Superimposed Pictures

Christian Science makes clear that if people understood what symptoms of disease actually are, they would not fear them. They would realize that physical disorders are mental images, or pictures, which they are themselves entertaining so vividly that they impress them upon their bodies. Knowing this, sufferers would no longer be self-deceived and would quickly eradicate symptoms as superimposed illusions.

Mary Baker Eddy, who healed the sick with the authority of profound spiritual understanding, explains in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" how a case of consumption should be treated. She says (p. 425), "Show that it is not inherited; that inflammation, tubercles, hemorrhage, and decomposition are beliefs, images of mortal thought superimposed upon the body; that they are not the truth of man; that they should be treated as error and put out of thought."

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One might compare symptoms with figures drawn upon a slate, which are capable of being quickly erased. Since symptoms are mental images superimposed on the body, the normal concept of body is not changed by them any more than the slate is changed when pictures are drawn on it. Symptoms are never in the body but only in false thought. This fact is what makes possible the instantaneous restoration to health. Complete conviction that symptoms are eradicable as thoughts which have no support from God helps one erase them with the truth.

Christ Jesus was so convinced of the flimsiness of disease symptoms that he could heal great numbers of people instantly. He was conscious of Christ, or Truth, which includes the true identity of everyone, and this gave him power to eradicate fearlessly the mental images which deny God's mandate for health and which have no place in identity.

Symptoms are not scientifically healed until they are obliterated as mortal thoughts. Drugs do not have the ability to do this, and if they seem to succeed for a time, this merely indicates the supposed power of one material belief over another. When symptoms are removed by Christ, Truth, the patient's state of mind is more spiritual than before, and he is less likely to entertain thoughts of sickness again.

Jesus said (Matt. 12:33), "The tree is known by his fruit." And Christian Science explains that symptoms are the fruit of undestroyed material beliefs. Mrs. Eddy says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 247), "It is much easier for people to believe that the body affects mind, than that the body is an expression of mind, and reflects harmony or discord according to thought."

If symptoms recur, this is because the mental picture of them still persists in thought. A greater effort is then required to establish the understanding that God is the only Mind and that there is no mortal mind to evolve evil mental images that threaten destruction.

One should never feel helpless before symptoms of disease because one can always correct one's thinking. If symptoms had tenacity of themselves, one might have reason for dismay. But tenacity is never in the symptoms; it is in the mental state of the patient. It is evidence of undestroyed materialism, which believes in the existence of physical senses that are capable of expressing inharmony.

Spiritualization comes when one realizes that the material senses, which cognize only matter and are completely apart from God, are not one's own. They are wholly unconscious of all that is eternal or moral or spiritual. The physical senses result from the self-division of the one evil— mortal mind—and hold within themselves all disease pictures.

Then, to gain victory over symptoms, one must carry out the fundamental metaphysical work which prayerfully rejects the belief that the five senses are legitimate elements of manhood. Spiritual sense alone can blot out the sensations that constitute symptoms.

The determination to find from a medical doctor what certain symptoms are and if they indicate some serious disease is a departure from Science. For one reason, this procedure may strengthen the patient's fear that he has a disease and that it has a name; it is virtually inviting a confirmation of the fear. The healing method of Christian Science is strictly spiritual rather than medical, and it stifles disease beliefs the moment symptoms appear by affirming divine Mind's allness and man's spiritual perfection.

The more mature the Scientist is in his understanding of spiritual healing, the less likely he is to think of disease in terms of physical symptoms. Knowing that discordant physical conditions are false mental states, or states of false mentality, he clings to the real consciousness that is his true self and directs his efforts toward purifying his thought of fear or sin or the mental cause of the trouble.

In recounting her discovery of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy says in "Retrospection and Introspection" (pp. 25, 26), "I beheld with ineffable awe our great Master's purpose in not questioning those he healed as to their disease or its symptoms, and his marvellous skill in demanding neither obedience to hygienic laws, nor prescribing drugs to support the divine power which heals."

We follow our Way-shower when we realize that the knowledge of man's Christliness, not of material symptoms, is what is required in order that we may erase mental pictures which error claims to superimpose upon the body.

Helen Wood Bauman

What to Do About a Crisis
April 11, 1964

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