The Thinking Body | Health Podcasts


Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of wearable inspiration for a better world. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from the book How to Get What You Want by Dr. Orison Swett Marden, published in 1917…

Modern science has proved that intelligence is not confined to the brain cells, but that we think as a whole, that all cell life takes part in the thinking process. Scientists tell us that the individual cells in a piece of flesh and placed near a drug that is harmful to cell life will draw away as far as they can from this harmful substance.

On the other hand, when a substance friendly to cell life is placed near, the cells will draw as close as possible to this friendly substance and apparently try to absorb it. In other words, these cells manifest the power of intelligent selection, or choice. One reason why our mental attitudes, our hopes, our fears, our joys, and our sorrows have such a tremendous influence upon our bodies and our lives, is because, as Thomas Edison said, every cell in us thinks. And since this is true, we know that every thought, every impression made on the mind, every mental attitude, affects all of the cells of the body, affects the whole organism.

We have been so accustomed to confining intelligence to the brain alone that it is difficult to think of it as a product of the cellular activity of the entire body: brain, muscles, bones, tissues, and all. In fact, we think all over. The mind is the product of activity in all the cells of the body. The latest scientific investigations seem to show that each one of the tiny microscopic cells of a body contains in itself creative, reproducing, repairing, recreating qualities, thus determining the entire future of the body and guiding the plan, the development, and the limitation of growth, that is, physically considered.

Each cell is endowed with intelligence and has a consciousness of its own, and, although each one of these cells has a separate consciousness, the communal, or community cells all work together for the federation of the whole in a most orderly, scientific manner. They build, repair, renew, and maintain the entire organism of the body.

In the book “Cell Intelligence,” it says that the cell is a conscious intelligent being, and by reason thereof plans and builds all plants and animals in the same manner as we construct houses, railroads and other structures. Individual cells of any animal, acting harmoniously with the entire organism, alter the plan of the animal to meet any new demand caused by changes in habitat or in response to needed protection, as in the case of animals which change their colors to correspond to the coloring of the trees upon which they live, so as to make them invisible to their enemies.

It is believed that the cells in any part of the body contain a property of memory reaching back through the ages to the primordial cells, to the beginning of life itself. These qualities are preserved when the cells divide. All the qualities which were in the original cell before the division are passed along to each of the new halves. The new cells formed are really a part of the old one; containing everything which the original cell contained.

We are apt to think of the body as a collection of different organs and that these organs are in a way separate, of different material or construction. But we are simply one enormous mass of tiny cells closely related to one another. Because the bones, for example, are harder than the brain, we think there can be little affinity between them, but, as a matter of fact, what affects one cell anywhere in the body affects all. Each cell is an entity or little self, and we are made up of these billions of our little selves or cells.

These tiny selves are like members of a great orchestra which instantly respond to the keynote given them by their leader. Whatever tune our mentality plays they play. They become like our thought. Every suggestion, every motive that moves the individual, is reflected in these cells. Every cell in the body vibrates in unison with every thought, every emotion, every passion that sways us, and the impact on cell life corresponds with the character of the thought, the emotion or passion.

The ego is the master spirit, the leader of all the little self or cell communities. All the cells of the body will do its bidding. The ego can think health into the cells or it can think disease. It can think discord or harmony into them. It can think efficiency or inefficiency into them. It can send a success thrill or a failure thrill through all of the cells, a thrill of masterfulness or of weakness.

It can send through them a vibration of fear or of courage, of selfishness or of generosity. It can send vibrating through all the cells of the body a thrill of hope or of despair, a thrill of love or of hate; a triumphant vibration or a vibration of defeat, of failure, of disgrace. In short, whatever thought the ego, or I, sends out will stamp itself on every cell in the body, will make it like itself.

The cells are practically an extension of the brain. Each is a sub-station connected with the central station of the brain. Anger, hatred, jealousy or malice in the brain means anger, hatred, jealousy or malice in every cell in the body. Trouble in the brain means trouble everywhere. Happiness in the brain means happiness everywhere. When the mind is full of hope, bright prospects, the body is full of hope, alert, efficient, and eager to work. When there is discouragement in the mind there is discouragement, despondency everywhere in the body. Ambition is paralyzed, enthusiasm blighted, efficiency strangled.

Many kinds of skin disease, kidney trouble, dyspepsia, liver trouble, brain and heart trouble, are now known to result from mental causes, such as chronic hatred and jealousy. These keep the blood and other secretions in a state of chronic poisoning, which devitalizes the whole body and encourages the development of latent disease tendencies or of disease germs.

Every physician knows that discouragement is a depressant, that melancholia will greatly increase the activity and hasten the development of physical diseases. We little realize what we are doing when we are constantly sending messages of discouragement, of fear, of worry through all the billions of cells in the body. We little realize what it means when we talk discouragement, when we give up to the “blues,” when we lose courage, faith, hope, and confidence in ourselves. It really means panic, disorganization, all through the cell life of the body.

Mental depression is felt in every remotest cell. It unnerves every organ, and reduces the entire organism to a state of weakness and inefficiency, if not to utter collapse.

The trouble is we have been so in the habit of thinking of the body outside of the brain itself as sort of unintelligent matter, absolutely dependent upon the control of the brain, that it is very difficult for us to grasp the truth that the intelligence, the planner, the builder, the repairer, is in each cell.

When we are wounded, for instance, we do not deliberately with our brain send a message to the cells to repair and rebuild where the damage has been done, where the tissues have been lacerated or cut away. The cells themselves do that, they are the builders. They built the body originally; and they maintain and repair it.

Some of our most advanced scientists believe that the cells of the different organs of the body constitute what we may term a community mind or brain, which presides over the life and functions of each particular organ. These community brains, such as the stomach, the liver, the kidneys, the heart, get their instructions from the great central station of intelligence—the brain.

We have inherited the materialist belief that thinking is confined to the brain. But the fact is the difference between the brain cells and the cells in other parts of the body is not nearly so great as we once thought. Many brain accidents have shown that the destruction of large portions of the brain tissue does not materially affect the power of thought, any more than the destruction of tissue in other parts of the body affects it. Not only this, but large portions of the brain have been removed and yet the individual has gone on with their work apparently as before.

There is no doubt that the billions of cells composing the body all belong to one intelligent whole. What affects one cell affects all, so that whatever passes through the brain cells passes through every other cell in the body.

We know how instantaneously news, a sudden shock of any sort, received at the central brain station is sent to all the organs. The heart, the kidneys, the liver, all of them are at once affected by it. This shows how intimately they must be tied together. The entire body is evidently a sort of an extended brain.

If you were to scratch one end of a piece of timber a hundred feet long with a nail, and your ear were at the other end of the timber, you could hear the scratch instantly. The distance does not seem to make any difference in the transmission of the sound. In a similar way, every thought, every mood, every emotion goes instantly to every part of the body. For example, let’s say you just sat down to dinner with a ravenous appetite, when you suddenly receive a phone call telling you that someone dearest to you has been killed. Instantly your appetite is gone and the different organs of your body respond instantly to the painful news, thus showing that whatever enters the mind goes immediately to the entire cell life of the body.

The condition of your cells, of your tissues, of your organs, will depend upon the message which you send to them through your thought, through your convictions regarding them, whether of strength or weakness, of health or disease. You think clear through every cell to the farthest extremities of your body. And as you think regarding your cells, so they are. Their fate is largely in your hands. They will obey whatever orders you give them. By your mental attitude toward the cells of the various organ communities you can make your physical organs perform their functions normally or abnormally; you can insure health or bring about disease; you can prolong your life or you can shorten it.

We know that by concentrating our thought intensely upon any part of the body the blood vessels in that organ or locality expand, and an extra supply of blood is sent there. In other words, the blood follows the thought. Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, used to say that on long train trips in severe weather, he could warm his feet by concentrating his thought upon them, so that in a short time they would be all aglow.

Since thought has such a tremendous influence upon the cell life of the body, how important it is that our thoughts and images and emotions should be friendly and not hostile, should be helpful and not injurious! How imperative that we hold only those images in the mind, visualize only those things which are beneficial, kindly, uplifting to the body, not those things which tend to devitalize, to dwarf and ruin it.

Every time you allow a vicious thought, a despondent thought, a thought of failure, of fear, of poverty to enter your mind, every time you allow a foreboding of some threatening event to take hold of you, every time you indulge in jealousy, in envy, in hatred, in revenge, in any evil emotion, every cell in your body is correspondingly affected. So, too, they take on your enthusiasm, your zest, your cheer, your courage, your faith. They are encouraged or discouraged; they expand or contract their possibilities at your suggestion.

The art of radiating health thoughts through and through the whole system until every nerve and fiber, every cell in the body, feels the electric thrill of the health force, is the art of arts. It means the achievement of perfect health, of perfect efficiency and of perfect happiness.

If we are to triumph over all our limitations, we must impress the triumphant thought on every cell. We must radiate through the body not only thoughts of health and strength, but also of courage, hope, confidence, and expectations of better conditions.

Instead of radiating through our system, as most of us do, thoughts of victimization, the conviction that we are the slaves of social and economic systems above which we cannot rise, we must radiate the abundance thought, the freedom thought, the expectation of prosperity and growth.

Instead of stamping thoughts of failure, mediocrity, or incompetence upon our cells, we must stamp upon them the conviction of superb ability, of confidence that we can accomplish what we undertake, because we are in partnership with the divine source. We must constantly cultivate the habit of radiating triumphant thoughts, the habit of radiating masterfulness instead of weakness.

After a little practice in the cultivation of uplifting and joyful thoughts, the vibrations will reach every remotest cell in our bodies, and we shall feel the thrill of health, of hopefulness, of expectancy of better things animating and energizing our whole being.

What we think and believe we create. Hence, if we always hold in our minds the ideal suggestion of health and prosperity, the ideal suggestion regarding our career, our success, our happiness, and our destiny, it will transform our lives, it will lift us from the common to the uncommon. It will make us artists in life instead of mere onlookers.

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