As many of you are aware, for the past number of months I have donated some time to reading and putting into a Word program some old Unity documents. Most of what I have worked with, heretofore, have been talks given by Charles Fillmore in Unity’s early days, about 100 years ago. I have chosen to quote from Charles for this article in Paula’s Corner and I hope you’ll enjoy my thoughts on some of his words. The following paragraph is from a talk he gave in 1912 at the Unity Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

“I think it is admitted by all who have looked into the subject that man is not living up to his highest—that the human race can do very much better in demonstrating health and perfection of body. This is the conclusion of all philosophers who have investigated the inner action of mind and body. Even the doctors tell us that our organisms are self-perpetuating, that there should be really no disintegration of functions of any kind because the machinery is here to renew every part. But there is deterioration. The body functions do break down, they grow old, and finally disintegrate. Then there must be something wrong.”

Most Unity Truth students are aware of the fact that Charles and his wife, Myrtle, were very interested in the complex relationship between how we think and our health status. He and Myrtle each had health conditions that troubled them. His was an early childhood hip injury that left one of his legs shorter than the other as he grew to manhood. This resulted in a lifelong dependence upon special shoes just so he could walk, and this, no doubt, caused chronic pain. Myrtle believed early on that she had tuberculosis (though this was never verified by a medical professional or by x-rays) and she wanted to feel better, more vibrant.

The paragraph above opened up a train of thought in my public health mind and it is this: The human race has done some things to live up to its highest in demonstrating health and perfection of body, but we have quite a way to go in some huge areas of our world, namely Africa and India, and other smaller, struggling countries. In America, we have come a long way in cleaning up our environment so that life is, in general, safer and more enjoyable. We are born into and live in an environment that supports health and less disease, especially contagious diseases and foodborne diseases. For this we can think our amazing public health system. We can also give a hat’s off to a newly emerging (in the early 1900’s) medical care system which did, and continues to do, great things to support good health of individuals and families. Having pretty much conquered devastating and contagious childhood diseases that killed and maimed so many and environmental filth that dominated the countryside in the early days of our country, we find that our health care system now grapples with how to effectively deal with chronic disease in the population, especially the elderly. This is, of course, a topic for another article.

Some philosophers continue to be interested in the effect that our thinking has on our health status, but such variables are almost impossible to prove scientifically. Had the Fillmore’s lived long enough, they would’ve bumped into this difficult situation. Fillmore, though basically an unschooled individual, was well-read for his time, and he basked in the glow of current scientific revelations of his time. He insisted that our job as students of practical Christianity was to know the Truth and to prove it. New Thought scholars believe that he meant, by those words, that we were to allow the Spirit of God to move in and through us and then live by the revelations and insights we would most certainly receive. I believe that Charles would’ve urged Unity to be involved in any reputable scientific studies that would be available to help prove his points.

What I really want to invite the readers to consider is that though the Western worlds have come a long way with health and wellness, along with environmental improvements that assist us in staying well, we have such a long way to go. There are those in high governmental offices who do not believe theories such as climate change and others have any effect on the health of humans on planet Earth. They appear to have little regard for keeping our planet, and consequently its citizens, in a state of optimum health. Perhaps they cannot see ahead, so they cannot make the connections between good health and progress for people of the world. To me, this is a setback for the hard work that has been done already to bring, at least the more fully developed nations, to the point where we do not have to till the ground daily to put meat and bread on the table.

And, yes, as a Unity Truth student of more than 4 decades, I firmly believe that we must work on our thinking abilities, as well as the ability to think clearly and critically combined with a certainty that we are all people of one planet, and until the least fortunate of us is brought up into a state of optimal well-being and wholeness we are all held back. I love the hoodie I bought recently with these words on the front: “What are we going to do with all this future?” It sure makes me think!