Clinging to the past?

God, the creator of all that is real, knows creation to be spiritual and perfect— in this present moment and always.

I once totaled my car while turning left at a large intersection. A driver I’d observed slowing to a stop at the impending red light suddenly decided to gun it just as the light turned from yellow to red. We hit with force, as we were both accelerating.

I’m happy to say the other driver and I walked away from that incident. Our cars were crushed, but we were protected by air bags. I was unhurt, aside from a stiff neck and a few bruises on my face.

A couple of days later I was struck by the thought that there had never been a moment when God was not present. In the Christian Science textbook Mary Baker Eddy writes, “As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 361). So, I could not be separated from God, from divine Love and Life, for an instant. Right there, even at the moment of impact, God was with me. 

I suddenly felt impelled to rush to my bedroom mirror, where I watched the bruises disappear from my face in a matter of seconds. I had a clear sense of the allness of God and recognized that the incident had never touched my true identity as God’s child.

Now, you may be tempted to ask, “If God was with you, why did the crash happen in the first place? Why does any bad thing happen?” But this line of thinking would anthropomorphize God and make us feel trapped in matter. It’s vital to remember that it’s the understanding of our relationship to God, omnipresent Spirit, that brings healing.

In the chapter “Prayer” in Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy tells us, “If we pray to God as a corporeal person, this will prevent us from relinquishing the human doubts and fears which attend such a belief, and so we cannot grasp the wonders wrought by infinite, incorporeal Love, to whom all things are possible” (p. 13). A little further on she adds, “The world of error is ignorant of the world of Truth,—blind to the reality of man’s existence,—for the world of sensation is not cognizant of life in Soul, not in body.” 

There has never been a moment that God was not present.

Soul, God, is not cognizant of matter. Knowing His own perfection, God, the creator of all that is real, knows creation to be spiritual and perfect—in this present moment and always. There is no other reality. As this shift in thinking directs us away from matter toward Spirit, our experience shifts as well. 

Healing involves wholeheartedly detaching thought from the narrative of materiality to embrace the spiritual evidence of divine Love, or God. How often, though, I find myself clinging to the past, even—or especially—an uncomfortable one. I may be remembering a grievance, a sense that something happened that was unfair, such as in the incident with my car, where the other driver made the mistake. Why should I have to pay a price for someone else’s error? Or maybe I’m harboring regret that my action or inaction at a critical moment somehow made me lose God’s protection. Or perhaps I’m resentful, feeling that God was or is indifferent to my welfare. 

In hanging on to any of these notions, I’m accepting that there can be an “I” separate from God. I am not only believing I have a history in which God was absent but also wanting Him to acknowledge that I’ve suffered. Science and Health offers this compelling correction: “Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated from God, and obey only the divine Principle, Life and Love. Here is the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth” (p. 91).

In order to be healed, I needed to rid myself of the belief that I’d had a suffering body at some point in the past, or that I could have a suffering body now and into the future because of some mistake in the past. I think that’s what I experienced in front of the mirror after pondering God’s ever-presence. I completely relinquished a material conception of life. Then I was able to see myself as God sees each of us—spiritual, perfect, and indestructible.

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