Gaining higher ground in the new year

If we’re feeling piled on by troubles, a more spiritual and harmonious view of life can empower us to shake off the dirt and step higher. 

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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There’s a little story about a farmer’s donkey who fell down into an old dry well. The animal brayed piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided that he just couldn’t retrieve the donkey and, since the well was dry, that it should be filled.

So he and his neighbors began throwing in big shovelfuls of dirt. At one point the farmer looked down the well and was surprised by what he saw. With each shovelful, the donkey was shaking off the dirt and stepping up onto it. Many shovels later, everyone watched the donkey step up over the edge of the well and trot off, safe and sound!

At times it can seem as if we’re getting all kinds of dirt shoveled on us – “dirt” in the form of injustice, illness, deficiency, etc. But like that donkey, we too can learn to shake the dirt off, gain a higher perspective, and step up progressively.

Christian Science offers a good, prayerful approach for doing so. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, observed in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love” (p. 201).

The word “Love” is capitalized because it’s being employed, as it sometimes is in the Bible, as a synonym for God. “Mortal mind” represents all of the fears and limitations of a matter-based view of life – it’s the counterfeit of the one divine Mind, God. This God, who is Love, is unopposable good. And as God’s children, we are entirely spiritual and express divine Love’s perfect nature.

It’s encouraging to know that God is always here for us. We can turn to this divine source for the inspiring truth that enables us to rise up, overcome adversity, and make solid progress. As we turn to God in prayer, the truth of our being as God’s strong, cared-for children is poured into our thought.

A family member of mine worked in a business where there was a lot of competition. She enjoyed the work, but there was an office culture of backbiting and destructive criticism. Every day, coworkers would throw dirt, so to speak, onto her in the form of resentment, falsehoods, and even judgment based on her gender.

At first, she was hurt and really didn’t know how to respond. Then she decided to turn in prayer to divine Love to learn the truth about who she – along with everyone else – really is. For instance, if someone whispered that she was stupid and incompetent, she would ask God for the divine perspective. God, divine Love, knows His creation to be utterly spiritual, able, intelligent, patient.

Praying this way is so much more practical than simply looking for a silver lining to dark clouds. It’s cherishing in thought the power of God. Doing so opens our view to how God’s power is working in our lives just where we need it.

Each time my family member prayed, she welcomed into her consciousness the wonderful truth about the ability God expresses in everyone, which empowered her to rise up above the criticism. God isn’t threatened by dirt of any sort. Since all we truly have is from God, we can’t be, either.

She continued with this prayerful approach each week, which brought a whole new view of her environment and coworkers. One day, she got the good news that she was being promoted. In this new role, she was able to continue working productively with these colleagues, continuing to look to divine Love to guide her thoughts and actions.

“The more difficult seems the material condition to be overcome by Spirit, the stronger should be our faith and the purer our love,” says Science and Health (p. 410). As we step forward into this new year, we can be alert to where any dirt belongs – under our feet. Then, we become less overwhelmed by troubles and more reliant on “shovelfuls” of God’s truth, the truth that heals and redeems.

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