With all the reports of pain and suffering being experienced around the world, it is no surprise that we sometimes find it knocking on our own mental door. At these moments, it is helpful to remember that we are not helpless victims. Mary Baker Eddy writes these instructive words in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Banish the belief that you can possibly entertain a single intruding pain which cannot be ruled out by the might of Mind, and in this way you can prevent the development of pain in the body” (p. 391).
The basis for that statement is that contrary to what we perceive, we are truly creations of Spirit, therefore spiritual, because God, who is Spirit, created the universe, including man. We are not mortals. That is the spiritual law through which we demonstrate our freedom from the claims of mortality, which include pain. Recognizing the actual fact of our being—that we are God-created—that is, Spirit-created, Principle-created, Love-created—gives us the dominion needed to meet the claims of pain.
God’s laws are supreme and they supersede any other claim to law.
So if pain isn’t a reality, where does it come from? Pain is part of the belief that there is a reality other than God and His allness, a belief which Mary Baker Eddy defines in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as “mortal mind” (see p. 591). So we can see pain as a projection of mortal mind. It’s a little like when we see a movie in a theater. We see all sorts of things projected on the screen. We can be moved to laughter or tears by the images and sounds projected. But they are never real; they are only images being presented to our thought. Pain can be seen in the same way—not our thought, or our experience.
Mrs. Eddy, who chose her words carefully, used the term intruding when describing pain in the above reference. When we recognize that pain is not a reality but a suggestion coming from outside of us, unwanted, and actually powerless, we gain the courage to turn off the projector, or belief in a power other than good. Boldly taking this stand, and holding firm, we will be able to banish the suggestion that pain has any cause, power, or presence.
We do this by understanding the “might of Mind,” the allness of God. There is absolutely nothing true or real but God’s presence, which is good only. This fundamental fact is the actual reality of the universe. And as the knowledge of this truth fills consciousness, the awareness of anything else, including pain, is replaced by the reality of Love’s presence.
Pain would claim to separate us from God, good. It would try to command our attention and have us entertain the notion that something unpleasant not only exists, but has power. I find it helpful when dealing with pain to declare: “I refuse to be mesmerized. God gave me dominion, and nothing can keep me from expressing it” (see Genesis 1:26–28).
Also helpful in dealing with the claim of pain is to understand that God’s laws are supreme and they supersede any other claim to law. God’s law of harmony replaces any sense of discord. God’s law of annihilation does away with everything unlike good. God’s law of Love removes the effects of fear and hatred. God’s law of Life erases any sense of death. God’s law of cause and effect takes care of any belief in a cause outside of good.
These divine laws are already established. They are always in operation. They are known to us. We read in Jeremiah, “I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts” (31:33). As we prayerfully yield to the presence of these laws, they become apparent through their operation in our lives. Jesus explained this when he said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
One morning, a number of years ago, I awoke with crushing chest pains. I managed to get up and into a chair and reached out for God’s guidance by reading that week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson. The pain was so distracting that at first the Lesson seemed to be only words without inspiration.
Then one statement from Science and Health seemed lit in neon lights. It reads, “As human thought changes from one stage to another of conscious pain and painlessness, sorrow and joy,—from fear to hope and from faith to understanding,—the visible manifestation will at last be man governed by Soul, not by material sense” (p. 125).
I glimpsed that both pain and painlessness are mental, rather than physical. Therefore my thinking could actually change from the perception of pain to the awareness of painlessness. Why? Because pain was not a reality, but only a suggestion that I was a mortal, subject to something other than God and Her comforting love. I knew that God’s law was in operation and it would free me from the discomfort.
I remember looking out the window and seeing the sky. Its vastness spoke to me of the infinite good of God, of the liberating Christ, and thought took off from there. It soared, revealing to me the reality of Spirit and my exemption from any material condition. As I pondered these facts, the pain diminished until it was totally gone. Several hours later I realized I’d been healed. And there hasn’t even been a hint of that condition in the intervening 15 years or so.
To recognize our God-given ability to demonstrate dominion over the belief of pain does more than gain relief for ourselves, as helpful as that is. It can help lift the burden of suffering for all mankind. Then in addition to blessing us, we are helping to fulfill this promise: “… whatever blesses one blesses all …” (Science and Health, p. 206).
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