Healing and medicine
A lot of people call me with questions about how Christian Science healing relates to medical practice, if at all.
Sometimes they've been given a very hard line from others when they've asked about it, meaning that these others have said that no medical intervention is to be tolerated at all.
I guess I don't really fall in that camp. My feeling is that while Mary Baker Eddy presented the ideal and the goal in her writings, she also clearly acknowledges the process of growth needed to achieve that ideal and goal. In other words, achieving 100% reliance on Spirit is a journey.
MBE even has occasional good things to say about using medical care. Here's one from her sermon Christian Healing:
Great caution should be exercised in the choice of physicians. If you employ a medical practitioner, be sure he is a learned man and skilful; never trust yourself in the hands of a quack. In proportion as a physician is enlightened and liberal is he equipped with Truth, and his efforts are salutary; ignorance and charlatanism are miserable medical aids. (p. 14)
Yes, she's cautioning us to find the right physician. But she's definitely not prohibiting the use of medical care—in fact, she even calls it "salutary," or beneficial, if the doctor is "enlightened." With today's increase in mind/body awareness amongst physicians, it is possible to find care that will coincide with or support a spiritual approach. I would consider this a step on the journey to total reliance on Spirit.
Here's some more food for thought from MBE's writings:
Until the advancing age admits the efficacy and supremacy of Mind, it is better for Christian Scientists to leave surgery and the adjustment of broken bones and dislocations to the fingers of a surgeon, while the mental healer confines himself chiefly to mental reconstruction and to the prevention of inflammation. Christian Science is always the most skilful surgeon, but surgery is the branch of its healing which will be last acknowledged. --Science and Health
Until people better understand spiritual healing, it is *better* to let surgeons do their job and for Christian Scientists to limit their work to the aftereffects. *Better.* In my mind, she's actually telling us not only to be sensible as to where we are on the learning curve, but also where everyone else is. It's better to be understandable to our fellow man than to be radical in some cases.
Duty to Patients. SECT. 23. If a member of this Church has a patient whom he does not heal, and whose case he cannot fully diagnose, he may consult with an M.D. on the anatomy involved. And it shall be the privilege of a Christian Scientist to confer with an M.D. on Ontology, or the Science of being. --Church Manual
We need to know what we're dealing with. We're supposed to be able to "fully diagnose," and if we can't, we might want to consider finding out what's going on with a particular physical condition. (I've found some Web tools, such as Web MD, helpful in this regard.) Perhaps the patient doesn't need to know the diagnosis (in that it might increase their fear), but it seems to me that this By-law from the Manual is saying the healer should be informed so prayerful treatment can be directed accordingly. Complete ignorance of the physical situation does not serve the patient.
I've also found it helpful in healing to at least find out what the patient thinks is going on. I mean, if they are thinking it, it may be important for me as their practitioner to be in on what's on their mind. So I will encourage people to tell me what they know or have been told, again so I can direct my prayerful treatment accordingly.
Emerge gently from matter into Spirit. Think not to thwart the spiritual ultimate of all things, but come naturally into Spirit through better health and morals and as the result of spiritual growth. --Science and Health
Take it a step at a time. Be patient. Don't rush things. It should all make sense to you as you grow. There should be a logical progression of increased trust in spiritual ideas and their reality. Day by day, each idea will add to the one before, and your gradual storehouse of conviction and understanding will allow greater demonstrations.
This road is very individual for both patient and practitioner—indeed, each situation needs to be looked at individually, even if it involves the same two people. I find it helpful to remember that God is Love, and spiritual healing therefore also includes kindness and patience. A drop of kindness will decrease fear much more quickly than strict adherence to a rule or standard.
So be kind to yourself on this journey, and you'll find yourself approaching the ideal naturally and safely.
Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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