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the Shakespeare seat on Flight 121

"To be or not to be, that is the question." Hamlet, Act III, Scene 1

From the August 19, 2002 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

My Seat Was "the Shakespeare seat": 2B. I guess the fellow next to me was in "not 2B." Let's just say I was surprised when I saw the knife he was showing me. This was just a few months ago, with heightened airport security already in operation.

I asked myself some basic questions. How did he get that thing through security? Why would he even carry it? And last but not least, was I safe?

I thought of all the police on duty at the airport we'd just left. All the times my baggage had been rummaged through. All the electronicwand searches of my body. You would think dangerous items, like a fairly large knife, would be detected.

I'm happy to say the guy next to me wasn't up to anything bad. As we talked and I learned more about him, I didn't feel it was necessary in this case to say anything to the flight attendants. He said he'd been carrying the knife since 1982. And he flies quite often and hadn't been asked to surrender it. He said he was on his way to Mexico for a few weeks to go on a motorbike trip, and he liked having the knife with him.

I felt reassured for the moment, but I decided this was a good time to do a reality check on safety and security. It was clear from this incident that I wouldn't find them solely in X-ray machines or airport personnel, as hard as they work to make travel safer for the flying public. I've been learning that security is actually a spiritual thing, a condition of thought more than a physical condition. And that there's a divine presence, a spiritual bodyguard if you will, that continually assures my safety.

Maybe it's no coincidence that the famous line from Hamlet—"to be, or not to be"—deals with the issue of human mortality. In fact, what I used to think life is, is the upside down and backward of what life really is. I'm not a mortal who's looking for Spirit to keep me safe; rather, I'm as immortal as Spirit is, and my job is to mirror Spirit's untouchable greatness in what I think and do.

There's a spiritual substance to us that cannot die or be lost. We mirror the spiritual intelligence of the universal Mind, called God. This spiritual substance and Mind can't be seen or understood by looking at life through the lens of material existence. When we use a spiritual lens, however—the higher senses that comes from infinite intelligence—we start to see the world and the people in it in a totally different way. We see a spiritual creation that's always secure, because its source is the supreme Spirit that contains within itself all power. In this creation, our lives are secure, because we are the offspring of Spirit itself.

Prayer is my way of exploring Spirit and its creation. When I am mentally still and listen to Spirit, I can actually feel its care and guidance. Sure, I sometimes have to work at being still enough to really listen. And it's equally hard to receive new ideas through a closed mind, or with the clenched fists of fear or anger. I find it helpful when praying—as I was during those first few moments in the Shakespeare seat—to let God do the talking.

Our lives are secure, because we are the offspring of Spirit itself.

I'll admit that the concept of spiritual existence might seem like an unlikely refuge when the guy next to you might have a dangerous weapon. But there is a science or set of laws operating on your behalf —the laws that Mary Baker Eddy named Christian Science. This Science tells you that there is a law of Spirit that governs you and everyone else, all the time, even in situations that seem dangerous.

I've seen the practical power of these laws many times. My "bodyguard" has taken me safely through some tough moments—from the time I found myself in the middle of a race riot, to the healing of aches and pains, both physical and emotional. So I know this "spiritual bodyguard" is always there to turn to.

Lately I've been praying to see that Spirit governs everything that happens at airports—that guards and security agents can see what needs to be seen as they check bags and passengers, that locks and gates can work as they should, that everyone can have the wisdom to stay alert. And most important, that each of us can feel the presence of infinite Spirit, even at 30,000 feet.

Keith Wommack is a public speaker on spiritual healing and a frequent flier from his home base in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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