Lean on Love’s presence
I love knowing that a pure, spiritual idea can’t be broken. It can’t be hurt. It can’t be invaded or occupied by fear, or by human beliefs, either. Man is God’s spiritual idea, His image and reflection; this means we are so safe.
We live in divine Love, God. And Love is more than a sometimes presence. It’s more than something that just sort of shows up at a certain location at some specific time when you need it—as helpful as that might seem. Rather, Love is presence itself. Think air. Or water, if you’re a fish! Divine Love isn’t a limited thing that’s sometimes here and sometimes not. We live within Love’s ever-presence.
How do we hold on to the truth of this, though, when bad things happen, seeming to come out of nowhere? Here’s something I’m continually learning: Any sense of malevolent presence, whatever form it appears to take, is actually a matter-based suggestion that there is something besides divine Love. But Love is supreme all-presence, and each one of us, in our identity as God’s spiritual idea, soundly and safely expresses Love’s wholeness. As God’s idea, man is protected and not subject to chance or random evil. God, good, is the only Mind, the only power, so there is no evil mind. As we understand this, we see increased evidence of this fact.
About a year ago, I had an experience that helped me better understand these deep, spiritual concepts. I was on a sailing trip with friends, and we decided to go exploring on a remote island. Delighted by my surroundings, I climbed up onto a tree leaning over a high embankment. I was reveling in the beautiful blue view, when suddenly I lost my balance and fell. My chin caught a branch on the way down, and when I landed, the pain was intense. My friends, who are also students of Christian Science, quickly showed up next to me and began helping me and sharing spiritual truths about my relation to God.
I was disoriented, but one thing I did know: I needed to claim my spiritual identity as intact and affirm the true qualities that constitute my consciousness—peace, joy, wholeness, purity, and goodness. These qualities make up the substance of my God-given identity and cannot be broken or harmed. Even though I felt scared and hurt, the idea came through to me that “mortal mind”—not a material body—“needed to be set right,” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 382). I could know that it’s so natural to feel God’s omnipotent peace and freedom. And furthermore, I could know that “mortal mind” is nothing more than material concepts that are opposed to God and therefore have no presence or power.
Despite the physical evidence of injury, I knew the adjustment that needed to happen was actually a mental one and that this adjustment would bring healing to my body. This statement from Science and Health came to mind: “Your body would suffer no more from tension or wounds than the trunk of a tree which you gash or the electric wire which you stretch, were it not for mortal mind” (p. 393).
It’s so natural to feel God’s omnipotent peace and freedom.
As I continued to prayerfully consider how “mortal mind needed to be set right,” I pondered, Who or what was setting it right? The answer is, of course, God. God, Love, does the work. Not me. And although I may not have realized it totally at the time, Love was actively comforting, adjusting, and correcting my thoughts, and in the process was bringing a very subtle belief out from under cover in order to bring healing.
It can seem anything but subtle when we think an accident has harmed us. Wow, now this is real, we may think, an in-your-face mortal whack if there ever was one. But its basis (if there were such a thing) would be that subtle belief in chance, taking the disguise of accident, sneaking into our mental house like some falsely entitled guest and taking a seat. However silently it seems to work or however deviously it tries to avoid the sunlight of Truth by getting us to put on a costume of vulnerability, it’s a deception—a colossal lie about man, who is the perfectly ordered and protected expression of the one restful Mind, God.
My friends helped me to a shady spot on the island and called a Christian Science practitioner on my behalf. After a short while I felt confident I could stand up and, along with my friends, take the dinghy back to the sailboat, where my friends cleaned me up and tucked me into a berth. On the trip back to the mainland I felt the sweetest love and spiritual clarity. The healing truths the practitioner shared with me and the kind care of my friends overcame the intense pain. I heard exactly what I needed to hear and felt the presence of Love surrounding me during those hours on the boat. Everyone on board enjoyed a refreshing sail as I rested below. I truly felt surrounded by angels. The pain lessened, and within a few days the major effects of this fall were healed through prayer alone.
But after I returned home, safe and sound and thankful, I found myself rehearsing the accident for days and days, trying to make sense of it. I kept replaying the moments when my foot slipped off the tree branch and I was helplessly plummeting to the ground. The whole thing felt so random and yet so mystifyingly specific. I couldn’t seem to release feelings of dread, accident, and harm.
It was like a TV commercial interrupting normal programming, saying, “You’re nothing more than a fragile mortal who made a foolish choice to perch up on that tree. What a dolt! Oh, and by the way, Christian Science is nonsense. You were lucky this time, but next time ….”
It was clearly important to turn off this insidious voice. I started by reaffirming what I knew to be true: Christian Science is a discovery; it’s of God and not a human invention. It is certainly not outdated. It is the timeless revelation of the infinitely loving, practical Science of the Christ, Truth, which heals and regenerates.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, unflinchingly wrote about the kind of intrusive thoughts that were coming to me. She associated them with a belief in hypnotism or “animal magnetism,” which she debunked in Science and Health. Moreover, she encouraged Christian Scientists to defend themselves daily against “aggressive mental suggestion” (see Manual of The Mother Church, p. 42). Key word: suggestion. Those rehearsal-of-the-accident thoughts were only hypnotic suggestions saying all sorts of things that weren’t actually true at all. So it was time to rebuke them for what they were: lies. And as I did, they began to seem absurd and inflated to me in the face of what had occurred.
I continued to pray to banish fear as well as skepticism.
In actuality, I had been on a remote island in the middle of the ocean, and right there, exactly when and how I needed it, was the all-presence of divine Love and Truth, bringing me all the comfort I could ever want and immediately meeting my needs in just the perfect way. The presence of Love lifted fear and turned my thought toward that wonderful peace of God that “passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). I realized I had experienced steady physical healing in my body. I needed no helicopter lift, no hospital stay, no pain medicine. I needed nothing but exactly what I got: the practical, immediate, healing presence of divine Love. The aggressive suggestions repeating themselves to me were, in a very real way, not my thinking.
Rather than allow a lurking sense of trauma to slink off into the recesses of my consciousness, I continued to pray to banish fear as well as skepticism about the effectiveness of Christian Science. I found many helpful articles and testimonies in The Christian Science Journal and Sentinel, including healings of accidents. These were useful in turning my thoughts away from the mental replays of the incident, and I was grateful to be reminded of the law of God, good, which is supreme.
But it wasn’t until I began to fully accept and feel the embrace of infinite Love, not only as a presence, but as the only presence, that I started to understand that this so-called accident had never harmed or even touched my spiritual identity, and that as a pure, spiritual idea, I could never be broken.
Nothing can exist outside Love. There is no random fall, misstep, chance, broken branch, pain, traumatic event, or lingering fear to void Love’s presence. Love is a law holding man eternally intact. I had never been out of Love’s care. The children of Love are always held safe in Father-Mother God’s presence.
Thereafter, I stopped replaying the event and felt only peace and gratitude for how quickly and effectively I had been healed and for how all my needs had been met through Christian Science treatment. I’d had a wonderful sailing adventure to be sure. But more importantly, I had been blessed with an expanded understanding of the vast, yet infinitely near, ever-presence of Love—Love as presence itself, everywhere for everyone.