We may or may not have an operation, we may or may not take a pill, we may or may not observe religious rituals, but whatever we do (or don’t do) does not affect us either for good or for ill. – from Christian Science Re-Explored by Margaret Laird
I asked a friend why she liked to repeat the Ninety-First Psalm when she was in trouble. She replied that it gave her comfort. She did not realize that the comfort it gave her was the same kind of comfort that an aspirin tablet gives. There is nothing wrong about this if transitory comfort is important to us, and there are times when it may be. But Enlightenment is the real Comfort that we feel in our belief of comfort. The comfort that comes from reading the Bible or from tranquilizers is an abstraction, or belief of comfort, which can easily turn into discomfort. The comfort we need when we are in trouble does not lie in words but in Science, the discernment of spiritual facts, since being is Spirit. Unfettered by nice-sounding, comforting words on which to lean, the Scientist moves to a new dimension of awareness, unfamiliar but exciting and self- fulfilling. – from Christian Science Re-Explored by Margaret Laird
I just finished reading Margaret Laird’s book, Christian Science Re-Explored, and found it wonderfully uncomfortable. I found myself questioning concepts I’d always just accepted as true. Margaret Laird’s book “stirred the waters” of my thought and helped me re-think my beliefs about Christian Science, and look at it in a new way. And that’s not a bad thing. I can’t say that I accept as “true” everything Laird writes – but I get the sense that Laird would have been really disappointed if I did. In fact, one of the big themes in her book was the idea that we should never just blindly accept what any “authority” tell us is the Truth – that individual freedom to explore new ideas, and question old and accepted ones, is something to be celebrated, not squelched. Laird writes: “…the man of imagination…does not regard another’s point of view as needing either rejection or acceptance. He recognizes that dissent is often more creative, more stimulating to original thinking, than consent. This does not mean dissent from the standpoint of right or wrong, but dissent from the standpoint of a view of Reality other than one’s own. Often a viewpoint that differs greatly from our own will do more to stoke the furnace of imagination than one with which we agree. The acceptance of another’s point of view as right, or the rejection of it as wrong, would interfere with our own individual creativity.”
I’m still processing the thoughts presented in Christian Science Re-Explored – the author’s thoughts regarding The Bible, organized and institutionalized religion, Ecclesiasticism, Christianity, and the “technique” of “affirmation and denial” were really interesting to me.
Laird believed that if Christian Scientists use Christian Science as just another health care system – a method for healing some ailment – it’s no different than any other system for treating disease. She writes: “He who prays with a goal in mind is not being the prayer of understanding or unconditioned Love…” and “Christian Science is not a technique or an argument by which we try to remove that which is objectionable to become something man already is but sees as a goal… He who professes Science, ‘declares the Truth’ as if it were an intellectual tool, a means to an end, will find desires unfulfilled, hopes unrealized, goals unattained. If our goals are unattained, it is because goals are on our mind rather than Science or self-fulfillment.” Laird writes: “The Christian Scientist who is Science gives treatments entirely from the standpoint of no goal, no result, no consequence or effect.”
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy assures us “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.” In Christian Science Re-Explored, Margaret Laird refers to what she calls “compensations” as the forms, or mediums, that appear for meeting our human need: “Compensations on the human belief-level—food, air, exercise, sleep, and perhaps the ministrations of a physician— must be identified with and as Love. Their use must not be deplored or seen as obstacles in the path of demonstrating Health, Wealth, Happiness. The fact is that Love supplies the human need in the language of individual discernment. Compensations become obstacles only when the vision is too clouded to identify them with Love. The deplorable is never the use of the compensation, but the ignorance which would separate the compensatory image from Love. Love is the existence of everything contributive to well-being on the human belief-level.”
Laird asks, “Can you imagine Mind, Life, Principle, Truth needing to grow in grace or to sacrifice itself? Then why should man, whose existence is reflection, need to grow in grace or practice self- sacrifice?” I think she asks a really good question there. Starting from the standpoint of man and woman already perfect – reflections of Love, Mind, Life, Principle, Truth – how could we possibly improve or get better? In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The great truth in the Science of being, that the real man was, is, and ever shall be perfect, is incontrovertible; for if man is the image, reflection, of God, he is neither inverted nor subverted, but upright and Godlike.” Eddy writes: “The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, – perfect God and perfect man, – as the basis of thought and demonstration.” Laird believed that to experience true healing one needed to start with the Absolute – perfect God and perfect man. She quoted her Christian Science teacher, Bicknell Young, as saying, “Let absolute Science be your one and only standpoint, for Christian Science is the only Science of Being and therefore the only standpoint from which to be. Give them (patients and seekers) the real, the absolute Science; then they will understand and not have to relearn—and not be confused. Explain from the standpoint of perfection; live from the standpoint of perfection . . . because ‘Perfection is gained only by perfection.’ Perfection is one and absolute. It is always its own protection, blessedness, bliss, and progressive unfoldment. . . .”
Well, dang. I already have 1154 words in this post – 1163 now – oops! 1166! It’s probably time to wrap this baby up: Margaret Laird’s book may or may not represent “Truth” – there were parts of it that were troublesome for me – but it was also wonderfully stimulating for me – got me thinking and questioning and looking at ideas anew. And I’m always glad for that opportunity.
Radical reliance on Truth has been interpreted inconsistently as the non-use of medicine. Scientific healing power has nothing to do with sickness but with ever- present self-fulfilling Health or Wholeness as one’s self. You may need a Christian Science treatment, a pill, a hospital or an institutional church for your personal identity. But, whatever the need, you have only to look out from your own Mind, God, to see that need supplied in discernible form. – from Christian Science Re-Explored by Margaret Laird
Christian Science is not practiced in words (incantations) or in deeds, but in understanding. – from Christian Science Re-Explored by Margaret Laird