Thursday, May 04, 2006

A better belief

Someone wrote in yesterday:

Your mention of nutrition struck a note with me. I spent many years quite heavy and out of shape, and through a few years of concentrating on measurement of physical things like calories, carbohydrates and heart rate, I have greatly improved my health and physical appearance. In my study of Christian Science, I become conflicted as to whether I should ignore or embrace nutrition and exercise.

I think anyone who is emphasizing Spirit over matter on their journey must wrestle with this question. I asked it myself when I took Christian Science class instruction years ago. And my teacher answered with the concept of “better belief.”

Since Spirit is all, reality itself is spiritual. This absolute concept leads to the conclusion that all material existence has no objective reality. It is belief alone. It’s relative, and subjective.

Because it’s subjective, we shape it according to our current beliefs. Our beliefs are both individual and collective. I can choose to overcome collective belief with specific prayer on an issue, say one of disease I’m experiencing personally or of sin I need to overcome myself. This works, even though the vast majority of human belief is on the side of the problem, because Spirit itself is infinite and fills all space. To paraphrase a well-known proverb, “One with Spirit is the majority.”

My progress along my spiritual path helps me to discern which collective beliefs I’m going to fight today. There are so many to battle! So I tend to choose the ones where there’s an immediate need or those at a crisis point, or those that are a good fit for my spiritual path.

Which brings me to the beliefs I more or less cooperate with temporarily in order to get along in the day-to-day. After all, I’m raising children, I earn money, I have a body and home to maintain. Certainly I could attempt to accomplish everything I need purely through prayer, but in the end I think that attempt would look like nonsense. I’d be trying to demonstrate beyond my current understanding. So instead I also learn a significant amount about this world and its rules, even though I know in the absolute it’s all simply belief.

To me, things like nutrition fall into this category of “better belief,” as my teacher said. It’s a better belief to eat food that is good for you than to eat junk all day. It’s a better belief to balance your checkbook rather than let it devolve to chaos. It’s a better belief to stay clean, to live moderately, to support causes that improve the world, to enjoy your family.

Whether this concept of better belief takes you into the realm of specific study of the chemical makeup of food or its calories needs to be your own demonstration. It’s all belief anyway. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” might be belief, but it’s not a bad belief. It may be a huge step of progress for one who has been living on corn chips.

Personally, I became aware during the Atkins craze that I had totally bought into “non-fat” marketing ploys. Atkins helped me see that instead I was ingesting inordinate amounts of refined sugar in my attempt to lose weight. Reading French Women Don’t Get Fat also gave me some great insights into this whole food belief system, so now I seek out foods that came from nature rather than wholly processed items, and I became committed to a half-hour of aerobic exercise a day. The Weigh Down Diet even gave me a spiritual perspective on eating that I still value.

Yet I know this is all belief. And collective belief may shift away from the ideas in these trendy books to something else in a few years. When I can’t live in the absolute on an issue, my question always is, “What is the better belief here?” And I accept and approve of my choice, until further spiritual development leads me to a new level.

Take care of yourselves. Do what you think is best for yourself, and don’t get tied up in knots thinking it’s a moral issue. Just the fact that you’re caring for yourself has spiritual substance. Let that grow in you and help show the way.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 5/04/2006 05:49:00 PM, Blogger Brittany said...

Wow, thank you for your post today! It actually indirectly answered a question I've been working on for a long time. I have always wondered why, if matter is unreal and spirit is all, correcting your spiritual thought would be able to effect matter, an unreality. If it's unreal then how could you heal it? I wondered how Spirit and matter could be linked when I know MBE said they weren't. Now I know to look at it this way: Matter's laws are HUMAN beliefs. This means that any human belief can be proven false (and thus healed) through prayer/our understanding of Spirit! The more we recognise the Truth, the more we let go of our human beliefs (like, for example, our expectation to get fat when we eat "fatty" foods). Everything is relative and subjective when seen through a material lense!! We eventually could get to a point where we could deny the laws of matter and mold the material world we live in as we please (like when Jesus walked on water). Now when I say "I'm working through the belief of (fill in the blank)" there is meaning to the statement. For me it used to be one of those things I read through (like when someone would say "God is Love"). You don't really think about what it means when someone says it. It's so simple and yet I have struggled with the concept for years! Thanks for the help!! Perhaps this truth will help me get over the BELIEF of poor vision (a physical problem that I have been working on for a long time. Basically it's been a long term goal to heal it, although it doesn't have to be.)

At 5/04/2006 07:14:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

wow, Brittany, thanks for writing in! your comment really makes my day.


At 5/04/2006 11:08:00 PM, Anonymous moppo said...

Well said.

At 5/05/2006 10:06:00 AM, Anonymous Marc said...

This is such a blessed statement : "Do what you think is best for yourself, and don’t get tied up in knots thinking it’s a moral issue. Just the fact that you’re caring for yourself has spiritual substance." This is an amazing post Laura - it should be in one of the periodicals!!!

Your teacher gave you something very precious early on. So many people and esp. CSs good benefit from this.

At 5/05/2006 06:00:00 PM, Blogger Maria said...

Evan Melanbacher has a related blog today, "Trying to lose weight?" at


At 12/05/2008 11:59:00 PM, Anonymous Maisey said...

Thank you, this is very helpful to me right today, have been feeling full of conflict and self-condemnation. Thank you very much.

At 12/06/2008 09:59:00 AM, Blogger Laura Matthews said...

You're welcome Maisey.... and thanks for dropping by! Please keep in touch!



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