Recently I was reminded of a phrase that the discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, used when writing to Christian Scientists about abiding in God, in Truth and Love. She said that if they did this, they would be “one in heart,—one in motive, purpose, pursuit” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 135).
Whether within families, neighborhoods, or legislatures, the goal of moving together in harmony with a common purpose, and supporting one another, is an ideal worth striving for. Amid apparent conflict it’s not unreasonable to pray for unity of spirit because such oneness expresses the nature of God, the infinite and only Mind, our creator. Oneness, rather than division, characterizes and underlies all true being as the spiritual, perfect outcome of God.
Yet Christian Science doesn’t teach us to pray with the aim of bringing contrary minds together, of patching up a supposed splintered reality. Instead it requires us to turn away from the notion of many minds. This Science encourages us humbly to accept the truth that there is one Mind, which controls, orders, and guides all in harmony. Wonderful progress and healing come from yielding to this intelligent control, to the law of divine Love, and to the fact that each individual truly is created in the likeness of divine Mind.
Oneness, rather than division, characterizes and underlies all true being.
I like to think of this as yielding to “the big picture”—the real and whole picture—of what God sees and preserves eternally. The first astronauts to orbit the moon transmitted back stunning photos of Earth, presenting in essence the big picture of our planet’s wholeness and grandeur. The truths of Christian Science, guiding our prayers, lead our thought heavenward to a greater discernment of the spiritual reality of Mind’s allness and oneness. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mrs. Eddy has written, “Science reveals only one Mind, and this one shining by its own light and governing the universe, including man, in perfect harmony” (pp. 510–511). In the measure that human thought embraces this truth, understands and rejoices in it, the truth of spiritual oneness becomes more outwardly apparent in our interactions with others—and even on the wider scene of human affairs.
When we are confronted by fractured human relationships that appear beyond repair, or witness stubborn, conflicting wills, it is reassuring to turn to the Scriptures. The Bible brings out the wondrous fact that God, the infinite, is one, and incapable of division—for instance, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me” (Isaiah 45:5). And Mrs. Eddy writes: “God is one. The allness of Deity is His oneness” (Science and Health, p. 267). How, then, could God’s reflection, His own spiritual ideas (meaning all of us in our true nature), be anything but harmonious and in unity? Man can no more be fragmented and discordant than God can be. Our oneness with God ensures our oneness with each other. Realizing this has a practical, healing effect.
I once was called upon to mediate a dispute between two people. I arranged a meeting with one of the aggrieved individuals, and I’ll admit I felt burdened and worried about the outcome. But as I turned to God in prayer, I saw that the conflict was not really about the specific issue at hand, but was an impersonal, deceptive belief that God was something less than one and All—divided you might say—and that these individuals, created as His expression, could be at cross purposes.
The big picture became clearer to me. As I prayed, I saw and felt that there truly were not clashing minds present, but one Mind alone, and that God’s law of Love was the only law in operation. This lifted my thoughts!
When I entered the room, I felt tremendous love shining through my words. The individual responded in kind. I recognized that there was, in truth, no division—no air to clear—only Love’s oneness excluding the belief of disunity. And this proved to be the case. The conflict melted away.
I gleaned from this experience that if the unity of God and man in His image wasn’t a law of spiritual being, it could never be demonstrated. But because it is the law, or rule, governing true creation, it can and must be evidenced humanly when prayer is based on the truth of one Mind, the Mind Christ Jesus expressed (see Philippians 2:5).
When one is facing hatred or ill will, it’s vital to see that this stands for a lie about God and man in His image. The lie would claim to reverse the truth that man has a spiritual origin and reflects one Mind. It therefore breaks the First Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3), and has no real authority or legitimacy.
God’s law of Love was the only law in operation.
Praying from the basis of the one Mind, and yielding to its control, we find the grace, patience, and assurance to move forward under Love’s guidance, even when hatred or polarization appears intractable. St. Paul said, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Philippians 2:2). This advice came from someone who, prior to his conversion, exhibited scathing hatred of the early Christians. But he had been completely reformed.
Being “of one mind,” however, doesn’t mean we all must think alike, that we all must hold the same views. It does mean, though, that we’re expressing the oneness of divine Love and its harmony, whatever our view. Doing so, each individual finds opportunities to bless, to contribute, and to enrich any situation—to make a healing difference.
The big-picture reality of Mind’s allness and indivisible oneness, when perceived even in a degree, opens the door of thought to Love’s ever-presence—to the demonstration of all working together in harmony.