“Living matter” or “living Spirit.” Which do you identify with?
I was studying the chapter, “Physiology,” in Science and Health, to better understand Mind’s control over the body, when I had to stop and ponder for several hours Eddy’s statement, “We cannot obey both physiology and Spirit, for one absolutely destroys the other, and one or the other must be supreme in the affections.”
“…one absolutely destroys the other…”
Curious, I Googled the word physiology and found a scientific paper that satisfied my query. It stated,
“Physiology is the study of the functions of living matter. It is concerned with how an organism performs its varied activities: how it feeds, how it moves, how it adapts to changing circumstances, how it spawns new generations.”
The phrase “living matter,” grabbed my attention because it screamed Animal Magnetism. For students of Christian Science, animal magnetism is a term Eddy uses in her writings to signify all the world beliefs of life or mind in matter. It’s the opposite of God, which is Life in Spirit.
So, to paraphrase, what I saw in the above definition was, “Physiology is the study of the functions of animal magnetism.”
Physiology is searching, inspecting, analyzing, and delving into the physical body to find answers about life and health. Questions like, “How does the heart affect my strength? What food should I eat to strengthen the flesh? How much vitamin C do I need? What lotions should I put on my skin? How do I get the muscles to work again? How do I lower my blood pressure?” and their kin, are all physiological considerations. To obey and honor the line of reasoning these types of questions take you toward is to turn away from Spirit, according to Eddy. And I agreed.
The more we study the body, the less we think about the presence of Spirit. Study of the body and its conditions negates the effectiveness of prayer and spiritual healing.
So, I did a turn of phrase to defend myself from the claims of physiology.
“I’m not living matter. I’m living Spirit!,” I declared.
As defined in Christian Science, man is not a physical organism that deteriorates and dies. Man—a generic term for all men, women and children—is a spiritual being that reflects the eternal life of God. Our identity is not in temporal flesh and bones, but in forever Spirit. We live forever as spiritual beings in God’s likeness. Our daily prayer is to understand that immortal being better and live it.
You too are not “living matter.” That’s a mortal mind version of you that would separate you from God and make you feel mortal and tenuous. You are living Spirit—Spirit’s qualities of love, wisdom, strength, intelligence, life, ability and capacity expressed without limit.
So, if you’ve been in the habit of viewing yourself in a physiological way, break out of the troubled mesmerism, and stand in the light of Spirit. It’s a healthier and happier place to be! And your prayers will be more successful too.
6 thoughts on “The bane of physiology”
Thanks for doing that research on the meaning of physiology, Evan.
Last week my insurance broker thought I might like to buy an annuity with a rider that doubles the payout for the policy holder if he/she enters an authorized care facility. I tried to explain that this feature didn’t interest me. The broker, who’s also a dear friend, then talked about some diseases he thinks he has, and told me that they’re inherent in his physiology. Interestingly, he readily accepted my refusal to give credence to the diseases the minute I told him that I don’t put any stock in physiology. And he found an annuity more suitable to my needs and wishes.
One thing I like is that your declaration, “I’m not living matter. I’m living Spirit!” can be thought of in two ways — with the word “living” as a verb and with the word “living” as an adjective. (Actually, I’m not sure verb is the correct designation, since “am” is the verb there, but you get my drift, I hope.)
Either way, it’s a powerful, and powerfully true, statement. And it sure puts animal magnetism (which tries to make our moral and spiritual compass go haywire) in its place: the dump.
While I agree with and get what you mean, some things come under the umbrella of “useful wonders” (S & H p.268). For instance, “lotions for my skin” are useful during winter, as long as we don’t imbue them with power, e.g. “This will improve me health.”
I like to think about my hands as being like shoes(with no more life in them than shoes)but it’s useful to keep the leather soft and supple, and protect them against scuffs. Yes, we are not living matter but until we realize this it’s not awry to take care of the human body along the way, for instance bathing, wearing deoderant, lip balm in winter, etc.
I have wondered the same thing that Pat mentions above. Especially about lotions. I like them because they make my hands feel nice and soft. But at the same time I think, “matter on matter has no effect”. Can you shed some light on this Evan? I think eventually as I understand more about my true spiritual identity I wont need the lotion as every bodily result is a manifestation of thought. So as I pray I will not need lotion anymore as my body will reflect in perfect balance, health, suppleness etc. Correct?
Thank you Evan! This is very helpful! Thanks also to the above commenters. I too, have pondered the use of face creams and lotions, etc. and think Anonymous D makes a good point. I hope you will answer her (his?) question.
Thank you too for that beautiful photo of Mt. Rainier (?) Love it!
This was a really helpful article. To the ladies, this is my own feeling, pondering today’s cosmetics. It occurred to me recently that the ingredients have been made more “medical” gradually, and claim more power than we wish to credit to a few chemicals. Never mind the astronomical cost, 1.7oz for $136. I bailed out.
In earlier years many Christian Scientist ladies, as well as the facilities and nurses used Albolene, the purest product on the market. Inexpensive. No elusive promises. No hype. I hadn’t seen it in 50+ years, until recently at Long’s in Hawaii. We have the beauty of holiness already, and the loveliness of Love.
Some interesting comments and questions about lotions and creams…It is true that progress is a matter of demonstration. We demonstrate what we understand.
In thinking about lotions, I think about what Eddy wrote about a horse being trained to believe that they need a blanket in the cold, when wild horses thrive in the cold with no blanket. Did God create us with a bit of lack that requires additional creams and lotions to compensate for? I wonder. But then again, I still respect the ladies who use hand lotion to keep their hands soft. They have their reasons, and I feel no need to judge them.
During the harsh of a dry winter in the past, my hands got really dry and the skin started breaking open. I reached for some of my wife’s hand lotion that she uses occasionally. It softened my hands, but I saw that I could easily adapt a feeling of dependency upon that lotion if I wasn’t alert and careful. Winter had a long way to go! So I prayed more vigorously for the health of my hands, saw that I could cease using the lotion without detriment, and stopped using it. My hands stayed in good shape all winter, for which I was happy. I used it a couple of times over the years since, but not sure it did any good.
That’s my experience with lotions, so far, anyway…LOL
The “lotion” of Truth and Love applied abundantly in thought is likely the best preventative…