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The art of spiritualizing thought

From the April 2023 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Originally published in German

“It’s time to spiritualize thought.” These words resounded within me as I worked on a complicated professional undertaking that affected many people. Immediately I stopped what I was doing. These words were certainly not the outcome of my professional ruminations, so I could only attribute them to God and His nurturing grace. Calmly, lovingly, they were nudging me to get off the mental treadmill that wasn’t getting me anywhere.

To do this I first had to understand why I needed to spiritualize my thought, to see from God’s, Spirit’s, perspective. I found the answer by turning to what I had learned in Christian Science.

The most helpful book in my ongoing study and practice of Christian Science is Mary Baker Eddy’s work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, first published in 1875. In it, she describes what she explored and proved when she put God first and then applied the divine laws she was discovering to every aspect of life. She questioned the concept of the substantiality of matter, without knowing of the important advances physicists have made in that regard since then. 

Through healings of all kinds that she and others experienced through prayer, Mrs. Eddy demonstrated that the material view about the source and course of disease and distress does not provide the true report on the status of anyone’s health and well-being. Material views instead turn thought toward limitation, suffering, and self. God, as the original and only source of our being, is not taken into consideration.

Christian Science shows that the purest way of thinking takes only what God knows into consideration. This spiritualized thought leaves limiting and matter-based views behind. Acknowledging our oneness with God, Spirit, is something we can do in the silence that accompanies prayer, allowing the ideas God is giving at that moment to flow into thought. When our thought turns from emotional turmoil or bodily discords and aligns with the strong, calm, certain presence of God, Spirit, healing happens.

In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy includes spiritualization of thought and the freedom it brings in her definition of resurrection: “Spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding” (p. 593).

Mrs. Eddy demonstrated that the material view about the source and course of disease and distress does not provide the true report on the status of anyone’s health and well-being.

It was this spiritualization of thought that Christ Jesus experienced in his resurrection after he was crucified and that liberated his followers from the paralysis of fear caused by the crucifixion. They were able to rise out of their distress, grief, and despair, and through spiritual understanding, trust their oneness with God. From then on, many of them would proclaim that Christ Jesus was the promised Messiah and confirm this through healing.

Jesus’ life and ministry show us that it’s possible to know the truth that makes us free. He said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31), and we follow in his word by exercising our ever-active ability to spiritualize thought, and so experience liberation from limitations. This brings about our salvation, revealing the freedom of man as the perfect, indestructible idea of God.

What a precious realization! That day when I was ruminating over the complicated professional situation, it was worthwhile to replace the mental treadmill with good and pure spiritual truths. I felt freedom calmly spreading through me. I could see the entire situation within God’s harmonious, orderly being, and so I knew that things were moving forward in the right way. The solution finally became apparent, and today I still see it as the best possible outcome for everyone involved.

In his letters to the church members in Corinth, the Apostle Paul, a follower of Jesus, shows clearly that salvation, transformation, and liberation are possible for everyone. He posed a question to the newly baptized Christian Corinthians that we can also ask ourselves from time to time: “Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?” (II Corinthians 10:7). In other words: Are you looking at what is presented to you by your eyes or by opinions based on material existence—opinions that rob you of your freedom?

A little earlier Paul had strengthened the Corinthians by confidently asserting that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” The result of utilizing these weapons is “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:4, 5).

In replacing the word “weapons” with “thoughts,” we can see how materially based concepts of complication and distress as well as of sickness and pain are destroyed. We read in Science and Health: “To admit that sickness is a condition over which God has no control, is to presuppose that omnipotent power is powerless on some occasions.” And then: “The law of Christ, or Truth, makes all things possible to Spirit; . . .” (pp. 182–183).

This liberating and strengthening law of Christ, or Truth, is already operating and becomes increasingly familiar to us as we continue to explore and practice it. I like to think of this as the art of spiritualizing thought. We can carry out this activity both to prevent untoward circumstances from arising or to find healing if a difficult situation is currently upon us, and we can constantly improve at doing this.

To be absolutely certain of God’s omnipotent care and to recognize that any discordant condition, however complicated, has no substance in our lives as God’s spiritual ideas, leads to liberation and progress. In my case, spiritualizing thought helped me out of the darkness of rumination about my professional conundrum, and I was then peacefully able to recognize the solution, to the benefit of all. Spiritualizing thought allows each of us to experience a kind of individual resurrection whereby we may joyfully proclaim: “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him” (Revelation 19:6, 7).

More in this issue / April 2023


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