Just about anything qualifies as news these days. A celebrity's wedding, political gossip, who-wore-what to the Academy Awards. When something truly big happens, on the magnitude of a major scientific advance, one naturally assumes the story will get widespread coverage.
A significant evolution of thought is going on in society that has yet to capture the spotlight it deserves. It's a profound shift in humanity's most basic assumptions about the basis of life. Matter - the substance so long believed to be the foundation of everything - is gradually losing the bedrock support it once had among physicists and researchers. "To put the conclusion crudely," wrote distinguished physicist Sir Arthur Eddington, "the stuff of the world is mind-stuff." Or, as author and physicist Dr. David Darling put it in his book "Equations of Eternity," "The freeing of the mind from its organic shackles will be the most spectacular leap in the evolution of consciousness as a whole."
What has united the interests of two traditionally separate camps - those who are probing and mapping the world of matter for answers to life, and those who are focusing their attention on the mental realm, on consciousness? Much credit goes to those in modern medicine for their ongoing research into the mind-body connection. Now, after decades of such research by doctors and scientists, the 17th century model of healthcare, which permitted medical science to care for the body while the realm of mind was reserved for the church, is being outgrown. That was noted in a 1992 report to the National Institutes of Health, which brought out that this dualistic model has been yielding over the past 30 years to a powerful scientific movement to understand the mind's capacity to affect the body.
Today's widespread interest in mental cause and effect can be traced back even further, to the mid-19th century discoveries about mind and matter made by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor. In her primary work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she wrote, "My discovery, that erring, mortal, misnamed mind produces all the organism and action of the mortal body, set my thoughts to work in new channels, and led up to my demonstration of the proposition that Mind is All and matter is naught as the leading factor in Mind-science" (pgs. 108-109).
Not only was Mrs. Eddy's discovery a major breakthrough in the scientific and medical thinking of that day, but it remains a hallmark of progress today. The body is the subjective state of the mind, she found. This was confirmed in hundreds of cases of physical healing by her and her students, each cure resulting solely from a change in the mental state of the patient. This changed mental state isn't a product of the human mind, as Science and Health explains and as the record of healing by those who practice her metaphysical method today shows. It is the result of prayer and the harmonizing influence of the divine Mind, God.
This discovery, which is fully explained in Science and Health, stands not only as a major advancement for science and medicine, but for theology as well. Science and Health addresses in depth today's leading questions on the relation of mind and body, and makes accessible to all the understanding of how the divine Mind heals disease.
Occasional features in the press on mind-body research or on spiritual healing are encouraging signs of what's evolving below the surface. More good news is the launch of and growing interest in the resources for spiritual seekers found on www.spirituality.com. As significant as these signs are, they tell only part of the story. A sea change is under way in terms of humanity's long-cherished beliefs about the basis of life. Mrs. Eddy saw the shift coming. In Science and Health she wrote, "Belief in a material basis, from which may be deduced all rationality, is slowly yielding to a metaphysical basis, looking away from matter to Mind as the cause of every effect" (pg. 268).
This is promising news for science, medicine, theology, and indeed for all of humanity.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor