The early seafaring explorers have a lesson to teach us about the perceived limitations of aging. Until they ventured beyond the horizon, the misapprehension that the earth was flat had limited exploration for centuries. Based on what could be seen by the naked eye, the assumption must have been that if one kept sailing beyond the horizon, he would reach the end of the earth and fall off into space. But when explorers challenged this misconception and proved it to be false, the self-imposed limitations associated with the belief in a flat earth dissolved, and exploration expanded.
Misapprehensions create limitations. If you believe something that is untrue, you will be bound by the limits of that falsehood until the misapprehension has been corrected. What if the commonly held belief that aging diminishes our capabilities is only a misapprehension about the nature of existence?
Like those early explorers, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, challenged limiting assumptions about the material nature of life with its expectation of decline and discovered a whole new world. Hers was not one of uncharted oceans or great expanses of land, though. Mrs. Eddy’s new world was a world of spiritual understanding. She discovered that man’s being is entirely spiritual because God, who is Spirit, is the source of all life. The creations of Spirit can only be spiritual; that is, everlasting and unlimited. Spirit could never create its opposite, matter, something temporal and limiting.
Through her study of the Bible and her own personal experiences, Mrs. Eddy discovered that God, or Spirit, is divine Life, the animating force of being, and man is the reflection or manifestation of divine Life. Because Life is the source of our being, man must then be perpetually active, vibrant, and forever progressing. Speaking of this spiritual sense of being, Eddy explained, “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 258).
Mrs. Eddy wasn’t the first one to introduce these ideas, though. She discovered what Christ Jesus had demonstrated centuries before when he healed the sick. Jesus proved that man was not a material construction, even though that is what man appears to be. He knew, without a doubt, that man’s existence is really spiritual; that life is not immersed in matter but radiates from God, from divine Life. This is part of the truth Jesus referred to when he said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Christ Jesus’ conviction of this truth uplifted the thought of the sick and freed them from the self-imposed limitations that come with the misapprehension that life is in matter.
Eddy took this truth to heart and demonstrated it in her own life. Her life was expansive. She lived nearly twice the age of women of her time. She didn’t even start her lifework until her mid-forties; later still, in 1879, she established her church. Then in 1908, at the age of eighty-seven, she started this newspaper, and she continued to work full and active days in support of her church until she passed on.
As the reflection of God, Life, we, too, have a divine right to be free from decline and uselessness. Instead of accepting that decline is inevitable, we can challenge the beliefs of limitation associated with aging. We can, through a growing understanding of our real, God-supported identity, expect to remain active, alert, flexible, and capable. Because God is Life, unfailing Life, our spiritual being, which reflects God, is unfailing and perpetually progressive. Understanding this truth frees us not only from the misapprehension that life is immersed in a material body but from the limitations that come along with that misconception.
Becoming conscious of these ideas as we pray will uplift our thought in the same way that Christ Jesus uplifted the thought of those he healed. As we go forward into our day with joyous gratitude for the eternal, spiritual nature of life, we are bound to see limitations begin to drop away and the scope of our lives expand.