Getting to know our spirituality

At a time when spiritual and moral conversation has declined in the United States (see today’s Monitor Daily article on this topic) and other parts of the world, today’s column explores what it means to be spiritual and the healing effect this can have in our lives.

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It’s easy to feel we are defined by what people believe we are – including how they may look at us as simply a body type, an age, a cultural background, or an online profile parading all the details of our career.

It can sure seem as though we all exist exclusively in a material context. But there’s more to us than that outer crust of surface appearances. We each have a spiritual nature. And there’s more to that spiritual nature than simply an interest in spiritual-type things. I’ve learned from my study of the Bible that God, divine Spirit, is our creator. So spirituality is actually the fundamental nature of our being.

In fact, our identity isn’t truly material at all. As the Bible puts it, God “is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17) – that is, God has always existed and is the source of all we are. Not just we ourselves, but all of creation consists of and reflects the beautiful, invulnerable, and entirely spiritual elements of God’s substance and nature.

Even a little knowledge of one’s spiritual identity can be helpful in very practical ways. For instance, after a friend of mine woke up feverish in the night, the first thing she did was to begin thinking deeply about her spirituality.

That might sound like a curious thing to do, but experience had shown her that being more conscious of her true nature as God’s child, or spiritual expression, always raises her thoughts into awareness of God’s presence and of what God is doing for her. God, limitless Love itself, is always loving and caring for each of us. And as my friend prayed the following morning, she realized that. And she saw that her true self is not based in materiality and limitation but in God, Spirit. Quickly, the fever completely left her.

Turning to God to learn of our spiritual identity doesn’t mean that we must clench our teeth and work hard to tune out a material version of identity. Instead, we can gratefully recognize that we have been created only as that single, valid version of ourselves that is the exclusively spiritual and perfect creation God, the divine Mind, has made and knows. “There is but one creator and one creation. This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected,” observes Christian Science Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” her groundbreaking book about God, spirituality, and healing (pp. 502-503).

As we understand this more and more, it becomes clear that our God-given spiritual being is such a gift. Throughout the day, as we move from task to task, it is actually possible to remain in vibrant awareness of it. As my friend’s healing shows, becoming conscious of our spirituality has a healing impact in our lives. We see practical evidence of our spiritual nature in our experience, including in our ability to help others. The presence of God seen within us is evidenced in selfless, tireless love for others.

Beautiful, solid spirituality is palpably within us and all around us; and we can see it when we start looking for it. It’s never enough to be satisfied with what the world says we are. In the realm of divine Mind, we continually shine forth with the glory of God. Our identity as Mind’s spiritual idea is nothing less than glorious, immeasurably cherished by God.

It’s a great comfort to recognize that no matter what, the true identity and nature of every single one of us will remain absolutely and utterly spiritual. And we can prove that a little more each and every day as our material beliefs give way to recognizing this spiritual truth.

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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.”

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