Spiritual 'hypermiling'

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

Oil prices are over $130 per barrel, gasoline over $4 a gallon, and bread and milk prices are going up – as well as everything else at the store. But for most people, income isn't rising to meet these increased costs.

One way to attack the problem is by spiritual "hypermiling." Automotive hypermiling is squeezing every extra mile possible out of every gallon of gasoline in the tank (see The Christian Science Monitor, "Getting the most out of a gallon," June 12). Spiritual hypermiling, then, would be squeezing every bit of good that's available from our understanding of God and His laws and looking for evidence of it in our daily lives.

We don't need to be nuclear engineers or next of kin to the saints in order to access God's laws of unlimited good. Simply knowing that they are in operation frees us to access that good.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science – the divine laws of God in operation – explained that Jesus understood these laws and, by his actions, showed us how to use them. She said, "Our great Way-shower, steadfast to the end in his obedience to God's laws, demonstrated for all time and peoples the supremacy of good over evil, and the superiority of Spirit over matter" ("Retrospection and Introspection," p. 26).

Even before the advent of Jesus, those laws were operating. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, fed them in the wilderness, gave them water in the desert, and performed healings. Elijah and Elisha did similar works. The same Principle that helped Moses and these prophets is still operating today.

During the period of high inflation in the late 1970s, a young mother was facing divorce and was on a tight budget. She didn't feel she understood all the intricacies of God's law, but she decided to put into practice what she did know. So she called a Christian Science practitioner – someone who devotes his or her full time to practicing these laws – for help. He pointed out that God's laws were in operation right where she was and in a way that would prove both practical and fulfilling.

In essence, they were going to practice spiritual hypermiling by leaning on God, divine Principle, for all her needs. The Bible's advice to "run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1) became her watchword.

The first law she used was the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3). She took this to mean that she should acknowledge only one infinite good, ever present and omnipotent. She learned to be grateful for every good thing that came her way and to obey quickly and cheerfully whenever a good impulse prompted her. As a result of this decision, she didn't run home to her parents but stayed and faced the situation squarely. The other law she consistently leaned on was, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matt. 22:39). To her that meant not falling prey to depression or hatred.

As she applied these two laws to all her activities, she became happier and was able to deal with the details of a divorce that she didn't want. She also found that ideas were flowing freely for making the best use of her resources. For instance, she took advantage of sales fliers to get the most out of her grocery dollars, she regularly recycled outgrown clothing at the local thrift store, and she rented out the spare room to a student from overseas. She also shared freely with others, inviting friends to dinner or exchanging baby-sitting with the neighbor, and volunteering in her community. The good she experienced and the satisfaction she felt increased dramatically.

Eventually she moved and remarried, but she's always been grateful for how generously she was cared for during that trying period, which also coincided with one of the worst economic times in recent memory.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "... as many as receive the knowledge of God in Science must reflect, in some degree, the power of Him who gave and giveth man dominion over all the earth" ("Unity of Good," p. 39). That's practical spiritual hypermiling for any of today's challenges.

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