The Sleeping and the Waking Dream

There is a certain statement repeated by Mary Baker Eddy in her writings which, although constituting but a part of her revelation to this age, must have made, within two generations, an incalculable difference to mankind. It is her iteration, with the power of Truth behind the words, that mundane living is literally a dream. "Mortal existence is a dream; mortal existence has no real entity," she says on page 250 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Throughout this explicative work, and throughout the pages of her lesser writings, the statement occurs so frequently, and in a form varying so little, that the careful reader sees it as foundational and incapable of being disregarded if he is to grasp her revelation and apply its transforming power.

Many times Mrs. Eddy amplifies the pronouncement. She avoids generalizations, but specifically gives it a scope and inclusiveness that must startle any reader to whom such an idea is unthought of and new. "Mortal existence is a dream of pain and pleasure in matter, a dream of sin, sickness, and death," she writes on page 188 of the previously quoted work; "and it is like the dream we have in sleep, in which every one recognizes his condition to be wholly a state of mind. In both the waking and the sleeping dream, the dreamer thinks that his body is material and the suffering is in that body."

Pain a dream! Sickness a dream! Death a dream! Surely, one can hardly conceive of words more fraught with power to smite off the chief fetters from human life. A dream merely—and the face of dread lightens into a smile. A dream merely—and hope that has drooped like a frosted lily reacts as though struck by nothing more imperiling than a drop of rain. A dream—and patience holds consciousness at "All is well," while thought readjusts the world and life, leveling the high mountains of woe, filling in the deep places of despair, and refocusing men's vision to an existence such as is longed for and called for in every wellspring of one's being. Whenever and wherever the afflicted have caught the import of this revelation it was not miraculous, but divinely natural, that the sick should be divested of physical torment as of a worn garment, and that the dying should rise up and walk. Fear lost its power when it was understood that the dreamer only dreamed.

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The Test of Progress
March 20, 1926

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