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Guarding our thoughts

From the June 19, 2017 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


I recently had an email from a friend who mentioned how much she enjoyed spending a day with her little granddaughter, but also how tired she was afterward and that she needed two days to recover. This set me thinking about the power of thought and how much our thoughts control our experience.

I learned in the Christian Science Sunday School to put emphasis on spiritual thought. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, often writes about the importance of protecting your thought. One of the first statements I learned as a child was this: “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.… Exclude from mortal mind the offending errors; then the body cannot suffer from them” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 392). 

Christian Science is based on the Bible, and on the account of creation as stated in the first chapter of Genesis, where God created man in His image and likeness. Science and Health defines God as “the great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence” (p. 587). Because man as God’s likeness reflects God’s qualities, it follows that man is spiritual and not material (see “the scientific statement of being” on page 468 of Science and Health).

Christian Science teaches the value of listening for good, selfless thoughts that come from God.

The Bible also has something to say about our thoughts. Proverbs tells us this about man: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (23:7). St. Paul asks us to cast “down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and [to bring] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5).

As we apply the teachings of Christian Science in our prayers, our consciousness changes from a mortal perspective to a more spiritual understanding, which brings healing. Adhering to these rules of divine Science, and focusing thought away from the body and toward recognizing God as divine Truth and Love, has helped heal me many times. This train of thought reminded me of a situation where “standing porter” at the entrance of my thought was a blessing to my family, which I shared with my friend. 

I usually spend one day a week with my daughter and her two small boys, who live about an hour’s drive away. One day, my daughter’s plans for the day fell through. Although I had already seen them that week, she sent me a text message asking if they could come over if I wasn’t busy. 

I didn’t have plans, but I remember thinking that entertaining two small children hadn’t been on my agenda, and I felt tired at the very thought of it. Immediately I realized that this was a selfish thought, and I had no wish to entertain such thoughts. These are the sort of “junk mail” thoughts that pop up and that we can easily dispose of by completely rejecting them. Christian Science teaches the value of listening for good, selfless thoughts that come from God. When we listen for and act upon these spiritual thoughts, we act in accordance with God’s law of Love, which can only bless ourselves and those around us. 

My daughter had reached out to me for help, and I knew I would enjoy spending time with her lovely family. I also recalled how much my mother had helped me out when I had young children, and how we were all enriched by that expression of love. So, I joyfully told her to come on over.

Before they arrived, I banished the selfish, tired thoughts and turned my thought wholly to God. I prayed knowing that God would direct the day and fill it with right activities by sending His angel messages. I found that, as I prepared for my family’s arrival, ideas began to come about how we could spend the day, including a few of my grandsons’ favorite activities. The sun came out, and although it was a little chilly, it was a beautiful day. The boys enjoyed a ride on the bus, and riding scooters to the park was joyful. It was a most harmonious day.

At the end of it, I felt energized by all our lovely God-directed activities, without a hint of tiredness. It was an awesome feeling! I knew that turning away from concern about myself and opening up my thought to God’s guidance to help someone else had demonstrated the truth of this statement from Science and Health: “Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power” (p. 192).

Watching our thoughts and only allowing what is spiritually true to enter our consciousness requires constant vigilance. With practice, it becomes natural. And since the physical universe expresses the collective thoughts of mortals, “standing porter” at our mental door is a vital activity that blesses everyone.

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