From Addresses by Martha Wilcox
A great many things have been said in the past, and many things are being said now about malpractice, which do not tend to clear the thought of Christian Scientists concerning the claim of malpractice. Much time and energy have been worse than wasted on the part of earnest students in the endeavor to handle this particular error. There is a correct way to handle the claim of malpractice, and we should understand the correct way and then follow it effectually.
Two Views Concerning Malpractice
There are two divergent views concerning what is known as mental malpractice. On the one hand, we often find persons looking here and there trying to discover some hidden thing, which they at once label malpractice. On the other hand, we find students prone to ignore the claim of malpractice altogether, when they should recognize it and deal with it effectually.
What is Mental Malpractice?
Mrs. Eddy’s definition of mental malpractice is most enlightening and deserves far more attention than we usually give it. She says, “Mental malpractice is a bland denial of Truth, and is the antipode of Christian Science.” (Mis. 31:2) In other words, mental malpractice is a state of mind which is the exact opposite of Truth or the exact opposite of divine Mind. Now, since the exact opposite of divine Mind is the so-called mortal mind, then mortal mind is all malpractice. This does not mean that all human beings are intentionally malpractitioners, but the majority of human beings, believing in matter instead of understanding Spirit, do unconsciously malpractice upon themselves and others much of the time.
Two Phases of Mental Malpractice
Mrs. Eddy sets forth two phases of mortal mind or mental malpractice. First, the bland or soothing denial of Truth. These bland or soothing denials of mortal mind are never stimulating, rather do they put us at ease in matter. They put us in a state of non-resistance to the beliefs of mortal mind.
These bland and soothing modes of mortal thought impose upon us the mental qualities of indifference, lethargy, apathy, mental laziness, inaction, all of which we may be quite unconscious of. They impose upon us limitations of capacity, ability, endurance, modes of thought which are the very opposite of man’s God-given dominion.
Example of Bland Denial of Truth
Let us illustrate how mortal mind with its bland or soothing denials of Truth, all unconsciously, takes possession of us and puts us to sleep. There was a student of Christian Science who had severe business reverses. He was nearing his sixtieth year, and mortal mind, through its bland and soothing suggestion, had definitely convinced this man that he was shelved for the rest of his life. Mortal mind said there was no position for a man sixty years of age; there was no money to start a new business with; conditions were never so unfavorable; he could not cope with the new ways of doing business. Mortal mind told him it was just impossible for him to again achieve success, and there was nothing for him but to retire from active life and apply for an old age pension. Now such bland denials of Truth did not in any way stimulate this student, but instead they lulled him to sleep. Here was a man in the prime of life, thoroughly mesmerized into a state of non-resistance to the beliefs of mortal mind.
But his little wife recognized these modes of mortal mind thought as the exact opposite of the divine Mind, or the true expansive modes of thought. She took the mental position that man is never separated from God, good, and finally, through Christian Science, the truth prevailed. This man entered upon an entirely new line of work, something quite simple and inexpensive, but something that developed into a very active, remunerative business. He is happy now in proving that any idea, no matter how small to mortal belief, is expansive and infinite when seen from the standpoint of divine Spirit.
The second phase of mortal mind or mental malpractice which Mrs. Eddy sets forth, is a phase that appears to be more aggressive, more intentional, or maliciously directed. It seems that there are persons who would harm us, “morally, physically, or spiritually,” but any such appearance should always be classified as belief, and never as an actuality. Malicious mental malpractice, so-called, is not so much directed thought, since there is no personal mind, as it is universal belief, the universal belief that there are minds many and some very wicked minds.
No Power or Reality to Mental Malpractice
Mrs. Eddy never, in any of her writings, gives power or reality to mental malpractice, but keeps it entirely in the realm of belief. She says, “Its claim to power is in proportion to the faith in evil, and consequently to the lack of faith in good. Such false faith finds no place in, and receives no aid from, the Principle or the rules of Christian
Science; for it denies the grand verity of this Science, namely, that God, good, has all power.” (Mis. 31:10) She also says, in substance, that if one retains his faith in mortal mind and personal evil, he is on the “broad road to destruction.”
Deny the Apparent Wickedness of Mortal Mind
Of course it would be absurd for Christian Scientists or any other Christian to ignore the apparent wickedness of mortal mind, and especially the wickedness that is malicious. We are admonished in our textbook to deny malicious malpractice. If we believe that we are the object of some evil thought, mentally directed, we should handle this belief and never admit it as anything other than belief. We should handle the belief that there is a personal wicked mind, and handle it entirely within our own thought, and handle it with the actual understanding that “God, good, is the only Mind.” Only in this way does sin and malpractice become extinct in human consciousness.
War is the Apparent Wickedness of Mortal Mind
War is the apparent wickedness of mortal mind, but when “we know that the nothingness of error is in proportion to its wickedness” (S&H 569:10-11), and “the greatest wrong is but a supposititious opposite of the highest right” (S&H 368:1-2), as we are told in our textbook, then we shall understand that war and all the seeming activities of so-called mental malpractice are in the realm of belief only.
Handle Mental Malpractice Daily
Because of the seeming prevalent activity of so-called mortal mind, at this time, expressing itself in calamity, accident, loss and destruction, we should handle malpractice daily. We do not handle it as personal, but we do handle it as opposition or material resistance within the human consciousness to the Truth.
Material Resistance to the Truth
What do I mean by handling material resistance within the human consciousness? Let me illustrate: A Christian Science student called me some time ago and asked for help for herself. She was greatly disturbed because her husband had been drinking heavily. He was not a Christian Scientist. I said to her, “Let us handle material resistance to the Truth within your own consciousness.” She said, “Why, Mrs. Wilcox, what do you mean by that? I do not resist the Truth.” I said, “You know the Truth, and the truth is, that what appears to you as a human being, mesmerized by sin, is in reality the Son of God and divine in being. Now the carnal or mortal mind within your consciousness resists this truth, or contends against this truth, by picturing itself as a personal man mesmerized by the drink habit. The Truth or fact in your consciousness, that man is God’s presence, is resisted by the misconception of man, that he is a personal, mortal, sinning man.”
Let us handle, that is, make nothing of mortal mind beliefs and mental malpractice. Let us see the nothingness of these bland or aggressive denials of Truth within human consciousness. Let us handle them with ever increasing intelligence and effectiveness, but at the same time, let us be wise in dealing with the beliefs of mental malpractice. In the face of the fact that our books abound in the clear explanation of Good, and the allness of the Mind that is Love, the Love that thinketh no evil, yet we find Christian Scientists speaking of evil as if it were actually occurring, and find them constantly contending with what they call malpractice, just as if, were a reality.
It is incorrect, not to say foolish, for a Christian Scientist to imagine all sorts of evil, and then to proceed to work against the creations of his own imagination. Evil or error or belief is not something, but is always nothing. Evil or error or belief is not something that one fights or rejects or ejects. If we have something that we must reject or struggle to eject, we are making a reality of it, and we are adding more difficulties to what originally appeared to require our attention.
Where Does Mental Malpractice Operate?
Where does mental malpractice operate? Mental malpractice claims to operate or exert itself only in its own realm of belief. If we claim divine being and accept no personal sense of ourselves, in the measure that we do this, we are exempt from any consensus of human opinions, or any specific effort of mortal mind to injure us or make us ill.
Suffering for Righteousness’ Sake
It is surprising to meet student practitioners of long standing who believe that they are suffering for “righteousness’ sake.” Such an attitude of thought is an open door for all kinds of suggestions, and the one who believes that he is attacked because he is a Christian Scientist, needs to handle malpractice not as something directed toward him, but he needs to handle his own mesmeric belief of malpractice.
The significant thing about this particular claim, that one suffers because he is a Christian Scientist, is that the Christian Scientist who is suffering, fails to see that he should handle his own mesmeric belief in malpractice. His own mesmeric belief is rarely ever discernible to the Christian Scientist who imagines that he is subject to malpractice.
It is not humanly reasonable to suppose that, here and there, are certain Christian Scientists being selected by malpractice to be the victims for its ministrations. Let us, more and more, take our thought from malpractice as an entity doing something, and understand it as false mesmeric belief in individual consciousness, or understand it as resistance of mortal mind to the truth of Being in individual consciousness.
Through Fire and Through Waves
If, in any instance, we have seemed to pass through the fire and walk through the waves, we can even now recognize the unreality of all such dreams. If we, as Christian Scientists, had always striven to demonstrate the presence of Mind, instead of merely seeking to bring about some human desire, there would have been no waves and no fire for us to pass through. But if we were not wise enough to avoid the waves or the fire, we may rejoice in a more active awakening through which we are now undeceived.
The Real Man
It is necessary to have within ourselves a clearly defined mental position concerning our oneness with Life, Truth and Love, otherwise our mentality is a constant denial of what we actually are, or is a constant malpractice upon ourselves. The distinctive feature of Mrs. Eddy’s work in behalf of humanity is seen in her clear perception of what man is and his oneness with God.
Prior to the discovery of the Science of Mind, the trend of all religious teaching was to relegate man to the realm of inferiority and sin. The human race accepted the testimony of the senses as real, and believed the personal man to be man. In religion, human beings could hardly do otherwise than believe that they were sinners and inferior to God. Hence, in belief, the malicious malpractice upon one’s self was established in religion.
The tendency of the whole Christian Science movement, at this present time, is to fall back to old theology, and think of man according to the testimony of the senses, as sinners and desperately wicked. This attitude of thought harms the individual who is thinking it, more than it harms anyone else. It is a constant malpractice upon man. There should be a definite mental stand against this tendency by Christian Scientists. We, as exponents of Christian Science, should maintain the theology of Jesus, which was, “perfect God and perfect man,” as the basis of our thought and demonstration.
An Intermediate Realm
Too often, Christian Scientists keep themselves and others in an intermediate realm, wherein they are material mortals now, but through a process of salvation will sometime become immortal. They keep themselves in a realm wherein they affirm the Truth and merely resist the error, instead of extinguishing it. This is particularly true when it comes to the question as to whether we are mortals now, or immortals now.
We should detect and reject this subtle malpractice that would ever keep us believing that we are mortal and sinners now, and that eventually we are to be made immortal and sinless by a process of salvation.
What is our Mental Position?
Is our mental position one of truth about ourselves and others, or is it one of malpractice? Do we have within ourselves a mental position of clearly defined Truth, and are we thinking and living from this position? If we think that we are a sinning mortal and that others are sinning mortals, this thought is a sin against the Holy Ghost, against divine Science. If we think such thoughts, we are mental malpractitioners.
What Are We This Instant?
What is our state of mind this instant? Is it Truth or is it malpractice, a denial of Truth? Are we this instant man, or are we the false concept of man? Are we this instant spiritual, or material? Are we this instant immortal, or a mortal? Are we this instant indwelling in God, His image and likeness, or are we separated from Him and unlike Him in character?
Are we this instant incorporeal, or corporeal? Are we this instant universal, or finite and local? Are we this instant spiritually individual or personal? Is our state of thought the Truth, or is it malpractice, which is the denial of Truth? Mrs. Eddy says, “Unless you fully perceive that you are the child of God, hence perfect, you have no Principle to demonstrate and no rule for its demonstration.” (My. 242:8-10)
Evil is But the Hidden Existence of God
The Christian Scientist who stands fast in the oneness of God and man, and knows there is no man unlike and apart from God, his divine Principle, and knows there is no man with any other mind than the one and only Mind, this Christian Scientist with his pure thought is looking through and beyond the mist of mere appearance of man into the realm of the real, and he beholds and knows that all false appearance is but the hidden existence of Good, just as the mirage lake is the hidden existence of the prairie grass.
We have all been instructed in the letter and spirit of Christian Science and we are equipped to carry on a treatment against malpractice. But we cannot give a good treatment if we believe there is a mind to work against us or to injure us. We must designate mental malpractice purely as belief and never permit it to assume any reality whatsoever in our consciousness. Our textbook tells us, “Until the fact concerning error — namely, its nothingness — appears, the moral demand will not be met, and the ability to make nothing of error will be wanting.” (S&H 92:21)
Uncover Error As Nothing
We need to remind ourselves that error is always to be uncovered as nothingness, and is never uncovered until the nothingness of the error is apparent. This is as true of the error called malpractice as it is of any other error. Error is never uncovered except as nothing. So long as there appears to be reality to that which we call error, just so long error is still uncovered. There are times when we find it necessary to argue against the claims of evil, but the arguments used are valueless, unless they result in a clear realization of the nothingness of error.
True practice uncovers any and all error, that is, true practice destroys the belief in error. But we cannot remind ourselves too frequently that the process by which this occurs should progressively become more spiritualized. There should be less of the human element and more of the divine presence in the work of uncovering error. In reality, it is the allness of Truth which makes nothing of error. Therefore, as workers in Christian Science, our conscious sense of Science must be that of Spirit; that is to say, our thought must not merely be about Truth, our thought must be Truth. When our thought is Truth, then error is nothing.
Disease and Wickedness Are Error
Disease is error. Then, when we are asked to take a case of sickness, we consider it error, nothing less and nothing more. Even when that which confronts us appears as wickedness in some form or other, even when it appears as malicious thought or harmful personality, we deal with it as error or nothingness, no thing, no person. There is no other way to deal with error effectually.
Mrs. Eddy says, “Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.” (S&H 71:2) She also says, “God’s law reaches and destroys evil by virtue of the allness of God.” (No and Yes 30:7)
Sole Object of Affirmation and Denial
All affirmations and denials that we make, however elaborate, have for their sole object the realization of the omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence of God, Principle, Love, and we are justified in the use of these words only by the result obtained from their use. We, as Christian Scientists, should present unquestionable proofs of the healing and protective results of our work.
A part of the daily work of every Christian Science student is protection against the possible belief in trouble of any name or nature. And where is this protective work to be done? Protective work is always done in the realm of belief. We should see that mortal mind with all its beliefs of destructiveness and loss and accident, cannot become a part of our consciousness or anybody’s consciousness. That we should constantly know and constantly prove the protective power of omnipotence, need hardly be stated. Our protective work should definitely annul the belief in medical science, together with those of the undertaker, and all other phases of error which claim that every human being must ultimately fall into their hands.
Truth Is Infinite and One
We, as workers in Christian Science, should have the conscious sense of the substance and allness of Spirit, and a consequent realization of the unreality of matter, and the unreality of a material personality. Without such a realization we do not fulfill the metaphysical requirements.
We should associate ourselves with the infinity of Good, and never believe that in so doing, we shall fail in any degree to manifest humanly all that is good for us and for others.
Mind is One and infinite. Mind has no competitor. Nothing is comparable to Mind, for Mind is ALL. An apprehension of this fact is essential to the scientific handling of any phase of malpractice.