MY new acquaintance was going through a nonstop rehearsal of injustices and bad experiences she had faced from early childhood right up to something that had just happened to her at the beauty salon. When she finally paused long enough to take a breath, I wedged in this question: ``After you're through in the kitchen, do you wrap up the garbage and carry it around with you?'' ``Of course not,'' she said. ``Then why,'' I asked, ``are you carrying around all these leftovers from the past?'' She got the point. While we can certainly learn from past mistakes, clinging to the memory of misfortunes (and this might include the past fifteen minutes!) can become heavy cargo. It can prevent us from getting airborne, from doing our work well and enjoying the good that's present here and now. Such mental cargo can cheat us out of joy, creativity, progress. This cargo comes wrapped in many packages -- remorse, resentment, self-pity, criticalness, sensitiveness.
So how do we unload it? Mere positive thinking or will-power can be exhausting, and it doesn't provide a genuine, lasting solution. The answer really lies in cultivating a higher standpoint, in looking at ourselves and others through spiritual rather than material sense. It lies in being able to look beyond the appearance of things to the reality of man as God's image, as the pure, unburdened expression of His nature.
The ultimate example of how spiritual sense heals and leads to progress is found in the life and teaching of Christ Jesus. It could only have been a spiritual sense of life that enabled him not only to heal sickness and sin but to say from the cross, ``Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.''1 There was no bitterness toward Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him, or toward Peter, who denied being his disciple. Jesus so understood the true nature of God as his very Life and of man as wholly spiritual and Godlike that he was able to forgive his enemies, endure the cross, and triumph in the resurrection.
Clearly, the Master didn't take on the earth-weights of materiality but maintained his spiritual sense. This freed him to prove God's power over sin and disease -- to prove that true identity is totally spiritual, untouched by evil. And the ultimate proof of this was, of course, the resurrection.
Through prayer and consecrated study of the Bible and of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,2 we can come to discern something of our true selfhood as God's spiritual offspring and gain increasing freedom, both morally and physically. We can find healing of conflict and of mental scars. Because God is man's Life, the source of all action, only what's good is, in the final analysis, real and lasting. Mrs. Eddy writes: ``All that is beautiful and good in your individual consciousness is permanent. That which is not so is illusive and fading.''3 Are we letting it fade?
The basis for our regeneration and healing has been proved by the Way-shower, Christ Jesus. It stands for all time.
So, if we're tempted to look back on past unhappy experiences, let's do it just long enough to recognize the spiritual truth that's needed to heal the hurt or sadness. Divine Mind, God, is always as near as thought to help us. Turning to God and asking for this help to correct and improve our concepts is prayer that never goes unanswered.
Where is the past except in consciousness? In a very profound sense it has no substance except what we give it by reacting to it. Now is where we are -- now in the healing presence of God. Adherence to God's law found in the Ten Commandments and in the Sermon on the Mount is the greatest possible preparation for our tomorrows. It keeps us airborne and moving forward. Filling consciousness with God's allness and goodness keeps us free of unwanted cargo in our upward and onward journey.
Let's choose our cargo carefully. Anything unlike good, God, has no legitimacy, so why pack it along? Let's travel light and move forward.
1Luke 23:34. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Unity of Good, p. 8. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13,14