Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Bible Quotes" 2 Timothy 3:16,17

"Bible Quotes" are shared with Prayerful Living by Dave Herring.

The Trial and Error

By D. Michael Day


In the chapter on Christian Science Practice, Mrs. Eddy gives us the allegory of a trial. It occurred to me we might look at this from a different perspective and gain another valuable insight to be certain we are using our free time wisely.

Suppose you wake up in the morning exhibiting all the symptoms of a cold. We don’t have to list them, but we know what they are. Here is where we have to choose sides and our immediate choice is extremely important. Consider yourself at the accident scene and you are collecting the evidence. Have we “scene” error or choose to un-see it?

If this were a crime scene you expect it will go to trial and immediately start to work on the side of the defense or the prosecution/persecution, whichever side you want to win. Whichever provides overwhelming evidence usually wins.

If you immediately complain about the symptoms (how you feel, how the symptoms are affecting you, how they will continue to negatively affect you and others as you go on to your daily activities) you have already enlisted on the side of the prosecution/persecution. If you try to recall what you did to bring this on (I didn’t get enough sleep, I was out in the rain yesterday and got cold, I slept in the air conditioning, I was around what’s his face and got it from him, I didn’t wash my hands properly, etc. etc.) you effectively are pleading guilty to the crime and must automatically accept the punishment of the court without contest. You are arguing against yourself and thus divided you cannot win.

After you have admitted to the crime, it’s difficult to go back and plead not guilty, calling a defense attorney to represent you throughout the upcoming trial. You have already given the prosecution a motive and opportunity. In fact you have given your adversaries everything necessary to prosecute/persecute you. And you probably did all this in the first 60 seconds of noticing the symptoms. Creating a mess is much easier than having to clean it up. Ask any kid.

Then you come to your senses and say, wait, I am a Christian Scientist and I know how to handle this.  How much longer and harder are you going to have to work to defend your thinking against that first 60 seconds of self-condemnation? A stitch in time saves nine - Ben Franklin. How much more difficult have you made it for your defense attorney to overturn all the evidence you handed over to the prosecution on a silver platter? Error is the “charger” and this is not the time to lose your head. Even John the Baptist didn’t carry his own silver platter knowing the consequences error can adjudicate.

Remember you may continue to suffer with the symptoms as long as it takes to be proven not guilty. Thus you submit to be punished in advance, even before the trial begins and all during the trial, if you concur with the false belief that the symptoms will prevent you from going about your daily activities, even worse, that you are contagious (mentally or physically) to others and must avoid them. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - ditto Franklin.

So the next time mortal mind wants to convince you that something is wrong based on error’s symptoms, remember your Miranda rights*, watch what you unwittingly claim for yourself (about yourself) and consult your defense attorney immediately,  Hymn 80, line 1 reminds us “God is our refuge and defense,”. This is like having an attorney in the family and since He is our refuge, our habitation, where we live, we don’t have to go anywhere to find Him. Instant access.

Don’t straddle the fence when you’re on trial, you want all your efforts to be on the side of the defense, not the offense.

Never admit guilt or make statements against your best interests, including mental statements since all is Mind and therefore mental statements are the most powerful. Deny error now and you won’t commiserate in misery with it later.

* What Are Your Rights? It requires that error’s symptoms (the first agent of the prosecution on the scene of the crime) advise you of certain facts before questioning you. You have the right “and ability” to remain silent. Anything you admit (submit to error) is used against you. You have the right to have a lawyer of Love present during questioning and one can be appointed for you. Get the best one, know your rights and stick to them rights so you won’t be left to struggle alone.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Shadows

By D. Michael Day


Fall represents a season of harvest. It is a time for bringing in the fruits of our labors in gratitude and Thanksgiving. It is a time of preparation, for the farmers understood the need to store and protect the good they had produced. The fields were harvested of their grains and produce. This often required separation like the chaff from the wheat, or cooking and preserving fruits and vegetables by canning or freezing. Such further preparations assured the blessings of the harvest would last through the dark and cold winter months to come.

It was an opportunity for friends and families to join together to share in the abundance. It was appropriate that no one was left out and that everyone’s needs were met. It was also marked by the unexpected, commonly known as Halloween. Here the homeowner had to prepare for the arrival of unexpected guests in the form of ghosts and goblins witches and warlocks, or the onslaught of a bevy of children with open hearts and hands crying, “Trick or Treat”. The homeowner was obliged to sacrifice some of his harvest to placate the cravings of these intruders or suffer the consequences. Usually a Snickers bar is sufficient because “you’re not yourself when you’re hungry”.

Halloween was always marked by shadows and the unexpected of the night. The darkness limited man’s ability to see and often his imagination and fear was greater than the actual reality of what was there. To enhance the mystery, and their chances for getting treats, children wore disguises to emphasize their powers and abilities, to make themselves look bigger and more menacing or foreboding. Sure sounds a lot like mortal mind trying to aggrandize itself.

This leads me to appreciate the shadow hand puppet. In this example, the fingers and hands are arranged in such a manner to portray a rabbit. It takes a while to develop this talent of creating lifelike shadow puppets, but the technique always involves the manipulation of the hands and fingers. If you wanted to change the representation or figure on the wall you didn’t try to alter the shadow, you understood the need to rearrange the positions of the fingers. Thus the shadow was the result of something else and to change the shadow you had to change something else. The key is controlling your false concept of the “something else”.

It’s also interesting to note all the elements must be present in order to create the illusion of the rabbit. First of all you needed a good source of light, next you needed a talented mortal to manipulate the light and finally you needed a blank white wall to receive the projected image which is always larger than the original. So in a sense you have gone from the light of Truth, through a mental barrier, to project a false larger-than-life image or outline of the absence of light on a blank wall (mortal receptivity). A great definition of error. It is important to realize that you only see the shadow if you look away from the light, because when you look towards the light shadow cannot be seen and disappears behind you.

Let’s explore more about the shadow which somehow seems so real to mankind that we spent all our life trying to change the shadow, materiality.

Is the shadow a real, sinister figure, intent on evil, lurking in the background when your back is turned and your attention is drawn away from the truth, always seeking an opportunity to pounce upon you and steal your goods? One of the definitions of shadow as a verb is to follow someone about in hiding. This is the Trick to rob you of your goods, your peace of mind, your being in the presence of God. 

Do you know anyone with a shadowy character or past? Someone who lives in the shadows that is argumentative, accusatory, a bully, your opposite alter-ego? Do previous actions or reputation overshadow their true self to such an extent that you can no longer see the real but only absence of light? We are told that shadows disappear in the light of Truth and this happens when we remove the material impediment that blocks the light. We no longer live in the shadow of the Valley of Death and its influence, but become free to live under the jurisdiction of the Almighty and under the shadow of his mighty wings. That’s the Treat!

"Bible Quote" John 4:23

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Bible Quotes: John 14:12

"Bible Quotes" are shared with Prayerful Living by Dave Herring.

Your Job is to Mirror Me

By Anthony Whitehouse CS

That is to say that you are to have no thoughts of your own but to reproduce and show forth my thinking rather than being concerned about your own situation.

You must be my image and likeness but you will not be that you if you are preoccupied with yourself.
To mirror forth my Mind, to the be the Christ you must faithfully reflect My being. To be my mirror, to be My likeness means only showing forth the nature of My being.

A perfect mirror does just that. It reproduces exactly the model before it. It has not concerns of its own. It possesses nothing of its own. Its only preoccupation is reproduction.

Many would like to emulate the Christ and heal the way that he healed but few are ready to abandon their own thoughts and preoccupations. That was the genius of both Jesus and Mrs Eddy. Total sublimation of self. Their only concern was to mirror forth the beauty they saw in the Divine Mind.

Authors note : After writing this note I realised that we do not do a good job of mirroring the Divine nature because we are too preoccupied with human concerns. Of course, the issue here is that such preoccupation , being mesmerism, stops the mirroring activity.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

God is the Truth

By Anthony Whitehouse CS

Taken out of a metaphysical context the statement, “God is the truth," seems like one of those overarching edicts which sound nice but don’t seem particularly relevant to day-to-day living. Even Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor given the job of examining Jesus’ guilt seemed totally non-plussed by the whole question.

The issue of truth arose, as we read in the Gospel of John, in the following exchange which took place between him and Jesus.


John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
John 18:38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?

As one says in today’s parlance: Pilate just did not get it. He did not understand the significance of Truth in its metaphysical context. To be honest neither did I appreciate the real importance of Truth until a rather remarkable healing occurred recently.

At the end of 2014 a lady (not a member of our church) visited our reading room. We had several discussions about Divine Science and how it effects healing. She was assiduously reading and studying both the lesson sermon and Mrs Eddy’s text book, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures. On one occasion she remarked to me that she was concerned for her daughter. Despite being very well qualified she was unable to find work. My response to her was quite simple. “Your daughter has qualities given to her by God, so someone is going to find those qualities attractive.” And that is where the conversation ended.

A few weeks ago she reappeared in the reading room, her face covered smiles, indicating that she had some good news. I assumed that her daughter found a job. “Not at all”, she replied. “She became pregnant, and she is thirty-seven.” I rejoiced with her and marveled at this news but then she added “But you have no idea how much of a blessing this is. The doctors had told her that it was physically impossible for her to conceive”.

Again I rejoiced, but after she left the reading room I began to consider carefully the whole unfoldment that had just taken place, the sharing of truth and the subsequent blessing which had occurred. My quandary was that the sharing had been effortless, without any intent on my part save to share the truth as I knew it. I knew this daughter had to be blessed but I had not outlined what the blessing would be, but the healing nonetheless occurred. Furthermore none of actors on this stage could claim it was «their» healing because it had occurred without a specific directed effort to overcome sterility. That it was God’s work was very clear to all!

For several days I prayed hard to understand the lesson of this healing because this blessing had occurred whereas other issues I had been working on had not been resolved. What lessons could I take away from this occurrence which I could apply in the future?

After a couple of days I was able to see this healing in its correct light. It became clear to me that Truth had been shared and Truth had implemented itself. I had not been concerned with its implementation because I had no consciousness of the challenge of infertility. I was uniquely concerned, as was her mother, with the Truth of this daughter’s true being and her God given talents as they were bestowed by God.

But I then had to ask myself “Why is just the knowing of Truth so powerful”. Immediately the answer came back “Because God is Truth”. Then I understood: when we know Truth we know God. If we have the Truth, we have God. This is the point that Pilate had not been able to see. Neither had I , up until this point. The widow of Zarapheth understood the importance of truth when she saw her child healed by Elijah declaring “Now I know by this that thou are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth” 1 King 17:24.

Up until the arrival of Jesus on the human scene God was seen as some superhuman mensch who appeared from time to time to effect miracles and behaved in a somewhat mysterious manner. Jesus however cast God is a very different light indicating that God was entirely spiritual and not the slightest bit human or whimsical. He was a perfect state of Mind which just did not countenance error in any form. All of which help us understand Jesus’ admonition «Be ye perfect , even as your Father in heaven is perfect». Mrs Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science church defines God in her textbook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as Life, Truth and Love. A man is not Life Truth and Love but he reflects Life, Truth and Love. We are like musicians who play music but in our spiritual construct the music we express is these spiritual qualities. And guess what? If we are to be children or expressions of God that is exactly what is required of us, the expression of Life, Truth and Love.

What makes the expression and understanding of Truth especially important and critical to healing is that it enfolds the operation of divine law. Mrs Eddy came to understand that if you understood the nature of God it would displace, as a matter of law, the apparent claims of evil which appear as sin , sickness and death. Why? Because Mrs Eddy realised that these errors could not stand in the place of God, Truth as a matter of law. For example, if you know you have money in the bank no one could ever convince you that you were poor. The truth is that you are wealthy and no counter argument could prevail precisely because you knew the truth about your financial situation.

You can take the same logic and apply it to metaphysical facts. If, for example ,you understand the truth that God is the exclusive power in your life ( which is a divine truth ) then you not only understand that no other power can operate to your detriment but you understand this as a matter of divine law. A conviction then appears which is supported by truth and by law and this necessarily heals. Many find this difficult to take on board because it appears to be slightly strange but it is no more strange than the truth that boats float. There is a law of buoyancy there to support boats even though it is somewhat curious. But why question the existence of the law? The point is that we should take advantage of it.

Hence we begin to understand why Truth is a vital element in the healing process. The object of Christian Science practice and healing is to understand or figure out the particular truth or nature of God which displaces error. Sometimes we are only too well aware of the truth because we have encountered the problem before. Sometimes it appears to be a novel issue we have not come across before but we have at our disposal two great books in the Bible and Science and Health which help us unpack the truth we need to know. Anyone who has ever read the fruitage section of Science and Health will realise that there are few problems which have not been healed in these pages.

However in all travails we must never forget that the understanding of God ,which necessarily involves the truth about His nature, is what we are really all about. If we understand God then we necessarily understand the nothingness of sin, sickness and death because they have nothing to do with His nature. It is for this reason Jesus advised «3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.» John 17 Jesus understood the truth about God’s nature and it was this understanding which made him the Christ. By the same measure it is our understanding of Truth of the nature of God which also blesses and gives us the kingdom, free from sin, sickness and death.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Are you a Planet or a Plan-It?

By D. Michael Day

When I was in elementary school our report cards not only captured our grades, but also listed social skills that were monitored by the teacher. These included items such as being neat and clean; tardiness; being prepared; listening; etc. They were not “graded” but simply had a small box for the teacher to add a checkmark indicating, “Needs Improvement”. My dad teased me when I got a check mark next to “Whispering in class”. He said, “Don’t you know how to whisper?” I recall receiving a lot of checkmarks in the column, “Using free time wisely”, an indicator of things to come because I was pretty much on my own schedule of things I wanted to do and the time I felt was available for me to achieve them.

Fast-forward to this past weekend when many of us were able to observe an unusual event called a “Super Blood Moon Eclipse”. This rare occurrence is when the moon is closest to the earth at the same time as a full eclipse and because of light refraction causes it to have a reddish glow. We knew the exact time the eclipse would start and stop, from where it could be seen and what to expect. We were also cautioned not to be late and miss it because this would not occur again until 2033. The exact date and time can again be precisely calculatedMrs. Eddy tells us the, “Suns and planets teach grand lessons.” (240:7), but also reports, “The planets have no more power over man than over his Maker, since God governs the universe; but man, reflecting God's power, has dominion over all the earth and its hosts.” (102:12)

Does it seem strange that we can learn grand lessons from the things over which we have dominion? The teacher can learn from the student since the demonstration of principle is the same in each. But how about the word planet (plan-it); is there a difference in the controlled and the controller?

Here I will insert one of Mrs. Eddy’s writings (Mis 230:1-21) entitled IMPROVE YOUR TIME:
     “Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing. A great amount of time is consumed in talking nothing, doing nothing, and indecision as to what one should do. If one would be successful in the future, let him make the most of the present.
     Three ways of wasting time, one of which is contemptible, are gossiping mischief, making lingering calls, and mere motion when at work, thinking of nothing or planning for some amusement, — travel of limb more than mind. Rushing around smartly is no proof of accomplishing much.
     All successful individuals have become such by hard work; by improving moments before they pass into hours, and hours that other people may occupy in the pursuit of pleasure. They spend no time in sheer idleness, in talking when they have nothing to say, in building air-castles or floating off on the wings of sense:  all of which drop human life into the ditch of nonsense, and worse than waste its years.”

Apparently moving around smartly (over planning) can be just as bad as moving around foolishly (bad planning). This is another name for scheduling. Can you imagine the moon rushing ahead smartly so it wouldn’t be late for the next eclipse, or the sun changing the revolution of the planets so the days would be longer in summer or shorter in winter? The planets are in perfect alignment and perfect operation. So why is it one man never seems to have enough time, while another has time on his hands? Isn’t it the way we artificially fill our calendars with human to-dos rather than letting spiritual assignments unfoldment? We set our own timetables, our “Alarm” clocks (who wants to be motivated by constant alarms and crises)? Do we fill our days or fulfill our daze (adding unnecessarily to the commotion demanding our attention)?

At the end of the day can we look back and see how much material good we’ve accomplished compared to the spiritual progress we have made. Are we (and those we strive to bless) any better off for the time and effort we expended? If God is planner of the planets, shouldn’t we allow him to be the planner of our existence and schedule? He is a time and planning efficiency expert, par-excellence!

When we take our rightful place as a planet, revolving effortlessly, without friction, around the central sun (divine Mind) in the heavenly universe (the kingdom of heaven/harmony) operating entirely under the direction and omnipotence of God (not our own self-propulsion or false deadlines) we are experiencing perpetual motion, which can only be achieved when there is no resistance. We give up the false concept of ourselves as a plan-it, trying to regulate our own needs, speeds and course, trying to accomplish a self-imposed and often impossible material goal with little or no degree of success. Insistence is futile.

A well beloved and often repeated poem goes:
I am in the spot where God shines through (he assigns a time and space for me, my appointed place)
for He and I are one, not two. (not two conflicting, opposing minds debating on overlapping agenda items)
He wants me where and as I am (I am properly suited and prepared for every task He delegates to me)
so I’ll not fear nor fret or plan. (I will exclude outside interference or influence in my thinking or experience)
If I’ll just be relaxed and free (the moon reflects what it receives. It doesn’t create anything itself nor do we)
He’ll carry out His plan for me. (He carries us, we don’t carry the burden, we don’t “achieve” anything)

Jesus asks, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” (Matt 6:27). It follows that we cannot reduce our stature by thought, neither can we accomplish or eliminate any material activity based on personal expenditure of time, effort, physical gyrations or mental machinations. We accomplish nothing of ourselves for we are simply the mirror, the reflection of God’s calendar of events. We cannot move time ahead by moving the hands of the clock, neither can we, by our own hands, accomplish anything God has not ordained for us. Accomplishing an erroneous task is no accomplishment at all.

So let’s think a little bit about predestination or fate. Some religions believe that God has given man “free will”. This is described as the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion. Here, man has the freedom to act as he chooses, but is subject to retribution in retaliation for making wrong choices. What do Christian Scientists believe? Are we under the same positive and absolute control as the planets or is there some latitude for self-determination? Do you think Jesus was controlled by God, was his preordained fate sealed even though he asked that it be removed from him? How about Saul/Paul, Moses, Noah to name just a few? Were they not given specific assignments and timetables to achieve God’s plan for humanity as His representatives on earth?

Aren’t we governed the same way, perhaps unseen and unknown, but the still small voice is always there, whether hidden by cloud or human comment, we are always being directed along our pass in a timely progression. Does traffic slow us down, a rainstorm, a stoplight, an indecisive driver ahead of us, a detour, an event seemingly out of our control? This is not an impediment to our schedule, but part of God’s infinite plan for us to be at the right place and at the right time of His appointing. It is up to us to a knowledge the opportunity and express the truth that we of been freely given to bless others in need around us. Perhaps it delays us from our self-appointed schedules, but we are never too early or too late for God’s expression where it is needed. For the love we express brightens the path of others whom we may not know and is either reflected back or shines forward as part of our continuous expression of God. His will, His schedule, His plan is all that exists and nothing on our agenda can ever interfere with the divine expression, infinite, omnipresent and omnipotent. As a child I needed parental approval before acting. Nothing has changed.   

There is no detour nor distraction for God so there can be none in our experience either. Diversions to human planning are often expressed as God’s direction superseding our man-made agendas. Obviously if we have not left sufficient time to respond as a “Good Samaritan” when needed along the way (to demonstrate the allness, the all-in-oneness, the all-inclusiveness of God and man) God intervenes for us.    

We experience great relief, rest and can be completely at peace when we accept, as Jesus did, the inevitable, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42) which is a fulfillment of Mrs. Eddy’s Manual requirement of the Sixth Tenet, “And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure.” It is useless to carry someone else’s cross and we could not if we would. Our sole duty is to God. Listening to his agenda will take the fret, frenzy and worry from our experience and false, self-imposed burdens completely disappear.

Jesus’ observation, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30) will help us “do more” than was ever humanly possible before. It is a divinely authorized and completely attainable agenda for all mankind.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

God's Emergency Plan

D. Michael Day


We have great proof of God’s dear care for each beloved child.
He holds each one of us so near, the prodigal, the wild.
God has a plan to get us home if we have gone astray,
Desire in an emergency will help our find our way.

Immersing is like stepping down into Bethesda’s pool,
its waters stirred by angel’s touch, but you must heed the rule
to be the first one stepping in to have your ailment cured.
Imagine waiting there for years, your malady endured.

Submergence is the second step as John the Baptist did
to purge the heart and soul of sin, your consciousness to rid
of every thought and deed impure, to wash your garments clean,
to agitate the dust and dirt, removed it can’t be seen.

Emergence is the second birth, we must be born again
of water and of spirit if we wish to enter in
the kingdom of our God and of his Christ, and of our Lord.
When Love reigns in our consciousness it shows in deed and word.

Insurance or Assurance, which policy is yours?
God’s tides of Love flood human sense and beat upon Life’s shores.   
Immerse, submerge, emerge our thoughts, reveals the perfect man.
Nothing else could e’re replace God’s Emergency plan.

D. Michael Day 9/19/2015

Author’s note:
We often hear that everyone should develop an emergency plan, a hurricane or tornado plan, an evacuation plan, a disaster plan, a recovery plan, etc. It includes the preordained steps we intend to follow in the event of an emergency or accident.

Man’s definition of “emergency” is quite unlike God’s and is usually only invoked in dire straits.

It occurred to me that God probably has an emergency plan for man, where men can reach out in his extremities and constantly be assured that God has a secure preordained plan for His child’s protection.

God’s definition of “emergency” is like an ongoing three-step process of baptism by the Holy Ghost.

First we must immerse ourselves, stepping into the purifying pool of divine science with confidence, similarly to the Israelites as they stepped into the Red Sea, the first ones getting their robes wet before the waters divided.

Second we must submerge ourselves completely in the substance of spirit, washing every nook and cranny to free materialistic imperfect thought, dust to dust or the Adam man and leaving man cleansed and free of impurities.

Finally we must emerge, as Jesus told Nicodemus, we must be born again of water and of spirit. To be as a ship borne upon the water is to be carried above the water, to float above the material senses and emerge into the spirit, the atmosphere of Truth and Love. During this continual process of imerging, submergence and emergence (entering, being enveloped and rising “leavening”) we are daily cleansed and washed clean. This is the only “Emergency” Plan God recognizes, the constant, ever-present purification or baptism of mankind (no accidental start or heroic finish involved).

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Letter Home

D. Michael Day


On page 16 in the Science and Health Mrs. Eddy gives us the spiritual sense of the Lord’s prayer. She takes each individual idea and interprets it from a metaphysical basis to give us a clearer sense of Jesus’ words. Recently many of our branch churches and even The Mother Church has included citations from some of the newer translations of the Bible which are helpful in putting these important passages into a clearer context for us to understand in modern language. I thought it be interesting to do the same thing with the Lord’s prayer and wondered how a college student, perhaps away from home for the first time, might be writing to stay in touch with their parents. Perhaps their letter sent home to their parents might go something like this:

Our Father which art in heaven,  
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,
Hi Mom and Dad, Thanks for staying in touch. I’m glad to hear everything is going so well at home

Hallowed be Thy name.  
Adorable One.
Being away for the first time, I realize how grateful I am to have such wonderful parents as you.

Thy kingdom come.  
Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present.
It’s so easy to close my eyes and know that my home and family are always with me in my heart and my consciousness no matter where I go or how far away I travel. It’s like you’re always with me.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  
Enable us to know, — as in heaven, so on earth, — God is   omnipotent, supreme.
I just wanted to say how grateful I am for my upbringing and the values you instilled in me. It’s almost like you are with the each day guiding me when I am gone the same way you did when I was there.

Give us this day our daily bread;  
Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections;
And thank you again for my allowance. The check really came in handy and I know it was sent with love so I could purchase those extra goodies whenever I seem to run low. I never lack for anything.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  
And Love is reflected in love;
I know I can never repay you for all the wonderful things you have given me and for setting me on the right path so I am paying the debt forward to everyone I meet, just as you would want me to.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;  
And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth   us from sin, disease, and death.
The kids up here are doing a lot of questionable things which seem to be popular, but I can clearly see past the influence of such destructive behavior. The spiritual foundation you gave me shelters and protects me and my friends from anything trying to disrupt our good relationship.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  
For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over   all, and All.  
I realize now that the upbringing you gave me at home is more important to my life and career than anything I will learn in college. The basis for happiness is not formal education, but the power of infinite wisdom, a clean mind and heart, living a life of which I can be proud without regret, never lying, cheating or being deceitful, and learning to see loving qualities in everyone, not just my friends, but all with whom I come in contact. College doesn’t make you smart, good choices do. I love you and feel your presence with me every day. 

Thank you forever. Well I guess that’s All for now. Your loving son, J.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Placebo + Nocebo ≠ Healing

by Tom Taffel

If you are familiar with the placebo effect, (from the Latin: “I will please”), you may find it even more useful to know about the pernicious nocebo effect, meaning: “I will harm.”  It would make one worse rather than better – based on mere expectation alone.  We can see these phases of mortal mind as powerless and implausible when viewed through the lens of Truth.
                
Over one hundred years ago, the placebo and nocebo reactions were unveiled by Mary Baker Eddy.  She termed them “aggressive mental suggestion,” a subterfuge that would pose impediments to spiritual healing.

In her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy gives a clear example of the nocebo effect:  “A man was made to believe that he occupied a bed where a cholera patient had died.  Immediately the symptoms of this disease appeared and the man died.  The fact was, that he had not caught the cholera by material contact, because no cholera patient had been in that bed.” (Science and Health  154:10).   Fast forward to 1961, when the term “Nocebo Reaction” was introduced to the medical profession by physician Walter P. Kennedy. (“The Nocebo Reaction,” Medical World, Vol. 95, September 1961, p. 203-205). 

The placebo is deception based on hopeful expectation, (commonly in the form of an un-medicated sugar pill), whereas the nocebo - the placebo’s opposite - is a negative suggestion, which directly or indirectly, audibly or inaudibly, consciously or unconsciously, implants into consciousness a negative, fearful expectation based on erroneous beliefs arousing fear.

I first became aware of the insidious nature of what today we call the nocebo effect in 1968.  Each night the evening news reported an ever-growing number of New York City police officers, who, in protest over their inability to go on strike, aroused public attention by calling in sick with a catchy illness, previously unknown in New York City.  Thus began the Hong Kong Influenza Pandemic in the United States. I needed to stay alert to the media’s nocebo suggestion and see it for what it was: a hoax.

In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy states: “The press unwittingly sends forth many sorrows and diseases among the human family.  It does this by giving names to diseases and by printing long descriptions which mirror images of disease distinctly in thought.  A new name for an ailment affects people like a Parisian name for a novel garment.  Every one hastens to get it.” (Science and Health  196:31-5).   I was alert to the deceptive suggestions of the nocebo message, and held firmly to Mrs. Eddy’s reassuring admonition:  “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” (Science and Health  261:4). 

If the nocebo is the evil twin, the dark shadow side of the placebo – nothing but a negative suggestion of mortal mind, then its so-called power is no more real, substantial or fearsome than a shadow.  Isn’t it reassuring to realize that the light of Truth eliminates darkness instantly, completely, without debate, struggle, processing or consideration of its history?

We are constantly bombarded with negative suggestions.  Television commercials send nocebo messages designed to implant images of sickness and fear in consciousness.  These deceitful messages can be personal or impersonal, present or future, and are not necessarily dependent on our conscious awareness.

Advertisements broadcast and published over and over condition us to accept into consciousness nocebo messages such as: our hair will turn gray, our eye sight dim, our memory fail, our bones become brittle, and our hearing diminish.  “Stand porter at the door of thought,” Mrs. Eddy advises. “Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.   When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be: air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears.  Exclude from mortal mind the offending errors; then the body cannot suffer from them.” (Science and Health  392:24-32). 

Standing porter at the door of thought alerts us to see how mortal mind’s “Catch 22” plays out in the market place.  As the public demands truthfulness and transparency, full disclosure as to adverse side effects and negative symptoms that medical compounds may cause, produces a type of “hypervigilance” reinforcing the nocebo effect.  By revealing warnings of all the possible side effects, we see a surge of complications and reactions which the warnings have produced.

We have a choice between taking in dark nocebo thoughts or rejecting them and affirming the ever present light of Life, Truth and Love.  To which voice are we listening?  – the barrage of subliminal deceptive messages of public media, or the calm, exalted thoughts of the healing Christ which uplift and sustain us in peace and harmony?

The task of overcoming evil can confidently be left to the power of the Christ, Truth.  When we welcome God’s truth into thought, it purifies and heals.  Truth lifts and transforms all aspects of our lives, gently, peacefully and with assurance.  Here’s a good litmus test to see if we are being swayed by mortal mind or guided by Divine Mind: God’s loving direction always leads in the direction of peace. Our consciousness of God’s presence and government protects us from the most subtle nocebo messages and their intended consequences.

To summarize, the nocebo effect is nothing more than a negative suggestion which argues for acceptance on either a conscious or an unconscious level.  Its antidote is the conscious awareness of God’s presence and power to destroy anything that is not true about His creation.  Through prayer we nurture receptivity to God’s prompting in every situation.  This divine influence is the presence of the healing Christ, always active in consciousness to disarm and nullify the nocebo and the placebo effects, thus promoting and maintaining our mental and physical well-being, success and happiness.

Truth unmasks, annuls and heals the nocebo’s harmful claims as well as the hoped-for, false expectations of the placebo, enabling God’s messages to govern our lives harmoniously in peace, with confidence and joyous expectation of good.

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Tom Taffel will be speaking at the 30th annual Emergence International Conference in St. Louis: October 2, 3, 4, 2015.  He will sharing his latest article, (submitted to the C.S.P.S.): “Coming Out For Good” - his personal life-struggle and ultimate conquest.  Tom was completely alone as a gay student of Christian Scientist with only two choices: suicide or God.  Thankfully, God was victorious…and his story of survival and achievement, in an unaccepting world is remarkable…(but  too soon to be published).  Tom has spoken at many Christian Science gatherings throughout the United States, and lectured on the early poems of Mary Baker Eddy.  His articles and lectures have been published in fourteen religious publications, including the Christian Science “Journal” and “Sentinel,” as well as granted a special Deed of Gift and Copyright License Agreement – The First Church of Christ, Scientist.