Staying, not straying

When emotion-driven reactiveness would try to dictate our thoughts and actions, we can let God inspire in us the wisdom and patience that lead to productive, healing paths forward.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Who hasn’t at times had their emotional temperature rise or fall when hearing a politician speak or reading a social media post? It can seem all too easy to be pulled into the quagmire of confusion or emotional reaction.

But action impelled by emotions, or strong feelings, can be inconsistent. The discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, warns, “If beset with misguided emotions, we shall be stranded on the quicksands of worldly commotion....” Then she counsels, “Be temperate in thought, word, and deed. Meekness and temperance are the jewels of Love, set in wisdom. Restrain untempered zeal” (“Retrospection and Introspection,” p. 79).

Christian Science, based on scriptural inspiration, shows us a way to be free of emotional roller coasters. It explains that Spirit, another name for God, is the source of everyone’s real being, so our true nature is entirely spiritual. One effect of this is that divine Spirit has enabled us to look beyond what the material senses are seeing, hearing, and feeling – to experience a spiritual stillness that replaces emotional commotion with steady thoughtfulness.

This spiritually active stillness is what Christ Jesus called the kingdom of heaven within each of us. It is a heartfelt, concrete awareness of the reality that God, divine Love, causes each of us to be and do good. Cherishing and nurturing this awareness enables us to mentally stay in the kingdom and not stray into the pull of unhelpful, emotion-driven reaction.

I’ve found the definition of “zeal” found in Mrs. Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the textbook of Christian Science, very helpful. It’s in a glossary that includes spiritual definitions of biblical terms, and the first part says, “The reflected animation of Life, Truth, and Love” (p. 599). It follows with a mortal definition: “Blind enthusiasm; mortal will.”

So upon seeing an inflammatory social media post, for instance, we can pause to check what’s motivating our response. We can ask ourselves, “Is the passion or zeal that’s animating me derived from divine Life, Truth, and Love – that is, from God – or from ‘blind enthusiasm’ or willfulness?” Time and again I’ve found that the Christ, the animating influence of divine Love, always answers with an encouragement to stay with a response that blesses and heals, and not stray into a regrettable or unproductive action.

This powerfully active spiritual influence doesn’t impel us into apathy or inactivity, but to a heartfelt trust that divine Spirit is leading us to loving, productive action, and a desire to act from that basis. Divine Love expresses in all of us the ability to be temperate, consistent, and moderate in our thoughts and actions, which prevents reactiveness from getting in the way of discovering helpful solutions.

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