The Healing Sense of Nature

THE student of acoustics speedily learns that the air waves which have contributed to his sense of sound represent but a very small fraction of the tonal scale which he would be able to hear were his aural sensitiveness more refined, and in a kindred way students of Christian Science soon realize that they can apprehend the truths of the universe about them only in the measure of their spiritual perception, and that as yet they have compassed but a trifling arc of that perfect circle of divine manifestation which it is theirs to apprehend as they awaken to the truth of being.

The cry, "Back to nature," which is being heard on every side, is in large part the expression of an impulse that would eschew the haste, pretense, superficiality, and extravagance of modern life, and that would find the more satisfying in the more simple and genuine,—those conditions and experiences which ever affiliate themselves in thought with birds and flowers, the sunshine, and the sky. As never before, the gain to those who are privileged to get into close touch with nature is being emphasized in the schoolroom, and in unnumbered philanthropic endeavors to bring the sweet out-door within the reach of the shut-in and the debilitated, and all this witnesses to a more general recognition of the truth which Chaucer expressed long ago when he wrote, "Nature is the vicar of Almightie God."

In these days when we of the north-land stand "hushed and wondering before the epiphany of Spring," the fragrant call of fell and field is peculiarly winsome and there is ready response to its "fine impulsion." With a common instinct and common joy would we turn away from the complexity and congestion of conventional experience, "come forth into the light of things," and "let nature be [our] teacher." That this drift in thought and impulse is wholesome none will question; nevertheless, it offers a temptation against which Christian Science counsels and alert watchfulness. The enamored nature-lover who finds satisfaction with that sense of the beautiful which identifies it with material conditions and phenomena, inevitably suffers disadvantage. Content with the delight of physical sense witnesses to spiritual barrenness and decrepitude. It is an absorption in the glamour of that expression of beauty which takes no thought for the source of beauty, and the more refined the intoxication of this sense the more subtle and harmful it becomes. Christian Science teaches that our thought of nature as of man should be spiritual and healing. "Nature voices natural law and divine Love, but human belief misinterprets her." "Mortals must look beyond fading finite forms, if they would gain the true sense of things" (Science and Health, pp. 264, 240). In these and many kindred passages Mrs. Eddy directs thought to that explanation and interpretation of nature in which beauty like truth brings both inspiration and health. The glories of the sunset sky and the flowering trees bring something of pleasure to all, but they yield real nourishment to those only who, escaping the thrall of material sense, "look beyond" and discern the manifestations of that divine "Love which paints the petal with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems, and covers earth with loveliness" (Science and Health, p. 247), and it is apparent that this perception cannot be reached so long as we think of beauty as an incident of material change.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Man Revealed in Science
May 19, 1906

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.