Thoughts worth thinking

Today’s column explores how increasing our understanding of God even a small amount can lead to healing.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Have you ever thought of making a pie chart of the different kinds of thoughts you are thinking as you move through the day?

I recently did that as a fun little exercise, and by the end of the week it had revealed pretty clearly what I am interested in, and even what I love.

Initially, this exercise was just for the sake of observation and amusement. I wasn’t trying to change anything. I just wanted to be more aware of the different directions to which I was devoting my thinking. Since we literally think thousands of thoughts a day, as you can imagine, not all of the thoughts I was tracking were wonderful. But I made sure to acknowledge the good ones, too.

And I discovered something interesting: The nature of my thinking made a big difference in my experience. The correlation I discerned was that a spiritual thought – for instance, I spent time considering God’s nature as infinite love and goodness – actually led to more clarity and harmony in my day.

In order to make the mental shift toward this line of thinking, it wasn’t as though I needed to stop thinking or force my thoughts in a certain way. I just humbly opened my heart a little more to God’s presence, to the inspiration that I understand is always coming to each of us from the divine Mind.

That’s not to say God is responsible for all the thoughts we entertain. There’s a line in the Bible that says: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (I John 4:1). I think of the word “spirits” here as relating to different types of thinking and concepts, so this encouraged me to “try,” or examine, thoughts as they crossed my mental threshold. I realized that if they made me feel loved by God and closer to God, then they were divine – from God.

Along those lines, I’ve learned that it doesn’t do much good to dwell on fear, lack, or resentment. It’s not that we need to, or should try to, willfully force such thoughts out of our thinking or beat ourselves up over having them, but we can know that these are not thoughts that come to us from the infinite Mind. By opening our hearts to God’s nature and understanding our own nature as God’s expression, these unwelcome thoughts increasingly lose their hold.

Christ Jesus showed that we can all yield to the divine Mind in this way. He encouraged people to increase their faith and understanding, even if only by a tiny amount (see Luke 17:6), and he demonstrated the wonderful healings that can result. This still applies today.

A friend of mine once was told by an optometrist that she had something wrong with her eyes. She felt as though this prediction completely darkened her future, and indeed, her vision became worse and worse over a few months.

Then she began praying about it. That is, she started to open her thought to the idea that as God’s daughter, she was spiritual and whole. And as she explained it to me, she felt that “God was there telling me of my perfection … even though I felt far from perfect.”

That’s how God knows us. Not as material beings infused into imperfect matter, but as entirely perfect and spiritual. And as we yield to what the divine Mind knows, we realize that we can never be separated from God.

My friend shed tears of gratitude as she saw more clearly how the truth of God’s perfection was expressed in her, and over the next few weeks she continued to let this message of God’s goodness fill her thinking.

Within several months of the diagnosis, she’d had an inspiring and permanent healing, and even now she still takes time each day to pray to gain more understanding of her God-given spiritual wholeness. Had she tracked her “before” and “after” thoughts on a pie chart, I’m sure the change would have been impressive!

“To have one God and avail yourself of the power of Spirit,” it says in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy, “you must love God supremely” (p. 167). Even a slight but heartfelt increase in our desire to know God, and to acknowledge the spiritual perfection that God is constantly expressing in us, can open our lives up to big blessings.

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