Protecting the River of Our Thoughts

Not long ago the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught on fire. It was so polluted by an oil spill that it actually burst into flames. Other rivers, too, have burned from pollution. In a similar way, human consciousness seems to get polluted. If we were to analyze our everyday thoughts, we would find they consist of two kinds: (1) pure, spiritual ideas of perfect God and perfect man, and (2) impure, material beliefs that matter has life, substance, and intelligence. The ideas are from God and are sometimes called angels. The beliefs are from mortal mind; they are aggressive mental suggestions.

In everyday conversation we tend to lump all these thoughts together and call them our thoughts. But that is not exactly correct. Only God's angels are really ours. They are as natural to men and women as pure, sparkling water is to a river. Any material beliefs we seem to have are not truly ours. They are as unnatural as pollutants are to a river. They may, however, seem to be ours— suggestions of fear, inadequacy, pride, envy, lust, and so on—and to appear to be as hard to get rid of as a grape juice stain on a white suit.

It's not always easy to tell the difference between God's angels and mortal mind's polluting suggestions. But there are always ways. For instance, we can ask if the thoughts coming to us are in accord with the spirit and the letter of the Ten Commandments. Obedience to the Commandments is basic to spiritual advancement for individuals or society. We can also ask if our thoughts are in harmony with the Beatitudes and with the teachings of Christian Science. But most of all, when we weigh thoughts, we need to have an attitude of humble desire to know and do what is right and good. Then we hear God's messages, and if we do make a mistake in judgment, humility allows us to turn back to God; He will lead us on in the right way.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Sorcery and Superstition, or Science?
July 10, 1976

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.