`ALL passengers must be seated with their seat belts securely fastened....'' Familiar words to airline passengers. The first feeling of motion down the runway is followed by ever-increasing acceleration as the full thrust of jet engines propels the plane skyward, often above a dreary day into a bright sky. Once the aircraft reaches cruising altitude, it can even seem to move forward effortlessly. One morning as my plane settled into what appeared to me to be motionless flight, I was struck by the similarity to the need for spiritual insight in one's life. It doesn't require any more effort or energy to cruise at a higher altitude -- once you're there -- but attaining a higher level of inspiration does require extra effort. And how difficult it seems sometimes to make that effort! But I have found that turning to statements by Christ Jesus and by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, can help my prayer ``take off'' to bring me to a more spiritual altitude of thought. Luke records, for example, that Jesus said, ``The kingdom of God is within you.'' In her book Pulpit and Press, Mrs. Eddy refers to that quotation and then goes on to say: ``Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love. If you maintain this position, who or what can cause you to sin or suffer?''
Statements like these have often propelled me out of physical or mental discord into clearer vistas. Here are some examples. Once I felt that a supervisor was requiring me to compromise my integrity. A second instance involved an incomplete healing of an illness. A third involved needing to concentrate on an important task. In each case I drew closer to God by knowing that right then I was a child of God and that because His kingdom was within me, my desire to do what was right was backed by His sovereign power. Believing that some person or condition can separate us from God is sinful thinking, because we are believing that God is not all powerful and all present. We are breaking the First Commandment, which is found in Exodus: ``Thou shalt have no other gods before me.''
In the three instances above, I had unknowingly accepted the false belief that there was something (a supervisor, an illness, a distraction) that could block out God's omnipotence and omnipresence. When through prayer I was lifted to new insights of God's perfection being expressed in me and in those with me, progress was made with the supervisory situation, the illness was quickly healed, and I was able to concentrate without distraction on the tasks at hand.
Breaking the bands of earthly thinking comes from a deeper understanding of God's omnipotence and omnipresence, which enable us to break away from earthly limitation. Daily study of the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings provides the foundation for inspired prayer, but we can't break the bands of earth by just reading and repeating words. We need to go behind the words to hearing and understanding the ideas from God.
God is speaking continuously to each of us. We hear His guidance more clearly as we understand Him better. And we understand Him better as we learn more about Him. Bible references like the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus' parables and healings teach us about God and allow us to feel His direction and love propelling us Spiritward.