Arresting stray thoughts
HAVE you ever watched a dandelion head blow across the garden and wished you had seen it in time and nipped it off before it had a chance to spread? Have you ever realized that unwanted thoughts tend to spread themselves and so cause trouble unless they are arrested? Can't we learn to discriminate better between the thoughts we want to accept and those that should be dusted off like pollen? A man learned something of the importance of watching which thoughts to accept when one day he found that he had no desire to eat or drink anything for lunch. He felt shivery and his head ached. By the time he reached home in the evening, all he wanted to do was to go to bed and sleep.
His wife telephoned a Christian Sci- ence practitioner and asked for treatment for him through prayer. The practitioner asked her to remind him that he didn't have to take in the thought-seeds of contagious disease that were flying around. She referred the wife to this passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ``Evil thoughts and aims reach no farther and do no more harm than one's belief permits. Evil thoughts, lusts, and malicious purposes cannot go forth, like wandering pollen, from one human mind to another, finding unsuspected lodgment, if virtue and truth build a strong defence.'' 1
The man soon fell asleep and woke the following morning well enough to carry out a full day's work. By evening all trace of the malady had disappeared. How had this happened when the time considered necessary for the trouble to run its course was so much longer? He had refused to believe that he was powerless to reject contagious thought, and had found strength through prayer to do that rejecting.
Why is what we believe so significant? Because it relates very directly to our well-being. Do we believe that all thoughts originate in the brain, and that we must just let them run their course unchecked? Or do we believe, and begin to understand, that in truth there is only one source of thought, which is totally good--the one divine Mind, or God--and that man reflects this Mind?
Contrary to appearances, man isn't really a mortal with a personal material mind separate from God. The true selfhood of everyone is the spiritual image of the one infinite God, of the only genuine creator. The wisdom of divine Mind can always be called upon through prayer to arrest unhealthy thinking.
Where do detrimental thoughts come from in the first place? From the sup- posititious opposite of the one Mind --from the mortal or ``carnal'' mind, to use St. Paul's term. But God alone is the one true Mind and a sure defense against evil.
Accepting a materialistic concept of life as including bad elements as well as good ones, weakness as well as strength, invites submissiveness to detrimental, matter-based thoughts and fears, which lead to accepted patterns of disease operating through infection and contagion.
This wasn't the standpoint Christ Jesus taught. He showed that we have God-given dominion over material conditions. For example, he talked to lepers and even touched them, not only escaping contamination but nullifying the disease. The Bible relates one such healing: ``And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.'' 2
To refute disease-producing thoughts on the basis of the divine Mind's allness isn't a form of escapism or wishful thinking. Nor is it a self-centered exclusiveness. Rather, it's a healing standpoint that arrests disease-laden thought and breaks its hold, benefiting both ourselves and others.
1 Science and Health, pp. 234-235. 2 Matthew 8:2, 3. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Let no man deceive you with vain words: . . . See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Ephesians 5:6, 15