Mind and Man
Joseph G. Heard, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
It is the power of God, divine
Mind, that reveals the intelligence needed to cope with pollution and other
problems, Joseph G. Heard, C.S.B., of
"We can never run out of the intelligence we need to cope with problems of pollution, disease, population explosion, inadequate food supplies - any more than we can run out of ideas to cope with our personal problems. There's infinite intelligence waiting to be discovered.''
A member of The Christian Science
Board of Lectureship, he spoke in The Mother Church, The First Church of
Christ, Scientist, in
Mr. Heard was introduced by Mrs. Virginia Nichols Chancey, Second Reader of The Mother Church. The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
I'm sure we'd all agree that what we think is important to us. But perhaps thought is of even greater importance in our experience than we realize. After all, thought affects our laws, social customs, financial standing, health, appearance - just about everything.
For example, over 300 years ago some early-American thinking produced the following law in Massachusetts:
No woman shall kiss her child on the Sabbath. . . . If any man shall kiss his wife or wife kiss her husband on the Sabbath, the party in fault shall be punished.
Nothing is said about kissing anyone else - you just couldn't kiss your husband, wife, or child!
Before we laugh at the thinking of our forefathers in 1656 too much, let's ask how people 300 years from now, in the year 2272, may feel about our thinking today.
Consider how many laws and customs we invent today to cope with problems of war and peace, economy, racial unrest, health, pollution, justice, education, population. In spite of our intense efforts, we don't always make the progress we hope for.
Suppose men were to discover a supreme governing intelligence that is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving. Problems we struggle with today these men would handle with ease. They would smile at our primitive thinking.
Or suppose they could take this higher intelligence and eliminate all "wrong thinking" from the past 300 years. The world today would be minus most long-standing problems.
Or just look back on the past ten years of your own life. Suppose this higher intelligence could dissolve the ignorant or malicious thoughts that so often produce accidents, financial mistakes, family disturbances, emotional and bodily upsets. Wouldn't your life be freer today without the accumulated effects of incorrect thinking?
Suppose we discovered that there
is now this infinite source of intelligence and that with it we could
stop all wrong thinking in the world for one day - say, tomorrow. What would
happen to the
Where do men get the ideas they work with in order to make this sort of advance? From their brains, you may say. But surely there's something more to it than that? There must be a deeper source of intelligence that we can draw upon - a spiritual dimension - within us or "out there" somewhere - that we can touch base with, that can give us wider control over our experience.
The world urgently needs good thinkers today, daring thinkers. Men and women who can solve problems. But to be sure the thinking is right, not wrong - to be sure that it will reach through to ultimate solutions - its source must be sought at a deeper level than that of the human brain. Such thinking, inspired thinking, must have a spiritual base. One's thought must reach out to God, divine Mind. This is what really inspires you. This is what helps you think rightly. It's divine intelligence at work in you. It's divine Mind that gives us true control.
The search for this higher source of intelligence than the human brain isn't new, of course. Men have always felt the pressure and complexity of mortal life. They've yearned for a mode of thought that would truly give them dominion over earthly existence.
The Bible speaks of this dominion over the earth in the book of Genesis. Old and New Testament stories abound with historical and symbolic illustrations of men seeking a divine, not a human, source of intelligence to guide them.
Does God exist as an infinite intelligence, a divine Mind, that man expresses? Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, answers "yes" unequivocally in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She writes, "Infinite Mind creates and governs all, from the mental molecule to infinity" (p. 507).
Here is a helpful key to experiencing the reality of God. We can experience God as divine intelligence at work in us, guiding us, healing us, restoring harmony in our affairs, revealing the deeper meanings of life to us. God indeed will be seen to be alive and relevant. God will be experienced in a comforting, practical, enlightened way.
Establish your own awareness of God's omnipotence and omnipresence as an intelligent, loving force of Mind at work in your own experience. Then divine Mind makes its presence known to you through right ideas and intuitions that guide, inspire, strengthen, heal, renew, comfort.
Jesus taught and masterfully proved that full and effective intelligence comes from God. In fact, the King James translation of the Bible gives us Paul's expression, "the mind of Christ" (I Cor. ) to designate this infinite intelligence we can all turn to.
Jesus referred to this intelligence as "God" or "Father." He maintained an inseparable oneness with what he called the Father. Jesus knew this power could harmonize creation.
For example, Jesus once met a man with a withered hand. What did he say? "Stretch it forth!" He healed the hand, and it became just as normal as the other. What Jesus thought certainly had great meaning for that man. Jesus could see through the man's suffering to intelligent order, and this view healed him.
Just how did Jesus think about these things?
Well, such statements as "I and my Father are one" (John ) and "He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone" (John ) indicate the constant communion Jesus maintained with his intelligent source. He expressed a divine intelligence which he knew governed man and the universe harmoniously. His knowledge of this truth healed the hand.
But he didn't claim this intelligence was a personal power. He said it came from an infinite source, his Father. He said his followers can do the same works. In other words, we can have the same consciousness of reality - the same Mind, the Mind of Christ.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
I was visiting a university where there had been turmoil between radical groups and the administration. During an interview with me, the university president described the frustration, misunderstanding, anger, hate, fear, suspicion on both sides. Suddenly, he asked if I would talk to a delegation of the students. Somehow he thought I might bring a fresh viewpoint to the impasse. That afternoon I greeted eight angry young people.
At once I felt a kind of mental turmoil. I wrestled with such questions as. What right do I have to be here? What makes me think I can understand them? What power do I have to satisfy them? What reason do they have to trust me? I despaired of accomplishing anything useful.
Then I realized these were suggestions of a negative mind, or as
I began the conversation by asking the students what they really wanted. They had a list ready. Some of their demands weren't so bad. But I found myself saying, "There's nothing of spiritual value on your list.” We launched into a two-hour discussion on the reality of spiritual values, such as love, purity, justice, honesty, truth, wisdom. We also discussed the ultimate source of these values, in fact the ultimate source of power which is God. They saw that the university couldn't give these spiritual values, the only wants worth listing. But divine Mind at work in man could.
The visit was useful. There was a cooling of emotions on both sides. Negotiations between the students and the university administration resumed a more rational role and to my knowledge there have been no further outbreaks. The energies of those students had been given a new direction. They had caught, I believe, a glimpse of the real spiritual basis of life. So inspiration from the divine Mind can operate as a law of adjustment to harmonize human affairs - university relations, my affairs, yours. Our part is to stay in tune with it, understand our true relationship to it. When we do this, we discover the powerful idea that man is God's complete likeness. That man is not fragmentary, unsatisfied, incomplete. That man is whole. That man expresses God. That man is spiritual, not animal.
As we experience the reality of God as Mind guiding us, we become a healing influence. Divine Mind in its fullness is divine Love, divine Truth, the divine Principle of all that truly exists, at work in us. This brings into our experience a great richness of enduring values that makes our lives really meaningful.
What enables us to discern God's beautiful, meaningful creation are these ideas that come from Him. This is practical wisdom to live by. Working with the idea that man is God's likeness gives us the heart to improve things. We don't give up so easily. By experiencing the reality of God as Mind guiding and healing mankind, we can lift ourselves and others out of muddy thinking and living - out of a material sense of existence.
Human thinking is enlightened and purified by understanding man's relationship to his intelligent source. In other words, as we identify divine Mind as the source of our thoughts, the phenomena of our daily life are harmonized - controlled by a loving, infinite intelligence.
Something important happens when we identify the source of our thoughts as divine Mind, God. More and more we exclude thoughts that don't come from divine Mind. We exclude fearful and confused thinking, unkind and unhealthy thinking, wrong conceptions of ourselves and others. We exclude wrong conceptions of God and of man - of God as cruel or unconcerned, and of man as limited and merely physical,
The supposed source of all such wrong conceptions is the negative or carnal mind I've already spoken of. Christian Scientists call it "mortal mind." I say "supposed source" because this mortal mind, and its vibrations, brain waves, electrical or chemical impulses, isn't the true seat of intelligence. It's the seat of misconception. This mortal mind with all its deceits and mistakes and gloom isn't really an intelligence or mind at all.
To us, the term mortal mind is just a way of describing the supposed counterfeit of divine Mind. It's the source of all false and evil phenomena.
To the extent that we exclude this counterfeit intelligence from our consciousness, its powerlessness, its unreality, its non-existence become apparent. As we exclude mortal mind and its thoughts, we progressively gain control of and harmonize external circumstances, including bodily conditions.
The replacement of mortal mind thoughts with those of divine Mind is as though we were letting light in and progressively excluding darkness and its shadows.
What happens when light displaces darkness? Where does darkness go? Into nothingness. Mortally-minded ignorance dissolves and loses its control over our lives. The result is a harmonious correction, an adjustment in human affairs. Christian Scientists call this event a “healing.”
One definition of healing is "to make sound or whole, to restore to original purity." Healing can take place in bodily functions, interpersonal relations, financial conditions. Healing can occur wherever undesirable conditions need to be overcome.
Take physical healing, for instance, Science and Health says, "God being All-in-all, He made medicine; but that medicine was Mind" (p. 142). That's a bold statement. How did it come to be made?
Go back a hundred years into
She found that the human mind appears to have strong control over one's affairs, even over the human body. She studied and tried various techniques to bring about a change of thought that would aid the healing of the body. But when any relief was found, it was only temporary. The suffering would return worse than ever or change its form to a more complicated ailment.
Mrs. Eddy was always a spiritually-minded thinker - even as a child. But she didn't find her answer in the religious teachings of her day. And it wasn't because she didn't try.
Finally, at a moment of extreme suffering she urgently reached out to know how the Master healed. She pondered the healings of Jesus, prayerfully seeking her way. Her answers came in the form of profound spiritual insights that brought physical healing for herself. Soon others were healed.
She wrote her revolutionary discovery in Science and Health. She began to demonstrate that true medicine is neither matter nor the human mind: it's divine Mind, God, good. And then she began to teach others that the acceptance of spiritual ideas from divine Mind and the exclusion of lying material thoughts from mortal mind - that this understanding heals.
At first, she worked with what you
might have called in those days the "simple folk" - shoemakers, laborers,
homemakers - in the town of
Later she moved to
Mrs. Eddy hoped the established institutions of religion, education, and medicine would embrace her discovery. They didn't. As a matter of fact, with the love shown her and the acceptance of Christian Science by many, there was also bitter hostility. And so, in order to protect and perpetuate her discovery, she established a separate church, as Luther and Wesley under similar circumstances had done before her. She called it the Church of Christ, Scientist. Countless people have since proved that Mind is medicine. That Mind is infinite intelligence, God. That Mind is a living Principle that heals.
The skeptic may say today, as in her time, "I don't believe Mind alone can change physical evidence."
Suppose you could go back to the year 1492 and talk to Christopher Columbus. Suppose you told him he was wasting time crossing the ocean in three slow boats. There's a faster way, you say. Do it in a matter of minutes, you say.
Can you imagine the skepticism?
Yet isn't this what the astronauts
have done many times? The scientific and engineering laws they applied existed
Christian Science says, Don't limit the power of divine Mind to reveal intelligence that removes sickness, sin, death, despair, injustice - whatever restricts man's joy and freedom. Christian Science says, Open your thought and listen to divine Mind.
If at moments we feel shut out from this divine Mind, this Mind of Christ, we can do what Jesus did when the pressures of the world would have overwhelmed him. We can renew our contact with divine Mind through Christly prayer. We can pray as the Master prayed, "I and my Father are one." We can mentally insist upon our oneness with our intelligent source, divine Mind, as this Mind's expression.
This prayer means we discipline our thinking. We reject fear, ingratitude, discouragement, depressions, and other false patterns of thought. As we've seen, that type of thinking is harmful to ourselves, to those around us.
We can daily affirm our at-one-ment with divine intelligence. This lets in the light. Mind then fills our consciousness with ideas that express love, beauty, harmony, unselfishness, security, orderliness, justice, purity - all the qualities of the Christ which Jesus expressed in face of the severest challenges. These qualities are revealed to us through prayer, through communion with God.
Thinking from this basis leads to right action. Our prayers become the consistent and persistent recognition of divine Mind as the only true source of ideas, and, therefore, the determining factor in our experience and that of others. This power of Mind works to govern us and others correctly. In this way our prayers work to change us and the problem around us.
I know very well what happens to individual human consciousness when the ignorant thoughts of mortal mind are excluded by divine Mind through prayer.
Some years ago I had a growth on my body which reached an aggravated state. I was alarmed and uncomfortable. As I studied Science and Health, these words took hold. "A Christian Scientist's medicine is Mind, the divine Truth that makes man free" (p. 453). And I began to apply the medicine of Mind to my problem.
Mind became the treatment; Mind became the medicine. In other words, I treated myself with the truths of divine Mind. And the treatment went something like this:
"Mind, God, creates all intelligently, perfectly, in its likeness. Mind operates as a law of excision. Mind cuts out mortally-mental phenomena, counterfeits of reality, and prevents them from taking effect as discordant conditions in human experience. Since Mind, God, creates every part of man's identity nothing could be real about man unless Mind, which is infinitely good, made it."
Also, I prayed to see this law of good, of divine power, operating clearly in my life - prayed to understand this law of divine excision by means of Mind's ideas unfolding in my consciousness - "mental surgery," you might say.
As the weeks went by, there was opportunity to examine what Mrs. Eddy had written about divine Mind, God, and how Mind expresses true ideas in man.
From a careful study of the Bible and Science and Health, I learned something not only of mental surgery but also of what we may call "mental chemistry." I began to see more clearly than ever before that the body is reconstructed, renewed, in proportion as our thoughts become spiritualized, transformed, by divine Mind. I reasoned that, since the body is affected by thought, I must be sure the thoughts going on in me were good. The only way to be really sure was to see that they came, not from mortal mind, but from divine Mind.
The right identification of Mind makes all the difference in the world to our mental chemistry, and, therefore, to our body, the visible projection of thought. Instead of the discordant chemistry from such mental stresses as hate or fear, we set in motion a new chemistry of Mind, God, that governs our bodies harmoniously. This action of divine Mind produces harmony, order, beauty. The result is healing.
We're talking now about mental chemistry. Man is made up of Mind's ideas - Mind with a capital "M." These ideas move together harmoniously because Mind, the creator, is Love. The ideas that spring from a loving source, God, divine Mind, constitute your true, healthy makeup - they constitute all your substance, faculties, and functioning.
Do you see, then, how Mind can be your medicine? Spiritual ideas dawn in your consciousness. They become part of your conscious identity. If you entertain them, accept them, you begin to believe and understand them. This has a therapeutic effect upon your body. By identifying the source of your thoughts as divine Mind, you exclude or excise thoughts of mortal mind. You bring into action a scientific mental chemistry, based on spiritualized thinking. As this is done, you progressively gain control over your body.
It was this type of thinking - mental surgery and mental chemistry, if you please - that I held to. This "medicine" of Mind brought complete healing. The growth gradually subsided until it disappeared. Thinking brought into line with divine Mind had excluded the unhealthy thoughts of mortal mind, and their phenomenon of disease from my experience.
In this way we begin to understand
God, divine Mind, really is at work in us - an intelligence that's good,
loving, perfect, powerful. We understand this by means of Mind itself - by
means of right ideas which we reflect from Mind. It isn't something we do
alone. "God . . . worketh in you" (Phil. ), as
In effect we've been saying: Man has in reality no Mind apart from God, because mortal mind and all its thoughts and phenomena are a lie, a deception, a false suggestion about man. And we've seen how this truth, when understood and applied, gives us control over disease.
This deep spiritual fact of one Mind, when prayerfully understood, brings us dominion over another great problem of our times, the problem of mental stress.
While riding a
A psychiatrist at
And here's an item from a magazine published by the American Medical Association, Today's Health. It notes that emotional stresses and tensions such as hatred, frustration, anxiety, disturb the orderly environment inside the body, and produce a variety of physical problems.
In short, modern physicians suggest that much of today's pain - physical, emotional, or social - is due to severe interpersonal problems of fear, envy, hate, malcontent. We can surely agree. Whether one is a business executive, homemaker, artist, engineer, minister, college student, social worker, or what-have-you - most of us have encountered stress at times due to "people" problems.
But what lies behind these problems? Actually all these forms of mental stress spring from the same common belief: that man has a mind apart from God. They are brought about by the dualistic acceptance of two minds, a divine Mind and a mortal mind, both of them real. We get the better of mental stress when we rid ourselves of this dualistic belief in two minds - one mortal and one immortal - and instead identify divine Mind as the only source of our thought and ideas. Then dominion over stress, as over other problems, is possible.
Almost every one of us struggles with thoughts and experiences that disturb our peace and bring us into conflict. The healthy thinker is able to handle these tensions. He may even enjoy the challenge. But what do you do when you come up against tough problems that demand more intelligence than you think you've got? How do you establish and identify divine Mind as the only true source of thought? By acknowledging the spiritual facts about Mind and man.
Man expresses all Mind is because man is God's image and likeness. Man's Mind is ageless, without beginning or end, because God is. Man's Mind is indestructible, because God is. Man's Mind expresses perfect ideas, because God is perfect.
Nobody is excluded from Mind because God is all-inclusive, no respecter of persons. Man's Mind is unlimited because God is all-knowing, all-seeing. You and I have the God-given right to understand what we need to, when we need to, because God, infinite Mind, understands all. We always have the presence of Mind because God is everywhere.
Man's Mind doesn't make mistakes because God is unerring. Your Mind isn't weak, because God is omnipotent. Your Mind is never weary, dull, forgetful, confused, worn out because God is not. Your Mind isn't hateful, envious, dishonest, fearful, guilt-ridden or disturbed, because God is your Mind, and God is Love.
Do you see then what one Mind can really mean to you ?
Wendell Phillips, a great New England thinker of the last century, had a story that illustrates the point I'm making.
It seems an eighteenth-century Boston
merchant wanted a new set of chinaware made for his family. In those days,
Later, when he received the new china set from the potter, there was a crack in every single piece. The potter had obediently imitated the cracked model exactly!
The point is this. To eliminate the cracks and imperfections from our experience, let's be sure our thought patterns are expressions of divine Mind, not mortal mind. Then perfect Mind, God, is the determining factor in our experience.
At moments, God may seem to be a power of intelligence somewhere "out there" that we reach out to for help. But when divine Mind is accepted by us as the only Mind - our Mind - we actually think out from Mind. We discover an infinite source of ideas. This gives us a liberating and inspiring mental attitude. It makes us more effective businessmen, engineers, lawyers, artists, homemakers, parents, students - more effective thinkers at whatever workbench in life we find ourselves. Nobody is left out. This reservoir of intelligence is in you.
Right ideas combat wrong ideas. They change men's attitudes and their actions. If we want a better world, we must have better thinking. Where shall we start? With the very next thoughts that cross our mind. We can never run out of the intelligence we need to cope with problems of pollution, disease, population explosion, inadequate food supplies - any more than we can run out of ideas to cope with our personal problems. There's infinite intelligence waiting to be discovered.
Why not pick up the trail of the great spiritual explorers and see how far you can go into the realm of Mind? Certainly, the world needs daring thinkers. Why shouldn't you be one of them?