“You’re not just what you eat, or do, or think; you are what you believe.” This line from the cover story in the December 2016 National Geographic Magazine, titled “Mind over Matter: The Healing Power of Faith,” has stuck with me. It brings attention to the idea of the power of belief to alter one’s health and well-being.
It reminded me of a passage in a book that takes the idea of the influence of thought to a whole new level. “The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity,” says the opening page of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science (p. vii). This book explains the Science of the Christ, also referred to as the Science of mental healing.
This Science goes beyond a positive thinking or “mind over matter” approach. Science and Health notes, “The medicine of Science is divine Mind” (p. 104). The human brain or blind faith can only get us so far. But true consciousness – the one divine Mind, or God – is an ever active, universal Principle, the underlying fabric of being. It is in this divine Mind that true power lies.
Mrs. Eddy discovered this Science of Christ when she was near death and doctors couldn’t help her. She turned to the Bible, which she had always studied and loved, including the teachings of Jesus, who used no material methods in healing. Rather, his healings were the result of his understanding of the simple yet profound idea of our oneness with our creator, God.
As Mrs. Eddy understood what she described as “Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 24), she not only recovered from the injury, but also came into better health than she had ever enjoyed previously. As she learned more about this spiritual idea, she went on to heal countless others through understanding and proving this same divine truth about God and man.
This scientific healing power is still here today, as I found when I chose to apply this Science in a dire situation. A serious hereditary disease had developed in one of my legs, which manifested itself in hives, swelling, and infection. It needed to be treated immediately.
Because I knew from experience that Christian Science is effective in healing all kinds of situations, I turned to it in this instance, too. Through studying divine Science I had learned that our real identity is not material; in fact, “there is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter” (Science and Health, p. 468). This is predicated on the Bible’s explanation that man is created in the image of God, and that nothing can alter or change what a supreme God has done. It was on the foundation of this great truth – our irrevocable inheritance as children of God, good – that Jesus healed disease and sin.
I realized that God, eternal Mind, is my true source of being, so my real identity could only include qualities from God, such as health, strength, purity, joy, and freedom. I found comforting assurance in a passage from “Unity of Good,” another of Mrs. Eddy’s writings. Referring to the material sense that cannot see God, it says, “This false sense of substance must yield to His eternal presence, and so dissolve” (p. 60).
This helped me to not be moved by the condition of my leg. I understood the symptoms to be false evidence about my real substance, or identity, as the expression of God’s goodness. I chose to be one of those “thinkers” Mrs. Eddy mentioned in the opening of Science and Health and to reason spiritually, not materially, about my health. To let God, good, tell me what was true about me as His beloved child.
Holding to the spiritual truth about my being, rather than focusing on the material picture, brought me to a realization that my perfection as a child of God was intact. Within a month the condition completely disappeared and has never returned.
Jesus proved that prayer is effective when based on an understanding of the allness of God, the divine Mind, as did Mrs. Eddy, following in the path he pointed out. We each have the privilege of proving this too.