Recently, while I was polishing some silver, I was reminded of a quick healing I had last spring when a pot of boiling curry splashed into my eyes. The moment the curry sprayed on my face, a good thought from God immediately came to mind: "A spiritual idea cannot burn."
I knew that I am – as everyone is – a spiritual idea; that I had been created in God's perfect image and likeness (see Gen. 1:26), and that nothing could ever break my inherent oneness with God or disturb my present and constant state of harmony.
I called a friend to pray with me, and we calmly discussed the fact that I was completely governed by God, Love, and therefore I couldn't be burned or hurt. Within just a few minutes, all traces of pain and discomfort completely vanished.
I returned to the stove and continued to pray, and then enjoyed such a nice evening with friends that I forgot I'd been burned. When I recalled the event later that night and told my husband about it, we rejoiced together in the allness of God. I was completely healed, with no trace of pain or discoloration.
It wasn't until I was polishing the silver six months later, however, that I had a very special insight into that healing. I'd recently inherited some family silver and decided to polish the tarnished pieces before storing them. Most of them shined up easily, but the tarnish on one small pitcher didn't diminish no matter how much polish or vigor I applied. Then I remembered we had a special tarnish remover, and I poured it slowly over the pitcher. I was delighted to see the black tarnish dissolve, showing the glinting bright silver underneath. No scrubbing was required, and in moments, the pitcher was bright and clean.
As I stood there admiring it, I realized what a powerful metaphor that polishing experience represented for spiritual thinking, praying, and healing. I've found that my prayers aren't at all effective when I'm scrubbing and scrubbing at the problem – focusing on what it looks like, how long it's been there, or speculating about how long it will remain.
Instead, I pray most effectively when I follow an instruction found in the textbook of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy. She wrote, "The way to extract error … is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 201). This truth consists of what is real about the might and glory of God and His perfection, and this drives out any condition or thought that might take my attention from God. This truth about God reveals to me my completeness and perfection as His image, and the freedom, clarity, and joy that come from these realizations.
As I stood at the sink, I realized that that's what had happened during my healing. I'd been so focused on God and on the truth of my being as His perfect child that I didn't pay attention to any of the physical aspects of what felt like a serious accident. I didn't "scrub" at the problem; instead, I poured in the truth. Not for a moment that evening did I think about "what if" – nor did I think later, "Wow, that could have been a really bad burn. Good thing I prayed about it." There was just no consideration given to what had happened physically. There was only the peaceful, joyful realization of God's omnipotence and all-presence. And that steadfast declaration of Truth healed me quickly and completely. That kind of prayer can't help lifting thought into a state of receptivity to God's ever-present goodness, enabling healing. And then we see our natural silver glinting clearly!