Treat yourself

In the early days of my interest in Christian Science, I was puzzled by what seemed to me to be a contradictory stance in Mary Baker Eddy’s writings concerning when metaphysical treatments should be given. Throughout Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she shares the revelation as to how to heal. She encourages, directs, and admonishes us to follow Jesus’ example, including his command to heal the sick (see, for example, Science and Health, p. 37). However, in an article titled “Obtrusive Mental Healing” in Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, she says, “The question will present itself: Shall people be treated mentally without their knowledge or consent?” and she continues, “The direct rule for practice of Christian Science is the Golden Rule, ‘As ye would that men should do to you, do ye.’ Who of us would have our houses broken open or our locks picked? And much less would we have our minds tampered with” (p. 282).

While I recognized the wisdom of not tampering with other minds, I simply did not understand how a metaphysical treatment could be done without intruding on someone else’s thoughts. Often problems needing healing involve more than one person—or sometimes the problem seems to belong entirely to someone else. Did this mean I needed to get their permission to give a metaphysical treatment when I recognized a problem? And if they didn’t give me permission, did this mean the problem couldn’t be solved by Christian Science? If so, wouldn’t that be limiting God?

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