Why it's not 'all about me'

A Christian Science perspective.

One of the great pleasures of living in Europe is to be able to run through some of the most beautiful countrysides and cities in the world. I like to jog every other morning or so, and it’s usually through the vineyards and fields of my home in Switzerland. Late one cool April afternoon, however, while on a business trip to Paris – who can resist Paris in April?– I put on my sweat pants and sweat shirt and took off on a run along the Seine.

During the previous week I had been working through a revelation – at this point more of a feeling than anything else – that it wasn’t “all about me.” I know that sounds pretty shallow, but the idea that everything – our jobs, our families, our communities, our very lives – depends on us as mortals is ingrained in the mortal experience, and it can take some effort to dispel the myth. At least it has for me.

The revelation had come to me one morning when I reached the top of a long hill near my home. Along the way I had wanted to stop and rest, but I refused to think about my tired body. Instead, I focused on the goal – the prize, if you will, as in the Apostle Paul’s statement in First Corinthians: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (9:24). The verse kept me going step by step, and as I ran I felt myself getting stronger, so that by the end of the climb I was breathing hard but able to keep going farther than I ever had before.

I saw a metaphor in that: If we keep our eyes on the prize of spiritual victory – spiritual dominion – over the human body, and step by step conquer the belief that life is in matter and that matter can slow us down and eventually stop us, then we are only going to get stronger. We are the very image of God, spiritual and perfect and individual now. The divine Spirit, God, is all that ever will define us. Another way to put it is that we are the expression of what the Bible calls “I Am,” which is, of course, God (see Exodus 3:14). Therefore, our real identity is not in a physical body. A body does not define who we are. So we don’t need to stress over it but can gain increasing dominion over it through the understanding of who and what we really are.

Over the next few days I nurtured this idea, loving the broader vision that I now had. I realized that even in situations involving a lot of people, whether an international problem needing to be solved or an organization needing help, there is only one Ego. Every individual is the manifestation of that divine Ego, expressing God’s nature as Love and Mind. I happened to be doing some consulting work for a group involved in the issue of climate change, so this idea was helpful. Mary Baker Eddy notes, in describing I, or Ego, “There is but one I, or Us, but one divine Principle, or Mind, governing all existence;” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 588).

So back to my jog in Paris: As I ran along the river I was able to see the work I was doing for my client in a different light. I saw that it wasn’t about me personally but about expressing the capacities of the one divine I, or Ego. God is not moving us toward the prize of unity with Him; we are already there, in a wide expanse of glory, and it’s as true for others as it is for me. I also saw my way to solving a particular problem that had stymied me, namely, how to get things done that I seemed to have no time for. The divine Ego is not limited or defined by time.

It isn’t all about me – my physical body, my personal goals or career. It’s about God’s will for me and all His creation. It’s about God expressing Himself through us.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.