When I was growing up, I was a piano student and later a drama and singing student. As a young performer, I was also emotionally sensitive and would get caught up in the highs and lows of moods. For example, I’d sometimes quickly alternate between being happily excited and feeling depressed. This certainly gave credence to a stereotypical artist’s label of being “emotional.” At times I became so tied up in emotions that it was as if with each circumstance I faced, I was a different character. Though these feelings seemed sincere, they were confusing for me. I couldn’t be all these different characters at once, so which one was me? Was this a “personality crisis”?
Then began my first small steps of finding myself—my unique spiritual individuality. I found myself when I found God.
One day, I saw a poster advertising a Christian Science lecture in our city hall. I wanted to know more about God, so I attended. At the end, I was handed a bundle of free Christian Science literature as I left. One of the items was a copy of The Christian Science Journal, where I found the name and address of a Christian Science practitioner living near me. I contacted her, and, soon after, I enrolled in the Christian Science Sunday School, where I participated for two years in a high school class.
I began to find my individuality as a reflection of God, expressing His qualities.
In Sunday School, I learned about God and that one of the synonyms, or names, for God is “Principle” (see Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 115). The word principle comes from the Latin principium, meaning “an origin” or “beginning.” I was learning that God, divine Principle, is our source or origin, and we are made by God, in His image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27). Therefore, each of us is His spiritual reflection.
I also learned that the word personality stems from the Latin persona, which signifies a mask used by actors. In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Material personality is not realism; it is not the reflection or likeness of Spirit, the perfect God” (p. 337). Wow, how incredible! I was overjoyed to discover that not one of those overly emotional characters I’d exhibited was the real me. They were all “masks” to be taken off. I recall feeling encouraged just to be me and “let my light shine” (see Matthew 5:16), reflecting the light of God. At first I didn’t know how to do this, but as I continued to pray and study the Bible and Science and Health, one by one the masks dropped away. I began to find my individuality as a reflection of God, expressing His qualities.
The road of change I travelled was not short. But gradually my understanding of Christian Science transformed from theoretical knowledge to a natural, effortless, practical expression of joy, wisdom, and harmony. The wonder of these divine qualities is that they are fully expressed in us and do not vary because Principle, God, is fully expressed in His creation. And Principle is gloriously changeless.
During this time of uncovering my true character, I loved this verse from Paul: “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (I Corinthians 3:9). A mental change of base began, on which my acting and singing became grounded. In fact, whenever I performed, I began to lose all sense of personality and instead felt free to express God-given qualities.
Through this experience, I’ve come to understand that spiritual individuality is the basis of true being—it is God’s song. How freeing it is to perform as a musician and actress when each piece is founded on spirituality rather than personality.
Berenice Bolton lives in Gillitts, South Africa.
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