A considerable amount of time has passed since the name of the wondrous Frenchman Coué was introduced into the circles of laymen and scientists of the cultured world, be it through enthusiastic laudatory articles or zealous attacks in newspapers and journals. This introduction reflected a veritable fascination which can be compared with the enthusiasm for Zeppelin. As this man, with his invention that conquered the kingdom of air, so this wondrous physician Coué penetrated into the most mysterious corners of mental and physical illness and healed with his formula: Every day, in every way, life is for me better and better.
It appeared that the great dreams of humanity had been fulfilled. Coué's mysterious formula was supposed to eliminate from human life not only illness but all blows of fate.
At least that was the hope while the intoxication with Coué held.
Coué's fate was the same, however, as that of his great predecessor Mesmer, who in Paris reintroduced the concept of animal magnetism into the conscience of the European cultured man. This man, who was admired by Queen Antoinette, the whole court, and the most brilliant minds of France, who was a true sensation in France, sank into the twilight of diminishing interest.
Why did they forget Coué just as quickly, when without a doubt he had helped so many people?
In Couéism did we still not unearth the philosopher's stone, a universal panacea for the suffering humanity?
When the name of Coué became widely known, my highest ideal was to definitively create for the benefit of humanity that which had been desired by Paracelsus, Faria, Mesmer and others.
I had many patients with various organic and mental illness. I treated them with hypnosis, suggestion, magnetism and Couéism. In some cases, for patients to become well it was sufficient for them to simply come to me. Many times a soothing, comforting word was enough to ameliorate the illness. Obviously of critical importance in these seemingly miraculous cures was my patients' faith in my healing powers.
I thus cured them according to the psychic way of healing of the old masters, as well as of a new one, Coué. All of these men saw the unsuspected potential of healing with the power of the mind. Through their personality or their mystical manipulations they awakened in their patients faith in a mysterious power which was going to help them. The patients believed in their cure -- and they therefore became cured. Their faith in cure caused their mental and physical functions to again work normally.
However, this apparent miracle does not always succeed, because all people cannot blindly believe in that which is presented to them as fact. The impossibility of such belief increases even more when a person is more spiritually developed... Faith is replaced by insight. After a person reaches a certain developmental level he can accept a statement only after convincing himself that it is correct.
With such people all suggestion is entirely without effect. We cannot help them by simply saying that things will turn for the better. We can only help them by convincing them as to why things must now get better. If we succeed in this we will always achieve the same miracle cure as was previously the case with blind faith.
These people, whose number is steadily increasing, cannot be helped with the usual or customary way of healing. In no way do I wish to suggest that these people are possibly distrustful, or that they even resist suggestions. On the contrary, they try with all their might to make suggestions work... However, their critical mind prevents them from accepting them without prejudice.
The phenomenon of what is called faith healing stops working the moment we try to understand it critically.
With such patients my art of healing was also helpless. I had special difficulties with a seventy-three-year-old patient who had long-standing arthritis, severe pains in her stomach and heart and geriatric problems. I treated her with a great variety of psychological methods. Before she came to me for treatment she had unsuccessfully tried all kinds of treatments. Every time her critical mind prevented success. I succeeded to a limited degree, but the road to complete healing (in the end I did heal her) was still very long.
It took me a long time to come to the bottom of all these puzzles.
To anyone who is more or less knowledgeable in this kind of literature, the following will be recognized as an everyday truth.
Human thought is a more real and actual power than that possessed by a machine of many hundred horse power. Thought can be a philosopher's doubt, the invitation of a philanthropist, or an expectation which lurks in the mind of an agitator. This invisible thing, which may be reflected and noticed in only the angry wrinkling of the brow, felled the Bastille, overturned thrones, caused flights of armies and led kings under the guillotine. This thought, which vulgar materialism declared to be only a by-product of the brain -- similar to urine, a by-product of kidneys -- we hold today in greater esteem. We are aware of the fact that it determines our entire destiny, decides about all material things and is thus capable of building up or destroying our body, this complex of millions of cells.
We see how sad thoughts, moroseness, melancholy, despair, depression, rejection of the world, and hatred of mankind also depress a person physically: they make the gait awkward, they wrinkle the brow, hinder digestion, diminish physical strength and cripple activity. A patient who complains about his suffering and fearfully takes to his bed becomes sicker every day.
In a weekly medical journal the following note aroused interest. A physician went on vacation. Among his patients there were two who had lung disease. One of them was not very ill, while the other one was severely sick, ready to go for treatment to Davos or Egypt. Before leaving, the physician gave appropriate instructio