TO the sports fan the action on the field was exciting, the air refreshing, the yelling of the crowd exhilarating, the hard bench unnoticed. To his companion, suffering in silence beside him, the game was boring, the air bone-chilling, and the bench hard as a rock. How do I know? I was the companion! Why such different reactions? We were sitting on the same wooden bench, hearing the same noises. We were sharing the same outward circumstances. Obviously the answer lies in viewpoint, not material factors.
Let's move this idea away from the football field into other areas of daily life.It certainly seems that we're subject, in every aspect of our lives, to material conditions. It appears that pain or pleasure resides in or can be dictated by matter, and clearly this can keep one from having a good day or a good life. Is there a way to begin to gain a measure of dominion over the restrictions inherent in materiality?
Yes, by understanding more of God's spiritual creation. Viewing material conditions as the cause of our well-being or lack of it keeps us on a roller coaster ride, up and down, changing from good to bad or the other way around, with no guarantee of lasting peace of mind. Looking away from matter to God as the source of our health, happiness, and direction -- coming to feel His presence and perfect government through prayer -- we find deeper satisfaction. We find stability and spiritual progress. The need is to exercise spiritual sense as opposed to material sense, to gain through prayer a glimpseof the perfect reality that transcendsthe moment's appearances and circumstances.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says: ``Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality. Material sense expresses the belief that mind is in matter. This human belief, alternating between a sense of pleasure and pain, hope and fear, life and death, never reaches beyond the boundary of the mortal or the unreal.'' Further on she writes, ``Spiritual ideas lead up to their divine origin, God, and to the spiritual sense of being.''1
Christ Jesus, the Way-shower, said, ``Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.''2 There's an obvious immediacy in his statement. This peaceful, satisfying, heavenly state of consciousness is available to us wherever we are, whoever we're with, whatever we're doing, though at times it may admittedly seem distant. Yet God is never absent, nor is the true, God-bestowed consciousness of harmony.
To recognize more consistently this kingdom within, we need to understand more about God. The mere desire to do so is prayer itself, the kind of prayer that never goes unanswered. Coming to understand Him as perfect Love, as pure Spirit, in harmony with the Bible's teachings, enables us to understand what's spiritually true of ourselves and others as His offspring. It enables us to get a correct view of our identity as the very image of Love, whole and safe in Love's care, and to feel more of that kingdom within. It helps us, through prayer, to gain dominion over the pains and false pleasures of the material senses.
When we find ourselves boxed in by a stressful relationship, an inharmonious situation or physical condition, we have access to all the power of God. As we turn to the one divine Mind, exercising that spiritual sense which trusts in the reality of His care, our thoughts will be purified and yield to His goodness. Mrs. Eddy writes, ``Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.''3
1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 298. 2Luke 17:21. 3Science and Health, p. 261. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8