There are lots of hand sanitizing stations around these days – little pump bottles or self-serve dispensers of cleansing goop. As I was rubbing a hearty portion on my hands the other day, the insight came, “Wait a minute. Maybe along with applying hand sanitizer, I should be applying ‘thought sanitizer’!”
By that I mean that I have found that cultivating harmful, negative thoughts has a detrimental effect in one’s experience. And that cleaning them up makes a big difference! Of course, it’s common sense to wash our hands, and we should do that, but it’s also important to recognize that decontaminating thought is essential to health and well-being. What we think is manifested outwardly in our experience. For example, if you were to hear some bad news, you might get a sinking sensation in the pit of your stomach, whereas if someone told you something funny, you couldn’t help but smile.
One mindset that needs to be purified, both individually and in society as a whole, is hostile attitudes toward others. Hostility has many forms, and sometimes seems to slink almost unnoticed into our experience.
But there is an antidote: Love. And not just human love, but the divine Love that is God. This infinite Love is a potent “disinfectant.” And Love is reflected in all God’s children. This spiritual reality empowers us to keep our consciousness increasingly free from negative-attitude pollutants, such as hostility.
Now, we are not just talking about positive thinking here. We are talking about recognizing God, who is all good, as the source and substance of all legitimate thoughts and feelings. I have found that the more willing I am to yield to Love, the more naturally I express kindness, tolerance, patience, and open-mindedness toward others, and the less inclined I am to hostility, resentment, fear, or annoyance.
And the better I feel physically, as well. When I feel a deep, divine peace and harmony, everything in my life goes better, including my health. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, describes health as “the absolute consciousness of harmony and of nothing else” (“Rudimental Divine Science,” p. 11).
Entertaining thoughts of peace, harmony, and love for our fellow man and woman is not a chore – it’s natural for us as God’s loved children. Expressing God’s love is our normal state of being.
One time I was feeling discomfort in part of my body. I thought an adjustment to my routine activities would help, but it didn’t. Then I also realized that I had been feeling a bit annoyed with someone recently.
I prayed to see that person in their true light as the child of God, and therefore capable of expressing all the attributes of God, divine Love, such as thoughtfulness, unselfishness, and humility. Then I followed up with a prayer to see myself, too, as the child of God. God knows us not as irritating or irritated mortals, but as the pure ideas of divine Love. That’s what we truly are.
These prayers, this yielding to Love’s message of God’s care and ever-presence, brought me mental uplift, joy, and freedom from the annoyance I’d been feeling. Soon my body felt better, too, and it has stayed that way.
Such prayerful decontamination of thought is not always quick and easy. It can take persistence in holding to the spiritual fact that God, Love, is supreme. But as we come to genuinely acknowledge this spiritual reality, we experience a mental shift that also brings physical change. Each of us can try to better sanitize our thoughts. Thought is where it all begins – and ends! As Christ Jesus said, “Cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matthew 23:26).