Friday, November 11, 2005

A whole lotta nothin'

This question came in from Franklin yesterday:


Hello,

I have been doing some reading about christian science because I knew nothing of it as an organization or anything about its founder.

While reading I somewhat agreed with the basics. However I got a rather odd feeling that there was a attitude or state that didn't seem quite right to me.

I have several times read the term malicious animal magnetism. I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean.

Have you any knowledge of what this is and what it accomplishes?


Ah, animal magnetism. To me, it's an important concept to grasp, but not to make too big a deal out of. Too often people obsess about it and it turns into some sort of evil being that's out to get you. It's actually synonymous with nothingness.


But it is important to face evil in its various (powerless) forms, since prayer can be more effective if it's specifically targeted. Kind of like not scattering your fire. So the various names for evil (nothingness) that Mary Baker Eddy developed (error, mortal mind, animal magnetism, etc.) are tools we can use to destroy evil. They absolutely do not have any substance or identity of their own. Mary Baker Eddy talks about "talking something up to talk it down." Evil in all its forms must be seen as nothing for scientific prayer to work. Evil is nothing because it’s the suppositional opposite of the Divine, which is entirely good.


Okay, that being said, I'm going to talk about the snake, animal magnetism. But remember it's nothing. It has no substance, no identity, no mind. And I'm going to use an example from my own life, because I'm no expert on the totality of the subject. I just know how I've faced it myself.


There was a time in my life where I was in the grip of an obsession. Of course, knowing my track record, it was over a guy. I thought I loved this guy, but he'd rejected me. I *could not* get him out of my mind. It didn't help that I saw him frequently, although this clearly had no effect on him! But I'd come away from every sighting shaken and hurt.


The desire for him just hung on and hung on and hung on. And I didn't do much to fight it, I kind of wallowed in self-pity and depression. This to me is an example of animal magnetism. One form of animal magnetism is false attraction to something it would be harmful for you to have. I mean, the guy'd already called it quits. Why would I want to be with someone that didn't want to be with me? Magnetism includes a hypnotic element, kind of like being charmed by a snake. I was fixated on the snake, and didn't want to break free. That's also characteristic of animal magnetism—it masquerades as our own thinking, our own desires.


This went on for a long time, a couple years at least. I grew to be able to fake it totally in public, but the undercurrent of desire remained in my private heart, eating away at me. You know what broke me out of it? It was a friend, asking me to pray for her, not only about having similar feelings, but she actually had them about the same guy. (She was unaware of my history about him when she asked.)


I took her prayer request straight to God and asked Him if He really wanted me praying for her since I was still struggling with the problem. And the answer was, It's time to heal this for you both.


So I went deep. I did what I needed to do to uncover the properties of this false attraction in my own thought, and I applied what I was learning to my friend's life in prayer. For the first time, I saw my desire for this man as false, as unproductive, and I admitted to myself that it was going nowhere. And I knew, both for myself and my friend, that our fulfillment came from our connection with the one true God, divine Love, who fills all space including the deep dark crevices in our hearts. I let that Love embrace us both, and felt its healing balm. This Love ejected the false desire, evaporated it really into its native nothingness.


My friend called me back a few days later and said she was free. She couldn't understand how the desire had started in the first place, it seemed so ridiculous now. And I too had stopped suffering over the issue. It never had made sense, and this was clear to me now. What a relief!


You can spot animal magnetism because it doesn't make sense, it poses as destructive desires, and its effect is a feeling of fixation. But. It's. Nothing. If you're going to go down the road of investigating evil and all its workings, protect yourself with the certainty of its nothingness. Then the way is clear for victory.


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2 Comments:

At 11/11/2005 04:47:00 PM, Anonymous Rev. Veronika Birken said...

Dear Laura,
Thank you for the reminder! The issue of ‘animal magnetism’ or ‘error’ is so important even though in reality it is nothing! As a former violin teacher I am aware of that to know the original piece of music is the foundation for a teacher to be able to correct the student’s mistakes. This is the same in healing - it is a correction of error by knowing the Truth. Yet my students will often practise incorrectly without being aware of it and they will even think that their mistakes are true! This is where close monitoring is a blessing. The same on my spiritual path - I need to continuously focus on the Truth - God’s Allness in order to not have to ‘fight’ error!
Love and peace, Veronika

 
At 11/11/2005 06:20:00 PM, Anonymous Franklin said...

Hello,

I understand this explanation that you have given and can agree with this.
However, what I have read in some things was "malicious animal magnestisn" that had to do with, as best as I could determine, using prayer for evil against other people.
I am asking this because it was said the founder of christian science accused certain people of using this towards her.
I don't know how accurate the sources are of course. I believe you said you have a long association with christian science, so I thought you may know something of this.
If evil does not exist to christian science, why would the founder acknowledge this tactic?
If the accounts are true of course.

 

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