Lesson IRev. W. John Murray
LIFE, HEALTH AND RELIGION
The Murray Course in Divine Science
Society of the Healing Christ
New York, 1927.
To Teach mental or physical health is to teach life; to teach life is to teach God; for God is life in all its manifestations. Therefore to know about health one must know about life and the principle of being, God.
There are many people who do not want to talk about God, nor about religion. They do not understand the one or the other, and do not wish to understand. This is unfortunate, because every human being is naturally religious. But false ideas of religion have made the word hateful and false ideas about God have made His name a synonym for cant and hypocrisy.
Let us understand what we mean by health, by religion and by the word of God. We cannot understand anything clearly until we first define our terms.
First, as to what we term religion, let us say what it is not. It is not a state or an ecclesiastical regulation, nor a creed, nor the performance of forms and ceremonies, nor the recitation of devout formulas, nor Bible reading, nor church membership, nor the bowing of the knee to a far-off Deity. These may be forms of religion, but they are not religion. Religion, as a word, is a combination of the two Latin words re and ligo, meaning to bind together. Religion is the method by which is effected a conscious union of the soul with God. The office of religion is to bind us to God.
Therefore we are not to think of religion in terms of external forms or theologized beliefs shaped into creeds, but in terms of conscious union with God. This sense of union should be given expression in words and deeds, spoken and performed under the promptings of spiritual impulses.
There has never been a people in all the history of the world without a religion. Man has been defined as a religious animal. There is within every man a reaching out for a higher existence, a hope of something beyond the present life, a realization within him, in rare moments, of something divine. This is an intuitional feeling and a deep interior monition. It is the prompting of the divine in us, suggesting the need of a dependence upon some power higher than our own.
Religion, then, has been well defined as an absolute dependence upon and a conscious relation to God. Its essence is found in the consciousness of God within, an intuitive perception of the life of God in the soul of man.
Health means wholeness, soundness, perfect lubrication of all parts, complete functioning of all organs, perfection and efficiency throughout the body, making every movement exquisite with joy and beautiful in harmony.
To be healthy is to be sound, full of strength and vigor, to be glowing with functional satisfaction. This applies to mind and body. We speak of a healthy person as “full of life,” so that the words health and life are so closely related that the one implies the other. Health is the joy of life. Life is the source of health.
Health and life are so inter-related that when we speak of life we imply health, for without health life is working against a barrier of some kind. It is not expressing itself freely.
When we come to define life we meet with the mystery of being. We use the term generally to express the principle of being. Life involves both the body and the mind. And these terms involve other mysteries that it is our duty to make an attempt to solve.
But let us say that life is the vital spark, the animating faculty of created beings, the principle in nature which involves birth, growth and development to maturity of fruition; quickness and motion instead of inertia and death.
These are rude definitions, but we wish to avoid the abstruse. Our object is to call attention to certain essentials for the more complete realization of physical limitations and mental possibilities.
The earth is a vast reservoir of life. A drop of water placed under a microscope reveals a world of life in forms so diminutive as to be unbelievable. The animalculae therein dart about with an amazing energy. The sea, too, is full of life. The air is replete with life. Look at a beam of sunlight filtering into a dark room and you will see millions of atoms of whose existence you are otherwise seldom aware. A bar of steel is a dense, solid body, but scientists have proved that it is composed of trillions of atoms, ions, electrons, racing about with the speed of an express train. Nature in all its forms is a swarming mass of all-pervading life.
Where does all this life come from? It is not man made. View the heavens and you see millions of stars, suns, planets, clusters of nebulae–all sustained by a life force or energy of which we know but little, all moved and moving under a harmony of law that dazes and mystifies us. Overwhelmed by these showings of life-force, whether in stars or in atoms, we are obliged to realize the existence of a Supreme Being, a Creator and Dispenser of all this abundance of life. This Being we commonly call God.
Thus in analyzing the subject of health we must refer it to life, and in studying the subject of life we must refer it to its Creator. That man can do this reasoning is proof of his being an exceptional creation of the Almighty, because there is no other production of nature that can reason about its origin.
Man stands above the rest of created life as does an Alpine summit above an ant hill. Man, by his reasoning faculty, has, indeed, dominion over all other creatures. That which gives him this dominion is mind. Mind is the producer of thought, but it is under the direction of will, and will is God’s special gift to man. It is the gift of freedom, a gift so wonderful that it may be used even against its Creator.
Have you ever looked at yourself in a mirror–looked deep into your own eyes and asked yourself: “Who am I?” You are conscious of looking at a being you do not yourself understand or know. There is a mystery in your being that you know of but cannot fathom. The things that you do are very often done through impulses whose origins are unaccountable to you. Even your will has been superseded by your mysterious self, whom you do not know, cannot always control and, as a rule, automatically obey.
The fact is that you do not realize the mental and spiritual forces at work within you. You have an objective mind and a subjective mind, above which are the soul and Spirit. The objective mind does your thinking, planning and conscious reflection; the subjective mind is the store-house that contains all your past impressions and thoughts. The objective mind acquires and learns whereas the subjective mind acts automatically on these acquisitions as through habit. The objective mind reasons from analysis and deduction. The subjective mind does not reason but acts from suggestion on what it has in its possession, transmitted by the objective mind. The mind, in this dual capacity, receives its power from the soul, which in turn takes its power from Spirit.
It is here that Spirit comes in. God is Spirit and there is in every man an emanation of this Universal Spirit. Man has no conception of his greatness or the enormity of the power that resides within him until he apprehends that he is a spiritual being; that the body is merely the physical part of him; that the spiritual part is the real man, and that by the development of his spiritual self he can so make contact with the Universal Spirit as to learn therefrom all the truths of life and how to conform with the law that is behind all the order and harmony in the universe and through which all good is secured.
God is the source of life, and being such must naturally be the source of health. A soul made in the image of God is God’s reflection and has power to bring about at any time a vital union with God. To know this is to apprehend Truth in its highest form, and it is of the greatest importance to know it, for its knowledge means to us health, happiness, success and a complete realization of our destiny.
We have been taught that God created the world, and that God is far away from us, in heaven, and far away from the world, and therefore we believe that after God created the world He endowed it with perpetual motion and left its operations to a blind force that we call Nature, which, operating under the laws by which it was originally endowed, keeps on creating and pro-creating, producing and destroying, moving along at all times with a blind, insensate force.
We shall see that this is not so. God was not present for the Creation alone. God is actively present in the world, in the universe, in what we call Nature, at all times. He is the immanent (indwelling) force in all that He has created; the power, the energy, the operating principle, the thought, the mind, the Spirit. God does not operate on things from the outside. He operates from within. He is not beyond the rim of things. He is at the center. “All of nature’s action,” says a well-known metaphysician, “is God’s action, and the uniform mode of the divine activity and procedure is what we call a law of nature.” God is not only present in all nature and the motive power thereof, but He is present throughout the entire realm of thought. He is universally present in all mind. It is in the realm of thought that the Divine Presence is most clearly felt and seen.
We view God in the physical universe with awe and wonder. Even though we do not realize that this physical universe is but a shadow or counterpart of the spiritual universe we stand breathless in amazement before a Niagara or a Grand Canyon. When we look at the skies at night we behold a revelation of Infinity. When we see a sunset in mid-ocean we marvel at the glory of the picture and the immensity of the canvas. When we see a snow-capped mountain range we breathe an ecstacy. If we follow the development of life from the primordial cell to the perfect type of a species we cannot withhold our astonishment. The precession of the equinoxes and the galaxies of suns and stars overwhelm us with our littleness. We observe the passing of the seasons and exclaim with praise over these visible evidences of the works of God.
But all these are as nothing compared with the wonders of the mind itself. Without mind none of these marvelous spectacles could be seen or appreciated. The more wonderful are the things we perceive the more wonderful is the mind that apperceives. What, after all, are all the wonders of sky and earth compared to the consciousness that assimilates them? Is it not clear that if God is present in all nature He is supremely present in the mind that has the capacity to apprehend and reflect upon it?
As we shall see in subsequent Lessons, all these wonders of what is called the material world are physical aspects of the Divine Mind; we shall see that there is really nothing material, that everything is mental or spiritual; that the Universe and all it contains is but the reflection of the Divine Idea in the mind of God; the outer evidences of God’s love, harmony, and abundance.
This is a very brief introduction to what we mean to teach you of Truth, and its purpose is to show you how your body, which may be the seat of so much disease and discord, so much inharmony and disorder, so much suffering, physical and mental, may be controlled by your higher faculties, and they in turn controlled and directed by the Creative Mind.
This is what Jesus came to teach us and what lies behind all of his teaching and miracles. Jesus said: “I and the Father are one,” and his prayer was that we might be one with the Father, even as he was. Saint Paul said of God: “He is not far from every one of us; for in Him we live, move and have our being.”
These Lessons will have much to do with the subject of this intimate inter-relation of God and man, and what we have merely touched upon in this First Lesson we shall amplify in later instructions. The purpose of all these Lessons is to show the unwisdom of man in following his own will to disorder and destruction and the wisdom of conforming our minds to the mind which was in Christ Jesus, Son of Man and Son of God, who showed us the Way, the Truth and the real Life.
Whatever evil we suffer from, whether sickness, poverty or failure, is man-made. None of it is of God or from God, and all of it can be banished by a conformance to the immutable laws of life, growth and development.
PRACTICE IN DIVINE SCIENCE
Methods Recommended for Putting Into Daily Application
THE TEACHINGS OF TRUTH
This is life’s mighty mystery;
But Being is the secret spring,
From which the rest their birth-right bring.”
“That which I desire to be I shall be.” I AM–I CAN–I WILL.
(Memorize and Repeat Often)
Morning Devotions, Health, Abundance, Protection
(These are to be acquired as a substantial programme
for those who would “pray without ceasing.”)
On Arising. I arise, O Lord, to do Thy will. Thy will is perfect, working in me as unchanging Peace, Power and Perfection.
While Making One’s Ablutions. I am cleansed by the Purifying Water of Life from all that is unlike God. Nothing “common nor unclean” can attach itself to Man, the Divine Idea.
On Dressing. Clothe me, O Lord, in the garb of Righteousness (right thinking). Girt about with the armour of Truth and love, nothing can by any means hurt me.
Before Breakfast. “There is nothing from without that defileth a man,” therefore the food of which I am about to partake is blessed by Him who has provided it. It nourishes and invigorates me.
After Breakfast. I thank God that He has supplied me with that bread which cometh down from Heaven, of which I may freely eat and live.
On Going Out. Divine Love preserves my going out and my coming in, from this time henceforth, and even forevermore. I face the duties of the day knowing that “underneath are the ever-lasting arms,” sustaining and supporting me.
Spend a little time morning, noon and night, in the Silence, for it is there that you quicken the inner powers and gain spiritual perception, uplift and growth. Think of God as Spirit dwelling in you, and then become receptive to the inflow of Infinite Power, Infinite Wisdom, and Infinite Love.
2. What is its source?
3. What is religion? What is its function?
4. What is health?
5. What is man? What is the real man?
6. What is mind?
7. How can we accomplish what we desire?
The Murray Course in Divine Science
Table of Contents