Mind Over Matter

Mind can determine matter, but normally it is a slave to Matter. Mind can make matter respond, but most of the time we do what our bodies want and we justify it. We do not feel that we are the masters of our bodies. We feel in many ways that the body pushes us around. It is important for us to understand how mind moves matter, because the process of unfailing success is to move life, to move the conditions of life around to make them favorable.

The power of mind over matter is dramatically illustrated by what is known as the placebo effect. A placebo is something that is not a real medicine, but it has the effect of a real medicine. There is a true story of an American man who developed two large tumors in his intestines during the 1950s. When he was on his deathbed, he read in the newspaper about a serum that cured horses of cancerous intestinal tumors. He pleaded with his doctor to administer this drug to him. Since the patient was expected to die in a few days, the doctor agreed to administer the drug. To his great surprise, two days later the tumors were completely gone. A couple of weeks later, the patient read another article in the paper which reported that this same horse serum does not work against cancer in human beings. Two days later, the tumors came back to their original full size. The doctor understood that something was happening here. Whether the serum was working or not, something was happening. He spoke to the patient who was again on his deathbed and told him he had found a super double strength version of the horse serum which had been successful in curing cancer in humans. The doctor gave the patient injections of water. Two days later the tumors completely disappeared. Two months after that, the man read in the paper that no one had ever been cured by that horse serum. He died within a few days.

What is this power? The mind’s belief has such a power. In Japan they did studies of patients who were severely allergic to poison ivy, a particular plant in the forest which causes intense rash. When contracted by people who are severely allergic to it, the whole body breaks out in a rash. The Japanese medical scientists rubbed an ordinary leaf on one arm of these highly allergic patients, but told them that the leaf was poison ivy. They then rubbed real poison ivy on the patients’ other arm, but told them it was only a harmless ordinary leaf. Out of 13 patients, ten of the patients got rashes on the arm touched by the harmless leaf, and only 3 got any rash on the arm touched by the real poison ivy. The effect of mind on our body is so powerful.

Scientists did a test of a new drug for baldness. They found 86% of the men who took this drug showed new hair growth. They also found that 42% of the men who took the placebo drug, which was just candy, also grew new hair. They developed a new asthma inhaler and found that a third of the patients who were using a placebo inhaler with only vanilla fragrance in it got the same relief as those using the real inhaler. Even with regard to the body, mind has such a power.

Mind can be a powerful instrument for accomplishment in life. There is a true story about a high school teacher in South India. One day a younger co-worker came to the house of this teacher and said that his father was very ill and in coma. The doctors said the old man is not likely to survive through the week. The teacher and the man’s son went to the hospital. They were told by the doctor that the father had just given up living and was deteriorating rapidly. After the doctor left, the teacher asked the son whether he really wanted his father to live: “Are you willing to do anything necessary to save your father’s life?” The old man’s son said ‘yes’. They went into the room where the old man was lying on the bed unconscious. The teacher called out the patient’s name, but the patient did not move. Then the teacher said loudly, “You have to get up, you have to build the house.” After a moment, the old man stirred. Again the teacher said, “Get up, what are you doing on the bed? You have to build your house!” One eye opened. A feeble voice asked, “What house?” The teacher continued: “Your house, your life-long dream of a house. Your son has agreed to build the house. He will even offer tuitions to earn more money. In 12 months the house will be completed.” The father looked at the son and asked “Really?” The son nodded. The teacher left the hospital and went home. The next morning the man’s son came to the teacher’s house and said that his father had come home from the hospital! In the next one year, the old man built his house and lived for at least another ten years. When the old man’s mind lost interest in living, the life went out of his body. The teacher knew that the old man had a life-long desire to build a house, but he had given it up because he thought he would never be able to fulfill it. When the old man realized his dream could be fulfilled, life surged back into his body. That is the power of mind over life.