Agape Research


How can we develop
Our Spirituality?
by Rolf Witzsche


 

Throughout history, processes have been brought to light that were designed to enhance out spirituality. The was not to make people more spiritual, but to help them to become more fully aware of the spirituality that is already the reality of every human being.

The first person who may have consciously engaged in such a project, evidently was Homer in 7th Century BC, who is regarded by scholars as the spiritual father of the Greek Classical culture that eventually created the background for the beginning of the Christian era. Homer saw a nation of isolated mountain tribes with a small and primitive vocabulary, and dominated by dehumanizing and overpowering mythologies. He acted to create a vastly more complex language that is able to support more complex thought processes, and brought this language to life through his poetic works, the Illiad and the Odyssey. With it he developed a greater sense of humanism and a developing sense of the nature of humanity. In this flow the great Solon of Athens emerged, and Socrates and Plato, and soon thereafter Christ Jesus, and with him the beginning of Christianity.

Much of that humanist development collapsed during the reign of terror of the Roman Empire and the dark ages that followed. There would be no revival of it until the 12th Century AD when Aligheri Dante started a similar cultural development to that of Homer. Dante collected the best dialects from all across Italy and created a language of extraordinary beauty, and which once again could support high level thinking. He brought this language to light through his poetic trilogy, the "Divine Comedy." In this work he explored three domains of thinking. The domain of depravity, that he termed Hell, the domain of spiritual awakening that he termed "Purgatory," and finally, the domain of science and of the principled order of the universe, that he called Paradise. With this humanist foundation that focuses on the spiritual development of society, Dante evidently set the stage on which the Golden Renaissance would eventually unfold.

Much later in time, in the 19th Century, another stage was being prepared for the scientific and spiritual development of society. It was prepared on a totally scientific foundation, created by a woman named Mary Baker Eddy who lived in New England area of the USA. Her work on this issue resulted in the discovery of Christian Science in 1866. She called it "the final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing."(S&H p.107) The revelation of Christian Science became a platform for the revival of primitive Christian healing on a scientific basis. The unfolding healing process began with her own instantaneous healing from injuries received from a fall on an icy street. The injuries were severe and deemed to be fatal, but her recognition of the ageless divine Principle that Christ Jesus had evidently utilized resulted in such a profound healing that she literally rose from her death bed and opened the door to the Minister who came to bury her.

The science of the process that healed her became a universal science. Mary Baker Eddy utilized this science to heal countless patients in her time, including cases that the medical practice of the day found incurable. She also taught the newly discovered healing process to others, who were thereby able to heal others in turn. Christian Science healing became widely practiced and spread to many parts of the world as a reliable healing method.

Mary Baker Eddy also wrote a textbook on Christian Science (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures), which is still being published in numerous languages. The book was constantly upgraded throughout her lifetime in a sequence of over 300 editions. Countless people have testified over the years to having been healed by nothing other than their individual studying of the book. A hundred pages of such testimonials have been added by her to the end of the book in the chapter, Fruitage.

Mary Baker Eddy also established a church to promote her healing Christian Science in the communities. Each Wednesday testimonial meetings are held in churches of Christ Scientists where people testify to the effect and the processes of their Christian Science healing experiences, none of which involve any form of medication or physical curative interventions.

However, every science ultimately is a 'living' thing in which unfolds our spirituality as human beings. In this case our spirituality is expressed in discoveries of principles or advanced recognitions about long known universal principles. Intelligence and cognition is a thing of life that is always dynamically unfolding. They are spiritual in nature, like love, or truth. Christian Science healing is by this definition a spiritual process. Herein lies its efficacy. This fact also makes it impossible for Christian Science to be performed of a basis of formulas. It's efficacy rests with the capacity of the mind to 'see' the operation of divine Principle as an everpresent impetus, regardless of what the senses perceive that cannot reach up to the spiritual processes of recognition.

Here is where Christian Science also becomes vulnerable when the continuing scientific and spiritual development becomes crowded out by doctrinal notions which put the mark of finity on infinity, so that the whole process becomes lifeless and decays. In order to prevent this, Mary Baker Eddy has added one more profound achievement to her already long list of major achievements. This achievement is presented by her in the form of an extensively outlined, vast pedagogical structure that all of her major works structurally pertain to. This pedagogical structure is a vast structure is spiritual terms, in that she urges one to undertake the process of discovery itself. She provides no answers with this pedagogical structure, only open questions for which answers must be found individually in the search for profound recognitions of truth and universal principles. A process of this type closes the door on dogmatism and stagnation, and the decay of the efficacy of the science. Her pedagogical structure literally closes the circle and puts us squarely into the shoes of the discoverer to recreate in our own mind the profound discoveries that brought to light Christian Science in the first place. Unfortunately, her pedagogical structure had remained hidden from public perception for almost a hundred years until the 1980s, even though it existed right in the open for all to see.

The recognition of her outlined pedagogical work obviously involves a spiritual process, the process of discovery. Until this is achieved, her pedagogical work will indeed remain hidden, nor will it be of any use to someone who finds little value in the ongoing process of scientific and spiritual development that keeps the door open to profound discoveries of truth that otherwise may never be realized.

In this sense, Mary Baker Eddy's pedagogical structures may well come to light some day as the most profound work that has ever been designed for making the human society more fully aware of its spiritual nature, and the freedoms and the capabilities imbedded therein.

The stage that Mary Baker Eddy has prepared for this purpose involves many ascending levels of complexity, but they all rest on the same foundational platform, her pedagogical structure, which I shall describe in the remainder of this article.

Whereas Dante was dealing with three levels of consciousness, her work is dealing with four levels, and where Dante explores a single development path in a relatively primitive context, her work is dealing with four uniquely identified development streams all at once, each of which is designed to fulfill a specific purpose according to the multifaceted nature of our human spirituality that she thereby aims to bring to light.

She identifies these development streams with her scientific definitions for the four biblical rivers from Genesis 2 that she metaphorically employs for this purpose, which otherwise have no meaning.

She identifies the first development stream as the river Pison, which she defined as:

 

Pison (river): The love of the good and beautiful, and their immortality.

Whoever wants to start exploring the nature of our humanity will likely want to start there. The exploration of the dimensions of our love, goodness, beauty, and our immortality as human beings will likely yield a rich harvest in this river. If one pursues the principle of love in its natural context of universal love, some tremendously challenging perceptions can come to light that in many ways challenge our traditions of marriage isolation along family boundaries, sexual boundaries, even economic and political boundaries.

The dimension of our spirituality that defines us by our humanity as children of a common universal Soul may bring to light vistas of freedom that one may never have allowed oneself to perceive. Scientific honesty with oneself and one another will make unique demands on consciousness. I have created a five volume series of novels that is designed in part to explore this domain. (The Lodging for the Rose.)

The second development stream for our spirituality is even more challenging. It is simply defined, but the definition encompasses a lot. It's river is called Gihon, defined as:

Gihon (river): The rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly, and socially.

In this single statement is bound up the universal sovereignty of all human beings; even the end of division on all levels of existence; including whatever divisions may exist professionally, economically, sexually, and emotionally. The river lays out the challenge to uplift human relationships above the present level where we fail so sadly that we must maintain tens of thousands of nuclear bombs with which to annihilate one another, rather than dealing with one another as human beings.

In the higher sense the 'woman' in that definition represents the spiritual idea of humanity, including all right ideas, which is metaphorically described by the Apostle John in Revelation as "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars," the stars in the crown of rejoicing.

In a technical sense these first two rivers deal with the twin principles of universal love and universal sovereignty, which are interlocked and define each other. The flow of this river, too, stands behind the design of my five episodes series of novels, The Lodging for the Rose. 

The designer of this structure for exploring our spirituality has split this structure into two logical halves. This split reflects different types of perspective. The first two development streams were inwardly oriented. They are focused on our inner development as human beings. In the second half the focus shifts to the outer dimensions of our lives. Christ Jesus' deep dedication to public healing is an example of this outward oriented focus.

The first development stream in the second half is focused on the scientific spiritual healing of humanity. The name of its river is, Hiddekel, defined as:

Hiddekel (river): Divine Science understood and acknowledged.

Spiritual healing is a proven component of our spiritual dimension as human beings. The spiritual healing of disease, as well as of ideological attitudes made up a large part of Christ Jesus public career. We call those healings miraculous, but we can't justify this assessment because the same kind of healing work was carried out by Mary Baker Eddy after her discovery of Christian Science. Her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, contains a 100 page section of testimonials of people have been healed by the mere reading of the book. While there is little of this kind of healing work still being reported, the potential for this kind of work remains necessarily the same, because the principles that were involved during Christ Jesus' days, or during Mary Baker Eddy's days, were evidently the same than what we have available to us now. A small example of what her own healing work was like may be found in the following article:


"PRAYER AND HEALING" 

The article of Professor T----, having the above caption, published in ^Zion's Herald^, December third, came not to my notice until January ninth. In it the Professor offered me, as President of the Metaphysical College in Boston, or one of my students, the liberal sum of one thousand dollars if either would reset certain dislocations without the use of hands, and two thousand dollars if either would give sight to one born blind. 

Will the gentleman accept my thanks due to his generosity; for, if I should accept his bid on Christianity, he would lose his money. 

Why?

Because I performed more difficult tasks fifteen years ago. At present, I am in another department of Christian work, "where there shall no signs be given them," for they shall be instructed in the Principle of Christian Science that furnishes its own proof.

But, to reward his liberality, I offer him three thousand dollars if he will heal one single case of opium-eating where the patient is very low and taking morphine powder in its most concentrated form, at the rate of one ounce in two weeks,--having taken it twenty years; and he is to cure that habit in three days, leaving the patient well. I cured precisely such a case in 1869. 

Also, Mr. C. M. H----, of Boston, formerly partner of George T. Brown, pharmacist, No. 5 Beacon St., will tell you that he was my student in December, 1884; and that before leaving the class he took a patient thoroughly addicted to the use of opium--if she went without it twenty-four hours she would have delirium--and in forty-eight hours cured her perfectly of this habit, with no bad results, but with decided improvement in health. 

I have not yet made surgery one of the mental branches taught in my college; although students treat sprains, contusions, etc., successfully. In the case of sprain of the wrist-joint, where the regular doctor had put on splints and bandages to remain six weeks, a student of mine removed these appliances the same day and effected the cure in less than one week. Reference, Mrs. M. A. F----, 107 Eutaw Street, East Boston. 

I agree with the Professor, that every system of medicine claims more than it practises. If the system is Science, it includes of necessity the Principle, which the learner can demonstrate only in proportion as he understands it. 
Miscellaneous Writings 242

The final development stream that Mary Baker Eddy set up for society's spiritual self-development, is described by the river Euphrates, which she defined as:

Euphrates (river): Divine Science encompassing the universe and man; the true idea of God; a type of the glory which is to come; metaphysics taking the place of physics; the reign of righteousness. The atmosphere of human belief before it accepts sin, sickness, or death; a state of mortal thought, the only error of which is limitation; finity; the opposite of infinity.

In the above article from one of her books she writes, "If the system is Science, it includes of necessity the Principle, which the learner can demonstrate only in proportion as he understands it. " This means that more than just a superficial approach in scientific and spiritual development is required to achieve the larger goal. This lack of development over the last hundred years when the above was written, naturally reflects itself in a corresponding decline in this kind of healing work. Nevertheless, it has continued to the present day to some degree, and will likely rebound to its earlier potential when the last development stream that she set up for society to unfold its potential becomes acknowledged and fully activated.

The description for the river Euphrates illustrates what is involved in the advance of the scientific development of society's true potential. The definition for the river talks about divine Science encompassing the universe and man. It talks about metaphysics taking the place of physics. And it says more than that. The description of the river has a second sentence attached to the initial statement. In this second sentence we find this boundless process of scientific development described as unfolding in an atmosphere of human thought that is bound to human limits and finity. Isn't she saying to us with that, that it is possible, and she has proven this herself, for one to reach beyond those limits of human thought and embrace in divine Science the universe and man, with all the etceteras this process includes? Indeed, her revelation of Christian Science in 1866 is ample proof of the remarkable capacity of our spiritual nature.

Rolf Witzsche