`BLISS!'' This was what a family friend exclaimed whenever she found herself in some situation that gave her great delight. It might be that she was enjoying a cool swim on a hot day or sitting peacefully in the sunshine. This was her idea of bliss. Human experience, though, can be very changeable. The weather, just right for our favorite outdoor activity one day, may keep us housebound the next. The peace may be shattered by some aggressive intrusion. The bliss of earthly pleasure is often short-lived.
But we can begin to see that such bliss is not the best we can know. The teachings of Christian Science turn our thought to spiritual joys. In the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy1 offers this definition of heaven: ``Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul.''2 Here bliss is equated with the state of being ruled by Spirit, governed by divine Principle, by Almighty God. True bliss, therefore, partakes of God's nature and is spiritual, unchanging, and pure.
The questions then arise, Is such bliss knowable to us? And how can we bring it into our daily experience?
To answer the first question we need to understand the true nature of man, the actual selfhood of each one of us. The Bible says of God, ``Thou hast created all things.''3 God, Spirit, is the only creator. He is man's creator. It follows, then, that man is spiritual, expressing the nature of his creator; that he lives in the atmosphere of Soul -- that he knows true bliss. Joy, harmony, love, beauty, and purity are all his because they originate in God. Man cannot lose them because God isunchanging and therefore His reflection cannot change. The delights of the kingdom of heaven are certainly known to us -- they're inherent in our God-bestowed consciousness -- as the sons and daughters of God.
The second question is, How do we bring these joys into our experience? We do it through prayer and through increasing purity in thought and life. We do it by learning to distinguish between the true, spiritual joys that come from God and the pleasures that are based on the false premise that man is nothing more than a creature of the flesh. A materialistic sense of existence would pin well-being and contentment on the right weather, beautiful surroundings, enjoyable physical activity, and so on. But by lifting our thought through prayer to the higher delights of Spirit we can find joy in even the most humdrum circumstances.
Are our surroundings unattractive? ``The beauty of holiness,'' to use Biblical words, can be ours wherever we are. Are we longing for peace in the midst of turmoil? We can claim the unbroken calm of man's reflection of God. And gestures of love, given or received, bring sunshine into any day.
Christ Jesus said, referring to the lilies of the field, that ``even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.''4But he did not count a beautiful environment or other human conditions as the bringers of true blessing into our lives. The Beatitudes5 that he gave us indicate that blessedness is the result of one's expression of Godlike qualities, of actually living in the kingdom of heaven.
Mrs. Eddy writes, ``Our great Teacher hath said: `Behold, the kingdom of God is within you' -- within man's spiritual understanding of all the divine modes, means, forms, expression, and manifestation of goodness and happiness.''6
True bliss belongs to all God's children, now and forever. Let's find our delight in the blessings that God in the fullness of His love has bestowed on man.
1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health with Key tothe Scriptures, p. 587. 3Revelation 4:11.4Matthew 6:29. 5See Matthew 5:3-11. 6The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 267.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage...Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalms 16:5,6,11