The peace and power of quiet
A Christian Science perspective.
Silence, it turns out, is even better than it sounds. Maybe you are a country dweller living so far from town that, come morning, you actually still wake to the proverbial rooster. If so, the crowing may come as welcome confirmation of what you already know – it’s great to live where the sounds of the day are largely the sounds of nature. For the most part, they stay well in the background.
If you’re a city dweller, though, it’s a whole different matter. Car alarms set off at 2 a.m. Quarrelling neighbors going at each other. And most of all, the constant din of traffic wearing away at you. A couple of recent studies focus on noise and find that it is more than a minor irritant. Some see it as a health threat that extends almost everywhere. A recent study documented noise exceeding healthy levels in 98 percent of Manhattan’s public space.
Another study of 4.6 million adults in Switzerland looked at the effects of noise on individuals living in the flight path of an airport. The study found that exposure to the nearly constant thunder of airplanes leaving and landing is not good and can result in serious health consequences, including heart disease.
Is there hope for good solutions? Consider this. Christ Jesus, who provided the ultimate example for all of us in so many ways, once quieted a storm at sea. He did it with the command, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39) – along with unshakable conviction in the divine authority of those words. Can we begin to cultivate such a conviction?
What we need is already at hand. The timeless Christ is here, is now, and continues undiminished. Christ lights up human consciousness with the good news that God is the heavenly Father of us all, and we are His loved offspring. Christ’s influence on humanity remains constant in all its quietness. Because of these facts, the Christ will never be undercut or overwhelmed. One way to think of the Christ is as the message of divine peace that comes from God to human consciousness. This message has a healing impact.
The cacophony of the human mind doesn’t override the Christ-message. Peace doesn’t have to be lost along the way. The message of the Christ gets through. The stilling of storms, emotional as well as physical, takes place. Once human consciousness yields to the presence of the Christ, thought settles into a calmer state. The mental noise, emanating from a thousand small-time worries, clamors for our attention. But the voice of Truth, heeded in prayer, shuts down that noise, while it upholds our mental clarity and calm. Things like strain and fear and stress grow less insistent. Then, as we continue to reclaim our poise, we can listen more effectively, and reason with more inspiration.
But what does all this have to do with addressing the literal noise that bombards people every day? A lot. As emotional storms quiet, people find themselves more likely to spot problem-solving approaches for a whole range of life’s challenges, including the challenge of too much noise.
And – surprise! – in the field of noise abatement some good solutions already exist. For instance, we don’t need to relocate everyone living in the flight path of a big-city airport. Some well-placed sound insulation material in the construction of new homes, or in the retrofitting of old ones, could do the trick. The thing is, it’s easier for practical answers to surface when, first of all, we start listening for the Christ-message, and second of all, heed the inspiration that comes our way. While the inspiration from God, from divine Truth, is purely spiritual, it appears on the human scene in ways that are both practical and tangible.
Getting to those practical answers tends to go more smoothly as we employ the kind of spiritual discernment the master Christian so routinely employed. This equips us to sort out which ideas and approaches to keep, and which ones to set aside. But the clatter from contending approaches ceases in a person’s thought when they more clearly discern what the divine law of Truth brings to light and what is merely generated by “the carnal mind” (a Bible term in Rom. 8:7 for the supposititious mentality that tends to make a lot of noise without really saying anything useful). Discern things spiritually, and problems will get solved. Hammer them out humanly, drawing only on the carnal mind, and they may well seem illusive. Mary Baker Eddy – a spiritual problem solver if ever there was one – put it this way: “When the noise and stir of contending sentiments cease, and the flames die away on the mount of revelation, we can read more clearly the tablets of Truth” (“No and Yes,” p. 1).
The law of Truth, which is the Science of the Christ, is on the scene now. This law, or Science, conveys to humanity the Christ-message of “Peace, be still.” The raucousness of the carnal mind has no choice but to hush. This blesses everyone.
From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.