I loved reading a children’s book first to our three-year old son Vincent, later to our three-year old daughter Anna-Zoë. It is about a pony, a bear, and an apple tree. I must have read it a hundred times. I know this book for sure. During one of the adventures, an elephant has to figure out a solution to a problem, and his task is, to think of something he doesn’t think of. It is a dilemma they are debating: How can you think of something you can’t think of? Eventually they find a solution to their problem. But the question is interesting, still.
Recently I was dealing with a problem, like the elephant in the book, and I was rehearsing the problem and my inability to solve it, going round and round in circles. But soon I stopped to be really quiet and listen to the soft, clear intuition of the Christ. And this comes often in surprising ways. This time like this:
If you have the time and ability to think negative thoughts, you have also the time and ability to think good thoughts.
This revived my spirits, I prayed and rejoiced and exited the dark cave of negativity with lots of prayerful inspiration and insights from the Bible flooding into my consciousness. Including the solution to the problem, which I could put into action. It made a difference.
In reflecting why thinking negative thoughts seems to be more normal and often easier than thinking constructively, I went back to one of my all-time favorites from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. Here it is:
"We are all sculptors, working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought. What is the model before mortal mind? Is it imperfection, joy, sorrow, sin, suffering? Have you accepted the mortal model? Are you reproducing it? Then you are haunted in your work by vicious sculptors and hideous forms. (…) To remedy this, we must first turn our gaze in the right direction, and then walk that way. We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives." (p. 248)
This whole paragraph is a gem, it so instructive. I love it, actually the entire page is so inspiring. Just for now it is interesting to note that the moment you accept a mortal model into thought, you are no longer alone with God. You are no longer an individual, too. „Vicious sculptors“ take over and mess up your work, and your workshop probably, too. Everyone should be alone in his/her workshop, that is a general rule in art and music. I learn from Mary Baker Eddy, that negative thoughts are not our own - they are the limiting, destructive agenda of general thought, or, as a friend recently noted, they are the thoughts, "that everyone has“. So much for being an individual. I also learn from this passage something about the high regard the author had for man - how encouraging to read about grand and noble lives.
It was a great honor to visit The Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston in July, along with Anna-Zoë. When you walk towards the Library you can read outside at a stone wall overflown with a waterfall a quote from Mary Baker Eddy, a message to all mankind: „The time for thinkers has come.“
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.