6. Health is Normal
Certainly in the successful experience of living, health is a prime factor. And in all probability nothing is of more importance, nothing of more immediate concern, than the present state of one’s health. From a historical viewpoint, the idea of a connection between health and state of mind is anything but new. It was Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, who said: In order to cure the human body it is necessary to have knowledge of whole things. And Paracelsus wrote: True medicine only arises from the creative knowledge of the last and deepest powers of the whole universe; only he who grasps the innermost nature of man can cure him in earnest.
Everything in the physical world, animate and inanimate, is the result of some organizing factor, a purposeful activity, a formative element that indicates the involvement of an intelligence that functions in accord with law. This is what we encounter in the body. The body, in structure and function, is a mass of dynamic material held together by an intelligent organizing factor, which operates in accord with law.
That the body is a wonderful mechanism there is no doubt, but how many of us have realized just how amazing it is? Powerful muscles are instantly called into violent action by a minute amount of energy coursing along nerve pathways. Whether the outside temperature is very hot, even above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or extremely cold, the body maintains its normal temperature of approximately 98.6 degrees. A foreign particle enters the skin and immediately internal materials needed to isolate foreign matter, fight infection, and heal the break in the skin are rushed to the area. The heat developed within the body by muscular effort would be damaging beyond repair if a built-in cooling system did not start to function. What maintains the dynamic material of the body in a state of stability? What determines the equilibrium that is evidenced?
The curative power
The body’s ability to maintain its dynamic material at a level of equilibrium was described by physiologist Walter B. Cannon as homeostasis, which he termed the essential functioning of the autonomic nervous system maintaining a balance of activity in the body. There is something that seeks to regulate and control the body’s dynamic material at a normal level in the face of an almost infinite variety of conditions surrounding it and within it.
Another factor is the ability of the body to cure itself of disease in order to maintain a stable and constant condition. This natural curative force has long been recognized, and was advanced by Hippocrates and termed vis medicatrix naturae.
It is only through the existence of the factors of equilibrium, homeostasis, and vis medicatrix naturae that medicine can help to correct an undesirable bodily condition. Doctors can assist, supply aids, remove obstacles, and perform many other corrective measures, but after they have done all they can do, they must wait. They wait for the body to reestablish its equilibrium. They wait for the normal, natural curative forces of the body to take over and assert themselves. The physician cannot make a cut heal, cannot make new skin, and cannot make a new organ, but can only pave the way for the body’s corrective actions. These actions are accomplished through the manifestation of the invisible pattern or organizing factor in and through the dynamic material of which the body is composed. And this intelligent force would have to be consistent or life could never have maintained itself.
Your thinking and health
To what degree are we, as thinking entities capable of creative thought, able in any way to disrupt the flow of the organizing factor in and through us? Almost every shape and condition of illness has been in some way or other related to our pattern of thinking, a pattern of thinking that apparently is contradictory to the spiritual pattern of a perfect and healthy body. But is there not a larger implication—the extent and degree of our negative thought patterns that block the expression in us of the perfect spiritual pattern which created us to begin with and which seeks to maintain and sustain us?
With every pill we have prescribed for us we should also be given a creative prayer, a suggested way to correct our destructive patterns of thought. We must get ourselves and our limited human thinking out of the way so that the divine pattern of perfection can fully express itself in us. For who can make his or her own heart beat? What doctor can cause the blood to circulate? All we seem to be able to do through our own efforts is to confuse and confound the operation of Divine Life in us.
The source of health
We must turn from all our worries, anxieties, and fears about our body and know that there is a normal pattern of health, an organizing factor that knows what to do and how to do it, a perfect idea that exists and will express and manifest in us, as us, when we recognize it and accept it as doing so. The doctor can assist the body mechanically through surgery and medication; we can assist by the way we think and act.
The foundation for any idea that health is a normal state for the body (this is a fact, or else the body would never make any attempt to cure itself) rests in the concept that we are living in a perfect universe, regardless of any appearances to the contrary. This is the teaching of all the great and wise. It is the conclusion and the teaching of those upon whom the hope of the world makes its greatest claim, and we would be wise to follow the pattern of their thought.
Whether we fully understand it or not, our reality is oneness with God; anything and everything which appears to be attached to this reality that contradicts the divine nature, even though we must admit that it is an experience, cannot be the final truth of our being. Availing oneself of medical knowledge and wisdom, or the use of creative thought in the form of prayer for the attainment of health, are but different approaches to the same goal—health, which must exist as a spiritual reality. Both are often needed. The medical profession more and more recognizes the value and importance of prayer in the recovery of a patient.
Affirmative prayer for health
We realize that health is our natural, normal state. In prayer we are not concerned with illness, sickness, and disease, but with their opposites—health, wholeness, and perfection. We are not concerned with skepticism, doubt, or agnosticism, but with faith, trust, and belief. We seek to turn entirely from all objective appearances and affirm, even in the midst of extreme bodily confusion, the right action of God in and through the body, the manifestation of the perfect pattern of health, the perfect functioning of the organizing factor.
As we turn in thought to infinite Spirit as the source, and the only source, of our lives, and know It is good and perfect and expresses Itself as goodness and perfection in us, we are turning our thought away from whatever the appearances may be. As we turn our thought away from appearances, there is nothing to support or sustain them. As we continuously affirm the positive and good, we are automatically eliminating the negative, the undesirable. There is no necessity for any negative condition to exist within our bodies other than the necessity we ourselves insist upon.