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A higher perception

This has been called the age of instant cure. Advertisements claim we can find instant relief from all sorts of pains and aches by simply popping in a pill or massaging in an ointment.

A close look at society's drug dependence might send some thinkers signals of at least two dangers. One could be an increasing interest in the material body. Often, the more we focus on ourselves in any way, the less attention we are likely to give to helping mankind, which clearly needs our help. Another and perhaps even more insidious danger might be mankind's apparently increasing absorption in the belief that matter rather than Spirit, God, is ultimate reality.

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Is there evidence of a Supreme Being? If there is a reality of life beyond matter, are we able to discern it? ARe man and the universe simply dust, matter, that will eventually perish?

These are not easy questions to answer. But one of the most tender proofs of God's reality is the simple fact that every one of us has the ability, derived from Him, to see through the fog of matter's apparent reality and to sense His presence and love. Just as every one of us can at least for a moment interrupt the dash of his daily routine to quietly appreciate the beauty of a rose or the purity of an innocent child's laugh, so every one of us has the God-given ability to turn away from the aggressive, sinful presentations of the material senses and see beyond their misleading reports. We all have God-derived spiritual sense, which enables us to discern the one, totally nonmaterial God and His perfect image, man.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''Immortal men and women are models of spiritual sense, drawn by perfect Mind and reflecting those higher conceptions of loveliness which transcend all material sense.'' n1

n1 Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, p. 247

Christ Jesus perceived man's actual selfhood, his spiritual perfection, and expressed the Christly conviction that we too could discern, and increasingly show forth, that true selfhood. He instructed, ''Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.'' n2

n2 Matthew 5:48.

But could the perfection of God and man ever be in matter, which is so obviously transient and imperfect? The Bible tells us that God is Spirit. So although we appear to be flesh and bones, our true identity, made in God's likeness, must be spiritual, not material.

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As far from our daily thought as this fact may seem to be, we all can at least begin to glimpse it. The Apostle Paul, as well as our Master, knew we could. Paul looked forward to the time when ''we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.'' n3

n3 Ephesians 4:13.

One proof of this faith, or spiritual understanding, is peace that transcends human reason. Another is health. As our understanding that reality is purely spiritual gets clearer, false beliefs about matter as ultimate reality gradually fade from our thought. This brings us not only peace but health as well, because all human woe is rooted in some phase of materialistic thinking, in a misunderstanding of the actual, spiritual nature of God and man. For example, once when I had a very heavy cold, it disappeared instantly before a pure spiritual perception of God and man.

Do some feel this is hard to accept? Space travel was hard for most people to imagine fifty or sixty years ago. But today it's an accepted fact. We all have the God-given abilQty'to progressively understand God's truth, and this understanding results'in health and leads to salvation.

In order to recognize and cultivate this ability, however, we may need greater childlikeness of thought, a greater expression of purity and love. The most profound thinker of all time clearly said, referring to little children, ''of such is the kingdom of heaven.'' n4

n4 Matthew 19:14.

The simple admission ''I accept the universe'' is attributed to the American critic and reformer Margaret Fuller. To the degree that we each humbly accept and discern God's spiritual universe as the only genuine reality, we'll be blessed with regeneration and healing. DAILY BIBLE VERSE To be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6

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