Your defense against manipulation
We can learn metaphysical facts that can help immunize us from the tendency toward mental manipulation and the temptation to contrive ways to get what we think we want.
Have you ever wanted something so badly, or believed so strongly that things should go a certain way, that you have tried to force those results to happen, only to have things end up in a “train wreck”? Throughout the centuries, many have individually or collectively tried to willfully influence situations within work environments, churches, families, or politics, with damaging consequences. How important, then, to understand what’s behind the desire to manipulate and how to set up a prayerful defense against such tendencies.
What tries to tempt us into manipulating others is the “self family,” which includes a self-agenda and involves self-will, self-love, self-justification, and selfishness. These are always the workings of mesmerism, or animal magnetism, of which Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy says: “Mesmerism is mortal, material illusion. Animal magnetism is the voluntary or involuntary action of error in all its forms; it is the human antipode of divine Science” (p. 484).
The desire to control will be replaced by peace, poise, and an expectancy of good that blesses not just us but others as well.
Through study of the divine Science that Mrs. Eddy discovered, we learn metaphysical facts that can help immunize us from such tendencies toward mental manipulation and the temptation to contrive ways to get what we think we want. Here are some ideas that can help us:
1. All true being and right action are God-motivated, God-driven, God-powered, God-governed. You and I exist as God’s, infinite Mind’s, expression of Himself. In her lexicon for this Science, Mrs. Eddy employs the term man as used in the first chapter of Genesis to refer to God’s spiritual ideas. Each one of us, as God’s unique and individual spiritual idea, is that man, that divine expression. As Mind’s ideas dwelling in the divine consciousness, we live, move, and function within God’s conscious knowing, reflecting His unopposed will.
The desire to manipulate comes from a lack of understanding of these spiritual facts. Fear, ignorance, or willfulness would insist that we have to get our hands on an issue, intervene, and assert our control. The finite thinking that results in anxious and stressful attempts to manipulate things needs to be replaced with an understanding of God’s infinite ability and goodness.
Through the understanding that each of us is the pure, rightly motivated, Love-centric expression of God, who is divine Love, the desire to control will be replaced by peace, poise, and an expectancy of a good that blesses not just us but others as well.
2. God is the only “influencer” of all creation. Science and Health states that Immanuel, “God with us,” is “a divine influence ever present in human consciousness” (p. xi). To believe in a personal influencer is to believe in spiritualism—one limited, human mind, will, or ego possessing or controlling another mind, will, or ego. Spiritualism typically involves a strong personality and can include the belief of mediumship, which implies that one individual needs to go through another to get inspiration, direction, or counsel.
Conversely, Christian Science teaches that God is the only Mind, and that inspiration and communication come directly to man from this one, divine Mind. Mrs. Eddy writes of Mind, “Wisely governing, informing the universe, this Mind is Truth,—not laws of matter” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 332). One individual is not to trespass on the freedom of another to think for himself or herself.
How freeing it can be to know that it is not our job to influence others or to impart wisdom
or information. Science and Health explains that the eternal Christ voices good to each of us (see p. 332). The Holy Ghost, divine Science, is progressively moving human thought toward principled motives and activity and bringing forth Soul’s, God’s, creative solutions for our global family. It is the Christ and the Holy Ghost, not mere human opinion, that inspire and propel right activity. As we understand that true influence is spiritual and good and comes from the divine Mind alone, we will be inspired to share the right thoughts at the right time and have the moral courage to be honest.
3. “Adhesion, cohesion, and attraction are properties of Mind” (Science and Health, p. 124). Divine intelligence brings together all that belongs together, holds together all that belongs together, and separates what doesn’t. This law of Mind is operating around the clock. We can’t personally make this happen or keep it from happening. It just happens.
If we are working on a project, for example, we can know that God is providing the creative ideas to initiate the project. Mind brings together the skills, supply, energy, and desire to execute each idea. And Love separates from the project what doesn’t belong to it, such as negativity, fear, greed, and pressure. Divine Principle, which is another name for God, holds all that belongs to the project together to bring forth an orderly approach and a fruitful and mutually beneficial completion. Instead of thinking we have to make something happen, we can rest in trusting God’s orchestrating and harmonizing of His ideas. A prayerful acknowledgment of this law defends us against trying to force a personal agenda on others, individually or organizationally.
4. God’s will for us is good and includes health, abundance, and well-being. Jesus instructed, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). We find ourselves wanting to control a situation or even pray for a certain outcome when we don’t understand that God’s will for everyone is totally good. Our Father, divine Principle, will never compel us to submit to another’s control, but the relinquishment of human will awakens us to the present, all-inclusive government of divine Love.
Recently, I had a painful ear, which seemed to be blocked. I was tempted to either manipulate something in the ear to try to fix the situation myself, or have a physician remove the impediment. Instead, I decided to yield to the divine Mind, which causes only health for every one of us, including me. With that yielding came an immediate adjustment, and my ear was completely healed.
5. “. . . whatever blesses one blesses all . . .” (Science and Health, p. 206). This may seem counterintuitive to someone occupied with self-interest, but universal divine Love has mandated superabundant good for all of God’s children. We gain a generous and collaborative spirit as we understand that as expressions of the one Mind, we are all of one brilliant design and are beautifully crafted.
It’s instructive to note, when thinking about why we would be tempted to manipulate, that the human mind can think of only so many solutions to a problem. It reasons out from what it conceives of as reality—human circumstances, events, and patterns—and its convictions lie within material beliefs and restraints. Yet God is Spirit, unlimited by matter, and executes His plan with divine laws that include unrestricted and infinite opportunity. God’s ability to bring forth good in our lives is not subject to time, space, competition, or limitation of any kind.
There is no need to manipulate. Instead, we can enjoy witnessing God’s perfect timing, direction, control, and influence. With unwavering confidence, we can find peace in the fact that God’s abundant love and watchful care are in complete control to bless us all.