THE newcomer to Christian Science soon learns that to obtain the full benefit of the healing and harmony this religion has to offer he must learn to spiritualize thought, and he might well ask, "But how do I spiritualize thought?"
In the first chapter of Genesis is recorded God's spiritual creation, perfect and complete. We read (verse 31), "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." We also read in an earlier verse that God made man in His image and likeness and gave him dominion. Man, therefore, possesses by reflection the ability to see everything as God made it, "very good." In learning to spiritualize thought, we start from this premise: man is already endowed with the ability to see everything as God made it, that is, perfect.
In her book "Retrospection and Introspection," Mrs. Eddy includes a chapter entitled "The Great Discovery," in which she relates the steps which led her to discern the necessity for spiritualizing thought. She writes (p. 28): "I had learned that thought must be spiritualized, in order to apprehend Spirit. It must become honest, unselfish, and pure, in order to have the least understanding of God in divine Science. The first must become last. Our reliance upon material things must be transferred to a perception of and dependence on spiritual things. For Spirit to be supreme in demonstration, it must be supreme in our affections, and we must be clad with divine power."
We have, therefore, to seek to understand God and man's relation to Him, and this understanding results in spiritualization of thought. It is clear that our purpose and motive must be honest and sincere, lifting thought above a sense of selfhood separate from God. We must seek to purify and uplift thought with the sure and certain knowledge of God's presence, power, and allness, coupled with a steadfast refusal to accept any false pictures presented by material sense testimony or to harbor any thoughts of envy, hatred, jealousy, or resentment. Thought must be unwavering in its acceptance of good as the only reality, without mental reservations or any sense of doubt or limitation. Our confidence in the truth we are declaring must be unshakable.
It has long been proved in human experience that the results in any field of activity are proportionate to the intelligent thought, reasoning, study, and consistent effort given to the gaining of a full and complete knowledge of the subject involved. Our understanding of God, whereby thought is spiritualized, is likewise proportionate to the consistent effort we put into the study of the Bible and the writings of our Leader and our intimate communion with God. This task need not be difficult or arduous, but may be a quiet, refreshing experience to one who is sincere in his efforts. Indeed, the development of a capacity to spiritualize thought is a most rewarding experience, bringing as it does the consciousness of peace and harmony.
Years of experience, while a helpful factor, are not essential to the demonstration of the truths revealed in Christian Science and the attainment of healing. It is what we know at any given time that matters. The student who has been studying for only a short time can obtain healing if he is consciously aware that the truth he is applying is the reality and is the law to the case, whereby error of any kind is eliminated and obliterated.
A few years before I became interested in Christian Science I had an illness known as jaundice and was told by the physician who attended me that I could expect a return of the symptoms each winter. This was accepted as inevitable, and as each winter came, the symptoms appeared. A few months after I commenced to study Science, the symptoms appeared with the coming of the cold weather.
My immediate reaction was that this was an opportunity to prove that an understanding of Christian Science could heal, and I found myself reasoning on these lines: "You have learned through this religion that God is All; that means He is everywhere; that also means He is where those symptoms claim to be. The nature of allness is such that it precludes the possibility of anything but God, good, being there."
As this truth enlightened my thought, I was suddenly conscious of a wonderful sense of freedom. The symptoms vanished. That healing took place over thirty years ago and has been permanent.
Throughout the Bible it is inspiring to read of the ways in which the ancient prophets, and, later, the apostles, gave guidance in how to spiritualize thought. The Psalmist wrote, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Ps. 91:1). In other words, he who lifts his thought so that it dwells in the consciousness of the power and presence of God will be constantly aware of the nearness of God.
Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Philippians (2:5), "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." The operative word in this statement is the word "let," implying, as is the fact, that the Mind which was in Christ Jesus is ever available to us. That Mind enables us to be conscious of the power and presence of God. Jesus gave to his disciples a simple yet concise statement instructing them how to spiritualize thought when he said (John 8:32), "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Knowing the truth of the perfection of God and man brings freedom, without limitation of time or space, from any discordant condition.
One of the most interesting examples in the Bible of the power of spiritualized thought is the experience of the feeding of the five thousand as recorded in the fourteenth chapter of Matthew. The crowds had come to hear the healing message of the Christ and were far from any place where food could be obtained. To the disciples, there appeared to be only five loaves and two fishes to feed five thousand. They had not yet learned to lift thought above sense testimony. They saw limitation, and, in consequence, they experienced limitation.
Mrs. Eddy writes, "When man is governed by God, the ever-present Mind who understands all things, man knows that with God all things are possible" (Science and Health, p. 180). These words explain the attitude of Jesus toward this problem of feeding the people. He turned thought away from sense testimony to God in the full and perfect understanding that He is the giver of all good and that He sustains man under all circumstances; therefore Jesus was able to demonstrate that the multitude could be not only fed but abundantly fed, since there were baskets of food left over.
How like the disciples we are when we allow thought to dwell on a limited sense of material supply! We look to our salary, investments, bank accounts, and businesses as the boundaries of our source of supply instead of recognizing that they are only evidences of God's abundant goodness and of His ability to meet the human need.
Our true supply lies in the consciousness of ever-present good. In the degree that we thus spiritualize thought and understand that our loving Father is continuously giving us His illimitable ideas, which meet the human need and are ever available for everyone, everywhere, we eliminate the evidence of limitation in our experience.
Christian Science shows us the achievements which we can attain through spiritualizing thought. In Science and Health we read (p. 99), "The calm, strong currents of true spirituality, the manifestations of which are health, purity, and self immolation, must deepen human experience, until the beliefs of material existence are seen to be a bald imposition, and sin, disease, and death give everlasting place to the scientific demonstration of divine Spirit and to God's spiritual, perfect man."
What a wonderful promise this statement contains! The ability to see all the beliefs of material existence as "a bald imposition" leads to the recognition of God's spiritual, perfect man. The promise is there. We can gain the fulfillment of that promise in our experience by spiritualization of thought.