AT a conference last year in Boston, Massachusetts, entitled ''Spirituality & Healing in Medicine,'' sponsored by Harvard Medical School, and The Mind/Body Institute, Deaconess Hospital, questions were discussed concerning health. As this newspaper reported, the scholars, doctors, clinicians, chaplains, and nurses attending the course examined the power of prayer in recovery of the sick and dying.
Something Christian Science has to say on this subject is helpful. Considering health as not merely the absence of sickness or disease, Christian Science gives a clear understanding that answers lie in spiritual consciousness. The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote in the book Miscellaneous Writings, ''The true consciousness is the true health'' (p. 298).
''True consciousness'' is an awareness of God. It allows you to see and enjoy the fact that man, the image and likeness of his creator, God, is whole. This understanding brings consciousness into perfect alignment with the truth. This is true prayer, and it is not a selfish act. It is not wishful pleading for something that seems lacking, be it health, home, joy, or peace, companionship, employment, or forgiveness of some unloving thought or deed. This kind of prayer acknowledges that God is everywhere and omnipotent and good. A desire to know Him, and to reflect His nature, is an important part of prayer.
This ''true consciousness'' excludes an opposing power, such as illness. It involves the acceptance of the spiritual fact that God is good and is All-in-all. As it relates to you and me, this fact implies we must be as good as God.
Mrs. Eddy sought and found the basis of true health. She discovered the divine Principle of healing and preventing disease through the message of the Bible and the example of Christ Jesus. Jesus healed through his clear consciousness of God. Divine Principle is God. God is the cause of all health, holiness, wholeness. Man is called in the Bible in Genesis the ''image'' and ''likeness'' of God. Therefore each of us possesses all good. Understanding this changes human circumstances. It results in health, including physical health. Through spiritual understanding alone we can have healthy minds and bodies.
Before becoming a Christian Scientist, I had undergone extensive testing by a dermatologist, to determine which foods were causing me an extreme allergic reaction. The tests revealed acute allergies to most of the basic food groups, and I was put on a very restricted diet.
At this time, I began attending a Christian Science church, where in Sunday School we discussed Jesus' words from Matthew ''Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?'' (6:25) The spiritual significance of these words began to illumine my own consciousness. I realized my health was secure in the fact that I was God's ''image and likeness.'' One morning I found myself suddenly and permanently healed. I had become conscious of my true status as the child of God, and consequently I saw the absolute powerlessness of this limiting allergic condition. The ''true consciousness'' revealed to me that my ''true health'' had its source in God.
Prayer plays an important part in the restoration of mind and body. Jesus healed the sinful, sick, diseased, and dying. And he raised the dead. He used no pharmaceutics or surgery. Instead Jesus taught that health and harmony are indeed to be found within individual consciousness, here and now.
Quietly seeking to understand God, you can become truly conscious of His supremacy, and proportionately aware of the unreality of sickness. There is actually neither place nor opportunity in creation for anything unlike God to exist. True consciousness and true health are emanations of God. They are now and forever yours and mine.
I shall yet praise him,
who is the health
of my countenance,
and my God.