To my mind, this was one of the greatest deeds of the Corsican. At a time when “New Thought” was practically unknown, the genius of this man had grasped its principles and was making them factors in his apparent success. “Apparent” because, while we admire his genius, we deplore the ends to which he applied his wonderful powers.
At times when the battle seemed lost, Napoleon would go to the front where the danger was greatest; and by the mere sight of him the hard-pressed soldiers under his command were inspired to super-human effort and final victory.
As long as the glamour of invincibility surrounded him, Napoleon was invincible, because he infused into his soldiers a faith and courage which nothing could withstand. But when the cunning of the Russian broke his power and decimated his ranks on the ice-bound steppes, the hypnotic spell was broken also. Friends and enemies alike recognized that, after all, he was but a man, subject to chance and circumstance; and from that time on he was vulnerable and suffered defeat after defeat.
The power of the mind over the physical body and its involuntary functions (the functions which are regulated and controlled through the sympathetic nervous system) may be illustrated by the demonstrated facts of hypnotism. Through the exertion of his own imagination and his will-power, the hypnotist can so dominate the brain and through the brain the physical body of his subject, as to influence not only the sensory functions, but also heart action and respiration. By the power of his will the hypnotist is able to retard or accelerate pulse and respiration, and even to subdue the heart beat so that it becomes hardly perceptible.
If it is possible thus to control by the power of will the vital functions in the body of another person, it must be possible also to control these functions in our own bodies. Many a Hindu fakir and yogi have developed this power of the mind over the physical body to a marvelous extent.
Here lies the true domain of mental therapeutics. We can learn to dominate and regulate the vital activities and the life currents in our bodies so that they will do their work intelligently and serenely even under the stress of illness or of danger. We can, by the power of will, direct the vital currents to those parts and organs which need them most and we can relieve congested areas by equalizing the circulation, by drawing from the surplus of blood and nerve currents and distributing the vital fluids over other parts of the body.
We must be careful, however, to use our higher powers in conformity with Nature’s intent; that is, we must not endeavor to suppress Nature’s cleansing and healing efforts. It is possible to do this by the power of will as well as with ice bags and drugs.
Mentally and emotionally, as well as physically, we must work with Nature, not against her. When we understand the fundamental laws of disease and cure, we cannot well do otherwise.