Harry Houdini, the great magician, once said, “What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.” And so audiences are astounded by magicians’ sleight of hand and reality-bending illusions.
It’s one thing to enjoy a magic show. But in our everyday lives, how often do we question what is presented by the physical senses, before we readily accept it as fact? Certainly not often enough! Mary Baker Eddy – a great thinker and follower of Christ Jesus, and the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science – was well aware of the nature of illusions and their impact on our lives and well-being. Christian Science offers a radically different basis for our perception of reality: one in which we look beyond the testimony of the five physical senses and glimpse life in Spirit, God, and our God-given identity as innocent, pure, and spiritual, like our Maker.
In the preface of Mrs. Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she says: “The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away” (p. vii). Later Mrs. Eddy urges, “We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things” (p. 129).
This concept was foundational to the teachings of Christ Jesus. He came to prove that the law of Spirit, God, is supreme. Whatever denies the goodness of God and of His spiritual offspring is a misconception, or illusion, about the spiritual reality. Where everyone else saw an ill or injured person, for instance, Jesus saw man and woman made in God’s perfect, spiritual image and likeness, and this brought about healing.
His healing works proved the unreality of inharmony – that is, its illegitimacy in the face of God’s limitless goodness. And we can apply this in our lives today, too.
A year ago, I broke my arm skiing. Based on previous experience I wanted to rely on Christian Science for healing, and stopped by an urgent care facility just to pick up a sling I could use. However, the staff insisted on an x-ray. The doctor who reviewed the x-ray explained that the bones had been smashed and needed to be set by a specialist if there was to be any hope of using the arm again.
While I appreciated the doctor’s care, I knew that God, not an x-ray, is the best source of information about who we are and how we are made – namely, in the likeness of Spirit. This is the reality of spiritual creation, despite how aggressive the material picture may sometimes seem.
For a while the pain was impressive, and I began to doubt whether I’d be able to bike or swim anymore, which I normally do every day, if the arm didn’t heal properly. But I diligently prayed each day to hear God’s voice, to see beyond the testimony of the physical senses and admit as real only what God created. As I glimpsed more fully our unchangeable heritage as children of God, I felt a confidence that I was still God’s whole, complete, spiritual image, unmarred and unbroken in any way.
And as I committed myself to heeding only the voice of God, divine Truth, rather than giving in to the illusion that God’s creation can include pain and brokenness, I could hear God guiding me to what I could do, as opposed to the pain telling me what I couldn’t do. Soon I was able to move about with freedom in very small increments.
That was enough to convince me that complete healing was possible, and within a few weeks of continued prayer, I was swimming again with full strokes. The healing has been permanent – in fact, today that arm is stronger than my other one!
Another bold passage in Science and Health states: “Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right. The illusion of material sense, not divine law, has bound you, entangled your free limbs, crippled your capacities, enfeebled your body, and defaced the tablet of your being” (p. 227).
Freedom from the illusion that we are fundamentally material is the God-given right of every man, woman, and child!