Sunday, August 24, 2008

Healing and the Conscious Mind

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We are aware of the regrettable fact that a cult is growing around ACIM (the book A Course in Miracles). That is really too bad, for it does have a number of good teachings. It is largely the common sense (anything but common) of the twelve-step programs. We do not subscribe to the mythical superstition that this book is infallible, incapable of error, or that it was "channeled from God," or "actually" written by Jesus Christ. This is, you might recognize, the same lie that fundies have been telling for years about the Bible; it serves only those who are too lazy, too ignorant, or too weak to think for themselves.

One problem with healing is that people want to assign very simplistic causes to diseases. If disease has a very simple cause, then it also has a very simple solution. Usually, it is something along the lines of "changing your thought-patterns."

This simplism not only "blames" the sick person, instead of extending compassion to her, but it is absurdly simple. It is, in fact, far too simple to account for the facts.

Simplicity, of course, has a very wide place in the philosophy of enlightenment. But intellect also has its proper place. For, historically, many people who never allowed a "negative thought" within a hundred yards of them have suffered from some major illnesses. To claim, or to imply, that all illness is the result of "negative thinking" simply does not tally with the known facts-- of history or of medicine.

The conscious mind is not the "cause" of all illness. It can and does affect the body, but its power is not unlimited. If these "positive thinkers" were right in their simplistic explanations, everyone would have followed them years ago, and there would be no serious health-problems in our world. For mind-based systems of "positive thinking" have been widely available, to everyone, for well over a hundred years, in just recent history.

For an example, the cult called "Christian Science" (founded 1879) ascribes all illness to "wrong" thinking. Yet this is a microcult, with only a few million members worldwide. But if Mary Eddy's theories were correct, if her "practice" actually worked, by now, the cult would have converted the entire world. You could not keep people from converting to the cult! It would be madly, astonishingly popular, and you could not pull people away with bull-dozers. And no Christian Scientist would ever suffer from any major disease; they would all, and always, enjoy perfect health.

But this has not been the real situation "on the ground" (in the real world). These facts show its flaw: There are still practicing Christian Scientists (as members call themselves) who become very sick with major illnesses; indeed, despite continuous practice and programming, some die every year, making the cult lethal for sick people.

The whole idea of "mind-healing," or healing through exclusively positive thinking, underwent a massive revival in the US and the whole world in the 1890's, and millions converted to various related "positive thinking" schools. But many, if not most, remained either sick or poor, or both. Why?

Because they mistook the conscious mind for the Mind of God, the One. The conscious mind is indeed a part of the great Mind that controls the universe-- indeed, creates it. But the conscious mind has never been assigned control of the material cosmos, including the body.

The best that this little mind can do, say the wise Taoist sages, is to learn cooperation with the cosmic Mind of God; and this includes acceptance-- the opposite of trying to change everything, and trying to force the universe to be the way that we personally want it to be. This "grunt and groan" struggle to control the universe produces a person of increased tension, and it amplifies fears.

But the philosophy summed up by Jesus is very different: (He was also a Taoist) in his famous words to God: "Not my will, but thine."

This is also the foundation of the Model Prayer that we should pray always: "Thy will be done."

This "thy will" recognizes a pre-existent will in the great Mind that rules the cosmos. God has plans, and outcomes, that He/She wants, and they are not always what we want. Jesus, unlike "positive thinkers," who want to grab hold of the cosmos and alter it according to their personal wills, saw a distinction between his personal will and the will of God. It is only when we lose this distinction (usually, because we want so powerfully to believe that God's will is always the same as our personal will) that we "fall" for the easy but ineffective "wishful thinking solutions" of "positive thinking."

Yes, positive thinking can change very much in our lives. It is wonderfully superior to negative thinking. But, as human beings, we have limits regarding our control of the cosmos, and this is the one fact that extremists of "positive thinking" do not want to recognize:

In the end, the cosmos, including our births (we had nothing to do with them, as the conscious mind that now exists, except peripherally) and our deaths, are not controlled by us personally. Where was "your" mind when the sperm first entered the egg, and formed your current body? No, this was not controlled by you, but by Nature (symbolized by the ancient Christians as the Goddess Sophia).

Our only task is to use these lives to learn to cooperate with Sophia, our "heavenly Mother," and with Love, our "Father." So, we do not have strictly to regulate each and every thought, always fleeing from the "demons" of negative thinking. For this is how "positive thinking" can increase the "demons" of fear.

Instead, we follow the words of Jesus' most "Taoistic" sermon, the famous Sermon on the Mount, and live like the birds and the flowers, who know, and need/want to know, nothing about "positive thinking."

We can then simply relax and trust, "going with the Flow." When Jesus said his famous words, "Lest ye be as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom," the Greek word translated "little children" means literally "nursing infants"-- another group of minds that knows nothing about control or "positive thinking."

This Taoist life of full trust (faith) is far better, for it is God-dependent and not egocentric or human-dependent. Human beings have tried, metaphysically, for thousands of years to control the cosmos with their conscious minds; the idea goes way back to ancient Greece; it was not invented by the "modern cult" of Christian Science. (Similar ideas were also found in ancient India.)

The key, for us, is to find the courage to dare to trust. For, deep down, many of us distrust the universe. We might even distrust Love. For we have never found any solid evidence of a "God" "out there," in the universe.

This is simply because there is no God in the universe. That is, there is no "exterior" God. God does not exist in the universe. But, as Mind, the universe exists in Him/Her. This is the beautiful and glorious discovery of the mystic, and it frees us from all desperate illusions and delusions.

Mind alone is Reality, so the mystics called God "Reality." This is one meaning of Jesus' famous words, "You will know the truth [reality], and the truth [reality] will set you free." (Jn. 8:32) Reality, the truth, is God in the world, and in the heartmind. It alone can free us from desperate illusions, bathing us in the Light of sweet, saving Love.

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1 comment:

Steve said...

I am sorry to read such a smearing blog misrepresenting Christian Science in such a profound way - and demonstrating a gross mis-understanding about its teachings.

I would encourage the author to afford me the fairness of publishing my response to correct some (but perhaps not all) of the inaccuracies implied.

For those readers of this blog, I would like to say that: #1. Christian Science is not a cult. I'm confident most would agree that a cult includes a group of people that worship and follow blindly some personality who deludes them into acts foreign to their natural inclinations.

On the contrary, Mary Baker Eddy, far from someone that we deify, is valued greatly by Christian Scientists as the revelator, the discoverer and founder of the science of Christianity - which might be defined as the practical nature of the divine law demonstrated by Jesus in his healings and works. Mrs. Eddy herself asked her followers to follow her only as far as she follows Christ; - a humble sentiment that couldn't be more opposite to that of a cult leader.

Her revelatory textbook illumines the Biblical teachings and makes feasible Jesus' command to "heal the sick", "go and do ye likewise", and "greater works than these shall ye do because I go unto my father", etc. It shows the science behind the actions of Jesus, therefore revealing how ANYONE (not just a those attending its church) can learn to heal.

#2 The author of the blog also seems to cast Christian Science in the same light as positive thinking or any of the other systems like it that rely upon the human mind as a healing agent. Indeed I would concur with the author that positive thinking has little benefit beyond hypnotizing the sick or suffering into a false sense of well-being, usually resulting in some rude awakening later that no healing has actually occurred.

On the contrary, Christian Science appeals to divine law, the divine Mind, or God - as opposed to the human mind. It is this same divine law that was taught and practiced by Christ Jesus to heal in his era.

I would encourage readers of this blog to read the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, and decide for themselves if this practice works. I would also encourage anyone to pick up a copy of the book "Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Healer" which might explain why spiritual healing became so much more prevalent in the late 1800's as the author references. It can be obtained at any Christian Science Reading Room.

Contrary to the authors comments, I and those whom I know that have grown up in Christian Science for four generations, have always been found more healthy than our peers; missing school or work with much less frequency than others, and often eliciting comments from acquaintances "how is it that you are never sick" and "how is it that nothing ever seems to fluster you?".

In the authors comments about his beliefs that had Christian Science healing worked, the world would be converted and no one would ever died, I have to respond with the obvious retort. It need not be stated that hundreds of thousands die yearly under medical care, and yet doctors are philanthropists and humane doers of good globally. We are asking only to be judged on a level playing field.

For any who have an interest in learning more about what Christian Science TRULY is in a more accurate way, I would encourage them to visit www.spirituality.com or www.christianscience.com.

Thank you.