Peace of mind
I WAS reading some essays by a well-known novelist. In his personal life, this writer was a tragic figure, and much of his life seemed in emotional turmoil. Yet his writing is beautiful. It's obvious there's much more to him than only the sad events of his life that can be documented in a biography. There is such a strong stereotype of the tormented writer or artist that we almost come to expect sensitive people who delve into the inner, emotional world of human beings never to be at peace. A friend, who is an artist, has told me of her own spiritual victory over just such a belief. But one doesn't need to be a writer or artist to face similar challenges. There may have been times in our lives when we have read passages in the Bible that speak of peace and contentment and the passages have sounded unrealistic -- as if such calmness and quiet communion weren't normal for one who is sensitive and really cares about the world.
What's actually unrealistic is the carnal, or fleshly, mind referred to by the Apostle Paul as ``not subject to the law of God.''1 It's this carnal, materialistic state of thought -- which claims to be our natural way of thinking -- that would obscure the peace and quiet really natural to man. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, terms this materialistic phenomenon ``mortal mind.'' But she also stresses the truth brought out so clearly throughout the Bible that there is just one God, one infinite source of thought and being. She concludes, then, that there is one true Mind, the divine Mind, which is totally good. She writes, ``As Mind is immortal, the phrase mortal mind implies something untrue and therefore unreal; and as the phrase is used in teaching Christian Science, it is meant to designate that which has no real existence.''2
A radical statement. But Christian Science radically departs from the assumption that anything which the human mind can assimilate is valid. This spiritual departure is not a denial of the worth and integrity of man or of human life. But it does affirm that the thinking underlying human misery has no basis in God or in the man of His creating and that the harmful events and troubled personalities which make up human existence do not represent the undying reality of our true nature.
As we can learn from the Bible, God is Love and He is never-ending Life. Man is His expression, His spiritual image and likeness. We can begin to learn of this spiritual selfhood, which is neither carnal nor mortal. Divine Life is not a tragedy, and man is not an overpowered speck in a vast and unfathomable universe.
At one point in his life, Paul was a tragic figure. In a supercharged rush to do what he believed was right, he found himself caught up in a merciless persecution of Christians. The inner turbulence in which Paul was embroiled came to a head while he was traveling to arrest more Christians. He was struck blind -- an experience of which theologian as well as therapist would have little difficulty seeing the significance.
Paul was changed beyond anything that the human mind could have anticipated. Even more startling to someone who might have known Paul as the driven prosecutor was what he said later: ``There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.''3 If we think of being ``in Christ Jesus'' as understanding our spiritual unity with God, divine Mind, there begins to open a realization of our real right to peace of mind.
Divine Mind is the infinite, creative power of all life, but not the maker of a mortal mind or a material personality. Our love of God, our love of goodness and of each other, express the dawning recognition that we are more than the material senses can behold.
We have innate spiritual sense that knows we are God's own. We can become more awake to that sense. We can nourish it as we recognize that in a very profound way -- as God's own likeness -- we already possess the love and goodness we yearn for. This spiritual affirmation nourishes our understanding of divine Mind's allness. Simultaneously, divine Mind transforms our thought and quiets the anxiety and ignorance of carnal thinking that fuel discord.
To subtract mortal mind from man takes nothing away from us. Mortal mind is neither Mind nor man, and to begin to eradicate, through prayer, its restless conviction of alienation from God is to begin to discover our native peace as the expression of divine Mind.
1Romans 8:7. 2Science and Health, p. 114. 3Romans 8:1. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3