I’ve always appreciated Ben Franklin’s amusing answer to the question, “What are the three hardest things in the world?” His answer: “Steel, diamond, and to know oneself!”
At first, that might even sound a little silly, yet there’s something profound underlying it. There’s more to us than meets the eye. In her book “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, asks her readers: “Brother, sister, beloved in the Lord, knowest thou thyself, and art thou acquainted with God?” (p. 151).
That which is created represents the nature and essence of its creator. My study of Christian Science has shown me that “to know oneself” first requires a better acquaintance with the nature of God, the creator of us all. We each, as God’s offspring, show – in our own unique and quite wonderful ways – the breadth and wonder of the divine Life that is God.
There’s profound value in getting to know one’s true self, or genuine nature, as the expression of God. In Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” is this healing counsel: “Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil” (p. 571).
These ideas proved so helpful when I began to show signs of a hereditary affliction. Having seen before the healing power of prayer, I took that approach to address this issue.
As I prayed one day, I asked myself, “What if I am more than just the product of two mortals?” Jesus said, “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). It dawned on me, Wouldn’t acknowledging God as my divine Parent help me understand more about what I am as the expression of His goodness?
That’s just what happened. I began to realize that what mattered most to me was beholding in prayer each day what God revealed to me about myself – my real, God-created self, His very offspring. This authentic self is not about matter or heredity at all. As the expression of God, divine Life, identity is entirely spiritual.
As I became more acquainted with my real selfhood in divine Life, an entrancement with selfhood in matter – mentally loitering on the symptoms – dissipated. From that point on there never again was any further indication or evidence of that hereditary syndrome, and that was decades ago.
Through prayer, each of us can be introduced to this real self that we have in God, which is perfectly safe, unchangeably whole, and reflects God’s overflowing abundance and goodness. Yes, it’s definitely worth it. Selfhood in God means an identity of tranquility, beauty, absolute spiritual perfection, and insightful intelligence. And as we come to feel, know, and wholeheartedly love this spiritual identity, we lose a distorted sense of a material self separate from God – and find healing.