Making good choices and decisions

A Christian Science perspective: Spiritual intuition can guide all of our decisions.

Every day, by every person, choices and decisions must be made – all the way from what to wear in the morning, to major family or business decisions, to whom to vote for on election day (or what to do if there are no voting privileges where you live).

Considering all the options (or lack of options), how can we know what to do that will move things forward toward an outcome that will be good for everyone? How do we begin tackling daunting decisions? The prophet Joel called on God to help him decide how to rally Israelites out of bondage: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14).

As in Joel’s day, God is still right here with us in every decision, small or great. Not that God will tell us in so many words exactly what human course we should take, but He has given us an inherent tool – spiritual intuition – that enables us to listen for His guidance, reason more clearly about the options at hand, and make decisions we can trust.

Spiritual intuition is a primary quality of spiritual sense as defined in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: “Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality” (p. 298). To utilize this tool we need to turn our mental attention away from material observations, opinions, and fears to a spiritual sense of God as the one divine Mind of everyone.

Through spiritual intuition we inherently know that unlimited goodness, justice, purity, integrity, and health not only should be the norm for everyone, but actually are the norm. That is because these qualities are the only reality in the divine Mind, in which we all truly exist as Mind’s perfect spiritual reflection. So even if an important decision has to be made right now – giving us little or no time to ponder spiritual ideas or consider the options – we can pause and mentally acknowledge that God, as all-good, has given us the ability to know right from wrong, to see beneath the outward appearance of things, to be a discerning and unbiased judge of character, and to have a clear intuition about which course to take.

I have often been surprised, when pausing to subordinate my muddled thoughts to God’s direction, at what has emerged in my thought as the right choice. At times it has been a possibility that had never occurred to me before. Every one of us can be directed by Mind – through prayer and spiritual intuition – to make right decisions and good choices that we can be confident about and that bring us peace.

Should we ever encounter a tough decision, we know that our deliberation is divinely inspired when we quiet the physical senses and use our spiritual sense. After all, each new day affords us new opportunities to turn to God, the divine Mind, as the source of intelligence and discernment, and we find guidance that we can trust.

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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.