I for some time have been quite interested in New Thought. I can't say I buy into all of it, but dang it, I have to believe that how we think about things has a lot to do with how things go for us. Upfront I admit that some of the New Thought emphasis on "think your way to riches" is a turn off. I think riches are often a snare. Moreover, being "rich" is a relative thing. Compared to most of the world, in my leanest times I was rich! Money can't buy happiness, so I'll settle for having enough to be content. (And it doesn't take much to make me happy).
But I'm saying I do believe in the placebo effect, nocebo effect and psychosomatic illness. The subject of this post, in fact, is an incident that took place during my eleventh year in, which I proved to myself for all time that the mind can conjure illness.
It happened in this way. For some reason (time has faded my memory somewhat here) my best friend Jimmy and I had a rather severe falling out. I don't remember the details but do clearly remember that he had promised over the telephone to beat me up the next day at school.
It wasn't the prospect of a "butt whooping" that troubled me so. Those things happen when you're young. But his being my closest friend - and he had been for years - and turning against me so violently upset me beyond measure. I wanted somehow to avoid this entire unpleasant situation.
Voila! Despite the fact I had never had a hive in my life (and haven't again to this day, more than forty years later), I began itching and finding the biggest, reddest hives you could imagine on my face, neck and arms.
My parents were flabbergasted. It did the trick. I was home from school in bed the next day "recuperating." The weekend came next and I made a complete and speedy recovery. Fences were mended with my friend over the weekend. He even felt concern that I had been so upset I broke out in hives.
Can't help but wonder now how many other illnesses my mind concocted when I was growing up. I can just say that as sickly as I was during my childhood, I've been quite robust in adulthood. "Disgustingly healthy" as one doctor put it to me.
On the score of attitude, I can say I've proved to myself that thinking oneself into an upbeat mood when one is down is doable. It works. Give it a try sometime.
So I am more than willing to study New Thought material with an open mind. I wonder how much we can do with our minds.