WHEN I was a kid I had a terrible time learning to read. No matter how much the teacher scolded and I struggled, those little letters on the page would not resolve themselves into ``See Dick run.'' Eventually I did learn to read and became an avid reader, but those first few years were a harbinger of difficulties in learning that continued throughout my childhood. This struggle left me with an underlying feeling that I was stupid, even when I had begun to do better academically.
Later, when I was introduced to Christian Science, I discovered a completely different way of thinking about intelligence. Instead of accepting the ordinary view that intelligence is mostly the result of heredity, brain cells, and formal education, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``God is intelligence.'' Elsewhere, Science and Health explains that God is infinite Mind and that all intelligence has its source in Him.
Since God is infinite Spirit, intelligence is unlimited. And it is available to all of us as we are willing to turn to God in prayer and to see ourselves in a new and spiritual light. Instead of viewing ourselves as primarily or totally material and genetically derived individuals, we need to see ourselves in the terms that Christ Jesus used to describe man's relationship to God.
In showing that God is his Father and ours, Christ Jesus was saying that we can overcome hurtful limitations as we are willing to acknowledge our spirituality and our sonship with God. The strength in his teachings came from his conviction, stated in John, ``I and my Father are one.'' And he tried through parables, examples, healings, and instruction to convey to his followers an understanding of man's inseparability from God. He knew that if people could grasp this point, the limitations that held back their spiritual and human progress would be broken.
To understand that we can never be separated from divine intelligence, then, means that we can expect to express this spiritually based intelligence in our lives. In our prayers we can affirm that God's intelligence is always present and that as His sons and daughters we specifically express this quality. Moreover, since we are fully spiritual because God is Spirit, we cannot be held back by inabilities that would keep us from reaching our full potential. Instead, we can understand that a material brain, material genetic patterns, or a material history of heredity can never touch the spiritual nature that is our true being.
This spiritual nature is where true intelligence resides, and as we identify ourselves with it, we will begin to think of ourselves in terms of our potential for good instead of our lack of ability academically or in other ways. This potential for good includes not only intelligence but other spiritual qualities such as foresight, wisdom, love, truth, purity, and strength. And as we pray to express these qualities, we are affirming our own, already complete spiritual nature.
Will it make a difference? Maybe not all at once. But gradually we will find ourselves turning more and more to God, to Mind, for direction or insight. And as we perceive what we need to know from this divine source, we will in fact express more intelligence. In my own experience I found that as my study of Christian Science progressed, not only did I become more confident; my actual performance improved in a measurable way. In fact, Christian Science was crucial to my being able to complete advanced post-graduate work. So, did understanding the spiritual basis for intelligence make a difference in my life? You bet!