Rethinking concerns around carbon

Everything relates to the thoughts we hold and improves as we grasp the sole reality of divine goodness that Christian Science reveals.

With big global issues like climate change, we may find ourselves thoughtfully considering questions such as “What set off life in the first place” and “What determines how it’s all going to go?” We might then look for answers in biological explanations and the state of the elements comprising our environment. Or we could choose to look to something less obvious but more compelling—the higher perspective modeled by Jesus, who showed that a spiritual view of existence has a consistently healing impact. 

Christian Science offers an arresting and helpful explanation of how the spiritual understanding of reality that inspired everything that Jesus did makes sense of our universe by showing that God, infinite Spirit, is both its center and circumference. And with this perspective comes a promise of individual healing and global progress.

According to conventional reasoning, the universe is fundamentally material and dependent on matter, including the element carbon. Biologists and cosmologists talk about carbon as basic to the development of stars, planets, and life on Earth. Carbon is central to the discussion of climate change and related efforts to halt emissions. But what are the actual prospects for managing carbon and engineering a healthy environment and planet? 

I had an experience that illustrates in a modest way what it means to live a life dictated not by material elements but by an understanding of God, infinite Spirit. In high school, I had problems with my back that occasionally sidelined me in sports. Periodically, I visited a doctor or chiropractor, and the message I got was that it’s common for people to have to manage this particular problem. At the same time, I was learning about Christian Science, which teaches that each of us has a very real connection to infinite Spirit, or divine Mind, and to all the good that it includes. Christian Science teaches that what we really are is the expression of God, and that we include such wonderful Godlike qualities as intelligence, health, and strength. 

The need is to look for a different view, the Christ view, and to see this true view expressed in individual and global health.

I found how game-changing this recognition of Life could be even beyond its promise of health. Instead of seeing everything in terms of what I was doing, with a brain and a back and other physical parts, I began to ask, What if I looked at life in terms of what divine Spirit has done, with me as its expression? 

In college I embraced this Christly way of identifying everything, including me; and it changed me. It brought to light an energy, focus, and purpose that were new to me. Since then, my experience has improved in so many ways, including having a strong back without any need to be “managed” by medical or chiropractic treatments.

A troubled back is a very modest problem compared to changes in climate that appear to threaten our planet, but both are based on the belief that we’re composed of material elements, dependent upon something physical or chemical in nature, and vulnerable to suffering as a consequence. And while that can seem legitimate, my healing showed me that our physical nature is just an appearance laid over the reflection of divine Spirit and the wonderful spiritual qualities that comprise us all. 

So what does it mean that the true essence of life is the expression of the elements and characteristics of God, good, and that our individual lives and the universe are really composed of and dictated by thought? It means that the human appearance—how we currently observe this universe of thought—is a false, physical sense of what’s spiritually true.

The Bible’s book of Genesis likens the material appearance of existence to a mist. It records that after “the heavens and the earth were finished” by God, Spirit, “there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (2:1, 6).

All our troubles, then, from a painful back to extremes in weather, stem from a clouded consciousness, in which everything feels like a troubling interaction of material elements. The need is to look for a different view, the Christ view, and to see this true view expressed in individual and global health. Together, we can break through the mist to find that we are actually already existing in the stability and health that’s natural with God.

This prayer-based perspective—putting God, Life, foremost—starts to confirm that we need to be less focused on physical elements and more focused on Spirit and our spiritual growth. Then comes the awakening that everything relates to the thoughts we hold and improves as we grasp the sole reality of divine goodness that Christian Science reveals. Concrete change comes about through the improved consciousness resulting from this spiritual awakening. 

This spiritual focus in no way ignores or belittles the issue of global warming but rather leads us to the complete solution. That doesn’t mean we should stop taking steps to manage carbon, just as a good housekeeper wouldn’t stop caring for their home. But we can stop focusing fearfully on the belief that we’re dealing with and dependent on a material world. Instead, we can open ourselves to understanding the world created by and constituted of Spirit. Then we break free from the limitations and troublesome consequences of seeing everything as determined by matter. 

If we want to stop identifying ourselves as matter-limited beings, we should strive to see ourselves and others not as wasteful consumers or helpless victims but as the empowered and helpful expression of God’s qualities, which are completely good. In other words, we don’t dismiss global warming and the efforts to manage carbon while clinging to a Zen-like approach to life. Rather, we focus on Spirit’s transformation of human consciousness, magnifying God’s true nature and that of His harmonious universe, as revealed in the discovery and demonstration of divine Science.

Turning to God is always the solution, but we’ve got to earnestly pursue a better understanding of God in order to solve the issues that confront us. Christian history has repeatedly shown that in serving God, we bring to light the good that constitutes our lives as the expression of God. So, championing a spiritual response to global warming is not at all to avoid addressing the problem. On the contrary, it’s to persist in finding and proving more of the Life that is God. What we are truly hungering for is the life that manifests the love of God that’s here for everyone and everything. This will be seen in the way we care for our bodies and the environment, and eventually in the fullest discovery of a life marked solely by divine Love, the true substance of us all.

The most potent and important element is the prayerful thinking that leads us to see our present spiritual nature and the substance of the whole universe as the very expression of God. This growing spiritualization of thought will help bring to light a better, more stable world for everyone.

Turning points in spiritual growth
I learned how powerful prayer can be
May 29, 2023

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