Falling Apples and Ideas by Susan Macfarlane

Apples and Ideas

Apples and Ideas

Has a falling apple ever hit you on the head?  Figuratively I mean. If so you are in good company. In 1666 Sir Isaac Newton, distinguished physicist and mathematician, was sitting in his mother’s garden in Lincolnshire, England, as the story goes, when an apple fell on his head revealing to him laws of gravitation that not only govern falling apples, but also such distant objects as the moon and its orbit.

200 years later a fictitious falling apple hit Mary Baker Eddy, a 19th Century author and spiritual thinker, when she suffered from a life-threatening fall on the ice. While at death’s door she read in the Bible one of Jesus’ healings. She caught a glimpse of what the Master must have understood about man’s indestructible, God given nature. This spiritual law of only good, understood, had the effect of nullifying the material law that seems to claim that a body must suffer when it takes a hard fall. With this new, higher perspective she rose up out of bed completely well.

I think we all have falling apple experiences when we change a limited way of thinking to a more expanding understanding. Some new thoughts may be small and some may be golden and delicious.

An important falling apple for me took place over 30 years ago. I was serving as president of a Medical Foundation Board whose purpose was to honor doctors whose medical research had important clinical applications. Not being from the medical community, I served on the Board because of my family’s business. In the mid 1980s the Foundation honored an outstanding biological psychiatrist, Dr. Seymour S. Kety. At the award dinner, Dr. Kety gave a scholarly presentation, complete with slides, showing lesions in the brain that were deemed responsible for schizophrenia and other abnormal behaviors. His theory was that matter, or biology, is the cause of mental problems.

When the apple hit – me not Seymour – my fledgling study of Christian Science made it clear to me that this theory was opposite to what I was now learning. Mental problems may look like brain lesions, but lesions are not the cause of mental illness. In his book Toxic Psychiatry, Peter Breggin, M.D. bears this out,  stating, “there is no evidence that any of the common psychological or psychiatric disorders have a genetic or biological component” (St. Martin’s Press, 1991, p. 291). Drugs may control dysfunctional behavior but true healing comes from a spiritual view point which starts with God. You might even say that an apple needs to fall on the patient.

The core of this situation was that I resigned from the Board. Later I had the opportunity to pray for a patient with emotional problems. She had been treated by a physician and given medication. She wanted to rely on spiritual means, but her husband insisted that she take the drugs. He would stand over her until she swallowed them. However, she  and I continued to pray. She found her peace of mind and complete healing by recognizing that an all loving God controlled her and not her husband.

Brain research is a hot topic now. Just this month President Obama proposed $110  million to promote studies to better understand the brain. Over 100 years ago Eddy  wrote, “Belief in a material basis, from which may be deduced all rationality, is slowly yielding to the idea of a metaphysical basis, looking away from matter to Mind (God) as the cause of every effect.”  Physics is now recognizing that we live in a mental universe. This mental orchard is filled with spiritual ideas just waiting to be discovered.

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Susan Macfarlane likes learning about and sharing information regarding Christian Science, spirituality, health and religion.  She is a Christian Science practitioner in Baltimore, MD. She and her husband are opera fans. They share a house with their son and three granddaughters.