No one else can take your journey
Originally published as an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel
These days, everyone seems to be on some kind of "journey" - a buzzword that covers everything from developing relationships to explorations into religion, philosophy, environmentalism, even career choices. Yet a true spiritual journey is really as old and as profound as humankind's questioning of existence.
More than 5,000 years ago, for example, the Hebrew prophet Abraham set off on a spiritual journey that changed the world. And in some ways, his journey was as modern as any of those taken by today's youth who load up the van and head out for parts unknown. Like Abraham, many travelers on the spiritual highway are looking for a new life, and often a deeper understanding of their relationship to God.
The spiritual traditions that guide these journeys may be ancient or contemporary, but most of today's spiritual travelers are searching for answers to the same questions: "What is truth?" "Is there a God?" "How do I fit into the universe?"
One of the early healers in the Christian Science movement, Julia Bartlett, wrote about her own spiritual quest over 100 years ago, but her words sound as up to date as many of today's chat room discussions on the Internet. In reminiscing about her youth, she wrote: "I found that to be converted according to my orthodox belief brought no lasting peace or happiness and that I was the same girl as before, with the same faults and failings still with me. I had not learned that I must work out my own salvation as the Scriptures command.... As time went on and I was beyond the schooldays ... I felt there was a truth beyond what I knew or had been able to find, and more and more there was a longing and reaching out for it, trying to find it. Many times a day the thought would come, 'What is Truth?' until it was the one great question in my mind which I was unable to solve. I then thought 'I can only live the best life I know how and trust,' but that did not satisfy. I must see my way, have something to hold to and to rest upon" ("We Knew Mary Baker Eddy," page 29).
In Bartlett's case, her quest became more urgent because of ill health, and eventually she did find healing and the answers she was looking for in her study of Christian Science. She became one of Mary Baker Eddy's most dedicated students and trusted friends, working tirelessly for the Cause of Christian Science for the rest of her life.
That search for healing and the understanding of one's place in the divine plan still draw people to Christian Science, just as they did 125 years ago for Julia Bartlett. For what Bartlett was really seeking was a better knowledge of her unique relationship to God. This is the true spiritual journey - the on-going discovery of one's immortal nature and unbreakable relationship to Spirit.
"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy opens the door not only to metaphysical healing, but to the illimitable possibilities of one's life. Each journey is unique because each of us has our own individual relationship to God. Sharing the same source - divine Love - we will all sooner or later wake up to the fact of our spiritual identity in different ways, through different moments of discovery. That is why no one else can take this journey for us. The Bible says, "They shall be all taught of God" (John 6:45). But how we learn our lessons, when, and at what pace, is all individual.
One thing is certain. The voyage is breathtaking. As Science and Health states: "A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity" (page 128). Each step toward God brings us closer to those "broader and higher realms." The time is now.
If I take the wings
of the morning, and dwell
in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
Psalms 139:9, 10