Secrets of Healing
May 17, 2009
Open your Bible
Jesus Met the Woman at the Well
FROM THE BIBLE
18who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil[a] spirits were cured, 19and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
20Looking at his disciples, he said:
"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
282. The Lord could heal everyone's discernment and make us incapable of thinking evil, capable only of thinking good. He could do this by various fears, by miracles, by messages from the dead, and by visions and dreams. However, healing only our discernment is healing us only superficially. Our discernment and its thought processes are the outside of our life, while our volition and its desire is the inside of our life. This means that healing only our discernment would be curing nothing but the symptoms. The deeper malignance, closed in and with no way out, would first devour what was nearest to it and then what was farther away until finally everything was dying. It is our volition itself that needs to be healed, not by our discernment flowing into it but by being taught and encouraged by our discernment.
If our discernment alone were healed we would be like an embalmed body or a corpse bathed in fragrant perfumes and roses. Before long the perfumes would draw forth from the body such a stench that none of us could put our nose anywhere near it. That is what it would be like for heavenly truths in our discernment if the evil love of our volition were repressed.
I want to tell you the true story of a Methodist minister minister who became a Swedenbogian. It was 1856, in New Hampshire. The man, Warren Felt Evans, was becoming bored with church literature and a prayer style that was always spoken. He was reading the works of various mystics, and turned to prayer to understand his spiritual quest. He began praying to be led to some book or books which would satisfy this inmost need. Of course, one must be careful what one prays for! He then felt guided to a bookshop in Portsmouth where he saw a book by mystic Emanuel Swedenborg. He began reading Swedenborg with great enthusiasm. His theology would never again be the same.
His health, which had never been good, began to worsen. He had to suspend his parish work, and by 1859 had not been preaching for 6 months. He turned to the writings of Swedenborg to gain a new perspective on healing; one that looks beyond the body to the soul. What he read gave him a sense of deep, inner peace. He knew that his deepest self was spirit, receiving constant love from the Divine. Yet, he couldn’t translate that concept into techniques to help himself heal.
In 1863 he decided to visit a healer in Portland, Maine, whose fame was spreading throughout New England. The healer was Phineas Parkhurst Quimby. Evans made two trips to Quimby, and was healed of dyspepsia, which had afflicted him for years. He was thrilled at what he found in Quimby: someone who put into practice Swedenborg’s approach to healing. Evans felt that because of his Swedenborgian background he understood Quimby’s healing secrets, and could employ them himself. Quimby agreed as Evans began the life of a healer.
The Methodist church was not pleased with Rev. Evans. The next year, Evans was re-baptized at the Swedenborgian Church on Beacon Hill. He and his family moved to Boston and then Salisbury, where he became a highly-effective healer. For the rest of his life, he gave healings, using Quimby's approach. . He never charged.
He wrote many books combining the theology of Swedenborg with the healing techniques of Quimby. Many consider Evans to be the start of what is called the New Thought movement. It was through the writings of Evans that many came to learn about Quimby’s approach to healing, and the New Thought movement took off into Christian Science, Unity, Religious Science and others. The Swedenborgians were suspicious of Quimby, and never really embraced his approach to wellness. Quimby’s ideas were developed by the New Thought Movement which went in some different directions from Swedenborg; and many would say of Quimby.
Who was this Quimby?
He was born in the town of Lebanon, N. H., February 16, 1802. When about two years of age, his parents moved the family to Belfast, ME. His father was a blacksmith, and had seven children. He only attended school for a short time, and learned much later in life from reading on his own.
When he became old enough to go to work, he learned the trade of watch and clock making, and for many years after engaged in that pursuit.
One day Quimby attended a lecture in Belfast on a new concept sweeping Europe and the states: “mesmerism.” It was based on the idea of animal magnetism, involving a kind of electricity. It was believed that using this magnetism, one mind could control another. It evolved into hypnotism.
Quimby was excited by this new concept, and was actively involved in using hypnotic states to heal. While engaged in his mesmeric experiments, Mr. Quimby became more and more convinced that disease was an error of the mind, and not a real thing. On this assumption, he began to facilitate miraculous cures in people around him.
In the year 1859, Mr. Quimby rented a room in Portland at the International House Hotel on Exchange St., where he remained until the summer of 1865, treating the sick by his method. His waiting room would fill up with people waiting to see him, and he often came out and chatted about his theories
One of his most famous patients was Mary M. Patterson. She later became "Mary Baker Eddy" and started Christian Science.
Julius Dresser and Annetta Seabury met in Quimby's waiting room. The fell in love, got married, and eventually began teaching Quimby's techniques in Boston at the Metaphysical Club. They are well known as early pioneers in the "New Thought" movement. They believed that Mary Baker Eddy had taken much of her theology from Quimby without acknowledging it.
Two of their children were ordained Swedenborgian ministers. Paul Dresser served in Maine. Horatio Dresser had only one year in the parish -- in Portland, ME. -- before he left to return to writing. [we are still trying to figure out what we did that pushed him away!]
Back to Quimby: The last five years of his life were exceptionally hard. He was overcrowded with patients, and greatly overworked, and could not seem to find an opportunity for relaxation.
His death occurred January 16, 1866, at his residence in Belfast, at the age of sixty-four
Horatio Dresser was eager to publish Quimby's writings. Finally, George -- son of Phineus -- released them to Horatio. The first edition of The Quimby Manuscripts was edited by Dresser.
So what were these secrets of Quimby's? Well, we can only guess at how he healed by the notes he left, and the things people he healed wrote about. Here is a summary of the points that seem to be emphasized:
Jesus as model
In Quimby's work, emulating Jesus was fundamental and central. Evans wrote: Jesus thus imparted to the sick and wretched the calm happiness of his own loving and gentle heart. . . . In this way Christ carried his healing power into the realm of spiritual causes. He addressed himself as a spirit to the spirit of the patient."
Self as inner wisdom
Quimby was certain that the primary self was created by Wisdom.
Quiet: silent impressions
His patients tell us that Quimby had remarkable insight into the character of the sick. He judged character by silent impressions gained as he opened his mind open to discern the real life and "see it whole.”
Rapport with the patient was an crucial; connection spirit to spirit.
No less important was Quimby's power of "absenting" himself, as he called it, from the patient’s concept of his disease. Quimby saw the patient as whole and healed.
He was convinced that illness and suffering are an error of mind. He would take time to explain this to the patient, explaining the causes of the ailment [the wrong thinking], and show the patient the truth. [seeing oneself as whole.]
How similar to is Quimby to Swedenborg? Well, one person who had a lot of say on the subject was Evans -- who became Swedenborgian shortly before his Quimby healing. His first book, The Mental Cure, used Swedenborg as the theological basis for Quimby's healing. In later years, he distanced himself from Swedenborg, and presented the healing concepts differently
for Horatio Dresser was an important historian of the New Thought Movement. Given that he was a Swedenborgian minister and also the child of New Thought parents, he combined the two. He wrote that Evan's early writings were very Swedenborgian. But Evans ended up closer to a "new thought" perspective and farther from Swedenborg.
Horatio wrote this about the Mental Cure:
But Evans always shows the superiority of the love-element, the divine influx into the heart. The right directing of the will seems to him more important than the use of such an affirmation as "I am strong." For he sees clearly that the disease springs from the inner life in general, not from mere belief; hence the cure must touch the whole spirit. To address oneself as a spirit to the spirit of the patient is indeed to rise to our highest privilege as a human being.
But of his later writings:
"to think and exist are one and the same" which has had great influence in the mental-healing movement. We here find Mr. Evans saying less about the larger view of man's spiritual nature, with its emphasis on will and the prevailing love or affection, and employing the terms which his later studies in idealism led him to adopt. Probably he did not intend to give up the spiritual in favor of the intellectual view...
Horatio believed that Evans played an important role in leading the New Thought Movement away from Swedenborg's spiritual base. He felt New Thought became all about one's thinking, with little discussion of God.
What can we use today? What if we combine Swedenborgian theology with Quimby methods, as Evans initially did? We might emphasize these points in our healing:
This was very meaningful to Helen Keller. The more we identify with the soul-level spiritual self, the more we can overcome infirmities of the body.
Cure involves regeneration. A physical cure involves our emotional and spiritual work of regeneration.
Be cautious of trying to heal by thought alone.
Horatio complained about the later Evans: But he speaks of the mind of the patient as a "clean slate on which our thoughts may be written," and says that what "we imagine, and believe, and think, will be transferred" to the patient; and so he tends to give prominence to the intellectual factors of the silent treatment. It would be easy for the superficial reader to seize upon "thought" as the dominant factor and overlook the spiritual meanings which Mr. Evans had previously given to the term.To overly-focus on the "thought" could lead to blaming the patient for their illness because their thinking was wrong.
Keep focus on God.
I suspect that Quimby had healing secrets; but did not alone have all the answers. I think that Swedenborg’s theology adds a crucial dimension to all of this.
I think God is still teaching us about healing. Let’s learn from Quimby and other healers of the past and present. Yet, let’s keep taking what we learn into our own inner