About four weeks ago my husband passed on. He was the love of my life, my best friend for decades, my team partner and colleague since I can think, the father of our children, a trustworthy friend, a remarkable practitioner and teacher of Christian Science. So you can imagine my or my family's feelings - what this means to us and what inner work is involved to see the whole picture, to rebuild ourselves from the inside out. Without Love and Her eternal embrace, we wouldn’t feel the peace and gratitude, we feel. Love alone is Life.
Although there is so much good and spiritual power evident and although we all felt and feel the victory and progressive step this involves for himself, as well as the spiritual uplift with which divine Love is holding not only him but also us in her unique way, he is missed. There is a rhythm in Life, and this rhythm is healing, it is kind and it is right, and this rhythm leads me gently forward. There is difference between healing grief and learning to move forward in a new way, and I am experiencing progress under Love's divine care. We are giving ourselves the four seasons in their fullness to not only know that Life is continuous, transformative, grand, but to feel it without the blink of an eye and feel the normalcy of Life without my husband. Kindness with ourselves is the divine way to healing, as it is in the Christian Science practice, and this is true also for our family.
One particularly challenging day a friend, who with much spiritual power supported all of us, had written me a simple text: "Creation is intact, just feel it. Only that."
Yes, I thought, through the veil of tears, I accept that, I feel it and I know that this is true. I really do. I spent the entire day feeling myself into the intactness of creation, into the divine energies of Spirit, Mary Baker Eddy speaks about, and understanding deeper than ever before the absolute power of Life to hold Her entire creation complete and intact without losing one single idea, not even the tiniest one, not to talk about my dear Klaus. The very next morning I awoke with this inspiring message directly from divine Love, it felt: "Creation, you know, has not been indented, not in the least.” I realized that Mind is thinking His creation by perceiving ideas and manifesting them. After all it is His world, we live in --- His world, we are, the world of infinite ideas. And this world is intact and has not suffered a loss.
I took out the Bible and did something I haven't done in a long time: I read the entire record of creation in one reading. I felt the power of the intactness of creation. Mind cannot stop creating and envisioning new and ever more glorious ways of showing forth its unending resources. Mind cannot stop remembering, Mind is the memory, the Cause and the beginning of everything. Because Mind never forgets, we are immortal - everything Mind thinks or creates is here forever. Right where we are.
So what followed the same day was the impulse to step into this divine, intact world, and the inspiration told me to start swimming with the whales, in a figurative way. I truly love and admire forever, like many of you, the depth of the ocean, the mighty blue, the majesty of the seas. So the sea is giving me a vivid example of the vastness of creation. While you read this, an incredible wonder of activity is going on out there - blue whales and sea turtles and sea lions and dolphins and clown fishes and crabs and lobsters and flying fishes and halibuts and humpback whales and krill and manatees and octopuses and oysters and plankton and sea cucumbers, and sea otters and a million other elements inhabit this mysterious, glorious kingdom of its own, like nations in their own right, expressing the richness and splendid grandeur of divine creativity. Before my inner eye this world unfolded a mighty image of creation, forever developing, expanding, progressing - alive. Such fullness, such richness, such goodness, such diversity – all in one.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being. The Scripture reads: "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being."
It is pretty obvious to me that in order to truly meet anyone, we must trust Mind to manifest it – we truly meet when we recognize each other as Mind sees us, and this communion is eternal. The whole picture shows us where and how we are. Human reasoning simply has not all the information we need, Mind knows it all, the mighty center and consciousness of all, the All-in-all.
So I started slowly "to swim with the whales" – to move forward and enter with a sense of expectancy the grand activity of Life itself, to answer Love’s gentle calling. "To swim with the whales" means to me being in Life and participating in the beautiful vitality of being - in my experience this translates into listening, nurturing a spiritual sense of expectation, of being really still and watching out for good, it means praying and exercising the skill of gratitude. Our daughter and I started a gorgeous puzzle with an artistic interpretation of Noah’s ark, I am reading a novel a friend gave to me, I met a friend, I am going to attend a concert of Schubert's String Quintett with our son. My husband and I had planned to spend a week at the seaside, and I will go this weekend, spending time at the Baltic Sea and “swimming with the whales”. I honor my husband’s infinite life and his noble and unique individuality --- and I can already see how choosing the narrow and straight path of Life leads into the wide open of Life, right where everyone and everything is and always will be.
When learning about my husband's passing, friends responded by sending us a hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal and adding that we should read this as a letter from him to us. We have done so many, many times and continue to explore the depths of its beautiful message - "the calm and joy of things immortal, the loveliness of Love is all around."
From sense to Soul my pathway lies before me,
From mist and shadow into Truth's clear day;
The dawn of all things real is breaking o'er me,
My heart is singing: I have found the way.
I reach Mind's open door, and at its portal
I know that where I stand is holy ground;
I feel the calm and joy of things immortal,
The loveliness of Love is all around.
The way leads upward and its goal draws nearer,
Thought soars enraptured, fetterless and free;
The vision infinite to me grows clearer,
I touch the fringes of eternity.
It is the prerogative of the spiritual view to see that everything from God's perspective is very good. When something in the human experience isn't good, it is not the end of it. It never ever happened that eternal Truth yielded to limited belief. God, Truth, has always the last word, because it was the first and only word in the first place.
In the last weeks I noticed a little word, that I have come to appreciate and love even more than before. It is the word "effort". It has to do with attempting something, with struggle, with humility and following - but also with work, exercise, resolution, and achievement. Effort tells us that work matters, not just inspiration or feeling. In the healing practice of Christian Science every case is healed. Often healings are quick and permanent. But sometimes a case is tenacious, the healing takes longer, and then effort kicks in. Especially when the mental muscle to carry on seems to have disappeared. It is all about thinking.
In the healing practice this effort is not something you do; it is something you don't do, and that is: Give up.
When recently a friend shared with my husband and me insights into the nature of the cross and the crown, as beautifully displayed on the textbook cover of Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, the interpretation of the cross as symbolizing "a spiritual effort" stood out to me. And when this week's Bible lesson, which Christian Scientists study diligently, included the term "effort", I felt I had found a gold mine. What is effort? What distinguishes effort from human will? How is effort linked to "effortless being"? I know that healing is not a human accomplishment but a divine gift. But then: How are the cross and the crown linked?
In his second letter, Peter writes:
"In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises." (2 Pet. 1: 5. NLT)
To make an effort is all about honesty, about the desire to put the ego out of business, about the willingness to learn. Effort needs understanding, f.e. that homework is for you, not for the teacher (that is why cheating doesn't really help). Effort needs love. Effort is different from human will - it is trying, really trying, and resisting the temptation to giving up too early. Honest spiritual effort is the opposite of skepticism, hopelessness, negativity, and cynicism. It is moving forward and willing to let go of past views and learn something new about the goodness of God. It is also not pushing failure into God's camp. The basis of a true effort is a deep and unflinching love for God and man - and a resilience to let this love shape every aspect of our experience. Buddha is reported of giving this advice to the spiritual seeker: "There are only two mistakes one can make along the road of truth; not going all the way, and not starting."
Many Christian Scientists will tell you, that the healing of a tenacious physical problem, a torn relationship, a disastrous financial situation, messy circumstances at work or at school came shortly after they felt they had reached the end of the rope. But willing to go, with Buddha's words, all the way. I remember finding a location late a night, alone in unfamiliar territory in a different country, precisely the moment when I felt I was totally lost. Often the healing comes when we continue to to cherish gratitude, humility, and good just one minute longer, not giving up. Meekness steps aside, expecting to see Love, and only Love at work, and the spiritual laws of Truth and Life carry the day.
We are not alone - there is a mighty power supporting each one of us. There is hope and a sure reward to goodness. Here are two pieces of advice by Mary Baker Eddy - out of many in her published writings:
"Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon
the improvement of moments more than upon any other
one thing." (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 230)
"Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated
from God, and obey only the divine Principle, Life and
Love." (Science and Health, p. 91)
The illustrations to this blog are from the famous Rutland Psalter, a sumptuously illumined manuscript produced ca. 1260. They remind me in the unique and for me very moving medieval way that spiritual life is about effort - and about joy at the same time. Because we know how it all ends.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
US +1 617 701-7475