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Florence Scovel Shinn and Phineas P. Quimby: Affirmative Belief Meets the Father of New Thought

The world of spiritual teachings has been graced by several thought leaders, each bringing their unique insights into the realm of manifestation, healing, and personal growth. Among them, Florence Scovel Shinn and Phineas P. Quimby stand out, not only for the eras they represented but also for the foundational principles they introduced. This article explores the nuanced intersections and distinctions between their influential teachings.

Who Was Phineas Quimby:?

Phineas Quimby: The Father of New Thought

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, commonly known as Phineas Quimby, is a figure who might not be as instantly recognizable as other spiritual or philosophical luminaries. Yet, his contributions to the realm of healing and the nascent New Thought Movement in the 19th century render him an indispensable name in the annals of metaphysical thought. Dive into the life, teachings, and lasting impact of this pioneering thinker.

Early Life and Quest for Knowledge

Born in 1802 in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Phineas Quimby grew up with limited formal education. Yet, what he lacked in traditional schooling, he more than made up for with an insatiable curiosity about the world, especially the workings of the human mind.

A Shift to Spiritual Understanding

Quimby’s journey into the realm of healing and spiritual understanding began rather unexpectedly. Suffering from tuberculosis, he explored various treatments, including the popular “hydropathy” or water cure. However, it was during his encounters with mesmerism (an early form of hypnotism) that Quimby had a profound realization: mental states had a direct influence on physical health.

Developing His Healing Method

Building upon his insights from mesmerism and his own experiences, Quimby began to formulate his healing method. At its core was the belief that many diseases were rooted in the mind and were the manifestation of erroneous beliefs. He posited that by addressing and rectifying these mistaken beliefs, one could bring about healing.

Quimby’s Influence and Followers

One of Quimby’s most well-known patients was Mary Baker Eddy, who later founded Christian Science. While she diverged from some of Quimby’s teachings, the influence of his healing methods is evident in her work.

The Legacy of Quimby’s Teachings

Phineas Quimby’s ideas laid the groundwork for what would later be known as the New Thought Movement. While he didn’t establish a formal school or write extensive texts, his notes and writings were compiled after his death into the book “The Quimby Manuscripts,” ensuring that his teachings would continue to inspire and influence.

Central to Quimby’s philosophy was the idea that the mind possessed the power to heal the body. By understanding and aligning with the “Christ principle” or the divine wisdom within, individuals could overcome illness.

Phineas Quimby might not have the widespread name recognition of some of his contemporaries or followers. Still, his influence on modern spiritual thought and healing is undeniable. Through his explorations of the mind-body connection and his revolutionary healing methods, Quimby carved out a legacy that continues to resonate with those seeking holistic, spiritually-grounded approaches to well-being.

Florence Scovel Shinn: The Spiritual Power of Affirmation

Shinn’s teachings shine with her focus on faith, words, and intuition:

  • Words as Tools: Shinn’s central tenet was that words, when spoken with intention and faith, have the power to shape reality. Positive affirmations, for her, are foundational tools for manifestation.
  • Alignment with Divine Laws: She propagated the existence of spiritual laws that govern our universe. By aligning and harmonizing with these laws, one can navigate life with grace and ease.
  • Intuitive Wisdom: A prominent theme in Shinn’s work is the emphasis on trusting one’s intuition, which she perceived as a channel of divine guidance.

Phineas P. Quimby: The Mind’s Role in Healing and Reality

Often regarded as the “Father of New Thought,” Quimby’s ideas paved the way for many modern spiritual movements:

  • Mind over Matter: Quimby believed that the mind has the power to heal physical ailments. Illnesses, according to him, were rooted in wrong beliefs or misunderstandings, and by correcting these mental states, one could achieve healing.
  • The Creative Mind: Quimby emphasized that people create their own realities through their beliefs and perceptions. Change the belief, and you change the reality.
  • God as Universal Wisdom: Instead of perceiving God as a personified entity, Quimby saw God as a higher, impersonal intelligence or wisdom that could be accessed by everyone.

Comparative Insights: Shinn vs. Quimby

1. Emphasis on Words vs. Beliefs: While Shinn underlined the power of spoken words and affirmations, Quimby delved deeper into the realm of beliefs, underscoring their role in shaping reality and health.

2. Intuition vs. Universal Wisdom: Shinn’s teachings often revolved around the individual’s intuitive connection to the divine. Quimby, in contrast, placed emphasis on tapping into the universal wisdom or intelligence that permeates everything.

3. Manifestation vs. Healing: Shinn’s work is primarily centered on manifesting desires and navigating life’s challenges. Quimby’s focus, on the other hand, was more on the healing aspects, especially the mind’s role in alleviating physical ailments.


Florence Scovel Shinn and Phineas P. Quimby, though distinct in their approaches, both shed light on the inextricable link between the mind and external reality. Shinn, with her heartfelt affirmations, offers a spiritually enriching path for manifesting desires. Quimby, with his pioneering insights into mental healing, lays the foundation for the transformative power of beliefs.

For the modern seeker, a synthesis of Shinn’s spiritually charged affirmations and Quimby’s profound understanding of belief-driven realities can provide a holistic approach to personal growth, manifestation, and healing.

Read about similar influencers below:

Explorers of the Ethereal: Masters of Manifestation and Spiritual Insight

The world of metaphysics and spiritual exploration is replete with visionaries whose teachings have expanded our understanding of the universe and our place within it. Stuart Wilde, with his enigmatic exploration of the esoteric, proffers a deeper grasp of the mystical, urging seekers to understand the profound nature of reality. Neale Donald Walsch, through his transcendent conversations with God, reshapes our understanding of divinity, human purpose, and our interconnectedness. Terrence McKenna delves into the union of ethnobotany, psychedelics, and consciousness, revealing a cosmos vibrating with potential and mystery.

Mike Dooley’s affirmations about the universe having our back amplify the potent idea that our intentions steer our reality. Eric Butterworth’s teachings beautifully echo the Unity Church’s principles, emphasizing an omnipresent God and our innate divinity. Claude Bristol, with his riveting “The Magic of Believing,” presents the art of belief as the very crux of manifesting desires and actualizing dreams.

Manly P. Hall, a virtuoso in occult and esoteric wisdom, decodes ancient mysteries, making them accessible to the modern seeker. Dr. Ernest Holmes, the cornerstone of Religious Science, magnifies the role of the mind in shaping our circumstances and life paths. John Kehoe’s focus on the power of the subconscious mind and visualization serves as a beacon for those aiming to harness their inner potential.

Phineas Quimby, heralded as an early proponent of the New Thought movement, intertwines health and spiritual beliefs, offering solace and healing. Emmet Fox’s spiritual discourse shines a light on the transformative power of positivity and divine alignment. William Walker Atkinson, with his deep-rooted principles of the law of attraction, further emphasizes the might of thought in creating one’s reality.

Together, this illustrious group of thinkers presents a diverse palette of insights, weaving a comprehensive narrative of personal growth, spiritual understanding, and the art of conscious creation.