Where do you start in the present? How do you transform the present into something meaningful and real? If the present confronts you with the task to disentangle a complex problem, tidy up a chaotic studio, find the path from darkness to light, from mental confusion to spiritual peace? I find that Eleanor Roosevelt (thank you, Lynne Bundesen, for reminding me) and a historian whose work was important for my Ph.D. thesis, share a wonderful and relevant insight into life, amounting to direct advice. The historian describing his questions when he was writing the history of the Greek civilization shares this insight: "Because it is all connected, it doesn't really matter where you start. Start anywhere." (Jacob Burckhardt)
So take the first idea that comes to you - and put it into practice. Take one thing that is in your way and find its proper place. Keep going. Everything is essentially one - and waiting to figure out everything before you move forward or preparing for the ultimate masterplan before taking the next step or searching for the one spiritual quote that will answer all your questions is most often a waste of time. Truth is Truth, always, Life is Life - and whereever you get hold of it: You can catch Life by the tail of its jacket, and you have the jacket. Any spiritual idea represents the whole. Any pair of socks tucked away in its proper place is a gift to you when you need a new pair tomorrow.
We can start anywhere, and I am finding, that I am where I hoped to be quicker and with more joy when I start with modesty, doing what I can today, without an effort. I rarely have piles of unsolved issues sitting around - be they mental or physical - because my demands in the beginning of the solution are most often truly humble. I am easily pleased with a simple first step and willing to take it. No procrastination can stop us all from doing what is right in the present - being the best gift we give ourselves all the time.
A Christian Science hymn goes like this:
"All the way that we must go
We will take at Thy direction,
Where the floods of trouble flow
Find Thy perfect, calm reflection;
On the path that has no turning,
Patience, courage, meekness learning."
(by Edith Gaddis Brewer)
Spirituality is not the prerogative of the few that attend a church regularly. Spirituality is for everyone. As someone said: In every peach there is a stone. So likewise, we all have spiritual sense. And we can discover it as an asset. It is the most individual task how to cultivate spiritual sense best. It opens up a new world - many describe this as feeling safe and secure all the time - as having an inner compass around continually. With spiritual sense you are not alone anymore.
Christ Jesus taught us that there is something like "spiritual sense", he showed us how to use it, and we can learn from him. Like Mary Baker Eddy did. She shares in Miscellaneous Writings something that resonates with all of us, talking about "a true sense not unfamiliar":
"Two individuals, with all the goodness of generous natures, 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 uphill all the way, the ascent is easy and the summit can
be gained." (p. 347)
When it comes to training our spiritual sense, I have found inspiration from Lynne Bundesen's work. So lets meet her:
She is an author of books, articles, columns, a world-famous photographer, foremost a thinker, who lived and worked in the US, in Asia, and in Europe (currently she is sharing her time between Brighton, England, and Santa Fe, New Mexico). She has been learning from Biblical spirituality and Mary Baker Eddy's works all her years, and she has been dedicating her life to spirituality in a unique way. In five books she wrote about spiritual issues in such a compelling way that women and men from many faiths listened and listen. Her dedication to the Christian Science movement runs deep, although she has published almost exclusively outside Christian Science publication channels.
I feel she is kind of a Christian Science diplomat moving with ease between cultures and religious diversity. An example you can find on her website: Ten spiritual practices. A friend with whom I shared this list had already a healing by putting into practice #5. For #3 I pick every week the current Christian Science Bible lesson - this week on the fabulous topic "Mind." And I read with quiet attention two pages of Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy. Every day. No matter what. Here is Lynne's list of Ten spiritual practices:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word." (John 1:1) This beautiful, strong revelation of divine Truth from John quiets the troubled mind, all the time. This morning I wondered whether this Word, John writes about, could also be a question. Questions are powerful and they start sometimes something truly meaningful as much as stating facts. The Bible itself and the best Bible commentary I know, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, pose many questions that make us think.
Both books make a very strong case for God and man as being inextricably linked as Parent and child or as Cause and effect. God is the beginning of everything - and man is the effect of this beginning. A word which Mary Baker Eddy introduces to describe man is already hinted at in the Bible, and this word is "reflection". I love the double meaning of this term. A reflection is, of course, the likeness of whatever looks into a mirror. It is also a thought - you might say to someone: Here are some ideas, can you please reflect on them?
God is the intelligent Cause, the beginning and end, the Alpha and Omega of everything. God is the palpitating, active force of its own creation. Love is the supreme action, energy, and force that creates, outlines, quickens, and upholds. God is unopposed and unequalled power. God as Mind means that all intelligence, all cause and effect, the creator is only good, pure, holy, strong. God as Spirit establishes good as substance, the all-power and omni-action of Spirit as being supremely beneficial and benevolent. God as Soul is upholding its own infinite individuality and uniqueness, being the supreme consciousness of its own vast creation, and being the only, loving, strong great I Am. God, Principle, is the wise, supreme law-maker, in charge of its own vast system of laws, statutes, rules, commandments, precepts, statutes – and as such is the supreme equalizing force in the spiritual universe. God, Life, is the source of all being, entirely good in its vitality and energy, and God, Truth, is the only and supreme reality. So when God reflects on His/Her own ideas - what can that be? God is All, so all that God can reflect about is God's own grandeur, perfection, harmony, and strength.
So what if God is the question and man is the answer? Showing forth the beauty of creation as an answer to the most High?
Mary Baker Eddy writes:
"The great miracle, to human sense, is divine Love, and the grand necessity of existence is to gain the true idea of what constitutes the kingdom of heaven in man." (Science and Health, p. 560)
Psalm 111 reads in part:
"He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered."
So what would life look like if we humbly yielded to God's view of reality and let our lives shine as an answer to divine Love? We are made to remember what God is. We are made not just to have an answer to all this wonder - but to be one. Man is the answer.
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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