Have you ever watched a baseball game and seen how the pitcher intently leans in toward the catcher to pick up the signal for the next pitch? Sometimes he gives a quick little head-shake that says: "No!" Then he leans in again looking for a different signal. If it still doesn’t feel right, for sure, he will give another authoritative "No!"
Pitchers have to make immediate decisions about a catcher’s suggestions. Catchers will advise, but it’s always the pitcher’s call when it comes to deciding on which signal to act on. When a pitch finally comes that he can agree with, he will straighten up, set himself, and throw the baseball with all his might.
Sometimes thoughts are presented to us a bit like those pitch recommendations. But how quick are we to shake off the bad ones and ready ourselves for a better idea? I've seen time and again in my practice of Christian Science that folks worry about why negative, unhealthy thoughts have come to them, instead of just simply dismissing them and moving on to a better thought. We do have a choice about the signals we respond to and the ones we simply shake off with a quick and definitive "No!"
I don’t imagine a pitcher scratches his head and asks, “Is it my fault you are calling for this pitch?” Neither does he stand up and take a moment to ruminate, “Why, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.” No. Pitchers know that not every signal is worth acting on, and it is a waste of time to engage with them in any way.
Have you ever suddenly felt despondent, irritated, confused or sad? “No!” can be a powerful prayer. When saying “No!” to fear, to mulling, to owning negative feelings and behaviors, we can do more than simply go into a state of denial. Every “No!” opposing a negative suggestion can be a big, welcoming “Yes!” to the next better thought. A progressive “No!” includes expectancy that a right idea - a God-authored good idea – is available to be acted upon right away.
This little scene of the catcher and pitcher came to me one afternoon when I was just about to let a silent, mental tirade get launched. I was irritated with someone who was interfering with a project, and I was getting all kinds of signals to react negatively. But instead of being clogged, stymied and sidelined by negative mental chatter, I realized I could say “No!” to the roiling thoughts, and listen for a better idea. And healing ideas came. Of course they did! And as they did, all the irritation and frustration stopped hounding me. The project was soon back on track and we were able to complete our work together with no further complications.
Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, says, “Truth is affirmative, and confers harmony.” (418) The Truth referred to here is God. A strong and clear “No!” to wrong can include the affirmation of the present and available good ideas that God gives us. This is the kind of All-Star thinking that brings harmony to any aspect of our lives.
No matter what the negative suggestions may be, you have the power to say “No!” God's ever-available help, love and care, are right there with you leading you to the best pitch, which is never any further than the next thought away.
Our new guest blogger, Lois Herr, CSB, is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in Virginia, USA. Feel free to give her your feedback in your comment below. You can also be in touch with her directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
A French friend often says to me, “You Americans love to say, ‘I sink.’” That’s her accented version of I think. The French language, rich in vocabulary, doesn’t just settle for “thinking.” In France, we reflect, consider, admit, cogitate, conceive, believe, deliberate, envision, reckon, estimate, imagine, meditate, presume, reason, dream, ruminate, propose, speculate and suppose – but we certainly don’t just “sink”!
And wherever we may find ourselves in the world, not every thought is just a thought. It all depends on it’s point of origin. The Mind that is God, thinks; and nothing else does. All real thought is reflected from Mind. Anything else is suggestion.
In Scripture, Job spoke of God as the singular source of all thought and action. “He is of one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desires, even that He does. For He performs the thing that is appointed for me.” (Job 23:13,14 King James 2000)
God is Mind and holy thought is sending; Man, His image, hears His voice.
Divine Mind is one of seven synonyms for God used in Christian Science to explain the source of real thought. Others are Soul, Spirit, Life, Love, Principle and Truth. Concepts, ideas, inspirations, intelligence, judgment, proverbs, reason, reflections and loving sentiments originate in this Mind, in God, and are reflected in us, Mind’s ideas or creation. Christian Science Discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy explained, "Man and his Maker are correlated in divine Science, and real consciousness is cognizant only of the things of God." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 276)
Mind is the Thinker and we are His thought. God’s thoughts lift, inspire, promote, envision, advance, move, improve, develop, cheer, comfort, awaken, thrill, calm, and heal.
I am talking real-deal thought.
We have all heard the adage, “You are what you think.” But that can open a real can of worms, can’t it? “I think I am worthless.” “I think I am scared.” “I think I am sick.” “I think I am a victim.” In my friend’s accent: That isn’t thinking. It’s sinking!
Seeded in Mind, true thought expresses intelligence and produces positive results. Mind’s thoughts are invaluable. Mind opens and reveals good and good and more of good, never thwarting or crippling the flow of inspiration, comfort, security and joy. Mind-thoughts are Love-thoughts. They are supported, uplifted, embraced. God’s thoughts are good and they feel good. They don’t hurt, cripple, paralyze or torment. The intrinsic thought of God never wears out, breaks down or quits. And God’s thought, expressed in us, is permanent.
So what about all that negative stuff that is often called thinking?
The counterfeit notions of daymares and nightmares, the thinking-posers that have no true claim as thought, are the disposable, changeable, weighted speculations of limitation and fear. They are un-sourced, that is, there is no real mind to think them. They are not God’s. Consequently, since we are God's reflection, they are not mine, or yours, or anyone else’s. Their only claim to place and power is in the realm of suggestion – the fabled dreamland of doubt, darkness and confusion.
But they are not legitimate thought.
It’s pretty simple. Sinking thinking isn’t your thought. It doesn’t have a real hold on you. Divine Mind does. And Mind’s thought of you is a stabilizing reflection of permanent good. The divine Mind that conceives you, guards and keeps you. It will never let you go.
I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (I Corinthians 13:12 New American Standard Bible)
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Gertrude Stein wrote in her book Everybody's Autobiography (1937), "It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much, doing nothing, really doing nothing."
I must say I do agree. At least it can look that way to an observer. And it often feels that way to the one going through the process of sitting, thinking, squirming, waiting, wondering, gazing out the window, staring at the wall, clipping fingernails, thinking... all the while waiting for some outward sign of forward movement.
Oh, how many times have I experienced just that. Each time I think I will discover some new way to circumvent the process. And then, here we go again.
A couple of years ago, I was in the middle of what looked and felt like a "doing nothing" patch. I had been staring at the walls for a decent chunk of time as January dragged into February. When it looked like February might pass into March without much to say for it, I reached out to a Christian Science practitioner for help.
Christian Science practitioners (like me) pray for people to help them out of stuck places in their lives. I wasn't sure what I was looking for from this prayer, other than the ability to trust that all this quiet, and thinking, and sitting, and doing nothing but scrutinize my white walls, was OK... And to know that I wasn't nuts. Because, frankly, I wondered what was wrong with me that nothing seemed to be going on in my life.
So she prayed for me until I saw the reinforcing power that develops in deep periods of quiet. I would describe what I saw this way:
Think of the formation of a wave. A wave develops well under the surface on the ocean floor. The current (think undertow, when it happens near the shore) pulls back, and finally pushes up, propelling the water forward with amazing force. We glory in the beauty of the activity on the surface, not always recognizing the invisible, silent, essential build-up of strength that precedes it.
I turn to Mary Baker Eddy for a clear description of the metaphysics of this wave development. She wrote, "Beholding the infinite tasks of truth, we pause, — wait on God. Then we push onward, until boundless thought walks enraptured, and conception unconfined is winged to reach the divine glory." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 323)
No matter what it looks like on the surface, something powerful is happening.
I have been a pusher all my life. But I love to think now of these strength-yielding pauses. I believe it is absolutely essential to allow oneself the mental space - white wall space - to pause, to be - to think and wonder and even squirm (!), - as one waits on the onward push of God, omniactive good.
Its not really a time thing. I have had pauses that last but a second before the next breakers of inspiration jettison me forward onto the shore of some new adventure or activity. Others have been long. Really long. What looked, up close, to be a two month pause a couple of years ago, was really the last momentum-gathering undertow at the end of a six year deep-think pause. But the force of that build-up has carried me through some of my most productive and interesting years yet.
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_I didn’t think so much about that when I was growing up. In fact, I remember very clearly walking down the hall of my college dorm and saying to myself, “ It doesn’t matter what I think because no one knows my thoughts but me!" I was probably thinking something I wouldn’t have wanted written on my forehead for everyone to read.
Some years later, I found out how important inner thoughts are. It had to do with headaches. I had never experienced a headache, until one morning I felt intense head pain. My first thought was to try to find relief by getting into a tub of warm water – my usual comfort spot whenever I was troubled about anything. I sat there with tears running down my face because I found no relief.
A woman stood at a scarf counter in an upscale department store waiting to get the attention of the sales clerk who was busy doing other things and completely ignoring her. Fuming, feeling invisible and neglected, she was about to react when the thought came to pause and pray.
Taking a deep breath, she thought, "I must be able to see at least one quality of God in this sales clerk before I speak."
So she prayed. And she listened for something, anything good about this clerk. Lots came to mind, but they were more faults than positive qualities derived from God, universal Good. And then she thought, "Wait a minute. She breathes, therefore she expresses Life!"
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no