In the Bible there is a story about a stubborn donkey which eventually turns out to be a very wise donkey with a stubborn horseman on its back. Stick with me - this will be increasingly interesting, promise!
The donkey can speak and is asking Balaam, who was riding her, why she is being beaten. Balaam was indeed beating her like mad, because he wanted to have his way. He perceived the donkey as stubborn, since she had refused three times to go forward. But actually in the story, the donkey sees something Balaam doesn’t see: an angel of God, blocking the way in order to prevent the man from making a huge mistake. And the donkey starts to speak to Balaam. As soon as the eyes of the man are opened to see the angel, he perceives the spiritual dimension he had missed before, he repents, listens to the divine message, and makes real progress. And the donkey is honored for her perception of good. (See the book of Numbers, Chapter 22).
It occured to me that we are often like Balaam, and that we can learn how to better with Balaam. You could say that the stubborn resistance of things not going according to plan is like a donkey not moving according to plan. And instead of attempting to see the blessing in store for us we resist and beat the donkey. Beating a donkey is like insisting on complaining and grumbling and insisting on our right of way. So what is really stubborn is our ego:
Mary Baker Eddy writes:
„The nature of the individual, more stubborn than the circumstance, will always be found arguing for itself, — its habits, tastes, and indulgences. This material nature strives to tip the beam against the spiritual nature; for the flesh strives against Spirit, — against whatever or whoever opposes evil, — and weighs mightily in the scale against man's high destiny.“ (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 119)
And here is the practical advice from her, helping us to move forward with joy and confidence: „The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares.“ (Science and Health, p. 574)
This sounds like Balaam’s experience, right? He discovers that his ego fights God’s tender guidance – and he discovers that God helps us to overcome it. By sending an angel our way. The very circumstance he resists carries actually an angel message. The circumstance which seems like a stubborn donkey to us can be an undiscerning boss, an uncooperative team worker (or child or spouse), a wait loop, a broken glass on the kitchen floor, a missed plane. A stubborn donkey can be anything that interrupts the normal flow of our day. Whatever circumstance it is – there is an angel waiting to be seen by us.
So can we stop to beat the donkey and see the angel?
St. Paul thought so. He writes:
„Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.“ (Phil. 2: 14, 15)
So lets watch out for the angel message as we honor divine Love's care at every step - and embrace with confidence spiritual authority today.
How about stopping to beat a donkey – and hug a donkey in stead?
Hug a donkey today!
Long time exposure is such a great concept and metaphor for perception. You see in this photograph order, beauty, balance, right? It is a long time exposure, released recently by the European Southern Observatory located in the Atacama Desert in Chile. When the attention span is long enough, the instruments are in place and used to perfection - a different world, an enormous world opens. What a difference between a glance and long-term observation.
God is all about long- term, on every perceivable level. "Long time exposure" of good --- in our human experience we are enabled at times to perceive something of this "long time exposure of good" the latest at a funeral. When someone we have worked with or known for a long time, fades away from our view, most often the qualities of the individual are more clearly seen and honored. Sometimes, as someone told me recently, only then. And then we understand why it was hard to get along when this individual was around: Personality gets in the way of spiritual identity as electric light will make long time exposure impossible in any observatory. The observing factor must be in the background, almost non-existent, to perceive infinity out there. Likewise human personality is such a distracting factor from the eternal glow of individuality in each single one of us. Each single individual, each single star. Long time exposure. It is unselfed love which enables long time exposure of the Mind.
In this week's Christian Science Bible lesson - for me the inspiration and uplift and fountain of wisdom, every week - is this pertinent observation by Mary Baker Eddy, the astronomer of the Mind for the modern age:
"As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible." (Science and Health, p. 264)
There is no end to discovery, as more "objects (...) will become visible." For some little inspiration, take a deep breath and a look at this stunning archive of the European Southern Observatory. And a look at your fellow man, a real look with the aim to see something good you haven't noticed before - how much good will become visible today?
In a post I have never forgotten, Seth Godin wrote that we rarely need more time in order to make a decision - but the time we often need is to decide whether we choose to decide. Make decisions with more ease, by accepting that not the decision, but our resistance in making it, is our real obstacle. It is all about fear, really.
A ten meter tower is probably a very good example for it. A short film portrays without much comment people who never did a ten meter jump in their lives. The camera portrays their struggles, their coping with fear, and that is just as we all are: The family of man, dealing often with similar worries, challenges - and as a family of man we fortify and learn from each other. So much compassion, sympathy, and respect goes out from us when we watch it. Here is the video.
We are linked to our siblings on the ten meter tower more often than we might think. Questioning, deciding to do it, now, and then, oh no, shrinking, looking again at the edge, looking in another direction, listening to others or refraining from doing so. Start fresh, or rather not? Accept that we are made beautifully and very well from a supreme intelligence that is Love? For a good decision we need something - and this is trust. An inner jump, you might say. And where does it come from?
For me Mary Baker Eddy has encapsulated beautifully what this can be about and how a decision can be made with confidence:
"Two individuals, with all the goodness of generous na‐
tures, advise me. One says, Go this way; the other
says, Take the opposite direction! Between the two I
stand still; or, accepting the premonition of one of them,
I follow his counsel, take a few steps, then halt. A true
sense not unfamiliar has been awakened. I see the way
now. The guardians of His presence go before me. I
enter the path. It may be smooth, or it may be rugged;
but it is always straight and narrow; and if it be up‐
hill all the way, the ascent is easy and the summit can
be gained." (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 347)
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and as a writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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