The biggest medical myth of them all
PETALUMA, Calif., Nov. 2, 2015 – Medical myths abound.
For instance, contrary to popular belief, eating late at night does not make you fat; you don’t need to drink eight glasses of water a day; cold weather does not make you sick; and sugary foods do not cause hyperactivity in kids.
The problem is, a lot of us have a hard time letting go of these notions, especially when personal experience appears to confirm them – like the parents who see their child jumping up and down at a birthday party, assuming it was the overly frosted cake and not the festive environment that caused this sudden burst of energy.
But of all the medical myths that need to be discarded, there’s a larger question that looms: Could the very idea that we are essentially matter-based beings forever beholden to matter-based bodies also be a myth?
Sure, it may look and feel like we’re nothing more than a bunch of molecules all scrunched together into a particular shape. But scientists continue to remind us that what looks and feels like solid matter is actually made up mostly of space.
So what keeps all our body parts in their respective place? Most would probably agree with astrophysicist and NPR blogger Adam Frank, who says, “It’s all just forces.” But when it comes to the particular nature of these forces, the jury is still out.
“Human knowledge calls them forces of matter,” writes Mary Baker Eddy, “but divine Science declares that they belong wholly to divine Mind [God], are inherent in this Mind, and so restores them to their rightful home and classification.” Were these forces to be withdrawn, she says, “creation must collapse.”
Could it be, then, that it’s not just the notion of solid matter that’s a myth – or what Frank calls “a big fat lie” – but matter itself?
That might be a bit much to swallow. But what if we were to look at matter, as did Eddy, not so much as an irrefutable “thing” as a perspective subject to change, a limited view of reality? What might inspire such a mental shift, and what difference might this have on our perception of the universe – of planets and stars, bodies and buildings, even the substance of our health?
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, maybe a better question to ask is what difference such a shift is already having.
Some years ago, the daughter of a good friend of mine was hit by a car and injured her arm. X-rays at a nearby clinic revealed multiple fractures in her forearm, wrist and hand. Due to extenuating circumstances, an appointment was made to have the arm operated on in five days.
During this interval, a complete healing took place as both mother and daughter endeavored to put less faith in matter – that is, in a limited view of reality – and more in the unbroken spiritual reality they knew in their hearts, and through their prayers, to be true.
“My daughter and I were conscious of the fact that God governs His idea, man, and that His government is perfect and complete,” my friend writes in a published account. “We felt His love for her and knew that God’s love includes all.”
She continues: “When [my daughter] was subsequently examined by the clinic doctor, he said she clearly did not need to have bones set or the arm placed in a cast. But he did ask us to return for more X-rays. When the second set of X-rays was taken, I watched him examine the ‘before and after’ pictures. He showed me each of the breaks in the previous X-ray: including forearm fractures, telescoping of bones in fingers and hand bones, and the shattered wristbone, which he said could not have been set medically and would have been replaced with a steel pin. Finally he commented: ‘The bones have set themselves perfectly. This is a case of a perfect mend.’”
So what was it that inspired this change of perspective that led to such a remarkable healing? According to my friend, it wasn’t just the willingness to shift her mental weight from matter to spirit, but a sincere desire on both her own and her daughter’s part to love everyone involved, including the individual driving the car, the attending police officer, as well the doctors and staff at the medical clinic – a desire that, as she puts it, “created an atmosphere in which quick and harmonious healing was the natural outcome.”
While just this one story may not be enough to earn matter itself a spot on the list of top 10 medical myths, it does call into question both the credibility and the moral vulnerability of so many matter-based assumptions. Even if it takes a bit of time and yearning to grasp a more spirit-based view of the universe, we’re all capable of gaining at least a glimpse of our essentially and solidly spiritual nature – and seeing practical results from this uplifted and uplifting perspective.
Eric Nelson writes about the link between consciousness and health from his perspective as a practitioner of Christian Science. He also serves as the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Follow him on Twitter @norcalcs.