The Two-fold Attitude of Mind and Soul
following is an extract from a letter sent to me by a reader of
my articles in The Nature Cure Magazine.
you say we must rely on our own personal efforts and at other times
you teach dependence upon a higher power. This, to me, is contradictory
and confusing. I cannot understand how, consistently, we can do
both at the same time. Which is right? Is it best to rely upon our
own power and our personal efforts or upon the 'Higher Power'?"
inquiries have come from other friends. I shall now endeavor to
answer these and other questions.
is nothing contradictory or incompatible in the teachings of the
Nature Cure philosophy concerning the physical and metaphysical
methods of treating human ailments. Both the independent and the
dependent attitudes of mind and soul are good and true and may be
entertained at the same time. It is necessary for us to rely on
our own personal efforts in carrying out the dictates of reason
and of common sense. But this need not prevent us from praying for
and confidently expecting a larger inflow of vital power and intuitional
discernment from the Source of all intelligence and power in the
innermost parts of our being.
two-fold attitude of mind and soul is justified not only by reason
and intuition, but also by the anatomical structure of the human
organism and its physiological and psychological faculties, capacities
activities of the human organism are governed by two different systems
of nerves, the sympathetic and the motor. The sympathetic nervous
system is the conveyor of vital force to the organs and cells of
the body. Just what this vital force is and where it ultimately
comes from, we do not know. It is a manifestation of that which
we call God, Nature, Life, the Higher Power or the Divine Within.
action, the circulation of the blood, respiration, digestion, assimilation
of food, elimination and all other involuntary activities and functions
of the human organism are controlled by means of the sympathetic
nervous system. The nature of the controlling force itself is not
known to us. We do know that it is supremely powerful, intelligent
more we study the anatomy, physiology and psychology of the human
organism, the more we wonder at its marvelous complexity and ingenuity
of structure and function. Every moment there are enacted in our
bodies innumerable mechanical, chemical and psychological miracles.
Who, or what, performs these miracles? We do not know. Yet every
moment of our lives depends upon the infinite care and wisdom of
this unknown intelligence and power.
then, should we not trust the One so faithful? Why should we not
ask aid from One so powerful? Why not seek enlightenment from One
who is so wise and so benevolent?
not all of the human entity is dependent upon a controlling power,
nor are all its functions involuntary. Within the house prepared
by the Divine Intelligence, there dwells a sovereign in his own
right and by his own might. He is endowed with freedom of desire,
of choice and of action. He creates in his brain the nerve centers
which control the voluntary activities of the body and from these
brain centers he sends his commands through the fibers of the motor
nerves to the voluntary muscles and makes them do his bidding; some
he commands to walk, others to laugh, to eat, to speak, etc.
independent principle in man we call the ego, the individual intelligence.
It imagines, desires, reasons, plans and works out, by the power
of free will and independent choice, its own salvation or destruction,
physically, mentally, morally and spiritually. By means of the motor
nervous system, this thinker and doer directs and controls from
the headquarters in the brain all the voluntary functions, capacities
and powers of the human organism.
part of the human entity can evolve and progress only through its
own conscious and voluntary personal efforts.
this, Man differs from the animal creation. The animal is able to
take care of itself shortly after birth. It inherits, already fully
developed, those brain centers for the control of the bodily functions
which the newborn human must develop slowly and laboriously through
patient and persistent effort in the course of many years.
voluntary capacities and powers the newborn infant possesses little
more than the simplest unicellular animalcule, that is, about all
it can do is to scent and swallow food. Its cerebral hemispheres
are as yet blank slates, to be inscribed gradually by its conscious
and voluntary exertions. Before it can think, reason, speak, walk
or do anything else, it must first develop in its brain special
centers for each and every one of these voluntary faculties and
these persistent personal efforts, reason, will and self-control
are gradually evolved and developed; while the animal, being hereditarily
endowed with the faculties and functions necessary for the maintenance
of life, has no occasion for the development of the higher faculties
and powers and therefore remains an irresponsible automaton, which
cannot be held accountable for its actions.
recapitulate: Freedom of choice and of action distinguish the human
from the animal. In the animal kingdom, reasoning power and freedom
of action move in the narrow limits of heredity and instinct, while
Man, through his own personal efforts, is capable of unlimited development
physically, mentally, morally and spiritually, both here and hereafter.
We say physically advisedly, for in the spiritual realms, in the
life after death, the physical (spiritual-material) body also is
capable of deterioration or of ever greater refinement and beautification.
the right use of his voluntary faculties, capacities and powers,
Man is enabled to become the master of himself and of his destiny.
we find that the human organism consists of two distinct parts or
departments, the one acting independently of the ego and deriving
its motive force from an unknown source and the other under the
conscious and voluntary control of the ego.
two-fold nature of the human entity justifies the two-fold attitude
of mind and soul, on the one hand the prayerful and faithful dependence
upon that mysterious power which flows into us and controls us through
the sympathetic nervous system and on the other hand the conscious
and voluntary dominion over the various faculties, capacities and
powers with which Nature has endowed us.
is our privilege and our duty to maintain both attitudes, the dependent
as well as the independent. The desire and the will to plan, to
choose and to perform are ours, but for the power to execute we
are dependent upon a Higher Source.