Mind and Pride
October 17, 2002
Note this: only such as are pure in spirit, emptied of vainglory and vain knowledge, receive Truth.
Our meeting capped a week of Christian Science study and practice focused on Mind, a synonym for God, juxtaposed against Pride, one of the seven deadly sins. We hope to approach the other synonyms and sins in coming weeks in the order set forth respectively by Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health, page 465, line 10 and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, based on the scheme of Thomas Aquinus.
We noted first that the seven deadly sins are attitudes or states of mind, not acts, and rather disturbingly that most of them are honored today in pop culture as desirable motivations. We celebrate sexual prowess, nonstop consumption and keeping up with the Joneses. Who even thinks of deadly lust, gluttony or envy? But maybe we should, given the current state of the world, as seen from a matter-based perspective.
The saving standpoint in Christian Science is that all sin is a dualistic human knockoff of a divine idea. As humans we're greedy, lustful and gluttonous as we try desperately to pull infinity from a human concept. Healing can be accomplished as we focus beyond the conceptual level, finding there the divine idea and living it through reflection.
Most of us felt at the beginning of the meeting that there is such a thing as justifiable pride — say in some excellence or accomplishment of ourselves or someone else. We would not sink to arrogance or haughtiness or any other extreme of pride. Our chairperson bluntly stated that he felt pride is invariably negative, as both the Bible and the writings of Mrs. Eddy bring out. "It separates us from others and portrays one person as better than another."
Pride in being a Christian Scientist was drubbed. We would be placing our spiritual practice on a base of personal sense. One member felt we should eschew even the designation of Christian Scientist and live as Christ Science.
Could we say we are proud of someone just as a matter of convention, not to be thought too weird? Well, OK, but let's be sure we're acknowledging the man in Science as we handle such dangerous materials. (See Science and Health, p. 476: 32-2).
And what of Gay Pride — now surely there's a good use of the term/attitude. Fine, but as students of Christian Science can't we scratch the surface a bit and release some of the immense pain and dysfunction driving the proceedings. There has to be a divine idea that will bring healing into the area.
That brought us to a discussion of what the healing fact behind the matter-based pride concept might be. We had set up the meeting to focus on Mind as the applicable deific synonym. So, God being the only Mind, there is no mortal mind to give or receive prideful malpractice. Mind is the only knowing, the only intelligence — the only cause and effect.
Whenever or for whatever reason we might feel pride, we might go instead for joy, seeing God as the source of all good. This should eliminate feelings either of superiority or inferiority vis-à-vis others.
Members had lots of examples of pride in our lives to talk about.
1) One has quite a panoply of academic and professional credentials which he can strut before others to cover feelings of inadequacy. He is learning that his education and connections can be used in God's service and for His glory while the bad feelings are addressed and solved in Science.
2) Another read from a paper he had composed during the week to comment on the pride his uneducated immigrant father must have felt as he saw his only son's schooling bear fruit in the workplace. A warm and lovely human sentiment. Other members helped him get it out of the clutches of personal sense onto a firm spiritual basis by citing, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17).
3) Another talked of his attempts through advertising to expand his business. A number of prospects came forward, but in spite of much energy expended, none of them made it all the way to a firm business deal. In his disappointment he turned wholeheartedly to God for direction. Within minutes another prospect e-mailed him and was ready to do business. In line with our topic, he could see that he needed to let go of resentment and outlining and just be accepting of God's will. "This is the virginal consciousness that brings out the Christ idea; the meekness that inherits the earth."
4) Another member described a traumatic incident from his first day of college. As he entered the dining hall he became aware of all the chatting, laughing people seemingly fully engaged. Whom would he eat with or talk to? He was terrified and decided quite consciously to assume an air of superiority and aloofness which got him though that event but left him bereft of intimacy or any substantial human contact for years. He now sees that as an example of deadening if not deadly pride.
5) Another member described a similar experience he had had just this week. As lunch with friends was ending he noticed them whispering to each other before suddenly decamping for what he intuited must be a party to which he was not invited. He felt he should have been since he knew the supposed host as well as some of those whose backs he observed moving quickly up a side street. He was sad but noted he could not bring himself to ask anyone what was going on. Pride? Well that's a label covering what he later discovered was his awkward, lonely teenager self, unrecovered from many such incidents in high school where eventually he didn't even bother to try but withdrew from social contact and amused himself. Now he had a chance to put all that behind. And he has done so to some extent, by feeling those feelings and letting them drive him to the healing Christ: i.e., the all-inclusiveness of being. Later in the week he found that there had been an oversight and he should definitely have been included in the party. He was also able to get much closer to some of the people he had felt levels of estrangement from for years.
6) Another member rectified a customer relationship, severely strained two weeks ago by a blow up over religion and gender politics. They happened to run into each other and immediately hugged. Both reaffirmed the ongoing relationship. There was no mention of explosive topics — yet.
For next week we'll go forward with Spirit and Greed.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God:
And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
The divine Mind, not matter, creates all identities, and they are forms of Mind, the ideas of Spirit apparent only as Mind, never as mindless matter nor the so-called material senses.
Pride and fear are unfit to bear the standard of Truth, and God will never place it in such hands.
Who, that has felt the perilous beliefs in life, substance, and intelligence separated from God, can say that there is no error of belief? Knowing the claim of animal magnetism, that all evil combines in the belief of life, substance, and intelligence in matter, electricity, animal nature, and organic life, who will deny that these are the errors which Truth must and will annihilate? Christian Scientists must live under the constant pressure of the apostolic command to come out from the material world and be separate. They must renounce aggression, oppression and the pride of power.
There is no power apart from God. Omnipotence has all-power, and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God. The humble Nazarene overthrew the supposition that sin, sickness, and death have power. He proved them powerless. It should have humbled the pride of the priests, when they saw the demonstration of Christianity excel the influence of their dead faith and ceremonies.
^Is not all argument mind over mind?^
The Scriptures refer to God as saying, "Come now, and let us reason together." There is but one right Mind, and that one should and does govern man. Any copartnership with that Mind is impossible; and the only benefit in speaking often one to another, arises from the success that one individual has with another in leading his thoughts away from the human mind or body, and guiding them with Truth. That individual is the best healer who asserts himself the least, and thus becomes a transparency for the divine Mind, who is the only physician; the divine Mind is the scientific healer.
When the Word is made flesh,—that is, rendered practical,—this eternal Truth will be understood; and sickness, sin, and death will yield to it, even as they did more than eighteen centuries ago. The lusts of the flesh and the pride of life will then be quenched in the divine Science of being; in the ever-present good, omnipotent Love, and eternal Life, that know no death. In the great forever, the verities of being exist, and must be acknowledged and demonstrated. Man must love his neighbor as himself, and the power of Truth must be seen and felt in health, happiness, and holiness: then it will be found that Mind is All-in-all, and there is no matter to cope with.