A promise for now and the future.

Dove background

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science writes in her major work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.”

This is not only a promise for the future but something I can strive for, as an individual, right now. As I work towards gaining a better understanding of God as infinite good I can demonstrate, by degree, my unity with and love for my fellow man. I can overcome the wrongs or prejudices that may be directed towards me or others. I can experience healing of sickness that would argue that I am cursed as a sinner and made materially rather than spiritually in the image of Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle — seven synonyms for God.

For me this quote is not saying that everyone needs to be a Christian Scientist or even that everyone needs to be Christian. It is the understanding of “one infinite God, good” that unites us rather than a specific faith or denomination.

Although Jesus’ disciples where Jewish and he sent them to the “lost sheep of Israel” he did not confine his teaching and healing to those only of his faith— Jewish. He taught and healed all those who had a yearning to learn, whether they were Jew or Gentile. God is “the Alpha and Omega, the centre and circumference” (Eddy, 1887, Unity of Good, p10) in Christian Science theology. Therefore God’s loving embrace for all of his creation is all-sufficient, all-pervading and available to all. Jesus’ words and works epitomised this love.

One of my favourite Bible verses is from Micah 4:5 “For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever”. This verse immediately follows God’s promise to the people of Israel that “nation shall not take up sword against nation” and that “none shall make them afraid”. Although this verse was directed through the prophet Micah to the Jewish people, and it is often interpreted as though the promise was only for them due to other nations worshipping false gods, I like to think of this verse in this way — as each of us strives to honestly understand and practice the spiritual essence of our different traditions we will see God’s promise realised in our own personal experience and collectively in humanity as a whole. Mary Baker Eddy assures as that when we realize God’s omnipotence and the healing power of divine Love, in what it has done and is doing for mankind, the promises will be fulfilled. (Science and Health p55)

Spiritual dimensions and the treatment of alcohol and drug problems.

Chain of addiction

My calendar of community events notes this week as Drug Action Week. Drug Action Week, an initiative of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia which was a national peak body representing the alcohol and drug treatment sector, aimed to highlight the issues accompanying drug and alcohol use and those that work to reduce it’s harm. For over 50 years they provided frank evidence-based advice to governments and organisations. In February funding to this organisation was cut by the Abbott Government forcing it’s closure and the end of Drug Awareness Week.

Biomedical research tells us that substance abuse holds us back from recognising our inherent intelligence and abilities, and facing our fears. Research by Hodges 2011 published in Social Work USA, which examined the use of spiritually modified Cognitive— Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in the treatment of a mental illnesses such as stress, depression and bipolar disorder. It was found that the results of using spiritually modified CBT was similar to or superior to traditional CBT. Although spiritual modified CBT have not been used to treat substance abuse Hodges suggests that incorporating spirituality into the treatment for substance abuse may speed recovery, enhance treatment compliance, prevent relapse, and reduce treatment disparities by providing more culturally congruent services.

Many patients undergoing treatment, work with self-statements (Ellis as cited in Hodges 2011). This helps them deal with the depression or anxiety that may precede substance use. It is thought that these statements, rephrased by patients according to their metaphysical framework have greater relevance. These statements then become more than affirmations of self-worth dependant on human agency (which has failed many) for now they have the weight of the patient’s spiritual concept of their identity.

The role of prayer and meditation has also been found to be effective in recovery from substance abuse (Elsheikh, 2008; Bowen et al., 2006; Lau & Segal, 2007;Taub et al, 1994 cited in Hodges 2011). In my own experience I have found prayer effective in overcoming anxiety and depression particularly when it goes beyond a request for God to intervene and change something in my life. When my prayer starts with a silencing of human argument and suggestion and moves to an affirmation of God’s all power and an understanding of myself as created spiritually, as state in the first chapter of Genesis, in the image and likeness of God — a God who is loving and all good, then I see results.

When speaking of mankind’s understanding of the Divine and of man’s own spiritual nature Mary Baker Eddy, a writer and early researcher into the connection of spirituality and health, states in her major work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, that this understanding “is the sovereign panacea, giving strength to the weakness of mortal mind, — strength from the immortal and omnipotent Mind…” and that it is “impartial and universal in it adaptation and bestowals.” available to all anytime, anywhere.