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A boulder or a boat? Projects and divine Mind’s direction

From the March 13, 2017 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


When you think about a large project you need to complete, what comes to thought? Do you picture yourself pushing a boulder up a steep hill? Or can you see yourself steering a graceful boat with sails full of wind?

Corporate seminars tackle this subject by providing techniques for managing difficult tasks, often using metaphors to explain their ideas, and these can be helpful to kick-start the creative process. But metaphors are much more likely to forward our progress if there is a connection to spiritual truth. Extraordinary breakthroughs are possible when we get glimpses of God, divine Mind, in operation, and commit to better understanding our relation to Mind.

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy identifies seven synonyms for God derived from her study of the Bible. Her scholarship, but mostly her spiritual insight, revealed a way of recognizing the tangible, logical presence of God in our lives. We might at different times work with one synonym more than another. For example, Love—with a capital “L”—might be our “go-to” when praying for insight into a relationship issue. We might need to become more aware of Principle when dealing with a legal matter. These synonyms aren’t meant to have us pray in a prescriptive way. Rather, we can work with them to learn more about God’s nature and be refreshed and inspired. 

Many years ago, I was faced with a huge writing project—or so it seemed. So extensive would be the research, so comprehensive the interviews, so complex the assembling and ordering of data, and so cohesive would have to be the writing, that the whole project seemed overwhelming, and I had no idea where to start. I reached out for help from a Christian Science practitioner, who basically told me that the project was already complete. 

At first, that seemed like the most bizarre thing anyone had ever told me! Of course, the practitioner had a great deal more of substance to say about God and my relation to Him. And as I began to grasp what she was saying, I realized that her bold opening comments would later come to represent a paradigm-shifting idea she was sharing.

Human ego can get in our way. We can instead give all credit to divine Mind.

Before the call, it was as if I were looking at this project through the wrong end of a telescope, one that enlarged the difficulties while making the goal seem farther away than ever. After the call, I found myself looking through the correct end of the telescope, through the correct lens, and what I could see was a perfectly completed project, even though I had not yet written one word of the document. This was so uplifting that I completed the work in much shorter time than expected, which opened a new window in my career.

One thing to consider when tackling a project is our starting point. “Mortal mind” is a phrase Christian Science employs to describe a seemingly pervasive mind with a limited way of thinking. This so-called mortal mind begins with “nothing”—a blank page, an empty canvas, an unpopulated task list. As we face this apparent void, we can easily feel inadequate to fill it. Indeed, how could someone hope to fill a vast, empty space?

We can immediately correct this hopeless sense of inadequacy by recognizing the apparent “nothingness” as the “somethingness” of infinite Mind—the only real Mind—and identify ourselves as reflections of this Mind, which actually already fills all space. 

So when we face the blank page, I’ve learned that we’re not staring into a void; instead, we have an opportunity to take a closer look at the very harmony, order, and perfection of Mind itself. Science and Health says of God, “He fills all space, and it is impossible to conceive of such omnipresence and individuality except as infinite Spirit or Mind” (p. 331).

Further, this Mind and its manifestation is not hidden from us, but is actually always appearing. “Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source” (Science and Health, p. 507). Mind already knows what it expresses, knows the need it is meeting, and has the perfect design, structure, and detail that perfectly fulfill the idea it is knowing.

The real task before us is the setting aside of our own sense of limitation. To what does limitation cling? “This idea is mine,” we might think, “and I need the credit for it.” Human ego can get in our way. We can instead give all credit to divine Mind.

Like a silly jingle that keeps repeating in our ears, suggestions of limitation can come repeatedly to us in the form of fear. “If this project isn’t excellent, I’ll lose my job,” we might hear. “Her qualifications are not as good as mine, so I have to prove my work is better.” We can tune out this “station” mortal mind is broadcasting, and tune in to what Mind is saying about us. 

No matter what project we have to finish, be it designing transportation for a city, creating art for a gallery showing, analyzing market research, making a meal for friends and family, or writing a novel, we can look at it from the perspective of infinite Mind. From Mind’s point of view, the project is already complete and ready to be expressed, so it can bless the project’s manager and all who are impacted by it. 

Knowing this, instead of feeling we’re pushing a boulder uphill, we can feel as if we’re in that sailboat with full sails, and more readily feel what is expressed by the spiritual definition of wind in Science and Health: “That which indicates the might of omnipotence and the movements of God’s spiritual government, encompassing all things” (p. 597).

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