Dumping Thought Guzzlers

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

"Gas guzzler" is a popular term describing a car that consumes a lot of fuel per mile traveled. Such a car is generally considered ecologically and economically unsound.

My wife and I once bought a secondhand car that was not only a gas guzzler but posed an even greater problem: it turned into a "thought-guzzler." As soon as we fixed one part of it, something else went wrong and required our attention. When we finally got rid of the car, we had lost money on it. But what a relief it was to be free from the constant demand it had been making on our thoughts!

A little later we reached the decision that my wife's work would necessitate our once more owning a car. As a result of our prayers a car was given to us as a gift the very next day, and over the years it demanded a lot less attention than the car we had retired.

Progressively disentangling thoughts from mundane matters is important if we are to grow and in so doing help to better society. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the healing Science she named Christian Science, pointed out the need for a departure from concern over the material and for the adoption of a more spiritual consciousness. That is, we help ourselves and others by knowing God better. Mrs. Eddy's book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures says, "Emerge gently from matter into Spirit" (p. 485). So this departure is not harsh or impractical.

The Bible highlights the need for our thoughts to be more focused on God. In his first letter to the Christians in Thessalonica, Paul urged, "Pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17). Such a request is meaningless unless we can comply with it. The capacity to pray ceaselessly is inherent in each of us. This is because we are each, as the Bible teaches, God's image, His likeness (see Genesis 1:27). As the divine Mind, a fount of pure thought, God is reflected in our own good thinking, calm inspiration, clear insight, and spiritual understanding. Each of us is able to think the good, spiritual thoughts that would clearly qualify as praying "without ceasing." In right thinking we can overcome anxiety, selfish desire, and mundane concern.

If keeping every thought aligned with God doesn't appear to be easy, that is because of the resistance of what Paul called "the carnal mind" (see Romans 8:7). This mortal mind is itself a kind of thought guzzler. It acts as an incessant diverter of thought away from God, and toward material things. This may pose as the breakdown of a car, a troublesome home that needs constant attention, as sickness, or as egotism and vanity. The carnal mind may appear as a traumatic relationship that drains all our joy, or as a sinful act we feel unable to stop committing.

However it comes to us, any claim of a power able to distract our thought from God is a false claim. There's always an underlying lie here-that something evil exists to burden us, or else that something good required for our well-being is lacking. But as Christian Science can prove, the fact is that all is Spirit. Your life as God's expression is always full of His beauty and freedom. All phases of imperfection need to be seen as illusive, in order for us to free our thoughts fully for the worship and adoration of God. By realizing that His goodness is universal, eternal, total, we free our thoughts. In this way we are better able to follow Christ Jesus and obey what he taught. Jesus placed his thought entirely at God's disposal, for use in healing and teaching others. He said it was possible for anyone to do the good works he did. Christian Science explains how.

Understanding God is as vital as ever today. Science and Health says, "Divine Mind rightly demands man's entire obedience, affection, and strength. No reservation is made for any lesser loyalty" (p. 183). No thought guzzler-no lesser mind than the divine Mind, God-truly has the power to prevent anybody from fulfilling this demand. Our entire thinking, and consequently our living, are empowered in obedience to God.

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