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The difficulties of 2020 have put spirituality into focus

“This was supposed to be the year of perfect vision,” my wife declared recently.
The Year of Perfect Vision: a spiritual perspective
The Year of Perfect Vision: a spiritual perspective

The Year of Perfect Vision: a spiritual perspective“This was supposed to be the year of perfect vision,” my wife declared recently. She’d read somewhere that 20/20—an optometrist’s term for perfect vision—indicated a decade of spiritual insight and growth ahead

Instead, the year came to the door cloaked in pandemic and political division, economic upheaval and environmental catastrophe.

If nothing else, 2020 seems to know a thing or two about irony.

I’m reminded of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s words at a 1932 speech in Vienna: “The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events.” Jung was no doubt referring to the political and economic upheaval in Europe at the time, but allow me, dear reader, to consider our current pandemic in this light.

I don’t mean, as some have argued, that covid is a hoax. Nor am I suggesting we shouldn’t follow public health guidelines. Rather, I’m pointing to a deeper truth: that mental and spiritual laws govern our universe at a fundamental level, and that against such laws the virus has no real power. This radical step is made easier when considering perspectives in theoretical physics. For example, in an editorial published in the science journal NATURE (The Mental Universe, Vol. 436, July 2005), astrophysicist Richard Henry of John Hopkins argues that quantum mechanics discounts material theories to reveal a universe that is “entirely mental and spiritual.”

Notice that during Jesus’s ministry, he didn’t give much credence to material laws. According to Biblical record he healed the sick, walked on water, fed the multitudes, and even raised the dead. He also assured us we can do the same. Which is why in Christian Science we view Jesus’s words and works as a practical guide to overcoming adversity—in whatever form it arrives.

While our family has followed public health guidelines, I’ve also challenged myself this year to see each crisis as an opportunity to wake up to the “kingdom of heaven” at hand—and to better know the truth that makes us free.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, used a metaphor in her book Science and Health to describe the task before us: “The sculptor turns from the marble to his model in order to perfect his conception. We are all sculptors, working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought.” And as we heal our own thoughts about these impositions, we can reside in a spiritual consciousness that protects us while contributing to healing the world.

Many years ago I had the chance to prove this for myself when confronted by a highly contagious flu. I’d taken time off work to visit my grandmother, and when I walked into her senior’s residence a staff member told me I would likely to get sick. She described a “ten-day flu” that was going around, and how every staff member had fallen ill and been forced to take significant time off work. I decided to stay, reasoning that God would never punish right motives.

Shortly after returning home I began to experience flu-like symptoms. My biggest fear was losing much-needed income, so I took the day off work to quietly pray. Every time the symptoms seemed overwhelming, I turned from what my five senses were screaming to affirm God’s allness—a spiritual consciousness where material cause and effect have no jurisdiction. I awoke the next morning completely free of symptoms.

I’ve worked hard this year to stay attuned to God’s loving presence, something I might have done half-heartedly in good times.

Seen in that light, perhaps 2020 really is the year of perfect vision.

The Year of Perfect Vision: a spiritual perspectiveMatt Jackson has been fascinated by how science and religion relate to each other for as long as he can remember. He is a member of the Christian Science church in Victoria, BC, and has been a professional writer and editor for 22 years.

You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking, HERE

* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, December 5th 2020

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash