Healing those stubborn traits

Sometimes we give great weight to the notion that if some action or activity is repeated often enough, it is almost self-perpetuating. A bad habit, for example, is thought to be a kind of mental groove that becomes harder and harder to eliminate as time goes on.

But there is a means of gaining permanent freedom - of not merely coping with a bad trait but healing it. In relation to this, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''When the mechanism of the human mind gives place to the divine Mind, selfishness and sin, disease and death, will lose their foothold.'' n1

n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. p. 176.

What's the practical significance of that statement, and how does it relate to healing? Well, let's take a real-life example: mine. A number of years ago there were some things about me that I didn't like. I was too chubby from habitual snacking, I bit my fingernails, and I got upset too easily. These habits, contributing to my unhappiness, seemed hard to get free of. But they were really only symptoms of the general unhappiness of not knowing my true identity as the beloved child of God.

This is what Christian Science taught me: that man (a generic term including male and female) is, in his true selfhood, the image and likeness of God, as the Bible states in Genesis; therefore, as the perfect likeness of God, of divine Love, of the one Mind, I was (and am) inherently lovely and intelligent!

I had not been believing or understanding this. I had been thinking of myself as basically a material body inhabited by a limited, personal mind. This mind seemed to be such a confusing conglomeration of feelings and thoughts! Was my mind the sum total of all I had experienced since birth? Did I have little control over the so-called subconscious?

What I was asking, in effect, was, What am I? What really constitutes me, my identity? The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy, throws light on this. It explains, ''The divine Mind, not matter, creates all identities, and they are forms of Mind, the ideas of Spirit apparent only as Mind, never as mindless matter nor the so-called material senses.'' n2

n2 Ibid., p. 505.

As an idea of Mind, then, I couldn't be mindless or repeat mindless actions. To me, Mrs. Eddy's statement implied that I needed to know my source, God, better. So I turned to the Scriptures for inspiration.

I could sympathize with Paul. He had his struggles! He had to overcome hatred , prejudice, and self-will in himself. But he was transformed. Two things he said have always stood out to me: ''Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus''; n3 and, ''We have the mind of Christ.'' n4

n3 Philippians 2:5

n4 I Corinthians 2:16

It started to sink in. I had been unhappily identifying myself in very mortal , limited terms, with ''the mechanism of the human mind,'' while Paul had evidently come to see something of God as the one Mind.

I began to reason this way: ''That Mind is in me which was in Christ Jesus. I have the Mind of Christ! Nothing about the real me is stubborn or resistant to what is right and good!'' It began to dawn on me what mind and consciousness mean in practical spiritual terms. Bad habits were a symptom of believing in a very limited sense of mind, a mortal sense. But I could actually leave that whole limited, mechanistic sense to identify myself as expressing the infinite, divine Mind, and to know that I was governed by God's will alone, not by self-will.

Did these truths transform me in a moment? Honestly, no. But with surprisingly rapid progress, a sense of grace developed and lifted me out of the old habits. I lost weight, stopped biting my nails, and became calmer and happier. A long story made necessarily short here. But the lesson is so vast that it just continues to unfold to me new views of who I am, and what spiritual freedom can accomplish. It can do the same for you. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

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