The public-spirited citizen
How do we know that we are right or wrong? How is losing or winning an indicator about your value or worth? Wisdom teaches us the best lessons when we lose, because then our spiritual self speaks louder than our human sense of ego. Because then we value hard work and secret effort more deeply than at times of sunshine and easygoing.
I found once in the Christian Science Journal a definition about democracy which helped me to survive a for me crushing defeat in an academic setting, this definition being about learning to lose (with grace, I might add). The article is here.
No one outside ourselves, not even our own human ego, knows where we truly are and what our work is truly worth. My mom says: It matters who we are when no one looks. My spiritual teacher says: Keep your pride whittled down, you may have to swallow it one day.
Christians take heart in remembering that Christ Jesus took generally sides with the weak, outcast, minorities, and attacked upfront hypocrisy and the pride of power. The cries of victory of the crucifiers of Jesus didn't end the impact of his career - and through the centuries the most deeply engaged Christians were the ones supporting the needy, the oppressed, and the helpless. Buddhists will remember that "everything suffers" and take heart in this saying from Buddha: "It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell." Hindus will find strength in reminding themselves of the key lesson from the Vedic culture namely, that human experience is an illusion - and that unselfishness is the royal path of pure spiritual being, as Swami Vivikananda teaches: "The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful."
Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder and Discoverer of the Science of being, would agree with these spiritual thinkers. She knew all about difficulties and obstacles as a woman entering the world of theology, medicine, and science at a time when women could neither vote nor study nor own property. She held in high regard the ethics of life - so much so, that she contemplated for a while to call her discovery "Moral Science" instead of Christian Science. So in reflecting on the lessons of losing and the road ahead of each one of us, I am quoting from a thoughtful letter of hers from 1895:
"The man of integrity is one who makes it his constant
rule to follow the road of duty, according as Truth and
the voice of his conscience point it out to him. He is not
guided merely by affections which may some time give
the color of virtue to a loose and unstable character.
The upright man is guided by a fixed Principle, which
destines him to do nothing but what is honorable, and to
abhor whatever is base or unworthy; hence we find him
ever the same, — at all times the trusty friend, the affec‐
tionate relative, the conscientious man of business, the
pious worker, the public-spirited citizen.
He assumes no borrowed appearance. He seeks no
mask to cover him, for he acts no studied part; but he
is indeed what he appears to be, — full of truth, candor,
and humanity. In all his pursuits, he knows no path
but the fair, open, and direct one, and would much rather
fail of success than attain it by reproachable means. He
never shows us a smiling countenance while he meditates
evil against us in his heart. We shall never find one part
of his character at variance with another."
(as quoted in Miscellaneous Writings, p. 147)
11/11/2016 04:02:04 pm
As analytic demographic studies, some relevant and well meaning, segment and assign the people to "categories," God surveys and contemplates His Creation and concludes...."Behold My Children" ...all of them.
21/11/2016 04:46:10 am
How generous of you to write this article at this time. I am so grateful! We are ALL growing in grace!
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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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