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.
Humility glows and smiles. It is the quality that sets everything right and helps to move forward every healing. "...with humility comes wisdom..." we read in the Biblical Proverbs. Humility in my own definition knows that something is so much bigger than we are. It is the quality that shrinks the human ego and lets God take all the credit, glory, and power.
In Christian Science communities worldwide people gather Wednesday to listen to a brief reading, sing hymns and then enjoy the opportunity to share insights, healings, inspiration with others. I always liked these public, open mid-week meetings, refreshing and invigorating, every time - a very special place for depth and sharing in our busy, loud world. At this week's meeting Anna-Zoë shared an insight about humility that I found very moving. She had been on a recent sunrise hike in the Swiss Alps, and when the hike started she observed the complete absence of color all around her. She is an artist, you should know. Just dark, and now and then a little grey or pale spot - no color though anywhere. And then the sun rose, and with it the colors. Interesting, she thought, that without light there is no color. She noted that this is also true for life. We think in black and white - often in binary options, in limited perspectives more two dimensional than being truly perspectives. But the light of inspiration, the bright presence of good in our experience shines ever so brightly. So how to experience the fullness of being, the full range of possibilities, solutions? It is humility, that helps us to move self out of the way and let the light of Truth shine in our consciousness. Humility moves the obstacles out of the way.
In a noisy and self-assertive era humility seems to be a miracle, but I see it more and more. It belongs to good, it is God's gift to replace self-centeredness and despair with a kind of mental sobriety. We know our place in God's world - and we can feel the warmth from the light of Truth rising in our hearts as much as we can see the millions of colors rising and sparkling in this light of Truth. A little trust, a tiny bit of trust, a willingness to become still, and even stiller - and to hold that stillness, this is all that is needed for the first flowers of humility to appear in our experience.
In our family the saying "humility is always a good idea" has often saved us from going overboard or being off track because of self-importance, the desire to have a say in any given context - or to feel lost and without orientation. It is a quality that keeps us safe.
Mary Baker Eddy who lived humility in extraordinary way wrote about this quality: "Humility is the stepping-stone to a higher recognition of Deity. The mounting sense gathers fresh forms and strange fire from the ashes of dissolving self, and drops the world. Meekness heightens immortal attributes only by removing the dust that dims them." (Miscellaneous Writings 1: 15-19)
On the mountain hike, Anna-Zoë mentioned, during Arc-en-Ciel Summer Camp, one of the campers made a video of a certain part of the hike (yes, it is a video!), where the campers encountered fellow-creatures, humble creatures, wonderful animals. So listen for yourself. Humility has a sound.
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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