You miss an awful lot when traveling in the dark, especially on the 45-minute drive from Reno Airport to Lake Tahoe in Nevada.
I recently made that trip around midnight, and, like the character in Bruce Springsteen’s “Cautious Man,” “didn’t find nothing but road.” Two days later I returned to Reno and realized what breathtaking views the cover of darkness had denied me. A sunny morning drive revealed a panorama of hills and mountains that was a feast of beauty to my urban-acclimatized eyes.
And that got me thinking. What about the glorious vistas we’re missing if we travel in the mental darkness of believing life is solely material?
For instance, there are “new views of divine goodness and love” unfolding at each stage of our experience according to the insight of Mary Baker Eddy (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 66). These are beautiful views of spiritual life, the true life that’s discernible to a deeper, divine sense—a spiritual sense—we each inherently have.
In contrast, materialism would shroud such divine beauty. “Our false views of life hide eternal harmony, and produce the ills of which we complain,” writes Mary Baker Eddy (Science and Health, p. 62).
It’s crucial to let the light of spiritual understanding illumine the boundlessly beautiful environment of Spirit always at hand.
Eternal harmony is quite a view to be missing! So it pays to guard against the false view that material life is the nature of our existence. It isn’t. At best a material sense of life is a limited view of something altogether more glorious, and at worst it includes the nightmare scenarios of those “ills of which we complain”—grief, loneliness, lack, sickness, sin.
Another way to describe eternal harmony is seeing life as God sees it. The Bible says, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). What a wonderful view! And understanding this to be true, Christ Jesus described the kingdom of God, or kingdom of heaven—that is, God’s supreme rule over all—as being always “at hand” (e.g. Mark 1:15). The Savior was pointing to a freedom we feel whenever we’re spiritually aware of being governed by God’s laws of good.
Yet Jesus was also keenly aware that human thought can be stuck in the darkness of material self-defining. To experience that heavenly kingdom, the Savior said, we have to change our hearts and minds and “believe the good news” (Mark 1:15, J. B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English).
According to Christian Science this good news is that God’s kingdom is truly all that’s at hand. We grasp this healing perspective as we yield to the spiritual idea that there’s but one Ego, or governing intelligence—one divine Mind. Understanding and accepting this universal truth can change what we experience.
For instance, Science and Health says an understanding of this one Ego, or Mind, “makes the body harmonious; it makes the nerves, bones, brain, etc., servants, instead of masters” (p. 216).
Like many, I’ve had the opportunity to test this standpoint on my travels. That recent trip from London to Nevada was one of nine flights in a dozen days, including transatlantic and cross-US trips that took me across several time zones. Yet I never experienced jet lag, something that had once troubled me greatly.
The change had come when I was introduced to the divinely scientific idea that we don’t have to kowtow to material beliefs commonly associated with the body. Through prayer, I saw that every moment’s well-being is a time-independent outcome of the eternal fact that divine Spirit is man’s real substance, and that we’re all truly that spiritual man. This view of the underlying source of everyone’s well-being, including mine, has brought me a consistent freedom to swiftly adapt to the rhythm of each new time zone I have landed in.
On that basis, I hit the road to sightsee when I touched down in Alaska as one of the destinations on that recent trip. On a glorious, blue-sky day my hosts drove me along the Seward Highway to the soaring peaks of the Alyeska Resort. This is a road trip you definitely don’t want to miss by driving past in the dark!
In a similar vein, as we negotiate the highways and byways of our lives, it’s crucial to let the light of spiritual understanding illumine the boundlessly beautiful environment of Spirit always at hand, in which we “live, and move, and have our being,” according to the Apostle Paul (Acts 17:28). To that end, delving into the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s writings enables us to bring this heavenly kingdom to light as nothing else can.
And it’s well worth doing. The good in this kingdom is so much more than the best of what’s materially perceptible, and so much of what is perceived by the material senses is far from good. So to recognize the steadfast nature and infinite scope of goodness, these “textbooks of Christian Science”—as Mrs. Eddy denominates the Bible and Science and Health—are invaluable. They help elevate our thought above material sense to that spiritual sense which perceives the permanent truth of who we spiritually are as ideas of divine Mind.
And, of course, while it’s a joy to stand by Lake Tahoe or travel through Alaska, we don’t need to be in a beautiful location to see these healing views. The health and harmony that characterize the kingdom of heaven are perceptible and provable through humble prayer, wherever we are.
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