Many years ago, I dropped out of mainstream society in order to find a more natural way to live.
My journeys took me to a beautiful tropical island, where I lived on the beach in a tent with friends and finally with a man whose ancestors were native to that island.
Many aspects of this life were idyllic the beautiful sunsets and rainbows gracing the water, the bounteous fresh fruits and vegetables grown in our garden and given to us by friends, the peaceful days and nights living in a remote town with a population of about 40 people.
I spent many hours meditating and praying. I was also beginning to read the Bible again after years of concentrating on other religious texts. Then one day I borrowed a book by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, that filled me with joy and expectation. The opening line from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" is an affirmation of what I felt to be true in my heart and which had led me on a search for a more natural, spiritual way of life: "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings."
I read this book with hunger and delight. I found how to know God better. It made clear to me that God is found in a heart striving to be good. This realization enabled me to effortlessly stop using drugs after being addicted to them for over 10 years. The desire just fell away. I had found something infinitely better and more satisfying.
In addition to this, I started to experiment with the method of healthcare presented in this book, and I found healing through scientific prayer to God.
I then realized that I truly wanted to live a pure life, one exemplified by Christ Jesus.
The man I was living with had been supporting us financially by growing marijuana. I wanted him to stop growing it and trust, along with me, that God would open up a better source of income. Also, we weren't married, and I no longer felt comfortable with that. My attempts to share the ideas of this book that were changing my life were not successful. I couldn't see a way out, since I was penniless and I did care about him.
Occasionally, I would be in town on Sunday and would go to a church that used the Bible and Science and Health for its sermon. I'd met a woman who devoted her life to Christian Science spiritual healing. One day I asked to speak with her privately after the service. I was in tears, telling her how awful I felt about living with a man out of wedlock. I couldn't even bear to bring up the marijuana issue.
She helped me in the most surprising way. Instead of concentrating on what was wrong, she very lovingly told me not to be so concerned with my current situation, that it was a common problem of the times and I didn't need to condemn myself for that. What I did need to do was to keep my thoughts on God and on what was good, loving, true, and pure. If I did that, she said, then the right solution would follow.
I kept my thoughts hopeful and good. It turned out that the man I was living with was very kind and understanding of my needs. He realized that if I wasn't happy with the living situation, he wouldn't be happy either. He wasn't ready to stop growing marijuana, even though he wanted to stop in the future. We parted amicably.
I decided to call my parents to see if they would lend me the money for airfare to come home. They graciously did so, and I gradually became a contributing member of society. I no longer needed to live a life sheltered from the world's problems. I could live in the world feeling the peace that comes from communion with God.
Did I miss the island? Yes, for a while. I even flew back before winter set in to see if perhaps marriage was the right way to go. It was then that I realized that as beautiful as the island was, being married there would not bring me happiness, and living secluded from the world wouldn't bring me happiness either. I was beginning to understand the wisdom from the book that had brought such radical change to my life.