It is foundational for all of us to see the whole picture - the grander view. We are made for a reason and we are made whole, safe, and free. Life, pure good, is so very noble and generous and takes care of an infinite universe with full commitment and dedication. The result is the noble nature of man and the universe, so beautiful and kind. Spiritual sense sees this whole picture, the grander view --- as always knowledge is the solution to any challenge we have to meet. Knowledge enables us to rise. True knowledge is spiritual, it is fact-based, solid, realistic and testable. Because we base our lives - unknowingly or with intent - on what we know, truly know. And we can only work with what we truly know, and with that we can work.
In an interview with Maya Angelou she transforms the question "What do you trust?" to "What do I know?" Here is the excerpt.
"David Holmstrom: After so many different experiences in your life - early poverty, living in Europe and Africa, awards for writing, international recognition - what do you trust?
Maya Angelou: (after a long pause) I have to translate that into the question ``What do I know?'' I can only trust what I know, and the only thing I trust is the love of God. That is all, and even though my knowledge and understanding of that sometimes wavers, that is the rock in my life.
I believe I can do three things: I can cook. I can write. And I can drive. Given an assignment in any of those three areas, I believe I will carry out the assignment with grace and maybe even some flashes of brilliance. I trust myself in the kitchen, in a car, and with the yellow pad. But the big trust is that I am a child of God. That is the most amazing thing to me and [it] still brings me tears of joy." (Interview with David Holmstrom. The Voice of a Writer in Process. The Christian Science Monitor. October 1993)
Now is the time to check what we know, really know. And as there is no complete knowledge without taking into account the spirituality of God and man, we should ask ourselves, what we spiritually know, really know. It is a truism that whatever we inhale we exhale. In proportion as we welcome Love and its spiritualizing power into our consciousness and experience it is felt in the mental atmosphere we exhale. An atmosphere of generosity and magnamity. Like Maya Angelou and other individuals you may encounter. Like the one you are being yourself.
My husband shared often within his work a list of observations, which I am now sharing with you. They are from the article "The need of spiritual consciousness" by George Channing in the Christian Science Journal, and it can be found on JSH-Online easily.
He who spiritually knows he is triumphant
sees only the evidence of triumph.
He who spiritually knows he is whole (healthful)
sees only the evidence of health.
He who spiritually knows he is righteous
sees only the evidence of righteousness.
He who spiritually knows he is wise
sees only the evidence of wisdom.
He who spiritually knows he is loving and beloved
sees only the evidence of love.
He who spiritually knows he is harmonious
sees only the evidence of harmony.
He who spiritually knows he is free
sees only the evidence of freedom.
He who spiritually knows he is alive
sees only the evidence of life.
He who spiritually knows he is useful
sees only the evidence of usefulness.
He who spiritually knows he knows
sees only the evidence of knowledge.
There is a beautiful thread running through Mary Baker Eddy's writings. It is the thread of caring, sharing ideas how to put into practice the laws of Spirit, how to be most useful to humanity, and how to live a life which is rooted in divine Love. She writes, for example, in her message for 1900:
"Our Master saith to his followers: "Bring forth things new and old." (...) Usefulness is doing rightly by yourself and others. We lose a percentage due to our activity when doing the work that belongs to another. When a man begins to quarrel with himself he stops quarreling with others." (Message for 1900, p.8)
What a blessing for our world - for this small portion of humanity which is "our world" - when we quarrel with ourselves instead of with others. When we wrestle with our own weaknesses and resistance, instead of blaming others for the fact that things don't go well. Synonyms for "quarrel" are "to cross swords, to disagree, to battle, to draw into a controversy", all words which not only sound spiky and bristled, but allude to those actions towards others which in a way say, that there is no God - no Love, goodness, Life.
Sometime ago I woke up early with this, for me, astonishing question: "It will be either one Mind, and one alone, or billions. Which will it be?" I understood this question to move me forward to a decision to stay in the oneness of goodness, which meant questioning any other mind or life separate from the oneness of God, including my own sense of "who I am." In Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy I was reading: "Divine Science explains the abstract statement that there is one Mind by the following self-evident proposition: If God, or good, is real, then evil, the unlikeness of God, is unreal. And evil can only seem to be real by giving reality to the unreal. The children of God have but one Mind." (p. 470) I understood that the question needed to be carried over into the question whether I was willing to let go of a sense of life separate from the oneness of Mind, let go of a sense of evil - the diametrical opposite of God - and humbly and quietly start questioning and quarreling with this ego, mortal selfhood which claims to be "me". For where, after all, does a sense of separation reside?
So quarreling with ourselves, what do we quarrel with? Reading the fifth chapter of Galatians and observing our world I think it is selfishness, self-interest, uncontrollable temper, selfish ambition, hostility, envy, jealousy, idleness, unwillingness to be spontaneous. In the Message we read in this chapter about "divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival."
Since that question "It will be either one Mind, and one alone, or billions. Which will it be?" I have been living differently. I try to focus and magnify good where ever I find it, I don't write down, in an email or letter, anything negative, any criticism, I don't give unsolicited advice (and if I do, my children promised to tell me) and have eliminated "pity!" from my vocabulary. If we have to mention anything that needs improvement we should earnestly pray for the right words and talk from a position which knows the ability to achieve all good in each one.
After all: We only quarrel with ourselves and stop quarreling with the world (with other drivers in the road, with neighbors who are different, with family members, who simply don't understand, with a world that just doesn't get it), if we truly and unequivocally accept ourselves as we are. This may sound like a paradox, but the position to quarrel with ourselves is a position of power, not of weakness, and the greatest power in the universe is love, unconditional love. This is the opposite of selfishness, it is unconditional self-acceptance, or, as a recent book title by a German philosopher has it, it is being our own best friend. A real friend, who tells us the truth, who works with us, who helps us to be better, who doesn't lie or betray. Being your own best friend enables you to overcome a sense of loneliness (just in case) and will give you plenty to do each day. As any work of art was at some point a work in progress, so a little progress each day adds up - quarreling with ourselves has an aim. Remembering this rule of everyday happiness and progress, by Mary Baker Eddy: "When a man begins to quarrel with himself he stops quarreling with others." And later on, in the same message she gives this counsel:
"Hold in yourselves the true sense of harmony, and this sense will harmonize, unify, and unself you." (Messsage for 1900, p. 11) Doesn't this sound like friendship in a nutshell?
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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