Even as we talk, there stalks the spectre of disease beyond the open door. It announces itself as Measles. What am I going to do with that? A child is the victim of an ugly rash and fever and nausea, among other things. Now is the child someone or something out there in space apart from consciousness? How could I be aware of him if that were so? Whatever appears to me as the child must be consciously thought, and so is within. God's child is not sick, so it is not a sick child but the belief that the child is sick which requires handling. Whose belief? The child's? His mother's? Mine? What difference whose belief it appears to be? If it comes to me as a form of consciousness – as now – here is where it is to be taken care of. That impersonalizes it without abolishing the child, doesn't it?
You say there has been an epidemic in the neighborhood, and that perhaps he shouldn't have been sent to school with the other children. There is only one Mind, so there is no transmission of thought form one mind to another. But he has been infected, you protest. There is no matter to infect matter, and the one substance, Spirit, is incorruptible, incontaminable, immune. But the condition has been allowed to develop seriously before the family called for help. The claim of a pathological history is appearing now, implying a continuity into the future, with dire possibilities threatened. The nowness of that belief puts it within the reach of my handling.
Is the child in bondage to his mother's fear? The pernicious anxiety that would be the conviction material is, if I am aware of it, operating right now as my fear, even though called the mother's fear. It is therefore my duty to see that the only offspring is of Principle, therefore protected, guided and sustained by the divine parenthood of Father-Mother God, who knows no doubt or uncertainty but rests in the serene confidence of His onlyness. Throughout the entire range of this divine consciousness, there is no inhibiting anxiety to impair any of the bodily functions – including the unrestricted right action of Mind called "elimination."
Fever? The only state of being is natural, normal, stable, harmless, useful. If there is any truth to fever, it would have to be beneficial, and would be achieving its good purpose right where it might be construed as a menace. Does materia medica say that there might be impairment of the eyes or the ears as after-effects of this ailment? What difference does it make that false-belief ventures such rules, whether in the name of materia medica or of community prejudice, so long as I can establish the law of perfection as the very nature of all isness? The child, it is stated, is predisposed to illnesses because of congenital weakness. A belief of heredity is not the heredity of a belief. "You can't go back and handle their grandfathers!" The only heritage is the divinity of Principle imparted to its expression of itself.
Am I baffled by any of the symptoms or changes? Mind, my Mind, the only Mind there could be to child or anything else, includes consciously every last fact about the situation, and this omniscience must appear as my knowing all I have to know to treat the case intelligently, efficiently, effectually (Of course, the useful data may come to me as something I've read or heard or seen or reasoned out on my own). There is no disruptive, corruptive, destructive influence from the belief that existence is material, organic, human, for there is no mortal mind entity to institute, exhibit or experience any such belief, to deceive or misperceive, in any guise, known or unknown, and this declaration disposes of that claim of false isness.
Actually, there is no material man or men to suffer any such condition as measles, and no minds to accept it. This that is infinite, indivisible Mind knowing, must exclude, annul, extinguish the possibility and suggestion of any such affliction, in belief or at all. The claim is not, after all, measles; the claim is that Mind, this Mind, is mortal, finite, perverse, and that it is therefore distorting, perverting, inverting every aspect of being. But my analysis herewith leads inexorably to the recognition, acceptance, conviction and finally, the living realization – the irreducible essence that is being – which establishes God alone as intelligent reality and of His law of perfection as the only and absolute law to this or any case, here this very instant.
This that I call my treatment, being the luminous affirmation of unchallengeable Truth, is the very word of God. This thinking the divine fact entrenches it as the only fact, the true state and stage of being, thereby enforcing perfection in this present sense of things, this universe. In substance, this treatment is not a personally devised operation, intended to displace a mere instance of finite mentation; it is the divine event that is Mind's communion, appearing in the only form possible at this point. This that is God appearing embodies this very moment all the power there is, and is its own irrefutable, impregnable, compelling and satisfying evidence.
This treatment is what it purports to be. It has its being in Mind, the Mind that is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. It is therefore the eternal Christ, that nothing can gainsay or resist. It operates because its power is that of omnipotence. Anything in this treatment, any intention associated with it, any evidence of its divine achievement cannot be reversed or in any way changed or arrested. Any tendency to impair, resist or pervert the action herewith initiated is abortive, unreal, untrue, impotent, and the recognition that evil suggestion cannot possibly do anything and has no power or law with which to do anything, forestalls and cancels any possibility of defeat.
Relapse is forever impossible, for there is no lapse from divinity in the first place. There is no mesmeric mind to make such a claim and no credulous dupe to accept it. I am not tricked into saying this sickness is bound to cease, for that would be an admission that there is really a sickness to cease. There need be no sense of prolonged convalescence, for there is nothing to intervene between Mind and its direct perception of its present perfection, chronologically, spatially or psychologically. This case cannot be aggravated by "chemicalization," since there can be no conflict between a lingering sense of evil before the unfolding apprehension of good in this positive knowledge that good is All.
The suggestion that my understanding is not equal to the requirements of the case is nothing more than an empty suggestion and is without power or presence because without credence. Truth, in any degree, is always superior to error, whatever its claim to magnitude. My supreme confidence lies in knowing that, and in knowing that I know it! In turning to God even as a human being, I am availing myself of omnipotence. This treatment is with final authority, power and prestige. It is God uttering Himself, or setting forth His own nature and, conversely, disposing of anything unlike the divine nature.
I have only to consider what God would say to disease and then say it. If my thinking is true, it operates with the power of Truth. If it is good, it is directly of God and maintains the dominion of omnipresent good. Instantaneous healing is a present possibility, because there is no interval between cause and effect. Whether regarded as a human or a divine activity, the affirmation of Truth is plainly increasing my realization of Truth, until I am thinking Truth instead of thinking about Truth. In affirming that there is nothing to be healed, I am not speaking from the human standpoint, but my declaration emanates from the clear, invigorating and vitalizing perception that all is truly perfect, now and forever. Such spiritual perception leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed. The report that the patient is "no better" is dismissed (silently) with the knowledge that he cannot be better than perfect as he is.
Not the passive assertion, but the active realization of what God is gives me the basis for my redemptive knowing. From this foundation of divine consciousness, the thing that presents itself afflictively is seen to have none of the aspects of entity, none of the character or substance of true being, and so is swallowed up in Love's allness. As Isaiah describes it: "He who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind (Isaiah 65:16-17).
The efficiency of treatment is in proportion to its absoluteness. But that does not permit of a wholesale disregard of unconquered suggestions. It is conceivable that metaphysical argument may be eventually dispensed with, but meanwhile a single affirmation of Truth in the face of an error constitutes argument, however rudimentary (It should be needless to add that metaphysical argument is not a struggle. It is scientific clarification through calm and unlabored analysis. Contentious thought is not healing thought). The method of affirmation and denial, provided by Mrs. Eddy, is still a very popular expedient among practitioners, for it does give direction to their work and a handle to grasp. However, Mrs. Eddy indicates that such round-about approaches must be eventually outgrown.
Science work would be quite without value if its results were not manifest humanly in a practical and tangibly beneficial way. As a human being, you must recognize this and insist upon it. You do not have to picture the results finitely, but you have a perfect right to demand and expect healing. The tree shall be known by its fruits. "The act of healing the sick through divine Mind alone, of casting out error with Truth, shows your position as a Christian Scientist." (S&H 182:1-4). The results are the thing. Anything that is needful or necessary can be secured through metaphysical work of the right kind. But, of course, this is not so where there is no appreciation of it.
By the same token, you will never witness a "miracle." For you, "the impossible" cannot happen. What is inconceivable cannot appear. Thus Christian Science demonstration always looks to be a natural occurrence. The perfection of being can only come to us as sick people getting well, as circumstances ironing out, as lost objects being found, as knowledge through recollection, reason or by way of the normal channels of information – never as a full-blown event without traceable antecedents. Mrs. Eddy has written that all demonstration is gradual (Knapp Biography, by Bliss Knapp (1925)). She does not say slow, but gradual, and you will find there is a principle involved in that. We have many instantaneous healings in Science, but they never appear as something spectacular or startling or incredible. In retrospect, you may recognize an occurrence as marvelous, but at the time it cannot be surprising, for you can only realize what is natural and normal for you.
While treatment must be impelled by right motivation – fired, in other words, by divine Love – we must admit that a mere desire to heal is not sufficient. Indeed, the desire to heal often thwarts healing. And the thing that obstructs the healing is the belief of a personal healer. To be practical and operative, the good animus must be implemented by scientific understanding. Our book says Love is expressed as affection, but that only through scientific understanding can you apprehend Love as Principle and demonstrate its rules (S&H 147:29-31). While Mind's realization cannot be embodied in words, there should be nothing passive or uncertain in your approach to divine realization. It is right here that you have recourse to such temporary mental measures and expedients as may prove of concrete and definite help at your present stage of understanding.
But we cannot dwell in these passing aids, nor return to them habitually, however valuable they proved where and when utilized. "Truth cannot be stereotyped; it unfoldeth forever." (No 45:27-28). You see, Truth in living expression cannot be congealed into a formulated statement that invalidates all other statements. It cannot be imprisoned in static words. Truth is incisive and specific in any given instance, but it doesn't stop anywhere. The efficiency of any treatment is not to be found in what the practitioner says, but in the embodied power of divine realization attained (My 160:5-8). And certainly divine realization cannot be confined to words, or even adequately described by the finite terms of human language. Our statements, when correct, represent and indicate Truth, but Truth does not reside within them.
Observe that "Science and Health" constantly discusses treatment, but never describes a treatment. While examples of treatment are helpful in explaining the nature of treatment, no exemplary treatment can serve as a model, even temporarily. Any example must be regarded strictly as a stepping-stone and abandoned just as quickly as it has fulfilled its purpose as such. To dwell in a set statement is to cease thinking. Beware of the persistent tendency to pause at any particular level on a circumscribed concept.
The words found useful in any given situation are determined by the degree of the practitioner's dynamic understanding at the moment, and any attempt to settle therein would prove stultifying. You may properly find inspiration and valued indications in what you believe Edward Kimball or some other Scientist said or did in a certain case, but your practice must be governed by living realization, never by precedent or routine. What you are led to say or think should spring spontaneously from divine communion. Treatment becomes arbitrary routine – hence sterile – when based upon the sanctified pronouncements of people, instead of on ever-fresh thinking.
There is nothing mechanical about right treatment. It has no certified procedures or approved techniques. If it is of Mind, it is spontaneous, original, individual. "Losing the comprehensive in the technical, the Principle in its accessories, cause in effect, and faith in sight, we lose the Science of Christianity – a predicament quite like that of the man who could not see London for its houses." (My 149:22-26). It would be the ruination of Christian Science to set up a standardized procedure. The practice cannot be regulated by generalizations, classifications or restrictions. Not rule by decree, but guidance by Principle, is the necessity (No 8:19-13).
The metaphysician must approach each problem that comes to him as a fresh proposition. There can be no revival of a problem once solved. But granting the inconceivable possibility of an exactly duplicated problem arising in the individual's experience, his own outlook altering constantly must put a different light on the problem. Genuine Christian Science treatment is not reducible to stereotyped mentation. The law of treatment is the law of infinity. Such treatment is not a self-conscious or personally calculated mental endeavor designed to fix up a finite belief. Psychological manipulation is crass mesmerism. We never work to specifically control a human situation or condition, or even to establish a new point of view, however desirable that may seem. Our effort is, instead, to apprehend the truth of being in any given instance. Such work is impersonal and cannot be a human jockeying for mental advantage, either in behalf of ourselves or of other.
Infinite progression is the nature of Mind's unfoldment and the only thing that could possibly be genuine about any treatment would have to be the unfoldment of Mind. How could you ever accomplish anything scientifically while entertaining the assumption that there is something besides the infinite? The "laws of God" are not human requirements or restrictions, and the form of one's striving for spiritualization is not of any consequence in the end, surely (S&H 329:22-23). Ideals of treatment are simply guideposts to be passed on the way onward and upward and outward. Always be ready to relinquish the ideal for the idea, the symbol for the reality, the stepping-stone for the goal. Understanding is not the acquisition of comforting platitudes not of trick declarations; it is ever-growing apprehension, manifest in methods and means constantly less human or finite in both type and purpose.
The spiritual rationality of approaching Science is characterized by literal freedom of thought (S&H 223:21-24). This implies and requires a constant setting aside of cut-and-dried habits and devices of human mentation. Lifeless routine and unthinking orthodoxy must be abandoned in their course, or we lose the substance while glorifying the empty form. Orthodoxy is thinking by approved patterns, and it is a phase of spiritual wickedness in high places which would rob you of your crown at the very gates of heaven (S&H 354:14-17).
If right along you are guided in your adoption of means and methods by the results, you will soon discover that this means a continuous revision of your thought processes (S&H 296:4 only). Of course it is legitimate to utilize any mental device or expedient which you find effective in clarifying thought for Soul's unhampered expression. You must reach in the only way you know how that point where truly divine realization is a natural and self-conscious experience. The law of God is not a restrictive rule to be followed blindly, but it is for you and me the nature of Being, enforced through practical, active knowing.
It is not what you do or say, but what you are actually being, that counts. Your treatment is successful in the ratio that the pure realization of Truth is achieved through purposeful, intelligent, confident thinking. Such thinking is not didactic, scholastic or formal, but it is spontaneous, original, alive, vital. That is why any sample treatment must be of only the most temporary value in your study and can never be used as a pattern. The words themselves have no inherent healing quality – although particular ones may prove for the time being indispensable to your realization of the healing Truth.
The tendency toward classification and standardization is becoming ever more aggressive universally, and it will unquestionably throttle the Christ spirit if it is not detected, understood and disposed of scientifically. What we designate as metaphysical work or treatment must never be allowed to degenerate into a psychological method of tricking thought into a desirable mental state. Nor must it be permitted to become a substitution of words for action (S&H 202:3-5). Phrases and passages which at first are found stimulating become soporific through repetition.
Our conclusion from these observations is that any means or method may be useful, or even necessary, temporarily, in the clarification of thought, but that such means or method must not become an end in itself. Practically speaking, we can benefit by the experience of others. But the value of any particular mental device cannot be found through comparison with what you believe you or anyone else ever did. It must be determined by its utility to you at the moment. Who could possibly decide this but yourself – from your own advancing point of view? ('01, 20:8-9).
Before leaving this very important phase of our study, let us reiterate again that you cannot remind yourself too often of the fundamental facts of being and also of the basic premises of your practice. One thing you must not hesitate to see: whatever is divinely true is humanly demonstrable, but it is not humanly true until humanly demonstrated. Christian Science most positively demands demonstration of the Scientist (S&H 323:14-16, 329:12-13, My 158:17-19). And by "demonstration," we mean just that! It is necessary to say this because there is a persistent caviling among some students over the meaning of the word and the propriety of its use. Mrs. Eddy leaves no doubt that the word demonstration refers to the healing of disease and the conquering of afflictive situations in such a way that mankind can see, appreciate and benefit by it. People in and out of the Church use the word universally to describe the tangible evidence which we all see of Christian Science salvation.
Demonstration is the physical healing of Christian Science (S&H xi.9-21). It is the loaves and the fishes, the resurrection from the tomb, the tax money from the fish's mouth. It is the strong hand of Jesus catching up the drowning man from the greedy waves. It is the stilling of the raging storm and the pacifying of the maniac, the cleansing of a contrite Magdalene from leprous sin, the finding of hospitable shelter, through the grace of God. It is not something that takes place in a vacuum, while mankind falters without and cries for the bread that means nutriment and satisfaction to the hungry (S&H 494:10-11, Mis 370:12-13).
O Tower of Babel! Dilettantism would keep us embroiled with each other over purely theoretical questions and personal habits of expression, so as to miss the Son of God when he cometh in power and great glory. We can surely see and help others to see, though, that we are concerned with something more profound than quibbling over such matters as the meaning of meaning. Free use of the dictionary is good, but obsession with the dictionary is a bad sign. Be sensible! Mechanical accuracy does not mean a monopoly on Truth. Rhetorical meticulousness is not a measure of your Science. Should we disagree on the propriety of certain words and expressions, we can readily find common ground in general usage. The Way may be straight and narrow, but we can be straight without being narrow! (S&H 223:21-22, Mis 302:15-18, 303:6-16).
Your understanding is not a hoarded jewel to be hidden upon a shelf and never brought out into the light of day. Spirituality must be wrought out in life practice and manifest in the essentials of everyday experience. Else Christianity would be a snare and Science a delusion. An inner sense of well-being is not center and circumference. The Word must be made flesh. Our greatest claim to distinction is that we can prove the truth of our doctrine within the framework of human experience. "Unless the harmony and immortality of man are becoming more apparent, we are not gaining the true idea of God." (S&H 324:7-9).