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Chapter 12 The Heart and Lungs, and their Relation to the Love and Intellect

Everything that can be predicated of the mind has relation either to the love or the intellect. The reasons on which this classification of the the mental powers rests, have been given in a previous chapter. The will and the love are identical and it is an interesting fact that the two words are from the same root. Their radical sense is the same. The love and the intellect are the two universals of the mind, by which we mean something that enters into the whole and every part of a subject or thing. Since these are the universal and everywhere-present principles and elements of our inner organism, and since the body has correspondence with the mind, and is only the external or ultimate expression of it, we should reasonably expect to find in it thc echo of our spiritual structure in two universal organs. Such in fact are the heart and the lungs.

An advanced state of anatomical science, the result of more accurate microscopic and chemical investigation, we doubt not, will show that these two organs are in the whole and every part of the body. Though located primarily in the thorax, by derivation and ramification they are present in the whole organism. Such is demonstrably true of the heart. The minutest veins and arteries which permeate every part of the system, all proceed from it and maintain an unbroken connection with it. They are continuations of it, and interpenetrate even the bones, so that the point of the finest needle cannot enter the flesh without coming in contact with fibers and tubes proceeding from this central organ, and by means of which it maintains an omnipresence in the body. Its action must affect the condition of every part.

The heart corresponds or answers to the affectional nature of man. This is recognized in all langnages, and unconscionsly confessed by all men. It is an intuitive truth. Everywhcre we speak of a man of a kind heart, of a friendly heart, or a warm heart. A lack of benevolence and sympathy is denominated hard- hearted-ness. It is a fact also well known that the various affections, desires, emotions and passions, which are only forms or statesd the love, affect the systolic and diastolic action of the heart, or its contraction and dilatation. This is discernible in the pulsations of the arteries and veins, whose motions are synchronous with the parent organ from which they proceed.

Fear, anxiety, anger, grief, melancholy, joy, contentment, hope, and all the affections, are responded to by the motions of the heart. There is no truth of science capable of a more satisfactory demonstration than this. But as the blood contains the elements of nutrition, and supplies the means of growth and the particles necessary to repair the waste of the various tissues, so that they can be maintained in their integrity, whatever affects its action must modify these physiological processes.

The blood contains a subtile vitalizing element and stimulus that chemistry is not adequate to detect. It is only the unveiled eye of independent clairvoyance that can perceive it, yet it is as necessary to the healthy functional action of every organ as sunlight to a flower. Without it the organs droop and die, like plants smitten with an autumnal frost. It is the due supply of this subtle element, the soul-principle of the blood, something like the animal spirits of the old physiologists, that occasions the healthy glow of warmth in an organ, far more than what we call the blood. Its absence in the feet occasions their coldness, even where they are crowded with blood. Its accumulation is the hidden cause of inflammations and congestions. No organ can perform its functions without a due supply and harmonious distribution of it, anymore than the body can move without the spirit. It is the blood of the spiritual body, answering the same purpose and accomplishing an analogous use in the interior form, that the blood does in the outward man.

We do not call this principle electricity, or magnetism, only for the want of a better name. It is certainly governed by different laws. It is the living aura of the blood, and may be identical with the odyle discovered by Reichenbach. But by whatever name we call it, the states of the mind immediately affect it, and mediately through it the rest of the body.

As the heart is everywhere present in the body by its radiation into the venous and arterial systems, so the same is true of the lungs, though in the present state of anatomical science it is not so clearly discernible. The heart is first formed in the fetus, and the lungs are an outgrowth from it. The six millions of blood-cells are only the terminations of the branches of the pulmonary veins and arteries proceeding from the heart. The air-cells, so numerous as to contain a surface of one hundred and forty square feet, when taken together, flow together into the bronchial tubes, and these unite to form the trachea. But they are all formed from the pericardium, the membrane investing and interpenetrating the heart, and which surrounds and lines every vein and artery. The heart and lungs, thus connected in their origin, sympathize in their actions. The more rapid the respiration, the faster beats the heart, and vice versa.

As the one corresponds to the love, so the other responds to the action of the intellectul nature. We are assured by our consciousness that our thoughts influence the movement of the lungs. We may be as certain of this as of our own existence. The more interiorly and intently we think, the less we breathe. When our thoughts are involuntary and passive, our respiration is involuntary and tacit. In certain states of mental abstraction, the breathing is almost or quite imperceptible, as in the trance. When our thoughts are concentrated upon some vigorous muscular motion, as striking or lifting, we instinctively precede the effort with a deep inspiration, which is a hint of great practical importance.

As every state of the affections influcnces the movements of the cardiac system, so every condition of the intellect affects the action of the lungs. These are primary vital motions in the organism, whence, by derivation, all other motions exist, the involuntary from the heart, and the voluntary from the lungs. As involuntary movements are attended with no fatigue, or loss of nervous force, as the heart is never tired; so our respiration, when not the result of our volitions, never wearies us, however long and incessantly it is continued. But voluntary and artificial breathing is the most exhausting movement we are capable of making. To rest ourselves, is to cease from the latter, and to subside into the former.

An entire cessation of the contractions of the muscular tissue of the heart, suspends the movements of the involuntary vital organs, but a suspension of respiration, so that the breathing becomes tacit, only takes away the power of voluntary muscular motion, and many persons can do it for hours, asthe Fakirs of India. It is attended with great intellectual elevation. In proportion as the breathing is diminished or suspended, the body becomes insensible to pain. Surgical operations, in this state, would be less painful, in fact this suspended respiration and consequent insensibility, is what is affected by chloroform. There have been persons who could induce upon themselves this state without the use of any anaesthetic agent.

To direct the attention to a part, increases its vital action, and its sensitiveness. To abstract the mind from it, deprives it of feeling in proportion to the degree of mental absent-mindedness. To keep our thoughts from an inflamed and painful organ is antiphlogistic, or cooling. The vital action is lowered. To direct the mind and will to a negative part, as cold feet, a paralytic limb, or whereever there is a lack of vital force, infuses life into it. Thus the mind contains in itself, when its spiritual forces are intelligently directed to a given aim, more potential virtues than can be found in a drug shop. It can take away or add to the vital action of any organ, and what more do the advocates of drug medication profess to do, from their heroic practice, which borders on man-slaughter, to the homeopathic and infinitesimal doses, that are next to nothing, if not an absolute nihility. But all these results in Mental Hygiene, are accomplished by the mind through its influence upon the action of the heart and lungs.

A careful study of the connection between the heart and the lungs, their relations to each other, their reciprocal influence, and their correspondence with the two general departments of the mind, would be fruitful in results. The heart is a muscle whose contractions and relaxations are not subject directly to our control. The action of the lungs is both voluntary and involuntary, as they are supplied with both kinds of nerves. When we control their movement, they receive the necessary stimulus from the cerebrum, which is the organ of our voluntary life.

When their movements are passive, the nerve-force comes through the cerebellum, the organ of our involuntary life. Harmonizing with this action of the pulmonary system, dlere is active and passive thought. Our affections and emotions are not directly under the control of our volitions. We cannot love or hate, be joyful or sad, at the nod of the will. We have emotions and feelings at times, from which we would gladly be delivered, and there are other affectional states we would fain possess, but they will not come at our call.

The affections may be indirectly influenced by the intellect. So the action of the heart may be changed through the lungs. There is a sympathetic influence of the one upon the other. The heart and lungs do not contract but expand synchronously, but in the ratio of three to one, or the movement of the heart may be represented by a measure in music composed of three notes, while that of the lungs is a measure containing one long note. But this does not dcstroy the harmony of the rhythm.

As there is a sympathetic connection between the motions of the two organs, and as the lungs obey the behest of the will we are furnished with the means of indirectly affecting the action of the hcart. If the heart beats too quickly and feebly, we have only to breathe more slowly and deeply, and the heart will adjust its systolic and diastolic movements in harmony with the respiration, so as to preserve the ratio of three to one. If the pulsations of the cardiac system are too slow, then breathe faster, and the heart will conform to the action of the lungs. They are like two horses harnessed together to draw the chariot of life, but only one of them obeys the rein, yet they feel an impulse to act in harmony. If one starts ahead, the other soon follows. The reins are attached to only one. If you wish to change the movements of the other, you must do it through the one connected with your hand. So if we wish to change our emotions and feelings, we call do it through the intellect. Change the direction of our thoughts, and the affections will follow. How to induce upon ourselves any desired mental state, will be the subject of consideration hereaftcr.

In what has been said in the brief limits of this chapter we may see more clearly the influence of the states of the mind over the vital functions and processes of the body. Any systcm of medical practice that does not recognize this great truth is fundamentally and radically defective. Physiology and anatomy must be unsatisfactory and superficial, while they ignore the spiritual organism of man.

The true method of study in Natural Science is to investigate the phenomena of the outer world in relation to the inner realm, of matter in its connection with spirit. When we rise to the perccption of things in their causes, we can then understand effects.

We believe without a doubt, and affirm without hesitation, that there has been introduced among men a new and better method of philosophizing, of greater value to the world than the Organum of Bacon. It is destined to revolutionize the sciences, and lead to a reconstruction of their systems. The science of the correspondence between the material and the spiritual departments of nature, stretches in an endless and ever-widening perspective into the dim distance of futurity, which is closed to all but prophetic intuitions.

We live in a transitional era. Old things are passing away, and a New Age has come to the birth. But we now perceive only the first feeble rays of the opening morn, which shoot into the solid darkness of the past, that still settles heavily down upon the mind of the race. The chilling fogs will gradually lift, and show the willing feet of coming generations the way to mountain summits. The spiritual world is drawing nearer and mixing itself with human affairs. The heavens are opening and their living light is falling upon the sightless eyeballs of our hitherto blind guides. The door of the upper realm of being stands ajar, and the uncreated light, in which angclic mind delights to bathe, is leaking through.

It is a knowledge of spiritual things that illustrates nature. When we understand the soul of things, we shall be prepared to comprehend more of its outward manifestations. Already has the angel-world given us the thread of Ariadne, to conduct philosophy out of its labyrinth. A new spiritual science has been born in a manger, but, thanks be to God, cannot be led to the cross by a pharisaic church or learned bigots. The infant in his swaddling-cloth has in him a germ of Divinity, and the feeble pulsations of an immortal life.


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