A couple of days ago, I was inspired. During and following that inspiration I wrote down some stream of consciousness notes for myself, and this article is their restatement. Then I thought that they might do some good for others. You may find that the order and logic of the article does not feel humanly organized, and it is not, for just those reasons. Please bear with that and read the article through. Perhaps it’s significant, perhaps not. But I especially invite comments on this one.
The primary point in learning to effectively practice Christian Science healing is the full understanding of the role of divine Love. It is easy to intellectually discuss the importance of Love, but to hold it in the highest possible practical regard by really knowing, living, and breathing it, is the highest and most necessary accomplishment if we would escape the limitations of human life imposed by mortal beliefs. Love is our being. God is Love, as the apostle John tells us in I John 4:18. That sounds really good, and every teacher of Christian Science certainly endeavors to teach the depth of the importance of knowing divine Love. The role of love as the essential healing agent cannot be emphasized enough!
How is this to be done? How are we to transform talking about and discussing the importance of divine Love into the practice of effective healing in Christian Science? This transformation cannot be taught in an intellectual or analytical method. Mrs. Eddy warns against the intellectualizing of healing and its cold application on page 367 of our textbook where she says “The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love.”
Recently while simply listening to some beautiful music, I felt an uplifting influence of the presence of divine Love simply by the contemplation of the melody and its accompanying words about Love. I had been humanly suffering from a physical irritation, and after that brief moment of being inspired by the music, I realized that a big part of the irritation had quietly melted away. It was not the complete resolution of the false belief that came with this brief revelation, but there was a decided effect upon my demeanor and the intensity of the complaints associated with the claims of pain I was addressing. I had not been making a particular effort to pray at this moment, but I knew that it was simply the uplifted sense of knowing my natural state of joy which wiped the false sense of irritation away. This it did, it seemed to me by giving to my consciousness a recognition of the completely separate and suppositional realm of thought which I had been unthinkingly entertaining as apart from my natural connection with God. Similar experiences have been pointing out to me that intellectualizing and treating problems by argument are only precursors to healing, necessary tools for paving the way of the mental reception of the agent which actually heals, the presence of divine Love. We are told on page 192 of our textbook that “Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power.”
That brief moment of inspiration which came through listening to music brought to my thought the first 4 verses of chapter two of St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which says “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
That last sentence seems like a humanly tall order, and indeed it is. But Paul, understanding that Christ Jesus exemplified man’s real nature through his perfect representation of the Christ in human life, and knowing that the same Christ nature possessed by Christ Jesus actually defines generic man, every man, woman, and child, could recommend with confidence that we also must learn to actively live the same Christ nature in order to have the mind which was also in Christ Jesus. I contemplated these verses with joy, and began making notes about their deepest meaning – what Paul must have actually felt when he was inspired to write this letter to the Philippians. Let us take it apart and analyze it.
Paul says “Fulfill ye my joy that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” He says to know yourself, to know others, to know all that comes to your experience through the same mind which was in Christ Jesus. We are being told, by St. Paul, a man who understood the teachings of Christ Jesus more completely than did any other of his contemporaries, that we must recognize the one mind which is common to all of us, and that this mind was perfectly exemplified in Christ Jesus. What set that mind of Christ Jesus apart from the everyday human mind? It was the Christ nature. Paul knew, as Jesus himself had taught, that the Christ identity was not a special gift from God which belonged exclusively to Jesus, but that the Christ nature is the true identity of generic man – of every man, woman, and child who has ever or ever will be conscious. We are being told here to consciously possess that mind. Christ Jesus, the Son of God, was so known because of his unique and perfectly developed ability to exemplify the perfect Christ nature inherent in all of mankind. The Christ identity is the individualized representation of God’s perfect nature seen in perfect generic spiritual man.
How do we follow Paul’s exhortations and have the mind of Christ? We have the mind of Christ by ourselves consciously exemplifying the Christ nature so perfectly lived by Jesus. We do so through our own God-given individuality. Having the mind of Christ is maintaining, as our own consciousness, the continual awareness of our natural Christ nature, which is native to and comprises the definition of our own spiritual identity. Our own natural harmonious nature is found to be ever present when we know ourselves as a unique Christ-identity. The Christ nature of our identity, always animated by and always in complete consonance and harmonious coordination with God, with divine Love, with loving harmonious Principle, is the perfect representation of God seen in each and every man, woman, and child.
What comprises the Christ identity common to all of us? What is its primary characteristic? The Christ identity can be easily recognized because it is pure continuous joy expressed! Feeling this nature of joy goes beyond mere intellectualization about it. We sing it! We express it! We joy in its presence! We love it! We feel quietly ecstatic with it! This is the key component of healing which can never be taught through mere intellectual discussion and must be felt and lived and breathed. It must be mentally embraced, tightly, joyously, ecstatically. The Christ nature maintains consciousness in a continual state of knowing and acknowledging power or presence in nothing negative or opposite to God’s nature. In this naturally spiritual state of mind, all sin, disease, and death are relegated to the state of non-recognition and, non-existence p invalidity. Only infinite perfection, a perfections so complete that its very presence exterminates any claim to an opposite nature, can define “having the mind of Christ.” We must cherish this ecstatic feeling, for it is our true and Christly nature uncovered!
And this is exactly how Christ Jesus must have consciously lived every moment of life. When these realizations come to us in prayer, we must also hold onto them with the conviction of Jacob, never letting go until our nature is transformed! Delight in the abundance of spiritual joy until nothing else can be present in thought. We must maintain the deepest sense of gratitude for any and every sign of spiritual goodness. This is the depth of what it takes to be like-minded and to have the love of Christ. Only when we so do are we honestly practicing the “consolation in Christ” to which Paul refers.
Consolation is brought to humanity by dwelling with the unique nature of Christ which is native to each man’s, woman’s, and child’s identity. Consolation so delivered brings comfort and the alleviation of misery. How does it do this? The deep realization and understanding of the infinitude of the Christ nature destroys any belief in the presence of any supposed opposite to the Christ nature. Sin, disease, and death all oppose the Christ nature. The joy of the allness and ever presence of the Christ identity in us brings to our conscious experience the transforming understanding that there simply is not and cannot be any misery or distress, because the Christ nature, our true identity, being all inclusive and infinite, prohibits that possibility! This realization drives home the point that all which opposes false belief is mere false supposition supported by nothing more that seemingly powerful hypnotic belief which would oppose omnipotence. This realization is the comfort of Christ!
The comfort of the Christ strengthens the human spirit, man’s representation of Soul. It brings the conscious realization that there is no weakness in God’s perfect manifestation of Himself, the Christ- man. There can be no weakness in God’s all-inclusive spiritual identity, Christhood. The comfort of Christ brings with it the inversion of every false belief and concept of weakness, the corrective and alterative realization of man’s native strength. The comfort of the Christ strengthens that which human belief would call a weak mind. It does so through the transforming understanding that its presence is infinitely all-consuming, necessitating the elimination of any belief of depression or enfeeblement, which are clearly seen to be nothing but folly, foolishness, and delusion. The spirit of vigor so exercised in divine consciousness dispels the mistakenly endorsed opposites to strength and joy – namely weakness and depression.
“If any fellowship of the spirit” – The realization of the fellowship of the Spirit, the invigorating Christ-nature, is true fellowship, companionship, the presence of a complete sense of God’s identity eternally expressed by generic man. This is the depth of the fellowship of the Spirit! There is no human fellowship. There is only the conscious knowing of the complete, infinite, and eternal Christ nature in all of generic man. The “bowels and mercies” of God are His infinite kindness. God’s infinite kindness is eternal, and so can never be absent. Such kindness must be seen and witnessed by the fellowship of the invigorating Christ, the individualized identity of in every of every man, woman, and child!! Bowels and mercies are Christly tenderness, Christly compassion. These characteristics are never identifiable with their opposites, and their very infinite presence exterminates the existence of their supposed opposites.
The complete joyous realization of the ever present Christ nature of identity eliminates the human senses of strife and vanity (vainglory). Divine Mind cannot know strife, for there exists nothing in its all-inclusive infinity against which to strive! Divine Mind cannot know vanity, for vanity is associated with the supposed and false sense of self identification. Vanity is known only by the mortal counterfeit man, who is himself imaginary and invalid. As we put off the old man, we also put off vanity. Whatever is said about the counterfeit, mortal man is pure conjecture and imagination. There can be no vanity in generic spiritual man, for the sum total of Christ identity seen as perfect generic man is the complete representation of all of God’s being and action. The “lowliness of mind” with which we are told to “esteem ourselves” is the displacement of the false identity of the counterfeit, mortal man. This identity is exterminated and rejected from human consciousness. Such is the action of the purification, the baptism which lifts the human mind higher, out of its sense of mortal identification and into a sense of immortal identification. WE “esteem another better than ourselves through the recognition that the counterfeit mortal man, supposed to be separated from God, has been exterminated, eliminated, returned to its native nothingness. In the answer to the question “What is man?” on page 469, Mrs. Eddy says “The exterminator of error is the great truth that God, good, is the only Mind, and that the supposititious opposite of infinite Mind — called devil or evil – is not Mind, is not Truth, but error, without intelligence or reality.” In proportion as the counterfeit man is returned to its native nothingness is the Christ nature joyously understood to be man’s identity.
The theme through this analysis has been JOY, and it is my hope that it has been adequately expressed. “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.” (page 4, S&H). The awareness of conscious joy is this prayer of continual fervent desire, and it brings growth in grace by the lifting up of human consciousness by degrees to the divine!