman's Husband," and "The Constructive Use of Foods," booklets by W. D. Wattles, which may be obtained from the publishers of this book. I would also recommend the writings of Horace Fletcher, and of Edward Hooker Dewey. Read all these, if you like, as a sort of buttress to your faith; but let me warn you against making the mistake of studying many conflicting theories, and practicing, at the same time, parts of several different "systems"; for if you get well, it must be by giving your WHOLE MIND to the right way of thinking and living. Remember that the SCIENCE OF BEING WELL claims to be a complete and sufficient guide in every particular. Concentrate upon the way of thinking and acting it prescribes, and follow it in every detail, and you will get well; or if you are already well, you will remain so. Trusting that you will go on until the priceless blessing of perfect health is yours, I remain,
Very truly yours,
Wallace D. Wattles.
In the personal application of the Science of Being Well, as in that of the Science of Getting Rich, certain fundamental truths must be known in the beginning, and accepted without question. Some of these truths we state here:—
The perfectly natural performance of function constitutes health; and the perfectly natural performance of function results from the natural action of the Principle of Life. There is a Principle of Life in the universe; it is the One Living Substance from which all things are made. This Living Substance permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe; it is in and through all things, like a very refined and diffusible ether. All life comes from it; its life is all the life there is.
Man is a form of this Living Substance, and has within him a Principle of Health. (The word Principle is used as meaning source.) The Principle of Health in man, when in full constructive activity, causes all the voluntary functions of his life to be perfectly performed.
It is the Principle of Health in man which really works all healing, no matter what "system" or "remedy" is employed; and this Principle of Health is brought into Constructive Activity by thinking in a Certain Way.
I proceed now to prove this last statement. We all know that cures are wrought by all the different, and often opposite, methods employed in the various branches of the healing art. The allopath, who gives a strong dose of a counter-poison, cures his patient; and the homeopath, who gives a diminutive dose of the poison most similar to that of the disease, also cures it. If allopathy ever cured any given disease, it is certain that homeopathy never cured that disease; and if homeopathy ever cured an ailment, allopathy could not possibly cure that ailment. The two systems are radically opposite in theory and practice; and yet both "cure" most diseases. And even the remedies used by physicians in any one school are not the same. Go with a case of indigestion to half a dozen doctors, and compare their prescriptions; it is more than likely that none of the ingredients of any one of them will be in the others. Must we not conclude that their patients are healed by a Principle of Health within themselves, and not by something in the varying "remedies"?
Not only this, but we find the same ailments cured by the osteopath with manipulations of the spine; by the faith healer with prayer, by the food scientist with bills of fare, by the Christian Scientist with a formulated creed statement, by the mental scientist with affirmation, and by the hygienists with differing plans of living. What conclusion can we come to in the face of all these facts but that there is a Principle of Health which is the same in all people, and which really accomplishes all the cures; and that there is something in all the "systems" which, under favorable conditions, arouses the Principle of Health to action? That is, medicines, manipulations, prayers, bills of fare, affirmations, and hygienic practices cure whenever they cause the Principle of Health to become active; and fail whenever they do not cause it to become active. Does not all this indicate that the results depend upon the way the patient thinks about the remedy, rather than upon the ingredients in the prescription?
There is an old story which furnishes so good an illustration on this point that I will give it here. It is said that in the middle ages, the bones of a saint, kept in one of the monasteries, were working miracles of healing; on certain days a great crowd of the afflicted gathered to touch the relics, and all who did so were healed. On the eve of one of these occasions, some sacrilegious rascal gained access to the case in which the wonder-working relics were kept and stole the bones; and in the morning, with the usual crowd of sufferers waiting at the gates, the fathers found themselves shorn of the source of the miracle-working power. They resolved to keep the matter quiet, hoping that by doing so they might find the thief and recover their treasures; and hastening to the cellar of the convent they dug up the bones of a murderer, who had been buried there many years before. These they placed in the case, intending to make some plausible excuse for the failure of the saint to perform his usual miracles on that day; and then they let in the waiting assemblage of the sick and infirm. To the intense astonishment of those in the secret, the bones of the malefactor proved as efficacious as those of the saint; and the healing went on as before. One of the fathers is said to have left a history of the occurrence, in which he confessed that, in his judgment, the healing power had been in the people themselves all the time, and never in the bones at all.
Whether the story is true or not, the conclusion applies to all the cures wrought by all the systems. The Power that Heals is in the patient himself; and whether it shall become active or not does not depend upon the physical or mental means used, but upon the way the patient thinks about these means. There is a Universal Principle of Life, as Jesus taught; a great spiritual Healing Power; and there is a Principle of Health in man which is related to this Healing Power. This is dormant or active, according to the way a man thinks. He can always quicken it into activity by thinking in a Certain Way.
Your getting well does not depend upon the adoption of some system, or the finding of some remedy; people with your identical ailments have been healed by all systems and all remedies. It does not depend upon climate; some people are well and others are sick in all climates. It does not depend upon avocation, unless in case of those who work under poisonous conditions; people are well in all trades and professions. Your getting well depends upon your beginning to think—and act—in a Certain Way.
The way a man thinks about things is determined by what he believes about them. His thoughts are determined by his faith, and the results depend upon his making a personal application of his faith. If a man has faith in the efficacy of a medicine, and is able to apply that faith to himself, that medicine will certainly cause him to be cured; but though his faith be great, he will not be cured unless he applies it to himself. Many sick people have faith for others but none for themselves. So, if he has faith in a system of diet, and can personally apply that faith, it will cure him; and if he has faith in prayers and affirmations and personally applies his faith, prayers and affirmations will cure him. Faith, personally applied, cures; and no matter how great the faith or how persistent the thought, it will not cure without personal application. The Science of Being Well, then, includes the two fields of thought and action. To be well it is not enough that man should merely think in a Certain Way; he must apply his thought to himself, and he must express and externalize it in his outward life by acting in the same way that he thinks.
Before man can think in the Certain Way which will cause his diseases to be healed, he must believe in certain truths which are here stated:—
All things are made from one Living Substance, which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe. While all visible things are made from It, yet this Substance, in its first formless condition is in and through all the visible forms that It has made. Its life is in All, and its intelligence is in All.
This Substance creates by thought, and its method is by taking the form of that which it thinks about. The thought of a form held by this substance causes it to assume that form; the thought of a motion causes it to institute that motion. Forms are created by this substance in moving itself into certain attitudes or positions. When Original Substance wishes to create a given form, it thinks of the motions which will produce that form. When it wishes to create a world, it thinks of the motions, perhaps extending through ages, which will result in its coming into the attitude and form of the world; and these motions are made. When it wishes to create an oak tree, it thinks of the sequences of movement, perhaps extending through ages, which will result in the form of an oak tree; and these motions are made. The particular sequences of motion by which differing forms should be produced were established in the beginning; they are changeless. Certain motions instituted in the Formless Substance will forever produce certain forms.
Man's body is formed from the Original Substance, and is the result of certain motions, which first existed as thoughts of Original Substance. The motions which produce, renew, and repair the body of man are called functions, and these functions are of two classes: voluntary and involuntary. The involuntary functions are under the control of the Principle of Health in man, and are performed in a perfectly healthy manner so long as man thinks in a certain way. The voluntary functions of life are eating, drinking, breathing, and sleeping. These, entirely or in part, are under the direction of man's conscious mind; and he can perform them in a perfectly healthy way if he will. If he does not perform them in a healthy way, he cannot long be well. So we see that if man thinks in a certain way, and eats, drinks, breathes, and sleeps in a corresponding way, he will be well.
The involuntary functions of man's life are under the direct control of the Principle of Health, and so long as man thinks in a perfectly healthy way, these functions are perfectly performed; for the action of the Principle of Health is largely directed by man's conscious thought, affecting his sub-conscious mind.