by Martha Wilcox
Our textbook contains many words that are not only vital in meaning, but a knowledge of which is essential to a student of Christian Science in working out the Science of Being. One of these words we shall consider this morning is “deflection.” “Deflection,” according to Webster, means “to turn aside or deviate from a true course.” In Christian Science, “deflection” has reference to mortal man and to all that constitutes mortal man. Our textbook teaches that the untrue image of God, held in the human mind, is all there is to what we call mortal man. Then the correct sense of mortal man is not that of entity or existence, but is an untrue image or “deflection” of the actual man at hand.
“Deflection” results when the true appearance of actual man is “turned aside” or “deviated” by thought passing through a mind unillumined by Truth. This deviation of thought causes the actual man at hand to appear as sinning mortal man; the actual man is not changed, but his actuality is seen in reversion or as deflection.
Deflection is an untrue image of actuality, and when in our practice work we reverse this deflection or untrue image in order to perceive actuality, we are using the process of thought that is set forth in our Christian Science textbook. When we understand deflection, we do not attach erroneous conditions to actual man, but we deal with the erroneous condition as an untrue image or deflection entirely separate and apart from actual man.
In the correct process of metaphysical work we never have two things present. We understand that the actual thing is always present, and the deflected appearance does not make another thing. Spirit and matter are not two things. Spirit is the actual existence and matter is the deflection or untrue image of Spirit. It is the false appearance only. Actual man and the sinning mortal man do not exist together. Actual man is, while sinning mortal man is a deflection or false appearance of actual man.
Actuality, the only thing that is at hand, does not need healing. It is God’s very presence. The deflection, like the mirage lake or blue door seen through blue glass, is nonexistent, and we cannot do anything to that which does not exist. It does not fill space, it is purely false appearance in the unillumined mind.
Since the prairie grass is still prairie grass and not a lake, the prairie grass does not need anything done to it, regardless of how it appears. All there is to the mirage lake is the prairie grass imperfectly seen; the mirage lake is nothing; it does not fill space and is non-existent.
Deflections do not occupy space and are never things nor conditions. When we really understand this to be a fact, our work in Christian Science will be much easier. The deflection called a horizon does not fill space. All there is to horizon is simply a name for that which does not fill space, is non-existent. Lack, age, and fear are not conditions, and do not occupy space. They are deflections or the untrue image of actuality. The actuality of man imperfectly seen, we have named personal man; the actuality of the universe imperfectly seen, we have named personal universe. But we need to do something to our mode of mind that sees things as they are not. We need to enlighten our mind with the Truth or fact of Being. The mode of mind that sees deflection needs enlightenment.
To disarm the claim of personality, we should disarm, that is, render powerless, the deflection or false appearance of actual man that is called personality.
Personality is neither life nor intelligence. It is a mere ghost or shadow and we should behold actual life and intelligence as Mind’s own omnipresence where the ghost or shadow seems to be. Even though with our outer eyes we see personal man, the untrue image, with our inner spiritual vision we are to behold the actual man, the perfect man that Jesus beheld. With our spiritual thought we are to look through deflection or the illusion of matter, and behold the perfect idea of divine intelligence.
Mrs. Eddy once went to call on a patient. After she had looked at the sick man, she turned away and went to the window and looked out saying, “Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for looking at matter.” The patient was instantly healed. If we see matter as anything other than a deflection of actual man, hence non-existent, we are not practicing the laws of divine Science.