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The cycle of life

From the January 2013 issue of The Christian Science Journal

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Cycle: “an interval of time during which a sequence of a recurring succession of events or phenomena is completed; … A course or series of events or operations that recur regularly and usually lead back to the starting point” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). 

Does this description sound familiar? Our lives often seem to be in a state of perpetual cycles—cycles of daily routine, personal habits, and recurring behavior. Then there are the cycles which seem to go on outside of ourselves but nevertheless influence and affect our lives, such as cyclical economic and financial patterns, cycles of weather and seasons, voting and elections, and even the cycles that can cause one country to fall and another to rise. The list could become quite long, but probably the most accepted of all cycles is the belief that life starts with birth and ends with death. 

Do we have to accept any of these cycles as inevitable? Are they the underlying laws of the universe that govern us and the world? Or is there an unseen law of God that trumps all of these cycles of mortal life, a divine law that can be proved and felt in our lives?

Mary Baker Eddy, author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and discoverer of Christian Science, explains this divine law in her statement, “Throughout the infinite cycles of eternal existence, Spirit and matter neither concur in man nor in the universe” (p. 319). This is a bold idea that can be readily accepted when we understand that creation is entirely spiritual, not material. 

The Bible tells us in the first verse of Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Mary Baker Eddy interprets this not as a statement about the beginning of matter, but about an on-going and perpetual spiritual cycle: “The infinite has no beginning. This word beginning is employed to signify the only,—that is, the eternal verity and unity of God and man, including the universe. The creative Principle—Life, Truth, and Love—is God. The universe reflects God” (p. 502).

So, there are cycles of existence, but they’re spiritual in nature and not defined by matter. What, then, are the “infinite cycles of eternal existence”? Might they be in how God’s love for His creation reveals itself over and over? Every time we witness God’s goodness reflected in nature’s beauty, in a baby’s delight, or in a kind deed, we witness the eternal cycles of divine goodness and love. 

Every time we witness God's goodness reflected in nature's beauty, in a baby's delight, or in a kind deed, we witness the eternal cycles of divine goodness and love.

These “spiritual cycles” can also be witnessed in the healing effect of applying the laws of Christian Science to one’s life. For example, my mother-in-law was very fearful of menopause because she had seen her own mother actually pass on during that time of life, after being told by a medical doctor that she might not live through menopause because of other health complications. Consequently, my mother-in-law became afraid of what might happen to her when she went through menopause herself. 

When that stage finally came for her, she knew (as I learned later) that she needed to break the cycle of fear by challenging the belief that menopause is part of an inescapable cycle for women. She prayed to see that as God’s expression, she didn’t have to be afraid of the belief that men and women go through a cycle of life, which ultimately ends in deterioration and death. She reasoned that the only thing that needed to change was her thought about herself, because as God’s image and likeness she reflected God’s unchanging perfection. She needed to see herself as God saw her—harmonious, free, and unchanged from the way God created her.  

Very soon after, she found that all symptoms of menopause ceased. She was free—not only bodily, but also free of the fear that had been imposed upon her as a woman. She went on to live a healthy and productive life into her late eighties.  

She had proved that she was not bound to a human, material cycle, but instead had found freedom through demonstrating the healing laws of Christian Science. Such demonstrations of Truth have been repeated throughout the ages and can continue to be repeated throughout all time—resulting in healing, harmony, peace, and freedom. As Mrs. Eddy writes, “Christianity as Jesus taught it … was the demonstration of divine Love casting out error and healing the sick, not merely in the name of Christ, or Truth, but in demonstration of Truth, as must be the case in the cycles of divine light” (Science and Health, p. 135).

In addition, Christ Jesus gave his followers this instruction: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons” (Matthew 10:8, Revised Version). These words are written as part of the seal on the cover of Science and Health, in the form of a circle. We have been given a promise of a perpetual cycle of healing in the manner accomplished by Christ Jesus. This cycle of healing is worthy of our repeating it, for it fulfills the promise our Master gave to those who believe on him: “The works that I do shall [they] do also” (John 14:12). 

Understanding God’s law of goodness enables us repeatedly to do good and witness good. Mrs. Eddy writes: “Immortal Mind is God, immortal good; in whom the Scripture saith ‘we live, and move, and have our being.’ This Mind, then, is not subject to growth, change, or diminution, but is the divine intelligence, or Principle, of all real being; holding man forever in the rhythmic round of unfolding bliss, as a living witness to and perpetual idea of inexhaustible good” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, pp. 82–83). This definition of God and man describes the real cycle of Life.

Carolyn Keith is a Christian Science practitioner from Amherst, New Hampshire.

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