We can use words to describe what Good, God, means to us. We can speak about it and write about it. Yes, that is possible and valid. But what really I makes me so grateful and happy is a feeling. That there is a God, Good, filling all space, being all power, knowing everything there is to know. A God that is on our side, a benign, most intense Love that is quietly present around us, in everyone, in us - being us (now here is a thought!). We are one with this Love. How does this feel?
Recently I was invited to present Christian Science in a large Association facilitating and encouraging multicultural and multireligious progress. This organisation is around for several decades, and part of it is the "Studio of Religions and Worldviews", facilitating the dialogue between representatives of religions on a biographical basis, hosting a public conference for teachers in schools every year and showing forth the enriching and peacebuilding effect of communication between religions and civic society. The members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from Buddhism, Christianity - several denominations including the Bulgarian Orthodoxy, Protestantism -, Jewish denominations, Ba'hai, Hinduism, old religions, humanism. Every year has a distinct topic. This year it is: "Revenge, Forgiveness, Reconciliation".
I had prepared well - in my briefcase was a Bible with all the markers, a copy of the current Christian Science Bible lesson, a book about a Holocaust survivor in which a chapter is dedicated to a Christian Scientist. I also had with me a box with cards which I have at hand in my practice, on my desk, always. The definition of "Good" from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (p.587): "Good.God; Spirit; omnipotence; omniscience; omnipresence; omni-action." And of course my copy of the textbook of Christian Science itself. And then examples of forgiveness in action. I had planned to speak about the oneness of theory and practice, study and action in Christian Science, about Christian Science as a Science of Being and the textbook of Christian Science as a Bible commentary written for humanity, written for everyone no matter the background. I also had planned to represent the healing practice of Christian Science based on the allness and onliness of Good and man as the idea or concept or expression of the one and only Good. And to present the practice as a, well, practical way to stand by everyone seeking inner peace, healing, a perspective out of a mental prison, solutions, a new view of God and a new view of health. After all the practice was founded as a profession by Mary Baker Eddy much earlier than other professions who today are linked to support and care, an individual relationship one on one.
When I was motioned to start, I felt impelled to change my concept and start with a feeling. We can speak about God, yes, we can speak about our lives, our motives and aims, our loves and likes --- but as many words we might find, at the bottom is a feeling. We can also speak about understanding, but Biblical wisdom knows already that understanding is linked to the heart, the traditional seat of feelings in many cultures. Understanding, if you really go to the bottom of it, means to be. And nothing is more honest and revealing true being, in whatever way, as a feeling. There are divine affections and feelings - and prayer reveals these fresh feelings as ours to start with.
As I spoke about God as Love being more a feeling for me than words, I could see in the eyes of my listeners and team members of the Studio of Religions that everyone knew what I was talking about. When the clamor of the ego is quieted we discover the invitation of a feeling. Something like this, from a Christian Science hymn:
"I look to Thee in every need, And never look in vain; I feel Thy touch, eternal Love, And all is well again." (Hymn 134:1)
The question what God feels like instead of what God is like, opened our hearts and thoughts to the most meaningful sharing in all honesty and joy. When I spoke about the conviction of Christian Scientists, that loving our neighbor as ourselves means in essence, that this is so because our neighbor is like us, and when I unfolded to the group as well as to myself the glorious fact that there is only one consciousness and one source of all being, and that the only way to really demonstrate this would be to forgive under all circumstances, we were in one place at the same time. Forgiveness is not a contract, it is a gift, the expression of divine Love in the form of love, trust, and the willingness not to count transgressions of others. We spoke about forgiving 70 times seven, as Christ Jesus taught, and about the constancy of divine Love. God is a feel thing - everything is too superficial. We can turn from resentment and "the hard feelings" we struggle with to find Love, not as a theory, but as a feeling - a real thing.
Later when I contemplated this most insightful evening I could see how Christian Science always brings people together, always. I also saw more clearly that we all can feel and accept divine Love, because in the true consciousness of man, as God's image and likeness, is nothing but love present. We will feel what Love feels. By standing porter at the door of thought we can spiritually control our thought and ensure that our consciousness is ours, and ours alone. We truly exist in a state of authority over our feelings because we have been granted dominion by God, Good. The only place we are exercising this dominion is consciousness, and nothing can prevent our utilization of it. Nothing can block the experience of harmony and balance, benevolence and forgiveness in our hearts, which are the accompanying feelings and effects from a consciousness under the control of divine Love, and not a human ego.
Mary Baker Eddy writes: "God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience." (S+H, p. 106). And this quote which I mentioned during my presentation has more to do with feeling than with the brain. After all, spiritual sense, which links us to Spirit, is not an activity of the brain, but belongs to the whole man - the man of God's creating. It is a sense for good, an experience of good. Spiritual living is a feel thing - and we all can feel it.
All the purists stop reading now. For all the others enjoy the wonderful lightheartedness of Justin Timberlake's 2016 mega hit with its glorious richness, colorful oomph and mix of work and dance and song. There is "a time to dance" (Eccl. 3:4), and whether your feet dance or your heart feels the goodness of life, or at least that something is good - both great. Where there is Life, there is joy, a heart beating in synchronicity with Soul --- all good. After all, it is a feel thing. The real thing.
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." These words are not potent in and of itself, but because they stem from experience and demonstration - the life of Nelson Mandela, who would have turned hundred July 18, 2018.
One of the puzzle pieces that kept Nelson Mandela alive and hopeful in prison was The Christian Science Monitor. This newspaper, founded in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy, founded on an idea, is one of humanity's miracles of unselfishness and care. Its honest mission is to "injure no man but to bless all mankind". It breathes and stands on this idea.
In 1990, quickly after being released from 27 years of prison in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, on a visit to Boston, went to see the Church that published The Christian Science Monitor. He met one of the Readers of the Church and the Editor at that time, Richard Cattani. And this meeting was a humble and special one, unannounced --- as I heard from a friend of Cattani's who had noticed Mandela standing in front of the Publishing Building on One Norway Street in Boston's Back Bay and looking up and wondering how to get in and thank the editors for their work. A journalist working away at his desk suddenly exclaimed: "I think there is Nelson Mandela standing outside!" Read more about the Christian Science Monitor and this visit here.
July 18 also, unnoticed by many, the most recent peace treaty between Ethiopia and Eritrea was put into practice with a flight linking the two countries which had been engaged in a brutal border war for the past twenty years. Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, is behind this stunning development of reconciliation and peace, a Prime Minister who underlines the need "for a country to be built on ideas, not on division under guise of 'nations and nationalities'." Ideas!
So on board of this first commercial flight linking the two formerly war torn countries, the 315 passengers were reminded of the historic moment. On the flight families separated from loved ones sat next to dignitaries - the war is ended, the future is an open book.
Mary Baker Eddy states the most powerful idea of all:
"One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfills the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,—whatever is wrong in social, civil, political, and religious codes..." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 340)
A wonderful visual of the family of man is in this video. Matt is dancing with humanity, you see him dancing in several African countries, too, and, very special, on Robben Island, the island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned 18 of his 27 years, the island which was reached by The Christian Science Monitor, delivering its message of the unconditional meaning and promise of man, based on an idea. The idea of "One infinite God, good...". Robben Island.
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