Shaping our course Spiritward

A piece in today’s Daily highlights how traditional religious codes such as the Ten Commandments still make a difference in people’s lives. Here’s an article exploring the idea that glimpsing our spiritual origin as God’s children has a healing effect – physically, mentally, and morally.

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If you asked almost anyone what things they do every day, you can imagine what would make the list. Handling demands at work, running errands, having or preparing meals, cleaning, reading, caring for family members, chatting with friends, being online, watching TV – pretty routine stuff.

But there’s something else that I’ve found deserves a place on the daily list. It goes hand in hand with something we all want: to live a fuller and more satisfied life.

It is the need to persistently resist the common conception of life as purely material, a conception with built-in limitations, suffering, and loss. This conception is constantly reinforced through pop culture and the pitches of mass marketing, which inform us of and sell us on material products we can’t resist, material conditions that ail us, and material remedies designed to cure us.

Buying into this framework may seem unavoidable. It may at times seem full of promise. Yet below the surface one might also feel something of a vacuum, an absence of inspiration and meaning. But as we are open to the opportunities and guidance derived directly from divine Spirit, God, thought shifts.

Living a freer, better daily life is central to the teachings of Christ Jesus. I think of Jesus’ followers as not all that different from us today – people coming up against all kinds of problems and looking for a way to be free. Jesus wanted them to be free, and he broke the shackles of their conventional, materialistic life view by introducing them to a new idea of life, an abundant life that is entirely whole and substantial and that already belongs to each one of us – our perfect spiritual identity as the likeness of Spirit, God.

Our spiritual origin as Deity’s image underpinned Jesus’ teachings, and it is at the heart of the Science of Christianity discovered by Mary Baker Eddy. It changes how we think of ourselves and of what we’re able to accomplish. As the creation of divine Spirit, we aren’t truly creatures of the flesh, vulnerable and lacking, but God’s very image, spiritual and complete. The textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mrs. Eddy, reveals and explains how readers can find greater freedom and a more accurate view of themselves. It says, “The admission to one’s self that man is God’s own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea” (p. 90).

That freeing admission, made wholeheartedly within ourselves day in and day out, helps us give up thinking constantly of ourselves as having a selfhood apart from the Divine, embedded in matter, with its inabilities and emptiness.

What we think about and agree with (or disagree with) day after day makes a huge difference over the long haul. By resisting the assumption that material living can somehow save us from the endless troubles and limits of material living, we’re challenging whatever would place limits on the presence and expression of Spirit.

That, in turn, makes it easier to see a greater expression of the life, love, beauty, and intelligence that flow from God and are here to be expressed in our lives. We realize that our real selfhood isn’t in matter. Since that real selfhood is the image and likeness of God, it couldn’t be.

Catching even a glimpse of this great spiritual fact is inspiring, and it very naturally improves our mental, physical, and moral condition. We find that we have the ability to experience more of this improvement as we more fully accept the true idea of man as God’s likeness and live more in accord with the moral and spiritual laws found in the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Christ Jesus.

This step-by-step change of view occurs moment to moment as we keep our thought so much more open to Spirit, God. Its practicality is seen in its healing effect – both moral and physical – on our lives. I have experienced this in modest ways in my own life.

Setting and advancing on a course Spiritward is a natural, practical way to go about living a daily life filled with opportunities for doing good for all.

Adapted from an article published in the Feb. 27, 2017, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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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.