A change in perspective that heals

After today’s contributor burned her hand, a sincere desire to understand how prayer heals led to quick and complete freedom from pain.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Can changing our perspective change our experience? An incident a few years ago showed me just how powerful a shift in thought can be.

While cooking one evening, I badly burned my hand when hot liquefied sugar was accidentally poured over it. The pain was extreme, but when I put my hand in cold water I got some relief. However, I woke during the night in throbbing pain, and I was pretty scared. I turned to my husband, a physician, but he was sleeping so soundly I just didn’t have the heart to wake him.

It was then that I recalled testimonies of healing I’d been reading in a weekly magazine called the Christian Science Sentinel. At the time, both my husband and I worked in the medical field, and because we were in the “healing” business, a relative had given us a subscription. Each issue had inspirational articles and testimonies of spiritual healing, in which contributors related a real-life problem, shared how they had prayed to God, and then told how they had been healed. Wow! I had read a number of these testimonies, and they were pretty amazing to me.

So I wondered, right in the midst of this physical pain: How did these people pray? What would one ask or know of God that would result in healing as these testifiers wrote about? You could say that, at that moment, I turned wholeheartedly to God to consider something I’d never known before.

This sincere yearning immediately and completely freed me from the throbbing pain. There was no gradual receding of it; there was simply no more pain. I would not have believed it had I not experienced it.

The desire to understand how this had come about led me to dive into the foundational ideas of Christian Science, which is based on the Bible and explained in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science. I began to see parallels to my experience, such as in the Bible where Moses turned aside to examine a bush that was on fire but not disintegrating (see Exodus 3:1-4). His curiosity about this seeming impossibility heightened his receptivity to God, which ultimately enabled him, and the children of Israel he led, to tangibly experience God’s care during their long-drawn-out exodus from Egypt.

I was also struck by a statement from the prophet Isaiah. He said: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22). I saw that all the healings that Christ Jesus performed, as shared in the New Testament, were done on that basis.

Science and Health explains: “Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts” (p. 261). Truth, Love, and Principle are capitalized here as synonyms for God, who cares for each of us, His spiritual offspring.

Looking back on my experience, I see that just opening my thought to God was itself a simple prayer to understand or know more about God. This prayer was answered – and I didn’t even realize I had been praying!

Since then, through my practice of Christian Science, I’ve come to see that the true identity of each of us is spiritual, in perfect harmony with the all-good God, divine Spirit. Mentally turning away from the contrary mortal picture of ourselves and others to behold what God has created, to consider a more spiritual sense of life, has a healing effect. Science and Health says it this way on its opening page: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings” (p. vii). I have found there’s nothing to lose and all to gain by doing just that!

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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.

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