The World Was Real All Along

By Michael, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor. Michael is a pseudonym, to ensure anonymity.

I want to take a moment to talk about reality.

I was raised to believe that the world around me, the world that I perceive with my physical senses, is not real. I was told that I live my life swaddled in illusion, and that I should constantly struggle to break through that illusion. I was completely sold on this idea. I craved reality. As a teenager, I vowed to dedicate my life to breaking through the illusion. I didn’t expect to succeed in this lifetime, but hey, death was unreal, so there was no deadline. I planned to keep “adjusting my thought” until someday the illusion melted away and I could finally see the real world.

After I left Christian Science, I gradually came around to the idea that the world that I perceive with my senses IS the real world. It was shocking. It was unnerving. It was electrifying. All my life, I’d been struggling for access to reality, and suddenly I found that I had this access…  that I had always had this access.

By analogy, it was as if I’d been told all my life that I lived inside a shell, and that the “stars” were just dots painted on the inside of the shell — and then, one day, I discovered that there never was any shell, and the stars were actually gigantic distant balls of plasma, and I COULD SEE THEM JUST BY LOOKING AT THEM.

It blew my mind. It continues to blow my mind every day. All I have to do is stop and think to myself “I have direct access to reality!” and instantly I’m filled with joy. It’s like remembering that I have a superpower.

7 comments

  • I relate to this 100%. So much. Yes!

    I LOVE looking at trees and tasting foods.

    My five senses bring me so much enjoyment!

    Life (lower case “L”) is so full of wonder and goodness –

    I don’t have to ignore everything I see with my 5 senses then pray to find gratitude in everything. (Contradiction much?)

    I just walk around and ACTUALLY LOOK AND EXPERIENCE this wonder we call life!

    My life is no longer plagued with depression. My life is overflowing with wonder!

  • Lynn C

    I feel such tender empathy for all the Christian Science children like you and me who did our best to please our parents, our Sunday school teachers and even MBE by struggling to make sense of the strange belief system we were taught. We trusted them . But it never really made sense and independent thinking, fully formed frontal lobes, and troubles helped us find a less contrived and burdened reality,

  • I can’t help being cynical about how really bad things were. One learned from one’s material senses that one’s material senses were illusion — reading or hearing Science and Health, or hearing what your parents and Sunday School teachers told you, entailed seeing or hearing with your material senses.

    I can’t say what happened in people’s minds. They probably did believe their material senses at the same time that they believed that their material senses were illusion.

  • I wish I could be as optimistic and as joyful as these previous writers have been. I have just lost a wonderful friend. And I have been reliving our relationship. It seems what made our bond so strong was that we had both been brought up by fervent Christian science parents and we understood how much pain had been inflicted by them. I looked up this group hoping see if at age 74, I might still find a support group that I could share my pain with.

  • Chris

    One of the great joys I experienced when “God’s Perfect Child” came out, was reading the reader reviews about it on Amazon.com. One of the ones that really worked for me was from a woman who was a former Sunday School teacher, who was seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist. (Remember…such people are thought of as”dangerous” in Christian Science). She was apparently having an issue with the quotation from Science and Health…”Let that mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” And the man she was seeing exclaimed: “What are you doing to yourself? There is only one Christ. He is perfect. You’re not. It’s okay to be human.”

    And that, for me, really gets at the heart of the issue. The beauty of being who you are, of being natural, of not trying to emulate Christ, for God’s sake. (Nobody in their right mind would want to). Of being in harmony with the world around you. Of not denying it but embracing it. Of NOT being in some counterintuitive “war with the senses”, but of being in natural harmony with them.

    There is such a tremendous relief when you unburden yourself from all that Science and Health obligates you into.

    For years, I’d been wanting to have an appreciation of the fact that I was not alone in my difficulties with C.S. I knew there had to be other people like me. but where could I find them? I was aware of other groups, such as ex Catholics, ex Baptists, ex Mormons, etc. But where was the group of ex C.S.’s I could join? I had thought of possibly getting involved in some of these other groups, thinking that maybe I could fit in some aspect of C.S. into it, and get some help. But I decided not to. C.S. was so unique, that it really couldn’t be appreciated in the context of other religions.

    “God’s Perfect Child”, coming out as it did in the Internet’s first decade, was an exciting time for me. I was something of a late comer to the Internet. And being able to read the commentary, and experience of others, gave me a foundation from which to deal with my own experiences.

    I first became aware of G.P.C. when I read a review of it in the book review section of the L.A. Times Sunday edition. By that evening, I had already bought the book, and was reading it. I couldn’t believe how clear-minded and complete it was. It absorbed me from the minute I began reading it.

    There is an ancient saying…”know thyself”. But how can you know yourself when you are “at war” with the senses? No, Mrs. Eddy, the war with oneself is NOT “grand”. The senses are there to inform us, to learn from them. When you suddenly smell the aroma of a food that is cooking that you love, and your mouth waters, that is not “sensation in matter.” You were meant to experience that sensation, and savor it. Other natural scents, such as the sweet scent of jasmine, with it’s with it’s pleasantly erotic qualities, are there to be experienced.

    It really took something like the Internet to make it possible to get people together, to share experiences, and to understand fully that they were not alone, after having been in Christian Science. I don’t think it was really possible, pre Internet. The old, well established religions, such as Catholicism, etc., were so fully present, and so many people who had been in them, that there was an established, general familiarity and commonality of shared experience, that the psychiatric/psychological professions knew how to deal with them.

    But Christian Science, with it’s outward perception by the public, as a mild, if somewhat strange religion, was able to hide in plain sight. And Christian Scientists who were really in the religion deep way were convinced that they had to simply keep reading and studying their books. If they dared to look elsewhere, that was “Mortal Mind” talking through them. So, just suffer in silence.

    Anyway, that has all changed. And people who have been in the religion, and suffered, can know that they are not alone. And they can get help.

    • Chrystal C.

      I love this comment so much and feel like it could be a great blog post on this blog. Thank you so much for sharing it.

      Particularly this part:

      “a woman who was a former Sunday School teacher, who was seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist. (Remember…such people are thought of as”dangerous” in Christian Science). She was apparently having an issue with the quotation from Science and Health…”Let that mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” And the man she was seeing exclaimed: “What are you doing to yourself? There is only one Christ. He is perfect. You’re not. It’s okay to be human.””

      And the whole part about the Internet. Thank you for ALL of this comment.

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