Selective thinking

I Finished selecting four equal-sized baking potatoes from the mound before me and glanced around the produce department. Other shoppers were making careful choices from the various fruits and vegetables for sale --examining, comparing, weighing, and often discarding. Are we as selective about our ``food for thought'' as we are about the food we eat? Are we selective about the programs we watch, the movies we see, the books we read, the thoughts we think? Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes, ``We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives.'' 1 And she asks: ``Are thoughts divine or human? That is the important question.'' 2

Making a checklist of one's thinking isn't as simple as making a shopping list, but it is infinitely more important to one's well-being. A spiritualization, or purification, of thought is, ultimately, inseparable from health and overall harmony. The Bible clearly shows the relationship of thought to experience. ``As he thinketh in his heart, so is he,'' 3 we read in Proverbs. And the Master, Christ Jesus, taught: ``Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. . . . For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man.'' 4

``Quality control'' is a term that may be most meaningful when applied to one's own consciousness. The quality of our thinking may be spiritually based or materialistic, depending on the degree to which God, the one divine Mind, is being expressed in our daily lives. Actually, God is the only genuine source of thought or existence. So whatever is unlike His pure, totally good nature has no basis in truth, no ultimate reality. In a very real sense, then, any form of impure or hate ful or injurious thinking isn't genuine thought, because it doesn't come from the one Mind.

No one would claim to have attained the perfect consciousness exemplified by Christ Jesus, but we can all work toward that goal, moment by moment and thought by thought.

I recall standing in a grocery checkout line one day and feeling increasingly irritated by the slowness of the clerk, who seemed to take forever with each customer. ``Slow, inept, frustrating,'' were some of the thoughts that came to mind as I impatiently awaited my turn. Then a Bible verse suddenly flashed into thought: ``Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.'' 5 I looked at the clerk and began attributing to her good qualities that she obviously possessed but that I had failed to recognize. She was cheerful, patient, meticulous.

Soon it was my turn to be waited on, and she gave me a friendly greeting. I smiled back and remarked facetiously: ``This will be a change for you. I have no coupons, no check to be validated, and I don't wish to buy a lottery ticket. Just groceries for cash.'' She responded, ``Thank goodness! Most of the time I feel like a cross between a banker and a bookkeeper!'' We both laughed, and I departed on a light note rather than a critical one.

Selective thinking can make not only one's day go better but one's life go better. Mrs. Eddy gives this counsel: ``Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.'' And she says, ``The right thinker abides under the shadow of the Almighty. His thoughts can only reflect peace, good will towards men, health, and holiness.'' 6

What a blessing and benefit such thinking can be to all! Consciously striving to replace fear with trust, hatred with love, and criticism with praise--to name just a few of the possibilities--we can make steady progress toward spiritualizing thought and demonstrating the Christly consciousness that heals. 1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 248. 2 Ibid., p. 462. 3 Proverbs 23:7. 4 Matthew 15:11, 19, 20. 5 John 7:24. 6 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210.

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