Treat the problem not the symptom

February 16, 2024 | 36 comments

After graduating from college, my wife worked for the parks department of a city in Colorado. She was responsible for the care of lawns and irrigation in the city parks.

Often over the years since, she has mentioned a wise instruction she picked up from her boss at that time. He taught his employees, “Treat the problem not the symptom.”

For instance, if there is a patch of yellow grass, figure out why the grass is yellow. Is it because it was covered and deprived of sunlight; is it lacking fertilizer; is it stressed; did animals pee on it? Once you figure out the reason for the trouble, you can cure the problem and eliminate the yellow grass.

If the caretaker of the above lawn focused on symptoms alone, he might spray the yellow grass with green paint. Problem solved. Right? Nope. Only temporarily. He will soon see yellow grass.

The same rule applies to healing the body of physical ills. Too often, sufferers focus on symptoms and treat symptoms, rather than understanding the underlying need for mental and spiritual reformation.

If one’s heart is racing because they are stressed out at work, treating the heart to slow down is not going to solve the problem. One needs to honestly deal with the stress they are carrying around in thought and pray to heal it. When the source of trouble is eliminated, its symptoms vanish. Permanently.

Treat the problem, not the symptom. It’s the wiser and quicker way to satisfying health.

36 thoughts on “Treat the problem not the symptom”

  1. Father-Mother if there is a problem that iam struggling with eliminate from my conciouness.
    Give fresh and inspiringthoughts to guide me.

  2. Great example!! Yellow leaves are the classic non-specific symptom. (Too little water, too much water, too few nutrients, or over-fertilization!) The yellowness doesn’t characterize its own cause. Similarly, Mrs. Eddy says diseases have no actual character or type apart from error. (Science and Health, 400.)

    1. Jay, I love your excellent explanation of where we “see” cause, and what “cause” we delete, as erroneous. Paralleling that example for treating “a classic non-specific symptom” frees us to heal, not cover-up, or speculate on a cure!!!! Grateful for your contribution. Thanks.

  3. Thank you, Evan. I am very grateful for the love and encouragement you regularly share through this blog. Today, I also thank your wife. What a helpful insight she shared. Superficial thinking is insufficient. As we read in this week’s Bible Lesson: “Man was not created from a material basis, nor bidden to obey material laws which Spirit never made; his province is in spiritual statutes, in the higher law of Mind.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 307:26.)

    1. Thanks Cherie, that’s a wonderful passage from Science and Health declaring clearly that man is not made materially but wholy spiritual, expressing the higher law of divine Mind!!
      O yes, and I am also very thankful for the encouragement and yes, even healing treatment you always give us so lovingly! IT’s a wonderfully blessing blog!

      Such a beautiful job Kathy had, looking after the lawns of the city Parks.

      Yes, healing the deeper problem through seeing the Truth behind it!♡

  4. Truly, Mind is Principle.
    Divine consciousness is the principle of good health.
    To be healthy, whole, one must have pure, uplifting,
    true thoughts and living.
    It’s simple math, really.
    (Though false-mind, error, would sure try to muddy the waters!)

    1. Thank you “J” for sharing this article. I am sharing it with others too as I can see how it would be quite helpful. This quote from the article below is a brief summary idea which the rest of the article then elucidates and explains.
      “One ready to recognize disease as a mental state that is overcome by changing one’s thought can begin at once to bring about a cure. But he cannot do this through human means. True regenerative healing can only be brought about through scientific prayer as taught in Christian Science and demonstrated by Christ Jesus.”
      With appreciation!

    2. I really liked this article J, thanks very much. I enjoyed the author’s writing style, very clear and down to earth.

      Here are two quotes I especially appreciated:
      “We need to recognize clearly that disease is mental. Mortal mind seldom accepts this news readily.” -This almost made me laugh as I thought, that’s putting it mildly. Mortal mind fights tooth and nail like a coward again this news.
      “Disease will eventually be eliminated as mankind ceases to identify with the Adamic view of man…” -I thought this was a great and very bold statement, Though bold it is in line with things that Mrs. Eddy has said.

    3. Wow, thank you dear “J” for this very helpful article. It’s just needed! ♡
      Am very grateful for SpiritView, dear Evan!

  5. Thank you dear Evan and Kathy, for inspiring these wise thoughts on treating the
    problem, not the symptom.
    I personally, do not like mowing, so when I moved here, all there was was grass
    and my neighbors on each side had Perfect lawns. My problem was that in trying
    to “keep up” or fit in, I would have to mow extensively like they did. A dear friend
    had suggested I grow flowers that I love, even though it didn’t go along with the
    surroundings. She suggested that perhaps others would be inspired to grow
    flowers as well. That is exactly what happened and my problem was solved,
    where they were content to mow and even grow some flowers and I was happy
    to do what came naturally for me and the wildlife the flowers invited and supported.
    The symptom of being stressed in trying to keep up with the time consuming of
    lawn mowing that I didn’t like to do, was replaced by the gardens that I loved to
    see blossoming and thriving. Problem solved. In the flowers, I see God’s beauty
    in color, creation which have invited the loveliness of birds, butterflies, bees, even
    fawns, with so many spiritual qualities that accompany these wonderful expressions
    of peace and harmony.

  6. Angel, thank you for the detailed picture which you shared today. Interesting what the neighbors teach us, as we are in close proximity. Gratitude? Adventure? Pleasure to work in the garden? Simply watching like an experiment of growth/seasons/color for their pure enjoyment.

    1. Thank you, chilesands – Yes, sharing the beauty of God’s creations with those
      who pass by is lovely and several have stopped to comment, saying they
      always look over on their way to work to see what new perennials are
      blooming. The one neighbor who admits her husband is “obsessed” with
      their perfect lawn always admires the flowers and has also been planting
      flowers now, too. She has picked some here to share with her church
      congregation. So happy to share.
      And to have a doe feel so safe to have her fawns sheltered in, a couple of
      times, was also a treasure and honor to see them up close. God’s gentle
      creatures of Love are wonderful to behold and such a blessing.

  7. I am grateful for today’s message but a little confused. I have begun understanding that in
    Christian Science we don’t start with the symptoms or try to treat a “problem” but start with Perfect God Perfect Man, not with the problem. I thought that believing the problem is real and trying to pray it away is not the ideal; that we start from the Truth that All is Well in God and get quiet to listen for what God knows about us, to see what is true right now. Maybe I am misunderstanding today’s post.

    In the example above the symptom is a racing heart, the problem is discordant, stressful beliefs. Maybe we uncover the false, stress beliefs that error is trying to assert and immediately start praying along the lines of Perfect God Perfect man – but is that still making the problem real and trying to pray it away? Thanks for any insights.

  8. I would say,Rose, that Evan is illustrating that when we are challenged with a material
    problem, we don’t treat it as such, but turn to God, and affirm the spiritual facts that destroy
    the illusion. We know that perfection is already there, we know what the perfect grass looks
    like, and we know what our true being is perfect made in God’s likeness. We start there always – perfect God and perfect man.

    I am sure Evan is not encouraging us to start with the problem- but
    the problem comes to us first, and then we have the opportunity to immediately treat it in the
    way Christian Science teaches, by denying the material appearance as a lie,, and declaring the scientific fact that destroys the illusion. This is what you are saying in your last paragraph.

    If we start with the problem and try and work it out from that standpoint, it is like
    we are needing to climb up a ladder to reach God, whereas God is always with us,
    ready to wake us up.

    1. Another way to state “problem,” perhaps, is false belief. Treat thought to be free of the false belief, rather than trying to get rid of symptoms.

      1. Thank you dear Maggie for your reply to my question and to Evan for your clarification. I appreciate the help in seeing this clearly. I also need to affirm that I cannot be confused and I need not listen to anything telling me I don’t know how to pray aright, because I reflect the Mind of God that sees all clearly and shows me all I need to know. Nothing can keep me from being a clear transparency for Truth. Thank you and blessed weekend to all!

  9. Thank you Evan and all. This is very helpful. We always handle a belief, meaning that it is not a physical problem but the root of the problem, which is mental because we live in a mental universe not a physical one.

    “Loving Father, we Thy children 
    Look to Thee in fear’s dark night
    While the angels of Thy presence
    Guide us upward to the light.”
    The second sentence could be,
    Look to Thee in fear’s dark lie
    Fear is a lie parading as real
    Light removes darkness
    Light, understanding, removes fear
    When a, suggestion, calling itself fear
    enters thought, we need to step aside, 
    and let in Truth/God
    “Then we feel the power that lifts us
    To Thy holy secret place,
    Where our gloom is lost in glory 
    As we see Thee face to face.
    We would learn, O gracious Father,
    To reflect Thy healing Love,
    May we all awake to praise Thee
    For Thy good gifts from above.
    Make us strong to bear the message
    To Thy children far and near:
    Fear shall have no more dominion.
    God is All, and heaven is here”
                                       Rosemary B. Hackett
    Melissa Baker

    1. Thank you so much for this, dear M. So needed at the moment, where
      lies tend to be, as you wrote, “parading as real” and “we need to step
      aside and let in Truth/God” when fear tries to keep the night dark. Such
      lovely thoughts!
      “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”
      – Desmond Tutu

      1. Dear Carol – Citation 26 Bible in Lesson Sermon:

        “Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of
        heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”


        “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings” (S&H vii, 1,2.)

        Have a day full of God’s blessings. M x

        1. Oh, dear Maggie – Thank you so much for these lovely Truths!
          Much appreciated. It was just the world view of something that
          just seems so unfair, it is really ridiculous and will be challenged
          and defeated, but it was just sad at the time, to know so many
          believe the lies and can be in glee over mortal mind’s perception,
          and oblivious to the Truth. Even those who should “know” better,
          portray the falsities for others to keep the lie going. Eventually the
          Truth will win, as it always does, but the unfairness sometimes
          drags thought down and when I had posted, was one of those
          A day and night and weekend and eternity full of God’s blessings
          to you, too and All!
          PS. The heavens Did pour out a beautiful blanket of freshly fallen
          pristine snow beautifying the trees and landscape last night, which
          is so pretty and lovely, just as the Truth/goodness will be triumphant
          over evil. .

          1. Carol – lovely for you to have a wonderful landscape now covered in
            pure white snow to enjoy. That must be lovely where you are. The whole of God’s Creation is pure and beautiful, as this picture hints at.

            I am coming to realise more and more that what the material world believes in is not the Truth of God, and our job is to stay with the spiritual facts, and not allow ourselves to be mesmerised. Not one of God’s children, the true idea of God, can believe the material pictures being thrown at us. And they cannot be mesmerised either by mortal world beliefs. We need to just keep loving God and all His children in the way God is knowing them and loving them, no matter what seems to be going on. We can know God is governing all His creation and is present everywhere, and we can let Him continually show us His view of things. We can praise Him for His wonderful works – all the beauty of Soul, as we have in this week’s Lesson. “All the glories of
            earth and heaven and man.”

            Perhaps you will join with me in holding to the”enduring, the good and the true” and we will bring these into our experience proportionably to their occupancy of our thoughts. – according to Mary Baker Eddy.

            I am loving seeing all the Spring flowers beginning to bloom here
            and beautifying everything- renewing our world and our thoughts.

  11. Thank you Evan and everyone…this is so fundamental for us all to demonstrate the harmony we want to experience today and everyday!
    Recently , when facing a challenge to eliminate a problem I have found it helpful to go back to the basics that I was never ‘born into a material body or environment ‘. It helps me see the nothingness of a material symptom. Therefore as the idea of Divine Mind I can maintain only the harmonious evidence and encompassing Love of God.
    Happy Love filled weekend to all❣️

  12. Maggie, Hello .. we’ve run out of Reply tabs. Thank you for your ever so helpful
    and True declarations of what is God-given for us to concentrate on. Of course,
    I would love to join with you in holding to the “enduring, the good and the true”.
    Yes, the purity of the snow, which more has fallen since I had written, is beautifying
    the landscape, with the sun shining now. God’s delightful birds are enjoying the
    seeds put out for them and their joy is bringing a smile and Love here and to the
    world right at this moment of peace and harmony. The blessings of CS are grand!

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