I’ve heard that when those tasked with identifying counterfeit money are in training, they study thoroughly the authentic bills. There are too many ways to counterfeit those bills for anyone to learn what every possible fake could look like, but by studying the real money so thoroughly they can more easily identify a bill that is false.
I’ve found it helpful to apply the same logic to something we have to deal with much more often than currency: the thousands of thoughts we have throughout each day. I’ve found a way to identify which thoughts are helpful and productive and which aren’t through the teachings of Christian Science. These teachings explain that God, who is entirely good, is divine Mind, the source of all valid thinking.
And the book of Jeremiah in the Bible says of this divinely sourced thinking, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (29:11). Other translations refer to God’s thoughts as thoughts of welfare, well-being, prosperity, and goodness, rather than of harm, calamity, or disaster.
So if our thinking is not good and peaceful, then it is not from God. It is counterfeit, with no real legitimacy.
It can seem tricky to identify the opposite thinking as counterfeit, because sometimes fearful, hateful, or negative thoughts feel very strongly as though they are our thinking. But as we understand that God is infinitely powerful Love and Spirit, we come to see that God could never impart anything but peace, harmony, and goodness. The more we see this, the more readily we can identify the thoughts that might try to convince us of something untrue about ourselves as counterfeit, because they are misportraying us as the opposite of God’s perfect, whole, and complete spiritual offspring.
I recently had an experience where I was immersed in learning more about God. This included studying the Bible and the writings of the discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. I was also engaged in numerous deep and powerful conversations with colleagues as we brainstormed ideas for workshops on helping others better understand God as Love and our relation to God as His beloved child.
In a brief essay in “The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” Mrs. Eddy encourages: “...keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness” (p. 210). This is not an intellectual exercise or positive thinking, but a mental yielding to God, good.
And it has tangible effects. I found that when divine Love was at the center of my thought, it became easier to identify and overcome thoughts that were not from God.
For example, one morning I woke up and realized I had fallen asleep sitting up with a book in my lap and the light on, and had slept that way for the entire night. And the thought came, “You are going to have neck and shoulder trouble,” which is something I’d experienced in similar situations in the past. It was tempting to believe I could be harmed for doing something as innocent as falling asleep reading.
But right then and there, I recognized that I did not have to give that thought legitimacy or let it take root and fester in my consciousness. It was a counterfeit to the eternal truth of my being as a whole, upright, spiritual idea of God. In fact, the thought was so obviously not from God, not something I wanted to hold on to, that it was as if it paraded across my consciousness in a sparkling, neon, sequin dress waving flares that announced “I am a counterfeit!”
As I identified the thought this way and instead affirmed what God does know about His children, the fear lifted. And I never did experience any physical discomfort.
The more we let God, good, guide our thinking, the more we are able to recognize and nurture those thoughts that bring us peace and to keep those that are not from God from taking root in our consciousness, right from the start. And this empowers us to see more of God’s harmony in our lives.