Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Snap the fingers and wake up

I've been pretty mad at someone lately. Some of his words and actions have been to me reprehensible, and I simply can't see how he could be behaving that way.

Yesterday I took this anger to prayer. I'm not comfortable being this angry for this long, so I wanted to find some sort of answer that could lift me out of it. And the answer was to gain a deeper understanding of hypnotism.

Hypnotism? you ask. What's that got to do with it?

In articulating the truths of Christian Science to the world, Mary Baker Eddy came up with some brilliant, crystal clear words and phrases for God and His goodness. Words and phrases denoting evil, which she considered to be ultimately unreal but which we still must guard against, proved more problematic. She needed to formulate descriptions that emphasized both evil's ultimate unreality and its need for destruction, along with revealing the particular forms evil takes so we can recognize it and fight it. Formulating these descriptions can't have been easy, and I'm grateful to her for doing so.

Frankly, in my study of Science, I've found it easier to understand the good stuff. So, over the years, it's been the words and phrases for evil that I've on occasion had to stop and examine more fully to understand them for myself. Terms such as malpractice, mortal mind, animal magnetism, personal sense have all been grist for this deeper study mill. Yesterday, it was hypnotism's turn.

In reading some of the passages about hypnotism in Science and Health (and surprisingly, there aren't that many), I found that at its core, it's the yielding of one's thought to an outside influence that is not divine. It's letting oneself believe something that is not true, based on false evidence or suggestion. The actions you take as a result are a function of the false belief, so in order to correct the actions you must first see through and stop yielding to the false.

Once the concept of hypnotism was in my thought regarding the person I'm mad at, something fairly obvious occurred to me. Our disagreement stems from the fact that we both believe different things about a certain event in the past. He thinks one thing happened, I think something else happened. All his actions and words since then have been consistent with his belief, as have mine.

My own opinion is based on my speaking with some of the people involved. His, to my mind, is based on the influence of those around him who have a vested interest in his believing the way he does. Once I realized in prayer yesterday that I've been regarding him as under this outside—you might say hypnotic—influence, I saw that I had some clearer thinking to do.

Here's a passage from Science and Health that helped me:

We say that one human mind can influence another and in this way affect the body, but we rarely remember that we govern our own bodies. The error, mesmerism — or hypnotism, to use the recent term — illustrates the fact just stated. The operator would make his subjects believe that they cannot act voluntarily and handle themselves as they should do. If they yield to this influence, it is because their belief is not better instructed by spiritual understanding. --p. 402:20-28

If my friend (as I now found myself calling him) had yielded his mentality to an outside influence, it was because he didn't know any other way. Yet I can know that every individual has the capacity to think for themselves. I can also forgive the wrongs done while under hypnotic suggestion, because I know they're not the person's true intent.

And then I flipped all this back on myself. Was I allowing myself to be hypnotized by this person's subsequent actions? Was I allowing this to influence my opinion of him?

I began to see more clearly that the opposite of hypnotism is thinking for yourself. No one and nothing can make me think anything I've not consented to. My thought, my consciousness, is my own domain and I can fill it with whatever ideas and concepts I choose.

In truth, the only genuine thinking is that which is aligned with the Great Thinker, divine Mind. Anything not coincident with divine Mind must be false, a deceiver, to be rejected. Mind holds the only reality to be conceived. Anything outside of infinite Mind—well, frankly, that's a oxymoron, for if Mind is infinite, there is no outside. Any belief to the contrary is a false *hypnotic* suggestion.

I have a metaphysical obligation to stop allowing myself to be hypnotized by my friend's outward actions, and instead to fill my thought with only good about him. I need to have the humility to see that I've been influenced by the false as much as anyone else. But I have the spiritual authority to end this influence now. I can stop it in its tracks and no longer let it accompany me on my journey.

Like the hypnotist's snapping fingers, I can break the spell and wake up.

Some more thoughts from Science and Health (and sorry, the online search for the book isn't working, so I can't provide the links):

If you believe in and practise wrong knowingly, you can at once change your course and do right. --p. 253:18-19

In no instance is the effect of animal magnetism, recently called hypnotism, other than the effect of illusion. --p. 101:29-31

As named in Christian Science, animal magnetism or hypnotism is the specific term for error, or mortal mind. It is the false belief that mind is in matter, and is both evil and good; that evil is as real as good and more powerful. This belief has not one quality of Truth. --p. 103:18-23 (to .)

The Christian Scientist demonstrates that divine Mind heals, while the hypnotist dispossesses the patient of his individuality in order to control him. No person is benefited by yielding his mentality to any mental despotism or malpractice. --p. 375:11-15

The hypnotizer employs one error to destroy another. --p. 104:22-23

Christian Science explains all cause and effect as mental, not physical. It lifts the veil of mystery from Soul and body. It shows the scientific relation of man to God, disentangles the interlaced ambiguities of being, and sets free the imprisoned thought. --p. 114:23-27

The human thought must free itself from self-imposed materiality and bondage. --p. 191:16-17

Spiritual rationality and free thought accompany approaching Science, and cannot be put down. --p. 223:21-22

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 11/10/2006 12:26:00 AM, Anonymous rev. Veronika said...

It is good to be reminded of the word 'hypnotism'. It is as if I have my eyes or ears fixed onto one spot and nothing else exists but this pain, frustration or sorrow. But I have divinely bestowed ability to break this earthly spell with the Christ reigning supreme in my consciousness instead.
Thank you, Laura!


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