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?
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.
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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