“Mind Over Matter”: Not What You Think It Means

Janis Hunt Johnson
8 min readMay 14, 2022
Daniel Mingook Kim — Unsplash

Listen to the silence.

I’ll admit it: Whenever a leader in a house of worship allows a stretch of time for silent prayer, more often than not I can barely concentrate. I start to pray about something but within seconds, I’m off thinking about chores, deadlines, dinner, TV, or a dozen other things.

What I really want to do is listen — to be really quiet, to hear what God — Infinite Good, Love, Truth, Spirit — is telling me. But instead, so often I just end up distracted. Or whining.

Why do we so easily get caught up in trivialities? Why is listening to the silence so difficult? What can we do to cultivate peace, serenity, and balance? I find that I need a lot of alone time to get myself centered. Some people might call this tapping into the mind-body-spirit connection. We meditate, do yoga, or some other form of exercise. Hiking in nature might be what works for you.

“Listen to the silence / Feel your heart’s alliance / Close your eyes / Breathe in the empty space / Welcome home to the sweet state of grace.”Johnny Elkins

Most people who believe in or at least observe the effectiveness of the mind-body-spirit connection often throw around the phrase “mind over matter” to refer to the influence the human mind can have upon the body to heal. Actually, it’s not as widely known as it should be that this phrase, first coined by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century, has a different meaning altogether.

Eddy’s phrase “Mind over matter” was not about human willpower overcoming adversity. She said that another word for God is Mind. With a capital M for Mind, it rather referred to God as the One Infinite Mind — completely precluding the very existence of matter!

A woman ahead of her time, Eddy held that because Christ Jesus knew this spiritual fact, he was able to heal others, and it’s how he taught his disciples to heal. Eddy’s mission was to reinstate what she called “primitive Christianity” (by the way, remember that Jesus was Jewish), and to teach others the science behind Jesus’ healing method.

The human mind was defined by Eddy as “mortal mind,” “material consciousness” or the “Adam dream,” and by the Apostle Paul as the “carnal mind,” “the flesh,” or “the…

Janis Hunt Johnson

Author, 5 Smooth Stones: Our Power to Heal Without Medicine through the Science of Prayer. Writer/Editor since 1983. From Chicago to L.A., now in Pacific NW.