‘Underlying conditions’ that heal

It can sometimes seem that our health is at the mercy of forces beyond our control. But the idea that we are God’s pure and whole spiritual offspring can bring renewed health and harmony into our lives.

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We often hear of what are described as “underlying conditions” that impact our health. It can seem that our health and lives are at the mercy of forces outside of our control, that we are susceptible to breakdown or disorder.

As I thought about this recently, the following questions popped into my thought: What truly are our underlying conditions – the foundation of our being – in the first place? Are those conditions wholly physical, or is there something more to us?

To find answers to weighty questions such as these, I’ve found it invaluable to turn to the Bible. There we read how Christ Jesus and his followers viewed man as more than what we see with our eyes.

For instance, the Apostle Paul spoke of “walk[ing] not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” and added, “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit” (Romans 8:1, 9). Before him Christ Jesus made clear: “It is the Spirit which gives life. The flesh will not help you” (John 6:63, J. B. Phillips, “The New Testament in Modern English”).

These ideas are echoed in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the primary text on Christian Science by its discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy. She writes, “Think less of material conditions and more of spiritual” (p. 419).

All of this points to the idea that Spirit, God, is the only reality, the only true source of our existence and selfhood, and that we are fundamentally spiritual, not material. Matter is the counterfeit of Spirit. It is an unreliable and untrustworthy source of information about our true, spiritual condition as God’s children.

Turning to God, rather than matter, to understand our real nature was what helped me a few summers back when I experienced a persistent bruise on one of my legs. After a week, the condition had deteriorated and included an unsightly discharge of fluid.

I realized my attention was focused entirely on the appearance of the leg, whereas the way forward was to affirm what was spiritually true about myself. I knew from previous healings in Christian Science that doing so would bring harmony and healing.

I reasoned that only Spirit, God, could be trustworthy as the source of my life, because Spirit is all-powerful, all-loving, and ever present. Divine Spirit is also eternal and perfect, and the qualities of strength, love, and wholeness are expressed in us.

This brought a renewed sense of confidence, which was further bolstered by another passage in Science and Health: “God is everywhere, and nothing apart from Him is present or has power” (p. 473). The injury was clearly “apart from” God, who is entirely good, and therefore not a legitimate condition in me.

I continued praying with these ideas, and within a day or so the leg returned to its normal, healthy condition.

Each of us can experience the relief and healing that comes from recognizing that our underlying conditions are wholly spiritual, untouched by any material circumstances, and forever maintained flawlessly by our divine Father-Mother, God.

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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.”

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