Millions of individuals rely on drugs to alleviate pain. Many people, though, are understandably concerned about the safety of the drugs they take - especially since three major painkilling drugs have been linked to heart problems in recent months (see Boston Globe, "Another painkiller tied to heart attack risk," Dec. 21).
People want assurance that the United States government's Food and Drug Administration and the drug manufacturers are doing all they can to eliminate risk from the drugs they approve and market.
When I listen to news reports on these issues, I pray to support every honest effort to bring safe pain relief to people. At the same time, I yearn to share with others the 50 years of experience I have had with a method of pain relief that has proved consistently effective for me - with no negative side effects. I found this method in a book I picked up the summer after I graduated from high school.
I wasn't looking for pain relief, or any other physical effect, when I started to read "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, but that's exactly what I found. I was looking for a better understanding of the nature of God and the way He cares for everyone, including the whole universe.
Right away, as I read, I found spiritual concepts that hit home. They stirred my thought, satisfied my spiritual hunger, and - to my surprise - brought immediate benefits to my body. For one thing, a quite remarkable one, lumps in my breast dissolved overnight. And as I carried these spiritual ideas with me each day, I found them amazingly effective in meeting any physical trouble that would come up, including relief from pain.
So naturally I've kept reading Science and Health throughout the years. And I continue to learn more about the spiritual healing method - the Christian Science - taught in this book.
The foundation of Christian Science is the biblical teaching that there is one God and Creator of all, who is infinite Spirit, and that each of us is made in God's image, spiritual and perfect. This means that no one is ever helpless in any situation, because God, the one divine Mind, is always present to communicate our inherent wellness to us and enable us to experience it.
Learning to listen to God is what prayer is all about. And having some acquaintance with the Science of Christianity, or laws of God, helps me recognize the thoughts God is communicating to me. Here are two basic thoughts that have helped me find relief from pain:
• God, the divine Mind, cannot and does not impart pain, because He is entirely good.
• When the human mind is governed by the all-good divine Mind, any sense of pain diminishes until it disappears.
I recall one instance when my body was suddenly wracked with pain so intense that I couldn't find relief in any position. So I quit trying to ease the body and, instead, determined to quiet my thought by gratefully acknowledging that God, good, fills all space - leaving no room for pain. Within minutes, as I more fully realized this truth, my body relaxed - and the pain vanished.
In this instance, and many others before and since, I have found these words of Jesus to be absolutely trustworthy: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
They are akin to instructions such as these from Science and Health that I have turned to over and over again: "Be firm in your understanding that the divine Mind governs, and that in Science man reflects God's government" (page 393), and "Banish the belief that you can possibly entertain a single intruding pain which cannot be ruled out by the might of Mind, and in this way you can prevent the development of pain in the body. No law of God hinders this result" (page 391).
The side effects from this method have all been positive: a remedy that is always at hand; not just temporary, unreliable relief, but healing; a happier, kinder me; prevention, as well as cure; and the more the better.
O Lord my God,
I cried unto thee,
and thou hast healed me.