Spiritualized thought results from thinking consistently from a spiritual basis. A first step in this spiritualization is desire for it—compelling, constant desire to know what is spiritually true, to understand the facts of God, man, and the universe, to be aware of the spiritual realm of divine Mind and its ideas. This change in the very nature of our thinking follows our consideration of spiritual ideas and our dwelling in thought on the things of Spirit, God. We then allow spiritual truths to govern us.
The desire for spirituality leads the student of Christian Science to turn habitually to the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy. No matter how frequently and how deeply we partake of its riches there is always an additional inexhaustible supply of fresh inspiration, new mental vistas, untapped spiritual riches available to us at all times. This book is an unfailing well of spiritual ideas.
Science and Health came into being as a result of Mrs. Eddy's lifelong, deep, impelling desire to know and obey God. Written through God-directed inspiration, it is consonant with the teachings of Christ Jesus, and interprets the Scriptures in their spiritual sense. The book explains the divine Science of being; it expresses in comprehensible language the deep things of God; it spiritualizes the thought of every honest searcher for Truth.
As we use this textbook, the resulting spiritualization comes in varying degree according to our mental activity. The individual who reads Science and Health can gain much spiritual light through this reading—although it is possible to read merely as a substitute for thinking. The one who studies the textbook can gain the broad understanding of the truths it sets forth—although it is possible for this understanding to be merely academic. But the student who ponders deeply, continuously, joyfully, the spiritual ideas contained in the textbook receives a spiritual expansion of thought that can be obtained in no other way. Why? Because this kind of studying results in the individual's thinking from a spiritual basis, and spiritualization of thought inevitably follows. Mrs. Eddy tells us: "Take divine Science. Read this book from beginning to end. Study it, ponder it." Science and Health, p. 559.
We can mentally dwell on a spiritual fact, turn it about and view it from various angles. We ask questions of the spiritual fact, find spiritual and practical answers to it, let it grow in thought until its truth becomes the way of our thought. Sometimes a single statement from Science and Health, and its endless ramifications, occupies our thinking for days, even weeks, until we find ourselves actually knowing it, not just thinking about it. Then it becomes part of the spiritual fiber of our being.
Someone once said to me, "I don't enjoy reading the textbook as much as I used to because the words are always the same and I even know some of them by heart." Someday that person will have the thrill of going beyond merely reading familiar words to find the endless joy of pondering ideas. Although the words remain the same, the message is continually developing. It is ever fresh, exciting, endlessly rewarding. When we have read Science and Health so long that we know many of its passages by heart, it is a constant source of wonder and delight to have a sentence or even a phrase come to us in a new light and become active in our thought, broadening it and lifting it higher as we entertain and ponder the statement.
A sentence from Science and Health we thought we understood yesterday may, as we ponder it today, unfold into a fresh, completely new line of thought that satisfies our spiritual hunger and lifts our thinking into the realm of beauty and goodness where harmony and joy reign supreme. We often find ourselves physically healed as the result of persisting in pondering spiritual truths.
When I was in my teens, I experienced a serious physical difficulty that incapacitated me and seemed to grow progressively worse. After a particularly distressing night I picked up Science and Health and said to myself: "People have been healed by reading this book. I'm going to read it until I'm healed."
I read until a particular sentence stood out to me. I started to think about it. I do not now recall what the sentence was, but I know I became so interested in it that I thought about it the whole afternoon—completely forgetting myself and the difficulty in the joy of spiritual discovery and the spiritual expansion of thought resulting from it. When I was called to come to dinner, I found I was completely healed. Naturally, I was very grateful for this healing. The spiritual expansion of thought that proceded it, however, caused me even deeper gratitude. Expansion of thought into realms of spiritual harmony that before were unrecognized results from pondering deeply the spiritual facts of being as revealed in Science and Health.
Isn't this essentially what the master Christian, Christ Jesus, expressed in his statement, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"?Matt. 6:33. His rule of seeking and receiving is a spiritual law. And, of course, we must obey the law in order to have the blessings it promises.
Obediently seeking first the kingdom of God, in other words, pondering the divine Science of being presented by Jesus and set forth in Science and Health, is one of the most rewarding and satisfying of all occupations. Yet we sometimes let that thief, mortal busyness, rob us of this treasure. We may thoughtlessly accept the tawdry substitute of hectic material living for the harmonious action, peace, and power of a spiritually based life. But we can thwart that thief. If we will faithfully grasp every opportunity and joyously discipline our thinking to turn easily to spiritual things, we can always find time to think from a spiritual basis. Our spiritual pondering can become not only a blessing to ourselves but also an active aid in the solution of the problems confronting the world.
As we take Science and Health and read it from beginning to end, seeking to learn from it more of the nature and presence of God's kingdom, the shackles of limited material thinking begin to break. As we quietly ponder the sublime message of the precious book and mentally follow the unfoldment of ideas, our thought expands into realms of spiritual light. The glory of true being dawns in consciousness, and each day our lives reflect a greater degree of spiritual harmony and peace.
Science and Health is the textbook
of Christian Science. Whosoever learns the letter of
this book, must also gain its spiritual significance,
in order to demonstrate Christian Science.
Mary Baker Eddy
Retrospection and Introspection