Join Christian Science lecturer and healer, Phillip Hockley for his talk on “A new view of God and its effect on well-being”, Thursday, April 4th at 7:30pm at the Museum of Biblical Art.
From Phillip Hockley…
“Although humble beginnings and hard knocks taught me the value of being honest and hard working, for oneself and others, it did not last long into adult life. Rapid success in business and a hard-partying lifestyle led to an increasing sense of inner emptiness and led into a pathway of drink and drugs.
In the early 1990s a fall that badly injured the spine started a seven year downward spiral of ill health. By 1999, after trying every alternative and spiritual healing method, without any cure, I was registered as physically handicapped.
During those years of physical decline, I researched many religions and forms of spirituality, eventually focusing my time on mindfulness practices. This helped me be aware of the painful body without reacting with fear. Thus, by remaining equanimous, I could choose to be happy instead of fearful.
This attitude of “broken body—happy mind” was present at the time I felt very strongly attracted to attend my first ever Christian Science lecture—against my own best judgment at the time!
What happened to me at that lecture was truly transformational. Not only was I healed of all my diseases at that event but also, more importantly, I was healed of my hardness towards the message of the Bible—telling us of God’s great love for each one of us. Christian Science explains the Bible promises so clearly. To me, the greatest of the promises is that we can all feel and live with this divine love, a heavenly love, here and now.
From that moment on I knew I had found something very special and could hardly wait to explain this experience to others—this ability to love and be loved by God.
I had gone to the lecture with no expectations but I left with no limitations.
There’s no question that I was jubilant about the way my life was being transformed. But what impressed me the most was finding out that these kinds of breakthroughs aren’t one-time, personal miracles. God’s love is available to everyone, and there’s even a textbook on Christian Science healing that explains the power of God’s love in our lives: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
…what I’ll share in my lecture, is that the perspective of God and reality that Christian Science opens up is one that offers freedom from whatever in our lives seems painful, debilitating, or limiting. I’ll talk about a 19th-century woman, Mary Baker Eddy, who, after a life-threatening injury, discovered this new view of God for herself and went on to explain her discovery and its Bible-based principles in her book Science and Health. And I’ll share how that discovery is still relevant to our lives today because of what it reveals about God’s great love for each of us and its powerful, life-transforming effects.”
I was expecting my second baby. I was determined that this birth would be a better experience than the birth of my first child which had been difficult and long. I have to say that I was unprepared for the first birth. I had not done the mental preparation that is required. I thought that just because I was a Christian Scientist that the birth would be easy.
So as I said, I was expecting my second child. I decided to take a much more focused approach. I contacted a Christian Science practitioner that I has worked with many times. As we talked, I told him my fears and concerns about the previous birth. He suggested that a deep sense of calm handles pain. So I decided to spend the next several months understanding calm. I began by making a list of qualities of calm. What did the concept of “calm” really mean? Did I have to wait for some sort of emergency to be calm? If not, how could I bring a greater sense of Calm into my life even before the birth?
In the beginning of my study on Calm, I thought there was a lot about calm that I did not admire. I thought being calm was doing nothing. I was a go-getter. I admired energy and vivaciousness. I thought calm people were boring. I began to get a whole new view of calm that included peace, harmony, and tranquility as I began my research into what “calm” really included. I began to appreciate a quiet sense of calm in others. A calm Reserve was a good quality that allowed one to think before speaking and to be considerate of others by putting others needs before their own. I began to start appreciating the qualities of peaceful calm. I tried to put calmness into practice in my life. For example, I would sit on my bed after a long day at work and practice stilling my thought and enjoying the quiet. I had never been able to do this before.
During the first pregnancy, I chose not to take special classes to prepare for the birth that the midwife offered. I was afraid that the classes would just be a lot of talk about the medical aspects of birth. This time, I decided to take all the classes and to translate the material circumstances into spiritual ideas. Instead of being worried about what to eat and what not to eat, I studied Hymn 20 in the Christian Science Hymnal that has this line; “Fed by thy love divine we live for Love alone is Life.” During the class on breathing, I thought of Hymn 49 “Breath through the pulse of desire (prayer) Thy coolness and thy balm. Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire, speak through the earthquake wind and fire (pain), O still small voice of calm.” When we had a class that discussed special exercises, I prayed to see that I already expressed flexibility, openness and inspiration – Qualities of God that are mine because I reflect him.
There were a few other fears that I had to face too. First, the fear of emergency. I lived 45 minutes away from the midwife. What if I went into labor during rush hour and I couldn’t get to the midwife on time? Would we have to deliver the baby ourselves? What if something terrible went wrong and I couldn’t get to her clinic? I conquered these fears with the fact of my oneness with God. God is ever-present, all knowing, all seeing, all acting, and all wise. How could I be in better hands than those of God? I was his expression I could never be too far from God. I calmed down and stopped worrying about an emergency.
I was afraid of Pain. During the first birth, I was in labor for 2 days. I ended up in the hospital. I had felt chaotic and out of control. I had been absorbed into the mental picture of pain. To overcome these fears, I reminded myself of those qualities of peace I had begun to cherish. A favorite Bible verse helped me through this fear. It goes “Fear not little flock it is God’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” His kingdom is harmony, peace, fearless, and painless calm. Pain is Hypnotism of mortal mind. There is no mortal mind since God is the only Mind. That Mind, God, knows only Good. Recognizing this freed me from the hypnotic sense that pain was inevitable.
As I handled some of the more superficial fears, others began to emerge. I realized I had to admit that I had to handle the fear of failure. I felt I had failed in my practice of Christian Science during the first birth because I went to the hospital instead of being able to rely on prayer alone. I threw in the towel and took the drugs and the epidural instead of praying. Would I fail again? This line from a favorite article in Prose Works written by Mary Baker Eddy tenderly lifted me out of that fear: “Divine Love is an ever-present help and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment…. More we cannot ask: more we do not want: more we cannot have. This sweet assurance is the ‘Peace, be still’ to all human fears, to suffering of every sort.” What is that sweet assurance of peace that handles suffering i.e. pain? Omnipresent Love.
The last fear I had to handle was not my own fear but the fear of the midwife. My husband recognized this. He told me that even though the midwife was wonderful and supportive she still believed this was a human process – natural but also painful. I thought “No, she is completely supportive of my beliefs and prayers.” My husband reminded me that yes, that was true, but I still had to handle the mortal concept that though this was a natural process it was a material and painful experience that she held in thought. I saw that he was right. I handled the last fear with this Truth by Eddy “The foundation of mortal discord is a false sense of man’s origin. To begin rightly is to end rightly. Every concept which seems to begin with the brain begins falsely, Divine Mind is the only cause or Principle of existence. Cause does not exist in matter, in mortal mind or in physical forms.” I followed that idea with this one “A logical and scientific conclusion s reached only through the knowledge that there are not two bases of being, matter and mind but one alone, — MIND.”
During every checkup leading up to the birth the baby was in a “Posterior” position. This meant he was facing the wrong way. This type of positioning was known by the midwife to be especially painful to the mother causing a lot of back pain. I had prayed continually about this issue. I finally thought, I have done the prayer I am not going to worry about that problem anymore. I am simply going to let God handle it. I was inspired by “Mind is the source of all movement, and there is no inertia to retard or check its perpetual and harmonious action.” I looked up these words inertia – tendency to remain in a fixed position, unchanged, disinclination to move or act. Retard – delay, slow the advance or progress. Check – to hold back. I decided I would just yield, surrender all to the Divine Mind, the source of all movement. He would handle the rest.
The day came for the baby to be born. At 10 am my water broke. I had arranged for the midwife to come to my home for a home birth. I would not worry at all about getting to her or her getting to me. I had control of the complete environment in my home. I asked everyone to be quiet – a quality of calm. I had my husband read to me a list that included the previous quotes to keep my thought focused on these truths. The first contraction my stomach looked like an alien invasion was taking place, the baby had completely flipped and was now in the correct position for birth. In just 4 short hours my son was born. After that first contraction flip, I felt absolutely no pain.
When he arrived I thought; “that was so much fun. I want to do it again!” God is so good. I wanted to stand on a chair and shout it to the world. But instead, I will share it with the world by sharing my experience with you.
My adult son survived an avalanche in a car near Lake Tahoe, California on January 23, 2017 at 1:30 a.m. PST. This is my thanks to all who were awake at that hour and praying for the world. Your “prayers did not return unto you void,” but fulfilled their mission in the protection of my son. You may have seen the CBS news report of two young men taking selfies from inside an avalanche. You might not have connected your prayers to that event. I do.
My wife and I were asleep and unaware of the danger facing our son at the midnight hour. Over forty years of parenting, we have prayed for the protection and wellbeing of our three sons. My favorite is: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord” Psalms 118:17. But on this night, at that hour, I was asleep. And our son needed your prayers. Here’s what happened.
After an evening with friends working on a car, near Lake Tahoe California on January 23, my son and his roommate headed home together at midnight on Route 89. The road they were on follows the Truckee River through a wooded valley that has a steep pitch and is thus subject to avalanche in deep snow. The area had seen over seven feet of snow in a short span. After about 10 minutes on the road, they saw a flash of white in front of them and immediately braked. In an instant, they were buried in an avalanche that turned out to be 12 feet deep and 140 yards across.
Several factors protected them in the car. The avalanche front had crossed the road about 50 yards in front of their vehicle, so that the full force of the avalanche had occurred seconds before their car arrived. And although the avalanche traversed a wooded area, there was no debris in the snow that hit their car to puncture the windows. The snow was dry enough and light enough that it did not crash in the roof of the vehicle, nor did it roll them over.
Small avalanches are estimated to pack the force of 1000 pounds per square foot, so the vehicle had to be in precisely the right place to avoid a crushing blow and also avoid being pushed off the edge of the road, down a ravine and into the Truckee River about 50 yards to their left. Providentially, the snowplow berm, that had built up to the right of the road where their car was located, rose about 8 feet off the road. This apparently caused the force of the avalanche to largely pass above their vehicle, rather than hitting the vehicle broadside.
After the avalanche stalled to a stop, there was white stillness and silence. The two men had the presence of mind to turn off the car ignition to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Of course, immediately the car became very cold. But both men had been Boy Scouts as youths and recalled their training in cold weather protection, so quickly got out of wet socks and boots. They had also prepared for winter weather by previously storing a blanket in the car. So they pulled it out and huddled under it to stay warm.
Looking around at their situation they realized they were in a tight spot, but rather than panic, they were jubilant that they had not been killed in the first wave of the avalanche. “Come now let us reason together saith the Lord,” (Isa 1:18) and that is what they began to do. Their plan was to wait for a rescue but be prepared to dig out if they became light headed, which would indicate their oxygen was getting low. Inside the car they had a shovel, but when they tried to open the door they found it was pressed tight to the car, so they realized that digging out would be a risky proposition. They were also mindful that a shift in position could cause the car to tumble and that an opened window could let in more snow than they could shovel. More problematic, since they did not know how deep the snow was above them, they did not know if they could even make it up to breathable air. They figured that the vehicle cab contained about two hours of oxygen, which was true. So they decided to stay put, and consciously work to stay calm and preserve it.
Providentially, the exact spot in the road where the avalanche buried them had a full five bars of cell coverage. Less than a mile down the valley road, there was no cell coverage. And providentially, their phone batteries were still charged at the end of the day. So they called 911 and made contact with a search and rescue team. Owing to a clear cell signal, the call to the fire and rescue team was received and immediately a trained team was dispatched. Providentially, the station was located only two miles away so the team arrived at the avalanche within minutes.
After placing the 911 call, realizing they were in a very unique situation, and wanting to take their mind off the sobering aspects of it, they began streaming a Facebook live selfie from inside the car. Seeing their situation as a cosmic joke or remarkable stroke, they relaxed and enjoyed the humor in what had happened.
Outside their car, the challenge confronting the rescue team was formidable. The roadway was completely obscured in about 12 feet of snow for approximately 140 yards. In the dark of night, the blanket of snow gave no clues as to the whereabouts of the car. The crew recognized that the car had about 2 hours of air in it. So the rescue team started a police line with 12-foot aluminum probes along the presumed road course. They had cell contact with the men, but no way to identify their location. So they methodically worked their way across the avalanche.
After about an hour, they located the car and the men begin honking their horn. The metal probe that first hit the car glanced off the windshield. Providentially, despite the immense pressure on the glass, the metal probe did not break the windshield. The next two pole probes hit the car roof and the men began to see light from above. The rescue team began shoveling down 12 feet by hand to open the car door and allow the two man to escape. Celebration. Shortly afterwards, snowplows began the task of clearing the roadway.
The only damage to the car, other than a couple of welcomed pole dents to the roof, was the loosening of all twenty lug nuts on the wheels, which likely occurred as the vehicle was being pushed sideways at the start of the slide. Interestingly, although two lug nuts had spun off completely, the car was still able to be driven away.
The Christian Science Lesson-Sermon that week was on the topic of Love. Several passages conveyed new meaning to me the day after I learned of my son’s rescue.
Jeremiah 23:23, 24. Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I should not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.
Joshua 1:9. Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with the withersoever thou goest.
I John 4:16, 18. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.
Science and Health 2:4–11. Are we benefited by praying? Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed by our father, and it does not return unto us void.
Psalm 92:5, 17. 5. I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. 17. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 33:12, 27. The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms: Mathew 19:26. With God all things are possible.
In these times, as parents, we long for our children’s protection. Particularly when we can’t be there and can’t know the danger they face. Here is a poem from Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan that captures that idea for me and conveys the deep feelings involved.