The Legacy of Mind-healing is Growing

By Cheryl Petersen
Mary Baker Eddy, a 19th-century religious icon, died 100 years ago, leaving behind an intriguing track-record and a sizable contribution to the legacy of mind-healing. When other Americans were pioneering land in the West, Eddy was pioneering the frontier of the mind and its ability to produce well-being. Although her findings were controversial, she discovered a distinct correlation between health, religion and science; eventually writing and publishing a book on the subject of mind-healing titled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." At the time of her death in 1910, Mary Baker Eddy was a household name in America, not only because she broke ground for the common people to harness the power of mind over matter, but also because she went on to establish a church of her own, representing the equality of men and women to lead in religion. Eddy was born in the year 1821. Relatively speaking, her childhood was mild. She had parents who were caring and loving, who were pillars in the community, and who, like most parents, believed their children were special and destined for great things. However, Eddy matured into a submissive woman typical to the 19th-century attitude that women were to get married and bear children. She married in 1843, but her husband died of Yellow Fever just before the birth of her first child. After her son's birth, he was eventually put in the care of foster parents. Eddy remarried in 1853, but divorced her second husband due to his untamed absences and unwillingness to unite Eddy with her child. It would not be until 1965 before the term "midlife crisis" was coined, but Eddy appeared to be a prime candidate confirming the phase. In her early 40s, with nerve-racking relationships plaguing her, along with chronic weak health, Eddy made a titanic shift in her life direction and began an indefatigable search for a yet undefined dream. Her goal targeted the power of mind. Mind activity had been observed for thousands of years and mind-study generally included functions not obviously visible to the physical senses, such as mindfulness, awareness, intellect, and other mental capabilities. Eddy pushed the subject of mind to include functions visible to the physical senses, such as improved physical strength and life situations via the mind. She made the bold statements that matter is not the solid substance it appears to be, and that mind is more substantial than it appears to be. Having strong Christian proclivities, Eddy also naturally looked to Christ Jesus to support her vision of a powerful mind. Her study advanced to outlining a metaphysical system of divine healing, later branded Christian Science. Eddy had to pace herself. The formulation of Christian Science did not come in a snap. At first, mind-healing seemed mind-boggling. She read voraciously, and experimented in order to develop a skill-set she wasn't reluctant to use. She also networked with other alternative healers; one in particular was Phineas Quimby, a magnetic healer. Eddy tried homeopathic remedies containing untraceable amounts of medicine and finally concluded that affects

produced on the body were according to the human mind's "belief." Eddy then put forward the power of mental treatment as an agent to heal. Eddy posited her knowledge that the human mind can affect the body as individual or collective belief dictates; however, looking to Christ Jesus as the master metaphysician, Eddy settled on the knowledge that the mind, God, of Christ, healed mind and body spiritually, not the personality or human mind of Jesus. Eddy basically offered a countercosmology to human mind and matter as cause and effect. Christian Science, Eddy argued, interprets a universe of divine mind and its infinite manifestation as the only cause and effect, revealing the rule of harmony to the universe. Human beings are not yet ready to abandon physical modalities of care and rely entirely on mental treatment for healing. Yet, the increase of people who are seriously engaged in some form of metaphysically based healing today is nothing short of revolutionary. Interestingly, a note of empathy with the 19th-century vision of freedom from slavery is heard reverberating through Eddy's words. Human slavery was being abolished around the world. In the year 1865, the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished slavery, except as a crime. Eddy extended this paradigm of liberty to include mental freedom from beliefs of disease, fear, gender-inequality, mind trapped in matter, and so on, all which can feel very real to a human mind trained in those directions or under the influence of mass negative consciousness. After gaining confidence in Christian Science, Eddy developed a franchise of churches of Christ, Scientists, to open the way for common humanity to pursue divine mind's empowerment, to honor God, and improve their "real life" situations of making a living, of having a purpose and pursuing a less intrusive health care. Most famously, at an age when most people today are retired, Eddy, at the age of 86, set in motion "The Christian Science Monitor," an informative print newspaper for the public. Eddy's track-record as a thinker, writer, teacher and public servant is noteworthy. Her leadership in religion helped to reframe humanity's concept of women, clarifying the fact that women are certainly able and willing to minister to the spiritual and physical well-being of humankind. More fascinating is the fact that within the last century, top-notch scientific research institutions are also pursuing the validity of mind-healing.