Finding safety in our true environment

On this Earth Day, today’s contributor explores how discerning the spiritual nature of our environment can bring safety and healing.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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What if we were able to experience a totally pure and safe environment – not just at some future time, but now?

I got a whiff of just that as a relatively new student of Christian Science, when my trust in God was tested by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. In the period of intense fear following the tragedy, a relative called, wanting us to fly from London to New Zealand to flee the potential impact of the radioactive smoke and dust drifting out of Ukraine.

I paused before responding. On the one hand, I shared the dread of what might happen. On the other hand, I’d begun to learn that we are truly children of God, and that as God’s creation we “live, and move, and have our being” in God, Spirit, as the Bible says (Acts 17:28). I could see that the opposite belief that our existence is based in matter, not Spirit, was the foundation of the fear we were feeling.

So I opened my heart to God. As I did so, a spiritual clarity gently but firmly displaced the fear. I felt a consciousness of our coexistence with God, a sense of being safe in that pure environment of Spirit. In that moment, it became clear to me that it was right to stay in London. My relative also stayed put, and we’ve had no reason to regret that decision.

Gaining freedom from fear through such spiritual awareness won’t always lead to a sense that it’s OK to stay put. I’ve had several experiences where it has guided me out of harm’s way. It can also radically change the circumstances, as illustrated in many experiences recorded in the Bible.

For instance, in a storm so violent that his disciples felt sure they would perish, Christ Jesus “rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.” The result: “The wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39).

The spiritual understanding behind his words also rebuked the underlying belief that we are at the mercy of conditions beyond our control. Jesus constantly proved the opposite truth of God’s authority over all. He understood that everyone’s true identity as God’s child is safely ensconced in what the writings of Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy identify as “the abode of Spirit, the realm of the real” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 174).

We’re constantly faced with very different perceptions of our local and global surroundings. To the degree that we discern their spiritual nature, we can bring to light glimmers of Spirit’s pure and safe environment. The tendency to move in this spiritually enlightened direction, individually and collectively, can seem slow to develop. But we can have breakthrough moments of letting our thinking be changed in this way.

Such moments support progress out of present and predicted problems. For instance, mental elements such as fear, greed, and self-centered thoughtlessness are detrimental to the health of the environment because of the actions they produce. But grasping our spiritual nature helps counter and heal such attitudes and invariably results in good deeds as well as good thoughts.

Some good deeds are visible to others. But others remain unseen – such as studying and praying to deepen our understanding of existence until we truly become conscious of its entirely spiritual nature. Such unseen transformation of thought has been proved practical and healing by individuals facing all kinds of problems, including, for example, sickness caused by polluted floodwater (see Maria José Da Silva, “Symptoms of infection healed,” Christian Science Sentinel, Dec. 24, 2007).

We each have the inherent capacity to prove God’s protection when we face danger. Such safety comes through prayer that turns us from diagnosis and prognosis based on the evidence of physical discord or degradation to the apprehension and acceptance of God’s eternal reality and complete control. As Mrs. Eddy’s primary text on Christian Science says, “The realization that all inharmony is unreal brings objects and thoughts into human view in their true light, and presents them as beautiful and immortal” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 276).

As we more consistently yield in our thoughts to this true, spiritual view of our environment, we will bring more of its eternal beauty and immortality “into human view.”

Adapted from an editorial published in the April 22, 2019, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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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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