I follow a number of blogs written by both practicing and former Christian Scientists. I try to find ones that are inspiring, thought provoking, different, well-researched, and relatively new to the scene. There are lots of interesting CS and former-CS bloggers out there.
The other day, LebensFreude-Heilung (for the English, visit Vitality and Healing) posted a photo from Miscellaneous Writings, along with:
Metaphysical hygiene – “a priceless sense of the dear Father’s loving-kindness” (Mary Baker Eddy) – is the cornerstone for health.
Geistige Hygiene – “das unschätzbare Gefühl von des lieben Vaters liebvoller Güte” (Mary Baker Eddy) – ist der Eckstein für Gesundheit.
First I was curious about the translation. Geistige does not literally translate into metaphysical, it translates into mental, intellectual, or Spiritual with the root of the word, Geist, meaning mind, spirit or ghost (depending on context).
The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary defines metaphysical as “supernatural” and “highly abstract” but I suppose if you’re combating Mortal Mind/aggressive mental suggestion (which is fairly unique), you need a highly specialized method to deal with them.
I find myself preferring the German translation, somehow, I find the idea of intellectual hygiene less off-putting. It could be interpreted as intellectual honesty, being honest with yourself and those around you about your methods, proceeding in an ethical manner. Checking your work, citing your sources, using the scientific method.
Spiritual hygiene is a bit odder, but I can see how it could work. I think things like adhering to the Golden Rule and being kind everyone, would be part of keeping one’s Spiritual Self “clean.”
As the only truly in-focus part of the text in the photo was metaphysical hygiene, I decided I should try and find the rest of the text. I did a bit of searching and found it was from Miscellaneous Writings p. 240, and the quote in the picture was part of a larger article entitled “I’ve Got Cold” starting on p. 239.
The article, “I’ve Got Cold” is a rather odd one. The writer, I’m assuming Ms. Eddy, witnesses:
The description of the young woman, “red nose, suffused eyes, cough, and tired look” are all things Ms. Eddy has said in the past are unreal – why is she listing the symptoms now? When people call their CSP they are intentionally vague as mentioning symptoms will only give them credibility and strengthen the false hold they have on the person!
While it is all very well and good to say “I have not got cold.” the reality is the symptoms that were described by Ms. Eddy herself, the red nose, suffused eyes, cough and tired look, say otherwise. While it is nice to think that simply saying “I’m not sick” is simply going to cure all that ails you and through that
I remember someone once told me that all healings are/were instantaneous. They then attempted to explain that the “instant” that I “knew the Truth” the healing would occur. I guess I’ve never known the right Truth because I’ve never seen the physical healings that Ms. Eddy promised.
In the middle of all of this interesting logic I found a gem of wisdom. Taken out of the rest of the context (which is fine, because that’s what makes up so much of CS anyway), it is actually fairly decent advice:
We don’t tell Kid1 and Kid2 that “you will get cold” we tell them “you will wear a jacket.” We try not to blow danger out of proportion, while instilling common-sense things like, “look both ways when you cross the street.” We do our best not to tell them they will fall, or be hurt, while reminding them to be careful, and wash their hands before meals. If they climb up too high in a tree, we try to be there to talk them down, not just pluck them from the branches.
The article rambles a bit more and then there is this interesting tidbit:
I don’t think children naturally love God, I think, that to some extent, they naturally want to please their parents. If they see their parents “love God” then they are likely to follow. Similarly when they see their parents passions, appetites, pride and selfishness they pick up on that as well. Sweeping generalization time, but little kids usually want to make their parents happy, proud and to be reminded that they are loved. They mimic their parents actions (Kid1 enjoys using a large block as an “ipod” and Kid2 loves to help vacuum clean), so yes, parents should be careful what they do and say around their children – but I would’ve thought that is a given regardless of religious theory.
I happen to agree with the next line:
Teach the children early self-government, and teach them nothing that is wrong.
I’m fairly sure Ms. Eddy and I will disagree about what qualifies as “wrong” – I for example am not going to introduce my children to the concept of “mortal mind” and I am going to tell them it is acceptable to take medication. I have no intention of introducing them to Christian Science until they are older, and even then, I plan on introducing it as a religion, sort of like Catholicism, or Buddhism: it is interesting, it has something to offer, for some people it is the right path, but it is not one I would recommend.
Ms. Eddy then plunges headlong into an example that I find difficult to follow:
I agree, the physical is “easier” to heal, but I’m fairly sure my “easy” solution is at odds with what Ms. Eddy has in mind. I don’t think that the flu is caused by a “moral malady” the fact-check peer-reviewed science which I believe in shows it is a virus, not mortal mind which causes it. I agree, I am not sick: my immune is fighting an epic battle against an invader, so perhaps I should rest and properly take care of myself so that it has the best chance of success.
Thinking good thoughts and proclaiming the Truth is not a substitute for proper medical care, and modern hygiene practices. Practice metaphysical hygiene and be honest with yourself about what is going on. Acknowledging sickness is not empowering it, it is empowering you to realize you need to take action to rid yourself of the malady. If it is raining you take an umbrella (or other appropriate rain gear), if you have a nasty cold you get rest.