Reacting to headlines?
Speculation about trade wars dominated the morning headlines. Within hours a massive sell-off caused a major stock indicator to tumble over five hundred points. The next day, fear of trade wars subsided, and the economy roared back into the news, this time because of an equally fast and robust recovery. This roller coaster ride continued, playing itself out over the following weeks.
A financial reporter asked one of the analysts on the floor of the stock exchange to explain the dramatic swings. “We’re running on a lot of headlines,” he said. Emotion and fear were driving things.
His comment seems fitting on more fronts than just the economy. From the constant flow of headlines that exaggerate and sensationalize everyday life, it would seem that today’s world has never been in worse shape. With the ability to access news so quickly and simply, it’s a good idea to ask ourselves: Are we “running on a lot of headlines”?
Most of us prefer not to be swept up in daily broadcast turbulence. Yet we still want to make a difference—to bring solutions to what’s going on in our communities and world. But if we’re harboring uncertainty and emotion, we’re not able to do much more than imagine what a happier, more harmonious life would be like. Maintaining a sense of peace while addressing tough issues in the news requires a strong commitment to a different outlook, rather than just wishing for better news. The writer of Proverbs identified that commitment as a spiritual one. “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established” (16:3).
Understanding where real power lies helps ground our thoughts in the source of every healing response: God. Christian Science teaches that God is the all-encompassing Principle of being. He is omnipotent, supreme over all creation. And He is Spirit, the all-good and infinite divine Mind—the origin of every true thought, motive, and act. Mind is constantly knowing the harmony of its universe, and Mind naturally and perfectly governs its ideas. The prophet Jeremiah described God’s perspective this way: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).
As we trust in God’s uplifting guidance and strive to perceive Him as constantly good and loving, our thoughts rise above an emotion-driven, limited interpretation of things. We’re drawn instead to Mind’s calm, spiritual perspective. This spiritual-mindedness enables us to relinquish the misconception that there are many separate, conflicting minds infused in matter. It shows that the mortal or material sense of things is actually ignorance of God. Divine Truth supplies the spiritual understanding that increasingly frees us from material-mindedness. Christ Jesus described this spiritually liberating action: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
No amount of anger, conflict, or despair in the headlines can separate us from what God is revealing of life in Spirit.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the Science of Christ in the late 19th century, kept a close eye on the mental atmosphere of the times and warned against allowing conflicting, cynical, emotional viewpoints to influence us and become our norm. In her signature work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she asks readers a question that sounds as though she’d just sampled yesterday’s news: “Do you not hear from all mankind of the imperfect model? The world is holding it before your gaze continually. The result is that you are liable to follow those lower patterns, limit your life-work, and adopt into your experience the angular outline and deformity of matter models” (p. 248).
The real news is that although a grossly imperfect model of life may pass itself off as the way things are, this just isn’t so. God has given us the capacity to perceive what’s divinely true for everyone—that we are each the perfect and perpetual expression of Spirit. Christian Science explains that this wholly spiritual sense of being, held to in our prayers, corrects—and brings healing to—the mistaken, disheartening impression that there’s so much wrong with life. “Truth and Love antidote this mental miasma,” Science and Health explains, “and thus invigorate and sustain existence” (p. 274).
No amount of anger, conflict, or despair in the headlines can separate us from what God is revealing of life in Spirit, complete and good. Through prayer and a strong commitment to the study and practice of Christian Science, human consciousness becomes inspired—spiritualized—and secures a deeper sense of peace and well-being. More and more, this spiritualized thinking makes us problem solvers, able to discern tangible solutions to worrisome or tragic news events.
A plan of action for taking further steps of progress? It’s really about the natural activity of the qualities of Mind in our consciousness, supplying practical ideas for healing our world. Science and Health provides direction and inspiration: “We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives. Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love—the kingdom of heaven—reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear” (p. 248).
Guest Editorial Writer