No One “Deserves” to be Sick

No one “deserves” to be sick.

When I took my first trip to Europe in 1980 I was fascinated by the old buildings. Some of them were, like, 700 years old! (Where I live the oldest buildings are maybe 150 years old.) I remember wanting to get up next to them and touch them – feel the vibes of all the people who touched them before me in history.

While he was giving me a tour of historic old buildings, my Dutch friend told me that during The Black Plague the entries to villages were actually designed to keep the sick people out – the sick were left to wander without food or shelter or succor in-between the towns. They were left on their own, alone and shunned.

I remember thinking how grateful I was that our world had become more civilized since then.

Right after I got back from Europe the AIDS epidemic hit, and I saw that we maybe hadn’t become all that more civilized. I saw people being shunned again. Some preachers told their congregations that these people deserved to be sick, and deserved to die.

It was a terrible time.

And now we have this. I’m seeing a lot that is giving me hope for our world – I’m seeing people coming together in a way I’ve never witnessed to help each other. And I’m seeing some things, too, that make me realize we still have a ways to go.

NObody “deserves” to be sick. NObody “deserves” to die. No matter your politics or religion, your age or medical history, or errors in judgment – no one “deserves” sickness and death.

In reality, we are all God’s innocent children. There is no guilt attached to us – to any of us. Every moment we are fresh and new and uncontaminated. There is no disease that is more powerful than God’s love and grace.

You are Love’s precious child.

This Body

This body has done everything I’ve asked of it. Since I was 10 months old and taking my first steps, this body has been my chief form of transportation – and my most reliable one. It’s conveyed me to the tops of Mount Rainier, Baker, Adams and Hood. It’s brought me through amazing places of meadows and waterfalls, and sparkling deserts – taken me through foreign streets and foreign landscapes, and through the gardens and orchards of my own backyard. This body has run races, and jumped over high jump bars, caught baseballs and served volleyballs and swung a tennis racket. Its hands have clasped other hands in friendship, stroked my babies’ foreheads as they drifted into sleep, bandaged knees, tied shoes, painted and typed and weeded the garden. This body has given me the means to dance and sing. It’s birthed my two sons for me. Its eyes have given me a means to see the beauty surrounding me, and its ears have given me access to music and laughter. This body has been my faithful instrument; a loyal tool. It may not be as quick or light or nimble as it once was, but it has served me well, and I am grateful for it. So no, you aren’t going to hear me disparaging this body’s weight, or its wrinkles, or its age spots. You aren’t going to hear me talking about this body as if it’s my enemy. This body deserves more than that. This body rocks!

        The elements and functions of the physical body and of the physical world will change as mortal mind changes its beliefs. What is now considered the best condition  for organic and functional health in the human body may no longer be found indispensable to health. Moral conditions will be found always harmonious and health-giving. Neither organic inaction nor overaction is beyond God’s control; and man will be found normal and natural to changed mortal thought, and therefore more harmonious in his manifestations than he was in the prior states which human belief created and sanctioned.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Questions from a friend about Christian Science…

A while ago I had an interesting exchange with a non-Christian Scientist friend on a discussion board. A question somebody else recently asked me about “malicious animal magnetism”  brought my thoughts back, again, to this exchange.  I’m going to share that exchange below. Note that I wasn’t responding to my friend in any official capacity for the Christian Science church. This was just me, responding as me.  I do not represent other Christian Scientists, or the religion of Christian Science, in my response. I’m sure there are Christian Scientists who would give a much clearer and more articulate answer.  But this is my blog, and so it is my response you will be reading here. 🙂

My friend asks:

As a follower of MBE, do you believe that illness is caused by incorrect belief rather than germs? MBE frowned on meds; Do you take meds? What about malicious animal magnetism? MBE sued a guy for MAM, which she claimed inflicted great suffering. Do you believe in that? Wasn’t MBE a morphine addict and schizophrenic?


Are you going to get a flu shot?

***

Karen responds:

I am not so good at following people or personalities. Never been my schtick. I follow ideas, if they make sense to me. And I’m also not so much interested in Mary Baker Eddy’s personal life and don’t really know that much about her, to tell you the truth. I’m pretty sure she was given morphine during her life- I think at the time she was living, morphine was the drug most used as a pain-killer? – I know there was a huge epidemic of morphine addiction with soldiers during the Civil War. I kind of doubt she was addicted to morphine, though, seeing as how she lived to be almost 90 – I’m thinking she must have had a pretty healthy lifestyle to reach that age. And I’ve never heard about her having schizophrenia or any mental illnesses – but if she did, my heart goes out to her, for sure. Poor lady. Whatever she went through in her personal life – whether I would have liked her or not as a person – I can’t say – but I sure do like her ideas about God and healing – I think she was way ahead of her time.

Medical research has shown that certain emotions – fear, anger, hate – produce chemicals that can affect your physical health:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090304091229.htm
http://psycnet.apa.org/?fa=main.doiLanding&fuseaction=showUIDAbstract&uid=2000-13324-011

– and I think this research on the mind-body connection correlates well to the teachings of Christian Science which include the belief that our state of mind plays a part in determining our human experience. On the first website I listed above, the research indicates that your emotions play an even bigger role than having basic needs – if this is true, I wouldn’t be surprised if your emotions/thoughts/beliefs ARE more powerful than germs in determining your health.

Do I frown on people using meds? No. I totally support people doing whatever it is they think they need to do to get well. I myself tend to not use many drugs, though – I’m not sure if this is so much because of my religious affiliation or just because I’ve always tried to live in a way that seems most “natural” to me – and the idea of putting a bunch of chemicals in my body just has never seemed very natural. I do remember taking antibiotics once, but I had a bad reaction and ended up getting sicker from the meds than I was from the original problem. I’ve found that using my understanding of God, Love, has been the most effective way for me to experience healing. But that’s just me and I would never think to force my beliefs on anyone else. (On a side note: I recently talked to a friend on the phone who has been diagnosed with cancer – the drugs she’s been prescribed to take while she’s in remission cost $30,000 to $40,000 a month!!!! Holy shamoley!!! There is something very wrong with our traditional health care system when the drugs people are told they need to take to keep them alive cost as much as a third of a house!!!!)

Do I believe in malicious animal magnetism? Well, I’m not sure what you mean by that, exactly – if you’re talking about the effect malicious thoughts have when they’re directed towards people, then I guess we’ve all, at one time or another, felt the force of hatred directed at us – there have been a few times when I’ve felt someone’s hatred as almost a physical kick in the stomach – and I don’t think we should underestimate the power of that. I think it’s wise to keep our thoughts on guard to that kind of emotion – to try to keep our own thoughts so full of love towards others that we don’t get pulled into that mental realm with them. Not sure that’s exactly what you’re talking about – but that’s the best I can give you, I think.

Karen

Oh. Flu shot? Don’t think so. Are you?

http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/165/11/1495
http://vran.org/personal-stories/vaccine-brain-damage/
http://www.whale.to/vaccine/brain.html
http://www.mercola.com/article/vaccines/neurological_damage.htm
http://www.healing-arts.org/children/vaccines/vaccines-dpt.htm
http://www.nvic.org/NVIC-Vaccine-News/March-2013/effectiveness-of-flu-vaccine-raises-more-red-flags.aspx

http://chemistry.about.com/cs/howthingswork/a/aa011604a.htm

 ***

My friend responds:

“There is something very wrong with our traditional health care system when the drugs people are told they need to take to keep them alive cost as much as a third of a house!!!!)”


We agree!


“I think it’s wise to keep our thoughts on guard to that kind of emotion – to try to keep our own thoughts so full of love towards others that we don’t get pulled into that mental realm with them.”


You are right tolerable.


No flu shot for me either. I don’t like little pricks.

Let’s Stop Hating on Each Others’ Bodies (and On Our Own)

Love, redolent with unselfishness, bathes all in beauty and light. – from Science and Healthy with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

In the 1960s, you could eat anything you wanted, and of course, people were smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things, and there was no talk about fat and anything like that, and butter and cream were rife. Those were lovely days for gastronomy, I must say. – Julia Child

Last week a video clip came through Facebook featuring TV anchor Jennifer Livingston responding to a viewer who had written to her: “I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years. Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.” Jennifer Livingston’s response to this viewer was pretty powerful, and empowering. “I am, ” she said, “much more than a number on a scale.”  http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/tvbizwire/2012/10/video-tv-anchor-goes-on-the-of.php

Not long after this, I saw that the hilarious and talented Melissa McCarthy (of Bridesmaids and The Heat) had encountered a similar sanctimonious criticism of her weight by well-known movie critic, Rex Reed, who wrote: “As a critic whose opinions are constitutionally protected by law, I stand by all of my original remarks about Melissa McCarthy’s obesity, which I consider about as amusing as cancer, and apologize for nothing.” I love how McCarthy responded to Reed’s comments: “”I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate… I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.”  http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/rex-reed-refuses-to-apologize-for-melissa-mccarthy-comments-i-stand-by-all-of-my-original-remarks-2013216#ixzz2ejUgTepD

It would seem that people who are perceived as “overweight” by others are, basically, being told that they have no right to use their talents and gifts and shouldn’t be allowed to be seen by others because it might set a “bad example.”  Overweight people should be, like, invisible…? Hide themselves away until they can present bodies that others find acceptable…?

And… SERIOUSLY?!!

Why do we do this to each other? Why do we feel we need to hate on other peoples’ bodies? Why do we think the size of other people is any of our business? Why do we feel the need to label everything and everyone as good or bad, right or wrong? And what makes us think that our unsolicited advise to someone else about her weight is in any way helpful to the other person?

***

Okay, what I’m about to present isn’t very Christianly Scientific, I guess – but I feel the need to present it just the same. After I read about the experiences of McCarthy and Livingston, I thought I’d do a little research about the correlation between being overweight and ill health. I’m guessing most of us have just sort of accepted what “experts” have told us about the bad effects of being overweight on health – certainly Rex Reed and the man who criticized Livingston’s weight have bought into the idea that being “overweight” is harmful to one’s health – and appear to have used that idea as an excuse to look down on others. But is it really true, from a medical standpoint, that being overweight hurts your health? Curious, I googled.

I found several sites that actually contradicted the commonly accepted meme about weight and health:

“Being overweight linked to lower risk of mortality” one headline reads.  http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/02/health/overweight-mortality/index.html

“Obese individuals with at least moderate CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness) have lower rates of… all-cause mortality than their normal-weight but unfit peers. In fact, death rates in the former group are about one half those of the latter.”  (Editorial, JAMA, 2004) And “If the height/weight charts say you are 5 pounds too heavy, or even 50 pounds or more too heavy, it is of little or no consequence healthwise – as long as you are physically fit. On the other hand, if you are a couch potato, being thin provides absolutely no assurance of good health, and does nothing for your chance of living a long life.” (Steven Blair, P.E.D., Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, 1997.)  http://www.obesitymyths.com/myth4.1.htm

“Recent research suggests that people who are obese but metabolically healthy are in no more danger of dying from heart disease or cancer than healthy, normal weight people.”  http://news.yahoo.com/yes-obese-healthy-185800882.html

***

Okay, all that aside…

Do we think that we’re healthy because we don’t smoke? Do we think that we’re healthy because we eat right, exercise, eat an apple a day, get 8 hours sleep, take our vitamins…? Although it seems sensible to me – and natural – to move, play, run, dance – to express the movement and grace of God –  I also believe it’s natural for us to be healthy – I don’t believe good health is something we have to “earn” by rigidly following a checklist of do’s and don’ts. I believe good health is our right and it’s ours to claim right now.  I also believe that beauty is ours to claim right now. None of us can be “too thin” or “too heavy.” “Beautiful” is not something we have to work on becoming. I believe we’re already there. We can recognize it, right now, in ourselves, in each other, and in all of God’s creation.

***

As the physical and material, the transient sense of beauty fades, the radiance of Spirit should dawn upon the enraptured sense with bright and imperishable glories. – Mary Baker Eddy

 Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man,  governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and  grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness. – Mary Baker Eddy

Immortal men and women are models of spiritual sense, drawn by perfect Mind and reflecting those higher conceptions of loveliness which transcend all material sense. Comeliness and grace are independent of matter. Being possesses its qualities before they are perceived humanly. Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color. – Mary Baker Eddy

It is ignorance and false belief, based on a material sense of things, which hide spiritual beauty and goodness. – Mary Baker Eddy

Truth should not seem so surprising and unnatural as error, and error should not seem so real as truth. Sickness should not seem so real as health. – Mary Baker Eddy

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee.

– Chris Tomlin

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A Healthy Environment and a Most Hospitable Tree

Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great… He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches… He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth…  The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies…  O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches…. thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good…  Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. – Psalms 104

 Down the road about a quarter of a mile  there is rooted a most hospitable cedar tree.  A pair of garter snakes have made their home at its base, a happily buzzing community of busy honeybees have created a hive in its middle, and in a hole further up the tree’s trunk there is a bird’s nest.  The cedar tree has its own little ecosystem dwelling in it…

There are lessons to be learned from this tree. Note that it’s embracing the life living within it. The snakes, bees, and birds, and the tree are all living in harmony with one another. There’s no battle going on there – the bees aren’t taking up more space than they need for their hive, the snakes and bird aren’t fighting over trunk rights. There’s no evidence of greed here. Nothing trying to get more than its share of what it needs to survive.  It is A Peaceable Kingdom of a Tree.

And isn’t a peaceable kingdom what we want for our whole world? Don’t we want to see all of creation living in healthy harmony?

Our environment seems to be in real trouble right now. The Earth’s water, land, and air are polluted; our food has been genetically-altered from its natural state; we have rising seas and rising temperatures.  We appear to have gotten ourselves in a real mess.

How can we, as expressions of Life and Love, help heal our environment?

Working to help heal our environment has been an on-going demonstration for me. I’ve been involved in environmental causes since I was a youngster. I’ve written letters, signed petitions, marched with signs, boycotted corporations that seem to be working against a clean environment, written blog posts, taken photos, recycled, had No Car days, picked up trash, and tried to become conscious of the affect I have on the world around me.  These actions have all been the human footsteps I’ve felt led to take to help heal our environment.

But I’ve found the best place for me to START when I’m looking for healing is in my own thoughts – my internal environment.  As Jesus said  (Luke  17), “…the kingdom of God is within you.” I believe we carry around our own heaven, and our own hell in our thoughts. And to help heal myself and the world, I believe I need to be diligent about casting out the hell-thoughts of greed, selfishness, fear, ego, pride, cruelty, hopelessness, and guilt in my own consciousness – because those suckers are, for sure, not going to help me or anything around me.  And while I’m emptying my human consciousness of the hell-stuff, I’m filling my consciousness  with the heaven-thoughts of love, joy, kindness, generosity, hope, wisdom – these are the thoughts that bring me near to God, Love, and bring healing.

I’m not going to ignore the erroneous actions that come from greed and cruelty, or try to appease the greedy and corrupt in any way.  Mohatma Gandhi said, “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” And  I refuse to let the greed and selfishness that seem to be in the world have any power over me – I’m not going to let someone else’s greed make me afraid, or take away my hope, or have any control over me whatsoever.  I’m not going to allow some corporation’s dishonest engineering or thoughtless polluting have any effect on my health or well-being. I refuse to let the corruption in politics stop me from doing my job of expressing God – of being kind, wise, and loving.  I refuse to be led astray from my job of working out my “own salvation.”

Are we without hope? Is it too late to heal our environment? Are we already experiencing “the end of the world”?

Nope. I believe that “nothing is impossible to God” – that it’s never too late for a victory over evil. Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Human hate has no legitimate mandate and no kingdom. Love is enthroned. That evil or matter has neither intelligence nor power, is the doctrine of absolute Christian Science, and this is the great truth which strips all disguise from error.”

I believe that as we transform and purify our thoughts – our outward environment will be transformed and purified, too.

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth…And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. – Genesis 1