There is only one world, and this world is good, powerful, strong. No dualism. Just one. Life is truly all, because God is all. And there is only one "we". And this "we" is in the middle of it - whereever: Under a tree, in the middle of a crowd, in an elevator, in school, at home, at the university, in the office. Can you put this love for God ahead of anything else and find Him/Her everywhere? And work out from God's point of view - being a force for good for others?
"A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!" writes the psalmist (Psalm 84), and The Message translates this passage and a little more thus: "One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin. All sunshine and sovereign is God, generous in gifts and glory. He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions. It’s smooth sailing all the way with God-of-the-Angel-Armies."
This week I found the deepest peace and my way out of discouragement and a sense of feeling overwhelmed with the empowering bible lesson on "Reality". In it, I found the encouraging words to "walk in God's truth" (see Psalm 86:11). This is what I committed myself to. Life in God's truth, and this truth alone. Be available to see God everywhere. Forgetting self. Be alert to thought. Spend the day in God's presence. Don't leave. Stay in God's house, spend your day upright as God's expression in His/Her presence.
This prayer transformed itself into deep inner peace and joy and the empowerment to let go, to put my own needs behind the needs of others --- and see them met as well. Possibilities to help unfolded, healings happened in the practice, constructive ideas presented themselves effortlessly, tasks weren't so heavy anymore, opinions evaporated and peace was restored. Joy, joy, joy!
I plan to spend another day with God, because truly:
"A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!" What an interesting, deeply enriching, productive life we all can lead - and are leading in the presence of Love. Can you say in the evening: What a good day this was, I spent it selflessly in the courts of the Lord. Where we all truly are, always. So why leave?
Everybody has favorite concepts we live with and elaborate over the years. Deepening, refining them, proving them and exploring them. Sometimes we realize only much later that this is so - and what this has meant and means for our sense of individuality. In a way it is vital to have a focus, because of the infinite aspects of infinite topics and the meaning of life as service and expression. True mastery stems from dedication, right? "...and is seen only in the details", as a friend of mine noted comparing amateurs and professionals. Coming from music studies and linking his comment to the stunning perfection of Bach's music in which every single note has its perfect and wonderful relationship to the whole, I agree.
In my case my favorite spiritual concept and topic for my human experience is that all is one. When I started a regular and deep Bible study as a student in middle school, I saw it everywhere. Aspects of this spiritual fact include a deep understanding in prayer that there is only one Life. This insight and what it means spiritually resulted in the permanent healing of migraine headaches of a family member. An application of the oneness of goodness overcame several situations in the workplace and notions of national stereotypes (I wrote about it here). Character transformation is probably the deepest effect of this daily focus. "God is not part, but the whole," writes Mary Baker Eddy in Miscellaneous Writings, p. 102, and being the whole means: God is All.
I had already for years prayed and worked practically daily to understanding the oneness of Life, until I realized that I was doing it. I had already given a talk on the topic "Man is one" at an Italian Youth conference on spirituality, written articles in the Christian Science periodicals and experienced several stunning healings on the way, yet never really connected the dots - it feels natural to live with this idea every day. What this tells me is that God is working with each one of us in an individual way, and that this unity is more felt than reflected upon. It is a practice, not a theory.
With humility and joy we can catch glimpses of oneness every day. Behind every effort for healing, peacemaking, reconciling, overcoming divisions and fractions, is the powerful spiritual law of oneness. This is the basis why these efforts are successful - and why they started in the first place. Everything is already spiritually whole and complete, and striving to understand this fundamental truth about the nature of Life is really not the starting point but the result of this supreme law in operation.
In a current article in the Christian Science Journal Patricia Tupper Hyatt touches on this subject in a deeply inspiring way. She adds, I find, another fundamental aspect to the understanding of the spiritual law of oneness. One might think that oneness means something like a puzzle, with each piece needed for the wholeness of the image, but that is not all to it. There is more. She writes: "God’s supremacy does not have limited or hit-or-miss expression in single individuals. Each one of us represents the whole of God’s being in an individual way. And when we know a spiritual truth, we know that it is true for all of God’s creation and that it has all the authority of God behind it. While God does need all of us to express Him fully, we each reflect His infinite power." Her article elaborates this idea beautifully and shares a powerful healing. You can find the full article here.
The whole is expressed not just partially, but fully in each on of us. When someone at a meeting commented recently how only a few people were present, it came to me to propose this: "Well yes, but lets explore not the fullness in the room, but the fullness in man. Each one of us is a little universe." And we did. And experienced no lack, but completeness that evening. Have a whole day!
One healing way to deal with an email by a disappointed colleague, a note by an offended church friend or an unjust lamentation by a family member - or any other expression of frustration - is a simple phrase, I find. This simple phrase can open the door to reconciliation, take the flames out of a heated debate and help the individual to leave the scene without losing his or her face. This phrase is: "This doesn't sound like you."
What an open mental space you create. I heard this phrase some years ago and have never forgotten it. It is a possibility for transformation for everyone involved. This little phrase helps everybody involved to defend his/her good nature, the innate qualities and the purity of being.
In the book "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoevsky, the character Aljosha represents something, which my wonderful husband Klaus chose as a model early in his teens. Whenever an insult was directed towards Aljosha, he wouldn't notice the intention to harm, unable to see others in a negative way. Aljosha, the saint, didn't see evil in anyone, anytime.
One step towards the Aljosha way is the practical step to pretend that you didn't notice it, an elegant way of self-restraint and discipline which keeps the standard of cooperation in any team. Backing up this step is prayerful listening and the willingness to be part of the solution as a peacemaker. And soon enough the heart joins in and is willing to yield to divine Love's quiet nudge.
The spiritual basis for this constructive and healing behavior in teams, families, departments, and church communities is the understanding that there is only one Mind. And a commitment to putting this understanding into action. There is a reason for siding with the good in everybody, always. This reason is the purity and innocence of man as God's image and likeness. The article "Illustrating the ethics of divine Love" by Barbara Vining illustrates this is in a great way. It is one of the articles I cherish very much. I highly recommend it. Take a look and see whether it serves as the same gold mine for you as for me.
"This doesn't sound like you." In order to become really good at being a peacemaker we might endeavor to listen to the good "sound" of everyone. Because saying or writing "this doesn't sound like you" means also, that everyone has a wonderful original "sound". Like we do too.
All this is century-old wisdom - wisdom of the ages. Paul writes in his letter to the Thessalonians about living the good life by commitment to divine Life. By striving to follow the example of Jesus Christ. In the Message, a fabulous poetic rendering of the New Testament, part of Paul's counsel sound like this:
"Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out." (I. Thessalonians 5: 15)
So whatever happens, there is a way to defend the dignity and innocence of others - and ourselves - by actively siding with divine Love's perspective of man. Sometimes this results in the simple phrase: "This doesn't sound like you." And in the best of worlds this phrase comes quickly to mind when a judgmental thought is knocking at our mental door for acceptance. And we hear ourselves say: "This doesn't sound like me."
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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