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An Easter lesson about Ego

From the April 14, 2014 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

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Easter is such a timely reminder of God’s power and love. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension revealed God’s great love for His beloved Son, and for all humanity; this love healed Jesus’ wounds and lifted him up until he was aware only of the eternality of Life. We might consider this ascending thought as indicating that Christ Jesus fully accepted his spiritual identity as the Son of God, without any trace of a mortal ego.

Moses lived centuries before Jesus—yet he, too, experienced an essential revelation about identity that can help us to see the value of renouncing personal ego. If demands are great, resources small, relationships tricky, or opportunity constricted, putting off personal ego can be refreshingly liberating. If you’ve ever felt that your circumstances in life are so unsavory that you wished you could be someone else, then the lives of Moses and Jesus have relevance.

When Moses, the great lawgiver, was first tasked by God to lead a nation out of bondage into freedom, he was hesitant and self-effacing. He prayed, longing to better understand God’s nature: “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” In response to Moses’ yearning, God replied: “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:13, 14). Moses was getting to know something essential about the one and only God: He is the one and only Ego.

Our acceptance of God as the one Ego, rather than a limited personal sense of identity, leads to spiritual liberation.

Later, after their dramatic escape from Egypt, the Israelites, goaded by thirst and frustration, vented their anger when they had no visible source of water on their journey (see Exodus 17:1–7). Moses said to the Israelites, “Why chide ye with me?” But he also must have known that he had no personal power to produce water because he humbly turned to God, asking: “What shall I do unto this people? They be almost ready to stone me.” From this point of meekness he heard instructions from God to use his rod to strike a rock, from which water would flow—and so the needs of the Israelites were met with fresh flowing water, evidence of divine Love’s presence and provision.

Jesus, who was familiar with the story of Moses from Scripture, expressed the relinquishment of a personal sense of power through these statements: “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30) and “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). Moses, the lawgiver, and Jesus, the Messiah, both renounced personal ego, personal power to influence or heal. Both pointed out that our acceptance of God as the one Ego, rather than a limited personal sense of identity, leads to spiritual liberation.

Mary Baker Eddy helpfully gives a definition of I Am as it’s used in Christian Science: “God; incorporeal and eternal Mind; divine Principle; the only Ego” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 588). Jesus and Moses both knew God, Love, as I am or the only Ego, and Mary Baker Eddy also recognized the healing impact of this divine fact. She, too, by degrees renounced personal ego and recognized omnipotent God, Love, as the divine Ego, always reflected by God’s offspring. Early in her healing practice she had a case that must have vividly demonstrated the importance of giving up any notion of there being personalities with healing ability. She wrote later that “because pride had come in and I had lost my humility, I did not heal the patient. Then I saw my rebuke, and when I reached home, I threw myself on the floor, put my head in my hands, and prayed that I might not be for one moment touched with the thought that I was anything or did anything, … this was God’s work and I reflected Him. Then the child was healed” (Yvonne Caché von Fettweis and Robert Townsend Warneck, Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Amplified Edition, pp. 288–289).

It often appears that we have our own personal minds, and that there are many personalities. And from that limited basis we might be persuaded that we are subject to sickness, or sadness, or that we can be left without opportunity or intelligence. I remember such persuasive argument coming to my thought one morning, asking me to admit that I was in pain. Certainly that’s what my body was saying. I knew that this was an opportunity to renounce a sense of personal ego, or in other words, to dismiss the argument that I was no more than a physical body with a limited human mind. God, the divine Ego, does not include or create pain, so as His reflection, I couldn’t say, “I am in pain.” Right there I felt the touch of the Comforter promised by Jesus tenderly reminding me that God is the only I. And as these ideas became more real to me I felt the presence of divine Love. The pain subsided, then disappeared altogether.

Through studying the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, we learn that God and His activity are always present to comfort and heal. Christ is the healing activity of God, the one Ego, and this is the only I operating, identifying, and determining itself.

As personal ego dissolves, we find life more enriching as we express divine Love, the divine Ego—as Jesus and Moses both demonstrated. As we follow this selfless path, we find our thought ascending by degrees until we recognize God as the only Ego.

Mary Beattie is a Christian Science practitioner from Canberra, Australia. She is also a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship.

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