For a long period in my life, I experienced acute fear when conversing with other people. I thought of myself as unworthy and flawed. I felt sure others would see, or had already seen, how shallow and limited I was. My discomfort would result in physical tension. My neck and shoulders would become taut and painful. As soon as possible, I would escape from encounters with people, feeling defeated and depressed.

I had not yet discerned who I really was as God's child, although I knew it intellectually. As a matter of fact, though I had been a student of Christian Science all my life, I had always felt powerful resistance even to stating that I could be God's idea. I never felt this could be true. But as I grew spiritually and saw through the beliefs mesmerizing me, my connection to God became clearer to me. Gradually and joyfully I saw the prison of my own limiting beliefs; that is, I saw finally that they were self-imposed limitations. I saw that beliefs are assumptions and convictions, insistent and aggressive, but they are not facts.

In a class I took in social psychology, the instructor pointed out that people's beliefs govern their attitudes and behavior, and that often what they think of as a "truth" is actually a hardened belief. Everyone has a "belief system" of his or her own making that too often goes unquestioned, the teacher explained. Hearing this information, I thought of the repeated use of the word belief by Mary Baker Eddy. I realized what an enlightened voice hers was. In particular, I saw the value of her recognition that the false beliefs identifying us as material personalities, as a mixture of good and evil, are not true. The fact is that we are actually spiritual, "the expression of God's being" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.470).

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October 11, 1999

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