HOW can one choose a world--carefully or otherwise? There seems to be only the one world to choose from! The truth is that whether we know it or not, the world we experience depends a great deal on our individual mental standpoint. That is, it depends on the degree to which we are either accepting a material view of existence or are recognizing something of the true, spiritual creation.
According to the Bible, God is Spirit, and man, His image and likeness, is spiritual and perfect. So, while there is only one world, that world is the spiritual universe of God's creating. In this true world we each fully reflect God's own being, endlessly expressing such qualities as purity, mercy, gentleness, strength. The full range of spiritually bestowed joy, bliss, health, and happiness is therefore, in the profoundest sense, everyone's real world.
If that sounds like a rather nice world, but not even remotely like your world, now is the time to start learning how to choose this reality as your own world. This involves choosing the thoughts that we accept as our own more intelligently, moment by moment. Correctly choosing our world really involves deepening our recognition of the eternal reality of man's divine abode. This is illustrated by Christ Jesus in his conversation with Nicodemus, which is related in John's Gospel. The Saviour explains, ``No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven'' (3:13). The Master was explaining the heavenly reality that was already and always his-- and that is already truly ours, as well.
To the degree that we glimpse this heavenly reality, it does change our world practically. Jesus' environment underwent dramatic changes when he brought his pure spiritual perception to bear on it. Sickness was healed, lack was overcome, death was overturned.
We can increasingly learn to follow the Master's example. As we do so we will experience changes in our own environment. This certainly was the case for me, when I twice traveled through what was then considered to be the ``iron curtain'' between Western and Eastern Europe. The first year, border guards pointing machine guns and accompanied by fierce-looking dogs took my passport away from me without explanation. After a couple of hours of anxious waiting and rather nervous praying, the passport was finally returned to me.
The next year, however, I was determined not just to resign myself to the material picture of aggressive, gun-toting border guards executing their duties without feeling. Instead of waiting to pray in desperation in the event of a crisis, I realized that I could prepare my thought through prayer before the event. I could humbly perceive that all of us truly are God's children now and always.
Doing this made a powerful difference. Not only was my passport not taken away this time, it wasn't even checked! When the border guards came into my carriage they didn't seem to see me. I had to run down the corridor of the train to stop them and insist that they stamp my documentation.
Our willingness to recognize the nature of God's creation and our real inheritance as the sons and daughters of God shows us an all-inclusive universe of unity and spiritual diversity. In The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: ``The suppositional world within us separates us from the spiritual world, which is apart from matter, and unites us to one another. Spirit teaches us to resign what we are not and to understand what we are in the unity of Spirit--in that Love which is faithful, an ever-present help in trouble, which never deserts us'' (p. 167).
If we choose our world carefully--choosing the reality of God's universe--we will find increasing freedom from matter and its attendant limitations, and we will more and more realize the joy of universal, Spirit-grounded unity. Today is not too soon to start discovering the spiritual world, and consciously making it our home.