A few years ago I was fly fishing in the mountains of South America during a particularly windy week when there were dust storms and wind gusts reaching 50 to 60 mph. The strain of casting heavy lines into the wind one day caused my shoulder to give out with great pain and very limited movement during the rest of the trip.
When I returned home I found that even with rest, the shoulder grew no better and restricted my tennis, fishing and other activities. I attempted some physical rehabilitation but my range of movement was so limited that a physical trainer recommended that I consider an operation to correct what seemed to be a severe injury to my rotator cuff. I really was forced to either tackle the problem through prayer or seek a medical solution. I chose prayer.
Christian Science teaches that man is not a material body but the spiritual reflection of God, so in my real, spiritual being, I embody all the same perfect, painless and free movement that God creates and expresses. The CS textbook states: “Mind is the source of all movement, and there is no inertia to retard or check its perpetual and harmonious action.” (p 283:4). Since my concern was lack of normal movement in my shoulder, I realized that I needed to change my whole concept of movement from focusing on the interaction of physical parts, subject to injury or limitation, to a spiritual concept of movement, as the unrestricted and harmonious movement expressed by the divine Mind.
My daily prayer was to consistently see that any opposing thoughts, of pain or fear of limited movement were only false beliefs, acting themselves out in my human consciousness. My prayer was to have confidence that I could change these false beliefs, as effectively as I would be able to erase the incorrect answer on a test and substitute the correct one. The belief of limited movement was not part of my real spiritual identity, and hence it couldn’t have power over me.
The healing of the shoulder took place over a period of months. At first it was hard to hold to the correct view of movement, when it seemed that there was still considerable restriction. (One of the unintended but positive consequences was that in this interim period I taught myself to cast with my other hand, which has since proved to be an invaluable skill.) But after a few months, I noticed that my range of movement had markedly increased, and soon I was able to play tennis and fly-cast without limitation.
I am exceedingly grateful for this healing, not only for the physical change, but for the confidence and lack of fear that it has given me in facing the full range of issues that seem to confront one on a daily basis.