Rising above disturbance

When we’re feeling frustrated by an interaction, it can be tempting to be carried away by impatience, anger, or agitation. But with God’s help we can refuse to indulge these unhealthy thoughts and instead abide in the healing calm of spiritual consciousness.

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Have you ever found yourself becoming frustrated, impatient, or agitated with certain people or situations? For some of us, this may happen more frequently than we care to admit! And these feelings can sometimes make us feel trapped in a downward spiral of anxiety, fear, dissatisfaction, and negativity. How do we break free from this imprisoning pattern and reclaim our peace and composure?

Christian Science teaches us that it’s not so much the particular frustrations we face, but how we think about and handle them, that matters most. We learn that mental disturbance is, at its core, the effect of believing we’re somehow separated from God, our true source and the basis of all harmony. The Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, saw this. In her primary text on Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she writes, “It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony” (p. 390).

We each have a direct connection to the all-loving and all-good God, divine Spirit. We are at one with Him, and thus are spiritual. So, if we were always conscious of this relation to God, wouldn’t we consistently feel assurance, power, safety, and peace in our lives? Wouldn’t we be more aware of our spiritual refuge within the one infinite goodness, where nothing can distress, threaten, or harm us, and where even the word “evil” has no place?

We can rejoice in that. Yet all this can seem of little consolation when we feel set off by some person or event, when even our most steadfast sense of confidence and calm is shaken.

This recalls a period when I was completely exasperated by a person I was working with. She was highly intelligent and well qualified for her position, but virtually everything she said or did irritated and at times even infuriated me. Some might call it “bad chemistry,” but our relationship dynamic was so dysfunctional that I often had to abruptly terminate our phone calls or meetings for fear of losing my temper or saying something I’d regret. I was also concerned about the impact all this was having on my own well-being and stability.

I likened my agitation to having what the Bible describes as “another god,” believing in an influence powerful enough to cause me to lose touch with God’s peace and harmony. Thinking deeply about this, it dawned on me to stop dwelling on our differences and instead strive to see my colleague the way God did – astute, resourceful, creative, dedicated, etc. Because of our history this wasn’t easy, but after a few weeks of praying this way, my thought about her had changed. And though she and I still had our differences, our interactions became much more harmonious and productive.

Whenever we find ourselves in frustrating or unsettling situations, it is possible to resist self-centeredness, self-righteousness, or self-justification and become more aware of God’s allness, omnipotence, and constancy, assuring us that the divine government of the universe, including us, is absolute and perfect. Then we no longer approach life’s trials from a standpoint of apprehension and anxiety, but from the firm foundation and expectancy of ever-present love and goodness.

This sheds light on how Christ Jesus was able to maintain his poise on the wind-tossed waves of the Galilean Sea, in the face of ridicule and scorn while restoring Jairus’ daughter, and when he was the target of pointed accusations.

In reality, peace of mind is never dependent on worldly circumstances. It solely depends on a correct and fuller understanding of Truth, God, who is a bottomless reservoir of peace and harmony. This Spirit-derived self-assurance and stillness isn’t just a nice dream or hope; it’s based on the divine Science of being. As Science and Health puts it, “Undisturbed amid the jarring testimony of the material senses, Science, still enthroned, is unfolding to mortals the immutable, harmonious, divine Principle, – is unfolding Life and the universe, ever present and eternal” (p. 306).

As we daily strive to identify and unmask even the slightest unsettling thoughts and tendencies in our consciousness, we can humbly turn to God to replace them with calming, healing truths. That will strengthen our understanding that we truly do “live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28) in the one omnipotent, all-harmonious God.

For a regularly updated collection of insights relating to the war in Ukraine from the Christian Science Perspective column, click here.

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