Our mental home

The content of the thoughts we entertain is essential to our well-being.

There is no place like a good home, where we can be ourselves and enjoy peace, love, refuge, and stability. But there is another kind of home that, if tended to and watched over, provides us with comfort, rest, health, and harmony. This is our mental home—our consciousness. 

If we take an hourly mental inventory, we find that most of us are constantly entertaining a variety of notions or suggestions. Our thoughts move fluidly from one thing to another. We may be focusing on a task and then suddenly be daydreaming about dinner or becoming annoyed with the whistling of a coworker. Some thoughts may appear innocuous, such as imagining ourselves at the beach, while others, such as sensual, lustful, or unloving thoughts, may lead us down a road of pain, sorrow, or addiction. It takes discipline to govern our mental home, and to entertain ideas that lead to good and not evil.

Researchers at Queen’s University in Canada estimate that the average person thinks over six thousand thoughts per day. It’s the content of those thoughts that’s essential to our well-being. The best content is pure, uplifting spiritual ideas from God, which counter suggestions of sickness, impurity, discord, and temptation.

It takes discipline to govern our mental home, and to entertain ideas that lead to good and not evil.

How do we cultivate the consciousness that produces health and peace? By gaining an understanding of God as the only real Mind and our intimate relationship to Him as His idea or reflection. No one has understood God or their relationship to Him better than Christ Jesus. Jesus recognized God as our loving Father and said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30) and “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30). Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, discerned this oneness as a qualitative rather than a quantitative relationship. Using the term man to refer to the true identity of each one of us, she 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).

Jesus was not God but reflected the divine consciousness as Christ, recognizing God, Spirit, as supreme and each of us as His perfect, spiritual reflection. Christ Jesus expressed God’s thoughts and will. This enabled him to heal the sick, reform the sinning, and raise the dead. Jesus perceived what God knows about man—that man is created in the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1:26, 27) and thus possesses a perfect spiritual selfhood. Jesus refused to accept any suggestion that man is less than upright, whole, pure, and perfect. He refused to allow into consciousness any thought of someone who was sick, blind, demon-possessed, or even dead. 

Mrs. Eddy understood the importance of safeguarding our mental domain and filling it with Christly ideas. She counsels in her seminal book, Science and Health: “Our proportionate admission of the claims of good or of evil determines the harmony of our existence,—our health, our longevity, and our Christianity” (p. 167).

What we admit in our thought shapes our experience. Therefore, we must assiduously monitor our thoughts to orient them toward good and act quickly against suggestions that would move us toward evil. Checking our thoughts throughout the day is a helpful way to change the direction of our thinking or to acknowledge that the Christ—“a divine influence ever present in human consciousness” (Science and Health, p. xi)—is keeping us on track. The Christ replaces suggestions of sickness, discord, or strife with spiritual truths that provide a strong defense against experiencing these difficulties. And if these erroneous and unhealthy suggestions persist, through God’s help we can persevere. 

A few years ago, I went for an early morning jog after not having run for a few months. I pushed myself to achieve the mileage I had run months earlier. That evening I winced from pain in both feet, feeling punished for my willfulness. 

When I was a college varsity athlete, I was diagnosed with stress fractures in my feet and could not play my sport for several weeks. Now I worried that I had a similar injury and would be immobilized. Parents’ Weekend at my daughter’s college was fast approaching, and I had already booked my flight and planned to be there in a few days. Her college was located on an expansive hill, and quite a bit of hiking would be required to attend various activities. 

What we admit in our thought shapes our experience.

My thoughts moved back and forth between fearing serious injury and insisting on my wholeness as a child of God. I knew that my spiritual selfhood, maintained by God, had never been endangered, stressed, fractured, or splintered, but remained intact. I also knew that my innocence as a child of God was intact. So, I tried to focus on what God knows about me and to reject suggestions of injury. Whenever a suggestion of incapacity crossed my thought, I turned decisively to a spiritual truth. I knew that nothing could mar my purity, perfection, and completeness—not even the suggestion that I had willfully pushed myself to run a long distance. 

For three days at home, as I maintained this strong mental stand, I began to see progress. I was able to tend to daily chores around the house, even walking up and down stairs. Continuing this mental vigilance, I managed to walk to my daughter’s concert that first evening of Parents’ Weekend. 

Throughout that night and the next day, I affirmed that I was complete and healthy as God had created me—that I was spiritual, not material, and that my true substance was invulnerable to injury. Holding to these truths helped me feel closer to God, and I was confident that all was well.

The weekend turned into a wonderful success. I attended all of my daughter’s planned activities, had a lovely visit with her friends, and before the end of the weekend was grateful to be able to stride around campus effortlessly and painlessly. 

Mrs. Eddy writes, “Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210).

How vital it is to defend ourselves daily by taking regular inventory of our thoughts and replacing unwanted and unhealthy suggestions with pure, spiritual ideas that uplift and heal. 

Monitoring thousands of thoughts a day may seem like a monstrous task. But through the unfoldment of Christly ideas, God, the divine Mind, constantly supplies each of us with what we need for protection, inspiration, and healing. Our job is to faithfully turn to Him to guard our mental home.

Helping a pelican
August 8, 2022

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