“What’s helped you be a more successful healer?” This was a pressing question for me as I was considering going into the healing practice of Christian Science. So I asked an experienced Christian Science practitioner. She told me there was a statement by Mary Baker Eddy that she’d found particularly helpful to her practice: “Principle and its idea is one, and this one is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being, and His reflection is man and the universe” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 465–466).
Since that conversation, I’ve marveled at both the depth and the demand of this concept of oneness as it applies to healing. It’s been one of the foundational concepts in my practice—one that puts my whole prayer on the right basis.
When we think about healing, it’s tempting to believe that there’s a physical problem and that the application of spiritual truths will somehow resolve it. Outwardly, it does appear that this is what happens. We hurt, then we pray, and the pain disappears.
But what actually happens in Christian Science is that healing results when we open our thoughts to the sublimity, intactness, and beauty of an all-good universe created by a loving God. Every healing proves there is just one reality and that it is spiritual. And we experience this reality as harmony, health, and freedom.
Jesus lived in that place of one reality. To him, there wasn’t a material universe that needed correcting or adjusting. Healing, for Jesus, came from his absolute conviction that there is one God, one creation, and that we are spiritual here and now—in his words, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). His conscious awareness of this fact stilled storms, fed multitudes, healed the sick, raised the dead, and in three short days, brought him out of the tomb after his crucifixion. His healings were quick and decisive because he was operating from this basis of oneness.
Mary Baker Eddy’s discovery of Christian Science gives us the tools to begin practicing from this basis of oneness. For instance, she wrote, “Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul” (Science and Health, p. 269).
Take a flower, for example. It could be perceived as an “object of sense.” So how can we “exchange” it for an “idea of Soul”? I’ve found answers by considering the spiritual qualities flowers (and other “things”) express.
A flower expresses spiritual qualities such as beauty, life, symmetry, and color, for starters. It also provides nourishment and fragrance. A chair had to exist as an idea before it could be constructed and can represent usefulness, support, comfort, ingenuity.
The helpful thing about doing this mental resolving is that it puts what seem like “things” into the realm of thought. The apparent solid physicality of something can make it seem pretty far from being simply a mental concept. But as we recognize the thoughts behind a thing, the qualities an object expresses, we begin to realize that, in fact, we truly do live in a mental universe now—constituted of nothing but thoughts.
Every healing proves there is just one reality and that it is spiritual.
Then, we can do the mental exchanging of the objects of sense—that can be lost, damaged, destroyed, or are otherwise limited—for “the ideas of Soul,” or God. This makes us conscious right here and now of permanence where changeableness might appear, perfection where flaws stand out, abundance instead of limitation, and pure good in place of a mixture of good and bad or evil. From this we realize that we live in not only a mental universe, but an entirely spiritual, God-created one.
Mrs. Eddy speaks of man—her scientific term for the true, spiritual nature of each of us—as idea (see Science and Health, p. 115), as the expression of God (see p. 470). Could we see, then, that she has translated man back into the original language of Mind? Perceiving ourselves and others as ideas of God, not biological organisms, reveals what we are in a completely different light. Here we can recognize God’s creation, man, not as a physical entity, but as the expression of all of God’s qualities. This recognition is what brings about healing.
One time I slipped and fell on a concrete walkway. It appeared that I might have torn a tendon, and I couldn’t move my foot or stand, much less walk.
As I sat on the ground I began to pray. The healing thought that unfolded was that feet make it possible to stand. And my ability to stand for truth was untouched, undamaged, unimpeded. It was my divine right, and I could trust it. The healing was immediate. I sat for a few minutes thanking God and then got up and went on my way—completely and permanently healed.
We’ve touched on resolving things into thoughts when it comes to the things we perceive as good. But there’s another aspect to staying in the conscious recognition of oneness, and that is what we do when we see something that is not good—such as the things we encounter that appear ugly, impaired, or evil.
Here again Science and Health instructs us on what to do. It says, “Science reverses the false testimony of the physical senses, and by this reversal mortals arrive at the fundamental facts of being” (p. 120).
What does this look like in practice? If we see blindness, the reverse is sight. If we see deformity, the reverse is perfection. Taking every negative thing we come across and reversing it, based on our understanding of what is spiritually true, helps lift our thought to a recognition of God’s presence and allness. Not only will doing this consistently help us give up a sense of dualism for a recognition of our forever oneness with God; it will also have a healing effect.
Not too long ago, a large tree in my front yard appeared to be dead. It had lost all its leaves, and no new ones were appearing, even well after spring had come and gone. My gardener recommended I cut it down.
I just couldn’t accept that the tree was a lost cause; it didn’t fit in with my understanding of the oneness, presence, and all-power of God as Life. So each time I went by the tree, which was often, I joyously affirmed that the reverse of death, which, of course, is life, was all that could exist. God is Life and is All. So it follows that life is everywhere. I consistently prayed about the tree with this thought. One morning a leaf appeared, and then another, until it was evident that the tree was very much alive, and it continued to leaf out beautifully and fully.
As we practice being “instant in prayer” by quickly reversing the false evidence of the five senses, we’ll be less inclined to believe the suggestion of a dualistic picture, because we’ll be attuned more consistently to what really is: God and His harmonious creation.
For me, using these two tools resolves what appears to be two universes—one that is material and one that is spiritual—and reveals one glorious, wholly spiritual view. On this basis fear and doubt disappear. On this basis we experience the all-encompassing oneness of God. From this basis we practice the consistent, Christly healing that the whole world is yearning for.