WHEN MY SON was a baby, I began having dizzy spells. The difficulty appeared to be with my heart and escalated to where I was sometimes experiencing severe chest pains and other troubling symptoms. This went on for a number of years. I'd call a Christian Science practitioner for prayerful support, and the difficulty would abate, and then return. Finally I realized that I had to sincerely participate in this healing, too. It was a duet. A practitioner reminded me that the definition of heart was exactly as stated in the Glossary of Science and Health, on page 587. She said it was just that, no more and no less. This made a great impression on me because it seemed to simplify the approach to healing, and also to lessen my fear. I commenced an in-depth spiritual study of the word heart in the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, and particularly the definition in Science and Health. Each part of it brought me face to face with many areas in which I needed to spiritualize my life and thinking: "HEART. Mortal feelings, motives, affections, joys, and sorrows."
Mortal feelings: I recognized I needed to heal tendencies toward over-sensitivity, anger, and emotionalism. These susceptibilities often occurred when fear tempted me—fear for my baby's health and my own, and particularly fear of the future. However, as I learned more about what God is and does, I saw much more clearly why, as His image and likeness, I could respond to situations using the spiritual sense or intelligence derived from Soul, instead of reacting based on what the physical senses reported. I learned to listen for ideas from this divine Mind so that I could respond appropriately and not react emotionally. I began to see that in reality, there weren't any occasions that could disturb or hurt me; that it was my response to them that mattered and determined my well-being. I acknowledged that I had spiritual dominion over my thoughts and could choose how I wanted to respond. I could look at life as foreboding and a constant struggle, or as Mary Baker Eddy put it, as "Love's divine adventure" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 158).
I chose Love's divine adventure! I began to watch my thinking more consistently. Which thoughts would I let in, entertain, and send out—fear-filled, anxious, tense ones; or God-enlightened, peaceable, loving ones? I practiced listening for the Christ—messages from Mind—and for the spirit of Love and Truth (see Ps. 62:5). Gradually I realized that gaining dominion over my body came as I gained dominion over my thoughts, and I could do this because God had created me able to hear Him, to understand Him, and to obey His impartations.
Motives: I saw that my motives needed to be spiritualized and purified. Greater unselfishness was essential. "Thy will, Father" took precedence in my thoughts. I also saw I needed to forgive on many fronts, "until seventy times seven"—in other words, in every case, as Jesus taught (Matt. 18:22). A gentle, strong, healthy heart would naturally be forgiving. The hymn which begins, "Give me, O Lord, an understanding heart" became a mainstay (James J. Rome, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 69).
Affections: My affections needed to be enlarged and expanded. This included less self-centered thinking, and more thought toward the needs of others and the world. I became much more familiar with God's attributes, which He expresses throughout His creation. I saw that the more I cherished and armored myself with these divine qualities, the less I was tempted to become ensnared by sickly thoughts. And I learned how indispensable it was to truly "love, love, love," as Mrs. Eddy counseled (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, p. 134).
Joys: Realizing all that I had to be grateful for became a priority. I made a consistent effort to replace the inclination to focus on what was going wrong with gratitude for all the wonderful good in my life. I pondered a passage in the Bible: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Prov. 17:22). I didn't need heart medicine or special exercises. I needed to demonstrate joy for God's continuous blessings. A burdened or heavy heart had no place in infinite Love's creation.
Sorrows: Some debilitating and disappointing incidents had occurred over the years involving relationships, health issues, career, and so on. Sorrow and grief make heavy baggage, so I strove to let go of painful memories. The truth was, God's love was just as available and palpable now as it had ever been. His promises of continuous protection and care were intact. For sure, there were "fresh opportunities every hour" to prove this, just as Mrs. Eddy assured there would be (Christian Healing, p. 19).
All that I learned seemed to kick in at one specific time. One night, I was lying in bed, having great difficulty breathing. As I lay there, I beseeched God: "Father, please tell me what I need to know." The answer gently came to divorce myself from a sense of identity in the material body, of corporeality, and to go to "the secret place of the most High" (Ps. 91:1). I understood this to mean that I needed to turn my thoughts completely from the body and be present with Love. As I did this, a glorious fresh sense dawned on me that Life had absolutely nothing to do with physicality, with an organ called the heart. God was my Life. It was so clear. From that moment, the healing really sailed ahead and became complete and permanent.
I am profoundly thankful for the Christian Science practitioners who steadfastly helped me throughout this time. What I learned both during and after the healing has been priceless, permanently securing my trust that "with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26).
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