How I Was Healed
From the June 1893 Christian Science Journal by John C. Schooley
A Letter to an Enquirer.
A Gentleman residing in the far west, after reading my letter published in the February number of the Christian Science Journal, wrote me as follows:
“I have employed all remedies without relief and have been treated by many Scientists whose names are to be found in the Christian Science Journal. I fully understand the letter of Christian Science, but am unable to destroy the memory of pleasure, and the realization of pain in matter. Kindly give me a history of your experience. Advise me. You may relieve me.”
New York, March 27, 1893.
My Dear Sir: — Your letter of the 14th inst. came duly to hand, and I hasten to reply.
I believe I fully understand your case, realize the progress you have made, and think I see the impediment in the way of your further advancement. I will now proceed to give you an account of my own case, and to advise you as you have requested. My gout first developed during the early summer of 1857, and from that date until January 4th, 1892 (35 years), it continued to increase without abatement. During the first ten years I was able to attend to business, but about 1867, my annual paroxysms became so severe that I was compelled to retire. I had up to that time employed the most eminent physicians, and taken the most powerful drugs. Relief was only temporary. About this time, calculus formations, commonly known as chalky deposits, began to develop in my knee-joints, making them stiff and extremely painful, preventing me from walking with any degree of comfort.
I tried electricity, blood-letting, manipulations of the body of every description, and hot, cold, mud and sulphur baths. Relief only temporary! Thus I continued to suffer until 1886, when the idea occurred to me to travel. I had found by a former short experience that when my mind was diverted from my disease I was greatly relieved. On November 1, 1886, I started alone, with stiff joints and almost never ceasing pain, for Japan and China, via Panama and San Francisco. During that voyage I found great relief, my mind being occupied with Oriental sights. But the relief, as before, was only temporary. On my return, I fell back into the old groove, worse, if anything, than before. I started again the following year, and made a voyage around the World, visiting all points of interest, including the Continent, the Nile, India, Ceylon, Philippine Islands, China, and Japan. I repeated this voyage with very little variation, annually, until the latter part of 1891, returning home every Spring, feeling much improved ; but after a week or two I relapsed into the old state again, worse than ever. During all of my travels I was unable to walk any distance, or to use my limbs with any comfort. Of course, I was attended with a servant, on all occasions, in every country.
During my last voyage, I remained in the city of Colombo, Ceylon, about seven months, expecting to remain there at least two years. Whilst there, I was comparatively free from suffering, and felt somewhat contented, but there was a something, an impulse, an unconscious thought, influence, or force, as it were, that said to me,— Go home! This command came to me at times with great and impressive power. To return home at that time was in direct opposition to the advice of my friends, and against my own judgment. But this silent and positive messenger said to me,— Go home! I sailed from Colombo in August, 1891, for home, in the very face of the inevitable, as I then thought. I passed through the intense heat of the Red Sea during that month, arriving at Naples, Italy, August 29th, where I remained until Sept. 11th, fully believing in the certainty of a relapse, if I proceeded to New York. I then decided to remain, and take my third trip up the Nile, and spend the winter in Egypt. But the silent messenger whispered to me,— Go not to Egypt; return to your home! I obeyed, and arrived in New York, Oct. 4, 1891.
In one week after my return, I began to suffer as much as ever, and on Dec. 21st, I was compelled to go to bed. From that moment, I became worse, until I was perfectly helpless, suffering with the most intense pain night and day. The medicine that I had depended upon for so many years, now failed entirely to have any effect, and all hope of my recovery was abandoned. This continued until Jan. 4th, following, when my daughter, who is a Christian Scientist, prevailed on me to place myself under her treatment. I did so with great expectations, it being my last hope. On that day she destroyed all of my medicine, and a new departure in my life took place. I gave myself up to her treatment without a mental reservation. One week after commencing her treatment I could hold a book in my hands, and that book was a copy of Science and Health by Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy, which I read and studied almost constantly. In another week I could sit up in a chair. In another week I could walk across the room, and on the 1st of February, I took a drive through Central Park. During February an apparent reaction called by Christian Scientists chemicalization set in, and pain with its intensity returned, and lasted at intervals until about the 1st of March. On one or two occasions, by unusual effort, I managed to get up and down stairs. Mortal thought seemed to have increased control over me, and I almost gave up hope. I was aware that my daughter was treating me under great difficulty, for the reason, that she had been brought up from infancy with me, under my own influence, and knew personally, every characteristic of my disease. She not only had to combat every form of error in me, but in her self; hence the seeming struggle.
Realizing this difficulty she proposed that I should place myself under treatment of Mr. N—, another Christian Scientist in New York, whom she recommended, who commenced to treat me February 28th, and under his treatment I improved gradually, until March 15th. During the months of March and April, I took a drive out on several occasions; but on April 9th chemicalization set in again, and I sent for Mr. N—, who once more commenced to treat me daily. I continued to read and study Science and Health, until I thought I understood the letter thoroughly. My mind, however, seemed to dwell only on the healing of my disease. I got better, and I got worse. I had periods of great discouragement, and my faith became so weak that I was about ready to give up, and so informed Mr. N—.Now, my dear sir, in my opinion, you have arrived, in your experience, at this very same point of progress! When Mr. N— realized the state I was then in, he said to me: “You are adhering too closely to the letter, you must depend more on the spiritual. You must study the Science of Being, think not of healing disease but of healing sin.” I caught his meaning on the instant. I found I had been working in the wrong direction, by giving more thought to the physical than to the spiritual.
My main, and only object, seemed to be to get healed from the so called gout; employing the treatment through Mind, as if it were a drug. I thought only of my recovery, from pain and lameness, expecting to be healed instantaneously, and wondering all the while, why I could not arise and walk a perfectly healed man. To my surprise, I found that the understanding of the letter, was only the human aid to prepare me for the understanding of the spiritual, and as it were, the stepping-stone to spirituality, and that if I stopped at that point of progress, I would never be permanently healed. For the letter alone cannot heal.
My eyes were now opened! I realized that fear, sin and mortal belief were at the bottom of the difficulty. Destroy sin, and I would be free from all disease. Then the question arose in my mind: How do I sin? I try to act right with all men, on all occasions! I don’t think I am such a great sinner! I have no very bad habits! I don’t get drunk, carouse, and blaspheme! I certainly am better than most men! I try to follow the Golden Rule! Why then should I be compelled to pass through all of these years of misery? Do I bear the least malice against any man? I could not say No, to that! Do I nurture any feeling of revenge, intending some day to get even with any one, who had, seemingly done me an injury? I could not exactly say No, to that! Do I envy any man? Yes! Do I love all men? A big No! Would I push resentment so far as to take life? Certainly not! But I would like to give the fellow a good shaking! Do I try to control my appetites and passions? They control me oftener than I control them. Have I any other aim of life but to “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die? “Well, When we get right down to bottom facts, and brush away the few spangles that decorate our mortal life, that is about the way most people are living, including myself! Thus I continued to question myself, until I found I was not half as good a man as I thought I was, and that I disobeyed God’s law every day of my life. I had not yet looked beyond the physical. Who am I? What am I? Am I a mortal, or an immortal man? I must be one or the other? I know that both could not be real! Which was the real; the finite, created from matter, who had a beginning and will have an ending, or the infinite, God’s idea, who never had a beginning, and never will have an ending? If the matter-body, without the mortal senses, cannot think, talk, move, or experience pain, it must be the mortal senses alone, and not the body that cause sin, sickness, pain and death. It cannot be matter, for matter is nothing without the mortal senses. It therefore must be the mortal senses, alias, the carnal mind, that cause sin.
What is sin? Error, evil, the opposite of Truth or Good! Destroy sin to mortal consciousness, and Truth has no opposite. All will then be real, and there will be no sin, sickness, pain or death. How can we destroy sin? By declaring and realizing that God only is real! That God has no mortality! That He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. That He is All in All, and there can be nothing real beside Him, His idea, and His eternal verities. All else is illusion. A lie! Ah! But I hear you ask the same question that I did. What is meant by unreality? Is it possible for one to declare that he has no pain, that pain is unreal, a lie, when at the same moment he is apparently suffering its torments? I say Yes.
Mortal mind can only hold one thought at one and the same instant. Pain is only a belief. If one should deny the belief and the existence of pain in thought there would be no pain during the instant of that thought. Now continue to hold that thought of denial, and disabuse yourself of your own mortality. Transfer the thought to Spirit, for God is Spirit. Realize that you are the spiritual man, call on Spirit continually, keeping Spirit in the thought; and you will have no pain during the continuance of that thought. Spiritual thought will supplant the mortal belief of sin, sickness and death; and in proportion to the inflowing, and the holding of the spiritual thought, will the mortal thought be destroyed. Sin and sickness will disappear, and we will become more and more spiritual, until we ultimately reach a state of perfect harmony, which is Heaven. Often, it may seem difficult to the beginner in Science, to take in and hold that instant spiritual thought, and to experience that instantaneous change from the unreal to the real. It can only be attained, by persistent spiritual desire. Persistent denial in words only, without the spiritual thought will not affect anything.
When I ceased to realize, that my only object in submitting to Christian Science treatment was to be healed from gout, and from that alone, employing the treatment as if it were medicine administered by a physician, I determined to seek the real cause of my trouble, and having found it, I became a new man. The Science of Being, that is the knowledge of my true existence as a spiritual, not a material, or mortal man, had first place in my thought. Fear was destroyed, chemicalization disappeared, and spiritual thoughts filled me. The existence of disease, passed into nothingness, and from that moment, God with all of his verities, became my all, and now the gout has been totally destroyed. So it will be with you, when you give up the idea of wanting to be healed only from pain and lameness.
You cannot accomplish thorough healing, without a struggle. For old mortal thought, will press his claims a thousand times a day, in almost as many shapes. Have your armor always on! Be prepared to deny in thought, the reality of sin and sickness. Deny the reality of your mortal existence. Declare in thought, that you being immortal, it is impossible for you to experience sin, sickness or death; for the purely spiritual man is eternal, and can never suffer the pangs of mortality. Let these thoughts ever fill you, and you will continue to advance in spirituality.
There is a part of your letter to which I beg leave to refer. You write as follows, viz : “I also seem to be unable to destroy the memory of pleasure.” I cannot imagine why you desire to destroy the memory of pleasure, — real Godlike pleasure! I know of no such teaching, either in the Scriptures or in Science and Health. Sinful, so-called pleasure, is always wrong. I find during my short experience in this new life, that I take no delight whatever, in doing anything wrong or sinful. I simply, almost unconsciously, have lost my desire to participate in what are termed the promiscuous and wholesale pleasures of the carnal senses. If I have a desire to joke, laugh, or dance, at the proper time, I do so! If I should wish to attend an entertainment of any description, that I considered good, respectable, elevating, instructive or amusing, I do so! I have not separated myself from all of my friends and associates, by any means, for there is to be my field of demonstration, when called upon. I have, however, certainly ceased to join with them in the frivolous, false, and other so-called pleasures, inconsistent with the new line of life I have chosen.
I have always heretofore, been a man of the world, ready to participate in every kind of seeming pleasure, good or bad. Since I have been in Christian Science, I have not made the least sacrifice, because wrong acts I formerly took pleasure in, do not give me pleasure now, consequently I have nothing to regret or sacrifice. When Truth is established, one’s ideas of worldly pleasure, will unconsciously undergo a change. The pleasures and delights of this so-called life, are only so many beliefs. In Christian Science, these desires adjust themselves, and what may appear wrong and inconsistent to one, may not to another.
A true Christian Scientist, working out her or his own problem on the rock of Truth, will readily detect the difference between Godly and ungodly pleasure. In reply to your question about moving around, and using your joints, at the expense of additional suffering, I beg to say, that I never did that. I did however, everything in my power to break up the law of inaction, but I never insisted on using my limbs or joints at the expense of additional suffering, although I knew that the suffering was simply mortal belief. I am sure if I had a malignant boil on the sole of my foot there would be no necessity to get up and tramp around on it simply to convince myself that there was no such thing as a boil, or that pain was a myth. I believe in keeping calm and quiet under such circumstances, and think as little as possible of pain or disease. The less one is reminded of the seeming reality of pain, the sooner he will forget he had ever experienced it.
I feel confident, you will understand everything clearly, in the course of time. It will require time! Lameness with pain, blindness and deafness are mortal beliefs slow to overcome, at this period of our experience. I beg further to advise you as follows: Avoid all converse or argument with those who persistently oppose Christian Science.
But with those who are sincere, and who express a desire to learn all about the new religion, converse freely. Be patient, sincere, earnest and studious; looking on the good and bright side of everything, and never worry over disappointment, or trouble.
Read and study a portion of the Bible and Science and Health once every day. If the belief of pain or lameness enters your mind, that very instant deny its existence, and express in thought with persistency that matter of itself, has no sensation and that Divine Mind is all. That the human senses belong to mortal man and not to you, for you are an immortal man, and cannot really experience pain or disease. Think of Spirit, God, Truth, Love, Life, Soul, Mind, and whilst God and his synonyms are held in your thought, it is impossible for you to think of their opposites. Declare that God is your Life; that God is your Health, and that God is your All! I will conclude this letter by declaring that there is no reliable account in medical books, or medical history, of any operation whereby the so-called chalky deposits in gouty joints have ever been removed or dissolved without disastrous effect and permanent injury. I assert this without fear of contradiction. In my case without medicine, poultices, chloroform, ether, or instruments, the chalky or calculus formations have disappeared leaving my otherwise stiff, inflamed, and ever painful joints, as perfect and as pliable as at birth: showing the power of divine Mind. Is there any reason why you should not be healed by the same power? I am now over seventy years of age, and feel as young and as vigorous, as when at forty, and consider myself perfectly healed of my physical ailments. I remain,
Yours very sincerely,
John C. Schooley.