The art of living is an art that is not reserved for the few. It is a task assigned to all of us, whereever we are. This art is not learned or perfected in the easy phases of life, but in the difficult ones. In times of rejection, of sickness and heartbreak we show our true colors. Are tragedy and loss, danger or loneliness proof that God does not exist and that Life is essentially mean? On the contrary: These times move us to surrender to a different view, these times push us forward and teach us that it is not all about us: It is all about us all.
In keeping up with the news, the current ones about the invasion of Ukraine and a war just one country away, the question is daily relevant: How much do we care, really care? My warmhearted husband speaks often about "what nourishes the soul", what really feeds us and makes us happy and content and a resource for others. In his own study of our favorite book, "Science and Health" by Mary Baker Eddy, he noticed, how often a twin team is smiling at the reader: Truth and Love. Both terms are Biblical terms, both terms are synonyms of God. Truth is God and God is Truth. Love is God and God is Love. Truth and Love are holding hands all the time, they are always a team. There is no Truth that is not kind and loving, and there is no Love that is not real and expresses integrity and honesty. Once you start to explore them further, they become your everything. "Truth and Love" - the motto of our home, the header, its center. It turns a house in a home, into a haven for ourselves and others, into a place where Life is felt and unselfishness lived. A blessing, a strength, and a happiness, every day. Mary Baker Eddy writes in "Science and Health":
"Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it." (p. 57)
What this means can be learned from George. In the biography "Life begins today" by Holocaust survivor Jacques Lusseyran we meet George, an unsung hero of the art of living. George is a friend, who has been imprisoned for four years in a concentration camp in the 1940s, followed by six years in a hospital as a critically ill man. Lusseyran describes how George performs two miracles: "To have kept his spirit clear in prison and to heal his body." He observes that something inside of George intuits in prison the truths of Life he is struggling at first to accept as a hopeless patient. The truths of Life are:
"Health, confidence, joy, life - all synonyms."
Georges announces to him one day, in the 11th year of what he calls "exile" (time spent in a concentration camp, in prison, and in the hospital), that "exile" is over. He is done with suffering and ready for his healing. How is that possible? Lusseyran finds the answer in the power of Life itself. The translation is mine - the book is published only in French and German. Here is the excerpt:
"I see Life, all-powerful Life. I see what happens to a man who does not resist Life. George had never become bitter. He did not resign, that is, retreat into the acceptance of suffering. He focused on living and showed great talent in it. I saw his attention never drawn to himself, something I observe that most sick or simply unfortunate do all the time. He had never been occupied with what I would call "the evolution of pain", he was also never upset with himself. He behaved like a free individual but with a little more attention to his surrounding. I saw him listening to others with one ear, but listening with the other ear to Life. Lending Life a willing ear, Life, being everywhere, independent of people. At certain points this Life didn't make much noise, but it was always there. He had listened to this quiet music, and I feel that this is why he always smiled.
And then happened what was meant to happen:
"When Life itself, streaming through him, met no resistance any more, all the power of Life rose up in himself. (...) He was healed.
"I saw now how he had taken all the suffering and injustices inflicted on him in an impersonal way, as if his prolonged suffering didn't have a narrative, didn't make up his biography.
"To commit to Life is a true act, perhaps the most difficult deed of all. It involves accepting that there is an eternal order in the universe. I don't forget the suffering George went through, but suffering in itself is not something to be glorified. It is simply a sign, a sign of an error; a sign that we did something to resist Life itself. I often wonder what happened if we all didn't look at our inner deprivations and needs as fateful-disastrous realities, brought upon us by a hostile universe, but as a sign of our own avoidance of Life, our unfaithfulness to Life itself, and I am stunned."
Bicknell Young, spiritual teacher, Christian Scientist, writes:
"If we want a thing, the moment we stop wanting it, we will prove we have. Because we have stopped denying its presence."
And Mary Baker Eddy invites us not to deny the presence of Life, she encourages us not to avoid Life. She writes so beautifully in her collected articles:
"Truth is restful, and Love is triumphant." (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 153)
Jacques Lusseyran. Le monde commence aujourd'hui. Paris 2016
Jacques Lusseyran. And there was light. New York 1998
An appraisal of Jacques Lusseyran written by me.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.