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Life isn't a competition

From the March 5, 2012 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

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In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy quoted the following verse from Hebrews: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (12:1). She explained the meaning of this passage as, “let us put aside material self and sense, and seek the divine Principle and Science of all healing” (p. 20).

We progress more quickly when we discard whatever mental baggage we’ve been carrying around. A spiritual quest is more easily met by dumping the material beliefs, suggestions, and fears that we needlessly carry.

Whenever I think of a race, I recall something said by our son, Marshall, who ran track in high school. When he arrived home from a meet one afternoon, I asked him where he placed. I’ll never forget his answer. He said: “Mom, don’t ask me where I placed. Ask me what my time was. I’m not competing to beat others; I’m competing to improve my own time.”

Ouch. What a response for a truly competitive mother to hear. He was right, and that idea applies to the spiritual race set before each of us, as well. We’re not competing to be “better” spiritually or materially than our neighbor; we’re trying to reach our own new heights in this journey from sense to Soul. Mrs. Eddy said in Science and Health that “. . . progress is the law of God . . .” (p. 233); she did not say, “Beating is the law of God.”

It’s about gaining “a little each day in the right direction,” isn’t it, “till at last [we] finish [our] course with joy” (Science and Health, p. 21).

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