Rosicrucian Writings Online
The Healing ArtSOME BENEFICIAL SUGGESTIONS FOR OUR READERS
By Frater William Dodds
[From The Rosicrucian Digest September 1930]
The fact, however, that the Rosicrucians give great emphasis to the metaphysical principles of healing, and to the important part that the mind plays in the relief of physical conditions that cause suffering and pain, should not indicate to the Neophyte of these studies that the Rosicrucians condemn all other healing systems, or all the other schools of therapeutics.
The history of the art of healing indicates plainly that men of learning and broad vision have devoted their lives, from the dawn of civilization, to the discovery of such practical methods as will bring the most immediate and efficient relief. In our enlightened day we may smile at many of the ancient practices and, perhaps, see in some of them a false conception of the nature of disease, and likewise a false conception of the curative properties contained in certain ingredients, or a false conception of the efficiency of certain processes or devices used. It is easy enough to look backward and criticize these things, and it may be our tendency to be unfair in our judgment and condemn many of the ancient methods as being entirely wrong or useless, merely because we are not familiar with what was really done or really used in ancient times. However that may be, the fact remains that unquestionably the physicians of the past, whether they were the Magi of the Orient or the medicine men of the western Indian tribes, attempted with sincerity and unselfish devotion to serve humanity. Their errors of judgment or lack of knowledge were no greater in their field of effort than the errors made through lack of knowledge in all other fields of human effort. Unquestionably there were those in ancient times who believed they had a superior understanding of the healing art, and who looked upon their contemporary workers in other processes as being either ignorant or wilfully deceptive and taking advantage of human gullibility. The history of medicine and the healing art is filled with instances of contemporary condemnation of methods and specific remedies on the part of those who believed they had a superior understanding, with many indications that these critics were eventually found to be in error themselves and the condemned processes and remedies were later found to be of real value.
Today we have a similar attitude on the part of a great many who are only too ready and too willing to condemn every healing system or every specific remedy that is used by someone else, with the claim that they have in their possession or in their knowledge something that is superior. Human nature today is too prone to listen to the critical comments and condemnations of established methods, and too ready to accept the new thing that is offered, or the unique thing that is proffered with pretty oratory and many species of arguments that sound logical. The result is, that we often turn our backs upon that which has served humanity well and which may be only partly wrong and very nearly perfect in its nature, and take hold of something new that is still untried and unproved.
The advancement of civilization does not come about through rapid strides that are more like freakish jumps, making great paces in advance of the common-sense multitudes. It is the steady, conservative, onward march of sane, rational research, and scientific unfoldment, accompanied by the proper degree of intellectual development to comprehend what is taking place, that results in the real growth of civilization. In recent years there have been revolutionary changes made in the healing art, but there have also been many fanatical claims made and postulations presented by incompetent or scheming minds, tending to break down our faith and trust in established healing methods and creating a false reliance and trust in unproved and inefficient practices and methods.
The greatest change of the twentieth century in the healing art is based upon the discovery of the influence of the human and Divine mind upon the physical body. Here we have a fundamental truth that is truly recognized by the material physician, or the practitioner of materia medica, as well as by the metaphysicians. But between the conservative attitude of the physician of the material school, who will not arbitrarily abandon the proved efficiency of his carefully evolved system without a careful and proper investigation of that which is new, and the enthusiasm of the metaphysician, who generally has had little or no real knowledge of the material medicine science, there rises up the extreme fanatic who seizes hold of the simple truth of the influence of mind and elaborates upon its possibilities and denounces every other system or method that has served well in the past.
Thus we find the healing art today divided among practically three classes of enthusiastic promoters, or advocates. On the one side we have the conservative workers and students of the materia medica school. On the other side we have the careful and conservative student of metaphysics. Among the intelligent of both of these two classifications there is a certain amount of agreement and a certain degree of mutual understanding and cooperation, for no one in either of these two classifications, who is thoroughly familiar with the subject, will claim that there is not some efficiency, some truth, and some dependability in the process of the other. But we have the third classification, representing the extremist, who has neither the foundation knowledge of the materia medica school nor the intellectual comprehension of the true principles of metaphysics. They have developed a superficial knowledge of terms and ideas and in the egotism of their own superior intellect have evolved a personal science composed mostly of principles, which are arbitrary negations of the truth advocated in the other two classifications, and presenting to the world astonishing claims and undemonstrable pretentions.
These extremists are sure to find a large following, from day to day and year to year, among the persons in all lands who do not understand the rational progress of science, and who are easily thrilled and astonished by every new revelation. Such persons are ready to believe that all of the great truths of the past are in imminent danger of complete annihilation by some sudden revelation from the heavens, and that at any moment every principle of life upon which we have placed our dependence in the past is apt to be proved untrue and that a new principle unheard of and undeveloped will magically take the place of each of the older ones thus destroyed. To such persons the bombastic announcements of the extremists are sweet music and marvelous inspirations, indeed. They are ready to abandon their staid and dependable habits and practices in life to hitch their wagon to a new star and go off into that intangible world of speculation. They are the ones who are constantly seeking for something new, for once they have burned their bridges behind them and started upon the road of discovery there is no thrill in turning back but only in going on and on, with a continuous hope that seems to be born eternally new in their breasts.
Thus the extremists call out to their followers, "There is no matter," and that all is mind and that mind can control all matter, cure all diseases, change all physical phenomena, and create a new world of actualities. With one swoop and a single gesture of the hand these extremists wipe out of existence all the good that has been accomplished by other healing systems and deny all of the profound knowledge accumulated by science.
The conservative metaphysician, represented, let us say, by the conservative student of Rosicrucianism, realizes that no more errors have been made in the practice of materia medica in the past and present than are being made in the present misapplication of metaphysical principles. Such a student realizes that to the same degree that the human mind has misunderstood or miscomprehended the real place in human life of medicine and surgery of a material nature does the human mind miscomprehend or misapply some of the metaphysical principles.
The rational student of metaphysics, and especially the student of the true Rosicrucian principles, understands that man is a dual being and that he has a physical body as well as a spiritual or soul body and mind. He realizes that the physical body of man is just as liable to weaknesses and abnormal conditions as is the psychic or mental part of man. He may believe and thoroughly understand that all disease may have a primary or remotely antecedent cause in the psychic or spiritual side of man, but the manifestation becomes fixed in the physical body and a correction must be made in many cases, as well as in the spiritual part of man's being. The metaphysician who is conservative, and who is free from any fanatical viewpoint, will also admit that while the metaphysical principles are being applied to correct any possible cause that may lay in the spiritual or mental part of man and thus help nature in what must inevitably take place, if a real cure or correction is to be made. Granting that a real primary cause of disease lies in the spiritual or mental part of man, either through his thinking or through his actions, or through his lack of attunement with the Cosmic's harmonious forces, a correction of this condition does not constitute a cure or a healing of the manifestations in the physical body. Such a metaphysical correction merely places the sufferer in proper attunement with the Cosmic forces and stops the original cause and gives the forces of Nature an opportunity to correct in the physical body the results of the original cause. The physical cure, or the cure of any physical, abnormal condition, lies in Nature's process of bringing the physical body back to a normal condition. To assist Nature in restoring a normal condition in the physical body is not, therefore, a complete denial of the soundness of metaphysical treatment. On the other hand, to assist Nature from time to time to continuously restore the physical body to normal condition without attempting at the same time to correct the spiritual, mental, or psychic cause of the condition, is not the most efficient way to bring about a permanent or even satisfactory relief to the sufferer. Looking at the matter broadly, one would say that the physician and the metaphysician should work hand in hand, cooperatively, and at the same time in each case, in order to bring about a complete and permanent cure.
Our physical bodies are composed of the physical elements of the earth. A lack of any of these elements in the process of replenishing and reconstructing the human body, because of its daily wear and tear, will result in an abnormal physical composition, and the human body can not function perfectly and properly if it is deficient in all of the necessary elements. If man so regulates his diet that for a period of time he eats no food or drinks no water that furnishes him with a certain amount of lime, he will become deficient in these elements and is sure to be abnormal to some degree. This is not a metaphysical condition, but a physical one, pure and simple. We little suspect how necessary and important the various chemical elements of the earth are in maintaining a healthy body, because under normal conditions our food contains practically all of these elements without any special consideration on our part.
When one travels, however, to foreign lands, and observes the special or specific weaknesses of the human body in certain localities due to the lack of the chemical elements in those places, one is impressed with the marvelous process of Nature in uniting and blending so many physical elements into one body such as our physical body. Take, for instance, the persons who live in certain parts of Switzerland. The absence of iodine in the water and green foods of that country results in a lack of chemical nourishment of certain glands of the physical body, which in turn results in the development of the physical abnormality known as a goiter, and the prevalence of this growth, which is merely an enlargement of a part of the thyroid gland, is very noticeable in certain parts of that country. Americans, or those from other lands, who go to live in Switzerland for any length of time, find that they can prevent the development of this growth by the taking of a certain amount of iodine into the system in tablet form or in solution. According to the extremist, this method of assisting Nature in maintaining its physical and chemical equilibrium in the human body is a "drugging" process and is the "taking of medicine" and something to be highly condemned. To the Rosicrucian it is viewed entirely differently, for he looks upon this matter as merely aiding Nature in her well-established process, for he can see no difference between eating a number of imported foods which contain the proper amount of iodine and the adding of concentrated iodine to the foods he finds in the country where he lives.
Nearly all of the fundamental principles of materia medica are based upon the idea of assisting Nature by introducing into the system in concentrated form those chemical elements which are either lacking, and have been lacking in the diet of the patient for some time past, or which are now required in an extra amount or larger degree in order to bring about a very rapid correction of the chemical composition of the body in a natural manner. This is the rational viewpoint to take in this regard and it is one which the Rosicrucian takes and which the conservative metaphysician takes.
It is often argued that we should allow Nature to take her course, and that any attempt to assist Nature by speeding up or increasing the action of any of her processes is an unnatural thing to do. Such an argument would be more or less sound if it were true that we were living natural, normal lives and giving Nature every opportunity to carry on her normal processes in a normal manner. But is this the case with modern civilization? Are we living such lives as gives Nature every opportunity to carry on her natural processes in the human body? Take, for instance, the school of naturopathy. The advocates of this school are not all extremists, and the conservative workers in this field of research for the betterment of human life have pointed out to us some unquestionable truths. The German naturopathic physician who discovered that many ailments and illnesses of the human flesh could be relieved, or cured, or altered and corrected, by the patient walking barefooted early in the morning on the dewy ground or grass of the earth, brought to light a remarkable fundamental principle. The real law of Nature associated with his revelation was known more or less to all students of ontology and physical biology. We know that in addition to our breathing and our eating and drinking the physical body of man requires the negative magnetism of the earth to supply some of the chemical or physical elements necessary to maintain a normal physical standard in the body. We know that if man insulates himself from this negative magnetism, wholly or partially, he affects his health and the perfect harmonious composition of his body to the same degree that the insulation is perfect. This truth is as fundamental as is the one of depriving yourself of the benefit of the sun's rays which affects your health, for the rays of the sun are of the opposite polarity as those of the earth's magnetism. The moment man began to wear shoes or any other covering for his feet, which insulated him partially from actual physical contact with the earth's magnetism, he began to interfere with Nature's normal processes. By his manner of dressing otherwise, and through the regulation of his diet, the unnatural position of sleeping, the cooking of foods that should have been eaten raw, and the overindulgence in things that were pleasing and inebriating, while neglecting other essentials that should have had important consideration, man has not only interfered with Nature's normal processes, but has slowed down many of the processes so that when recuperation from illness or the overcoming of an abnormal condition in the body is necessary, a longer time is required for Nature to perform her work than would be necessary otherwise. To attempt, therefore, to assist Nature and speed up or increase the rapidity of Nature's processes is, in most cases, merely giving Nature her proper opportunity to bring the processes up to normal standard rather than to a subnormal standard. But even if we were to increase the rapidity of these processes to a subnormal standard this would be no violation of any natural law, but rather a working in conformity with the laws of Nature. We do not hesitate to go to bed when ill and rest completely from all physical effort in order to give Nature a greater opportunity to do her work. But by this very act we are speeding up the normal processes of Nature, for we are cutting down the normal expenditure of energy required in all effort and allowing this energy to be added to the reconstruction. This is adding to the natural rate of reconstructive work and is not a violation of any fundamental principle.
The taking, therefore, of any physical chemical element into the body in order to supplant those that already exist in the body, or to fill in the lack of essential ones, or to arouse the action or increase the normal action of any of the elements that compose the body, is not, fundamentally, a violation of a natural law. The extreme use of these things or the wrong use of them is all that can be logically questioned or properly criticized. To attempt to do with chemicals that which can be more efficiently done with the mind is foolish. It may be done in ignorance and, therefore, should not be criticized as severely and unconsiderately as when it is done wilfully. To attempt to decide how much we really know about the physical composition of the body, and how much of the chemical or physical elements may be safely used and which are really injurious to the body, is to venture into a field of knowledge that is not perfect and reliable. But this is no warrant for any criticism of the medical science or of the science of chemistry. What man positively knows about any of the fundamental sciences and the great truth of Nature is so small compared with what he does not know, and with what he may never know, that it does not behoove anyone, even the greatest in any of these fields, to criticize the lack of knowledge or the indefinite knowledge possessed by anyone. The errors that may be made in these fields of research and study are errors that are natural to the development of the sciences and, when considered from the standpoint of human equationism and the use of the human intellect in these fields, are truly inconsequential, despite the serious consequences that are often magnified in the minds of those who suffer through them.
As I have already intimated, the metaphysician, and even the Rosicrucian who is most advanced in the study, may make as many gross errors in the application of his principles as the one who is devoting himself to the chemical and physical correction of the body.
I plead, therefore, for saneness and tolerance in all fields of therapeutics and scientific research. There are some things that are definitely known in each of these fields, and when these are known it is futile and unpardonable to neglect these truths or to fail to apply them. That there are many ills of the flesh and conditions of the body and mind that can be efficiently and more quickly corrected and altered through metaphysical treatment is undisputable, but, as I have said before, it is foolish, therefore, to presume or assume that metaphysics alone should be used in all cases and requirements of the physical body in a physical sense negated and left unconsidered: and, logically, it is just as unpardonable to think continuously of the correction of physical conditions without giving any consideration to the metaphysical requirements.
We, as students of the Rosicrucian teachings and those of us who are devoting our time to the work in the Welfare Department of Headquarters, may point out the errors in the various therapeutic systems and call attention to these errors, as compared to more efficient methods that metaphysics offers, but we have never intended these criticisms and comments to be either partially or completely condemnatory of the entire material systems of other schools. It is only by calling attention to the errors of all of these systems and pointing out the superior qualities in each, as compared to the others, that students will learn to discriminate when attempting to decide which system or which law of Nature is most applicable or efficient in any given case. That is why our teachings and lessons do not condemn surgery or medicine, but recommend them as freely in certain cases and for certain results as we have recommended Christian Science, or affirmations of the New Thought methods, or our own. The Rosicrucian system is unique, however, in being a rational blending of all of the present systems, because nearly all of the therapeutic systems known to the public today are outgrowths of the work and study performed by Rosicrucians in the past centuries, who have shed great light upon the fundamental laws of Nature; and while others have taken up a various number of these revealed principles taught by the Rosicrucians, and specialized in certain separated ones to constitute a distinct and limited system under new or old names, the Rosicrucian organization has adhered to its eclectic rationalism and recommendations, as well as applied the best principles of all of them. This is why, after many years of practice in several distinct systems, I found great joy in working with the combined principles of the Rosicrucian teachings, and find further, through their application, a higher percentage of results than is possible through the principles of only one system. For this reason, I can recommend from personal experience the Rosicrucian teachings and principles as being sane and, therefore, easily understood and comprehensible; rational and, therefore, highly efficient and masterful.
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