A recent Sunday New York Times article focused on the clutter we surround ourselves with, and came with the battle cry to weed out our possessions. In underscoring the great challenge in doing this, author Gretchen Rubin quotes philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau’s famous admonition: “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.” And then, to further her point, she adds: “Even Thoreau ... couldn’t limit himself to a single ‘simplicity.’ ”
Well, if the challenge of eliminating our physical “stuff” is daunting, it might not hold a candle to our tendency to accumulate mental clutter.
The Bible describes this snare all too well: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3).
In “Letters from those Healed,” found in Mary Baker Eddy’s “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” a writer whose life had been changed by Christian Science boldly states: “Truth is, and ever has been, simple; and because of its utter simplicity, we in our pride and selfishness have been looking right over it” (p. 469).
It does indeed seem that pride and selfishness can easily distract us from the powerful, healing laws that are ours to claim as God’s infinite, intact idea. What an opportunity to face down the human mind’s tendency to take personal responsibility for “accumulating” spiritual knowledge, an endeavor often beset with layers of analysis, self-examination, and judgmentalism. As we see ourselves more and more from God’s viewpoint, as this infinite, intact idea, we understand, just as Jesus did, that the goal of perfection is set – and met – in one holy instant: now. It is in realizing and cherishing our present spiritual “being” that we can so naturally let go of spiritual “becoming.”
The letter writer in Miscellaneous Writings continues: “We have been keeping our eyes turned toward the sky, scanning the heavens with a far-off gaze in search of light, expecting to see the truth blaze forth like some great comet, or in some extraordinary manner; and when, instead of coming in great pomp and splendor, it appears in the simpleness of demonstration, we ... refuse to accept it;....”
This kind of mental preoccupation tends to take over when we look for some aspect of our lives – health, relationships, a bank account – to respond to agenda-based prayer, keeping us from the “simplicity that is in Christ.” Engaging in some form of mental, metaphysical algebra to make a healing “happen” is not the same as leaning on the all-knowing Mind to illuminate the way forward.
When we end the intellectual road trip – even the baggage of churning over “good ideas,” applying them to a problem we’re convinced is real – we find in its place the healing power of Love’s grace. As we let go of insisting just how a healing must come forth, we align with the continuous demonstration of Mind’s creativity ushering forth – with no wait time.
Mrs. Eddy points us to the simplicity that must undergird our understanding of Mind’s present, timeless spiritual laws: “Christian Science is simple, and readily understood by the children; only the thought educated away from it finds it abstract or difficult to perceive” (“Miscellaneous Writings,” p. 53). Here she makes a clear distinction between the educated, matter-based logic of the human viewpoint and the understanding of God as All-in-all. That each one of us is included in, and identified by, this “All in all” – intact, pure, and unfettered, is the essential message of Christian Science.
As that same bold letter writer in “Miscellaneous Writings” mused: “I never could understand how heaven could be a place with gorgeous fittings, but I think I can and do understand how it might be a spiritual (or if you please mental) condition. Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you’ ” (p. 468).
Could it possibly be this simple? That in contemplating the kingdom of God, not as an outsider looking in – trying to grasp the concept – but living in and as this glorious kingdom, in that holy instant we can unfurrow the brow, and unfurl Mind’s infinite, sparkling good – present right now.
From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel