Serenity in an anxious world

TODAY'S challenges--both individual and universal--turn many to drugs, alcohol, and gambling for escape. Others seek relief through psychotherapy or hypnotism. But all too often these so-called palliatives can become addictive. Is there no lasting remedy for stress and anxiety? Are we all destined simply to endure an accelerating pace of life and cope the best we can? Perhaps we need to return to simpler ways of living and thinking. And to more Godlike ways. Christ Jesus demonstrated a way of living that enabled him to calm a turbulent sea when in a boat with his disciples. He simply said, ``Peace, be still.'' 1 What gave Jesus such authority? Wasn't it the purity of his thought, expressed in an absolute conviction that the power of God, divine Love, is supreme over evil and that God governs His creation harmoniously? Yet Jesus did not claim authority to silence discord exclusively for himself. ``Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you,'' 2 he said, and assured us that even in a troubled world we wou ld find peace in him. Someone might ask how we can find peace in Jesus, who is no longer with us. The answer lies in understanding that the incorporeal Christ, the divine idea of God, which Jesus exemplified, is eternal. Mary Baker Eddy3 writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.'' 4 When Jesus offered the blessing of peace, he was pointing us to the eternal Christ as the permanent source of peace. The Christ speaks to receptive hearts in all ages. We hear the voice of Christ more readily as we cultivate Godlike qualities--purity, love, unselfishness, and so forth. The Christ comforts us in the solitude of our own thought with the awareness of God's nearness and power. This Christ is always present to dissolve fear and to awaken us to a perception of God's purpose for us. Christ lifts thought above materialistic desires and impulses into more God-centered aims. The effect of such enlightenment is tangible improvement of our lives. We're able to express more efficiency and acumen. We begin to replace a frantic quest for self-fulfillment or self-preservation with a desire to serve our fellow beings. We find genuine peace. It is interesting to note that Jesus had little time to himself in his active mission to heal and redeem mankind. After spending an entire night in prayer, he would mingle with crowds who sought healing. Demands on his time were no doubt as great as those heaped on today's busiest people, yet he maintained an unharried and unhurried serenity and poise. How was this possible? Through prayer. His prayers were humble and expectant. They were prayers of gratitude acknowledgment of God's allness and power. They were quiet moments of listening to God's direction. This is in sharp contrast to the false sense of prayer as something directed toward drawing material things and pleasures to oneself. Perhaps anxiety is often something of our own making--the result of a high-speed pursuit of material things, of status, of personal adulation. Certainly Jesus was keenly aware of the legitimate human needs of others. He fed and healed multitudes. His ability to do these things came from his unselfed love for humanity and from his understanding that God provides all good for all His children. Living our lives with Christ-inspired motives will bring us peace and dominion. And this, in turn, will help in some degree to bring a more deep-settled serenity to our world. 1 Mark 4:39. 2 John 14:27. 3 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4 Science and Health, p. 332.

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