Sing a new song

I used to know a dog that would run constantly between two doors of the house whenever his owner left. Apparently he felt so much anxiety about the separation that he almost went into a trance. I'd watch that pooch run thoughtlessly back and forth, back and forth, and whenever I could, I'd try to play with him to distract him. This would only help for a little while, though, and soon he'd return to his mechanical running. The owner always came home, but the dog's behavior never changed.

Have you ever noticed how people can sometimes get caught up in trance-like, repetitive thinking? Once I heard a person schooled in the study of human behavior say that 90 to 95 percent of the thoughts we think in a day are exactly the same ones that we thought the day before. Of course, some of those thoughts are good and beneficial. And I have found that when love for God and His creation repeats in me, I feel blessed. It's the repetition of fears, resentments, and self-criticisms that isn't so good. People sometimes get themselves into a "mental loop," where they keep repeating the same debilitating thoughts—even for years at a time. Along these lines, Mary Baker Eddy once referred to the human mind as acting mechanically. But, she observed, "When the mechanism of the human mind gives place to the divine Mind, selfishness and sin, disease and death, will lose their foothold" (Science and Health, p. 176).

It's curious how these mechanistic, habitual thoughts appear to us. They come in words and feelings that, again and again, make us believe that we're separated from good. Usually these thoughts are inwardly focused and include a lot of "I," "me," and "my." And they can show up in many areas of life. For example, someone might feel a personal sense of lack that they carry around and identify with—whether it be lack of opportunity, companionship, eyesight, or money.

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The Gospel of Luke in The Mother Church
December 11, 2006

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