There is a negative holding-on, prompted by human will and self-interest, which we are very prone to mistake for the positive grasp, born of spiritual understanding and insight. For months I had been pushing and straining in order to bring about the successful consummation of a business deal in which I was materially interested. At first I took the successful outcome for granted, then one obstacle after another loomed up; the channels through which I had expected to see a smooth and unobstructed flow of good results were closed, and all was seemingly at a standstill. Then came confusion, darkness, and chaos. I began to analyze, from a human standpoint, the whys and wherefores, becoming discouraged and resentful as I perceived that one after another of my plans had been frustrated—the labor of years apparently wasted. I could think of nothing else than the disappointment; it dominated my waking thoughts, and even found lodgment in my sleeping dreams. In consequence, matters which at other times I should not have noticed, assumed gigantic proportions, and as a result of this self-mesmerism I was attacked with a severe bodily illness.

I want to say that during this period I had read the Lesson-Sermons regularly, and studied, as I thought; but the sense-clouds kept gathering until they enveloped me completely, for in my reading of the Bible and Science and Health there was ever an undercurrent of selfish thought, which, if not consciously directed upon my personal interests, was nevertheless there, and prevented my gaining the spiritual stimulus and help which hitherto had come from the study of these sacred books. At this stage I became alarmed at my condition, and having called a practitioner I talked with her of the things that were troubling me. "Let go this clutching and reaching out for the unreal, and get a grasp on the truth," was her practical advice. For an hour or more she worked with me, alternating the audible with the unspoken word, and when she left me I was resting quietly. After a bit, a little light filtered through my consciousness, and I began to see things in a new way. I saw that for months I had been carefully collecting, labeling, and treasuring a lot of discords. I had gone over and over my list, taking care not to lose or forget one little item. With this collection of woes I had been going to God daily and hourly. These I had taken to Him, but nothing else. As I thought of this I began to look around me, and I saw a great heap of things,—things which I had overlooked,—and these were the blessings. As I began to examine these, the "still small voice" of Truth penetrated my consciousness, "You must take these to God and thank Him for them, for they are His gifts; while the discords are of your own making."

When some first come into Christian Science they are almost overwhelmed by the ease with which they demonstrate their business and physical problems; they are then apt to become self-complacent and indolent, and delude themselves into believing that they can take the gold of the sanctuary (Divine Science) to gild the temple of Apollo (worldly ambition); but from this dangerous mesmerism we needs must be shocked by failures and defeats, that we may learn to differentiate between the real and the unreal, the true and the false. As I lay on my bed—painracked—I saw in my mind's eye a pair of scales descend, and again the "still small voice" whispered to me: "Place your bundle of grievances in one scale, then gather your blessings and put them into the other scale." As I did this, the little bundle of selfish interests vanished into the mist and the darkness, while at my feet lay the great heap of blessings. As I looked upon these, the sense of physical pain was gone; then I perceived that this also belonged in the bundle of illusions, and that it had disappeared with the other unrealities.

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January 9, 1909

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