'Thoughts are like arrows. Once released they strike their mark. Guard them well or one day you may be your own victim." This wise bit of counsel is a Native American proverb, passed along in the Chickahominy Tribe of Virginia.
But it certainly isn't a subject relegated to ancient axioms with little current relevance. In fact, the effect of thought on human experience has in recent years become a subject of widespread interest among religious thinkers and writers, spiritual seekers, social scientists, doctors, and researchers.
Writing at the turn of the last century, Mary Baker Eddy, who established this newspaper, was already giving considerable attention to the nature of thought, to its effect and influence, to the potential for good or ill in each human thought. This is a subject vastly larger than a single article could hope to cover in depth. But the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mrs. Eddy, does provide an inspired analysis from a metaphysical perspective. In this book, for example, we read, "You must control evil thoughts in the first instance, or they will control you in the second." Then the book points to what Christ Jesus taught his followers: "Jesus declared that to look with desire on forbidden objects was to break a moral precept. He laid great stress on the action of the human mind, unseen to the senses" (pg. 234).
Taking Jesus' example to heart, the Apostle Paul wrote to the early Christians to "let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). Or, as Paul also counseled, to bring "into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Cor. 10:5). This is where the moral and spiritual freedom - and the dominion over evil, aggression, hate, and fear - that people long for is finally found.
In that Native American proverb, in Eddy's spiritual counsel, in Paul's admonitions, in Jesus' teachings, a common theme is apparent. The "thought arrows" that are wrong and cruel need to be kept in check.
Much in Science and Health not only helps readers see the effects of thought but also provides a clear basis for defense and protection. Beyond that, the book opens a whole new view of divine reality, showing us the loving and wise nature of God as infinite Mind and the consequent loving and wise nature of creation as Mind's expression, wherein only thoughts of good reside - pure thoughts, holy thoughts, beautiful and joyous thoughts, healthy thoughts, Godlike thoughts.
In illustrating the means of defense, Science and Health states: "Evil thoughts and aims reach no farther and do no more harm than one's belief permits. Evil thoughts, lusts, and malicious purposes cannot go forth, like wandering pollen, from one human mind to another, finding unsuspected lodgment, if virtue and truth build a strong defence" (pgs. 234-235). Adding to that defense a blessing, in another of Eddy's writings is this observation: "Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," pg. 210). Showing an even broader effect of right thinking, she concludes: "Of this we may be sure: that thoughts winged with peace and love breathe a silent benediction over all the earth, cooperate with the divine power, and brood unconsciously o'er the work of His hand" ("Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 152).
Prayer and a humble willingness to yield to the love and will of God fill our thoughts only with what is good and true. We're free and safe. There are no harmful thoughts to injure others or the archer himself. What we think and say and do, cooperating "with the divine power," can only bless the world.
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