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?
A few days ago our son Vincent was invited to be "a book". A book at "a Human Library" in Berlin. This Danish organization is very special and is doing fantastic work for our time on a global scale. Here is what they do: "The Human Library is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers." (Here is the website for more information). Vincent was invited as "a book" on the topic "A male feminist". Several people borrowed him and entered into a meaningful conversation about equality and political empowerment today.
There is already a tremendously well stocked human library around for more than hundred years. A library with "human books" on the topic "Spiritual healing". These books are people who have experienced something meaningful, often revealing, and have been grateful enough to share something about their lives with the world. Their reports can be read in the Christian Science Journal, the Christian Science Sentinel and the Christian Science Herald. Hundreds of thousands of reports since 1883. These testimonies are chapters from individual books, being individual lives. When I look around in our family, in our circle of friends, when I ponder and remember the many patients and their healings from the Christian Science practice, when I realize how many, many reports of healing I have read over time, I can see that this is indeed something like a "library of Love", filled with an infinite number of books: Lives redeemed, restored, free. Perhaps Paul had something in mind like this when he wrote:
"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone." (2. Corinthians)
It makes a difference when you acknowledge the resource another human being is to you. It is a fresh way of approaching the wonderful rule of loving our neighbor as ourselves. It gives patience and an exciting sense of vitality to your day when you know that you can expect something divine from your fellow man. It is really so much better talking with than about people. And understand better where they are coming from and what their approach to life in general and problem solving in particular is. Mary Baker Eddy had so much trust in Christian Scientists to live for humanity that she entrusted her periodicals to normal people, not to theologians or people specializing in Christian Science theology. A human library - the real thing. A library of Love to humanity, where anybody can borrow what he or she needs.
It could be an idea to host an event in your local reading room inviting the public to "borrow" individuals who are grateful enough to share something of the healing power of spiritual Life. You might also "borrow a human book" by listening to the audio of someone's experience on the Christian Science Website JSH-Online. This stands for Journal-Sentinel-Herald, the three Christian Science periodicals. The website provides access to the entire archive of articles, healing testimonies, reports, and poems, the latest ones being available also as audio. Something like the one I shared myself, for a start, a healing of a heart condition. I love to think about my own life as a book, and acknowledge every day its real author, its development, its storyline as being written by Spirit. Therefore I truly love reading "human books", honoring the depth and dignity of Spirit in each single individual I encounter.
Someone who lives with the law of good every day is a Christian Scientist, in Mary Baker Eddy's definition. She defines this individual more in terms of practice than profession, and there is a quote where she links a description with the world of writing and the world of books and the spiritual world of goodness, the world of divine Love. She writes:
"A real Christian Scientist is a marvel, a miracle in the
universe of mortal mind. With selfless love, he inscribes
on the heart of humanity and transcribes on the page
of reality the living, palpable presence — the might and
majesty! — of goodness. He lives for all mankind, and
honors his creator." (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 294)
I often think and acknowledge, that every idea in God's world as a universe in itself, complete, creative, beautiful, interesting. I now also like to think and acknowledge, that every idea in God's world is a book. A human library through which we can get in touch with a different, wonderful world. The library of Love. Are you on loan today?
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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