Ten Pence For A Lifetime Of Healing
At first it was just a book bought for a bargain 10p in Oxfam by a friend.
He said it contained some of the spiritual ideas we had been discussing during our last months at University.
Since it was a gift I felt duty-bound to open it, but had it bored me silly within the first few pages it would have quickly been returned to the charity shop.
Instead, what followed revolutionised my life, including a whole new way to think, live and stay healthy.
At the time, I wasn’t looking for a different approach to healthcare but that is one of the treasures I found within the pages of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
Like most people, I had grown up relying on the expertise of the family GP and local hospital. And as I think back to my various visits to A&E I am struck by how most of them were caused by some of my brushes with the animal kingdom. I was once bitten on the leg by a dog, the same limb came out the worse in a clash with a horse’s hoof at a holiday camp, while another time my head was in the way when a safari park baboon used the roof of my dad’s Renault as a trampoline. Fortunately the roof didn’t rip open!
I also had a routine operation at thirteen years old. I’ll spare you the details, except to say it was a success. In addition, I owe my straight teeth to a really caring orthodontist who managed to relieve me of a rather chronic case of Bugs Bunny lookalike syndrome.
While I also had problems that medical care hadn’t solved, I still wasn’t looking for an alternative approach to caring for my health. The fact is I wandered into my spiritual lifestyle because the ideas in Science and Health deeply resonated with an intuitive spiritual sense I had of God’s goodness. I’d first felt that when I was 12 years old and when I was 18 actually experienced a physical healing. Studying this book in my early twenties introduced me to the healing message at the heart of the Bible and together these two books showed me that such restorative power was a natural part of understanding and experiencing that divine goodness.
“It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony, ” is how Science and Health put it. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”
In other words, these books were telling me that getting to know God better could also heal my mind and body. And I soon saw this “healing” was not about simply soothing sickness or empowering me to manage a condition – as valuable as those can be – it was “heal” as in remove the symptoms and restore health.
That isn’t to say such healing works like a magic wand. At times recovery has been quick, even instantaneous. At other times, it has taken time – and much prayer and persistence. Sometimes the deeper need has been for growing spiritually into a willingness to let go of attitudes and actions that don’t square with the idea of expressing an all-good God – which is the inherent identity of us all, as Jesus proved by his own, unparalleled healing works.
Yet even when healing has taken a little longer, just knowing I’m working towards a full restoration to health has made it a wait worth investing in. In my own life, or in praying for and nursing others turning to God for healing, I have witnessed the restorative power of spiritual understanding in everything from colds to cancers, and from injuries to mental illness. I’ve also been inspired by listening to and reading the accounts of others sharing their experiences of recovery through such spiritual means.
So, no, I wasn’t consciously seeking a new kind of healthcare when I found Christian Science. But I am truly grateful to have been shown a different, spiritual starting point from which to seek both health and healing: namely, the all-encompassing reality and infinite love of the divine Mind, God.
As Mary Baker Eddy put it: “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind.” (Science and Health)
From headaches to heartache, and from friction at work to troubled finances, looking beyond the material surface of things into a diviner reality has brought me a broad array of experiences of a grateful restoration to harmony.
Thirty years on, that 10p investment continues to pay huge dividends.