CSEC ON-LINE REFERENCE LIBRARY
RUTH C. FORTSON
In our textbook (p. 188) we find this statement: "Mortal existence is a dream of pain and pleasure in matter, a dream of sin, sickness, and death; and it is like the dream we have in sleep in which every one recognizes his condition to be wholly a state of mind." And on page 250 is this pertinent query: "Now I ask, Is there any more reality in the waking dream of mortal existence than in the sleeping dream?"
For a long time this was "an hard saying" to one student of Christian Science; but other equally startling statements in the textbook having been proved correct, she was willing to wait for the unfoldment of this one also. It came about in this way. Living in a state far distant from her home, she was often full of human longing for the old ties and familiar scenes. Retiring at night with this longing in her heart, she would dream of being back with her loved ones, only to awaken in the morning to the realization that it had only been a dream. These dreams came so frequently, and the disappointment on awakening was so keen, that she began to realize before waking that she was dreaming and would soon awaken to the same disappointment. Once, upon the recurrence of this dream, when she thought herself back in the old home, the argument that it was only a dream presented itself to her thought. But she seemed to answer, "No, it is certainly real this time, for here is the house, the lawn, and even the old hackberry trees growing along the sidewalk." To convince herself more fully that it was real, she went up to one of the hackberry trees and pounded on it several times with her fist. It seemed so solid and substantial that she felt convinced she was not dreaming this time, but was actually back in the place where she longed to be. But, alas, she awakened to find herself as far from home and loved ones as before the dream, notwithstanding the dream-evidence afforded by the seeming solidity of the hackberry tree!
Pondering this experience, she began to comprehend the meaning of the statements above quoted. Her body, as she knew it in the waking dream, had not left the bed upon which it was reposing; yet there was a body in the dream which had seemed to travel to the old home, to the old familiar scenes, which had pounded the hackberry tree to determine its solidity, and had performed other functions usual upon such an occasion. While conscious of this dream-body, and other phenomena of the sleeping dream, she had been wholly unconscious of the experiences of the waking dream, thus proving that one cannot exist in two states of consciousness at the same time. She could know nothing of the waking experience until awakened from the sleeping dream in which she was submerged. After the awakening, however, the everyday surroundings were in evidence; for the dream had vanished, and she realized that the body acting in sleep, also the house, lawn, and trees, were only the manifestations of a mental state, wholly without entity or substance. Thus she began to comprehend that the waking dream, though seemingly very real to mortal consciousness, just as the sleeping dream had seemed real to the sleeping consciousness, was not the true sense of being but wholly an erroneous mental concept, an illusion from which mortals need to be awakened in order that they may behold the glories of true existence; for, as the Psalmist declares, we shall be satisfied only when we awake with His likeness.
Darkness and illusion come with sleep; hence Paul's statement to the Ephesians: "But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ [Truth] shall give thee light." Sleep is a type of death; for we know that when one is asleep he is oblivious to his surroundings, wholly unconscious of them. Therefore it behooves us to awake from this dream of materiality, that is, to "arise from the dead," so that we may be conscious of the light, the true apprehension of existence which Christ, Truth, gives us, and thus attain our rightful heritage of dominion and power. In his letter to the Romans Paul also states: "Now it is high time to awaken out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness" the beliefs of the material dream "and let us put on the armour of light," the understanding and consciousness of true existence as taught in Christian Science.
Who would not exchange the pains and pleasures of material sense for the glories of spiritual consciousness? The beloved disciple attained this glorified experience, as recorded in the Apocalypse, without passing through the transition called death. Therefore we, too, may awake here and now to the spiritual understanding of real existence.
Christian Science Sentinel, June 12, 1926
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