To love our neighbor as ourselves takes a million forms, gazillion forms actually. One simple one, often overlooked because it is so simple, became clear to me this week. To love our neighbor as ourselves means to search for good in our neighbor. Really search and see. Mary Baker Eddy writes that "blessed is that man who seeth his brother's need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another's good." (p. 518)
The realm to which I immediately could apply this enlarged dimension of love as search is the realm of work. We often work with others, we work in teams or schools or communities or churches together. We also encounter the work of others in the workplace, in schools and universities, in companies and agencies. We also encounter the work of others in our daily life which is shaped by people and contractors in the building world, our email providers, phone companies, electric companies. There are farmers who produce the food we eat, people who are selling us something we want to buy, providing services we need. In our neighborhood people live who work, every day. In my neighborhood I encounter daily vivid businesses, from restaurants to handmade soaps to photography. I live about a photographer's studio, down the street are many small shops and businesses, all local, all honest and good. All work, work, work.
So when it comes to a connection - I can enjoy to take a special interest in the others' work and place it above my own. And check off "Love your neighbor as yourself" immediately. Done! We must do this for peace and mutual understanding. That is how the kingdom of heaven - the dimension of Love - is built. And it is built locally.
Paul writes: "Never act from motives of rivalry or personal vanity, but in humility think more of each other than you do of yourselves. None of you should think only of his own affairs, but should learn to see things from other people's point of view." (Phil. 2:3, Philips)
There is never a reason to be harsh to anyone, even if our own need seems pressing or urgent. There is no excuse ever for putting our own needs ahead of the needs of others. I am learning this every day. We can see things from other people's point of view, and a great way to start is the honest interest in the other's work. Is there a team project going on? Can you start by looking at the others' contributions first before presenting your own? Is a business transaction under way? Or a school project you prepare with others? Or a normal walk down your street in which you notice something? Can you enlarge your world by shrinking your sense of yourself and let others' grow a little bit more - by really being interested in what they do and why they do it? Take a peek over the shoulder of another person and find out what he or she is doing as we speak. Be he/she your colleague or neighbor, an accountant, journalist, clerk, plumber, agent, architect, swimmer, farmer, practitioner, teacher, artist, cook or student. Just an honest interest. Pure and simple.
The warmth of Love, dear divine Love, is breezing around you as you do this. Because this is the way Love recognizes you - now you are a factor in Love's project of healing and peace for all mankind. You've entered the stage.
There is something deeply nourishing, calming, peaceful, and satisfying about beauty. This is because beauty is divine. Beauty is of God, and anything beautiful is beautiful because it reflects God, the very core and essence of life. The miracle of being, the activity and enthusiasm of a creative Mind.
The universe including us is radiant with Life's beauty, continuous vitality, energy, and growth. All beautiful like numbers and notes, an infinite design in endless variations. Divine Mind's ideas are shining "in glorious radiance", informs us the Psalmist, and Mind's ideas are elegant, refined, representing the faultless style of their Maker. A hymn by J. Palmer Snelling says: "Such tender beauty, Lord, from Thee is shed abroad o'er all the earth; in bird, in sunbeam, light and flower Thy grace and goodness may be seen." (#45). Perfection is spiritual, gorgeous to behold, pleasing to hear and enriching to feel. "Man is the reflection of Soul", writes Mary Baker Eddy (p. 249).
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - the awakened consciousness that doesn't overlook one element of God's making. Material beauty does not exist, it is the spiritual consciousness that understands that, sometimes with the heart, most often with heart and mind and soul.
How can a reflection respond to the creator but by being like its beautiful source - the creator of it all? Anyone eye to eye with the sun, watching the sunrise, cannot help but shine and feel the light. A special form of little sunrise is also watching a baby in a crib or witnessing how someone saves another one from peril. One cannot help but respond with awe and wonder - to this beautiful activity of creation, of good in action. Beauty is alive.
There is a special beauty in individuals willing to sacrifice their human ego for infinite Soul, rejoicing every day as they explore more of this one consciousness of good blessing all. Nothing is more beautiful than the eyes of those seeking beauty in others, mentioned fellow Christian Science practitioner Kate Robertson, and this special beauty is captivating. We cannot imagine any spiritual thinker being other than beautiful, and faith itself is the very essence of delight and beauty - the instrument with which we gain full access to the balance and harmony of Spirit. Spiritual understanding is a home for the adoration of and respect for God, so infinite, grand, and glorious almost beyond human perception. Beauty is indeed the prerogative of good, and good is God. And because God, Truth, is always on our side, we feel its supremacy and authority when we encounter beauty. Because beauty is of God and responds to God.
So may all thoughts today be illumined as you keep your own mental atmosphere pure. Hold your gaze to the light and watch out with spiritual intuition for the fullness of light as you perceive your environment - reflecting the beautiful universe from a beautiful, beautiful Mind. Nothing small or limited enters this world of beauty, all is grand and honorable in God's world, the perfect realm and dimension of divine Love. It wouldn't be complete without you, without anyone your thoughts rest upon.
As you let these ideas expand, there is extra super inspiration from Mary Baker Eddy as set to music by Peter Link, sung by Julia Wade. Beautifully sung, with grace and humility. And listening to her, I understand new, as if for the first time, that beauty is so moving and touching, because it teaches us in the most tender way what humility is all about. Who we are in the grand scheme of things - because we get a glimpse of Life itself. Beautiful.
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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