Fear and lack of faith go hand in hand. The one is born of the other. Tell me how much one is given to fear, and I will tell you how much s/he lacks in faith. Fear is a most expensive guest to entertain, the same as worry is: so expensive are they that no one can afford to entertain them. We invite what we fear, the same as, by a different attitude of mind, we invite and attract the influences and conditions we desire. The mind dominated by fear opens the door to the entrance of the very things, for the actualization of the very conditions, it fears.
"Where are you going?" asked an Eastern pilgrim on meeting the plague one day. "I am going to Bagdad to kill five thousand people," was the reply. A few days later the same pilgrim met the plague returning. "You told me you were going to Bagdad to kill five thousand people," said he, "but instead, you killed fifty thousand." "No," said the plague. "I killed only five thousand, as I told you I would, the others died of fright."
Fear can paralyze every muscle in the body. Fear affects the flow of the blood, likewise the normal and healthy action of all the life forces. Fear can make the body rigid, motionless and powerless to move.
Not only do we attract to ourselves the things we fear, but we also aid in attracting to others the conditions we in our own minds hold them in fear of. This we do in proportion to the strength of our own thoughts, and in the degree that they are sensitively organized and so influenced by our thought, although it be unconscious both on their part and on ours.
Children, especially when very young, are, generally speaking, more sensitive to their surrounding influences than grown people are. Some are veritable little sensitive plates, registering the influences about them and embodying them as they grow. Those who have them in charge should be very careful in their prevailing mental states, and a mother should be especially careful during the time she is carrying the child, since mental and emotional aim on her part will so greatly assist her approach to labor and to the care of her newborn infant. Let parents be careful how they hold a child, either younger or older, in the thought of fear. This is many times done, unwittingly on their part, through anxiety, and at times through what might well be termed overcare, which is fully as bad as undercare.
I know of a number of cases where a child has been so continually held in the thought of fear lest this or that condition occur, that the very things that were feared have been drawn to the child, which probably otherwise never would have come at all. Many times there has been no adequate basis for the fear. In case there is a basis, then it is far wiser to take exactly the opposite attitude, so as to neutralize the force at work, and then to hold the child in the thought of wisdom and strength that it may be able to meet the condition and master it, instead of being mastered by it.
But a day or two ago a friend was telling me of an experience of his own life in this connection. At a period when he was having a terrific struggle with a certain habit, he was so continually held in the thought of fear by his mother and the young lady to whom he was engaged—the engagement to be consummated at the end of a certain period, the time depending on his proving his mastery—that he, very sensitively organized, continually felt the depressing and weakening effects of their negative noughts. He could always tell exactly how they felt toward him; he was continually influenced and weakened by their fear, by their questionings, by their suspicions, all of which had the effect of lessening the sense of his own power, all of which had an endeavor-paralyzing influence on him. And so instead of their begetting courage and strength in him, they brought him to a still greater realization of his own weakness and the almost worthless use of struggle.
Here were two who loved him dearly, and who would have done anything and everything to help him gain the mastery, but who, ignorant of the silent, subtle, ever-working and all-telling power of the thought forces, instead of imparting to him courage, instead of adding to his strength, disarmed him of this, and then added an additional weakness from without. In this way the battle for him was made harder in a threefold degree.
Fear, worry and all kindred mental states are too expensive for any person—man, woman or child—to entertain or indulge in. Fear paralyzes healthy action; worry corrodes and pulls down the organism and will finally tear it to pieces. Nothing is to be gained by it, and everything to be lost. Long-continued grief at any loss will do the same. Each brings its own peculiar type of ailment. An inordinate love of gain, a close-fisted, hoarding disposition will have kindred effects.Anger, jealousy, malice, continual fault finding, lust—each has its own peculiar corroding, weakening, tearing-down effects.
We shall find that not only are happiness and prosperity concomitants of righteousness—living in harmony with the higher laws—but bodily health as well. The great Hebrew seer enunciated a wonderful chemistry of life when he said, "As righteousness tendeth to life, so he that pursueth evil, pursueth it to his own death." On the other hand, "In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death." The time will come when it will be seen that this means far more than most people dare even to think as yet. "It rests with ever-growing splendor and beauty, or in a hovel of his own building—a hovel at last ruined and abandoned to decay."
The bodies of almost untold numbers, living their onesided, unbalanced lives, are every year, through these influences, weakening and falling by the wayside long before their time. Poor, poor houses! Intended to be beautiful temples, brought to desolation by their ignorant, reckless, deluded tenants. Poor houses!
A close observer, a careful student of the power of the thought forces, will soon be able to read in the voice, in the movements, in the features, the effects registered by the prevailing mental states and conditions. Or, if he is told the prevailing mental states and conditions, he can describe the voice, the movements, the features, as well as describe, in a general way, the peculiar physical ailments their possessor is heir to.
We are told by good authority that a study of the human body, its structure, and the length of time it takes it to come to maturity, in comparison with the time it takes the bodies, of various animals and their corresponding longevity, reveals the fact that our natural age should be nearer a hundred and twenty years than what we commonly find it today. But think of the multitudes all about us whose bodies are aging, weakening, breaking, so that they have to abandon them long before they reach what ought to be a long period of strong, vigorous middle life.
Then, the natural length of life being thus shortened, it comes to be what we might term a race belief that this shortened period is the natural period. And as a consequence many, when they approach a certain age, seeing that as a rule people at this period of life begin to show signs of age, to break and go downhill as we say, they, thinking it a matter of course and that it must be the same with them, by taking this attitude of mind, many times bring upon themselves these very conditions long before it is necessary. Subtle and powerful are the influences of the mind in the building and rebuilding of the body. As we understand them better it may become the custom for people to look forward with pleasure to the teens of their second century.
There comes to mind at this moment a friend, a lady well on to eighty years of age. An old lady, some, most people in fact, would call her, especially those who measure age by the number of the seasons that have come and gone since one's birth. But to call our friend old would be to call black white. She is no older than a girl of twenty-five, and indeed younger, I am glad to say—or I am sorry to say, depending upon the point of view—than many a girl of this age. Seeking for the good in all people and in all things, she has found the good everywhere. The brightness of disposition and of voice that is hers today, that attracts all people to her and that makes her so beautifully attractive to all people, has characterized her all through life. It has in turn carried brightness and hope and courage and strength to hundreds and thousands of people through all these years, and will continue to do so, apparently, for many years yet to come.
No fears, no worryings, no hatreds, no jealousies, no sorrowings, no grievings, no sordid graspings after inordinate gain, have found entrance into her realm of thought. As a consequence, her mind, free from these abnormal states and conditions, has not externalized in her body the various physical ailments that the great majority of people are lugging about with them, thinking in their ignorance that they are natural, and that it is all in accordance with the "eternal order of things" that they should have them. Her life has been one of varied experiences, so that all these things would have found ready entrance into the realm of her mind and so into her life were she ignorant enough to allow them entrance.
On the contrary she has been wise enough to recognize the fact that in one kingdom at least she is ruler—the kingdom of her mind, and that it is hers to dictate as to what shall and what shall not enter there. She knows, moreover, that in determining this she is determining all the conditions of her life. It is indeed a pleasure as well as an inspiration to see her as she goes here and there, to see her sunny disposition, her youthful step, to hear her joyous laughter. Indeed and in truth, Shakespeare knew whereof he spoke when he said, "It is the mind that makes the body rich."
... Would you remain always young, and would you carry all the joyousness and buoyancy of youth into your maturer years? They have care concerning but one thing—how you live in your thought world. This will determine all. It was the inspired one, Gautama, the Buddha, who said, "The mind is everything; what you think you become." And Ruskin had the same thing in mind when he said, "Make yourself nests of pleasant thoughts. None of us as yet know, for none of us have been taught in early youth, what fairy palaces we may build of beautiful thought—proof against all adversity." And would you have in your body all the elasticity, all the strength, all the beauty of your younger years? Then live these in your mind, making no room for unclean thought, and you will externalize them in your body.
In the degree that you keep young in thought you will remain young in body. And you will find that your body will in turn aid your mind, for body helps build the mind the same as mind builds the body.
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... Full, rich and abounding health is the normal and the natural condition of life. Anything else is an abnormal condition, and abnormal conditions as a rule come through perversions. God never created sickness, suffering and disease; they are man's own creations. They come though his violating the laws under which he lives. So used are we to seeing them that we come gradually, if not to think of them as natural, then to look on them as a matter of course.
... Give the body the nourishment, the exercise, the fresh air, the sunlight it requires, keep it clean, and then think of it as little as possible. In your thoughts and in your conversation never dwell on the negative side. Don't talk of sickness and disease. By talking of these you do yourself harm and you do harm to those who listen to you. Talk of those things that will make people the better for listening to you. Thus, you will infect them with health and strength and not with weakness and disease.
To dwell on the negative side is always destructive. This is true of the body the same as it is true of all other things ... "We can never gain health by contemplating disease, any more than we can reach perfection by dwelling upon imperfection, or harmony through discord. We should keep a high ideal of health and harmony constantly before the mind...
"Never affirm or repeat about your health what you do not wish to be true. Do not dwell upon your ailments, nor study your symptoms. Never allow yourself to be convinced that you are not complete master of yourself. Stoutly affirm your superiority over bodily ills, and do not acknowledge yourself the slave of any inferior power ... I would teach children early to build a strong barrier between themselves and disease, by healthy habits of thought, high thinking, and purity of life.
I would teach them to expel all thoughts of death, all images of disease, all discordant emotions, like hatred, malice, revenge, envy, as they would banish a temptation to do evil. I would teach them that bad food, bad drink, or bad air makes bad blood; that bad blood makes bad tissue, and bad flesh bad morals. I would teach them that healthy thoughts are as essential to healthy bodies as a strong willpower, and to brace themselves against life's enemies in every possible way.
I would teach the sick to have hope, confidence, possibilities. No person's success or health will ever reach beyond his/her own confidence; as a rule, we erect our own barriers.
"Like produces like the universe through. Hatred, envy, malice, jealousy, and revenge all have children. Every bad thought breeds others, and each of these goes on and on, ever reproducing itself, until our world is peopled with their offspring. The true physician and parent of the future will not medicate the body with drugs so much as the mind with principles. The coming mother will teach her child to assuage the fever of anger, hatred, malice, with the great panacea of the world—Love. The coming physician will teach the people to cultivate cheerfulness, good-will, and noble deeds for a health tonic as well as a heart tonic; and that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine."