Sunday, March 28, 2010
The system of The Science of Mind exists to convince people that success is a natural part of the Universal Law. We were created to be successful, to evolve into better people and to experience more and more good. We access this promised success merely by tapping into the Universal Mind, the pattern of which, the Divine direction, is upward. If we recognise our oneness with Divine Mind then we fall into line with the only Creative force of the Universe, and so we are destined to experience constant success.
This compliant path is never easy, however. For some reason our fallible natures will insist on entertaining thoughts of failure, and as long as there is even the smallest belief in failure true success will continue to elude us. Those who are successful simply expect succeess. They have complete faith on the goodness of the Universe, and so success is theirs.
We lesser mortals are hesitant to ask for what we want because we continue to feel unworthy, We fail to visualise the forms of success, and we are not specific in our desires for a wonderful life.
Holmes' constant refrain - perhas the central point of his philosophy - is that we are entirely shaped by our thoughts. Every thought we entertain - either positive or negative - is manifested for us. This is the Law of the Universe. We need simply to master this process of thought. We need to think ourselves successful.
The Science of Mind reminds us that it is easy to be influenced by worldy thoughts and trends - but that way lies failure. If we want to be created anew, we must align our thoughts each and every moment with the thoughts of happiness and cheerfulness that are created naturally in Divine Mind. Then we fall in line with the successful path that God has intended for us all along.
Only remember we are surrounded by a Universal Subjectivity, a Subjective, Creative Consciousness, which is receptive, neutral, impersonal, always receiving the impress of our thought and which has no alternative other than to operate directly upon it, thus creating teh things which we think.
The Science of Mind, p. 278
Sunday, March 14, 2010
In Holmes' universe, the spirit is the energy of God that inhabits us, the energy of the Creative force that inhabits our material bodies. If we can become more and more aware of this Spirit, and follow its dictates more closely, then our lives can become more successful.
Reading these pages I am reminded, not for the first time, of the great Catholic mystics such as Teresa of Avila and Brother Lawrence, both of who made similar statements, though based in a more conventional theological understanding.
In The Science of Mind, the Spirit represents true Divinity, the very essence of God, and so must remain inexplicable and unknowable. It remains separate from the Universal Laws, which were created by God to be learned, and so to be known by us, and comprehensible to us. The Spirit remains, however, a very different thing conceptually. The Spirit's realm is that of the mystical, the intuitive. Only faith can be applied to Spirit - attempts to understand it using science and rationality are pointless.
More than the conventional use of Biblical language and the constant references to Jesus and God, it is this constant concern with the spirit that marks The Science of Mind out as a religious text, rather than purely a text of instruction. Indeed, the book is overtly, and almost entirely, mystical in its outlook, and the use of the term "Science" in its title is misleading at best. The Science of Mind has very little indeed to do with Science as we might understand that word.
Friday, March 12, 2010
The whole of Chapter 15 in The Science of Mind ("Physical Perfection, Concluded") is devoted to specific complaints and illnesses and how they might be cured through the power of thought. As in the rest of the book, these instructions are addressed to the Religious Science "Practitioner", though one imagines any general reader might also be able to put these instructions to work.
The basic treatement seems to be complete denial of the illness, which is exactly what Christian Science dictates. Any ailment is merely a false beliefe, and it is the duty of the practicioner to heal the patient of her false thoughts, thereby restoring her body to the absolute physical perfection that God intended, and that we are all worthy of.
On p. 256 Holmes tells us that the stomach in particular is inclined to be affected by mental causes, though many of these stomach upsets can be alleviated through the simple expedient of saying grace before meals (and I will have to try that out).
This chapter includes specific instructions and affirmations for any number of ailments, including headache and obesity. Interestingly, this kind of thing was revived (and with great success) by Louise Hay, herself a Religious Science practitioner, and more recently in Australia by people like Annette Noontil and Inna Segal. Which goes to show that you can't keep a good idea down.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
As with most New Thought, The Science of Mind relies heavily on Christian imagery, and is filled with biblical quotations. It also uses regularly teh person of Jesus to illustrate its own metaphysical concepts. For example, in the chapter on "Physical Perfection." Holmes writes: "It is probable that when Jesus forgave the man his sins, he realized that the man had a complex of condemnation within himself. The sense of condemnation which the race holds about itself weights it down, and it must be removed. This explains why Jesus said: "Thy sins be forgiven thee.""
Similar to the Fillmores, who were fellow students of Emma Curtis Hopkins, Holmes sees the Christ as a Divine archetype, as a Godly quality that we all possess, a goal we can all aim toward. And while he remains "the Master Teacher," he is not the only paragon of Good that the world has seen. This New Thought reading of Jesus is much closer to Hindu and Buddhist understandings of Great Teachers and Realised Ones. It is also this refusal to recognise the unique and exclusive divinity of Jesus that puts Religious Science outside the parameters of conventional Christianity.
Science of Mind teaches that Jesus is "the great example, not the great exception," who points us toward the Universal Oneness to which we all belong, and in which we are all Divine. But Holmes' great love for the Bible, and his heartfelt adoration of Jesus, is palpable throughout The Science of Mind, and to this end I see it as one of the really monumental works of Christian devotion.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Holmes uses many different words for God in The Science of Mind. I kind of like this. In this post-post-modern age where the mention of God can send thousands running, it is quite helpful to have a range of words and concepts in one's repertoire that are far less scary. The Universe is one such word. Who could take exception to that?
Also, this multitude of words can explain a number of very subtle and different ideas that are otherwise lumped together under the word "God." I think Holmes is engaged in this kind of careful distinction between different notions of God, kind of like the Eskimos and their myriad words for snow (and don't write in - I know the word is "Inuit" - I'm deliberately employing a cliche, people!).
Holmes' use of the word "Universe" (note the capital U) comes closest to teh standard ideas of a creator God. The force of the Universe is powerful in The Science of Mind, and flows constatly through us. But Holmes points out that this powerful force is thoroughly objective, that its shape can only be formed by us. And so the same Universal Energy that makes us ill can also be used to heal us and to make us rich and successful. The exercise of spirituality represents an effort to more cleverly channel the forces of this Universe.
I think this represents a departure from Christian Science, which refuses to believe that God can create anything that is bad, even if it is through our own delusion and misunderstanding. Holmes seems more ready to acknowledge that the Universe sometimes expresses itself in uncomfortable ways through our bodies. But in Holmes' conception, any such discomfort is our own fault. The Universe itself is simply power, neither good nor ill. There is only One Law - we need to learn to comply with it.