Man's Native Atmosphere

For many months during the so-called business depression a student of Christian Science had, through holding to the truth as she best understood it, enjoyed considerable success in her business. She had had all the work she could do, and had received prompt and full remuneration for her services. Then, during a period of slight cessation of activity, doubt and uncertainty had seemed to invade her thought, and soon afterward she was involved in a condition of business inactivity and dwindling savings. Convinced by past experience that the difficulty was mental, she had worked on the problem as best she knew how, but the cloud of confusion and depression did not lift.

One day, still distressed by enforced idleness, she sat gazing with troubled eyes from a seventh-story window in a down-town office building, when her attention was attracted by a gayly marked butterfly fluttering along at the level of her window. The watcher's first impression was one of amused wonder at what the little insect was doing there in that incongruous environment. Below, at the street intersection, automobiles passed with honk of horn and screech of brake; street cars clanged noisily over switches; pedestrians hurried in all directions; traffic lights flashed and police whistles shrilled their warnings. But over all the confusion and uproar the butterfly fluttered as serenely and gayly as if it were flying over the most peaceful and beautiful garden.

Then it occurred to the student that, after all, the noise, confusion, and hazards of the city streets were no part of the butterfly's real environment. It was above them all; out of reach of them all. The air was its native atmosphere, its home. But suppose, the student's thought ran on, the butterfly were foolish enough to descend and alight on pavement or sidewalk? Instantly it would find itself in alien and inharmonious surroundings, confused, frightened, in imminent danger from passing wheel or footstep. And this, she realized, was analogous to what had happened in her own recent experience. Inactivity, uncertainty, and lack could not reach up to her any more than the confusion and danger of the city streets could rise to menace the butterfly. But she had been heedless enough to go down to their level and involve herself in their inharmonies. By holding to the understanding of the one true and only Mind, or God, with His man, or manifestation in His own image and likeness, and therefore in all respects like Him, pure and perfect, wise, intelligent, incapable of fear, doubt, confusion, or limitation, she had for a period raised her thought above and so out of reach of the prevailing discordant beliefs of inaction and lack. But when she had sunk to the level of faith in mortal mind, a suppositious mind in matter, dependent upon so-called material persons and circumstances for its supply and happiness, she had exposed herself to all the discomforts and harsh discords incidental to such false thinking.

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A Tap on the Window
February 6, 1932

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