Archive for the ‘Deborah Packer’ Category

Beating the Winter Blues   Leave a comment

DSCN0134Here in Canberra winter is now upon us. The yellow and gold trees have given way to bare branches and we have already had our first frosty mornings.

Many of us who have lived in Canberra for a while have come to love this climate and its four distinct seasons. With each there are certain expectations: the regenerating bloom of the spring heralded by the brilliance of the wattle; the long dry heat of the summer and trips to the coast; the vivid colours of the autumn and the swirling brown leaves.

The crispness of winter, the clear blue skies and trips to the snow are often accompanied by calls to be wary of colds and flu. TV commercials remind us of the available remedies and we are sometimes tempted to wonder whether we will ‘go down’ with something this year, or will we be lucky?

Nowadays there is a strong body of evidence that attests to the influence of one’s thought on health. For over 100 years now we have been aware of the placebo effect: the apparent strong positive effect of sugar pills and non-medicated treatments on patients who believed them to be remedial agents. These experiments alone must ask us to question the nature of the effect of thought on the body. To question how the quality of our consciousness and our belief systems can affect our wellbeing? There is also growing evidence to suggest that spirituality, our natural attraction to the good and the true, has a positive impact on physical resilience and recuperation.

About 150 years ago Mary Baker Eddy investigated this link between spirituality and health. Her experiments and study culminated in her textbook: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In it she states (p208): Mind, not matter, is causation. A material body only expresses a material and mortal mind. … You embrace your body in your thought, and you should delineate upon it thoughts of health, not of sickness.

New SH (2)She goes on to say (p392): The physical affirmation of disease should always be met with the mental negation. Whatever benefit is produced on the body, must be expressed mentally, and thought should be held fast to this ideal. If you believe in inflamed and weak nerves, you are liable to an attack from that source. … If you decide that climate or atmosphere is unhealthy, it will be so to you. Your decisions will master you, whichever direction they take.

Reverse the case. Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously. When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears. Exclude from mortal mind the offending errors; then the body cannot suffer from them. The issues of pain or pleasure must come through mind, and like a watchman forsaking his post, we admit the intruding belief, forgetting that through divine help we can forbid this entrance.

Let’s determine this winter to hold thought to the higher qualities of Truth and Love, of wholeness and harmony and turn away from contemplation of disease, and so build our spiritual immunity.

This article was contributed by Deborah Packer of Canberra.

To purchase a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy click here.

Prayer for the Neighbour’s Dogs Brings a Harmonious Solution   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_6562165About three years ago a young mum moved into the house next door to us. She had a couple of children, a cat and a dog. Soon her friend moved in too and he brought with him a tiny pup. These were both outside dogs but they had provided no shelter for them. They lived largely without human interaction in the bare backyard and it was the middle of a fierce and wet Canberra winter. In the mornings this tiny short-haired puppy could be seen sleeping curled and shivering in the long frosty grass. During the blustery winter days he cried and cried. When it rained he tried to stand under the larger dog for shelter and together they looked soaked and miserable.

I found this very difficult to witness day after day and I became incensed with indignation.

I succumbed to the error of believing that evil existed – in the form of my neighbours and that there were places where Love – another name for God – did not exist. If I believed that the neighbours were cruel and unloving then I was believing that God wasn’t all. I had to choose which idea I believed.

But, I didn’t want to let go of that indignation – I found it very difficult. But Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, tells us in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good (p393).

It was Spirit, God, who gave me the strength to resist this faulty thinking. I knew that there was no place where God was not. The Bible tells us that man is made in the image and likeness of God … of Love. The real man could not be unloving. So I held to this truth about man and acknowledged God’s love for all His creation. This dissolved the indignation. Within a day of this turn around in thinking the dogs were being invited inside and for the rest of the winter they were given shelter and companionship.

I have learned never to underestimate the power of practical applied scientific prayer!

This post was submitted by Deborah Packer of Canberra, Australia.

Monty – A Demonstration of Ageless Joy   Leave a comment

It’s been a year now since Monty left us.  We guessed he was about four when he came to us.  He had been trained as a bomb squad dog but his boundless energy and unstoppable joy for life rendered him unsuitable for such a delicate and serious career and he was adopted out.  His new owners also found him a handful and he moved to a temporary home and then to another longer stay, but these owners too were unable to meet his needs.

When he came to our attention we were looking for a family dog and without even meeting him we somehow knew that he was the right dog for us. He proved to be perfect!  He revelled in our long walks through the bush, the runs up our local Mt Taylor and just being one of the boys with our son and his friends.

When our son grew up and left home Monty prompted me from my somewhat sedentary life style and made sure that I had regular long walks.  No matter what the weather he was always keen to be out. He brought joy to any activity.  He adored us; he would put himself between me and any perceived danger.  I have no doubt that he would lay down his life for any one of us.  He fiercely protected our home and the variety of cats and chooks and guinea pigs that he saw come and go in our family.

Once a year he had a trip to the vet.  When we had had him for about seven years the vet warned us that Monty may not be back next year.  He cautioned that dogs of his type were not long lived and that Monty had ‘done well’.  The following year we returned and gently the vet suggested that we prepare for Monty not being with us much longer.  I was noticing that our walks were getting slower and shorter and most days now he would sleep a deep sleep much of the day.  When he was awake he was happy and well, but he slept most of the time.  It occurred to me that the vet was right and that he may just slide away.

This idea did not sit well with me and I prayed about it.  Not a prayer asking God to make it right, but a prayer that seeks a better understanding of the truth of the situation; a prayer that confirms the good and denies the wrong.  I could accept that animals come and go in our lives but I could not accept that life was a downhill slide into oblivion.  The qualities we loved about Monty: love, affection, devotion, loyalty, energy, exuberance, joy, protection, selflessness, constancy – these were spiritual qualities and as such they were immortal.  They could not be contained or curtailed by a material body.  They were independent of matter.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (along with the Bible) is my textbook for life and in it the author, Mary Baker Eddy, states (p246):

“Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise.  Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand.  Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness.

I thought on these ideas for a few weeks applying them to Monty.  Gradually over this time he became more wakeful and his old energy levels returned.  We were back doing our brisk five kilometer walks and still he had energy.  In fact one day my husband asked if I had been praying for Monty.  ‘If so’, he said, ‘Could you stop now – he has more energy than I can cope with.’

Monty stayed with us for nearly five more years.  His joy for life remained till the end.  Even on his last morning he watched me eagerly to see whether I was putting on my walking shoes in case there was the chance of a walk.

I learned many lessons about life from living with Monty but most importantly I learned that we can say NO to suggestions of age.

On God and Government   3 comments

DSCN1018In this technological world there is much discussion about whether there actually is a god, and if there is, is He – or She – of any relevance to us today?  To me this kind of discussion indicates not intellectual rigour, but simply a misapprehension of the nature of God.   God is not remote nor is God confined to a particular denomination.   God is Love.   And Love is universal; accessible to all, even atheists!   Every time we witness an act of love – of affection, of kindness, of generosity, of forgiveness, of loyalty, of compassion … a warm smile, we are witnessing God in action.   When we express these qualities we are ourselves expressing God.   Nothing can be nearer than Love expressed.

Christian Science also teaches me that another synonym for God is Principle.   Principle is expressed in honesty, in high standards of speech and action, in law abiding behaviour, in honour, in steadfastness to truth.   Again when we see these qualities expressed in ourselves and others we are seeing God in action.

Current practice may seek to remove religion from politics, but we would argue that it is impossible to separate God from government.   For what use would a government be if it did not love its community?  What use would a government be that did not act according to the highest standards of principle?

It is our prayer that we as a community might witness more of the qualities of God – Love, Principle, Truth, intelligence – expressed by those chosen to represent us in government.  Then regardless of sect or creed or denomination we are all truly under God’s government.

This blog item was originally given as a brief speech, by Deborah Packer, First Reader (2010-2013) of the Christian Science Church in Canberra as part of the Interfaith service held to mark the beginning of the ACT Legislative Assembly’s sitting year.

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