A Christian Science perspective: Turning to God as the source of our artistic and individual self-expression.

Having spent many years as a performer, I found early on that complete focus on oneself to develop a talent might very well be essential in learning proper technique. But this only took me so far. I later learned that perfecting a talent wasn’t a result of focusing on my personality. It was a result of focusing on self-discovery in and of the divine.

Preoccupation with the “self” – self-interests, circumstances, and emotions – leave little time and thought to discover our true identity and worth from God, the infinite creator. But it is by this spiritual discovery that we are able to express more of ourselves than we might have thought possible.

As a musician, the more I appreciated God as the infinite Spirit that creates our identity as spiritual, the more I could see the limitless goodness and individuality that God gives each of us. I saw that self-absorption stifles inspiration; but selflessness enables us to express our talents from the divine, inexhaustible resource – the one Ego, God.

Ego, understood as not a human quality or action but as the divine and infinite individuality, is God, the only intelligence. Acknowledging the divine Ego denies vanity – the egotism that boasts we are better or more talented than others. As Moses understood, God is the “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14). This recognition of the one “I,” or Mind, brings freedom to everything we do, as we move from self-absorption into discerning individuality as the expression of divine Soul.

Explaining the limitation of self-absorption, Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her textbook on Christian Science: “Absorbed in material selfhood we discern and reflect but faintly the substance of Life or Mind” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 91).

A psalm of David turns us away from being absorbed in a material view of identity and gives us this inspired view of man as created by God: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet” (Psalms 8:3-6).

As children of God we are, in truth, not a projection of personality, no matter how beautifully adorned or even aggressively followed on social media; real identity is found in the likeness of the divine. Christ Jesus showed our true selves to be the image of God, the infinite Soul, expressed in love, goodness, distinctness, humility, and intelligence.

Ever humble, Jesus said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). Only by this humble effort of looking to God as the only Ego and source of identity can we see ourselves in God’s likeness.

When I occupied my thoughts with glorifying God as the divine intelligence that creates and defines all individuality, I found it easy to express the uniqueness of my God-given talents. This also made it natural for me to appreciate the talents of others.

Mrs. Eddy explains, “God is seen only in that which reflects good, Life, Truth, Love – yea, which manifests all His attributes and power, even as the human likeness thrown upon the mirror repeats precisely the looks and actions of the object in front of it” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 23).

Devotion of thought to the divine Ego is prayer that worships God; it steers us clear of egotism; it shows our willingness to glorify God in whatever talents He gives us. No longer stifled by self-absorption, we find and share our unique individuality as the expression of the perfect and ever-defining Soul.

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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.