Metaphysics

When I first became a serious student of metaphysics, at the age of 22, I studied all the metaphysical writings that I could get my hands on. I was a very dedicated student and an avid reader and so I read a lot of books in this field of study. Dr. Thomas Hora, the founder of Metapsychiatry, and some of his many students in New York introduced me to Christian Science as one of the metaphysical schools of thought.

Back in Australia, I visited some Christian Science churches but, even then, the churches were empty and seemed to only have senior citizens. I remember being highly offended that one gentleman at the door politely asked me if I wished to go to the Sunday School. I was in my early twenties but I looked young. I did not realize Sunday School in Christian Science went until the age of 20. I came from a Catholic background where Sunday School was for children. So I felt like saying, What are you talking about? I am married. And I am a very serious spiritual student, not a child playing in the Sunday School! I continued my metaphysical studies at home, loving all my treasured spiritual books. Once my little children started attending a Christian Science-based school, Christian Science naturally became a significant part of our lives, not just a private part of my spiritual study.

The Love of Devotion is the result of several decades of spiritual work. It began the day I first opened the metaphysical door and stepped into a world which, although only minimally understood at the time, was strongly desired. Metaphysics is concerned with the ultimate, primary, inner aspects of existence. It does not see life in material terms but sees life in terms of thought and it has a strong emphasis on healing. Everyone’s greatest need is for the healing and wholeness which spiritual awareness brings. However, we are often reluctant to commit to it. As Thomas Hora said, It’s easy to be enlightened. It’s just not easy to be interested in it. We, eventually, must come to the realisation that the purpose of our life is to align with our spiritual nature. Try as we do to find other options, there are no viable alternatives which will withstand the inevitable consequences of misplaced loyalties and loves. It is the way for us to find our soul-home. The Love of Devotion is, also, a personal journey. However, the struggles and lessons of one individual are, fundamentally, those of all mankind.

As students of life, we seek both relief from suffering and growth of happiness. Nothing is withheld by God, yet, it is only by our sincere searching and the evolutionary stage we have reached that we come into contact with various teachings which leave us wiser than when we first found them. Deeply considering uplifting ideas raises our consciousness from the realm of the material problem into the powerful and harmonious realm of the spiritual. It is what a dedicated spiritual practice is all about. We give up our own ideas, hurts, fears, and grudges and concede to the Greater. We expand and we heal. There is a grand and magnificent truth which radiates from within all life and from within each of us. I hope you enjoy sharing these beautiful, healing ideas which join us as spiritual co-inhabitants of a spiritual world. We are loved by the Divine, loved into existence. That, in itself, is enough to reassure each one of us of our inestimable worth. 

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22 Replies to “Metaphysics”

  1. One final thought.
    If we keep doing what we have been doing, we will keep getting what we are getting. So if we are happy with where the church is then what we are doing is fine, but if we want to see it do something different, reach more people, be inspirational, be recognised as a great path to follow, uplift the thought of all mankind, we must do something different.
    Let’s get together and create a vision for what is possible, for the real difference we could be making. Let’s work out what steps would make this happen, without fear, without worrying about manuals and rules.
    Let’s bring this “Pearl of great price” to the world and not just to other Christian Scientists.
    Please!

  2. I noticed that this conversation has been opened up again.
    I think that the main aim of the original article is to try to open up a discussion about how we can do something positive to help bring Christian Science truths to more people. So I am pleased that it has been started up again.
    There is no shortage of people who are willing to do the work necessary to grow spiritually but very few people want to be limited by connection to a church organisation. It is the truths that need to reach more than just CS members or people who were born into it. We need to have writers who can speak about these spiritual principles in a language that connects with people and leads them to grow. I would love to see us encouraging our great teachers, practitioners and healers to write and publish their own books, bringing the ideas to the public in many different forms, not just using CS-speak. I would like to see any book with a positive message about CS available in our Reading Rooms; books not published by the CS Publishing Society. Why are the writings of some of our great early teachers not freely available in our Reading Rooms. One of my favourites is Bicknell Young, but he is not authorised. How tragic is that. There are others like Joel Goldsmith who was a very successful practitioner but because he wanted to publish his own books and developed a large following, he had to leave the church. (I am sure it was his choice. As far as I know he was not forced to leave) Even his earlier writings, written while he was a practitioner are not approved. We seem to be so afraid of open discussion that we can actually be stifling free thinking. We are afraid of what other Christian Scientists may think of us so we don’t say anything that might challenge the status quo.
    The Manual sets out rules and regulations that we are expected to follow and I know that this book is regarded as being “inspired”, however, we also need to remember that Mrs Eddy’s original idea was that the CS principles be shared in all churches and not limited.
    It is not hard work to study spiritual truths, it is hard work for those not schooled or raised in CS to try and intellectually get ones head around the language of CS. Spiritual growth should not be an intellectual process it should be an inner process of realising ones true identity as the spiritual reflection or expression of God, divine Love. This is our real life’s work. It is through stillness and quietness that this is done.
    Thank you again for continuing the discourse. Let’s hope we can do some good by being honest about how we feel.

  3. Hi Donna,

    You certainly paint a grim picture of the CS church. I cannot imagine anyone being treated with ‘coldness and contempt’ at any of the many CS churches I have visited. I have only ever met a very humble and loving bunch of spiritual seekers. Commitment to church activities and prayerful work for the whole congregation is of great importance to Christian Scientists.

    Perhaps a visit to the first church Waverley would see you change your view that all CS churches are empty and spiritually baron. This church is thriving with a bustling Sunday School and impressive numbers of people attending both the Sunday services and Wednesday night testimony meetings. To say that the movement ‘is not dying but already dead’ is certainly not accurate about Waverley.

    I can also say that my experiences of CS nurses have been incredibly positive and the notion that these people would neglect a child is a shocking one. I also want to say that people I have known who have been cared for at various CS nursing home facilities have raved about the high level of care and about the loving and tender attitude of staff members.

    People are of course completely free to move on from CS and look at other avenues of spiritual nourishment such as Meta Psychiatry, however, to go online and make such negative judgements and generalisations about the CS church is not, in my opinion, in the best interests of anyone.

    S Jacqui

  4. This has been an amazing conversation. One thing stands out to me. Most of the responses show the great love that we have for Christian Science teaching and Mrs Eddy and the sadness that we feel around the seeming diminution in the numbers of people embracing the religion. We feel that it can do so much good in the world if it can only reach people. How do we improve things? We need to be honest about the issues in the church or we cannot change things. We need to be willing to openly talk about things without fear of censure, criticism or judgement. We must celebrate those who are brave enough to bring things to the fore so that they can be debated; Whether we agree with them or not. It is through the discussion, without fear, that growth will occur. We need to show compassion and understanding for all in their individual journeys and above all we must simply love. Love, love and more love is the only way to turn the tide.

    1. Sorry Donna In my experience this last bit above is just not true. I feel that the main reason why CS churches have fewer numbers and older people is not because of rules and regulations . It’s more that unfortunately life these days is fast and busy. Most people , even those who are really searching for Truth simply don’t have the time, concentration level or head space to even start to think on the very deep level you need in order to PROPERLY understand Christian Science. Doing CS class instruction is like opening a door to something you only had a faint knowledge of before…even if you do this after many years of being a CS. However it DOES require tremendous dedication and being very aware of distracting external would be influences. This is hard to do and demanding and most people just can’t be bothered.
      We will probably never REALLY know why Augusta was excommunicated (as this is an extremely rare occurrence !). Would you trust the fore knowledge and decision of one who wrote about atomic power before the scientists who discovered them knew it was possible? Would you take on trust that one whose explanation of matter is only now being “discovered” by quantum physicists? Yes I think so!! I would trust Mrs Eddy’s assessment anytime and assume that she knew something they and we still don’t.
      I agree with Sholto when he says we need more love.

  5. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Mrs. Eddy originally intend CS to be embraced and practiced in churches of all faiths..not a stand-alone religion?

    Several years ago NPR had a wonderful interview with a CS Practitioner. She wasn’t Journal listed, didn’t attend church, wasn’t raised in it, her family weren’t CS’ists? She just found it on her own, loved it and began practicing and demonstrating healing as shown in S and H. She called herself a CS practitioner, had tremendous healing results and had no affiliation with Boston or church whatsoever. To me, this is what Mrs. Eddy originally intended for CS.

    My sister’s church in the Boston area is (at least used to be) very strict on membership requirements. You had to be free of tobacco and alcohol for at least a year, demonstrate this and that.etc. Then you have my other sister’s little church in VT who accepts people of all “abilities”…meaning ability to demonstrate over medical conditions, addictions one might be working on etc…It is a mixed bag out there.

    Great discussion as always!!

  6. Terry, can’t you see the problems? Can’t you see that the CS church has almost no members under 55? And even over 55, the numbers are tiny and rapidly diminishing. The only place the numbers are growing are in a very few poor countries where the people are glad of any help they can get. Don’t you want CS to have a viable voice in the future? Don’t you think it would be a good idea to listen to people like me, who want to help, rather than trying to prove that my CS is not true CS and that my intentions are suspicious? The world’s interest in spiritual answers has not diminished. It is strong.

  7. Practitioners or teachers should not have a “following”. In the same way, doctors or psychologists, do not have a following, It is the science behind their work that attracts people. In the same way, it is the practice of Christian Science that people are drawn to, not the person. Stetson came to consider her personality as central to her practice of Christian Science.
    The reason Christian Science practitioners are requested not to write books is because their personal opinions and beliefs could easily be misconstrued as genuine Christian Science. The only book that puts forward genuine Christian Science is “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”. This is why Eddy asked her followers to find her in her writings, not in her personality.
    For practising Christian Scientists these ideas are not stifling, rather they are liberating as it ensures they follow as closely as possible the works of Christ Jesus and no one else. If a spiritually minded person wishes to follow a path that is not in keeping with the practice of Christian Science then, yes, I can see it would be stifling.
    As for getting rid of church, I disagree. I think our human experience is improved by sharing our spiritual journey with others who are wanting to grow in the same direction. It requires us to be humble, to put aside our own view of things, consider others and pray together that God’s will be done. The church structure supports spiritual growth. Mrs Eddy calls it the “structure of Truth and Love”.

  8. It was vital that Mrs Eddy took steps to excommunicate Augusta Stetson. While Augusta Stetson may have been a spiritually minded woman evidenced in her healing work, she seemed to become increasingly absorbed with her own personality and that of Mrs Eddy. Mrs Eddy constantly asks her students to deny her and their material personality and turn to God. She wrote the manual, in part, to ensure any worship of her did not occur. A fact that Stetson failed to appreciate and hence the importance of making the Bible and Science and Health the pastor of the Christian Science church, thus ensuring that personality does not enter into the day to day living of Christian Science. Gillian Gill puts it succinctly in her biography of Mrs Eddy, referring to Augusta Stetson, when she writes;
    “..Mary Baker Eddy consistently, and with increasing seriousness and rigor, chastised her student for personalizing the religion, for forgetting the first commandment to worship only one God, and for suggesting that she, Mrs Eddy, stood on the same level as Jesus Christ.” (p535, Mary Baker Eddy by Gillian Gill)
    Mrs Eddy allowed Augusta Stetson to remain a part of the church for a long time, despite her obvious inclinations to be a ‘magnetic personality’, praying that she would recognise that she was giving into ego rather than God.
    My experience of a Christian Science church is that there is a refreshing lack of ‘rules and regulations’ in comparison to other Christian denominations. The boards are elected democratically every three years to take care of the running of the branch churches and the manual, as I referred to earlier, simply ensures that individual personalities have as little influence as possible.

    1. Hi Terry. Thanks for your thoughts.

      It is true that CS is a more democratically run church than most. It doesn’t have a clergy and so it already has a head start. It also is founded by a woman, so it is not sexist. These are its two great structural advantages – not sexist and no clerical hierarchy. However, I don’t think that most people who have a knowledge of the CS church would feel it has a lack of rules and regulations.

      Re your other point about having a personal following and a magnetic personality. Yes, of course, the spiritual student recognizes the egotistic nature of seeking personal recognition. However, the more spiritually and emotionally mature one becomes, the more influence one will naturally have on other people. Some people are, by nature and destiny, quiet and so their spiritual power may not be obvious to others. Others are public and they will tend to have a public “following”. People will be drawn to them. To assume that spiritual teachers who have a following take their personal selves seriously is a mistake. If they are sincere, they will use their power and voice for others’ growth.

      I think two significant obstacles to top class practitioners and teachers are the rule about having no other paid work and also that practitioners cannot have published books, when it is the healers and teachers who would be the very people TO write well.

  9. “Healing is natural. However, one cannot insist upon healing because many factors come into a healing. It may not be time or destiny for a healing. To understand this point, is to have spiritual humility and surrender to the Divine process. We do our part, as best as we spiritually can, and we leave the rest to God.”

    Love this Donna. Thank you so much!

    Susan, I just love your above post!

    And I wanted to say that my experience with my teacher happened back in 1979. She was told she could come back as a teacher after a 3 year (??) probationary period but she didn’t. She felt, as well, she had failed. I don’t know if it would be handled any differently today. I hope and pray it would be.

    Such a great discussion. Thank you all. 🙂

  10. Thank you, Sholto, for your insightful reply and keeping the dialogue alive. That “Nothing comes into experience uninvited” (Principle #7 of Metapsychiatry) appears to be personal, and some take it to mean we are blameworthy or at fault if we have problems or sickness; this perspective, however is false, as you say. This Principle is only stating the Law of Correspondence, aka the Law of Attraction. “As you sow (in consciousness), so shall you reap (in experience).” This is a karmic law. This law is nonpersonal and clarifies that all problems, including sickness, find their origins in the contents of our consciousness, and if we do not know how to identify what thoughts we are entertaining, whether they are coming from ignorance or Truth, we will suffer and never understand it.
    We did not create ignorance, and we are not at fault for its nefarious presence in the human condition. “Ignorance is always the culprit, never a person” (Dr. Hora). And, so, as we begin to realize this truth, we are seeking to understand what kinds of thoughts we are entertaining, and to cleanse the consciousness of the trouble-makers. Our experiences are valuable in reflecting back to us what it is that needs to be corrected in our consciousness. There is NO blame or “failure” attached to a problem, difficulty or illness, only a blessed opportunity to learn something of a spiritual nature that we do not yet know, and really grasping this point is a common hurdle in metaphysical work. Compassion is needed for ourselves and others as we stumble along into transcendence.
    IF we can grasp that we do not generate or produce thoughts, but, instead, that “thoughts obtain” (are received), either from the corrupt worldly and illusory thought-system or from the One Mind of the Perfect Divine Reality, then we can gradually come to see that we have only to discern between these sources of all thoughts and learn to refute those thoughts from the world’s dualistic thought-system that the great wisdom teachings have helped us to identify as harmful. We are stewards of our consciousness, not to blame if a harmful thought sneaks in, but to become more vigilant–like Jesus– and get better at catching such thoughts at the entry point.
    Like Augusta, we must not “throw out the baby with the bath water”! As humans, we have much to transcend, and, regardless of the limited judgements of others, we hew to the Truth and pay no attention to the de-bunkers or “spoilers.” In Spiritual Reality, there are no “failures.” We must be grateful to the authentic teachers who, and teachings which, have forged a path for us in the evolutionary process to enlightenment and ultimate liberation. Dr. Hora advised us to go as far as we possibly could in this lifetime. That is a beautiful prescription, one that everyone can follow, one that allows God to direct the steps of every individual’s path, in the way that he or she can best receive it, given our unique points of evolution. Thank you all for this sharing.
    http://www.theMetaway.com

  11. Hi Ingrid
    Yes, I sense a deep love of CS in all she writes. Everything she says in her books demonstrates such a clear and wonderful understanding. She certainly did build on a “purely spiritual foundation” because she was not connected to the material organisation at all.
    Best wishes
    Sholto

  12. Thanks Susan
    That’s a great perspective. While CS is not supposed to be judgemental, it seems to come across that way particularly in the way people treat one another. There is a sense of guilt when something can’t be healed, a sense of “failure”. Meta certainly provides a more understanding framework (humanly speaking) and certainly embodies the CS principles.
    It is interesting to me how Augusta did not judge CS, she did not write it off. She could see the good in it, despite the dreadful way in which she was treated by those in authority at the time. She continued to love it, practice it, share it and do wonderful healing work.
    Sholto

    1. Hi Sholto,
      I love the way you describe Augusta: the continuity of love and practice and not writing off the teaching. I also love that Augusta kept loyal to the discoverer, founder and leader of CS. My own experience is the same.
      Ingrid

  13. In response to your dialogue with Patty, Donna, and specifically concerning her teacher’s need for physical help in a time of great pain and distress, I will add the compassionate words of our teacher, Thomas Hora, MD, Founder of Metapsychiatry: “We do what we need to do until we know what we need to know.” Dr. Hora was allowing every seeker of truth to evolve at the rate appropriate for his/her unique point of evolution, understanding that it is humble and wise to ask for help, if we cannot yet overcome certain influences of mortal mind, without guilt or shame, and from the experience, to recommit to deepening our spiritual awareness, so as to be fortified when another challenge assails us. This is the path that leads to ascension and eventual enlightenment.
    I will add that Metapsychiatry builds on CS with a methodology that includes searching out the meaning, or mental equivalent, of our experience. In this process, we become consciously aware of the invalid thought that is manifesting as our problem or illness, and we can treat it in consciousness, where it finds its origin, and where we can be healed through prayer and meditation.
    Susan von Reichenbach
    http://www.theMetaWay.com

  14. Hi Donna….I first saw this article on Augusta Stetson on another person’s blog site. I wasn’t sure if she had written it…was so glad to follow it over here and find that you wrote it. So many people today, (former CS’ists, haters, thinkers, the curious, etc..) want to lump all early CS’ists and their incredible healing work into the “crazy” category. There’s no way those healings took place they say. It’s all bunk! I was really thrilled to see that you gave Augusta her due. She was an incredible person, teacher, healer, and in the end, remained a devout student of Mrs. Eddy’s and CS.

    I’m enjoying being challenged in my thinking about CS. I was raised in it but am currently not practicing or attending church. I have tended over the years to take from it what I like and leave the rest. And I don’t feel judged or guilty about it.

    I went through CS class instruction (2 week intense class on how to become a CS healer) when I was 20. My teacher was a very devout, loved friend….and a terrific healer! But as life would have it, she had an acute appendicitis attack one day and was rushed to the hospital for surgery. She simply couldn’t deal with it or the pain. And for this she was asked to step down as a teacher, “excommunicated” in a way. Her class was disbanded. It was over. I guess the board, or whoever makes those decisions, would’ve preferred her to die that to have the surgery. But like Augusta, she remained a faithful student of CS and even continued healing, even though she was not a listed practitioner (one sanctioned by the church).

    Anyway…I enjoyed your article and appreciate the positive light you bring to subjects. Thank you, patty

  15. Over the last few days I have been thinking many times how beautiful and most precious it is to have God. How God carries us through everything in life. No matter what. What a wonderful coincidence that you write about Augusta now. There is really no need to run when you have God. You do stand because God enables you to stand. This is so loving, it is Love itself. Am so very happy about it. Thank you.

  16. I appreciate the article on Augusta Stetson so much, Donna, and the dynamic it reveals: Even in spiritual teachings, where we tend to assume such virulent energy does not reside, the demons “jealousy” and “rivalry” do exist; and, if unchecked, these can escalate, as Metapsychiatry identifies, to malice and the desire to annihilate another individual. We see in this story that these harmful energies must be confronted and overcome individually by students and teachers alike. It is fortifying to know of Augusta’s experience and how she responded to it. Thank you for this lucid and helpful reflection. Susan von Reichenbach ~ Meta Teacher

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