Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Alpha is the Omega

Where we start is where we end. If we start from lack or discord, we will end with lack and discord. When we begin from perfection, we will arrive at perfection. Perfection cannot be made from discord. Discord does not contain anything that makes harmony. Lack does not hold any element that can create or provide for substance, abundance or fulfillment. Having our eyes on peace and perfection is more substantial than holding thought on shortage. Shortage does not mean having less ‘things,’ it is the belief that lack can exist. Since “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Since perfection and the highest good is our shepherd, our starting block, we shall not find ourselves wanting or lacking.
It is often thought that lack or limitation ignites creativity and inventiveness. There are many examples of inventions and new ideas coming up in extreme situations. Because of this, it is believed that lack or limitation brings forth creativity. However, the true explanation is different. New ideas always come from a change of thought—from lack to possibility and opportunity. It is the rejection of a supposed limitation that reveals higher vision and insight. “Man's extremity is God's opportunity,” and surely not limitation’s opportunity.
But how do we start from perfection and harmony, when facing conflicts and unsolved questions daily? Even when we recognize that we start from imperfection in thought, it will not always allow us to change the thought. That is because in such case, we try to ‘fix’ the existing discord with positive thought, which is again, starting from the problem.
Daily, I am confronted with problems, and do I need to do things I have never done before. I feel like balancing on a cord in complete darkness, and it is most frightening. When I subsequently try to work out how it must be done, I will silently break out in panic, feeling great tension in the stomach. The unsolved problems seem to increase in negative multiplication, and even if they end up solved, a new question immediately arrives. The relief of the previous answer is short and soon forgotten.
Until I realized that I cannot solve anything, I cannot bring perfection to this open gap of lack and imperfection, and I do not need to. But there is one thing I can do. I can rejoice in my love for everlasting perfection, harmony and good, because of this love I have plenty. I cannot solve any problem, but I can see right now how much I love and yearn for peace, even while standing face to face with great material destruction, or personal and emotional disaster. I can do this because peace of perfection is purely spiritual and not material. Matter is not fact, but the experience of our thoughts—conscious and subconscious. Peace of perfection is everlasting Truth, available at all times to one and all.
Beautiful is the practice of love that does not require a blind leap of faith. Many proposed systems fail when the conditions are hardest. But this metaphysical approach is one of substance, proving to be easier when things get tough. It takes little effort to find a moment to love the harmony that the challenges try to deny; it only needs the reminder and sincere attention. The challenge might be hard; the love for harmony is far greater. And taking this manner as a starting point will reinforce ‘now’ with completeness. Wisdom claims: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
With eternal Love,
the Hanna

Thursday, October 21, 2010

12. The Mother of all mothers

The Mother of all mothers cares for all the caring. Love and care under all circumstances show the true and victorious nature of motherhood. Mother stands for gentle protection and guidance, with patience and heavenly wisdom. Her smile reveals peace and comfort.

How can this motherhood ever go missing? The securest way to find again these precious experiences is by seeing that motherhood is ever intact and by letting her qualities be reflected freely.

With mother's love,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

11. "Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight"

Mother's Evening Prayer
by Mary Baker Eddy

O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
       O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling's faltering flight!
       Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.

Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
       Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
       His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.

O make me glad for every scalding tear,
       For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
       No ill, — since God is good, and loss is gain.

Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing;
       In that sweet secret of the narrow way,
Seeking and finding, with the angels sing:
       "Lo, I am with you alway," — watch and pray.

No snare, no fowler, pestilence or pain;
       No night drops down upon the troubled breast,
When heaven's aftersmile earth's tear-drops gain,
       And mother finds her home and heav'nly rest.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

9. The Good Day

When someone asks another: how was your day? The answer would sound like: fine, great, bad, boring, or nothing special. At the end of the day, one makes an evaluation of what has occurred or not occurred that day, and how these events influenced the person’s feelings and experience. This means that one’s happiness largely depends on what happens in his/her life.

Mary Baker Eddy teaches us that “we should seek happiness only of God” (EOF 209). When we do that, the evaluation of the day would not depend on the things that happened to us throughout that day. It would depend on God solely. And every day would be a good day. The assessment of this day would be made before the day has even started.

“This is the day the Lord hath made; Be glad, give thanks, rejoice” (hymn 342, Christian Science hymnal). We must decide what will be our thought and motive for the day before it even has started. Will this day be the day of the Lord in our experience, or a day where our feelings depend on worldly good and (consequently) evil, on earthly pleasure and pain?

If God is our measuring rod, then we can never miss out on anything, and nothing can happen to outshine the light of Truth, Love and divine happiness. No words or events can disturb us, and no material pleasure can make us more satisfied than the happiness we find of God. Goodness and faith will break the night with the first faint morning star. Order and peace will be the new time of experience. Love and harmony will be the consistency to sustain and lift us. Joy and happiness will bring forth the full radiant glory of the day.

So let me ask you in the spirit of this metaphysical law: How is the day?

the Hanna

EOF = ‘Essays and Other Footprints: Left by Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science’ by Mary Baker Eddy, (compiled by Richard Oakes).

Friday, August 21, 2009

7. Knowing Is Being

The previous article explains how spiritual under-standing provides infinite stability at all times. This article will take it one step further and will look into the meaning and conditions of spiritual understanding.

In order to understand something, one needs to first know the element that is understood. Without knowing there is no understanding. How could it be otherwise? Whatever is unknown is consequently not understood. Understanding indicates our knowing.

Then what does it mean to know something? Can we know something unlike ourselves? Can the sun know cold and darkness? No, the sun can only know what the sun is, and the qualities that come forth out of that being, like heat, energy, and light. Everything unlike the sun is unknown to the sun, and moreover, is destroyed by it.

And so it is for God. God, which is omniscience, all-knowing, can only know what God is, for God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil” (Hab 1:13). Indeed, if God is good, how can it see and know anything less than good? How can the pure eyes of good perceive evil? How can divine Love know any hate? And who can convince eternal Life of death?

God, good, can only know and see good, because it is good. Love can only know Love and its tender warmth, because that is Love’s nature and being. The same for Life; Life explains itself because its being defines itself. And by doing so, Life describes that all unlike itself must be dead and non-existent.

Therefore, knowing the qualities of God requires being them. That, which knows the divine, is the divine. Consequently, that which would know or see evil and things that are not of God cannot be the divine. Then what is that mind which knows or experiences evil? Mary Baker Eddy describes it as mortal mind. It is not an existing mind, but the seeming lack of the divine Mind — the suggestion that there are minds and “gods many” (I Cor 8:5) — the suggestion that we have a mind our own, separate from God.

Spiritual understanding and knowing are positive qualities of being, not the result of human study and mortal thinking. Intelligence is not dependent on electric pulses traveling in the brain. Celestial insight cannot be achieved or increased, simply because spiritual being cannot be achieved in the first place. God is all knowing and causation of all knowing. And we can all realize that God needs no brain to do so! This is so plain, that we are not aware of knowing it. Our knowing is dormant, in a sense.

Accordingly, writing and reading this article will not enhance understanding; but rather, writing and reading it is the exercise of being that knows and understands itself — in the degree the article is written and read in the light of Truth.

In the Blue Book we find a letter that Mary Baker Eddy wrote to the Christian Science Board of Directors: “Be strong and clear in your convictions that God . . . is influencing your actions. In order to be this, you surely must pray daily that God, good, divine Love . . . be lived by you” (DCC 128). “In order to be this,” she stated, instead of the expected: “in order to do this;” a significant choice of words. Doing something means being it. Being expresses a higher level than doing. Mrs. Eddy also shows here how good and divine Love are requisite for divine direction. Because God is good and God is Love, good and Love are indispensable to knowing and doing right.

All is connected and positioned into one line; knowing, understanding, thinking, realizing, perceiving, doing, loving, all stem from the first and foremost essential part, namely, divine being, God. Just as the ray of the sun, every successive piece in the ray is lined up straight. When we trace the line, it will lead us straight to its origin, the sun. Without the origin, there can be nothing coming forth. The way is straight and narrow, because the line to trace back to God goes to one point only, namely: God is All.

So we must stop thinking it is up to our thoughts and actions. When we start form the divine being that is God, that is “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex 3:14), divine thoughts and actions will follow naturally. And since God is good and perfect, its manifestation is inevitably good and perfect. The ray of the sun does not think: I must shine harder or stronger, because I am not perfect. When it would think that, it no longer is a sunray, since it is not sunlike. The sun’s being is the center that brings forth its infinite manifestation of energy and light.

Now, turn away your thoughts and efforts to work things out humanly. Start gently from the center of divine being, and be naturally godlike and perfect, made in Her “image and likeness.” “And God saw every thing that [she] had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31).

From the center of Love,
the Hanna

DCC: ‘Divinity Course and General Collectanea of Items by and about Mary Baker Eddy’ compiled by Richard F. Oakes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

6. What Is Your Base?

When standing on something that is sinking, like a boat on the sea, or a house on the drifting soil, what will you do? The most natural response will be to get out of the sinking structure and to move to a more firm and stable base that will give you better support. You will reach for solid ground. This new solid ground under your feet will offer a stronger support for you to stand and walk on.

When you feel like you are sinking or even drowning in problems, conflicts, poverty, loss, pain, an overload of work, emotions of fear, sadness or anger, the same tactics need to be adapted. Every sense of sinking or drowning means your standing is unstable. You need to shift your base to a more stable ground to place your feet upon, namely, under-standing. Indeed, understanding provides stable ground to imbalance.

For a child to understand there are no monsters in the bedroom hiding in the shadows, will help the child to exchange fear for knowing and trusting there is no need for fear. But as long as the child does not understand there cannot be any monsters in his bedroom, the fear will stay. Without the child’s own understanding, even the caring words of a parent will not be sufficient, because to the child, the danger will still be lurking when the parent is gone. Understanding is what ensures a stable standing.

Sure, a child’s imagination and fear for monsters is to us evidently an unnecessary fear. What about problems that we are confronted with that are presented as ‘more real?’ The solution is the same. To find ourselves in imbalance, suffering and hardship, is due to standing on unstable ground. We need to reach for under-standing ground. No imbalance can occur that we cannot find stable ground for.

Now, if you do not change base when sinking, all is not over. At some point of the sinking, you will hit the bottom. The bottom of the pit is also a ground from which to move up. That is why people who have lost everything, who have nothing left in their life to go on for, have the opportunity to find a rejuvenating foundation to stand on. This point where there is nothing left to lose, support can be found. Just like a burnt forest that has lost its vegetation turns into fertile soil. The worst situation we find ourselves in, the nearer we are to discovering the answer that is waiting for us. When all is lost and burnt, we are more eager and receptive to the more stable under-standing.

To change ground materially — to change from one material base to another — has its limitations. Even the strongest rocks are inclined to erosion; a boat can get damaged; the soil under a house can start moving. This is why we need to look to what is most stable of all, if we do not want to keep exchanging one sinking floor for another. The most stable ground to stand on, is Holy Ground. It provides us with spiritual under-standing that turns all instability into stability.

Spirit is not less stable or tangible because it is not material, and cannot be grabbed or perceived with the senses. In fact, it is more stable, because it is immaterial. Because the nature of Spirit is immaterial, it cannot be limited by place or time; it is always available, and it is unchanging. Spiritual strength, Love, and stability cannot be deteriorated by any conditions of the weather. No mortal, limited power can touch an infinite spiritual power. That is why Spirit is the most stable ground that can stand under.

For every need, at some point, we will need to reach for spiritual foundations. We can change one material means for another. But no material help will ever be complete or lasting. And every material help can also be of harm in the same extent as it would fill a need.

We can change the locks on our doors for metal bars, shooting equipment, or an ingenious technical security system. It might give a higher security for a while, but it will not last. Any invented system, can be unlocked by invention. And as it might secure the inhabitants, it can also become a tool to capture them, or trap them with fire. True protection and security can only be found in spiritualized thought.

The stable support from below as described, can also be symbolized as uplifting from above. A hot air balloon, a cable pulling from a helicopter, can also lift us from sinking or drowning. Reaching for the under-standing stability of Spirit, has an uplifting and revealing experience, not in the vertical sense of the three or more material directions, but in a sense of a superior and stable force which operates despite all material and mental directions that seem to allow destabilizing forces.

Jesus walked on the water. He did not invent a floating device; he did not support on something reaching to the ground. His support was one of a purely spiritual nature. He radically relied on the support of God, through under-standing and knowing His Father in heaven. Material science declares it impossible for this event to take place. Whether or not this actually happened, is not the issue of this story. Yet, the spiritual under-standing explains how spiritual activity does not stand on any material base or rule.

Peter, encouraged by his Master, took a step on the water too. But the wind was strong, and he feared. Peter’s doubtful standing on God, resulted in a less constant walk than his teacher’s. But his teacher being present “stretched forth his hand, and caught him” (Matt 14:31), showing him the true under-standing — a stable standing, even on a surface of water, hit by wind or storm. For “the storm may roar without me, no change my heart shall fear” (hymn 148, by Mary Baker Eddy).

Then what is your base? Are you depending on material laws and rules? Or are you standing on spiritual Truth? Does your happiness depend on material events and situations that need fulfilling according to custom and expectation? Do you serve fear, stress, hunger, lack, pain, captivity? Or does your happiness and peace rest on the everlasting divine Principle that governs all — that quietens the storm and lightens the dark?

Search your heart, actions and motives, and find their source. When they stem from an eternal unsinkable base, then those actions and motives will be part of that base, and complete security and stability will be found. If your actions and motives do not come from the heavenly base, then your heart will keep searching and changing base, until at last the divine foundation is revealed.

Whether it be “through Science or suffering” (Mis 362:27), spiritual stability will be found. The scientific realization that we can only start from the spiritual base, is ‘through Science.’ When sinking experiences leave us feeling empty and abandoned, we are encouraged stronger to find that new base, which is ‘through suffering.’ Regardless we do it now or later, the divine foundation is inevitable, because everything outside God is empty.

The waters in the rivers always flow back to the sea. Even when interrupted and deviated, it always finds its way to where it comes from. Likewise, we eventually will “gravitate Godward” (S&H 264:5), to find where we come from.

Tender stable Love,
the Hanna

‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures’ by Mary Baker Eddy.
‘Miscellaneous Writings’ by Mary Baker Eddy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

5. Perceiving God: Believing or Knowing?

My deepest desire is to find the pure meaning of God, as taught by Christ. There is not a day that I do not think of God and what it truly means. However, when people ask me if I believe in God, I cannot answer affirmative. The reason for this is the limitation and wrong concept that the question entails. The question asks me if I believe in a limited view of God. The God that is asked about is not in accord with how I have come to see God. The premise that makes someone ask, is not the one my understanding of God is based upon. And so the answer is ‘no, I do not believe in God.’

God is to me another synonym for truth, absolute truth, the Truth. Has anyone ever asked me if I believe in Truth? No. The question sounds pretty odd. Knowing, rather than believing is applicable to Truth. Truth is true, regardless what we believe or know. But only when we know it, we can see it for what it truly is. To believe something to be true means we do not really know it is true. To believe something is not the same as knowing a fact. Truth can only be perceived in knowing, not in believing. And so it does with God. God can only be perceived in knowing, not in believing—that is, if one accepts and comes to understand God as synonymous with Truth.

‘To believe in God’ has been the general accepted form to talk about God. Why do many see God as something we can only believe in? Mainly, because God is Spirit and cannot be seen by the senses. If God was material, you could point out to a place or shape, and say: ‘This is God.’ Everyone could see it, and there would be no confusion about it—or so we think. Since God is not material but incorporeal, it is generally thought God can only be felt somehow, or believed in.

But why would it be impossible to perceive of something incorporeal and spiritual that we can know instead of believe? Every new invention came forth from an idea. We cannot grab ideas with our hands, yet they prove to be pretty useful and practical to us. The same with numbers: they can be drawn or carved out of wood, but their ideas are immaterial. The understanding how to use numbers enables us to calculate bridges and to count the sheep. And so it is with love. One can show love, give a hug, and give a symbolic flower to a friend, but the love itself is never a material thing. Yet, we know love and we all need it. We also recognize the concept and importance of good, without pinning it down to a material object. We know that good is unselfish and honest. Moreover, we know honesty is more valuable than dishonesty. These examples of immaterial ideas are known to us without needing material senses to track them. Our spiritual senses give us the proof of spiritual existence and operation. Belief takes no role in it.

If belief will not teach us more about spiritual operation, it does not mean there is no hope or faith involved in the process. Hope and faith encourage us to move forward and upward. They are incentives that guide us in realizing the effortless spiritual knowing that we have within our reach. Hope and faith are footsteps to understanding. Blind believing is not. We do not close our eyes before we jump and hope we will land safely. We use the senses to perceive a safe landing.

Spiritual knowing also results in a natural trust. To know how to calculate a bridge with the right materials, gives us the trust to do so, and enables us to walk on that bridge without fear. On the other hand, to build a bridge without any understanding of the materials, the constructional principles and gravitational forces is foolish, and any trust from it is unfounded. To give your life to a God you believe in without understanding God and without comprehending the divine work, is not a founded approach—regardless the beauty of its motives.

Knowing God also takes out the mystery of it. To clad God with mystery and vagueness is no advanced approach. To say that God cannot be scientifically known or understood and can only be believed, is limiting any possibility of progress in learning and knowing God. Instead of progress, such vagueness is a breeding place for error in the so-called name of God. Darkness and ignorance allows abuse to slip in. Today, many terrors and errors are committed for what some call God. Some of these errors are visible to some, but many are hidden. Mystery and darkness is a perfect hiding place for error. That is why we need to take away that mystery and mist about something so beautiful and eternal, that we may call God. Take out complexity, and we find what is simple and natural. Take out the darkening sense of mysticism, and we find spiritual light. Take out error, and lies, and we find Truth. Take out belief and mystery, and we find Science—the knowing of God. Take off the veil, and we see the face of God.

Having said that error is often hidden, let us remember that Truth is existence, and that error and lies are non-existence. Error, lies, can only seem true in belief. Truth is true in understanding. Error is the denial and ignorance of Truth. Only understanding can reveal us how to make distinction between error and Truth. Yet, in the mist of ignorance, lies are more easily accepted; it does not need understanding.

The Bible states Jesus saying: “And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). It does not say: ‘Ye shall believe the Truth, and the belief shall set you free.’ This could not work. Beliefs keep us captive and limited. Only the understanding in Truth can unlock us of these imprisoning beliefs. But, because of belief’s hidden nature, it is often not seen. It is not just chains and locks that keep in or out. It is the belief that feeds the resistance to Truth that keeps us in the realm of belief and limitation.

Freedom is not found in your exercise of whatever we wish to do at our own likings, possibly at someone else’s expense. Freedom is found in Truth, as the Master teaches us. Belief limits us from our true capacity. Knowing Truth shows us infinite possibilities—and it is right at hand, for the “Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:14). So the Kingdom of God is not a material state or a sentimental experience we grab with our hands. It is knowing the Truth that is ever available and ever present. Even when our hands are locked in chains, deliverance by Truth is within our reach.

Is Truth cold to some? It is not found cold when Truth is properly understood. Truth is unbendable; you cannot fool it. And yet, it is also Love because Truth is constructive. Truth blesses all. Lies, error and dishonesty, the antidotes of Truth, are ingredients for deceit and corruption, which bare no resemblance with Love. Love, or good, cannot be separated from something constructive as Truth.

Mary Baker Eddy describes God as “Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love” (S&H 465). All these are synonyms for God. So God is as much Truth and Love, as it is Principle, or Soul. The depth of these synonyms declare that each one of these synonyms is equally God. That is why the study of these synonyms can help us to gain a clearer perception of God.

And so with every advancing step we take, we take it not to believe more in God, but to gain a higher understanding of God. Understanding goes together with our perception of God. We understand in the degree that we perceive the true God, Truth. That is why I cannot answer within the question if I believe in God or not. I strive to seek God. But the seeking is not added by arousing sentimental feelings and beliefs around the word God. The seeking is a constant prayer to do good and to know God.

Mary Baker Eddy sums it all up in the following question: “What is the difference between belief and understanding?” She answers: “Belief is a decision made from reasoning in material things. May be a false conclusion. Understanding is a demonstrable knowledge obtained from a clear perception of the real and eternal. ‘Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; then shall I know even as also I am known’” (DCC 214).

the Hanna

S&H: ‘
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures’ by Mary Baker Eddy.
DCC: ‘Divinity Course and General Collectanea of Items by and about Mary Baker Eddy’ compiled by Richard F. Oakes.