Clearing the atmosphere
While studying in a Master’s program I spent several weeks during summer break working for Exxon in a bullpen or, as you might call it, an open-plan space office. At that time smoking was normal, and, with a few exceptions, everyone smoked. I didn’t smoke and felt uncomfortable in this environment. But I couldn’t quit, this was my job. Already on the second day I called on a spiritually -minded friend for some advice. It came in the form of these words from spiritual teacher and author Mary Baker Eddy:
„Never breathe an immoral atmosphere, unless in the attempt to purify it."
This resonated with me right away. I could see that I was not a victim thrown into circumstances I couldn’t control - I understood my real job to live in love and service, in short, to be a constructive force for good. I truly endeavored to serve good, instead of sticking out an unpleasant situation as a victim, even though it was with the help of God. I don’t want to be misunderstood: The adjective „immoral“ in the quote is not to be understood in a personal way! It also doesn’t mean something like „what would be nice but is forbidden“. My understanding of “an immoral atmosphere” is an atmosphere that rejects good, God; An environment that attempts to erode our right to “self-government, reason, and conscience” (Mary Baker Eddy); A circumstance that undermines our entitlement to be a thinker. Essentially, a context in which the ability to be an individual is subverted and the anguish of materialism is covered up by superficiality.
As I went to work the next day -- and the following thirty days -- I looked at it differently. I contemplated the omnipresence of Love, with its sweet fragrance of care and cooperation. I exercised mindfulness by becoming aware of the omniscience of Mind, the supreme intelligence of the universe. I honored Life as the sole source of spiritual being - everyone’s true being. After a while I took up my work, and it was only after I had completely finished my time there that I realized the issue had dissolved into clear air. It was erased from my attention. Since I doubt that suddenly everyone around me quit smoking (but, hey, why not?), it had something to do with my focus. I had entirely stopped wanting the others to stop smoking, which opened a place for me to live free from exterior impairment. I was cared for all along. It is as spiritual teacher Bicknell Young once said: "If we want a thing, the moment we stop wanting it, we will prove we have it. Because we have stopped denying its presence."
I cherish this experience. There is true empowerment in knowing that we can see a better plan for everyone wherever we are. A friend of mine, a professor for computer science, told me some months ago: ‘You either program your own software or you are being programed by the defaults and pre-sets of the software industry. There is nothing in between.’ Here is a spring board for a spiritual lesson, right? So in the line of this: Doesn’t the humility to let Love program all the minutiae of our lives make all the difference? And isn't here a realistic opportunity for bringing calm to work, provided by Love?
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.