Walk in the light, and thou shalt own
Thy darkness past away,
Because that light on thee hath shone
In which is perfect day.
—Bernard Barton, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 367
THE MENTAL darkness of depression is often described in terms of a battle. And for those who've articulated their struggle, it's more than just a passing mood dip or the blues. There might be episodes of highs and lows, shocks and pressures, losses and unsteady gains. But do those conditions have any bearing on our or others' true life stories?
Consider the radical idea that the uninterrupted, steady unfolding of spiritual good is the only story worth knowing and telling. And that the most accurate answers about one's true story are found in prayer.
In my late teens and early 20s, I dealt with what might have been labeled chronic, "low-grade" depression. As a student, young wife, and then a working mother, I adapted myself to sadness, sleep problems, weight change, disrupted concentration, and general restlessness. But as time went on, there was something in me that rebelled against a lifelong sentence of depression and imbalance.
It never occurred to me to seek medical treatment, though, because I was used to relying on prayer with effective healing results. While the clinical diagnosis of depression may lead to management of symptoms through drug therapy and psychoanalysis, these offer no promise of permanent cure. My underlying conviction was that a search for pinpointing a material cause and following up with medication would involve sidestepping the spiritual growth that would thoroughly, and permanently, eradicate the problem.
So I chose a daily regimen of prayer and Bible study, and opened myself to the power of the Christ that had consistently brought balance to my life. The Christ is God's divine message of wholeness to each one of us, revealing the power of the one divine Mind that holds man (men, women, teens, and children) forever in a state of perfect equilibrium.
My Bible study led me to consider more deeply the balance and power that come from God. I thought about the "equipollence" of God and my place in His creation. In etymology, equipollence means "equal power." By definition, two statements that have equal or synonymous value in truth are equipollent. And in the metaphysics of Christian Science, the equipollence of God describes the equal value and perfect balance of power of each of the seven synonyms of God found in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy—Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Love, and Truth. These metaphysical terms help us understand the totality of the divine nature, as well as the attributes of divinity that constitute how we're each made in God's likeness.
Exploring those synonyms in many ways, through specific prayer, I found my cure in just a matter of days, as I understood life to fully reflect the stability and power of God. Since that time, nearly 25 years ago, life has thrown me many curveballs, and work and family responsibilities have continued to increase. But the healing of symptoms associated with chronic depression has been permanent, and the spiritual lessons learned have been very useful in helping others in my Christian Science practice.
ONE DIVINE CAUSE
Opening thought to the power of the Christ-message begins to erode the belief that matter, through brain, genes, or hormones, has ultimate control over minds and bodies. The hopeless perception that depression is a perpetual fight can be met and conquered by the strong influence of the divine Mind, or God. With a firmer understanding of God's nature as infinite good, and His absolute control, it becomes clear that divine Mind is supreme, the only Cause. This Mind is not locked in a power struggle with matter, the brain, for reign over anyone. Science and Health explains that divine Mind regulates all consciousness and action, "Mind is all that feels, acts, or impedes action" (p. 166).
Sticking to this view, one finds the elements of the human body can be seen as innocent of the "crimes" (the dysfunctions and abnormalities) attributed to them. Rather, the "mastermind" of mental and physical difficulty is what Christian Science terms mortal mind, which is the counterfeit of the divine Mind. It is an impostor that breeds fear and the belief that God is absent from the scene. From this mortal mind, or limited perspective of reality, come the thoughts that attempt to accuse us of being susceptible to all kinds of turmoil, and produce the illnesses and imbalances society accepts as not only possible, but typical. But thankfully, this perspective is never the real state or condition of being, and prayer that addresses and corrects mistaken thought with an understanding of the Christ, Truth, lifts the burden off our thoughts and lives. With spiritual transformation and a better understanding of God comes the natural restoration of good health and a sound mind.
BUILDING BLOCKS OF SPIRITUAL BALANCE
Although purely spiritual, the meta physics of Christian Science are not abstract when applied in daily life. The Apostle Paul encouraged, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: ... For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:5, 13).
Considering the concept of "equipollence," the concept that helped me find victory over depression, is key to understanding spiritual existence. Mary Baker Eddy mentioned the term only once in Science and Health: "The equipollence of God brought to light another glorious proposition,—man's perfectibility and the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth" (p. 110).
When we see that each synonym for God perfectly balances and supports the next, we see that there is no deficiency or excess in the divine nature. And we're able to see how this applies to us, as His reflection.
For instance, God is Mind and Spirit. Mind and Spirit are equipollent. When we think of Spirit, we might consider indestructible substance—tangible and real. Being wholly spiritual, man is not a reactionary chemical being. And therapies or regimens that are intended to manipulate or regulate biochemical makeup don't account for our inherently spiritual origin and true being.
The Bible says that Jesus healed by the power of Spirit. The power of Spirit or substance includes an understanding of our invulnerability to matter and its claims. This made Jesus fearless and steady. Without fear, he could heal disease in any form—mental, physical, emotional, or moral.
In fact, a man with an apparent mental imbalance once approached Jesus. The case would today have been considered extreme and complicated (he was thought to have a "legion," or thousands, of problems and bizarre behaviors that brought fear to those who knew him). But Jesus healed the man swiftly and completely, unintimidated by any thoughts surrounding the case which would prolong suffering or resist healing (see Mark 5:1–20).
God is Mind, Spirit, and Soul. When we consider Soul, we can know that spiritual and divine identity, not hereditary traits, define and express who we are. We are not genetically programmed to be controlled by idiosyncrasies and vulnerabilities. Each of us already includes all the elements necessary for health and harmony because of the perfect design of Soul. Science and Health explains, "The divine Mind is the Soul of man, and gives man dominion over all things" (p. 307).
God is Mind, Spirit, Soul, and Principle. Principle is not like a human lawgiver who creates material codes of behaviour and judges violations of law. Principle and Love go hand in hand. The divine Principle, Love, supports, comforts, and protects us through unchanging spiritual rules. The intelligent divine Principle is both a spiritual lawgiver and compassionate law-enforcer. In fact, Principle is the inviolable law of Love that encourages and sustains obedience and control in each of us.
There is no deficiency or excess in the divine nature
BALANCE IN OUR THOUGHTS
Facing anxious, undisciplined thoughts—a particularly aggressive symptom of depression—might require us to recognize that no one can be held captive to "hamster-wheel" thinking (or even praying in this way). "Hamster-wheel" thinking is where thoughts turn round and round and get us nowhere. It argues for sickness as a real phenomenon that prayer must change or eliminate. But healing prayer involves a faithful view of the supremacy, the Allness, of God-presence and God-power.
In my own case, I recall a particularly dark moment when negative thoughts were threatening to take me down. As much as I longed to, I couldn't seem to get off that hamster wheel. And no amount of encouragement from others to "cheer up" or "buck up" was shaking me loose from the gloom and doom. But I do remember the spiritual impetus to become completely still.
Then, I had a quiet realization that I didn't have a personal mind with personal thoughts that needed to be controlled. I could trust the one divine Mind to know whatever was necessary for and about me. I could have confidence that God knew me as His child, and I could trust Him with the details of revealing what that meant. I fell asleep. And on waking, I found I'd broken free of the hamster-wheel. The negative fixation was gone, and my thoughts were clear and directed.
Breaking free from depression doesn't need to take a lifetime. Endless coping, accompanied by a range of stresses, may claim authority. But prayer and reliance on God's law can unleash the spiritual power that lifts us out of depression quickly and permanently.
The equipollence of God has already established harmony for each one of us. Anyone can be helped by this light which Christian Science throws on the perfect balance of God reflected in all creation. In the eternal now, the uninterrupted reality of good, we do have spiritual authority to consent to the true story, the balanced view of life always found in healing prayer.
FOR MORE ON THIS TOPIC
To hear Michelle Nanouche speak on this topic, tune in to Sentinel Radio during the week of March 7–13, 2009. For a listing of broadcast locations and times, go to www.sentinelradio.com. To purchase a download of this radio program, #910, go to www.sentinelradio.com and click on Audio Download Store.
Michelle Nanouche writes from Saint Germain en Laye, France, where she is a Christian Science practitioner.
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