Seeing beneath the surface heals
The long-term healing solution may lie in confronting needs and issues that are not readily apparent.
I once took a course in oceanography and recall how impressed I was with the view of the ocean floor. There were mountains and valleys that existed unseen under the surface of the water.
This illustration has great significance for our lives. It’s easy to get caught up in the symptoms of challenging circumstances—that is to say, what is merely visible on the surface—whereas the long-term healing solution may lie in recognizing and handling what’s behind and below problems, confronting needs and issues that are not readily apparent.
For example, what may appear as a caustic comment from someone or an individual having problems at work may point to something that lies beneath the surface. There might be some unseen anxiety, stress, or family trouble going on.
A Bible-based approach to healing, as found in the life and works of Christ Jesus and articulated in the teachings of Christian Science, reveals effective, long-term solutions that get to the bottom of discord. Far from a prescriptive approach, or an exhausting hunt to detect some underlying cause, it points to God, good, as the supreme cause, revealing healing truth in our lives.
Jesus saw beyond discordant, material symptoms and dealt solely with the thoughts of individuals. He knew that it’s not only about discerning the “culprit,” but took it further to show that a correction and transformation of thought brings about healing.
Jesus saw beyond symptoms and dealt solely with thoughts.
Mary Baker Eddy, a devout follower of Jesus, and the Discoverer of Christian Science, explains in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “A material body only expresses a material and mortal mind. A mortal man possesses this body, and he makes it harmonious or discordant according to the images of thought impressed upon it. You embrace your body in your thought, and you should delineate upon it thoughts of health, not of sickness” (p. 208). Good, harmonious, pure thoughts—those we could say are “healthy”—are manifested in a healthy body.
Jesus saw each person as made by God to be wholly spiritual and perfect—God’s image and likeness—rather than as either material or sinful. This accurate perception heals. The following words referring to Jesus get right to the point: “He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause” (Science and Health, p. 313). He always saw beyond sinful and suffering humanity to the true and spiritual reality.
There was an occasion when I was able to apply this approach to healing. I was confronted with an irritating skin condition that was spreading on my body. Yet I knew I could experience healing through Christianly scientific prayer to God. So, I prayed right away to understand that I had God-given dominion over this, and I worked with a variety of spiritual facts.
The Bible played a key role in leading me away from a material view of myself into an uplifted, spiritual conception of God and the truth of my being. Based on the first chapter of Genesis, I knew that we are all created by God in His own image and likeness and that this creation is good. Consequently, there was nothing true about me except the fact of my spiritual nature. God’s creation is complete—perfect, harmonious, wholly good—and can never change. As the Bible says, “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). There can be no deviation from God’s perfect, spiritual creation.
Through the teachings of Christian Science, I have come to see that as God’s, Spirit’s, reflection, I truly have nothing to do with mortality or matter. I also understand that God is all-powerful, the only Mind; therefore, matter has no power or intelligence, so no cause or effect could originate in matter.
The turning point in the healing came after several days, when I felt inspired to look up the word irritate in a dictionary and found these related words: impatience, anger, displeasure, annoyance. A mental light clicked on. I realized that I had recently felt irritated and annoyed by an individual at work, and I began to pray about this.
I discerned that as God’s offspring, I didn’t have to suffer from irritation, because God is the only Mind, and I reflect, or express, that Mind. The other individual was also God’s offspring. How could I ever be irritated at God’s reflection?
As these spiritual facts—the Christ, Truth—filled my thought, God’s love, the divine influence, was at work. All irritation about this individual dissolved. In addition, I was grateful to be totally free of the skin ailment in a few days.
I continue to learn more about how Jesus healed by discerning the thought of individuals, seeing beneath the surface of physical symptoms to the critical issue at hand.
For instance, there was the ruler of the synagogue, Jairus. His daughter was raised from the dead by Jesus. Jesus had said to the father, “Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole” (Luke 8:50). In this case, Jesus must have sensed that overcoming fear was crucial—the removal of which would play a major role in the healing. And Jesus mentally addressed the underlying issue, seeing the man and daughter from an uplifted, spiritual perspective rather than as sinful and fearful mortals.
Then, there was the time Jesus said to a man whom he healed of a physical problem lasting 38 years: “Behold, you are made whole. Sin no more, lest a worse thing happen to you” (John 5:14, New Matthew Bible). While we don’t know all the particulars of this man’s life, we do know he was paralyzed and relying on someone to dip him into the pool of Bethesda, believed to have curative powers, to make him whole again. And I’ve pondered how Jesus addressed the need to be alert to such materialistic thoughts, perhaps hidden beneath the surface of the physical problem, that would tempt us to stray from God. Jesus wasn’t focused on the man’s physical body but on the divine conception of the man’s wholeness—his true nature as spiritual, perfect, and free from sin.
It’s clear we have much to learn about healing from Jesus’ life and works. How important it is to plunge “beneath the material surface of things” to discover the eternal, spiritual truth of our being—and to see God’s perfection, harmony, and goodness manifested through healing in our everyday lives.