This is one of my favorite quotes by Mary Baker Eddy, and I’ll explain some of my thoughts about it below:
“Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.” by Mary Baker Eddy in Miscellany (page 210)
To me, keeping your thoughts filled with God-like good sums up the heart and soul of Christian Science. Because Christian Science was a new science needing elucidation, Mary Baker Eddy had to create a bevy of terms to explain it in her ground braking textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Just like reading any new science, where you don’t know the terminology, some struggle initially with understanding it, until they can get clarity on the basics. This is exacerbated sometimes when Christian Scientists lapse into jargon. (We know what we mean, but others often have no clue, and look at us like we have ten heads.)
This quote above, largely sidesteps this terminology problem, and therefore is accessible to anyone, which I appreciate. The only extra knowledge that might be useful here is that Truth and Love (capitalized) are synonymous names for God. I love the straightforwardness of this passage and the clarity that helps anyone know what they need to do: THINK GOOD THOUGHTS and not to ever underestimate the miraculous power of assiduously doing this. I like that this is both reassuring and actionable.
Christian Scientists have a reputation for not going to doctors, even though we are very free to do so. This is largely because our proactive “good thinking” protects us from that need. If a problem does arise, we usually turn to God as our first resort– instead of the last resort, as is most people’s common approach– and the situation is readily rectified.
However, if someone feels a need to turn to medical science for help, Christian Science professionals are taught to back off, because getting two opposite types of treatment (material & spiritual) tend to cancel each other out. We then refuse to mix methods out of a deep respect and care for the individual, desiring them to get the best help they can, in the way that they choose. But this is not always perceived as loving as it is intended to be.
As a Christian Science practitioner, my job is to help clients with spiritual healing through Christian Science treatment. But as a doctor’s daughter, I am especially loathe to have anyone ever feeling left out without the support I can offer, even should they choose to turn to the medical approach for help. That’s where this quote comes in for me. While I don’t “treat” them (there’s some of that jargon coming in!) since the medical professionals are doing that, I can still be there for them, surrounding them with “good thoughts,” which of course are amazingly powerful, and are a glorious opportunity that should not be missed.
Both with hospitalized family and paying clients, this approach has resulted in the experience of dramatically miraculous healings under medical care that only can be attributed to God rectifying the situation. The quote above makes it so clear that we never stop our good thoughts regardless the situation, and that “all those whom our thoughts rest upon” will emphatically be “benefited.” This sets my practice free to help everyone in the way that best supports them, leaving no one out.
I’m thinking about all of this because of some conversations I’ve had recently. Our youngest daughter just finished some tough final exams and was feeling some self-imposed pressure about them. I shared some spiritual ideas, which washed over her like a bland panacea. She understands and agrees with those concepts, but they were not calming her down or giving her the traction in the situation that she needed.
Remembering the quote above, I started talking about random good things that I knew she loved. Instantly, she was refreshed, and chimed in remembering the awe and wonder of a beautiful place we both loved, on an island in Lake Superior one summer when she was six. We had spent some worry-free, idyllic time there, and putting her thoughts on that she was quickly revitalized and ready to proceed. During the final, when she was tempted to panic, she quickly focused on that perfect place, and immediately the peace and calm in that thought burst into her present moment. It worked so well for her that on her next final, she called me for more “good thoughts,” and ended up mentally nuzzling underwater with deep sea turtles when needed during that next test. The result was that she blew both exams out of the water, doing better than she could have imagined on those two tests that she was so concerned about.
When a client the other day was anxious about some stuff, and said to me that she knows it doesn’t help to fixate on all her worries, it reminded me of the thought experiment, “Don’t think about ice cream.” What was the first thing you think about when you read that? Ice cream, of course. It is more effective to say, “Think about a yummy kale salad.” At least you won’t be thinking about ice cream any more. This client might have wanted some fancy spiritual ideas to think about, but instead I told her the following story about our older daughter.
When our older daughter was five years old, the kindergarten had a virulent flu going around, and one night she unhappily manifested the symptoms. In talking it through with her (before I went to “treat” her), I remembered the above quote, and told her to find a good thought to hold onto while she went to sleep. The next morning she was completely healed, which was miraculous, since her classmates were out over a week with what our daughter also supposedly had. I asked her if she had found a “good thought” to cling to. She exuberantly replied, “Yes!” So of course I asked her what her good thought was, and she answered with delight, “Strawberries!” This taught me long ago that your healing “good thought” doesn’t need to be some fancy jargonized metaphysical mumbo jumbo. (Who knew that strawberries are an effective prayer?) It is important to realize that effective “good thoughts” need to be something that you really connect with, deeply appreciate, and truly resonate with as incredibly good, and given by God.
So let’s get beyond abstractions, even though they can be fascinating and sometimes illuminating. Focusing on good in this way, goes beyond positive thinking, aligning our thought with what God made and includes. Let’s focus on whatever God-sourced good we can authentically be grateful for, filling our thought with all the God-likeness that we actually fully understand. Try filling your thought with as much of the whole spectrum of awesome good as possible, all the time!
Be clad in that panoply of Truth and Love, moving about in it wherever you go. There is enough divine goodness to go around, and focusing on it ripples outward, blessing all those we think of. Doing this is not only fun, but inclusive, calming, protective, and healing.