Spiritual stillness

Don't be swept into a chaotic crowd. Stop. And pray.

Angry or frightened mobs. Rallies that turn into riots. Crowds of people pushing and shoving, harming each other in the process. We've all seen such scenes on television and in movies. But have you ever wondered what you might do if you found yourself trapped in such a situation? Or have you thought about how you could help from a distance?

I recall two occasions when my wife and I faced minor occurrences of this sort, and our response pointed to some answers. Years ago, as we sat under a tent enjoying the circus, one of the supporting poles gave way, and much of the audience began running pell-mell to get out from under the falling canvas. Instead of allowing ourselves to be driven by the mob, we remained in our seats and quietly surveyed the situation until we spotted a path that enabled us to exit calmly and safely.

More recently, as we left a theater, there was a sudden surge of people around us rushing to get the autographs of some actors who had gathered at the street corner. We found ourselves being shoved along in the process. This time it was a few moments of mental quietness that led us to find a way of extricating ourselves from the crowd. As in the previous incident, however, it was not just "presence of mind" or clever planning that kept us safe from harm. It was the underlying spiritual quality of stillness, which we had learned to cherish in our study of Christian Science.

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In next week's Sentinel—
February 8, 1993

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