Some years ago an experienced practitioner and I were discussing the problem of the unreceptive patient and other problems that occur in the practice of Christian Science. At that time I was unduly impressed with the resistance to Truth arguing to many seeking Christian Science help. When I mentioned this, the practitioner said: "Why give power to what any negative mortal mind thinks? What you think counts." The practitioner then explained that the thoughts we reflect from God, what we think of spiritual truth, is the determining factor always.
I had often thought: "How am I going to help this patient with a few good thoughts? He is thinking about 90 percent negative, material thoughts." Then I grasped two salient points. First, that a wrong thought is not equal in power to a right one. I had been judging on a quantitative instead of a qualitative basis. I had failed to cognize the power of a spiritual thought emanating from divine Mind. Secondly, I saw that erroneous thoughts are really not part of man's consciousness. They do not contain one iota of reality, but spiritual thoughts are real and substantial.
I recalled that Joshua exhorted the children of Israel not to serve the false gods of other nations but to cleave to the Lord, and he assured them, "One man of you shall chase a thousand." Josh. 23:10; And often I have paraphrased his words and have realized that one right, spiritual thought will rout a thousand wrong, material ones.
Yet someone might declare: "The above is very clear, but I am not certain how I can help another when I do not have an opportunity to talk with him. In other words, what is the modus operandi of absent treatment by which my prayer can benefit another?"
The answer involves perceiving that in Christian Science we resolve conditions into thoughts and then replace erroneous thoughts with spiritual ideas. We are really dealing not with people but with the erroneous beliefs trying to control their thinking. And we can accept or reject those erroneous beliefs in proportion to the spiritual enlightenment of our own thought.
To illustrate, let us assume you are sitting in your living room with a friend. It is twilight, and you say, "I wish to read this article," and you turn on a strong overhead light. This light enables not only you but also your friend to read. Neither had a darkness of his own. No, there was only one darkness, and one bright light dispelled it. Two lights were not required to dissipate the one darkness. The one bright light sufficed.
Correspondingly, when a man who is ill or in trouble seeks help from a Christian Scientist, the error is really the dark belief handling that man and not the person. Freedom will be demonstrated if the false claim, calling itself sickness or trouble and arguing to the patient, is destroyed. The same dark belief which is attempting to mesmerize the patient will, in turn, endeavor to deceive the Scientist. But it is not the man's or the Scientist's belief; it is one belief of mortal mind trying to mesmerize the thought of both.
Now just as the light in the living room banishes the one darkness, so the light of the Christ illumining the Scientist's consciousness is certain to destroy the one dark belief and free his patient. How clear it is that what we think of spiritual truth counts.
Jesus beheld the perfect man in his own consciousness. His thought was so illumined with the Christ that those within its radius who were receptive could no longer believe in or manifest sickness. How we long to emulate his works! But we must see that we can improve our thought only in our own consciousness.
To Deity everything is subjective. God's ideas remain within the consciousness of the infinite Mind which authors them, for there can be nothing external to infinite, all-inclusive Mind or to its perfect reflection, man. And all that mortal mind, the counterfeit of divine Mind, can possibly possess are its own concepts or false beliefs. It cannot create or experience anything external to itself. Consequently, even humanly we are not confronted with discord or situations existing "out there," external to our thought. What appears as "out there" is right here, within consciousness. So all we are ever called upon to deal with are our own concepts over which, of course, we can exercise complete dominion.
How comforting to learn that human thought isn't affected by incidents occurring in a universe external to itself! Phenomena appearing in the world really take place within human thought, for humanity feels, sees, and hears its own thoughts. Our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, clarifies this for all time where she writes: "Everything is as real as you make it, and no more so. What you see, hear, feel, is a mode of consciousness, and can have no other reality than the sense you entertain of it." Unity of Good, p. 8;
As Christian Scientists we are heartened by this truth and endeavor constantly to bear it in mind. We change what appear to be outward conditions by changing our thinking, reducing them to thought and replacing them in consciousness with spiritual ideas. Doing so, we find ourselves exercising our God-given dominion over our bodies, situations, and, in fact, over all our affairs. The above elucidates the importance of our thinking, for one glimpse of spiritual truth is often sufficient to heal a case of sickness or to resolve a discordant situation claiming an extended persistency.
A Christian Scientist in the business world often demonstrates that his spiritual thinking counts. He is alert to acknowledge that there is one right purpose in business affairs, that of divine Principle, which is always just. As God's individual idea he realizes he is working for God and that his real activity is to express His qualities. He knows that he is subordinate only to the law of God. And he perceives that what he thinks determines his progress, his career, his salvation itself.
Why do not some businessmen manifest greater success? It is because they think forces are operating that can resist progress, induce frustration, or engender delays. Failure stems from not recognizing that they can counteract stagnation, frustration, and delays with spiritual thoughts that really count.
You may consume hours thinking about your business, sometimes at the expense of neglecting what is more important—to know yourself as God's complete expression. You include your business in your thought and therefore are in a position to have dominion over it. As you come to understand what you really are, you can demonstrate that you eternally have dominion over your own thinking.
Many in business and the professions want to accomplish big things, but how preferable it is to desire to do right things! God's man is inherently successful in expressing God's qualities. You can prove that as God's idea you are bigger than any human situation. With God's help you can accomplish whatever is right. You should desire to be so conscious of your oneness, or unity, with God that you actually feel enlightened and empowered by Deity Himself.
Realizing that man's possibilities for good are limitless, you will work more freely and more joyously. If you are in business or a profession it is well to take time to understand man's glorious, unlimited selfhood— your true selfhood. In proportion as you do, you will handle problems intelligently and make decisions unerringly.
You will be equipped to master new facets of your activity creditably. You will sense that divine Principle, which is just, judges every performance. There is in reality no mortal mind to believe in or accept injustice. The law of the unopposable unfoldment of good alone is in operation, and you can be conscious of that fact.
You really do not need to acquire opportunity for expression, for man is the full representation of intelligent Mind and includes all its ideas and the ability to express them. When you know that this is so, you will do less looking to a place, to a position, or to people for progress. You will bring progressive, dynamic, spiritual qualities to your relationships and to your position. You will be endued with power from on high and will triumph over untoward situations. Why? Because you have prayerfully listened to God. He has given you spiritual ideas which will demonstrate that what you think counts.
In like manner when healing sickness or dealing with relationship problems, you work primarily in your own consciousness. Error might attempt to resist the clarification of your own thinking; it might even argue against your ability to control your thought. But as Mind's reflection you can express only what is right. Understanding this you will think what you need to think in every situation. And you do not need to accept erroneous suggestions of any kind. Through spiritual understanding you gain control of your thought and realize your God-given dominion.
In helping others you rise above the belief that you are dealing with a finite, personal mind that can harbor both good and evil thoughts. You recognize that the one wholly good Mind is not only yours to reflect but is also the Mind of your patient. Actually, then, he does not think a wrong thought; and even when he appears to do so, error does not become any part of his true consciousness. That is why one struggling with a belief of sickness can be healed quickly.
Regardless of what a patient, or mortal mind, tells you or of what the situation appears to be, you can claim the truth. Erroneous suggestions are unsupported by Principle, for back of them there is really nothing but mere belief. On the other hand back of your declarations of Truth is Almighty God. The patient isn't really believing or voicing error; mortal mind is simply attempting to act as his consciousness and further its false claim.
The time is at hand to deny erring sense testimony and to exercise your divinely bestowed prerogative to nullify sickness and discordant relationship problems through spiritualized thinking, to prove your God-given dominion thus described by our Leader: "Man, created by God, was given dominion over the whole earth."Science and Health, p. 545; And a distinct aid in demonstrating your dominion is intelligently to claim that the words of Truth that God puts into your mouth and heart really do count. As Eliphaz said to Job, "Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways." Job 22:28;
The prophets and apostles had unbounded faith in and trusted the truths God had revealed to them. And of Jesus' faith in the divine Word Mrs. Eddy writes, "Our Master said, 'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away;' and Jesus' faith in Truth must not exceed that of Christian Scientists who prove its power to be immortal." Miscellaneous Writings, p. 111;
The spiritual truths we live and think do count, for Christian Science treatment is the Word of God. It carries with it the presence, power, and activity of God. It is the practice of the law of life and harmony. It heals quickly and cannot be reversed. All the power that exists is in divine Mind; and by living in accord with the law of God, we reflect that power. Yes, our human ability to reflect the divine power is unlimited. And our goal is so to reflect it that these immortal words of the widow, whose son Elijah raised from the dead, may be said of us: "Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth." I Kings 17:24.
Be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe
to do according to all the law, . . . turn not from it
to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper
whithersoever thou goest.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth;
but thou shalt meditate therein day and night,
that thou mayest observe to do according
to all that is written therein:
for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous,
and then thou shalt have good success.
Joshua 1:7, 8
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