Finding big ideas, solving big problems

A Christian Science perspective.

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It may rank as the first truly big idea that made the transition from purely conceptual to fully applied and operational: “When you get to the Red Sea, keep moving straight ahead. Don’t veer right or left.”

Of course, we now know what a history-changing impact that big idea had. Moses and his followers, despite Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit, arrived safely on the far shore, the water having parted, a clear passage having opened. Their feet were probably still wet, but the enemy was no longer a concern. Divine inspiration had solved the problem.

This wonderful example is still useful all these centuries later. Central to Moses’ approach was his tenacious commitment to the Almighty and to following God’s guidance no matter how out of the ordinary it sounded. It is in the nature of God, the one divine and infinite Mind, to originate unnumbered ideas, including those more expansive than the most sprawling of problems. Inspiration gained from Mind resolves specific concerns and also leavens the overall environment of thought. Since these ideas derive from infinite Mind, they are big enough to meet each need, no matter how specific or general.

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When it comes to solving the biggest problems, it’s not requisite that experts in a specific field or politicians in key positions are aware of God as Mind, or are consciously reaching out to Mind for ideas. But it’s a plus when people somewhere, anywhere – they can be nonexperts and nonpoliticians – turn to and follow Mind’s directing with Moses-like devotion. Such turning and following is prayer. This prayer makes a healing difference. Through prayer, ideas – big, problem-solving ones that emanate from Mind – surface more consistently. New approaches open up. Challenges, even fearsome ones, get resolved.

How does one recognize a big, problem-solving idea? Some shared characteristics often mark them. They may be way outside the box of conventional thinking and problem solving. So it helps to be ready for unexpected answers. While they may surface in the face of baffling complexities, these ideas often can be stated simply. So a mental state of openness is more useful than one in intellectual overdrive. They may take what’s been a central obstacle to progress and convert it into the perfect solution. So what initially looks like a barrier may end up being the path forward. Always, of course, the key commonality to these big ideas is that they come from infinite Mind. They derive from the one source of inspiration and understanding. So a mental state of being spiritually attuned has its own value, independent of any scholarly achievement.

Monitor founder and spiritual visionary Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, referring to the understanding imparted by God, “This understanding is not intellectual, is not the result of scholarly attainments; it is the reality of all things brought to light.” Then she added, “God’s ideas reflect the immortal, unerring, and infinite” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,”
p. 505). Even just the knowledge that these ideas exist moves us a degree closer to the problem-solving answers needed today.

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