A spirituality.com live chat this last spring featured guesta teacher and practitioner of Christian Science from Corpus Christi, Texas. Keith is a contributor to both the Sentinel and to The Christian Science Journal. Below is a selection of the questions listeners asked during the chat, and Keith's responses. To hear the whole chat, go to www.spirituality.com/chats/accidents.
I'm in my car driving along, and all the cars are pressing in on me. There's a giant truck behind me that's two inches from my bumper. Is there something I could be thinking that would help me feel less afraid?
I love in Science and Health where Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony. Under divine Providence there can be no accidents, since there is no room for imperfection in perfection" (p. 424).
What does it mean to leave the mortal basis of belief? To me, that means reprent. Repentance means a complete change of thought. The mortal sense of things is an upside down and backward view of what life really is. In another place in Science and Health Mrs. Eddy wrote: "For right reasoning there should be but one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence. In reality there is no other existence, since Life cannot be united to its unlikeness, mortality" (p. 492).
As spiritual ideas of Mind, we're secure in Mind. It seems we're thrashing around in matter molecules that dangerously, constantly, come close to slamming into other material formations, but divine Mind does not send its ideas into a realm totally unlike itself to wander erratically. We're steered perfectly through eternity. Moment after moment, we reveal the majesty and grace of our immortal Mind, God. That correct thinking, that repentance, that regeneration that moves thought Spiritward, gathers the spiritual facts of being that really change things in our experience.
What causes accidents?
Accidents happen because of our ignorance of God, so the right understanding of God restores harmony and keeps us free from accidents (see Science and Health, p. 390). Instead of unplanned, random, painful, and sad experiences, we can rejoice that God designs, expects, and consistently demands harmony and health. The more we learn about and turn to God, the more we experience His goodness.
How would you speak to someone who feels that he's accident prone? A friend has had about four accidents in the last six years, none of which were deemed his fault. He feels that this seems to happen to him every so often and thinks the universe is "random."
We've all felt that way at times. For centuries the belief that man has fallen away from God into mortality has governed mankind, and this belief has created all the claims of accidents, destruction, and pain. A life separate from God would rob us of the wisdom, guidance, care, and power of God. We need to know that not for one moment can you and I be separate from God. We are God's spiritual ideas. We are where and how divine Life, God, is revealing its perfection and grace, so it's our oneness with God that separates us from uncertainty, chance, and accidents.
If an accident seems to happen, can we turn the clock back and undo the events leading up to it?
Years ago I was working on an amplifier with a long-handled screwdriver. The screwdriver slipped and scratched my eye. At first there was no pain, but then all of a sudden the pain was severe. All light was painful to the eye, so I put on a pair of sunglasses and closed the curtains. I called a Christian Science practitioner to pray for me. After some time, as I sat in the darkness, my brother came and read to me a few sentences from Science and Health. One of them was: "Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously" (p. 392). Later on Mrs. Eddy wrote: "Exercise this Godgiven authority. Take possession of your body, and govern its feeling and action" (p. 393).
After he read that, I thought, If what I've just heard is true, I am the spiritual expression of God and I'm free right now. I took off the glasses, flung open the curtains, and the pain disappeared. I was pain free for several days. The scratch had completely disappeared. The only problem was, my eye was a little out of focus.
A couple of mornings later, I woke with extreme pain again. My brother called the practitioner back, and said, "She wants to know if you've ever been to Moscow." I said no. He said, according to the practitioner, "If you've never been to Moscow, then you can never return." I laughed out loud, the pain disappeared, and the eye came into focus. I've never had any trouble with the eye since. If the accident as well as the pain from it had never touched my spiritual selfhood in the first place, then it couldn't possibly return in the second. I'd witnessed just how the Christ reaches into all the corners of thought and removes whatever is unlike God.
Despite the peace I usually gain through prayer, I often worry about my husband, who is a long-distance driver. He has never really had an accident, yet this worry regularly haunts me. How can I correct my thoughts?
We need to find the truth of being. Are we mortals who are good drivers or mortals who are bad drivers? Actually, we're neither. Mortals are counterfeits of Mind's immortal ideas. If we're thinking, "I want my husband to be a mortal who is safe on the road because he's surrounded by bad drivers," we haven't left the mortal basis of belief and united with the one Mind. We need to find the one Mind, the one Life, that your husband and you and everyone expresses. When we do, we'll see the wisdom, order, and grand guidance of the wise and graceful Mind, everywhere. Of course, you cannot have a counterfeit without there being an original. There's not a counterfeit Monet painting without there being an original Monet. So, a fear of accidents should turn us to discover the original — the idea of Mind that safely lives and moves in Mind, always.
The 91st Psalm fits so well with this. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High ..." (verse 1) dwells with — not just visiting occasionally. He "shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. . . . There shall no evil befall thee, .... For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways . . ." Your husband is in the hands of angels at all times.
I have a sports-related injury that was caused by a mistake from a sports trainer. Can you give me some ideas to work with?
There can be no mistakes in Mind. Sometimes it's easy to think, "Well, OK, that mistake was caused by another so I have to be inflicted with it," but we really need to let that go. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health: "When an accident happens, you think or exclaim, 'I am hurt!' Your thought is more powerful than your words, more powerful than the accident itself, to make the injury real.
"Now reverse the process. Declare that you are not hurt and understand the reason why, and you will find the ensuing good effects to be in exact proportion to your disbelief in physics, and your fidelity to divine metaphysics, confidence in God as All, which the Scriptures declare Him to be" (p. 397).
I'm finding that prayer reaches the body because the essential nature of reality is thought. God, the ever-present divine Mind, doesn't change; it is our thought, our human concept of reality, that changes. And prayer with the inspired power of God behind it moves thought as nothing else can. So, in simple terms, we could say, prayer changes thought, which, in turn, heals and restores the body. No trouble is unreachable because only thought needs to be touched. And when we pray, the Christ, the healing presence and power of God, reaches all the corners of thought, so to speak, and transforms it, allowing the human mind to surrender and yield to God, the divine Mind. Fear, stress, pain, the darkness in the human mind, cannot hide from the brightness and health of the divine Mind.
God, the ever-present
divine Mind, doesn't change;
it is our thought,
our human concept of reality, that changes.
If we start each question from a mortal standpoint, then we're involved in kind of a riddle, an enigma, that really has no basic answers. But as we start from a sense of the spiritual perfection and goodness of being, then we begin to stop accidents from happening more and more.
It's recognizing that as divine Mind maintains the perfection of eternal being, that Christly activity will express itself as our alertness to certain things. So, as we spiritualize our thought and recognize the absolute perfection of being, we will be steered to stop accidents before they happen. We'll be given the power and the Christly ability to heal the effects of accidents more quickly. Mind's activity does express itself as meeting the human need.