We are probably accustomed and trained to seeing healing as a gift, a talent, an art - some people can heal and comfort and help others move forward in their lives, while others simply can't. The narration of saints in religious history follows this line of thought - the chosen few and the masses.
Recently a blog post by Seth Godin caught my eye. Here it is:
"If you can learn it, it's a skill.
If it's important, but innate, it's a talent.
The thing is, almost everything that matters is a skill. If even one person is able to learn it, if even one person is able to use effort and training to get good at something, it's a skill.
It's entirely possible that some skills are easier for talented people to learn. It's entirely possible you don't want to expend the energy and dedicate the effort to learn that next skill.
But realizing that it's a skill is incredibly empowering and opens the door of possibility.
What are you going to learn next?"
I can see the link between his observation and the world of healing. For more than 150 years Christian Science takes a stand for healing as a normal, natural activity for everyone. Which everyone can learn - with consecration, study, meditation, prayer, practice, experience, love. When it comes to healing, Jesus did think a lot in terms of skills, not talents. He insisted that the art of comfort, of healing, of peacemaking can be learned. He handpicked individuals and taught them for three years all about the kingdom of heaven - the dimension of the real and perfect, the Science of Life. He mentored his students, encouraged them, carried out lots of practice tests and moved them forward in their individual service to God and man.
Mary Baker Eddy shares with us this new insight into the skill of healing:
"In Latin the word rendered disciple signifies student; and the word indicates that the power of healing was not a supernatural gift to those learners, but the result of their cultivated spiritual understanding of the divine Science, which their Master demonstrated by healing the sick and sinning. (...) Those, who are willing to leave their nets or to cast them on the right side for Truth, have the opportunity now, as aforetime, to learn and to practise
Christian healing. The Scriptures contain it. The spiritual import of the Word imparts this power." (Science and Health, p. 271)
So probably the resistance against the observation that healing is a skill rather than a talent might be this: suddenly everybody has access to healing, to compassion, and to a peaceful sense of spiritual justice. Everybody can learn to help, and comfort, and heal. A privilege for the few is flying out of the window, the intermediaries disappear. Everybody suddenly is wonderful, strong, worthy of respect and love - everybody can be a peacemaker, a healer, an agent of change. So it is all about the disposition to learn. The gift is a skill. For everyone. Are you in?
A tender poem by Anna E. Hamilton, quoted in Retrospection and Introspection by Mary Baker Eddy illumines beautifully the art of comforting - and the highest form of comfort is healing. The poem opens the way for comforting as a skill. And we all can acquire this competence - the need is huge.
Ask God to give thee skill
In comfort's art
That thou may'st consecrated be
And set apart
Unto a life of sympathy.
For heavy is the weight of ill
In every heart;
And comforters are needed much
Of Christlike touch.
— Anna E. HAMILTON
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and as a writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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