Mental Pictures

Many people, at one time or another, perhaps at some exhibition or place of amusement, have found themselves in a room surrounded by twisted mirrors, reflecting weird forms and causing much amusement. Young children may sometimes be frightened by these, but no adult is disturbed. If asked, "Why are you not afraid?" the answer would probably be: "Oh! I know I am not like that. That reflection is merely a falsity." There is this calm assurance because the individual holds in thought a mental picture of what he believes himself to be. The child is afraid because when he sees his reflection distorted in the mirror, he accepts such tesimony and imagines he has become twisted.

It is clear that if the adult accepted the twisted picture of himself as real, or allowed it to change his mental picture of himself, he would be afraid like the child. On the other hand, if one had a mental picture of himself which he knew could never be divorced from perfection, he would have no fear at all, whatever the information he received through material sense testimony. That is exactly what Christian Science enables one to do. It shows that a mortal's mental picture of himself, of a self which is subject to sin and sickness, discord and decay, is far from a true mental picture of man as referred to in Genesis: "So God created man in his own image." The mortal mental picture has been built up by continually accepting evidence from the material senses, which senses are no more reliable than the perception of the mortal looking into the twisted mirror. This picture is but material sense testimony in regard to man.

When one realizes that the correct mental picture is to be gained through scientific knowledge of man as God's image, one becomes willing to strive for this knowledge, and is less concerned about the illusions which seem real to the material senses. In "Miscellaneous Writings" (pp. 61, 62) Mrs. Eddy writes: "Mortals seem very material; man in the likeness of Spirit is spiritual. Holding the right idea of man in my mind, I can improve my own, and other people's individuality, health, and morals; whereas, the opposite image of man, a sinner, kept constantly in mind, can no more improve health or morals, than holding in thought the form of a boa constrictor can aid an artist in painting a landscape."

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Hungering after Righteousness
March 1, 1924

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