The subject of the sentence

WE often talk about ourselves, either to others or silently to ourselves. Our conversations vary with the occasion, but some times they're negatively oriented. Such thoughts as ``I am unhappy'' or ``I feel sick'' or ``I am inadequate'' form the central thrust of many self-directed communications. It's important to note that in these silent monologues the predicate takes precedence over the subject. A dictionary defines ``predicate'' as ``the part of a sentence or clause that expresses something about the subject.'' The state of mind described in sentiments like the ones above certainly tends to dominate and, indeed, obscure the subject. The ``I'' tends to be submerged in feelings of discord or want. But is this sort of displacement necessary or logical? To answer this question, perhaps we should shift our attention from predicate to subject. Who is this ``I'' who appears to be sick, unhappy, or inadequate? Human reason might suggest that it is a finite, defective individual at the mercy of feelings of deprivation. But is this who we really are? Or is it a false sense of identity? There is an alternative to this view of man, and we find it stated most clearly in the Bible and in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.1 In many descriptions of man in the Bible, he is linked with God as His creation. For example, the Psalmist sang, referring to God, ``It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.'' 2 Certainly Christ Jesus taught and illustrated this throughout his ministry. Mrs. Eddy points to the indestructible relation of man and God when she writes, ``Man is God's reflection, needing no cultivation, but ever beautiful and complete.'' 3 She also refers to this relationship, and to man's true status, when she says, ``The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea,-- perfect God and perfect man,--as the basis of thought and demonstration.'' 4 As we come to understand man as the complete reflection of his creator, inseparable from Him, we see that every true statement about man's nature points to what is true of his Maker. It follows, then, that some of our self-communications are false, because if they were true, they would also have to be true of our source and creator, God. Can we ever conceive of God as sick, lonely, or inadequate? Of course not. The idea is completely absurd, and we therefore dismiss it from thought. But shouldn't we also, at the same time, dismiss those thoughts as false about ourselves? As offspring of God, we can reflect only His qualities. When we give silent voice to negative perceptions of ourselves, we should instead discern more correctly that our true selfhood is God's child and reflection, and that what is not true of God, the I am, is not true of us either. This is not to overlook shortcomings or to ignore troubles but to face them squarely with the truth that heals them. If we change the subject of our sentences in this way, the predicates will also inevitably change. Through prayer, through quiet listening to the one divine Mind, we can come to feel and know the truth of our being. Then, instead of being punitive sentences that we pass upon ourselves, our self-identifications will become accurate descriptions of our actual status as the reflection of God. The result can only be inevitable blessings. 1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2 Psalms 100:3. 3 Sci- ence and Health, p. 527. 4 Ibid., p. 259.{et

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