How did she know? Experience. Before the discovery of the scientific method of divine healing, which she would name Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy practiced – and later abandoned – homeopathy. A woman came into her homeopathic practice with a case of what was then called dropsy and today would likely be called edema due to congestive heart failure. The woman had been unsuccessfully treated by another homeopath, whose dosage of medicine caused an apparent bad reaction.
Mrs. Eddy took the case and treated according to her understanding of proper dosage, and the woman steadily improved. But Mrs. Eddy soon discovered that, in fact, her prescription was identical to that of the prior physician – the same type and dosage that under his care produced horrible side-effects and under her care resulted in improvement.
Why were the outcomes different? She later would explain in her textbook on Christian Science, “The doctor’s mind reaches that of his patient …His thoughts and his patient’s commingle, and the stronger thoughts rule the weaker. Hence the importance that doctors be Christian Scientists.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 197)
She also wrote, “The moral and spiritual facts of health, whispered into thought, produce very direct and marked effects on the body.” (ibid 370)
"The doctor’s mind reaches that of his patient… “ Mrs. Eddy encouraged healers of all methods, medical doctors included, to clean up their thoughts and life of anything that might affect their patients adversely. She wrote, " If hypocrisy, stolidity, inhumanity, or vice finds its way into the chambers of disease through the would-be healer, it would, if it were possible, convert into a den of thieves the temple of the Holy Ghost, — the patient’s spiritual power to resuscitate himself." (ibid 365)
I read that one day and thought, "Hypocrisy? Stolidity? Inhumanity? Vice? Who me?"
Then I remembered a case where I asked something of a patient – to consider a spiritual concept more deeply – that I had not and was not doing myself. His healing did not come. When I realized my error, - the hypocrisy even - of demanding something of someone else that I was not practicing myself, I got to work and did the assignment. Then the man was quickly healed.
What about stolidity? It's the state of being unmoved mentally, impassive, unemotional. Had I ever been stolid in my treatment work, perhaps going through the technical motions but stopping the prayer before I felt the mental movement of the Holy Ghost in my consciousness? Hmmm.
Inhumanity? Now here I was really sure I was innocent. But then I asked myself if I had ever delayed to pray for someone until I was finished working on something else. Had I ever put my personal needs before someone in pain or suffering from fear? I remember the time I forgot to treat a patient that I had agreed to pray for. I got busy with another commitment and hours passed before she got the help that she had requested and that I had agreed to give. That's neglectful. Putting selfish interest before the needs of others, too, is cruel. Neglectful, cruel and inhumane are synonymous.
What about vice? Well, we all know my Oreo cookie story. (Listen here if you don’t.)
Look. This post isn’t about true confessions. I am talking about cleaning up one’s bedside manner to be a better transparency for the healing Christ. We can all likely do better. I know I can. In fact, until we consistently heal instantaneously, we must DEFINITELY do better.
In Christian Science practice, the healer has to be sharp and aware. His treatment must witness to the Holy Ghost and its healing action on the patient. But if the healer is distracted or preoccupied by unhealed hypocrisy, stolidity, inhumanity, or vice, he may not be as sharp and as aware as he needs to be of what the Christ, through the Holy Ghost, is doing for the patient.
Here are two tips for improving your bedside manner.
- Don’t miss praying the Daily Prayer for yourself each day. Really pray it. Ask yourself, How can I witness more to the good of divine Truth, Life and Love in my life? Am I willing to let God rule all sin out of me? If it is the so-called “little” sin that is preventing you from healing instantly, would you be willing to stay awake and alert, and let even the slightest error go?
- Watch the big four – hypocrisy, stolidity, inhumanity and vice. Mary Baker Eddy didn’t pull them out of a hat. They are common pitfalls, sneaky and sometimes persistent errors, that would derail effective practice if we aren’t alert to the many deceptive forms they assume.
Don't let yourself be stuck in self-condemnation or guilt. Science and Health is quite clear on this point. Mrs. Eddy explained that they, along with a faltering or doubting trust in Truth, God, "are unsuitable conditions for healing the sick. Such mental states indicate weakness instead of strength… You must utilize the moral might of Mind in order to walk over the waves of error and support your claims by demonstration.” (Science and Health, 455)
Christ Jesus gave wise counsel to all healer’s: “First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5) And the Daily Prayer reminds us to "let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin." (Manual of The Mother Church, Article 8, Section)
Patients, too, have a role to play in healing. No free passes here! My next post will speak to this recently unpopular and sometimes touchy point.
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