Nothing is more effective in our experience than to come up with a healthy and constructive way of how we approach life's tasks. It is important to consider how we start and end a project, a task like teaching a class or cooking a meal, how we start and end a day. What is it all about? What is the frame-work? What is the method? What are the ingredients to work with? I thought about this recently, when I listened to reports from fellow-students in a French class I am taking. One of the conversation topics was how we start our day. I was interested to learn that most people either get up as late as they can, have breakfast and leave for work or immediately turn to their iPhone or Instagram account or TV, answer emails and then continue with their day.
I bowed mentally with gratitude to the spiritual teaching of the Bible as I learned it with the help of Christian Science, to learn to put God, good, first, and to value our own being as worthy, important, and worth of attention. Where is the time you take for Truth, God? When is the time to think deep, let thoughts flow and thank Truth, God, for what it is, the Cause of our existence? This may sound as a spiritual routine, but it shouldn't sound more religious than it actually is. I know that most people living the larger Life will say, that this practice is the best they can do for themselves, and there is nothing routine about it. Often it means to get up earlier, to have moments just for quiet communion with God and quiet communion with your spiritual being. Spending time with reality.
I often use in the Christian Science Practice Mary Baker Eddy's definitions of "morning" and "evening" from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. There is a glossary of Biblical terms in its back, which I use a lot, and those terms are defined there. (on pages 586 and 591). You can find part of the definitions in the photos "harnessing" this blog post, little artworks I made.
And harnessing is the term. Your day is framed by a start and an end, and the morning is different from the evening. It is all good, but as in music, there is sound and there is silence, and all good music displays as much mastery of sound as it does of silence. A new day is a fresh start, yesterday is no longer here, today is the day. The light of Truth is revealing itself to us, and what does it say? Progress is what the morning and the unfolding day is about, not the same old story, not the same pain you felt yesterday, not regret, doubt, resentment, or fear. Progress is unfoldment of good, and since God is Spirit, Life is forever unfolding Spirit, the only substance there is.
It is equally important to settle in for peace and rest. Built up yourself spiritually by allowing topics and themes to rest and to adjourn. Let the diversity and complexity of the experiences of the day be put aside and prepare for peace and rest. Whatever was said or experienced, whatever happened to you - the evening is the time to move back into the realm of harmony and recharge your battery by mentally putting it out of your responsibility and into Life's hands. Less story-telling of other lives (be it through binge watching of series or photos of other people's vacations), less electronic activity, most importantly less regret, doubt, resentment, or fear. Even if it seems impossible to let go of them completely, you can put them aside, put them on a mental shelf and prepare for something else. Make room for peace and rest and prepare for an active night in the healing and restful realm of good, the dimension of the divine, the presence of Love. Both wholesome and refreshing states of being are divine and inclusive. Your own peace is only yours when it includes everybody and everyone. We rest in the whole of goodness and feel its beneficial effect. And a good night's sleep settles all questions, as human thinking comes to a halt and our spiritual being is all there is.
Here is the possibility to live the good life, the meaningful life, in respect for the dignity and worth of Life, God. You are not one a trillion beings, insignificant and part of the masses. You are worthy and seen by God. Today the words we use are different, but the basic concept is eternal. Life is divine, every life has its own dignity, granted by divine Love. Harnessing your day is realising what the Psalmist sang about and promised centuries ago:
...the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song will be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42: 8
My husband and I love cartoons - The Far Side by Gary Larson, French cartoons, German cartoons, cartoons of the New Yorker, the cartoons by André Franquin entitled "Gaston". This cartoon is one of our collection. "Doesn't matter" is being discovered. And when I see it, I see in it a century of Christian Science discovery of the nothingness of matter, a century of theoretical physics condensed into a classroom moment, quantum physics, the theory of relativity, all there, while we still sit in a classroom, and despite all these mind blowing discoveries continue to wonder what this is all about. I giggle, when I see this --- and I learn, too.
Christ Jesus revealed the mental nature of all things to mankind, with so much love and patience with everybody. His life and work showed that everything we encounter is a mental image - he showed this in healing the sick, in stilling a storm, in feeding thousands with very little, in confronting creeds and social injustices, in overcoming hate and death. You could say that his entire portfolio of activities covered every possible aspect of the human condition like a scientist would do, one proof after the other, translating life back into the mental realm. That is the reason why prayer is powerful and why it is empowered by Love. Only Love is powerful enough to question the human ego and moved forward with grace. Man is not matter. Matter cannot limit man, says Love.
It is a life-long, wonderful project to grow out of the myriad limitations and discover the Allness and universal presence of divine law, which operates as unconditionally, reliably and impersonally as gravity. And aside from the life-long dedication to this spiritual path, anyone has access to Spirit right now. Often it takes only one moment of quiet attention to divine Principle to realize its healing power.
I was in my office, retrieving a file for an article I was writing. When the metal mechanism was set in motion to close the heavy filing cabinet drawer, I realized I needed another file, too, and quickly reached into the drawer to keep it from closing. But it was too late—the mechanism retreated without mercy and my finger got caught in the metal drawer. With my other hand I opened the drawer and freed the finger. The pain was terrible, the sight disturbing.
Happily, after a few seconds all my prayer and study took over and became a rich resource upon which I could draw. The Christ is always present, without my having to recall anything or make an effort to summon it. Spiritual strength was flooding my consciousness; I was not alone. And the thought came to me clearly: “Change the evidence. Here is one option: pain, a severely hurt finger, time in which to work out a healing. Here is the other option: perfect God, perfect man, right now (see Science and Health, p. 259). Choose!”
The Christ enabled me to make this choice, and the choice was easy. It was a holy moment—I was filled with the knowledge that we can indeed change false evidence, with which mortal thought tries to convince itself of its own imprisonment. It was a moment of pure grace and spiritual freedom. I tangibly felt the harmony, friendliness, and perfection of infinite being. The finger was fine that very moment, and after continuing to work for a few more hours, I didn’t even remember which hand had received a healing. You can read the full report here.
This experience is a tiny token of something big, powerful and real. It takes honest willingness to look at our experience consistently from the side of Spirit, God - something which the human ego consistently resists. Every day we have a fresh start. We do not need to believe everything we see. "Doesn't matter", I propose, is a humorous and modern way of rewording something, which already the Psalmist wrote: "Be still and know that I am God (...), I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46: 10) There is so much grace and space around, we can move freely in God's world.
Obedience is so underestimated. As if it would come ever out of style. Take away the aspect of "personal domination" and relink the word with "wisdom" and "time-tested methods". The word "obedience" sounds old-fashioned and out-dated, I know. Yet obedience is everything. This applies to learning any skill and to mastering any art - learning to play the trumpet, to fly a plane, to speak Mandarin, to become a lawyer, electrician, potter, author, cook. You follow the rules as closely as you can and you observe and copy what you see from your teacher, professor, gaffer, or foreman. In order to come up with once own perspective of an art, wisdom teaches that one must first grow into mastering it yourself to a certain degree - and there is no way to come up with good reasons for breaking a rule before you have learned to keep them first, especially when you are under pressure. That is the test.
Tomorrow I will bake a "Tarte aux Pommes" for our family. It is a French recipe and it involves following the rules and using my tools. I do not expect ever to be such a good baker nor do I feel the need to improve the recipe for tarte aux pommes - it is wonderful to recreate in one's own kitchen what others have already established and tested over time, and again and again in their own kitchens. I follow the rules and expect a glorious result.
There is truly not much difference when it comes to the rules of Life. Following the rules and using your tools keeps you on the progressive path and safely on the route to inner peace and meaningful living. I continue to look for rules in spiritual texts, I take note and they empower me to simplify my prayer life and daily experience.
Most often, one of the rules answers one of those questions: What must be done? What is the next step? Is forgiveness always important?
The rules I collect come from the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy's writings, accompanying the Bible. You may start your own collection, and in order to do so, you will spend more time with study and prayer. A helpful tool is "Concord Express" on the JSH-Online Website, and if you want to see the whole picture, get the full concordance to the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy's Writings called "Concord", here.
Rules from the Science of Life
Consult thy every-day life.
To impersonalize scientifically the material sense of existence
– rather than cling to personality – is the lesson of today.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.
Encourage those who are timid.
Take tender care of those who are weak.
Be patient with everyone.
Always be joyful.
Never stop praying.
Be thankful in all circumstances.
Test everything and hold on to what is good.
Casting out evil and fear enables truth to outweigh error. The only course is to take antagonistic grounds against all that is opposed to
the health, holiness, and harmony of man, God's image.
Leave the distinctions of individual character (...) to the Father.
...let us add one more privilege – namely silence, whenever it can
Change the evidence.
Be no afraid.
At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good.
(Christ Jesus’ rule in Matthew 6:33. KJV; Paul’s rules in I Thess. 5: 14-21. NLT; Mary Baker Eddy’s rules in 1902, p. 25, Mis., p. 310; Science and Health, p. 392, 571, 297, 411; No&Yes p. 8)
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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