The body is the servant of the mind. As Candace Pert, microbiologist and author of Molecules of Emotion, tells us in the film What the BLEEP Do We Know!?, the body is the unconscious mind. All our emotional memories and responses are stored in and around our cells. Medical intuitive Carolyn Myss, in her book Anatomy of Spirit, explains this idea, saying that our biology is our biography.

The body obeys the operations of the mind, whether they’re deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought. Doctors have long known that any treatment that the patient believes will be effective will lead to improvement in 25 to 40 percent of cases through a process called the placebo effect.

This is just an example of the fact that the body is a delicate and moldable instrument that responds readily to the thoughts that impress it. And habits of thought, good or bad, will affect it. Sickly thoughts express themselves through a sickly body. Fear has been known to kill a person as speedily as a bullet, and fearful thoughts are continually killing thousands of people just as surely, though less rapidly. The people who live in fear of disease are the people who get it. Anxiety compromises and weakens the body and lays it open to disease, while fearful, attacking, or lustful thoughts, even if not actually indulged, will shatter the nervous system.

People will continue to have toxic and poisoned systems as long as they focus on toxic thoughts, whereas strong, loving, and happy thoughts build up the body in vigor and grace. A change of diet won’t help those who refuse to change their thoughts. In fact, it works the other way around: when we make our thoughts healthy, we no longer desire unhealthy food. Out of a clean “heart,” or emotional mind, comes a clean life and a clean body. Out of a polluted mind proceeds a defiled life and corrupt body.

Thought is the fountain of action, life, and manifestation. Make the fountain clear and all will be clear. If you plan on perfecting your body, guard your mind. If you intend to renew your body, beautify your mind. Thoughts of hostility, envy, disappointment, or despondency rob the body of its health and grace.

With thoughts of discord and distress, the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay, while at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts, it becomes clothed with youth and beauty. We see this in our own lives simply by looking in the mirror on the days when we feel great and on the days we wish we didn’t have to get up.

A sour face does not come by chance; it’s made by sour thoughts. Unsightly wrinkles are drawn by folly, self-justification, and pride. I know a woman of ninety-six who has the bright, innocent face of a girl. I also know a man well under middle age whose face is badly misshapen and wrinkled. One is the result of a sweet and sunny disposition; the other is the outcome of complaints and discontent. Just as you can’t have a sweet and wholesome home unless you let air and sunshine freely into your rooms, so a strong body and a bright, happy, or serene face can only result from letting thoughts of joy, goodwill, and serenity into the mind.

There are wrinkles on the faces of the aged made by sympathy; others are carved by intensely determined thought; still others by untamed passion. Who can’t see the difference? For those who have lived harmoniously, age is calm, peaceful, and softly mellowed, like the setting sun. I have recently seen a philosopher on his deathbed. He was not old except in years and died as sweetly and peacefully as he had lived.

As Norman Cousins discovered and described in his book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient, there’s no physician like cheerful thought for healing the ills of the body, and there’s no comforter that can compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow. To live continually in thoughts of ill will, cynicism, suspicion, or envy is to be confined in a self-made prison. But to think well of all, to be cheerful with all, to patiently learn to find the good in all—such unselfish thoughts are the portals to heaven; and to maintain daily thoughts of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to one’s life.

Essential Points

  • Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought.
  • With thoughts of discord and distress, the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts, the body is healthy, vigorous, and beautiful.
  • A strong body and a bright and happy or serene face can only result from letting thoughts of joy, goodwill, and serenity into the mind.
  • There’s no physician like cheerful thought for healing the ills of the body.

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