Ideas on which this article is based are explored at greater depth in Laird’s, “Objects of Sense Are Ideas of Soul.” The unreferenced quotes below come from that address.
In his review of Lionel Shriver’s novel So Much for That, Ron Charles of the Washington Post observes, “I’ve never read anything that made me so cringingly self-conscious about the way we respond to friends who are seriously ill.” He adds, “When my daughter was born with severe brain damage…, we were effectively ostracized by our community. My wife worried that we’d be overwhelmed by offers of assistance from fellow church members. None. Zip. One of our best friends told us later, ‘I sensed something was wrong, so I didn’t call.’ But then as a friend of mine died last year across the street, I was too embarrassed to do anything besides send a brief note of encouragement.”
Compassion, though considered a commendable human approach to dealing with those in need, has its limitations. Few expect it to reverse illness; yet the human intuition that disease is wrong and unnatural is perhaps a factor leading to the timidity noted by Mr. Charles, and to the feeling that another’s illness “is none of my business.”
Do students of Scientific Metaphysics approach the illness of friends and relatives as none of their business? No! Instead, they see illness as entirely an experience of consciousness, and understand all consciousness to be the action of the one, perfect Mind known as God.
Even if we ourselves do not appear to be sick, but believe that illness can occur in our world, we recognize that beliefs appear at the point of individual consciousness — not to be ignored, but to be dealt with there. We acknowledge that the presence of perfect Mind eliminates disease, because imperfection does not exist in Mind.
So we address illness mentally by turning to Science, which Margaret Laird defines succinctly as “the oneness of God and man.” Science alone can accurately interpret all that appears to be going on in one’s world. It reveals the one, infinite Mind/Spirit constituting All as perceived humanly. So whenever omnipresent Mind/Spirit — encompassing the sensory world, but not limited nor affected by it — appears broken, one can be sure his individual view is obscured by ignorance: that is, by his acceptance of a sensory picture as accurate and complete. Science reveals that it is not. We have no more Truth in our sensory world than we have in our conscious awareness.
We learn it is useless to attempt to change such a picture by our actions, because the picture is just a snapshot of one’s own perception or concept of how Reality looks distorted by ignorance. The picture or concept has no reality in itself, apart from the all-encompassing Reality it appears to misstate. But we’re stuck with it so long as we suppose it to be accurate, and accept it as is. The only Reality is infinite Mind, whose Idea is Mind’s awareness of Itself. Science reveals that awareness to be the true identity of Man, the thinking of Mind.
Whatever illness, disharmony or lack may appear to human consciousness is nothing more than a limited view of Mind’s omni-action functioning flawlessly — not a “something.”
Disharmony is sensed only to expose its alter-ego, ignorance, for what it is, nothing — nothing that can be depended upon, we might say, any more than a mirage could be depended upon. Awareness of the perfect Mind as All, when lived self-consciously, eliminates all sense of “another” mind and, therefore, any inverted view of perfection — a view (concept) entirely incidental to human ignorance of Mind/Idea, God/ Man. As Mary Baker Eddy put it, “… a blind belief without understanding … hides Truth and builds on error.” (Science and Health 83:6)
Mrs. Laird has stated that the illnesses, disasters, accidents, crimes, injustices, wars — all the supposed human phenomena indicating ignorance of Mind — can be addressed only at the point of one’s own consciousness, “because that is the only place they are going on” so far as the individual is concerned.
Then “my” awareness of “a friend’s” illness, in effect, reveals a flaw in my own currently accepted world-view. Ignorance makes Good appear to be less than good. The eradication of ills in one’s consciousness/world, Mrs. Laird explains, depends entirely “on the unfolding of Truth as individual consciousness, and never on the correction of a world” — correction of persons, things or situations somewhere outside one’s consciousness. There are none!
In fact, from moment to moment, she adds, humans manufacture their “world of sensory perception through [their] awareness [or apparent lack of awareness] of Mind or Truth.” If that world looks flawed, we can be sure our vision is impaired by ignorance.
It is a human tendency to attribute ignorance to a person — myself, my sick friend, the doctor who diagnosed illness, all those “others” who don’t think to question that man (God’s Idea) could be subject to fluctuating conditions. But ignorance is never personal, any more than consciousness originates in person. Mary Baker Eddy points out, “The greatest wrong is but a supposititious opposite of the highest right.” (S&H 368:2) Mrs. Laird explains, “Unless we see it this way we are using no Science …, and the first thing we know we are condemning the evil thinker and then the evildoer — either ourselves or others.”
Every appearance of human progress or wellness is really a disappearance of ignorance, through Mind’s presence correctly identified as our understanding. Mrs. Laird writes, “Ignorance is all there is to the human being as a human being, and to his world. … There is never a disease to heal … a life to be sustained, a circumstance to be changed, nor a state of consciousness to be corrected.” Ignorance masquerades in all these appearances, which we deal with scientifically by identifying Mind (correctly) as our very own mind.
With that identification comes the understanding that, regardless of appearance, everything having identity, or being, is Mind revealing Itself. This understanding lived consciously reshapes one’s sense world, with no destructive elements in it.
Man includes everything that exists as Mind because he is what Mind reveals as Itself. So there can be nothing in my world that is not Creator disclosing Itself as creation. As we recognize this oneness, we lose all sense — and therefore all “sense evidence” — of a friend or universe needing to be healed or changed.
Without the understanding that the “objects of sense” apparently comprising our world come to view as our consciousness of Mind, we cannot avoid “sensing” fluctuation and loss in our world. But, as Science, we make all things new in that world through accurate assessment by Science of what is. With Mind as our awareness, Mrs. Laird says, “we will not lose our friends, our family, our money, our homes, but will … reflect them in perfection … because we are the consciousness which is Mind.” We must not ignore the belief that humanity is ignorant of true Being, whether that ignorance shows up looking like one’s own difficulty or someone else’s. Whether seen as illness, fear, lack or earthquake, oil spill, volcano eruption or catastrophe of any kind, human or global, the only place such catalysts for spiritual discovery appear is at the point of one’s own consciousness, where they are merely incidental to one’s viewpoint of God/Man.
Rather than to futilely attempt to adjust this picture by human “doing,” Science teaches us to live Mind’s perfection and completeness by being constant conscious awareness. To acknowledge Truth as All is to consciously be All, and the apparent effect of such Being is what the world calls healing.
Seeming sickness and evil are not actually destroyed, because they never truly existed, except as a misstatement of Mind. But they disappear in the brightness of the awareness that, right where the problem seemed to be, the Allness of Mind is present as one’s own consciousness, as All.
– Bruce Manuel
Objects of Sense Are Ideas of Soul