Nature and the inspiration of healing

A Christian Science perspective: News of depression healed.

My Facebook friends have been sharing photos lately of beautiful winter wonderlands – snow-filled yards and evergreen trees bending under the weight of snow-covered branches. Several pictures show families enjoying this fresh snowfall in various outdoor activities. I fondly recall a childhood spent enjoying such activities with my brothers in the snowy north of Canada.

Some people have suggested that being outdoors is a way to combat stress or depression in our lives. But many of us live or work where experiencing the great outdoors is limited.

I do agree that the beauty of nature can feel like a balm to such feelings, but I’ve come to learn that genuine healing power doesn’t come from timberlands or trail walks. It comes from Spirit, God, the only creator, who created everything after Himself spiritually. Created in God, then, we each have the natural ability to discern the beauty and grandeur of an existence that is spiritual.

Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy wrote about the spiritual qualities nature represents in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Spiritually interpreted, rocks and mountains stand for solid and grand ideas” (p. 511).

These ideas aren’t interpreted through our physical senses, however, but through our innate spiritual sense. Speaking of this when he preached Christ Jesus’ teachings, the Apostle Paul said: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Corinthians 2:9, 10).

It was searching for “the deep things of God” that brought healing for my friend who had been suffering from deep depression after the birth of her second child. When she turned to the Bible, this beautiful psalm gave her promise: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help” (Psalms 121:1).

She reasoned that it wasn’t actual physical hills she needed to look up to for help; rather, she had to lift her thinking to a higher, more permanent sense of God as Spirit, and that she was unconditionally loved and cherished by divine Love. In her study of Christian Science, she understood her true self, as stated in Genesis 1, as the beloved creation of a loving God. As such, she could not be separated from God or His love; He was ever present and caring for her.

As she began to realize this, the depressive feelings faded away. She told me that she felt completely embraced by this divine Love and experienced a feeling of being mentally lifted up – like reaching the top of a hill, where the view is clear and inspiring. She tells me she never experienced depression again, including after the birth of another child.

As a sunrise reveals the beauty of a new day, the spiritual awakening to God’s love for us – for all of His children – dawns in consciousness to banish dark thoughts of depression. We can tangibly feel valued and loved through an understanding of our permanent relation to God. Recognizing God as the source of divine inspiration and love, we can experience comfort, care, and healing any time of year, whether we’re indoors or out.

This article was adapted from the author’s blog.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.