Mind's Control Over the Body

From time immemorial, humanity, striving to be better and purer, has sought to control the body, and Mrs. Eddy tells us (Science and Health, p. 417) that it is important to understand "the complete control which Mind holds over the body." It would take many volumes to describe with any degree of accuracy the well-nigh innumerable ways and means which have been used by mortals in the attempt to bring their bodies into subjection. When the motive has been solely ethical or religious, the results have been apparently most grotesque and unsatisfactory. Efforts to chastise the body or to render it insensible have led to pitiable exhibitions and mutilations, thus making the physical more conspicuous and more obtrusive instead of reducing it to relative unimportance. So likewise has the attempt to control the body by drugs, manipulations, injections, and the like, proved unfortunate. The more attention the body has received, the more it has seemed to demand. Even when the motive has been purely esthetic, the pampered flesh has not rewarded the care expended upon it and real beauty has vanished in proportion as artificial aids have been considered necessary.

Perhaps the least illogical of the illusions about the body has been the athletic point of view, which seeks to gain and to establish power, grace, and activity and place the body in subjection to the law of dominion by exercising it. It should be recognized that law is mental, not physical, and therefore to bring the body into subjection to law for any purpose, whether it be religious, curative, esthetic, or athletic, necessarily involves a mental modus operandi. Christian Science shows how this control is to be accomplished in a Christian and scientific manner. The general practice of doing this has seized the problem at the wrong end. The right practice is just as necessary today as it was in the time of Paul, and it involves being "absent from the body" and "present with the Lord." Paradoxical as it may seem, the only sure way of controlling the body is to be absent from it. To be present with Christ, Truth, means the rejection of materiality and reveals man as wholly spiritual, governed by the law of God, Spirit, and not by matter.

The inevitable effect of dwelling constantly in the thought of the body is set forth on page 260 of the Christian Science text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy: "Selfishness and sensualism are educated in mortal mind by the thoughts ever recurring to one's self, by conversation about the body, and by the expectation of perpetual pleasure or pain from it; and this education is at the expense of spiritual growth." Thus the attempt to spiritualize thought by making the body a first consideration, either by punishing it, starving, drugging, or exercising it, is doomed to failure, because such action constantly recalls it to one's attention and revives it in one's thought. Obviously, then, the true way of controlling the body, to make it subservient instead of masterful, is to turn away from the contemplation of it. It is not possible to reach the kingdom of heaven, the consciousness of the presence of God as All, by a choice of foods. Neither dieting nor fasting can procure for us this state of consciousness, but being "present with the Lord" can and does accomplish this. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God," writes the apostle. Lay down this false sense of man as a material body, even the generally accepted teachings of anatomy and physiology, and present man as the spiritual, incorporeal idea of divine Mind, then the sacrifice of the false is complete and the presentation of the true has taken place.

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Love's Atmosphere
August 7, 1915

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