Our experiences, where we come from, how we performed, the ups and downs we experienced, what happened to us – this seem to shape until a certain point what we think about ourselves, shapes our perceptions and is the basis of judgment, and it is this "until" that makes life interesting. The moment we start knowing ourselves, we can do something with this knowledge. And this knowledge opens two possibilities: To live a life obliged to our own history or a life geared towards development. Heart and mind can part with the past and separate history from present development. And this is the quest.
Mary Baker Eddy founded Christian Science and wrote in the thought-provoking book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures a sentence which confronted at least my thinking about history and development in a fundamental way:
"The true theory of the universe, including man, is not in material history but in spiritual development."
I had been used to think about human life as the result of certain factors shaping them, most of them laying in the past. Historians (and I spent decades working as a (music) historian) are educated to connect past factors with each other and to analyze them in detail. But evidently history, individual and collective, presents not the whole truth. There is more, and what I got from the above quote is this: 1) The universe is not a state, but a process. It moves, it develops, it unfolds. 2) Material history does not represent the enfoldment and development of the universe.
I want to work and reason in my experiences from solid premises, I am very interested in a true theory of the universe, not a failing one, and because of that, I study and ponder spiritual development: What is it? How can I experience it? Who am I if history doesn't determine me? I am not finished with this kind of reasoning, but I see the glorious possibilities already enfolding.
Since I started to glimpse in my teens that my life is spiritual and developing rather than being shaped by determined by physical factors and history, my health has improved considerably, a disposition to depression and self-destructive impulses has been completely vanished as much as tendencies to underestimate talents and possibilities. There have been many challenges, light and dark times, yet I never lost the feeling that spiritual development is going on every moment, presenting an overabundance of spiritual richness in which there is enough for every one and love a law. There is constant growth, development, change, and mental states are not states but processes, if we looked at mental states through the microscope of the spiritual adventurer. We can certainly challenge the gravity of historical thinking in our life.
The moving force of spiritual development is the infinite, unseen but not unfelt eternal being commonly called God – and it pays to get to know this eternal being. This seems to me to be our life-purpose, the place or being where we all since eternity feel at home. And we are at ease only if we connect to this being, or better, if we feel the connection that is already established. That is when the journey starts.
In a talk between Christ Jesus and Nicodemus the fundamental question – Is life all about history or all about development? – is tackled. The talk is about rebirth, about the past, about man. Nicodemus needs some help in keeping up with Jesus' spiritual discernment of life, and Jesus finds an image, an analogy for him. He says:
"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3: 8)
Where we come from, where we are going does not matter, truly, Jesus seems to be teaching: Right now we are spiritual individuals, moving and enfolding. Like the wind there is a certain lightness and weightlessness about us, like the wind we really do not have to care about sharp edges which we might have encountered and about corners that might have been too tight for us. Its over, gone like the wind. And as much as the wind constantly changes and moves, we are being changed and are altering our surrounding, we are moving and shaping, even in a modest way, our dear world. Let it be a soft, gentle imprint – and let the sound that the world is perceiving from us, be a friendly hum, kindness thrown around like confetti, cooling the troubled heart and comforting the worried mind. A little song of confidence and trust. There is too much good in divine Love to waste any time with ruminating about something that is already - over. There is no need to blog about "the silly old world" on our inner website" (see the cartoon below) and we all can put into practice what the Psalmist (from Psalm 98) suggested thousands of years ago:
“O sing unto the Lord a new song.“
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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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