One day I woke up and could barely open my mouth. An inflammation had locked my jaw, the pain was intense, and I could only mumble. Drinking and eating was possible only with a straw. Since Christian Science has been my family’s system of health care for more than a hundred years, it didn’t occur to me to contemplate a medical solution. Prayer has always proved to be the best and only choice for me.
At first I prayed and felt sorry for myself at the same time. But gradually I gained a higher perspective, a freedom with which I could see that my true self—which is only spiritual and well—was completely separate from the physical condition. I could humbly know that the misery and anguish I felt would not withstand God’s illimitable power. I could listen for healing messages from my Father-Mother. The intuition that came to me was to find out what I was dealing with mentally that felt threatening or imprisoning. If those oppressive thoughts were resolved prayerfully, I could expect that the physical symptoms would quickly disappear.
I pondered deeply what it means to be a metaphysician, and I contemplated this statement from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 269).
I was ready to do just that: exchange an object of sense—a painful physical condition—for the ideas and harmony of Soul. I asked myself: “What does it mean to be an idea of Soul myself? To discover God as Soul, the infinite individuality, the great I am, the supreme consciousness?” I realized that in order to demonstrate my oneness with God, our Maker, I needed to see myself as an individual spiritual idea of Soul. And an idea doesn’t fight for a relationship to its divine source—it already has one, just as a ray of light is naturally linked to the sun.
While I was truly listening, ready for a change of perspective, I was standing in front of the mirror, looking directly at my seemingly tortured face, but knowing and feeling that I was looking at something untrue. This wasn’t me, because I reflect only Soul, God. I now knew that the illusion didn’t carry any weight, and I felt confident that I could blow it away like a feather. I obediently rejected all thought of unpleasant symptoms, and I was free. This healing was instantaneous, and it has been permanent.
Sometime later I started a little research project to gain a deeper understanding of law-related terminology that Mrs. Eddy employs in order to elucidate the Science of Christ and its applications. Throughout her writings, she uses words such as law, justice, court, attorney, lawyer, judge, sentence, verdict, defence, offence, plead, plea, testify, witness, guilty, innocent, evidence, and many more. At one point the term evidence really caught my attention. Science and Health says: “Change the evidence, and that disappears which before seemed real to this false belief, and the human consciousness rises higher” (p. 297). This gave me much food for thought, food for my spiritual understanding.
As I studied and listened, it dawned on me that a change in thought is what determines our experience, or the evidence we see. Science and Health explains, “As when an acid and alkali meet and bring out a third quality, so mental and moral chemistry changes the material base of thought, giving more spirituality to consciousness and causing it to depend less on material evidence” (p. 422). And in Hebrews we read that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (11:1).
Evidence helps to form a conclusion or judgment. It is a means by which an allegation may be proved. So in order to prove our innocence, we must assert that the material evidence is false and get to know what’s true. When the evidence we accept supports the spirituality of existence, we can demonstrate divine Science. For me this is a modern and scientific way of demonstrating what we find in Jude: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (1:21).
I soon had an opportunity to use these new insights. I was in my office, retrieving a file for an article I was writing. When the metal mechanism was set in motion to close the heavy filing cabinet drawer, I realized I needed another file, too, and quickly reached into the drawer to keep it from closing. But it was too late—the mechanism retreated without mercy and my finger got caught in the metal drawer. With my other hand I opened the drawer and freed the finger. The pain was terrible, the sight disturbing.
Happily, after a few seconds all my prayer and study took over and became a rich resource upon which I could draw. The Christ is always present, without my having to recall anything or make an effort to summon it. Spiritual strength was flooding my consciousness; I was not alone. And the thought came to me clearly: “Change the evidence. Here is one option: pain, a severely hurt finger, time in which to work out a healing. Here is the other option: perfect God, perfect man, right now (see Science and Health, p. 259). Choose!”
The Christ enabled me to make this choice, and the choice was easy. It was a holy moment—I was filled with the knowledge that we can indeed change false evidence, with which mortal thought tries to convince itself of its own imprisonment. It was a moment of pure grace and spiritual freedom. I tangibly felt the harmony, friendliness, and perfection of infinite being. The finger was fine that very moment, and after continuing to work for a few more hours, I didn’t even remember which hand had received a healing.
I am grateful beyond words for Christian Science. It is a way of life, the grace of Love shed abundantly on us. Through her writings Mary Baker Eddy is my Leader, but also a mentor and a friend. This counsel of hers means the world to me: “You will need, in future, practice more than theory. You are going out to demonstrate a living faith, a true sense of the infinite good, a sense that does not limit God, but brings to human view an enlarged sense of Deity” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, pp. 281–282).