Revolutions in consciousness and the desire for peace
MANY individuals feel that they are peaceful but that the world exists under the constant threat and burden of others' violence. I felt this way myself until recently. I thought of myself as a very peaceful person--never having committed an act of physical violence--and I'm sure that, if questioned, friends and acquaintances would have agreed. Somehow, I never bothered to reconcile this perception of myself with the evidence of a rather violent temper that flared up within the family on a fairly regular basis. Over the years I had learned to control the outbursts; but my thinking remained quite violent at these times. This seemed to be a family, and even a cultural, characteristic. Although I disliked it intensely, I accepted it as more or less inevitable. Yet at the same time I abhorred violence in the world and, like so many others, longed for world peace. And, like so many others, I felt the frustration of thinking that little could be done to bring it about. Nevertheless, as a Christian Scientist I had been praying about and pondering this subject for a long time. For many years I had realized that revolutionary advances in the world--movements toward a more humane and civilized way of life for mankind--had to begin with individual revolutions in consciousness. Otherwise social change would have no roots, no enduring foundation. Through prayer I came to understand that this requirement for individual spiritual development, clearly taught by Christ Jesus, should give us cause for rejoicing. It means that right now there is something that we can do. This work is vital to our individual progress and to the international process of peace. Our work is to conduct within our own minds and hearts a revolution of peace, rooting out whatever violence lurks there. ``Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and thing s wherewith one may edify another,'' 1 St. Paul urged the Romans. Each of us can be alert to put hatred, pettiness, resentment, envy, self-depreciation, out of thought through divine power. We can watch that we're not harboring a desire for revenge or expressing either a passive violence of disaffection or fury that our suffering has not been acknowledged. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes clear her view of the importance of working for world peace. ``For many years,'' she writes, ``I have prayed daily that there be no more war, no more barbarous slaughtering of our fellow-beings; prayed that all the peoples on earth and the islands of the sea have one God, one Mind; love God supremely, and love their neighbor as themselves.'' 2 In Christian Science we come to see that physical life is not the fixed, concrete reality it seems to be. It is, rather, the subjective state, or projection, of limited human thinking. This subjective state is a false, inverted sense of the actual reality of being created by God. In her revolutionary book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy writes: ``In divine Science, the universe, including man, is spiritual, harmonious, and eternal. Science shows that what is termed
matter is but the subjective state of what is termed by the author mortal mind.'' 3 What seems to us, then, to be hard and fixed reality--whether it be poverty, disease, or a violent world--is actually the fluid projection of human thought. It can be, and is, changed as thought is changed. Christian Scientists have witnessed the elimination of suffering and oppression from their own and others' lives. To attempt to effect such healing on the world stage may seem more daunting. But the divine Principle that brings redemption to the individual and to the world is the same. In each case, healing takes place within individual thought. Although we may feel disheartened in the face of problems of international scale, we must acknowledge that we have power over, and responsibility for, our own thought. Here we can do something. And it is through such quiet, individual revolutions in consciousness that the world can be changed. By rooting the violence out of our own thinking--under- standing it to be no part of our true consciousness as the likeness of the one divine Mind--we play an active role in the most vital peace process of all. And in this manner our world can be redeemed. 1 Romans 14:19. 2 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 286. 3 Science and Health, p. 114.