Has everything to be perfect? Your family life, your job, your wedding day, any day? If everything has to be just right, the stakes are high that the first step is not taken lightly. If everything needs to be perfect we hesitate to live with less weight, apply for a new job, press the "ship it" or "go" button, refrain from proposing an idea that is around for some time and resist the inspiration to look into something new.
Forward is the only way and we can start from what we have and we are now. It is enough. No need to living in fear that you will make mistakes by not understanding all the moves down the road (or draws on the chess board). Our world is filled with imperfect, and humility acknowledges where we stand. This is the way to pass through imperfection. Perfection is God's prerogative, perfection is spiritual - and it is for everyone. No one is more "perfect" than anybody else. Perfection is spiritual. It is the signature feature of the kingdom of heaven - the realm of the real, the dimension of Spirit.
From this spiritual, realistic perspective the Bible is a huge inspiration - it tells us about normal, imperfect people and imperfect settings. It talks about the arrival of Jesus in a modest manger, writes about followers and disciples of Jesus as people with flaws, doubts, tempers, questions, and courage. It describes upbringings in impossible surroundings, unexpected setbacks, betrayals and hopes, not to mention challenges confronting men and women of truly gigantic proportions. Imperfections and shortcomings everywhere.
Mary Baker Eddy, a spiritual reformer and author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures - a fabulous Bible commentary in its own right - has this advice for us:
"To do good to all because we love all, and to use in God's service
the one talent that we all have, is our only means of adding to that talent and the best way to silence a deep discontent with our shortcomings." (from Miscellany, p. 195)
Our shortcomings are similar to the ones of everyone else, don't you agree? So can we stop judging ourselves and start using what we have? We want motion, so the only way to move is --- to move. Trust more in God's loving support than your own ability to figure it all out. Sweep away all sense of exposing yourself to ridicule - take out of your efforts all sense of pressure. Do what you can, this will be enough. We can move forward with the simple desire to love - and see where it leads us. While Love's all-inclusive presence holds us close and guards our steps.
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!
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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