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On August 9, 2016, Bonnie Lykes-Bigler interviewed Cheryl Petersen about her revisions of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, on WIOX Roxbury radio.
To listen to a recording, click here and scroll down to the streaming box with Cheryl’s photo before clicking Play.
We read in I Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” This knowledge oftentimes leads me to pray for more courage to stand up against the world, as if the world causes my problems. However, when no healing results, I switch out my prayer and stop lying to myself.
I very well could be dealing with my own apathy, not a lion.
I pray for courage to become less apathetic.
It’s the story of Joseph that taught me this lesson. It’s not the story of the personal Joseph, but the story of how he was connected, more specifically to Moses and the Exodus of the children of Israel.
The personal Joseph has been put down as a hero who saved the people of Egypt and Israel. Joseph has also been put down as a villain who enabled a population to be dependent and enslaved.
As far as the Exodus, there is no conclusive historical evidence that it’s massive movement even occurred, but again, I learn my lessons from the bigger picture, the myth of it all, if you will.
Joseph, an Israelite, was sold into slavery as a teenager. In a zig-zag almost unbelievable way, he ended up ruling the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, because he had a dream that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.
During this famine time, Joseph’s family was moved to Egypt so they too wouldn’t starve to death. After the famine, Israelites lived with Egyptians. I can only guess that the Egyptians felt relieved the famine was over and the Israelites felt appreciative for being saved. Years passed. Centuries passed.
Maybe resentment crept in, but the Egyptians started feeling impinged upon and began asking the children of Israel to do jobs around the place. I suppose the Israelites could have done the jobs out of appreciation, but it dawned on me that at some point a few of the Israelites probably felt like the Egyptians could do their own work. Bucking the majority of Israelites who wanted to keep the peace, the few went along with working for Egypt.
The asking quickly became demanding and the Israelites became slaves. Resentment or not, apathy to keep the peace played a role in this high action saga. I tell myself, this wasn’t a case of the Egyptians kidnapping the Israelites and enslaving them, it was a case of the Israelites becoming so lethargic, even though their physical bodies were actively at work in the fields, they were so spiritually lazy that they were basically self-enslaved.
By time Moses came on the scene, the Israelites were fully isolated in Egypt. They had no energy or ambition to seek and stand with their God. They were visionless, except one woman who birthed Moses and took extraordinary measures to save him.
It was a lot of rig-a-ma-roll, but Moses grew up and eventually led the people of Israel out of Egypt and the saga continues.
Anyway, if I catch myself following a peaceful routine and even planning my day so that routine remains, I try to snap myself out of the pending apathy. I do not want to use spirituality to make a comfortable mortal life. I do not want to try to use spirituality to preserve a past. There is no such thing as a peaceful mortal life.
Spirituality is powerfully useful to reveal mental and interconnected peace. Our physical situation is peaceful only when those around us are peaceful to an increasing degree also. I can’t isolate myself from others and I don’t want to isolate others from me. With this in mind, I pray and find there is no famine of spiritual ideas to move forward and respond to this human life with courage and confidence in God, Truth, Love.
“All in good time,” we’ve heard it been said. All in good time will the goal be reached. But it’s difficult to be patient when we have bills to pay, a rickety marriage, or a crummy job. We want change right now.
“It’s the journey, not the end,” we’re reminded. Success isn’t a destination, but the road we’re on. But what if the road is full of ruts, rocks, and too many intersections? What if the journey feels like a big pot of boiling melodrama and anxiety?
We can simmer that pot with mindfulness.
The most important step to mindfulness, however, is putting aside our own mind and immersing our consciousness in divine Mind.
Too often, we let our human minds organize, categorize, and mull over who has done what, or not. But, this action of the human mind isn’t “action” so much as “reaction” to past events. Not very mindful.
We have a spiritual consciousness in tune with a mindfulness of the now, which is directly linked to a promising future.
Here are three ways to feel your consciousness in tune with mindfulness:
- Don’t be patient with problems, but be patient with solutions.
- Get over yourself. Be in and of the universal Mind that wants the best for everyone.
- Look for and admit each tiny success in your journey.
Spiritual successes are true victories. They are those times when we forgive our enemy, the times when we let go of a bad habit, those times when we stop loving chocolate more than God’s goodness, those times when we let the driver cut in front of us without getting angry, those times when we don’t blame someone else for our problems.
Every second we exercise a spiritual success we are getting stronger. The good times increase and the journey becomes interesting, creative, and welcoming. I talk more about these powerful ideas in my new book, from science & religion to God: A briefer narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health.
We aren’t here to master the world as much as we are to master those thoughts that place limitations on our health, happiness, and peace. Because so many people in the past and present are able to overcome their limitations, that means we can too. The divine force is universal, available to everyone.
In my new book, core spiritual principles are stated. The timeless ideas are tools to use when on our spiritual journey. You can be patient with progress. You can be a deep and inclusive thinker. You can find each success in your journey.
Excerpt “from science & religion to God”:
“The brain, nerves, hormones, and stomach can’t talk on their own. They act because of mind. Sensations of the body are sensations of the human mind. Through Truth you discover your ability to embrace your body and outline it with thoughts of health.
Let us prepare for the supremacy of Spirit—the government and law of universal harmony, which cannot be lost or remain forever unseen.
All the faculties of Mind are intact. No matter where we are, we can use our spiritual senses to commune with God and be governed by Love.
To be controlled by divine Mind is not to be controlled by hypnotism, human cultures, theories, crime, drugs, or fantasies. We learn to utilize spiritual sense—the constant conscious capacity to understand the all-acting infinite Spirit.”
Sometimes we get good ideas and later find out they weren’t so good.
Sometimes we follow through on ideas and find out they were better than we ever could have imagined.
Sometimes an idea comes about purely by accident or twist of fate.
Here’s a few examples:
- A Post-it note is a small piece of paper with a strip of low-tack adhesive on the back that allows it to be temporarily attached to documents, walls, computer monitors, and just about anything else. The idea for the Post-it note was conceived in 1974 by Arthur Fry as a way of holding bookmarks in his hymnal while singing in the church choir. He was aware of an adhesive accidentally developed in 1968 by fellow 3M employee Spencer Silver. No application for the lightly sticky stuff was apparent until Fry’s idea. The 3M company was initially skeptical about the product’s profitability, but in 1980, the product was introduced around the world. Today, Post-it notes are sold in more than 100 countries.
- If you can’t eat just one potato chip, blame it on chef George Crum. He reportedly created the salty snack in 1853 at Moon’s Lake House near Saratoga Springs, New York. Fed up with a customer who continuously sent his fried potatoes back, complaining that they were soggy and not crunchy enough, Crum sliced the potatoes as thin as possible, fried them in hot grease, then doused them with salt. The customer loved them and “Saratoga Chips” quickly became a popular item at the lodge and throughout New England. Eventually, the chips were mass-produced for home consumption, but since they were stored in barrels or tins, they quickly went stale. Then, in the 1920s, Laura Scudder invented the airtight bag by ironing together two pieces of waxed paper, thus keeping the chips fresh longer. Today, chips are packaged in plastic or foil bags or cardboard containers and come in a variety of flavors, including sour cream and onion, barbecue, and salt and vinegar.
I have found the idea of compromising to be beneficial. Of late, we had to deal with the Constitution Pipeline, a large natural gas company that offered unfair prices to landowners for an easement. It took patience and perseverance, however the “higher ups” at the profit making Constitution Pipeline Company finally came to the table and a dialogue with landowners began. A better easement agreement was established. It could be better, but compromise was an excellent start.
While the exercise of compromise could be taken too far, it definitely should not be disregarded. It can expand our minds to new ideas that bless humanity.
But more important, I’ve realized that we compromise whether we know it or not. The stance of not budging or not compromising, can actually cause us to compromise our integrity or open-mindedness.
I remember thinking the Bible carried the most authority when it came to understanding eternal life. I didn’t bend (compromise) when it came to thinking the Bible must be read. Then I read in Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, where she described the Bible as “a sufficient guide.” Only sufficient, not absolute. This idea relaxed and opened my mind to new thoughts, new books, new ways of expressing the infinite goodness we have available to us.
Science and religion are too large to describe. They are veritable conglomerates, diverse trades, mottled and immensely interesting businesses that can go bad.
But science and religion affect contemporary faith and how it is shaping, or reshaping, our institutions. Even the people who say they have no faith, have faith in something, maybe their dog coming home.
Today, beliefs and convictions change daily. New thoughts are hurled at us to ricochet in our spaces and minds. But, we may remember that science and religion associate with a tiny segment in the history of humankind. Centuries elapsed before human beings developed a consciousness of either. Human beings were too busy surviving. It took time for beliefs and knowledge to evolve and organize, sometimes self-destructing in the process.
In this evolution, factions reproduced, even as they matured and decayed. And through it all, there are peaks, the empowering heartfelt religious prayers, transformative sciences, putrid abuses, in short everything that is pleasant and irritating that attracts and repels, seduces and disgusts us humans. But, more important there are the people. How they fit into science and religion. How they complement one another.
Over the last half century, I’ve met people who observe Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, secularism, humanism, and naturalism. I see more complements than clashes. Science nor religion can break the unity of the spirit.
Neither science nor religion is truth. They aren’t even bodies of facts. They are methods to decide whether or not what we chose to believe has a foundation in physical or spiritual laws. I barely understand physical and spiritual laws, occasionally thinking they blend, but I have found common ground among science and religion in that they both can be used to pursue the law of healing and answer questions as to why the heck we are here and what should we do about it.
But let’s remember where we are starting from: Unbreakable unity.