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Indirect Views of Reality and Christian Science

Mary Baker Eddy, a 19th century religious leader, wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all,” a statement reiterating a universal law interpreting life and health to humanity―a universal law Eddy branded Christian Science. The affirmation of infinite Mind, manifest, demands deliberation and thoughtful consideration because with it comes the response that matter is unreal, a non sequitur unless saturated with the auspices of correct interpretation.

Some people think the teachings of Christian Science are unrealistic, as if they assert a present illusion, or nothingness called matter. As if, somehow, Mind’s manifest reality of life and health is an abstruse epiphany, a transcendent speculation. Not so.

Recall that all we think, feel, hear, and see is constantly morphing and changing. Nothing physical, including physical life and health, can be pin-pointed as absolute. Physicists have even re-defined the matter we apparently experience as no longer solid reality, but as movement. Obviously, the typical view of life and health as a state of physical matter has as much permanence as its unstable matter. Consequently, the desire for permanence in life and health seems to elude us, but that eluding is the illusion.

Life and health exist as ideals expressed indirectly through what is called physical matter or motion. Instead of trying to stabilize the unstable, the Science of Truth, or Christ, interprets our ability to prove that the changing, fluxing appearances can indirectly exhibit infinite Mind, manifest as healthy life.

Human existence, in and of itself, is a circuitous view of reality, a metaphor so to speak, similar to augmented reality as reported about in the 2010 September’s issue of National Geographic in the article titled, Revealed World, where an indirect view of the world is generated by computer graphics and seen with human eyes through eyeglasses. The view is informative, albeit not direct reality.

The key to genuine progress in life and health is not to confuse illusions, or indirect views, with the reality of an infinite ideal. The infinite ideal classified in Christian, or divine Science, is Mind, God, Principle, Love, Life, Spirit, Soul, Truth. Problem is, human beings are too quick to interpret the ideal as though Mind is divisible with beginning and end, however, divine Science interprets the ideal as one, healthy, ongoing, infinitely individualized Mind, manifest as Us.


Redefining Human Beings

I’m reading a very interesting book, The Empathic Civilization, by Jeremy Rifkin. The author entertains the idea of “a collaborative and caring world.” Rifkin states that, “a distributed, collaborative, non-hierarchical society can’t help but be a more empahtic one.”
Sutdies reveal that empathic sensibilities are reconfiguring the definition of human beings, not as self-interested beings, but as people interested in promoting good-will. Rifkin wrote, “The dream is an acknowledgment that one doesn’t thrive alone in autonomous isolation but, rather, in deep relationship to others in a shared social space.”

P.S. Yes, the book does have 688 pages, but worth a perusal. Have a happy day!

Mary Baker Eddy’s “Science and Health” is No Longer Weird or Aloof

One hundred years ago, Mary Baker Eddy died, leaving an astonishing legacy to the world. A few people cherish the religious organization and church buildings Eddy left behind; however, one of Eddy’s books is regarded as the most valuable heirloom given to humanity, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
Weather and exposure tarnish gold, silver, and marble. Similarly, human language, time, and misinterpretation tarnish the written word. Therefore, the 19th century church buildings are restored and Science and Health is revised.
The revision I produced, 21st Century Science and Health, required years of preparation, prayer, and research. Thankfully, Eddy revised Science and Health over 300 times during her lifetime so there was a definite pattern to follow. And, I can honestly say, this work was motivated by immense appreciation for Eddy’s explanation of divine Science. I did not revise Eddy’s book out of desperation; I did not do it to prove a point; and I did not do it because I thought I could do a better job than someone else. The work was done vigilantly, delicately, meticulously, conscientiously, prudently, firmly—through sweat and tears.
Eddy’s Science and Health was carefully excavated. I gently removed decaying language, clichés of institutionalized religion, misconceptions found in society, and the outdated social references. Readers of 21st Century Science and Health can also relate to examples and illustrations apropos to today’s globalization and technological discoveries. Science and Health is no longer aloof or weird.
The requisite revisions were made in order to present Eddy’s ideas intact and correct to this present time. A case in point is the paragraph discussing “Novel Diseases.” Eddy listed new diseases of the 19th century while I listed new diseases of today. I also updated terminology such as: animal magnetism, phrenology, humors, brainology, and consumption. Science and Health is now gender-inclusive. Also, Biblical quotes come from the diverse English Bible versions available to people at the many bookstores around the world.
I continue to update Science and Health, keenly noting the thoughts and suggestions of the global thought, proving that Christian Science can’t be trapped in history or culture.
Eddy’s Science and Health gleams again with the facts that: divine Science is timeless; other cultures and people have also discovered and articulated divine principles; the ability to heal spiritually is accessible to people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and faiths; a divine perspective of truth can’t be hidden; there is no mystery to understanding and practicing scientific mental healing; and, the elements of human ideologies never harmed Mind-science.
Immense work is yet needed to advance divine Science and its interpretation of health, harmony, and holiness.

Books, Films, and Events

It is always a nice surprise when entertainment is inspiring. And, this last week I made the opportunity to engage in 3 ventures that reminded me of the importance of dismissing human foibles while confidently working with spiritual forces.

First, I started reading the book, “The Monks of New Skete,” which is proving insightful. The articulate thoughts walk a fine line in the direction of honest spiritual practice watching out for idolatry and fakery.

Second, I participated in A Celebration of Spirit, Culture & Creativity in Lenox, MA, where the headquarters of EnlightenNext is. The main speakers were Swami Chidanand Saraswate and Andrew Cohen, both excellent thinkers on spiritual journeys who agree on the importance of embracing a healing truth versus just talking about it. It is silly to think we can live off other peoples hard earned battles of progress.

Thirdly, I watched the movie “Invictus” directed by Clint Eastwood. This film portrays Nelson Mandela’s first term as South Africa’s President and his response to the Rugby team who goes on to win the 1995 World Cup. The response of forgiveness is shown to be a mighty weapon.

I am reminded that not only is the struggle for spiritual freedom worth it, but it is important that we share our own progress. Never belittle your spiritual progress, share it in the many venues available, and know that it benefits our universe.

The courage of an immigrant

I bought the book, The Rise of David Levinsky, for 25 cents from a used book dealer. David Levinsky is an unknown to me, but the back-cover promised a powerful, prophetic story of Jewish-American life in turn-of-the-century New York. The book was written by Abraham Cahan (1860-1951), a political radical, union organizer, and founder of the influential Yiddish newspaper The Jewish Daily Forward. Cahan offers a candid view of David Levinsky, who was born in Russia and lived with his mother in a deep dank basement with three other families. Levinsky’s teen years found him studying the Talmud daily, and avoiding confrontations with the local boys who taunted the Jews. However, one evening he was captured and beat. After his mother discovered the bumps and bruises, she rushed out to reckon with the cruel boys, but was beat to death. A merciful distant friend then scrounged up the boat money it took to send Levinsky to America.

Levinsky spent twenty years working his way from desperate poverty to material success in the garment industry. He learned the English language and mannerisms of the 19th century business world. He read. He attended plays. This new found knowledge, juxtaposed with the sheer will-power to toil sixteen hour days earned him millions of dollars and allowed him to eventually provide work for many fellow Russian Jews all the while dodging the young Labor Unions coming into existence.

Now a millionaire, Levinsky has time to think of marriage, “I had no creed. I knew of no ideal. The only thing I believed in was the cold, drab theory of the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest. This could not satisfy a heart that was hungry for enthusiasm and affection, so dreams of family life became my religion. Self-sacrificing devotion to one’s family was the only kind of altruism and idealism I did not flout.” However, he called off the wedding to the woman he was to marry.

As the reader, I wonder if Levinsky feared the experience of matrimony and family would pale before the strong impressions already imprinted on the core of his being. At the beginning of the book, when explaining the day the ship from Russia to America arrived at Sandy Hook and his eyes fell on the landscape of America, his new home, he wrote, “I am at a loss to convey the peculiar state of mind that the experience created in me…the immigrant never forgets his entry into a country which is, to him, a new world in the profoundest sense of the term and in which he expects to pass the rest of his life.”

The Rise of David Levinsky

“Soul has infinite resources with which to bless humanity. Happiness is more readily attained and more secure in our keeping, if looked for in Soul. Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of our spirituality.”–21st Century Science and Health

My Religion Column in The Daily Star

June 12, 2010
Questions backed with good intent are barrier breaking

What is that?
What are you doing with the oatmeal?
Making cookies.
Can I help?
That was fun. Hey, Where are you going now?
To the bathroom.
Why? Can I come? I want to come. When are you coming out? What are you doing in there?

What am I doing? I am wondering, if Albert Einstein spent time with a 3-year-old before he was quoted as saying, “The most important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Actually, questions are useful. The key, is asking useful questions that lead to practical answers. And, this involves asking a question with a useful intent. In other words, before we ask a question, we want to ask ourselves, “Why am I asking this question?”

If the intent to question is to explore and discover, we will find helpful answers. However, we can’t just accept the first answer that comes along, even if answers come from the revered religions and sciences.

If the intent to question is to generate productive discussion, thought expands and understanding prevails.

If the intent to question is to trick someone, well, the questioning might work, but generally only the questioner is tricked.

Classic examples of trick questions are found in the Bible. We can read in the Gospels, where certain people, with the intent to ruin Christ Jesus’ reputation, would ask Jesus questions in the hopes that Jesus would say something against God’s law (e.g. Stoning an adulterous woman, John 8:3). Jesus, savvy to the twisted intent, answered their questions with counter-questions, and proved a very important point. Trick questions are self-incriminating. The trick questioners only embarrassed themselves, showing their poor intentions of sloth or indifference to humankind.

On other occasions though, Christ Jesus was questioned by people who sincerely wanted an answer. Some people did not like the answers Jesus gave, but they knew the principles were valid, and walked away until they were ready to accept the answer for themselves.

Jesus’ disciples were constantly asking him questions. The disciples better accepted”oacted on”oJesus’ answers, and felt the rewards of self-understanding, self-control, and of knowing a loving spiritual God.

Questions, with a pure intent, are barrier breaking. They make us feel better about ourselves. This is different from questions bent on arguing for a passing belief or rut thinking.

Every day human beings can ask themselves questions. Why am I eating this? Is it better to forgive than to hold a grudge? Can I walk instead of drive? Do I really need to buy this? Can I read a good book out-loud to the children, instead of watch TV?

The question-and-answer methodology requires honesty and effort, but most of all, it requires reaching deep into the soul and responding with a spiritual conviction, a conviction that originates in a greater power, a spiritual ego. In other words, it requires, not letting the human-ego hijack the question and answer methodology to suit the fact that the human ego/mind/brain/body has evolved to epitomize birth and death. Spiritual ego keeps us questioning because the idea behind a good question is undying.

For instance, the idea of equality, full of opportunity, presents itself to the universe. Reaching deep into the soul, spiritual mindedness will question and consider equality until it is better understood and acted on. These responses improve our world; humanity becomes more just, bigotry fades, or fears are overcome. However, if the spiritual conviction gets neglected, the human-ego kicks in, complicates equality, pollutes it with dogma, or abuses it to serve the flesh. But, the idea, equality, never dies. Only the mortal mind and body dies. And, spiritual mindedness, somewhere, sometime, will question equality and discover answers that again expand our sense of it.

Questions, backed with good intent, are powerfully advantageous. There is no limit to learning, knowing, feeling, and seeing. When I doubt this fact, or more ludicrous, when I think I already know most of the answers and repeat the “same old, same old,” I remind myself to go hang out with 3-year-olds.

Cheryl Petersen is a freelance religion writer. She lives in Delhi and can be reached at from.cherylp@gmail.com.

K.C. Cole’s book, “Mind over Matter”

An easy read, Mind over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos, by K.C. Cole, is an informational book. Cole speaks with the reader as if they are thinking person fully capable of understanding the cosmos as well as the highly educated scientist. I mention Cole’s book in the modern version of Mary Baker Eddy’s, Science and Health.

“K. C. Cole, in her book, Mind over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos, challenges readers to expand their thinking away from limited concepts. Biologists and astrophysicists describe the origin of human and material existence in various ways. They accompany their descriptions with important observations such as the mapped genome or the string theory. But why don’t these observations awaken thought to a higher and purer contemplation of our origin? Genetic modification doesn’t cure the cause of disease. Human thought must obtain a better basis, get nearer the truth of being, or health will never be universal, and harmony will never become the standard. A clearer consciousness must precede an understanding of the harmony of being.”–21st Century Science and Health

Mind over Matter cover

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