Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Take the bite out of pain

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.

--Science and Health

I had an encounter with pain once, and I won.

It was an intense headache that put me to bed in the early evening. I simply couldn't function at first. My dear teenaged daughter came in to comfort me, and she began to stroke my hair and rub my shoulders. I found in my incapacity that focusing on her caress got my mind off the pain temporarily.

As soon as she left, though, which she did after a time, the pain was front-and-center again. But this got me thinking.

What is it that makes me think one sensation is pleasurable, and another is pain? Mortal mind.

Mary Baker Eddy uses the term "mortal mind" to characterize thinking that is self-defeating in nature (or mortal). This kind of thinking is opposite to divine Mind, or what the Holy Spirit is thinking. Mortal mind makes us conclude that we are flawed or ill or hopeless because it bases its conclusions on what it sees materially. Eddy writes, "If mortal mind knew how to be better, it would be better. Since it must believe in something besides itself, it enthrones matter as deity."

The way to have dominion over mortal mind? Realize fully that its very nature as the opposite of divine Mind means that it's also the opposite of reality, because divine Mind is the only reality. This makes mortal mind spiritually unreal, and therefore powerless.

So where did this leave me in the darkened bedroom with the headache? Wrestling for the first time with the idea that pain is not caused by the body, but by mortal mind. I was only experiencing this sensation as unpleasant because I had labeled it as pain. When it had started, I began to feel that dread of oncoming discomfort, and this dread resonated within me. I had allowed it too much credence. I had accepted the pain as inevitable.

Now, in the middle of it, I put on the brakes. I decided to stop experiencing the sensation as pain, but instead to strip it of any value, pro or con. I decided to "agree to disagree" with it, telling myself, The sensation I'm feeling is merely a physical sensation, no different than feeling this bed beneath me or the spring breeze over me. It cannot tell me what it is, I'm going to decide.

And I just let go of all the tension and fear I was feeling in the face of the pain. I thought about that tree Mary Baker Eddy talks about in the opening passage above. I was going to be that tree, taking in nothing that I didn't want to experience.

I lay there, mentally and systematically denuding every sensation I was feeling of any value at all, good or bad. In a way, I began to see myself as separate from my bodily sensations, and instead embraced in Spirit. Spiritual sense replaced material sensation in the forefront of my thought. Joy, light, peace were there, and they were permanent.

The sensation labeled "headache" continued, but I relaxed. Eventually I fell asleep, and in the morning woke up fine. Since then I've used the concept to overcome various kinds of pain. And also, those headaches that I used to get a couple times a month haven't bothered to come back.

Another thing this taught me is that mortal mind doesn't know what it's doing. In that way, it's the ideal enemy, because how difficult is it to overcome that which is foolish and mindless? Duh, it's easy. I have the spiritual authority of divine Mind, my Creator, to have dominion over mortal mind and its fallacies.

And so do you.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 9/20/2005 10:04:00 PM, Anonymous Rev. Veronika Birken said...

I’d like to share a healing I had:
I had a tooth ache. It was persistent. It was uncomfortable. By now I knew that this was mental. I affirmed truth. I took it to Holy Spirit. I went into the ‘bubble’ by doing the Accessing Inner Wisdom Counseling process. Then I took it finally all to God’s Love. For me this was like being able to go to Mother-God and empty all my worries, concerns and pain right into Her lap. She listened. She was accepting. She was deepest stillness. When I had finished, She just poured unconditional Love over all my worries, stories and pains. It just flowed in one unceasing stream, this unconditional Love of Mother-God. Then I started to fill up with this Love. O, I was so thirsty and empty. I gladly filled up on this infinite supply of Love. Mother-God said, that I am to give just this Love to everything and everybody. I went to sleep comforted. There was no more toothache. There were no more worries. There was no more relationship problem for all disappeared into the Oneness of Love.
Peace, Veronika

At 9/21/2005 07:41:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

wonderful, Veronika!!


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