The concept of Five Steps may be new to the Christian Science Field, but it is as old as Science and Health. Mrs. Eddy included it over and over in her writings and which, as far as we know, has gone unnoticed until the Compiler recognized it, named it, and presented it in the Spiritual Concepts Approach (SCA).
There are two parts to this concept. Simply stated, Part One deals with Thought Correction, and Part Two deals with Treatment. Both are ways of applying specific passages in Science and Health (SH) for healing.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE FIVE STEPS
The five material senses can be likened to a gang of chameleons acting as liars, jail keepers, hypnotists, propagandists, deceivers. These would-be masters with their lying suggestions either whispered or screamed into thought, seem to string us up like marionettes and manipulate us to do their bidding, to think and act in specific ways which are contrary to our natural inclinations, and to believe that their lies are true and that we are stuck with them. They convince us we are sick and impaired, too old or too young, feeble, stupid, lonely, in danger, afraid. We believe what we see, hear, feel, detect (smell) or are told through the negatively biased media’s tongue wagging (taste). Undetected, these errors can seem to have profound influence over our lives. Treated through Christian Science, they can be exposed and whittled down to their nothingness.
The SCA points out passages in SH in which Mrs. Eddy addresses the various false suggestions with which the five senses shackle us. As with previous concepts, there is a pattern or form to look for in her writings. One may notice a series of five verbs in a single sentence, or five sentences within a paragraph directing the reader to take specific steps. The examples in Part One and Part Two will illustrate some of the pattern variations. Whatever the form, the purpose is the same: to gently guide and lift thought out of the false belief and into Truth. The Five Steps are for healing!
This blog deals with preparing and correcting thought in order to heal. After all, thought comes before any action, and if thought is not primed, prepared, tuned, made ready, the action that follows will be unsuccessful.
“This familiar instance reaffirms the Scrip‐
tural word concerning a man, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”” (89:12-14)
“Of a man it has been said, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he;” hence as a man spiritually understandeth so is he in truth.” (213:3)
“Sin and disease must be thought before they can be manifested.“ (SH 234:25)
To review, five relates to the five senses. So, the passages which include the Five Steps are ones that help us rise above the pull, attraction or mesmeric deception that seems to come from the material senses. The reader will see that the steps have been laid out pictorially—giving the impression of climbing upward. These visuals help us understand that this five-step concept raises or transitions thought Godward, leaving the dream of five senses behind.
Because these Steps are usually found in metaphysical sentences, they are perfect to use for Christian Science (CS) Treatments and/or Thought Corrections. In this blog, we are focusing on Correcting Thought. These corrections which were described in the previous blog “Concept of Five and Correcting Thought,” have been written in green font after each citation.
The first example of a Five-Step Concept comes from the Bible and sketches a wonderful picture of what happens during treatment. In Jesus’ parable about the tares and wheat in Matt. 13:24-30, the servants find the field has been invaded by weeds or tares (mortality; error; sin; sickness; disease; death – SH 595:5). Instead of trying to do something physically to the field or body to get rid of the error, the solution is presented in verse 30.
A. STEPS TO REMOVE UNWANTED, ERRONEOUS TRAITS (TARES) IN THOUGHT
Let both 1 grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, 2 Gather ye together first the tares, and 3 bind them in bundles 4 to burn them: but 5 gather the wheat into my barn. (Matt. 13:30) M
5- Gather (wheat)
3- bind (tares)
We must let both ↑
Rather than being a literal instruction about how to weed one’s back field, this is really about treating, correcting, preparing thought (one’s mental field) metaphysically. Instead of poking around the belief of body with the attempt to do something physically or willfully to eliminate the problem, thus making a reality of it, one needs to see it as unreal. For how long? Until the harvest − spiritual reaping.
The growing period (let both grow together) is what happens during the treatment. Error (tares) become more apparent as Truth uncovers it. As thought rises in spiritual understanding through treatment, the tares (disease/error) are discerned – “error found out is 2/3rds destroyed, (MW 355:13-14)” – can be recognized as error, and separated from the good and real by Truth.
Now comes the harvest time. Error is bound by Truth and denied, denounced, destroyed. The good/wheat – the truth about man – is cherished in thought, kept in our spiritual storehouse.
The reapers are the metaphysicians – us! As metaphysicians, we treat thought. These Five Steps are our directions or blueprint to follow, and can be turned into mini treatments.
NOTE: Those experienced in concept coding citations will notice that there are 6 verbs in this sentence. Yet within this sentence, there are five steps that we can identify. Sometimes these steps are tucked within other larger number concepts, so this isn’t unusual. Within this sentence, there is still a pattern of five that can be identified.
Mrs. Eddy also includes this parable in SH, stressing the fact that the tares (symbolic of all error) never touch the wheat (Truth).
“The temporal and unreal never touch the eternal and real. The mutable and imperfect never touch the im‐ mutable and perfect. The inharmonious and self-destructive never touch the harmonious and self-existent. These 1 opposite qualities are the tares and wheat, which 2 never really mingle, though (to mortal sight) they 3 grow side by side until the harvest; then, Science 5 separates the wheat from the tares, through the 4 realization of God as ever present and of man as reflecting the divine likeness.” (SH 300:13) M
5- Tares and wheat are separated
4- Realize God, and that man reflects Him
3- Tares and wheat grow side by side
2- Tares and wheat never mingle
1- Tares and wheat are opposites
Comparing the two accounts, Mrs. Eddy’s seems to be more explanatory. What must be realized, though, is that these 5 steps are instructions for us to follow. We are to know in thought that the tares and wheat are opposites and cannot mingle, that error, in any form, does not, cannot, really touch us. Right away that removes any fear or doubt that we are in danger!
Comparing Step 4 in each version is especially noteworthy. Burning in Jesus‘ parable is equated with going to God, the absolute, in Mrs. Eddy‘s. Is this not an example of the baptism of the Holy Ghost (558:17-18) which burns, totally consumes the error, but leaves the good intact and unharmed? There is a wonderful definition of Fire in the Glossary (586:13) which illustrates how fire consumes the error while leaving the real (us) intact: “affliction purifying and elevating man.” This is the fiery baptism of Truth and Love referred to in SH 565:22 that “purifies even the gold of human character.”
The second example follows a paragraph is found in SH about replacing hideous mental images and holding to the right conception or thought model.
B. STEPS TO FINDING CORRECT SELF IMAGE
Jesus as mediator
The real man being 1 linked by Science to his Maker, mortals 2 need only 2 turn from sin and 3 lose sight of mortal selfhood 4 to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and 5 to recognize the divine sonship. 316:3-7 M
This is about changing one’s view (image) of oneself from a mortal to the ideal man at-one with his Creator, God. How many of us need to exchange our flawed sense of self as a material, limited human and accept our spiritual selfhood regularly? It is only the influence of the five material senses that would lead us to think wrongly about ourselves. Visually, the reader can see they are going higher step-by-step. “Mortals” indicates this process begins on the human level, where error seems to thrive, and once thought does a 180-turn, man progresses to the real man or image and divine likeness, Christ. The catalyst is a simple acknowledgement of God’s spiritual man. Thought, then, is being lifted above and beyond those false senses. When the mortal sense of self is shed, the Christ and divine sonship is revealed (Being). These steps provide the directions for preparing thought to achieve this.
2- Need turn
Being on the metaphysical level, one can turn these into a thought correction.
Thought Correction: Because we are linked and at one with God, let us turn from sin, lose sight of mortal selfhood, find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and recognize the divine sonship.
C. STEPS TO FORMING PERFECT THOUGHT MODELS
“What is the model before mortal mind? Is it 1 imperfection, 2 joy, 3 sorrow, 4 sin, 5 suffering? Have you accepted the mortal model (false material image)? Are you reproducing it? Then you are haunted in your work by vicious sculptors and hideous forms. Do you not hear from all mankind of the imperfect model (false material image)? The world is holding it before your gaze continually. The result is that you are liable to follow those lower patterns, limit your life-work, and adopt into your experience the angular outline and deformity of matter models (false material image).” (SH 248:15)
“To remedy this, we must first 1 turn our gaze in the right direction, and then 2 walk that way. We must 3 form perfect models (spiritual image and likeness) in thought and 4 look at them continually, or we shall never 5 carve them out in grand and noble lives.” (SH 248:25-29) M
What a difference holding to the right thought model makes. Constant right thinking (dwelling) prepares one to resolve unexpected erroneous events speedily, successfully, easily. Several times I have healed a situation, such as burns or accident, quickly because thought was already spiritualized and alert so that the mental response was immediate.
Example 3 shows the Five Steps flowing over two sentences. As we are looking for specific steps, these five follow the pattern perfectly. One can see from the pictorial design below that they form an orderly line of five actions to correct and improve our thought models. The Marginal heading “Perfect models” highlights the central message of the paragraph.
Marginal headings are like banners to draw attention to the essential thought Mrs. Eddy is presenting. One can also state this as a reminder to be constant: to form and hold perfect thought models. This reminder can’t be repeated too often. After all, one’s thought does determine one’s experience.
Thought Correction: We are turning our gaze in the right direction and are walking that way. We are forming perfect models in thought –as we see/reflect God – and are looking at them continually (*Law of Dwelling). Thus we are carving these perfect models in grand and noble lives.
*From the Compiler: The Law of Dwelling definitely assures every one that follows it faithfully of the outcome. This Law reads: “That which one dwells on most, Grows.” One can also say that which one dwells on most, achieves that metaphysical focus. MBE guaranteed results as one Will Achieve, Will Bring, (not might or may) in one of the examples of the Law of Dwelling: “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” (SH 261:4)
D. STEPS FOR PERFECT MODELS OF ONE MIND
The next illustration follows the same theme of correcting flawed, sense-based models of thought and ideals. As the imperfect is cast off, the model of excellence is revealed by staying with the absolute: one God, one Mind.
Let us 1 accept Science, 2 relinquish all theories based on sense-testimony, 3 give up imperfect models and illusive ideals; and so let us 4 have one God, one Mind, and that one perfect, 5 producing His own models of excellence. (249:1) M
This is a step-by-step guide to the benefits and blessings resulting from having a spiritually receptive thought. The world seems rampant with theories about health, exercise, food and nutrition, sleep. Are these coming from God’s law of good or mortal mind’s laws that search for good in matter? When thought accepts Science, the falsity of theories and imperfect ideals are seen as such and fall away as it is filled with God-produced ideals.
5- Let God produce His own models
4- Have one God, One perfect Mind
3- Give up imperfect models and ideals
2- Relinquish theories
1- Accept Science
Let us ↑
Thought Correction: Let us accept divine Science, and so relinquish theories based on sense-testimony (Concept of 5), give up imperfect models and illusive ideals because we have one God, one Mind who produces and supplies excellent models.
Let us have one God, one Mind, one perfect model.
E. STEPS LEADING TO MIND’S HARMONIOUS GOVERNMENT
Man governed by Mind
“All that really exists is the divine Mind and its idea (Oneness), and in this Mind the entire being is found harmonious (image) and eternal (likeness). “The straight and narrow 1 way is 2 to see and 3 acknowledge this fact, 4 yield to this power, and 5 follow the leadings of truth.” (151:28) M
Applying the marginal heading “Man governed by Mind“ to this citation, we know that man is harmonious when governed by Mind. This is another directive to watch thought. To acknowledge is gratitude.
5- To follow leadings of truth (revelations)
4- To yield to Mind’s power (Omni-action)
3- To Acknowledge (that Mind and idea is all)
2– To see (that Mind and idea is all)
1- Is (the way, CESS)
The straight and narrow way governed by Mind ↑
Thought Correction: We are on the straight and narrow (the right path) because we see and acknowledge that our being (and everyone’s) is harmonious and eternal. We are yielding to the power of this fact and following its truth.
In II Tim 1:7, it is written, “ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” According to Strong’s p. 71, sound mind means (4995) discipline, self-control. This is exactly what turning these Steps into thought corrections gives us. They alert us to keep watching thought, to keep our mental instruments in tune and ready to play God’s harmonies. They help us maintain thought on a level that is ready to heal errors that come along. As thought is corrected, we are protected!
From the Compiler: The most important thing to remember dealing with the Five Steps and even the Concept of 5 is that it is engrafted into our Textbook for a few solid reasons:
- That it is pointing out the errors of the five senses.
- That it is to guide thought for correcting since we need to be constantly alert to the spiritual demand and replace the objects of sense for spiritual ideas.
- That the Five Steps are guidelines to apply as metaphysical treatments for particular and specific suggestions to be overcome.
- That all, which MBE wrote, was deliberate, painstakingly noted for specific reasons, and that there are no contradictions in S&H. If there seem to be dichotomies of thought, it is due to incorrectly identifying the kinds of sentence, man, image or likeness, or the spiritual meaning of a word or term.
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NEXT BLOG: FIVE STEPS – PART TWO
Five Steps out of mortality, error, sin, sickness, disease death