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Phineas Quimby - Brilliant Pioneer of the Mind

Updated on March 23, 2014

Who was Phineas Quimby?

The Disappearance of the Universe (DU) by Gary R. Renard called Phineas Quimby a brilliant but obscure pioneer of the mind. DU also notes that Quimby introduced Mary Baker Eddy to the science of mind. She later founded Christian Science, basing the science on some of the principles she learned from Dr. Quimby.

We can trace the roots of Christian Science to Dr. Quimby who passed some of his ideas on to Mary Baker Eddy. Another famous healer, Joel S. Goldsmith began his work with patients as a Christian Scientist. It will be useful to look closely at the methods of Dr. Quimby if we are ever to unravel the mystery of spiritual healing.

The Quimby Manuscripts

Horatio Dresser published The Quimby Manuscripts in 1921. In the introduction to the manuscripts Dresser has this to say about the significance of Dr. Quimby's work: "The Quimby Writings are now published, because they are unquestionably the most important contributions to the subject, because they show how the modern theory and practice of spiritual healing came into being."

Dr. Quimby viewed the mind as a kind of "X" factor in medical science. SInce the same treatments applied to the same diseases do not always produce the same results, he reasoned that mind played a key role in healing. Here is another quote from The Quimby Manuscripts on the subject of the role of the mind in healing:

"Take diseases. The world is full of sickness, arising from various causes. The phenomena exist in the natural world, while the causes originate in an invisible world. Doctoring is confined to the natural world and admits the causes of the disease to be all in the natural world. Doctor Quimby, with his clairvoyant faculty, gets knowledge in regard to the phenomena, which does not come through the natural senses; and by explaining to his patients, changes the direction of the mind - and the explanation is the science (or cure)."

A Crippled Person Walks

In his book called, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Dr. Joseph Murphy gives a good description of Dr, Quimby's method:

"He was called on to visit this woman who was lame, aged, and bedridden. He states that the ailment was due to the fact that she was imprisoned by a creed so small and contracted that she could not stand upright and move about. She was living in the tomb of fear and ignorance. Because she took the Bible literally, it frightened her."

Dr, Quimby proceeded to discuss the following Bible passage with the sick patient:

"Yet a little while I am with you and then I go unto Him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am thither you cannot come." John 7:33-34

The woman believed the passage meant that Jesus went to heaven. Dr. Murphy finishes the story:

"Quimby explained what it really meant by telling her that being with her a little while meant his explanation of her symptoms, feelings, and their causes. He had compassion and sympathy for her momentarily but he could not remain in that mental state. The next step was to go to Him that sent us. This, Quimby pointed out, was the creative power of God in all of us."

Quimby immediately traveled in his mind and contemplated the divine ideal; that is, the vitality, intelligence, harmony, and power of God functioning in the sick person. That is why he said to the woman, "Therefore where I go you cannot come, for you are in your narrow, restricted belief and I am in health."

"The prayer and explanation produced an instantaneous sensation, and a change came over her mind. She walked without her crutches!"

Travel in the Mind

No one would consider it any great feat, or anything special to travel in your mind. Dr. Quimby had learned how to travel in his mind and contemplate the great ideal, or God. His discussion with the patient and his explanation of the Bible passage prepared her to open her mind. In this way, Dr. Quimby was able to communicate with her and share with her the idea of the creative power of God in all of us.

In a familiar and common way, simple prayers take us beyond the physical world and lead to healing. This form of healing is also thought to come from God. The problem is that the explanation implies that God is picking and choosing who He wants to heal. The contact with the Universal Purpose, or God that is achieved by some healers goes beyond simply asking God for a favor. Spiritual healing unites the mind of the healer with God and communicates the power to a patient.

In describing the first healing he performed, Joel S. Goldsmith said he did not know how to pray. Yet he closed his eyes and nothing appeared to be happening and in an instant a woman was cured. The strength of the conviction of a higher power in his mind was shared with the mind of the patient. One explanation is that minds are joined on some level. When the healer joins with the higher power, that joining is shared with the patient and that's when healing happens.

A Course in Miracles on Healing

A Course in Miracles discusses healing in the same terms with regard to how it happens. Think of Joel Goldsmith closing his eyes and directing his thoughts to God, then opening his eyes and finding that healing came in that moment of light shared with the patient.

A Course in Miracles explains this process is a simple and beautiful way:

"The miracle comes quietly into the mind that stops an instant and is still. It reaches gently from that quiet time, and from the mind it healed in quiet then, to other minds to share its quietness. .And they will join in doing nothing to prevent its radiant extension back into the Mind which caused all minds to be."

And finally: "How instantly the memory of God arises in the mind that has no fear to keep the memory away."

The Disappearance of the Universe

I began to understand spiritual healing after reading a book called, The Disappearance of the Universe (DU) by Gary R. Renard. Gary mentions Dr. Quimby, Joel S. Goldsmith, and Mary Baker Eddy. The book, DU, also serves as a brilliantly helpful introduction to A Course in Miracles (ACIM).

ACIM is a self-study course that is studied throughout life. It is designed to lead to a clear understanding of some of the metaphysical teachings found in this article. ACIM is very, very difficult reading without some kind of introductory explanations of the text. I highly recommend DU to anyone who would like to learn more about psychic and spiritual healing. It is also an invaluable introduction to the study of ACIM.


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