Perception and Impression

         The human mind is in a constant state of susceptibility to influences and impressions. Until the advent of Christian Science it had not been conceived possible to distinguish scientifically between impressions that are real and worthy of permanence and those which are unreal and should therefore be discarded as unworthy of retention. Mortal mind, the counterfeit of divine Mind, assumes the existence of five material senses. Material knowledge consists, therefore, of perception based upon these unreal senses, and the receptivity of mortal mind is necessarily limited to impressions within the scope of these senses. This shows that mortal belief is itself the origin of the material impressions which it receives.

         It is this metaphysical fact relative to the human mind that reveals its need of redemptive spiritual sense wholly apart from materiality, through which consciousness may receive the revelations of the actual and divine. On page 214 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy says, "When it is learned that the spiritual sense, and not the material, conveys the impressions of Mind to man, then being will be understood and found to be harmonious."

         Material sense sees and feels material phenomena, nothing more. The reflex impressions received from these phenomena are in fact images arising out of the causal belief that man is material and is endowed with physical organs of sense. These delusive effects of sense-perception will be more readily vanquished when one's efforts are more consistently directed to the overcoming of the fundamental error of belief in a material mind. One may not emerge from reliance upon sense-perception with a single effort, but every one may begin his emergence from the illusion by silencing the first lie of material sense which he detects as a lie, and then the next and the next. Persistently to reverse the material presentations of sense-testimony is to foster habitual spiritual perception. This reversal is necessary because, as Paul said, "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: . . . neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

         Spiritual sense, the Soul-derived faculty which understands God, has just one purpose so far as the human mind is concerned; that is, to cause the human mind to give place to the intelligence which reflects God. Mrs. Eddy writes, "This Soul-sense comes to the human mind when the latter yields to the divine Mind" (Science and Health, p. 85). Spiritual perception must become the constant mode of consciousness; for in just the ratio of the constancy of spiritual vision will consciousness arise out of materiality, and so out of sense-perception of discord, into the actual realization of harmonious being.

         One not only has to overcome the sense-impressions which come from within one's personal belief of existence in matter, influenced as that belief is by inheritance, educated trends, disposition, but also has to refuse those external impressions which assail him from other mortals' presentation of various phases of the same belief. It is the habitual inclination toward the side of the spiritual or the material which determines for each individual whether, as he looks out upon life, he shall be able spiritually to discern God's reflection everywhere, or whether through failure to subdue his own material sense he shall accept from exterior influences the reflex impressions of imperfection and woe. Not only must one determine to find his own true consciousness as the reflection of Spirit, but he must, because he cannot otherwise attain metaphysical purity, strive just as earnestly to see all other individualities as God sees them, apart from matter and its manifestations of sin and disease.

         It requires great candor toward one's self, during this transition from material conception into habitual spiritual perception, to call one's errors of belief by the only name they can rightly bear when they are stripped of excuses; but one endeavors to cultivate spiritual apprehension for no other reason than to come out of an unreal material mentality. A metaphysician must be more interested in overcoming his own belief in a selfhood subject to material cognitions and impulses than he is in the treatment that self receives at the hands of other people; although if he performs his work scientifically, he will succeed in destroying his own belief in sensitiveness to error and also his belief that other mortals exhibitions of disagreeable traits and ways are real. He will, in other words, see all forms of discord as manifestations of the one general belief of existence in matter, and will understand that these manifestations are at all times illusive, as is the false mentality which projects them.

         It was through the agency of spiritual perception that Jesus the Wayshower was able to keep himself separate from and uninfluenced by the sense-evidence of the material world. From the vantage ground of his own spiritual discernment he refuted for others the belief of sensation in matter. He was able to do this for others because in the wilderness he had first settled with finality for himself the entire unreality of any material sense testimony. All who would overcome sin and disease as Jesus did, must work for the same clearness of vision which he possessed.

         The delay which Christian Scientists sometimes experience in overcoming disease or discord may arise from a mistaken attempt spiritually to improve the manifestations of material sense. That which has no real existence cannot very well be improved. Demonstration in Christian Science does not depend upon any condition recognized or reported by material sense; it eliminates material sense. Jesus the Christ displaced material sense with spiritual sense, and through the awakening of the dormant spiritual sense the individual invariably perceived harmony where material sense had appeared to leave its evil impression. The man who was healed of supposedly congenital blindness testified, "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."

         In not one of the cases of instantaneous healing effected by Jesus was the immediate physical change possible from the standpoint of sense-testimony; but spiritual sense takes no account of mortal time limitations. Jesus showed that time and space and sentient matter are all unreal subjective states of an unreal mortal mind. He proved that instantaneous change from material perception to the spiritual apprehension of Truth is possible. This change of perception is the one thing to be desired and to be labored for. Whether in any given case the material impressions are instantaneously or gradually displaced by the divine impressions of Mind which are conveyed through spiritual sense, it is certain that the discord, which appears only to physical sense, will invariably disappear when that change comes.

         Material sense testifies that it sees a maimed or defective or disagreeable man in matter; spiritual sense beholds the image of God. Spiritual sense is the one medium through which consciousness rises into eternal Truth. On page 531 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy says: "The human mind will sometime rise above all material and physical sense, exchanging it for spiritual perception, and exchanging human concepts for the divine consciousness. Then man will recognize his God-given dominion and being."


"Perception and Impression" by Nellie B. Mace
Christian Science Sentinel, March 3, 1917

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