Body – Second Article
From Addresses by Martha Wilcox
At last year’s Association there was read and discussed a paper on the subject of body, and many times since then I have been asked either to read that paper or give something further on the same subject.
In giving the lesson on body last year, it was my hope that it would prove helpful to those who were making the mental adjustment from the false concept that their present body is human or material, to the understanding that their present body is divine and spiritual.
And today my hope is that this lesson on body will help all of us to give up some of the misconceptions that we have concerning our so-called human body and its functions, and help us to establish in our consciousness the spiritual ideas which are the facts about our so-called material organs and their functions.
We should be alert and daily spiritualize our thought about our present body, because the belief is very prevalent that the body is separate from the mind, and that the body in and of itself, performs all functions; whereas it is the God-Mind that consciously performs all functions that appear in outward manifestation to us as bodily functions. For instance, when the stomach, or bladder, or heart do not perform their natural functions, I turn from the belief that these organs in and of themselves function, to the fact that only conscious Mind functions.
Many of us fail to make practical the fact that our present mind is not in our body, but our present body is embraced in our mind. We fail to recognize the fact that our present body is either the phenomenon of right ideas, or the phenomenon of false beliefs, and we fail to recognize the fact that we, individually, govern our own body and delineate upon it either right ideas or false beliefs, whichever we are entertaining in consciousness.
Mrs. Eddy teaches that when we fully understand the eternal relation of the oneness of Mind and body, we will overcome sin, sickness, and death; but to accomplish this overcoming we must understand the divine fact of our present mind and body as being one entity.
The student of Christian Science recognizes the supreme value of a correct sense of his present body. He knows that his body gives evidence to his mind; that his mind would be unexpressed or unknown without his body, which is the expression of his mind; is as mental as his mind; and is coincident with his mind.
Man does not have body, man is body. Man is the body of the one Mind. Man is Mind and body as one Being, and when correctly understood, man or body is immortal and spiritual. The body I am here and now, which I refer to as my body, when correctly understood, is wholly good and spiritual because it is the embodiment of the One GodMind.
Many students consider their present body as material, and then declare there is no matter; or they believe their present body is material and for that reason they try to get rid of it. But what appears to us as a matter body, is a spiritual fact imperfectly known. We do not want to get rid of body but know it as it is. Our present body is now just as God made it, and is mental and spiritual. Our present body identifies our God-Mind and is as eternal as Mind. It is only our false, material sense of body that needs to be corrected.
Our so-called human body seems to be finite and material, but when correctly understood according to the revelation of Divine Science, our so-called human body is spiritual and is the only body at hand. We understand that the so-called human body and all its functions are divine facts, and divine operations expressed, and if they appear human or material to us, it is because they are seen through the lens of false material sense, or because of our ignorance of spiritual facts, and of spiritual operations at hand.
We understand in Christian Science that anything that exists can never be matter, because matter does not exist as something, but as false appearance only. Matter is never substantive, neither does it fill space; so-called matter is misconception or belief only. When correctly understood, anything that fills space and is substantive is Mind or Spirit being, and the false appearance of that thing, which is called matter, is mortal mind’s false estimate of that thing. What appears to be material body is the so-called mortal mind’s mistaken sense, or the caricature of the divine body, and is but our ignorance of the spiritual fact of body at hand.
Because of material sense we do not see the fact of body in its fullness and completeness. We see the spiritual fact of body as it really is, to the degree that we have spiritualized our thought. In other words, we see the fact of body according to our present comprehension of the fact of body. These varying degrees of understanding are our human concepts of the fact of body; and we shall always see our highest human concept of the divine fact, until we have sufficiently spiritualized our thought to see the spiritual body. Matter is never other than a deceptive appearance; whereas our highest human concept of body is the result of some degree of spiritualized thought.
In Christian Science our highest human concept or present body, is always based on the fact that our present body has its origin in divine Mind and is the identity of Mind, no matter how it appears. Hence it is a spiritual body, and the only body at hand, and can never be destroyed.
We never consider our present so-called human body as having its source and origin in the human mind, but we fulfill our concept of our present body through spiritualization of thought, by which the divine body appears to us as a better human body, until full spiritualization is attained, and body is known in its true depict.
Jesus did not destroy the withered hand. He proved it to be the divine idea present and incapable of destruction. Our human body is never other than the divine body at hand, but we know and see it better as we spiritualize our thought and deny the material sense or ignorance of body.
We have body humanly because body exists in this place divinely. And as we more clearly understand that all there is to our human concept of body is the divine idea or fact at hand, then our human body will more clearly approximate the divine facts of body.
If we never separated our present body from its source, divine Mind, and always recognized it as being the divine fact at hand regardless of its material appearance, our present body could never be touched by laws of matter; never be sick or injured; never be imperfect or die.
Right where body seems to be as matter, is the spiritual body, visible to the God-consciousness as outline, form, color, substance, function and permanency.
It is through spiritualization, not of the body, but of our thought about the body, that we perceive the fact, spiritual fact, of body and of all present functions. Our present body is never matter, but is a true mode of consciousness, an idea held in divine Mind, and all functionings are operations of the divine Mind, and are not functionings of material forms or organs. The basis of all demonstration in Christian Science is the consideration of the fact that our present body is the spiritual body and the only body at hand.
Much of our work in the practice of Christian Science consists of gaining a true estimate of our so-called human body, or in perceiving the reality of what appears to us to be a human or material body. And in this practice work we should rejoice that it is a provable fact that each one of us is the divine Body, a body exempt from age, deformity, and imperfections; a body that expresses supernal freshness and fairness, health, wholeness, unlimited activity, strength and agility.
These beautiful qualities are the present fact of man or body. There is not one ugly, or mortal, or material thing in the body of God, which body is man.
In the first chapter of Genesis we read of “the creeping things that creepeth upon the earth” which God saw as good and over which man was given dominion. But mortal man has misinterpreted these creeping things that were good, over which man has dominion, and often designates these creeping things as evil conditions which steal upon us slowly and stealthily, conditions which are not good, and over which we have no control.
Some of mortal mind’s creeping things are expressed in the material body as age, obesity, anemia, deafness, failing eyesight, wrinkles, thinning hair, slowing up of organs, and many other conditions which even Christian Scientists accept as inevitable, and over which they exercise no control.
Where is our dominion with which we were endowed and about which we love to boast? Why do we, as Christian Scientists, permit these so-called creeping things to come upon us, or supinely accept them as beyond our control? And what are we going to do about them in the future?
These seeming conditions are not of God, and they are not the fact of man or body. They inhere in, or are evolved from, human belief, or what is called mortal mind; and by that is meant the material opinions of mankind. If we wish to rid ourselves of these untoward conditions, it stands to reason that we must oppose and overcome these opinions of mankind rather than accept them, and the only place we can overcome them is in our individual thinking. We, as Christian Scientists, are neglecting a very important part of our work when we just let these creeping things of mortal mind do what they will with us.
Much attention is given these days to dieting, and reducing, and exercising the material body. The desire to improve it is always commendable; but in Miscellaneous Writings, page 47:6, Mrs. Eddy has given us one whole page on this important subject. She says, “substance means more than matter: it is the glory and permanence of Spirit.” Spirit is the only substance and man or body is spiritual, not material. This great truth substantiates man’s spiritual coexistence with his Maker.
If we want to gain weight or reduce weight, or in any way improve the so-called material body, we do not work on gaining or reducing or improving. Why? The answer is quite simple. There is no matter, and however hard we might work, we cannot gain or reduce or improve matter, when there is no matter. Our business, as Christian Scientists, is to learn the fact of body, and exercise this fact in our thinking and continue this true exercise until our body appears in its depict.
Mrs. Eddy was once asked, “Is it possible to change the aged form to one of youth and beauty without passing through the change of death?” (From Christian Science Series) In substance her answer was, that it is possible; as we let the spiritual fact of body obtain in our consciousness, the misconceptions of body as matter, give place to that fact. As the misconception of body as matter is dissolved by a truer state of thought activity, there appears a newer and better sense of body.
I want to read something that our beloved Bicknell Young gave to his students along this line of replacing the material concept with the spiritual fact of being. “There are three things to meet in every belief or case: First, a belief of substance matter; Second, a belief of material cause; Third, a belief in material or mortal mind law.
“Every treatment must know that the government of Principle is the activity of operative cause. It is the energy emanating from the right thought.
“The universe is spiritual because all cause is Spirit or Mind. The flower, bird, tree, landscape, rock, house, stomach, eye, hand, arm, head, etc. are all spiritual. Mortals placing substance, cause, law as matter and material, of necessity therefore, view things from a material point of view; and this is all that ever makes them seem material, sick, decaying or dying. When mortals change their viewpoint, we will have flowers that will not fade; birds, animals, and man that cannot sicken, grow old, or die; and stomachs that cannot be disturbed. We will have a man who cannot become lame, blind, or limited.
“As matter, bird, animal, tree, flower, stomach and man are governed by so-called laws of matter, beliefs only, which if not broken by the apprehension of Spirit and spiritual law, will go on being governed wrong to ultimate discord and destruction.
“The flower, bird, animal, stomach, and man, as matter, are evil; in other words, they express the evil sense of what flower, bird, etc. are. Does evil require matter through which to express itself? No. It requires belief only, which fulfills all its conditions; creates its own outlines; deforms its own limbs; all in consonance with its beliefs in matter as substance, Mind as mortal, cause as material, and law as the activity of mortal mind.” (End of Mr. Young’s quote) Mrs. Eddy teaches that all bodily conditions are mental conditions expressed. She says, “all physical effects originate in mind before they can become manifest as matter.” She also says, “mortal mind creates its own physical conditions.” (Hea. 12:10; S&H 77:8)
A Christian Scientist knows that the physical conditions seen in his body are formed by his mind and that in order to have a harmonious body, he must have a harmonious mind. Are we aware of how much of the time our mind is fretting itself, or is in a state of fear or anxious thought? How much of the time our so-called mind is disturbed and dissatisfied? How unaware our mind is of the spiritual facts that make up our present existence? All these mental conditions are expressed outwardly as physical or bodily conditions.
Students of Christian Science are very prone to try to correct their personal inharmonies by correcting them in the body just as materia medica does. They believe their physical inharmonies are formed in and of the body because they see in their body the images of the mind, and they think these images have their source in the body instead of the mind. So-called mortal consciousness endows the body with a sense of life, but there is no life in the false mortal concept that we call body.
Our life is what we are alive to, and we are alive to that of which we are conscious. If we are conscious of seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, and tasting material things, then we are alive only to the testimony of the five senses and to the thoughts about such testimony. But when we understand and prove that we see, hear, smell, and taste only our own thoughts, then we can control our consciousness and control our sense life, and thereby overcome all so-called bodily conditions, even to the overcoming of death.
There is only one way to improve our present consciousness, and coincidentally improve our present body, and that is to know the truth about both mind and body. As we hold the vision of the grandeur of reality, we renew our present bodies by the transformation of our mind. Conscious Life or Mind is ever aware of Itself as the idea of action, omniaction, perpetual action, action without variableness or the shadow of turning. This conscious idea is action in what I experience humanly as the beating of my heart, or as any so-called bodily function.
This conscious Life or Mind is also unfolded here as the ideas of substance, form, permanency, and is what I know humanly as my heart. All there is to what I know humanly as heart, is the omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience of Mind, or what conscious Mind knows Himself to be in this place.
This one infinite, particular idea which conscious Life or Mind is, as Himself, is the one and only heart. Every individual’s heart is the one heart in expression. So what I call my heart is the God-heart, the only heart, and it cannot fail. It is the heart in the Mind of God, manifested in man or body.
If we fully understand that what seem to us to be material organs, functioning in and of themselves, are instead divine ideas in operation, we could never again have an evil material sense of our stomach, as a vacuum, as finite, and limited and bounded.
We understand stomach as what Mind is consciously being, and as idea; it is ever manifesting the functions or conscious operations of Mind, such as power, action, form, substance.
What we call stomach secretions are what conscious Mind is being to Himself. These secretions are never nonintelligent matter, and there is never a lack of any needed thing.
Stomach is the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being in particular expression.
As it is with stomach and heart, so it is with liver, lungs, kidneys, glands, membranes, nerves, blood, etc. All are infinite spiritual ideas of the divine Mind, and are manifested or identified in man or body.
When we take the heart, stomach, or any other thing that constitutes body, out of its source of being, which source is the divine Mind, and consider it from the viewpoint of matter or mortal mind belief, then we have separated these ideas from divine Mind and from divine law, and they will appear to us as material, mortal, destructible, sick, and dying.
“Heart trouble or stomach trouble does not require matter through which to express itself. It requires belief only. Mortal belief fulfills all its own conditions in consonance with its belief in matter as substance, Mind as mortal, cause as material, and law as the activity of mortal mind.” (Mr. Young)
Mrs. Eddy says, “It (mortal belief) feels, hears, and sees its own thoughts.” (S&H 86:30)
My so-called material body or human body is either so many ideas in the God-consciousness objectified, or so many states of human belief objectified.
If all so-called material organs that comprise my present body were recognized as divine ideas and demonstrated to be such, perfection and immortality would be the law to every one of them, and the so-called laws of belief would give place to divine law.
Every so-called physical problem is the misconception or miscalculation of the human mind in regard to the source and origin of everything that we know humanly. If a thing exists humanly to us, it is because it exists divinely in fact, and no matter what my human concept of a divine idea is, the divine idea is all there is to my human concept. If I believe the thing at hand is material, or even an improved belief, then I am apt to try to change it or to heal it. If therefore, there is on my part any recognition of the material or human as such, any wish or desire to make something over or better, then I am not considering the thing as the divine idea, or the only creation.
In order to work out the physical or bodily problems, we need to turn completely away from the mistaken or material sense of things and conditions. Turn completely away from improved beliefs, and human concepts, and keep thought on reality; keep thought on the infinitude of Mind as an infinitude of divine ideas.
We cannot think of anything outside of illimitable infinity, and if we keep our thought on the fact that everything in infinity is eternally perfect in Being, and eternally perfect in manifestation, this great truth will spiritualize our thought, and divine ideas will appear to us in perfect forms which we can understand in our present state of consciousness, and according to our present needs. In this way we overcome age, and death, and prove that we are immortal beings here on earth, even as we are in Heaven.
Because the God-Mind functions, my body or any part of my body, being the manifestation or identity of Mind, must likewise function. The function of the God-Mind is its ability to think and know and realize; therefore, my individual Mind, by reflection, thinks, and knows, and realizes. The generative organs, by reflection, create because the function of the God-Mind is to create. The stomach, by reflection, does what we call digests, not because the stomach in and of itself does anything, but because the function of the God-Mind is an infinite function and does all things.
When correctly understood, stomach is an unfolding idea. Its source of being is in the God-Mind, and its functioning is the functioning of the God-Mind. Digestion is the human claim that stomach, in and of itself, digests material food; and indigestion is the human claim that the stomach, in and of itself, cannot digest material food. But stomach, being an idea in the divine Mind, must digest and function perfectly by reflection. Likewise, we know that all there is to indigestion is the reflection of the human belief that stomach is material and acts in and of itself.
The normal functions of my body are merely my highest concepts of the unfolding ideas of the God-Mind. The normal functions of my body are the phenomena of the unfolding ideas in my consciousness, and are the coincidence of the human functionings with the divine functions. The abnormal functions of my body are the phenomena of my false beliefs, which are the reverse of the unfolding ideas in my consciousness. For instance, pain is the phenomenon of my false beliefs which I entertain in consciousness, instead of entertaining the idea, harmony, of the God-Mind.
Since there is but one organ, there is but one secretion, and this one secretion is reflected as so-called bodily secretions. The secretions of the glands, the liver, the mucous membrane, etc. are very necessary to our human existence. These various secretions are the various manifestations of the one secretion, which, when correctly understood, is the God-Mind unfolding infinitely as an infinite spiritual idea.
When we fully understand that what we know humanly as secretion, is a divine idea, ever functioning perfectly, then we shall cease looking to the kidneys, the liver, or the mucous membranes as doing something in and of themselves, when there seems to be too much or too little secretion.
Humanly speaking, the function of the liver, the glands, and the mucous membrane is to secrete, and when we understand that these secretions are not matter, or in or of matter, but are unfolding spiritual conscious ideas, there will never be too much or too little secretion. Our so-called bodily secretions are perfect and act in accord with the divine idea. This fact understood, is law to the outward and actual phenomenon of secretion.
The secretions of the glands and mucous membranes are necessary to our present human existence. Today there is too much said about morbid secretions, and how morbid secretions inflame the nerves and render inactive the functions of the body. But we are to remember that there is only one secretion, and this one is the unfolding idea of the God-Mind, and the claim of morbid secretion cannot be formed by this conscious Mind.
A morbid secretion is never a claim about the activity of the one secretion, but is a claim of our entertaining false beliefs, a morbid condition of thought, or a thought that is not active as Truth. It is a claim of the inability to behold
God’s idea. This morbid state of thought is usually the result of criticism, condemnation, worry, fear, within our own thought, and is reflected or identified as an inactive or morbid state of existence.
The circulation of the blood is considered the vital function of our present body because blood is supposed to nourish and sustain all parts of the human body. Blood needs to circulate humanly, because blood, when correctly understood, is the conscious substance and action of all that constitutes body.
When we think of blood correctly, we think of it as being the conscious omnipresence of Mind or Life, the active, conscious substance of all things. Then blood could not know itself in a state of separation. A part of the blood which is called red corpuscles could not go to the interior of the body and leave the blood in a depleted condition, as in pernicious anemia. Red corpuscles belong to the blood, and blood being an infinite spiritual idea, is always intact eternally. Blood could not know itself as divisible, and experience a loss of a part of itself as in a hemorrhage or excessive flowing.
Blood as spiritual idea reflects infinite Love and harmony, and in the claim of hemorrhage, we must know that the only flowing there is, is the perpetual operation or flowing of divine Love. The belief in my thought, that conscious Love can stop operating or flowing, permits the belief that blood, as matter, began to flow and is now passing away.
We are all of us vitally interested in the function that we call faculty. And when we see this function in its true light, it adds much to the enjoyment of our present day. We know there is but one Faculty, which is God, or MindFaculty. This Faculty, functioning as thinking, seeing, knowing, evidencing itself, understanding itself, seeing itself, this one Faculty is enough for everyone; but belief claims five faculties. This multiplicity of the One Faculty is the phenomenon.
The unfolding idea or the One Faculty is objectified as seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling. And being God’s Faculty, it is indestructible because it is God’s vision of Himself, His vision of His infinitude.
Man is forever what God is. Man reflects God or reflects the one infinite Faculty. What the God-Mind unfolds constitutes our seeing, hearing, etc. Mind sees, therefore my sight is eternal by reflection. If I believe that my sight is material, this is the belief of an imperfect faculty, or an imperfect God-Mind, and is a self-destroying belief.
The only reason any faculty seems to be defective is because we believe it to be in and of matter, instead of in the God-Mind.
We believe that our sight is in and of a matter eye; we believe our hearing depends upon a matter ear; and that our feeling depends upon a nerve. But when we realize that our individual seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, is coincident with Mind’s seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, this is enough to heal the belief of imperfect faculties.
What the God-Mind sees is what I see humanly, and is infinite. God sees ideas which appear visible as objects which we behold humanly. Everything is visible to the God-Mind, and is therefore visible to us. Blindness is a belief that ideas are not apparent to us, the belief that sight is material. Eyes as matter do not see, but as ideas are an all-seeing substance.
Today we hear much talk about channels or mediums. The God-Mind does not see through eyes; Mind does not need a channel or a medium through which to see. Belief always has a channel through which to act or a means by which to function, and claims to use my consciousness to produce the phenomenon of seeing. The belief that I see through my eyes is a belief called mediumship, in a general sense.
There is the belief that a nerve is a channel or a medium through which there is activity or sensation, a means of seeing, hearing, and feeling. Nerves of themselves do not see nor feel. Nerves exist as idea. Paralysis of the nerve is merely the phenomenon of the belief that nerves are material and have sensation in and of themselves. God does not have anything to work with but ideas and He does not use them as channels or as a means. He imparts His ideas to us.
According to the human belief, nerves are the channels or the medium of all activity, all functions, all sensation. The belief is that a nerve has its source in and of the brain. But the fact of what we know humanly as nerve, is an emanation of the God-Mind, and expresses the activity and sensations of Infinite Mind. Nerves of themselves do not feel. When we think of a nerve truly, we think of the idea of omnipresence, conscious action and sensation that the God-Mind is being.
Such claims are healed by the presence of the unfolding spiritual idea, active in our consciousness. All facts are summed up in the perception of the one fact, that we do not see, know or understand anything except as it unfolds as ideas.
Pain, sickness, poison, are only beliefs about the one Body, and are never conditions of our present body. They are the phenomena of false beliefs objectified to our sight and our sense.
Sensations and conditions are always good and harmonious and are the only sensations or conditions present.
A realization of the truth always comes spontaneously, so every so-called organ must function spontaneously. The heart beats spontaneously. The heart beats spontaneously, and with unlabored motion. The beating of my heart and all other functions are the spontaneous action of my realization that Mind’s spontaneous action is the spontaneous action of my present body.
I hope this lesson on body will be helpful to those who are making the mental adjustment from the concept of their present body as human, to the spiritual fact of their present body as divine idea. In other words, may it be helpful to those who are learning the coincidence of the human body with the divine body.
I hope this lesson will help us to yield many of the misconceptions we have about our human bodies, so-called, and its functions, and establish for us the spiritual ideas which are the facts about our so-called material organs and their functions. We should be alert and daily spiritualize our thought about our present body, because the belief is very persistent that we are separate in Mind and body, and that the body in and of itself, performs all functions.
Many of us fail to make practical the great fact that our present mind is not in our body, but that our present body is embraced in our mind, and is the phenomenon either of right ideas, or the phenomenon of false beliefs, whichever we are entertaining in consciousness; and that we individually govern our own body by delineating upon it right ideas or false beliefs.
It is only through this understanding of our human body, as the divine fact of body, that we attain our perfect humanhood. And when we understand that we exist as the conscious identity of the One consciousness, then there will be no sense of a material body, then the veil will have passed away and we shall have demonstrated the ability to live without it.
Paganism and false theology have educated us to believe that the so-called human body is material. It is an almost prevalent belief that Mind and body can be separated and that the body dies, but the mind and soul live on. This is the basis for the philosophy of “Reincarnation” which is taking such a strong hold on the thought of the people today.
As set out by an author on this subject, “Reincarnation means simply the rebirth of the soul in another human body.” Reincarnation is not only the belief that Mind and body can be separated and that the body dies, but it is also the belief that the soul at some later time is reborn in another human body through the Adam process of generation.
What a wide divergence between the erroneous belief in reincarnation and the truth about man as presented in Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy teaches that, when we fully understand the eternal relation of the oneness of Mind and Body, we shall overcome sin, sickness, and death. And the only way we can accomplish this is to understand the divine fact of our so-called human mind and body, as present here and now.
Mrs. Eddy says, “The night thought, methinks, should unfold in part the facts of day, and open the prison doors and solve the blind problem of matter. The night thought should show us that even mortals can mount higher in the altitude of being. Mounting higher, mortals will cease to be mortal. Christ will have ‘led captivity captive,’ and immortality will have been brought to light.” (My 110:20)