`IF you don't do aerobics, if you don't diet, if you don't spend hours under a sunlamp, what are you doing to stay in shape?'' Doesn't it seem as though this is a question that we're constantly being asked by advertisements, magazine articles, television shows? Seeing the vast amounts of media space given to such concerns, I find myself praying that we will all have what these items indicate we are yearning for: the true knowledge of health, what it is and how to retain it.
I was brought up in a family whose experience of using medi-cal methods for health concerns was not always satisfactory. It came as a great release to me to discover that there is a truly responsible way to approach health care that doesn't involve dieting or being obsessed with exercise.
This way isn't a new fad to compete with other unreliable theories of health care, however. It has a proven record of several thousand years. It was proved effective by the earliest individuals whose lives are recorded in the Bible, and demonstrated most completely by Christ Jesus. It is spiritual-mindedness, and its superiority to other systems of care is summed up in the First Epistle to Timothy, where we read: ``Refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come'' (4:7, 8).
Christian Science today presents as a system the means and method by which the ancient worthies did so effectively ``exercise . . . unto godliness.'' This divine and unchanging Science is recorded in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book that unlocks the Bible and shows us how to shape up by prayerfully bringing our thoughts into accord with God's true view of Himself and His creation man. In it the author, Mary Baker Eddy, urges: ``Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof. Life and goodness are immortal. Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight'' (p. 246).
Here, then, is the spiritual way to shape up. As we prayer-fully shape our views of existence in accord with God's eternal vision of the man of His creating, we will experience the healthy glow of spiritual well-being, which brings practical well-being in its wake.
A minor but amusing instance of this occurred for me on the first really sunny afternoon of one summer. I (along with just about everyone else in the city in which I live!) wanted to go into the park and lie in the sun. As I started to do so, however, it came to me to use the two hours that I had before meeting my brother to pray quietly instead. Faithful to this intuition, I settled down for quiet communion with God, indoors. I went to meet my brother feeling spiritually refreshed. His first words to me were, ``You look well. Have you been sunbathing all afternoon?''
Of course that's just what I hadn't been doing! But I had been basking in the revitalizing light of divine Soul.
Material theories can't fulfill our legitimate desire for consistent well-being. What is considered healthy one year is often considered detrimental to health the next year. Only the divine means for fitness and well-being is never self-contradictory. So if you want to stay in shape, pick up a book--Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures--and read it together with the Bible.