WHEN I was a college student, living in a dormitory, a friend said he thought I would enjoy the boardinghouse where he lived more than my admittedly Spartan quarters. He invited me to dinner to look the place over. Though I enjoyed the meal, something about the atmosphere of the place troubled me. Both young men and women lived in the house, and I sensed that the conviviality I saw had a tendency to slip into something that would be at best distracting and at worst...well, you get the picture. I decided to remain in my simple but serviceable dorm room.
When I explained my reasoning to my friend, he chuckled quietly at what he considered my naivet. But later he got himself into a situation, as a result of living where he did, that resulted in his attempting suicide, and in the aftermath he gave up the graduate program on which he had spent nearly two successful years.
Naturally, I was deeply saddened by his experience, which had been avoidable. I was also grateful that I had not agreed to enter the environment that had brought it about. This was an example of the need to guard one's mental home. Our consciousness is, in a profound sense, our home, and we need to keep it pure.
One way to guard our thought is to keep it filled with good. In our desire to express the goodness of God, to agree with the love, gentleness, purity, and intelligence that characterize His nature, we naturally exclude contrary attitudes. It is always easier to shut out unhealthy thoughts in the first place than it is to evict them once we have accepted them. In a parable, Christ Jesus told of a man from whom an unclean spirit has gone out. Finding nowhere else to rest, this false thought decides to return, and finds the house ``swept and garnished.'' ``Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.''1
Open-mindedness does not demand that we make room in our thought for harmful influences. The thought open to God doesn't ignore evil but does recognize God as the source of all worthy, true, and helpful ideas.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort.''2
There are times, though, when we may have to sweep out of thought anger, fear, cynicism, sensuality. This task becomes easier as we realize that the one God, our creator, is truly the only Mind, and He has made man spiritual, in His image. Our true consciousness, then, includes only good, indeed knows only good.
Referring to the individual who hears his words and acts upon them, Jesus said, ``I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.''3
Jesus' teachings give us a solid basis for thought. They afford us a dependable means of deciding what we will admit into our mental home and express toward others. They provide the only genuine safety and happiness.
1See Luke 11:24-26. 2The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210. 3Matthew 7:24, 25. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE My brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:10,11