Life in balance and under control

A Christian Science perspective.

Newton's third law of motion holds that for every action, there's an equal one, opposite in force and direction. And sometimes opposing forces spin out of control. Quite evidently this isn't just confined to the physical sciences. You don't have to look far these days to see plentiful evidence of extremism, partisanship, polarization, destruction.

Sometimes imbalance stems from forces that seem completely beyond our control. Earthquakes and typhoons are extreme examples. And so often one extreme follows another. For instance, a few years ago sections of the southeastern US were suffering severe drought, with lake levels at historic lows. Recently, flooding has followed, to the point where 14 Georgia counties in that very region were recently declared disaster areas because of extensive flooding. Now the lake levels are largely back to normal, and the concern could shift to one of having too much of a good thing if winter brings excessive rain.

Other times, equilibrium may seem to some extent within human regulatory powers, for example in economics and medicine. But even here it proves illusive at best. The recent world financial crisis is a study in wild stock market swings and boom-to-bust economies, a polarizing of the very rich and the very poor, a contrast between those who are completely out of work and those who feel completely overworked. In medicine, diabetes and bipolar disorder are just two of the growing health concerns that involve fundamental imbalances in the body. "Balance problems are a big public health problem," says ear specialist Dr. Steven Rauch (Judy Foreman, "Health answers," Boston Globe, Sept. 28).

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But counter to such conclusions, God's creation is not out of balance. As the Christian Science Sentinel discusses each week, and The Christian Science Journal each month, Christian Science, divine metaphysics, offers the healing perspective that the more we know about God and the way He made us, the more this spiritual understanding will reveal conditions in steady state, seen in lives transformed, health conditions healed, economic solutions implemented. And in a world where we're told constant, fast-paced change marks "the new normal," the practice of this Science – of what its discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, defined as "the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony" ("Rudimental Divine Science," p. 1) – offers stability. While so much seems beyond humanity's power to regulate, nothing we encounter is beyond God's infinite scope.

Physics may mandate that imbalances and extreme reactions are inevitable. Yet "metaphysics is above physics, and matter does not enter into metaphysical premises or conclusions" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 269).

Jesus showed the profound effect of understanding this when he calmed not just a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee but the turbulent waters that threatened to capsize the ship he was on (see Mark 4:36–39). Neither the weather nor the waves were beyond this steadying power. Nobody knows just what he was thinking on that occasion. But from the sum total of his teaching, which Christian Science elucidates, at least two things are clear: Destructive extremes do not characterize God's will, and steady calm is to be expected as the natural effect of the prayer Jesus taught.

Jesus didn't do anything that night – not if by that is meant attempting to regulate the situation physically. He didn't try to maneuver the ship, or bail out the water, or fashion a life raft. But he must have been doing everything, in terms of seeing the situation spiritually, beyond the level of the five physical senses. And this mental perception of existence in terms of spiritual facts is where solutions to today's tumultuous conditions ultimately lie. When even one individual trains his or her thoughts toward the spiritual facts of existence, this counteracts in some measure the material forces that seem so out of control – including destruction, imbalance, overcompensation, underperformance, mania, extremism, instability, retaliation.

Pages 124 and 125 of Science and Health discuss in particular the spiritual understanding and healing prayer that relate to these issues. Under the heading "All force mental," they examine the profound effects of coming to know God as the divine Principle – as the "thought-force, which launched the earth in its orbit and said to the proud wave, 'Thus far and no farther.' "

We can all learn more of this divine force and of its power to bring more harmony and equilibrium to conditions that appear to be running amok, be they in the human body or in human affairs. This will also aid in the vital work of effectively managing needed change.

From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.

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