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Defeating the mental contagion

From the January 25, 1993 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Winter need not be a season associated with contagious diseases. But too often, as soon as the temperature drops, reports begin spreading in the media, tracking outbreaks of flu and other illnesses. Commercial advertisers for cough and cold remedies clearly expand their market. And in general, people just seem to give more talk and attention to sickness as the weather changes.

Although medical authorities present public cautions about what is believed to be viral or other various germ-induced diseases during the winter months, society tends to overlook an even more significant factor—mental contagion. The kind of detailed attention, fascination, and anxious concern strewn across the mental landscape has much more to do with predisposing the population to so-called contagious diseases than is commonly realized.

There is, however, an effective means of meeting the belief in mental contagion as well as the belief in bacterial contagion. Christian Science, the law of God, challenges the notion that man is essentially a helpless victim, at the mercy either of manipulative mental influences in his environment or dangerous physical conditions. Christian Science affirms that the only power that can possibly influence man is God, the one divine Mind, and that this divine influence imparts only good. God Himself is all good; and every action, movement, and purpose in His universe expresses the nature of God alone. There is no wandering or unseen evil of contagion—mental, bacterial, or otherwise—in the universe of Spirit, which is the only genuine creation. Evil of any description has no place in God and therefore cannot abide in man, God's pure and perfect idea. The man of God's creating, Truth's expression, is never a host for error.

The student of Christian Science learns that the spiritual definition of man—man revealed in the likeness of God—actually identifies his or her own true being. Each of us is, in truth, the child of God, possessing God-given health, strength, and dominion. The suggestion of physical conditions contradicting this spiritual truth is an imposition, a substanceless lie, a parody of God's creation. And the capacity to see through such impositions, to maintain health and harmony, is realized through prayer. In prayer, we discern the intelligent action of Truth, which uncovers whatever misconceptions we may fearfully or ignorantly be holding and thus shows us the authentic character of man, who is whole, complete, pure.

When we disbelieve the suggestion of man's predisposition to disease and understand the permanent reality of good as identifying every aspect of our being, we are not ignoring facts nor are we being naive. Rather, we are reflecting divine intelligence. This means when we comprehend that God is the only governing Mind, who establishes and maintains peace and justice throughout His creation, we gain powerful immunity from the disturbing depredations of mental contagion and the unlawful judgment of apparent physical contagion.

Christ Jesus relied fully on the law of God, the law of ever-present good, to heal, contagious diseases. This was accomplished with immediate success and without the use of drugs or any material agent or remedy. When those who were sick turned to Jesus, the disease wasn't merely "doctored"; it was healed. And the individual gained spiritual renewal and a deeper sense of his relationship to God as well.

In her writings on Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy makes clear that although it may be generally accepted that so-called infectious diseases are borne on the wind or passed along via physical contact, it is actually human belief, or mortal mind, that not only allows for the infection but carries it as well. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science by Mrs. Eddy, admonishes its students, "When this mental contagion is understood, we shall be more careful of our mental conditions, and we shall avoid loquacious tattling about disease, as we would avoid advocating crime."

Another passage in Science and Health speaks specifically to the appropriate defense against evil thoughts, and it also helps us see how we can be protected from the evil purpose of mental contagion to inflict physical disease on humanity. Mrs. Eddy declares, "Evil thoughts, lusts, and malicious purposes cannot go forth, like wandering pollen, from one human mind to another, finding unsuspected lodgment, if virtue and truth build a strong defence."

Understanding the truth of man's identity as the pure reflection of the one omnipotent Mind, God—and maintaining the daily virtue of expressing in thought, word, deed, and prayer only the purity and goodness of that one Mind—surely defeat mental contagion. Living the law of God, the truth of being, keeps us safe—where our life and health are securely "hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3).

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