From Addresses by Martha Wilcox
Our textbook contains many words that are not only vital in meaning, but a knowledge of which is essential to a student of Christian Science in working out the Science of Being. One of these words we shall consider this morning is “deflection.” “Deflection,” according to Webster, means “to turn aside or deviate from a true course.” In Christian Science, “deflection” has reference to mortal man and to all that constitutes mortal man. Our textbook teaches that the untrue image of God, held in the human mind, is all there is to what we call mortal man. Then the correct sense of mortal man is not that of entity or existence, but is an untrue image or “deflection” of the actual man at hand.
“Deflection” results when the true appearance of actual man is “turned aside” or “deviated” by thought passing through a mind unillumined by Truth. This deviation of thought causes the actual man at hand to appear as sinning mortal man; the actual man is not changed, but his actuality is seen in reversion or as deflection.
Deflection is an untrue image of actuality, and when in our practice work we reverse this deflection or untrue image in order to perceive actuality, we are using the process of thought that is set forth in our Christian Science textbook. When we understand deflection, we do not attach erroneous conditions to actual man, but we deal with the erroneous condition as an untrue image or deflection entirely separate and apart from actual man.
In the correct process of metaphysical work we never have two things present. We understand that the actual thing is always present, and the deflected appearance does not make another thing. Spirit and matter are not two things. Spirit is the actual existence and matter is the deflection or untrue image of Spirit. It is the false appearance only. Actual man and the sinning mortal man do not exist together. Actual man is, while sinning mortal man is a deflection or false appearance of actual man.
Actuality, the only thing that is at hand, does not need healing. It is God’s very presence. The deflection, like the mirage lake or blue door seen through blue glass, is nonexistent, and we cannot do anything to that which does not exist. It does not fill space, it is purely false appearance in the unillumined mind.
Since the prairie grass is still prairie grass and not a lake, the prairie grass does not need anything done to it, regardless of how it appears. All there is to the mirage lake is the prairie grass imperfectly seen; the mirage lake is nothing; it does not fill space and is non-existent.
Deflections do not occupy space and are never things nor conditions. When we really understand this to be a fact, our work in Christian Science will be much easier. The deflection called a horizon does not fill space. All there is to horizon is simply a name for that which does not fill space, is non-existent. Lack, age, and fear are not conditions, and do not occupy space. They are deflections or the untrue image of actuality. The actuality of man imperfectly seen, we have named personal man; the actuality of the universe imperfectly seen, we have named personal universe. But we do not need to do something to our mode of mind that sees things as they are not. We need to enlighten our mind with the Truth or fact of Being. The mode of mind that sees deflection needs enlightenment.
To disarm the claim of personality, we should disarm, that is, render powerless, the deflection or false appearance of actual man that is called personality.
Personality is neither life nor intelligence. It is a mere ghost or shadow and we should behold actual life and intelligence as Mind’s own omnipresence where the ghost or shadow seems to be. Even though with our outer eyes we see personal man, the untrue image, with our inner spiritual vision we are to behold the actual man, the perfect man that Jesus beheld. With our spiritual thought we are to look through deflection or the illusion of matter, and behold the perfect idea of divine intelligence.
Mrs. Eddy once went to call on a patient. After she had looked at the sick man, she turned away and went to the window and looked out saying, “Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for looking at matter.” The patient was instantly healed. If we see matter as anything other than a deflection of actual man, hence non-existent, we are not practicing the laws of divine Science.
Unless we make earnest effort through Christian Science to spiritualize our thought, and to improve our process of thinking, and strive to see actual man and perfect spiritual universe at hand, we are quite apt to lose the process of spiritual thinking altogether.
Mr. Young once said, “We often get into a rut and go right on ‘rutting’!” This might be said of many students and of some practitioners. They get into certain ruts or grooves and go around and around in this fixed routine of thought, with the grooves growing deeper and deeper, until they bury themselves mentally. They have chained themselves to a fixed habit of thought and they have failed to see actual man and the spiritual universe at hand.
Demonstration depends upon improved processes. The demonstration of Christian Science depends upon the degree we attain the Christ Mind in us to see actualities at hand where the deflections or false conditions seem to be. The Christ within us does the healing. It is the “Spirit of Truth and Love” within ourselves that heals. It takes the “one Mind or our conscious Life” that is already the presence and substance of all things, to heal and dispel the deflections of mortal thoughts. We are not to save or reform that which appears to be personal man. Our mission is to give proof that man is not only in God’s presence, but is that presence.
As Christian Scientists, we should not desire to heal in the ordinary sense of healing. To desire to heal a claim or deflection is to have something in our thought beside actuality. But just to say, “There is nothing to heal” will not give proof that error or disease is not present; we must be the actual understanding in which there is no capacity to see or feel anything unlike the Christ image.
It is only as we have (are) the Christ Mind, or are sensibly living Truth within ourselves as our own Mind, that we can see the Christ or the actuality of anyone or anything.
When Peter said to Jesus, “Thou art the Christ,” Jesus immediately answered Peter, “Flesh and blood (meaning the personal mind) hath not revealed it unto thee.” It was the Christ in Peter that could see Jesus as the Christ. (See Matt. 16:16-17)
The Claim of Age
I have been asked to say something about handling the claim of age. What is age? Where is age? Of one thing we may be sure, God is never aged, and His manifestation, actual man, is never aged. Then age is a deflection, an untrue image in the human mind. Age is not a condition to be healed, or to be dealt with. It is not a quality that belongs to God or man.
This deflection, or untrue image of thought, called “age,” claims to out-picture itself as a sense of decline in both power and ability of all the functions or faculties of the human life. It says there is deterioration or decadence of the substance called human body. Do we believe that God, Mind, Life can consciously see within Itself what the human mind calls the “embodiment of all immortal ideas,” can see or feel, or show forth, or experience the untrue image of age?
Mind, or conscious Life, in its very being, is the conscious qualities of enthusiasm, spontaneity, buoyancy, elasticity, agility, vigor, vitality, and these qualities are ever in manifestation as the actual man, the only man.
Does divine Mind ever operate consciously as the deflection of these qualities? Such a thought is unthinkable, unseeable, unfeelable.
Our textbook says: “Men and women of riper years and larger lessons ought to ripen into health and immortality, instead of lapsing into darkness or gloom.” Our textbook says, “Immortal Mind feeds the body with supernal freshness and fairness, supplying it with beautiful images of thought and destroying the woes of sense which each day brings to a nearer tomb.” (See S&H 248:5-11)
When our textbook makes these statements, it is Truth or Mind saying them to us, and since Truth or Mind says that we should “ripen,” then we can do it, but we shall not ripen into health and immortality by trying to ripen or make immortality of deflections. Actual man is already ripened and finished as to his health and immortality, and we do not need to do anything to actual man. But we should turn from the deflection and find ourselves in oneness with the infinite, immortal qualities of God.
Science and Health: “Deflection”:
“The decaying flower, the blighted bud, the gnarled oak, the ferocious beast, — like the discords of disease, sin, and death, — are unnatural. They are the falsities of sense, the changing deflections of mortal mind; they are not the eternal realities of Mind.” (p. 78:1)
“The inverted images presented by the senses, the deflections of matter as opposed to the Science of spiritual reflection, are all unlike Spirit, God.” (p. 305:20)
“Spiritually followed, the book of Genesis is the history of the untrue image of God, named a sinful mortal. This deflection of being, rightly viewed, serves to suggest the proper reflection of God and the spiritual actuality of man, as given in the first chapter of Genesis. Even thus the crude forms of human thought take on higher symbols and significations, when scientifically Christian views of the universe appear, illuminating time with the glory of eternity.” (p. 502:9)