Another Secret of Healing by Tehilla Lichtenstein
If you are ill in body or mind, if through continued infraction of the laws of health set within you, you have finally disrupted the workings of your wonderful organism. If through willful disobedience to the fundamental laws of well-being, if through self indulgence or immoderate living, or even ignorance, you have brought ill-health upon yourself, you can be assured that there are forces within yourself, within the compass of your inner being, great forces, beneficent forces, that are at work, that have sprung into action as soon as hurt has come to you, and are bringing you back to your natural state of health, and bodily and mental vigor.
Silently, deep within you, quietly working their kindly miracles on your system, unaware even to yourself, to your conscious mind, they are restoring you to strength and good spirits. If you are at this moment suffering from a cold, if, because of your unwise ways of living, of eating, of sleeping, of working, you have so lowered your bodily resistance that the cold germ has had its way with you and injected its infection into your system, so that your breathing is impeded, and your chest aches or your throat feels raw, I assure you that there is some power within you at this moment, working its mightiest for you, fighting the infection, clearing your respiratory passages, and, you will see the results within a few days, restoring you to perfect health. If your heart is tired, weakened, irregular, not serving you with the robustness that you have been accustomed to expect from that tireless servant, you can also be assured that there is the same quiet, benevolent power working within you and seeking to inject that faithful organ with renewed strength, seeking to heal it of its fatigue and hurt. I will not say here that you will see the results within a few days, for it takes many years of abuse to injure your heart, and its recuperation is commensurately more difficult to achieve. But the forces for healing are working upon it, and if you do not nullify their efforts by continuing the abuse of that organ, by continuing to overstrain and overload it, you will see, within a time, that the pain will cease, the illness of the heart will be arrested and even cured. And so with the other organs of the body; if you have not actually brought about, through long disregard of their needs, actual destruction of tissue, good health will be restored, or at least ill health arrested. Even where irreparable damage has been done, as in the case of tuberculosis, healing powers, if permitted to do their work, will halt the powers of destruction, and bring about sufficient healing to make life well worth the living.
If your challenge is of a more subtle nature, if no part of the body can be pointed to as the cause of your distress, if you have suffered what is termed a mental illness, if there are fears and anxieties of an overweening nature obsessing you – and the tortures of the mind can be greater by far than the agonies of the flesh – here, too, you will find that healing powers within you are at work, restoring you to happy, normal states of mind once more.
We all know what it is to go through periods of dejection and hopelessness, we all know what it is to see possible calamity looming before us and darkening our horizons, we all know what it is to know worry and fear and gloom – they are periods of spiritual illness – just as colds are periods of bodily illness. But they disappear, like colds do; our mental horizon brightens up, hope replaces depression and natural joy and optimism puts our forebodings to rout; of course; because there are healing factors at work within us to destroy our moroseness and fears, and restore our natural, buoyant, healthful state of mind. You do not need to be a religious person to recognize these remarkable powers within yourself, these powers of recuperation within you without which every error you make would be irrevocable, and every illness you incur, even the slightest would be a fatal one. Even the most materialistic approach to healing, the most scientific, secularly speaking, must evoke those powers within, or they will fail of its goal. The physician knows that he does not pluck healing from the air, or from a shrub, or from an electric vibration; but that he uses whatever implements he has at hand to evoke action on the part of the healing powers within yourself; whether he gives you a pill, or a capsule, or a powder, whether he injects a serum in your blood, or passes an electric current through your muscles, or whether he merely prescribes a period of relaxation in the Southern sunshine, the magic is not in his prescription, but in those wonderful forces within you to respond to his therapeutic invocations. And our prayers, the method which religion employs for achieving restoration, that, too, is but our way of reaching those healing currents within yourself and expediting their beneficent flow. Medicine and religion, science and faith, seeking the same goal, may traverse different avenues toward that goal, but if they are successful, either of them, they must succeed in tapping the healing properties within yourself, for nowhere else is there healing for you. But within yourself it is there in abundant measure. For it is part of the Divine beneficence, of God’s goodness towards you and within you.
Within you – that is the most important thing to remember; God’s beneficence works from within. God has never separated himself from the objects of His creation; man is on his own; he is free – free to shape his life for weal or woe, free to make his own mistakes and blunders even; else he would be a poor creature indeed, a mere minion, a puppet of destiny. But while we are free, God does not leave us to suffer without redress the consequences of our own mistakes. LIke a fond parent, who for the child’s own good, permits him to act independently, that he may learn and grow through his own efforts and through his own blunders even, but nevertheless hovers near him, always at his call, always ready to repair the hurt that child has inflicted upon himself, or save him from irreparable injury, so does God cleave unto us, and watch over us, and save us from our own foolishness and wrong-doing, and forgive us for all the infractions which bring injury and ill-health, by giving us healing, by bringing us back to strength and well-being. As the Psalmist has so exquisitely put it: “He will give His angels charge over thee, they will life thee up in their arms, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” That is the poet’s allegorical description of God’s great tenderness and care that accompanies us in all the ways of our life. But it is this same poet, the psalmist who has made so clear the fundamental concept of Judaism that God works His beneficences from within man; that He expresses Himself through man, and that healing, among the greatest of His beneficences, is proof of God’s residence within man.
Now, since healing resides within, and flows from within, it is clear that your inner state of consciousness is the most important factor in bring about the healing of your hurts. Healing comes into action the moment sickness sets in, just as the white blood corpuscles multiply the moment infection enters the blood stream; but healing is the expression of God within man, and like all the other attributes of God within man, it cannot flow freely when man obstructs it. Man’s will, and man’s co-operation are essential for its fullest expression. There are states of mind in the individual which build a dam to the waters of healing, and they are unable to course freely and efficaciously through your being. In some of our previous discourses, we have pointed out that one of the secrets of healing, as it is achieved in Jewish Science, is an understanding of the Jewish God conception, as attained in its final and highest spiritual plane – in the pages of the Psalmist. Jewish Science healing is attained through prayer, just as medical healing is attained through medicine or serum or surgery. Our instrument is prayer, but our form of prayer is based on our God conception, on our view of the power that we are seeking to reach.
The other secret of healing — and when I say secret, I am sure you know that I am not implying anything mysterious, or even mystic, but am simply using the word in the sense of condition or prerequisite or principle — another secret of healing, another condition for healing, another prerequisite for healing, is to create within yourself a state of mind which will offer no impediments to healing, and which will, on the contrary, evoke its fullest flow. In order to pray properly for health, you must understand the nature of God; you must discard
superstition and anthropomorphism, and lend yourself to a God conception that meets the requirements of your logical and reasoning processes, which meets all the demands of science, which the most advanced findings of laboratory cannot refute, but which, at the same time, elevates man to higher reaches than was hitherto conceivable, by making him the recipient of God’s essence and God’s spiritual attributes. To assure yourself, however, of an answer to your prayer, an infallible answer, you must understand, too, that while you are an instrument for God’s expression, this expression is impossible if your will and your efforts do not lend themselves to His expression. God’s goodness is in you, but it cannot express itself unless you so will it; God’s creative power is
in you, but it cannot express itself unless you so will it; God’s love and kindness and mercy are in you, but these cannot express themselves unless you so will it. And God’s healing too, that is one of the attributes of God within you, cannot express itself unless you will it. In fact, it is in your power to place impassable barriers and obstructions in its expression. You have sometimes heard a physician say: “He’s not improving because he is not trying, he’ll never get well if he doesn’t want to try harder.” The physician has given the medication, he has prescribed the procedure that should invite healing, but the obstruction is there, the conditions for healing have not been met. In similar or in other ways, you may be obstructing healing, while at the same time seeking it. There are so many ways in which you may stand in the way of your own good, and it is essential that you recognize them.
There are those who desire to be well, and yet continue the ways of living, of conduct or action or thinking, that brought about the illness. There are people with weak hearts, who take adrenalin and whatever other medications are offered them, or who seek help, even through prayer, but go on overtaxing their heart, giving it no rest. no let-up in its labors, who feed it with excitement and strain, and then wonder that there is no bettering of their condition, or say that there is no cure for them. There are those who suffer from impaired kidneys or livers, but cannot resist the conviviality of alcoholic beverages, though it is for them a poisonous thing.
These are simple and obvious instances of man’s obstruction of God’s goodness; the heart is seeking to regain its strength and serve again with its former faithfulness; the inner organs are eager to perform their wonted duties; God seeks to serve your needs, but you obstruct Him in His beneficence. And there are less visible impediments but even more, infinitely more, potent, in their negative work. The inner state of your consciousness may be the greatest impetus, or even the greatest hindrance, to the action of the healing powers. Since healing works within yourself, it is the inner world, the state of that inner world of yours, that counts most. Vision is useless in the dark, and water, no matter how torrential the stream, cannot flow over a wall erected in its path. The ear cannot respond to harmony when loud dissonance fills the air. Neither can the Divine beneficence flow, nor can the deep stream of healing make its way through you, if your inner world is filled with the dissonant emotions of fear or dejection or excitement or impatience or hopelessness. Each attribute of God can express itself best when the other attributes of God are in correlative harmony with it in the person that is affected. Think of what you conceive God’s attributes to be. Among them is serenity, is it not? We also find joy, love, goodness, strength of spirit. Healing cannot flow unobstructedly where these are wanting – excitement, anger, irritability, impatience, fear, cowardice, spiritual weakness, are so many barriers to healing.
But in an inner state of calmness and serenity, in an inner state of hope and courage and trust, in an inner state of cheerfulness and relaxation, the river of healing flows deeply and unimpeded to carry God’s goodness to you in the form of renewed health and strength and mental power and equanimity. That is the other secret of healing; the proper God conception will direct you to the proper form of prayer for healing; and the creation of the proper inner state, the proper spiritual atmosphere within, will enable the healing that you have invoked to flow unimpeded and potent through your being, restoring you to health.
Now, many of you may be accord with this way of thinking, you know that you yourself are obstructing your healing with your worries and fears, and yet you feel impotent in their grip. There are people who are seized with fear at the slightest ailment; they see themselves at death’s door at the least twinge of pain; and if they find themselves emotionally, rather than physically ill, their forebodings are unspeakably dour. They think they cannot help their state of mind; how else but miserable can they feel when they are sick, or when their nerves are shattered, what else but fear can they know, what else but hopelessness and dejection can they know in such an unhappy condition? How can they rid themselves of these obstructions to their own well-being?
It is not too difficult. It might surprise some of you if I told you that the misery and fear that seizes you when you are ill, and which interfere with your recovery, is due to a self-centered and ungrateful attitude on your part. You are petulant, you are querulous, you cannot believe that such a thing could have happened to you, forgetting how much of your difficulties have been caused through your own infractions of healthful living; you are dejected, you are timorous, you are frightened, forgetful of God’s goodness, which is ever ready to flow towards you. Yes, that is the crux of your difficulty. You are forgetful of God’s goodness; God’s goodness to you in the past, the many blessings and kindnesses that you have received from Him, and therefore forgetful of the goodness that He still has in store for you. If you would rid yourself of the pall of fear and despair that has seized you because you are ill, you can do so, if you would pause for a moment, and let your spirit be inundated with gratitude for all the good you have experienced at His hand. Gratitude is the most cleansing and purifying emotion that the human heart can lave in. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord.” All our communal prayers, the greater part of the Jewish liturgy, is in praise of God, thanksgiving for His beneficence. Has God such great need of our gratitude? Does He need man to extol him and glorify Him with this praise? No. Gratitude is a healing for man; it washes away his pettiness, his self-centered absorption in his woes; it centers his mind on the great good, on the many blessings, with which he is surrounded. Gratitude is an act of awareness; an awareness of good. Just enumerate, no matter how ill you may be, the numberless things foe which you have reason to be grateful. Think of those who are yours, those who are interested in your welfare, and be grateful for their love and friendship, be grateful that God has placed your lot among such good hearts. Think of the comforts of life which are yours at mere call, the nutriment which daily is yours, the shelter and protection from the elements which you so take for granted, and thank God that He has spared you the suffering of material want. Think of the unnumbered sources of happiness that have always been within your reach, the treasures of home and friends, of bread and work, of outdoor beauties and indoor pleasures, of country and city, of music and books, of paintings and pictures and plays and conversation with good friends, and the engrossing interests of a thriving business or profession, and think also of the times healing has come to you or your loved ones, thank God for all these, and you will find that that your inner world has become completely transformed, just as your home would be if all its furnishings were suddenly changed. Your gratitude has centered your mind on good, and that which is in your mind is now good.
You have leveled the obstructions to healing, you have brought about a serene and joyful state within yourself, you have replaced fear with courage and hope and trust, and you have made it possible for God to work His good upon you, to express Himself through you. Just as a parent can do nothing for a fractious, disobedient child, and everything for him when he becomes sweet and docile and lovingly amenable to his parent’s wisdom, so can God give you nothing until you are ready to receive it. Gratitude is the herb most potent in spiritual healing; it renders you capable of receiving God’s largess.
Therefore, if you are seeking healing from God (I am not in a position to advise you as to what to do when you have recourse to physicians, though I suspect they would be heartily in accord with me) but I say when you are seeking healing from God, begin your prayer for healing with a prayer for gratitude; give thanks unto the Lord for the good He has given you; and also, and this is equally essential, give thanks unto God for the good that He will give you; express your gratitude in advance of the gift; see with your inner eye the good the good that He is pouring towards you and that you will soon experience. Nothing is more conducive to healing than gratitude in advance of the healing; you will be opening up thereby every channel in you; every atom and fiber and cell in you will be receptive to Divine healing, and you will be healed. Let us affirm.
Copyright: Society of Jewish Science, New York, NY