By Ronald L. Musselman, CS
I was reviewing some powerful statements by Mary Baker Eddy recently and came across the following: “To know there is but one God, one Cause, one effect, one Mind heals instantly. Have but One God and your reflection of Him does the healing.” (1) The key operative here is that reflection is used as an action: “reflection ...does..” I had normally viewed spiritual reflection as a somewhat passive event - we just sit still and serve as a mirror, reflecting all aspects of God, of Love, of Truth.
Then I began to draw upon my background as a physical chemist. My specialty is polarized specular (mirror-like) reflectance spectroscopy. Normally, the process of spectroscopy is one of passing light through a dilute solution of a molecule to see which colors, or wavelengths, are absorbed and thus what electronic transitions are being activated. Some transitions are stronger than others; some are “allowed” due to symmetries and others “forbidden” due to the same symmetry considerations, and thus some wavelengths are absorbed more strongly than others.
It turns out that if a molecule absorbs light of a certain wavelength strongly, it also reflects light strongly, that is, it re-emits that same wavelength of light strongly. Oriented highly-absorbing molecules in a crystal thus give that crystal a colored, shiny surface. Think of a mirror. The metal film on the back of a glass mirror absorbs nearly all the light impinging upon it and actually re-emits that light. The light headed back toward its source is seen as a reflection. Thus, with most mirrors, over 95% of visible light is reflected. This is specular reflectance.
Now back to spiritual reflectance. Using the exact principles as with specular reflectance, if a quality of Love comes our way, only if we absorb, or take in, that quality can we re-emit, or reflect that quality for others to see. Only if we are “in tune” with a quality can we take it in and re-express it. If we aren’t in tune with it, it passes right through us leaving us unchanged. We must be on the right wavelength of, or in tune with, a quality. If not, the light or quality goes right through us, unused.
So, reflection isn’t a passive phenomenon; it’s an active process and requires us to be in tune with the abundance of qualities coming to us. The more in tune we are with various qualities, the more broadly we can reflect God. The metal in a mirror is a special case: it absorbs all visible wavelengths and thus re-emits or reflects them, giving a complete image in full color. A metal that reflects only limited colors will give a limited image of the original.
Thus it is with us: the more in tune we are with all of God’s qualities, the more accurate, the more complete, a picture we can present. The more completely we see ourselves as receptive to good, truthfulness and kindness, the more we are able to reflect these qualities. We don’t do this by just sitting. We must actively take in the qualities, process them, really understand them, and then we can re-emit them in order to enlighten others.
1. MBE, "MBE, Christian Healer Amplified Ed.", p 187.