Learning to love
Learning to love: We can do this! Mary Baker Eddy shares this revolutionary definition of prayer - which I brought into this colorful little image - in her work "No and Yes" on p. 39. Yes, this is true prayer - because it involves the kind of sacrifice of ego, true effort, which is the only activity that ever moves anything forward. It is affection, the willingness to listen rather than speak, patience, a generous heart - a guarantee for progress and healing.
If you think you can't do that, you have encountered what the American author Steven Pressfield calls "resistance". He writes that "resistance" is a force that is neither a personal thing nor aimed at any one individual, a force that aims at keeping things as they are. "Resistance" is expressed not just in discouragement, but also in negativity, in a rehearsal of "the same old story", in the stifling of aspirations through sarcasm, the stoking of fears, self-doubt - and procrastination. A "resistance" that has been around for a very long time - only open the Bible for a starter.
Christ Jesus gave us the mightier tool in order to deal with "resistance". He invited us to follow him and to get to know Life, Truth, and Love, as they truly are, the reality of being. Following Jesus' example of practical love and healing moves one in a new direction - upward, outward, into a space of freedom and meaningful work. The desire to learn is the new normal in the kingdom of heaven. A true and honest desire - a desire that marches on no matter what and that aims at mastering the art that we are in the middle of learning. As they say: All things are difficult, before they are easy.
Of course, learning includes a lot of aspects that are challenging and in a way not fun: memorizing vocabulary when you learn a language, finger exercises when you learn an instrument, countless hours in the gym when you learn fencing (and need to work at your legwork, for starters), it includes the acceptance of exams, of opportunities to show what you've learned, of using what you have learned. Eventually what you learned will feel normal, like the new language you speak, the instrument you can play, the fencing you show in a competition.
From Love's perspective there is no resistance to including all mankind in one affection. From a human perspective there is a fierce resistance against everything that moves us forward and away from a human self shaped by a family tree, circumstance, or opportunity. To include all mankind in one affection rather than moving forward a personal agenda makes constant demands on the way we think and act. The resistance to learning to love grows beautifully less and less and less as we master what we are learning more and welcome the sacrifices, the work involved, as part of the learning curve, never as a sign that we can't do it. "Learning to love" is for all of us the most meaningful and satisfying and empowering activity of any day. It glorifies Life, God, like nothing else.
You will be inspired by this outstanding example of someone who got to know prayer as a way of learning to love - and how this prayer brought forgiveness and healing. You can find the article from the Christian Science Sentinel here.
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In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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