Finding the ‘centre and circumference’ of being

A Christian Science perspective: Understanding where we come from answers the question “Who am I?”

How do we learn the answer to the question “Who am I?” Is there a way to discern our identity and, consequently, where we belong and what we should be doing?

In my own experience, the study of Christian Science has shown me how to begin to discern my true identity and where I belong.

Put simply, what I’ve learned is this: God, divine Spirit, is good and the source and creator of all. We, as His children, are therefore good and spiritual.

As the book of Revelation states: “I [God] am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (22: 13). Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, develops this idea further in her textbook, “God is at once the centre and circumference of being” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” pp. 203, 204). To me, both of these statements mean that God’s presence fills all space and time – that God is unlimited and infinite. In terms of my quest to find myself, this truth reveals that God is the essence, or origin, of my identity – and that He is the center and circumference of everyone’s being. As God is the source of identity, it is only in proportion as we understand what God is that we will discern who each of us really is as His expression.

This understanding of the basic fact that God, divine Spirit, is the source and creator of “who I am” puts the whole subject of identity on a much different basis than the conventional view of human experience. Sometimes if we look to the world for an answer to the question “Who am I?” the answer we hear might be “You’re nobody!”

But God, Truth, maintains our identity as purposeful and complete. Through our receptivity, our openness to God, our thought becomes like a window through which the infinite light of Truth’s omnipotence can shine. This light of Truth replaces the darkness of the belief that we are merely material, limited beings with the understanding that we are each spiritual, the unlimited expression, or image, of God.

I have demonstrated in my own life the idea that God, Spirit, is the source of my being. When I was overseas looking for employment as a young person, I recall feeling that limitations seemed to confront me at every turn. The feeling that we’re somehow inadequate or just not good enough can seem to be a strong counterforce hindering our sense of purpose and identity. But this was an opportunity to apply what I had been learning about identity in Christian Science. As I prayed, I rejected the notion that my identity was dependent on limited, negative material perceptions of who and what I was. I countered this perception with the spiritual knowledge I had gained – that God, good, was the source of my identity, and as God’s child, or reflection, I could only know and experience good. This active endeavor to let go of the material view of my identity for the spiritual view opened up for me regular freelance opportunities in a demanding market. This was evidence of what I was becoming conscious of, the usefulness and freedom inherent in my God-given identity.

In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy describes something of the process I put into practice: “We must reverse our feeble flutterings – our efforts to find life and truth in matter – and rise above the testimony of the material senses, above the mortal to the immortal idea of God. These clearer, higher views inspire the God-like man to reach the absolute centre and circumference of his being” (p. 262).

The glorious implications of the spiritual fact of our identity will help each of us realize moment by moment who we truly are, and what we are meant to be.

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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.