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Seeing matter as an impostor

- Practice, Practice, Practice

Here’s the situation as it unfolded. One day I found that when I walked, there was a great deal of pain in my leg. I was praying with the idea that if I was created and maintained by a perfect God, then I must reflect that perfection—as perfect man. Although I knew this was true, I still thought that maybe I should get out of my chair and “test out my leg” to see how it felt.

When I tried walking, my right leg felt much better; but to my surprise my left leg now felt even worse than the right one had before. “How ridiculous,” I thought to myself. I recalled something that Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “Keep distinctly in thought that man is the offspring of God, not of man; that man is spiritual, not material; that Soul is Spirit, outside of matter, never in it, never giving the body life and sensation” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 396).

Suddenly I saw what I was doing. I’d pray for a while, and then look to my body to see if it was doing better. This is the opposite of the practice of Christian Science. Our goal is healing, of course, but that doesn’t mean watching to see if matter gets better. The way to healing is to see that our true identity as God’s spiritual idea is already perfect. We’re not material. And so matter, which claims to be our identity and to make conditions for us, is actually just an impostor. As long as my goal was to make better matter, I was working from a mistaken basis and was assured of failure. 

As soon as I remembered that “knowing the truth” meant clearly seeing my spiritual selfhood, it lifted the burden of trying to gradually change painful matter into less painful matter. As soon as I got myself out of the way mentally and realized that God is always in control, it felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders—or my legs in this case—and I was healed. I was completely free from pain in either leg and was able to resume walking (and running) normally. 

When I realized that my only goal was to get a better understanding of God and my relationship to Him (God is perfect creator and I am His perfect creation), the healing came. Healing in Christian Science is always mental—an awakening to the truth of being. And the necessary consequence is the manifestation in our human experience of greater harmony.

Mary Baker Eddy says, “As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible” (p. 264). I find this to be one of the most eye-opening statements in Science and Health. To me, it means that as we gain deeper and clearer insights as to God’s true spiritual nature (and thus our own and everyone else’s), we understand—and thus see and experience—more and more of God’s good that we couldn’t even fathom before. 

It’s such a wonderful promise, because it accurately gives us a glimpse of what lies ahead for each of us as we strive to learn more about God and our relationship to Him as his perfect, intact idea. Infinite blessings await—and not even the sky’s the limit!

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