PETALUMA, CA, Sept. 11, 2017 – One would think, based on a recent analysis of the top-searched health questions in every state, that the most pressing concern here in California is how long cold sores last, confirmation perhaps of our well publicized vanity.
Although the analysis, published by Prevention magazine in partnership with Google, is by no means scientific, the underlying assumption that we’re little more than matter-based beings in need of constant repair is undeniable, no matter what state you’re from.
But what if the top health question we asked ourselves was something fundamentally different? What if we asked not how long a particular physical condition might last or how it might be managed but, instead, whether we are, at our core, material or spiritual in nature?
Granted, it may seem silly asking a question to which we already know – or at least think we know – the answer. But let’s assume for the moment that we don’t. And let’s assume, too, that whatever answer we arrive at might have some impact on our health.
Some years ago, I found myself considering this very question. I had a painful infection that made it difficult to walk. Rather than picking up whatever remedy might have been available at the local pharmacy, I decided to pray about the situation, as is my practice as a Christian Scientist.
What came to mind almost immediately was a reminder of what I’d learned from my study of the Bible, that I was an expression of God, of divine Spirit – completely safe, completely pure. The problem was, there appeared to be a considerable disconnect between what I was hearing from God, divine Mind, and what my body was telling me. I knew then that I had to decide which account felt more real, more substantial to me; whether I was willing to see my genuine self as being material or spiritual.
I decided to go with “spiritual,” an inspired choice, I felt, that ultimately turned the tide for me mentally and led to a relatively quick, complete, and permanent healing. I might add that ever since, I’ve noticed the beneficial impact this divine assurance of my purity continues to have, not only on my body, but also on my relationships with others.
Often when I share stories like this with others, the response I get is something along the lines of, “Well, that just goes to show the power of positive thinking.” While I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t agree.
Positive thinking would be like sitting in a movie theatre, staring at an out of focus image on the screen, and hoping it gets better. Prayer, on the other hand, is turning around in your seat (which, understandably, some might interpret as avoiding the problem) and expecting to see some adjustment being made by the projectionist. By the time you turn back around, you discover the picture is back in focus.
In my case, I wasn’t avoiding my problem but, instead, I was looking to what I knew from experience to be the solution. And the adjustment that took place in my thought, originating with the “projectionist,” enabled me to see my situation from a spiritual perspective – to gain some sense of my innate purity – and as a result, experience improved health.
Since then the key has been for me to be more consistent in identifying myself, not as a mostly material “thing” capable of the occasional spiritual “fix,” but as wholly spiritual.
“The description of man as purely physical, or as both material and spiritual, – but in either case dependent upon his physical organization, – is the Pandora box, from which all ills have gone forth, especially despair,” writes Mary Baker Eddy, a blunt reminder of the importance of at least exploring who and what we really are as expressions of the Divine.
Perhaps then the top health question in every state will be less about our physicality and more about our capacity to express those God-given qualities of thought that benefit not just ourselves but those around us as well.
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. Continue the conversation on Facebook.