The Theosophical Forum – June 1946

MIND OR MEDICINE? — J. W. A. Croiset van Uchelen

More than once I have been asked what my point of view as a doctor is as regards metaphysical healing. This is a pertinent question, but should be formulated more specifically before it can be answered. What do we mean by metaphysical healing? Do we mean the use of human mind by means of affirmations, denials, or decrees? If so, we are limited by the limitations of man. But if we mean the All Consciousness of Mind, and faith as a pure religious quality, we reach toward unlimited powers. I shall assume therefore that the latter approach is the one to be considered. Now first of all, what is man's Quest, if not for Truth, for Reality? Fundamentally, this is a religious search for Union with the Divine. But since man is endowed with mind, the mind as well as the heart seeks to be satisfied. And so, our soul search, through the heart, is linked to a mental search, through the mind. Thus, we must utilize the three main avenues of human thought: science, philosophy and religion; for these are one, beyond the limitations of man-made boundary lines.

Voltaire, you will remember, stressed the necessity first of all to define our terms. To define anything, we must analyze it. In the process we may gain considerable knowledge, while at the same time avoiding much confusion. Now science is defined as classified knowledge, that is, knowledge about phenomena. It is worthwhile to note that this definition holds equally for metaphysical science. It makes no fundamental difference whether we deal with phenomena perceived by physical means, or whether we are dealing with worlds and processes of a non-physical nature. In both cases we are dealing with phenomena, with the manifested, whether in grosser or subtler form is not the point. Science does not know what electricity is, what nerve force is, or life; it deals with phenomena observed, just as psychology deals with the phenomena produced, in reaction, by mental activity; mind, as cause, remaining the unknown quantity. Here then, we are dealing with technical teachings, as comprehended by the intellect — leaving the heart cold.

Religion and philosophy on the other hand, enter the realm of causation and the non-manifested, the realm of pure consciousness, if you like, spoken of by Plato as the world of Ideas. I prefer to speak of the world of the Real, of the Divine, which is non-corporeal, yet enfolds within itself. Its expression in the manifested of which It is the Causeless Cause, eternal, changeless. Now, if we agree that religion and science should go hand in hand, then we must realize that the fundamentals of religion per se, are as permanent and changeless as the proverbial two times two is four of mathematics. And where science makes its appeal to reason, religion must put forth its claim to faith. In the one we rely upon man, in the other our reliance is placed upon the divine. Science dissects matter. Religion accepts spirit. One deals with phenomena, the other with noumena. Science seeks for knowledge. Philosophy and religion reach out for wisdom. If we should say that science is man-made and religion God-given, we should perhaps point out that scientists need but to put their trust in the senses, while their beliefs rest upon the claims and findings of other men (many of which claims are short-lived indeed). In religion, there is faith "in the evidence of things not seen" and reliance upon pronouncements by those, greater than man, whose teachings have stood the test of ages. At this point we also must clearly distinguish between belief and faith. A belief is an acceptance upon authority, but unto faith is added that element of "intuitive knowledge" which science cannot recognize.

Our beliefs are in doctrines, in interpretations. Faith rests on realities. Interpretations, based on assumed original teachings, if not prophetic, are man-defined. Churches, sects or movements, give their many varied interpretations; individual leaders offer theirs. As an example, the teaching of the Immaculate Conception is an interpretation formulated by the Church, as the fruit of theological speculation. This is a doctrine. Oriental teachers also present their concepts, introducing doctrines of Eastern Schools. We may reject, or accept such doctrines, but our acceptance does not constitute faith, but a belief.

In passing we might also make mention of the use of symbols, as associated with every religion. Whether the idea of the Creator of a Divinity, is represented by a totem-pole, or a plaster of Paris statuette, or by any other symbol, is of no consequence to the quality of faith itself. It may be remembered that Christian missionaries in China found it necessary to dress Jesus as a Chinese, in order to make their point. Does it matter? Symbols are useful as long as they assist us in the contemplation of an ideal. And most of us are so helped, it is fair to say. Symbols are determined by the training and temperament of the worshiper, his artistic and mental capacity. What appeals to us most readily is to a great extent determined by the environment in which we are born and develop. For instance, if the presentation of Jesus crucified does not appeal to the average Protestant, it is because he has learned to see in it, first of all, a picture of suffering, rather than that of selfless sacrifice, and so he more than likely prefers a picture of Jesus as the expression of outpouring Love, which is the greatest tenet of the Christian religion. To millions of Orientals the familiar image of Buddha is the symbol of all that is holy and noble; and those who were greatest among his followers take the place of the array of western saints. Many who now laugh at the presentation of a God on a throne in a gold-paved heaven, assume ignorantly that Original philosophies are free of such presumed childishness, when, as a matter of fact, the Westerner is dealing with symbologies mostly not understood by him. Buddhism itself has given an allegorical description of Devachan, or heaven, not less amusing to the uninitiated perhaps. It speaks of a region of bliss many thousand myriads of worlds beyond ours, encircled by seven rows of railings, seven rows of vast curtains, seven rows of waving trees, where flow crystalline waters in the midst of seven precious lakes. This is Devachan, the holy abode of Arhats, governed by the Dhyani-Chohans and possessed by the Bodhisattva. All this is, literally, immaterial to faith itself, which knows of reality beyond the forms of the manifested; first intuitively, later through mystical experience. Faith is of the heart, not of the mind. It calls for self-surrender, gratitude and humility, not for self-assertion nor pride of achievement. Note that a self-surrender to and faith in a divinity, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, is not illogical to the intellect, but the concepts themselves are beyond human understanding and therefore beyond discussion, even if real.

Not all savants, by any means of measure, are saints, but saintliness assures a measure of wisdom; for all these things shall be added unto him who has faith, and there are many examples of this throughout the ages. Academic education is no guarantee for spiritual discernment, but the latter lifts human thought above self-deception into self-discovery. Faith is invoked, it cannot be impelled. It is a grace bestowed, invoked and strengthened by love. Cicero spoke of "the divinity of faith itself."

Psychology has made its strongest appeal in its search for a link, but failed to rise above its materialistic approach toward the immeasurable forces of the super-consciousness.

Fundamentals are too often lost sight of and secondary mental processes involved become viewed as primaries. For instance, it is said an army marches on its stomach, but it would be absurd to conclude that by explaining the physiological activities of the stomach we had explained what marching is. Similarly, if in talking about metaphysical healing we are content to limit ourselves to the reflected mental activity and elaborate upon the process of suggestion involved, we have not dealt with the fundamental underlying element, that of faith. Attempts at scientific evaluations of spiritual values must fail, since they cannot be supported upon a materialistic basis. The manifestation of such values is from within, without, or from above, below. Spiritual values are complementary, not contradictory to material processes, which demand a building from below upwards. Here in fact are the two methods of acting which must be fused. The future demands our recognition of interrelationships, rather than a broadening of illusory lines of demarcation — in every field. As a matter of fact, science unwittingly has already transgressed its self-erected barriers into the borderland of a realm where its own restricted methods are barely applicable. That the projection of consciousness, aided by this mysterious power of faith can take dominion over the manifested and perform seeming miracles which mind alone is unable to accomplish is an assertion which rests on demonstrated fact. Even if not explained it cannot be denied.

And so, you see, that while defining terms, I have come to express my own conviction in the matter of metaphysical or spiritual healing. Dr. de Purucker, in answering a question, once discussed the various rays used in healing and the possibility of their conversion in order to establish a healthy rate of vibration in diseased tissue. (See Studies in Occult Philosophy.) Through heart and mind powers far beyond the grasp of physical science can be released — depending upon the individual. One who can employ these means can succeed where all other methods fail. The powers of nature obey those who make obeisance. Of course to be a member of an occult fraternity does not make one a master of occultism, any more than a member of a metaphysical healing cult necessarily is successful in employing its methods. But I am convinced that those who seek and have the quality of faith can accomplish more than any doctor can do for them. As a Sage once said: Physician heal thyself! So in time everyone will have to become his own physician. In the meantime there is still place for those who can serve their fellow-men without violating nature. It all depends upon the individual, it was said. Why? Because we can follow and absorb to a certain point, beyond which we must learn to stand alone in the Silence, before we can come face to face with Reality. The achievement of the scientists, after all, is an individual achievement. The attainment of the religionist, the at-one-ment with Reality, is an individual experience. The experience may take a second in man-made time; it may be sustained longer, yet, though individual, it reveals the Oneness of All!

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