Last month, asahi.com, an online Japanese/English newspaper, posted an editorial titled "Economic pessimism." It began with the old saying, "Worry is often the cause of illness," and added, "The perceived weakening of the economy, too, may have its beginnings in the mind" (April 3). The editorial went on to discuss the importance of reversing feelings of despair and confusion that could have a deleterious impact on the Japanese economy.
It's a keen observation that thought has a direct impact on individual experience and that it can influence collective experience, too. But it's also important to realize that this mental influence doesn't have to be negative. In fact, the individual conviction that divine Principle governs all can have a collective, positive effect on the world economy.
This is not to say there still aren't issues to work out. The global financial scene may seem somewhat more settled in recent weeks than it has been, but how many would assert that the reasons for instability in the financial markets have been fully addressed? The continued slowdown in the US economy and elsewhere is a sobering reminder that we can't afford to be passive.
Nor can we afford to be fearful. Instead, inspired spiritual activism, based on the idea that the economy is amenable to positive mental influences, will benefit the marketplace. This involves looking beyond material measurements and statistical data, and amplifying all that's good, through deep gratitude for divinity's present, beneficial control of creation.
Mary Baker Eddy used strong words when she told readers of her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" how to respond to any error of thought: "When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea.... Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious – as Life eternally is – can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not" (p. 495).
These statements provide a plan not just for restoring health to the body but also for renovating national economies and international relations – because thought does indeed influence the body and its environment. So when the illusion of a sick economy, or one riddled by greed, forecasts disaster, we can cling more steadfastly to the spiritual fact that everything concerning God's idea – the man and woman of His creating – is as perfect as God is. Also, we can allow only divine Love to speak to us about the health of the economy.
Essential to our confidence is that "recognition of life harmonious." To recognize the true harmony of human affairs is to realize not just that it rests on a spiritual platform, but also that it isn't separate from divine Principle, whose laws define the nature of Life.
Understanding more of Principle's governance helps pave the way for adjustments in the economy at every level, from the individual desperately seeking the most basic employment, to the CEO who neglected to ask questions about how the company's funds were spent. Each can perceive the spiritual solution that will bring him or her into greater harmony with divine Life. The Christ, God's agent of Truth, will also provide humanity with the moral courage to obey this divine guidance and gain its blessing. The resulting harmony will drive out anything that isn't Godlike – selfishness, greed, impatience, dishonesty – and reveal the good that's already at hand.
News reports such as the one on asahi.com show how international economies are affected not just by actual financial downturns but even just by the thought of a challenge to a major business or weakness in the financial markets. Holding firm with the truth is an important step toward making and keeping them strong. Neither fear nor doubt can hold back divine progress, and our prayers can do much to make it so.
Adapted from an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.