A powerful and primary healing fact established by Christian Science is the eternal and perfect nature of that which IS. What does “IS” mean? Let’s talk some logic:
Beginning at this basic building block, establishing exactly what existence IS, Christian Science can be seen to be beautifully logical. From the standpoint of the material senses, of course, it seems outrageous, even ridiculous. But we are going to examine it here from a purely logical point of view, independent of the sensual evidence which in human thought so often overrides basic logic, without our even being aware.
That which IS, is that which cannot stop or be stopped from being or being present. There are two basic qualities to that which IS. They are: 1. an eternal nature, and 2. perfection. Using the simplest possible logic, that which IS, must have already been present and possessed its being eternally, for there would have been a time when it was IS NOT, and what would it have been when it was IS NOT? It would have been nothing. The same logic applies to its ending as to its beginning. If something stops existing, it IS NOT. It is obvious that a thing cannot be both IS and IS NOT. That which IS, is then, eternal. We can, of course, assign a human meaning to the word IS, which would define its existence as seen between its beginning and its end. This is the world’s definition of IS, a mortal definition of IS, because it involves a birth and a death. But what was it before it IS? Nothing. It was IS NOT. What will it be after it expires? Nothing. It will be IS NOT. So, the question is WAS it, in such a case, ever? Or was its perception based on a mortal sense of existence during that perceived time period, a sort of IS NOT, called IS? That which IS , in its mortal sense is temporal, but in its immortal sense is eternal. Since we are talking about that which IS, in the terms of immortal God, who always has been, is now, and forever will be, and is therefore immortal, the conclusion is clear. That which IS, is in its God-sense, eternal.
Now we will prove by logical statement that that which is eternal, is also perfect. If that which is eternal ever had a need to improve, then it would lose its eternal nature in the process of becoming better, because when it improves, it would become something different than it was before it improved. The same logic applies to its degradation. That which IS, cannot degrade or become less than perfect, for in the process of that degradation, it would become something else, and thereby lose its eternal nature. Therefore, that which IS, is both eternal and perfect. It IS God and His expression.
These are very basic philosophical truths, and they are simple and plain undeniable logic. We have just introduced the application to these concepts of the word “God.” But, is not God the concept that we use to explain the origin of the very concept of explaining being, or in other words, what IS? In the author’s mind, it IS, no pun intended.
Where is all of this eternality and perfection taking place? It takes place without regard to place, space, or time. It is principle. Principle never changes and needs no location to operate. It IS. This is the basis of the spiritual concept of infinity. Spiritual infinity is more than a human concept of infinite time and space. Infinity must be in its spiritual nature, independent of time and space. Spiritual infinity simply defines that which IS. For example: 2+2=4 here on earth. If you could travel to a distant galaxy far across the universe, can you imagine that the fact of 2+2=4 might be invalid there? 2+2=4 is in that sense a universal truth, and it IS.
By now, you may be asking yourself where all of this philosophical logic is supposed to be taking us in terms of practicality in human life and healing. But, let’s go one step further before we go there. We have now established the eternal and perfect nature of all that IS, and we have established that that which IS, is universally present, or in other words, spiritually infinite. Infinite precludes anything else. 2+2=5 cannot exist within the infinite universe which contains 2+2=4, except as a powerless mistake.
What then, of that which appears in our experience, which disregards this principle? How can we explain the presence of birth and death, beginning and end, limitation and time, evil and sickness and sin, all within an infinite universe of timeless eternity and perfection? The answer lies in the concept of consciousness. What is consciousness? It is the one thing of which we all can be sure, namely, that we exist and are conscious. How do we define consciousness?
Consciousness is our awareness of that which IS. Keeping in mind what we have already determined by logic as IS, let’s look at consciousness more closely. Consciousness is a vehicle which presents experience to our mind. We all know that there can be varying conditions of consciousness. When consciousness is clear, we are aware of things with great clarity and sharpness and distinction. When we are sleepy, things get by us and occur without our awareness. If we are intoxicated, consciousness presents experience to us in a blurred and illogical fashion, sometimes even causing us to believe in hallucinations of things which are but misinterpreted realities. And, when we are asleep we are in an entirely different conscious realm than when we are awake. So, it is clear that consciousness is only telling us the truth at the times when we have decided to take full control of it. When we are “watchful, sober, and vigilant” as Mary Baker Eddy puts it, this leads to the most clear consciousness, to the understanding of what really IS.
The most highly developed state of consciousness we can attain is the awareness of divine consciousness, a state of complete awareness that we, as man, are the very manifest effect of all of God’s actions, of all the IS. Such a highly developed state of consciousness makes us fully aware of God’s spiritual universe in which we see and understand that which IS, to be all that is really valid. A lesser developed, lazier state of consciousness allows one to entertain visions of things which are not present in the infinite universe of Spirit, just as one might find himself in the more extreme cases of dreaming or hallucinating under the influence of a narcotic.
“But wait!” you say, hopefully at this point. How can consciousness be aware of that which is not present? One might just as easily ask, how can consciousness dream, or how can it hallucinate, mistaking imaginations for realities in those states? This can be answered in one word: belief. All the time you are sleeping, or hallucinating, the real world is going on, even without your correct awareness of it. It is completely unaffected by your altered state of consciousness. And what do you dream and hallucinate about? You always dream or hallucinate about something. Your dream or hallucination is always a misrepresentation about something that you are experiencing in real time, or would experience in real life. The dream or hallucination cannot stand on its own. It must have a subject with which you can identify, and therefore requires your participation in it. It is not apart from you. In other words it is going on in your consciousness. We have now established how your consciousness can be aware of that which is not really present. You have yourself already experienced numerous examples of such phenomena if you have ever dreamed while sleeping, been intoxicated, or under the influence of a narcotic.
Consider the convincing reality of some of your dreams. You could be absolutely certain, in that state of maind, that you really were in those situations. But of course, you were not. How is it, then, that we can be so absolutely certain of the truth of what is going on in our waking consciousness? You may answer “Why, my senses tell me what is going on. They give me the most reliable evidence possible. Whatever they say is presenting reality to me.” But, are they?
Anyone who has ever witnessed a demonstration of hypnotism has experienced evidence that the senses do not always present the truth to the human mind. A hypnotic suggestion can leave a man in terror, believing himself to be drowning in the absence of water, believing himself to be burned when no fire is present, etc. Upon what was this false interpretation of his sensory perception based? This can be answered in one word: belief.
Let us leave the mental world of sensory deception and elevate ourselves momentarily to the perception of the absolute interpretation of consciousness which we defined from the outset, namely the divine consciousness. The divine consciousness is that consciousness in which only that which IS, which was defined by our opening logical analysis, is recognized. It is a consciousness devoid of time, devoid of space, even devoid of matter, for all of the permanent things defined therein can have no beginning nor ending. This must be the perfect consciousness of God, wherein all is perfect and eternal. And we are all actually experiencing that consciousness now, for it is undeniable that all the things around you are really there, and are IS. At this point, if you are a human being you will no doubt object and ask yourself “How can I be in that perfect consciousness here and now, with all of the evil and sickness and death I see all around me?”
If you have experienced what we call “human partying” you might just as well have asked yourself the same question after a drunken night of intoxication. When you go back and look at the experience, you will realize that the real you, in your right mind, was there living inside the appearance of an intoxicated man, all the while your falsely interpreted consciousness was telling you that strange things were going on. The intoxication was in your interpretation of consciousness, not in your consciousness itself. Otherwise, you would not have been conscious at all during the experience. If you are alive, you are conscious, and consciousness is the awareness of that which IS. That which IS kept right on being IS during the drunken stupor.
Transfer this phenomenon back to normal consciousness. How can you be aware of things which are opposite to God’s perfect eternal nature, sin, sickness, death, when your real and divine consciousness excludes all of those things from being possible by virtue of the universal nature of its principle? This can also be answered in one word: belief. Just as your consciousness apparently experiences hallucinations under the influence of the belief in the power of a narcotic, so does your so-called normal human consciousness experience things which are not present in the realm of the divine consciousness under the influence of —- belief — belief of and conviction in the material senses. And from whence are derived the material senses? The material senses are certainly not present in the perfect divine consciousness, for that ultimate consciousness is aware only of the things that meet the criteria of IS. They are perfect and eternal. Matter on the other hand is imperfect and temporal, and the material senses therefore are the receptors of the exact inverse of that which is known to be present in the divine consciousness. Mrs. Eddy writes on page 468: Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error.” In other words, Spirit IS; matter IS NOT.
This finally leads to a point which seems to have become secondary in light of the opening content, and that is, that everything which IS tends to preserve itself. Everything which IS, preserves itself successfully by virtue of the nature of its infinitude, for nothing exists which could oppose it. Contrariwise, everything invalid which belief would include in consciousness, is the representation of the opposite or inverse of a particular truth. It IS NOT. Therefore, that which IS NOT, though it mocks what is going on in the reality of Spirit by attempting to preserve itself, must be unsuccessful in preserving itself, for by the nature of its nothingness, the opposite of the infinitude of its positive counterpart. It must vanish!
Thus, in our work of bringing about healing, there always appears a resistance to the elimination of sickness or sin. This is a natural resistance which is really mimicking, in an inverted fashion, the natural resistance which Truth possesses which ensures its continual self-preservation. That which is false is that which IS NOT, and is only taking place in a supposed and impossible frame of reference, which Christian Science names mortal mind. We encounter the mimicking of this same self preservation action in material body and mortal mind. How do we get this supposed resistance to healing under our control? In proportion as man interprets himself falsely as mortal, in that proportion does the self preserving character of the lie become to the observer a false reality, and disease will seem to worsen. Inversely, the self-preserving character of materiality becomes increasingly less significant in proportion as consciousness rises to the level of understanding which makes it aware of the eternal and perfect nature of what IS.
The human mind must find its way from perceiving consciousness on a mortal level, to perceiving it on a spiritual level. Experience builds confidence in this transformation. Until this growth in understanding begins to take effect through the study of Christian Science, the human mind has no way to distinguish between the unreality of the material interpretation of consciousness, and the perfection of reality which comes to experience through a spiritual interpretation of consciousness.
In chronic cases, the sufferer is sometimes unwilling to give up a false conception which he has learned to cherish as a part of his identity, even the cherishing of the very disease of which he would rid himself. False belief teaches mortals to accept the misconceptions of disease as a part of valid identity. Mortals unwittingly hang onto them only on account of their intimate familiarity with them. Such resistance to healing is similar to the resistance met in the healing of addictions.
The practice of impatience will also prevent the realization of healing. The sufferer who expects instantaneous results must first realize his own deepest desire to be healed and be receptive of corrective healing thought. He must give up even his most cherished beliefs, many of which, to his own sense, he does not picture as being cherished. The word cherish can take on a sense of entertaining the worst as well as the best of thoughts. On page 405 Mrs. Eddy tells us “Christian Science commands man to master the propensities,—to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.”
To fall away from Christian Science, or to place blame on the healer for a lack of success when results do not appear manifest in a certain period of time is sheer folly when one has not tended to one’s own garden. It must be realized that although the healing may have taken place mentally in divine Mind, in the thought of the healer, it will never come to fruition until the recipient is prepared to accept it. It can be noted in the gospels that Jesus, in every case of healing, either already understood the patient’s state of receptivity, or cultivated it beforehand. For that reason Jesus did not, and could not have healed every diseased person he encountered. In Matthew 15:22-28 is found a typical example of Jesus’ cultivation of the patient’s receptivity before he healed. A woman cried after him for healing whose daughter was insane. Until Jesus witnessed the woman’s true and sincere humility, he would not touch the case. When Jesus witnessed true humility, he proceeded. It might be conjectured that Jesus knew well that to heal the woman’s daughter would be impossible unless her consciousness was first rendered receptive.
When we realize the infinite nature of God and all that really IS, the resistance to healing is defeated, and the key to the power of Christian healing is opened, but only to those prepared to receive it.