"Man’s power of choice enables him to think like an angel or a devil, a king or a slave. Whatever he chooses, mind will create and manifest.""Our power of choice is the greatest blessing we have, for with it comes the ability to select the mental states we entertain and hence our experiences. The encouraging feature of what appears a discouraging problem is that as we change our inner mental state, our outer experiences will change in conformity to it. To the extent that we learn to control our mental states, we control our lives. I cannot emphasize often enough the extremely great importance of 'I choose.' Cultivate conscious, deliberate choice."
Fredrick Bailes (1889 - 1970)
It's time to throw some props Uncle Fred's way. He was my great-uncle, my mother's father's brother. Like my grandfather, Uncle Fred started out as a conventional minister. Then he became a visionary, one of the founders of the Science of Mind Church, and the origin of much of the current New Thought and Healing movement. So many of the new agers would be surprised to know that he published his first book in the 1940's, describing the importance of mental choices to our happiness and health.
Dr. Frederick Bailes was born into a family of pioneers in New Zealand and was educated to be a medical missionary. Just as he was completing his training he was found to have diabetes, a so-called “incurable” condition at the time (1915), which prevented him from entering his work. Shortly afterward, he came across the writing of Judge Thomas Troward and began to develop a philosophy for living which led to his complete recovery long before the discovery of insulin. Later, as a student at a large London hospital, Fred closely observed the mental factors which entered into the recovery of patients and noticed that certain fundamental thought-patters invariable produced bodily reactions. By stimulating his patients causative mental patterns toward healing, Fred soon found remarkable results.
Frederick Bailes was among the most popular and important teachers of the Science of Mind. Dr. Bailes served with Science of Mind founder Ernest Holmes as Assistant Dean of the Science of Mind Institute in Los Angeles. He also headed the largest Science of Mind church of its day. In addition, Dr. Bailes was an accomplished metaphysical healer, having healed himself of a so-called incurable disease, using the very technique – “Treatment” – that he explains in these Lessons. “The Science of Mind philosophy,” says Dr. Frederick Bailes, “is not a few psychological tricks; it is a life to be lived.”
Uncle Fred gave weekly lectures to capacity audiences in Los Angeles and was well known for his twice-weekly radio broadcasts. He is also the author of Your Mind Can Heal You; Basic Principles of the Science of Mind; The Healing Power of Balanced Emotions; and Collected Essays of Frederick Bailes.
In his book Your Mind Can Heal You he gives a seven step approach to spiritual mind treatment. It starts, he says, "with the fundamental truth that the person for whom we are treating is a perfect idea in the Mind of God, and our whole procedure during a treatment is intended to remove from our own mind any idea or picture of imperfection or sickness." The logic is simple: If the mind can create certain thought-patterns that result in illness, the mind can therefore also create certain thought-patterns that can lead to and maintain wellness. Fred's books have been studied for generations by countless New Thought followers around the world, but the impact of his work is now being re-discovered as medical professionals, researchers, and mainstream media echo his sentiments and awaken to this healing philosophy.
He wasn't just a healer -- he demonstrated that these principles could be applied to any situation in life with remarkable results. Hidden Power for Human Problems, published in the 50's and in print ever since, explains this way of life. HPHP, his most accessible, least "mystical", most practical book was also his biggest success.
I knew very little of this side of Uncle Fred when I knew him as a child. By then, he had retired from the active ministry, although he still wrote and lectured. He lived in the tiny community of Tweedy Lake, California, in the high desert not far from what is now a booming, if distant, suburb of LA, Canyon Country. It was also directly on the San Andreas Fault, a fact that deterred my mother from buying property in the beautiful area. He lived close to nature; one of the most magical memories of my childhood was helping him with the nightly feeding of the native quail, which then (1960's, before their habitat was decimated by developers) would blacken the skies in huge, wheeling flocks as we scattered the seed he kept by the bushel-load in the garage. He was marvelous with children and I felt unconditional love for this jolly, humble man with the charming New Zealand accent. He showed me how to plink away at tin cans (never a live target) with my older brothers' kiddie rifle, the only time I have ever fired a gun. He was an inveterate hiker, and showed me how to appreciate the subtleties of nature in the high desert. Later in life, he was not as mobile, but I treasured my visits to Tweedy Lake.
Also like my grandfather, he had a regular radio program, and for years after Fred's passing I would occasionally come across a repeat airing, and learned what an influential thinker he was. I have always had a soft spot for the truly spiritual, the true philosophers, and for that I thank the Bailes brothers. (One of my brothers has an uncanny resemblance to photos of both Uncle Fred and my grandfather in their youth. I wish he could access more of his inner life, as they did. But that's another story.)