April 3, 2003
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.
Watchfulness, our chairperson informed us, is about staying awake and alert for the purpose of guarding or observing clearly. Its root "weg"means to be strong, lively and gives rise to words like wake, watch, wait, vigor, vigil and reveille.
One member said he was overwhelmed midway through the week by news reports of the war and an exotic new disease. His heart flagged under the constant bombardment and he needed active, adamant Christian Science prayer to restore balance and harmony to his thought.
Another member noted the constant need and requirement in Christian Science to keep one's whole being in line with reality. Mary Baker Eddy often puts the words "watch and pray"together as in the "Rule For Motives and Acts"which our member read to us from The Manual of The Mother Church (see the Readings).
This brought on a discussion of the process involved in watching and praying. It seemed to us something of a paradox, for we must first allow ourselves enough duality to take up the cross or spot the errors in our beliefs about reality, and then turn right around and "go absolute"in the Truth in order to dispel them. Watching, under this way of approaching things, is basically a human dualistic initial means to an end. Psychology and its depth techniques — dreams and fantasies — can be helpful here.
One member read us a very potent comment by Mrs. Eddy on mortals' tendency to project their own unacknowledged errors onto others. See the Readings from Miscellaneous Writings. This is in line with Jesus' instruction about the beam in our own eye vs the mote in our brother's eye (Matthew 7:3-5). As a rule, if we find ourselves greatly exercised about someone else's sins, we have work to do within ourselves. Some psychologists — and probably most clear-thinking Christian Scientists — would find 99% of the problems "out there"are our very own! This is essential work if we are to watch properly.
We next turned to what a member introduced as "holistic watching."He felt it would cut right through any need to probe our sins or those of others, since it is impersonal, and take us to where the real, healing power resides — i.e., divine Mind. He read us some quotes from Science and Health. He started with, "Christian Scientists, be a law to yourselves that mental malpractice cannot harm you either when asleep or when awake."(p. 442:30) This he felt was a ratcheting up of the "Rule for Motives and Acts"from the level of minutiae to the oneness of being. Then with random quotes from the Textbook, we heard of man as "the conscious identity of being,"(p. 475:16-17) and "the conscious infinitude of existence."(p. 302:6-7) Watching could therefore be broadened beyond a person guarding or observing this and that, to man, infinite idea "including all right ideas."(p. 475:15)
Members had a number of experiences during the week that involved watching and praying in Science. As we went through them we noted how whatever presented itself to the material senses was re-evaluated as the reality of being in Science — resulting in healing.
1) One member continued his adventures in sharing insights derived from Christian Science without using those words or its jargon. For instance a Catholic friend he's been exploring spirituality with, came to see him this week with his catechism. As they read parts of it together, there was little that did not resonate with Science and Health.
Another friend, a dancer, ended a class in great pain from cramps. "I'm all cramped up,"she cried out as she sank to the floor. He went to her and as she massaged her legs he reminded her of the emotional pain she was carrying, without conscious acknowledgement, from two recent break-ups, one with her longtime dance partner, the other with her boyfriend. He watched over her pain and saw her divinity. The cramps loosened.
2) The member who last week uncovered and dispelled guilt over his treatment of a dying friend (see notes on [#topic=20030327#]), found a layer of shame beneath. (He noted in passing that guilt is often a defense against having to feel far more devastating shame.) He did not run from it but allowed himself to sink into it. "I went right through the floor."What he found is that human shame is dualistic language for the allness of being, even the allness of God as man. This was quite a healing realization and helped him get to what he told us earlier in the meeting about "holistic watching."
3) Another member was dragging himself and a heavy briefcase up a steep staircase, short of breath and in pain. Suddenly a voice within told him to "look up at your goal" — the top of the stairs. He did so and immediately had lots of energy and no pain. This healing has not reversed itself. Another member quickly reached for Science and Health and read this: "The discoverer of Christian Science finds the path less difficult when she has the high goal always before her thoughts, than when she counts her footsteps in endeavoring to reach it."(p. 426:5)
4) A member was looking at TV when cameras switched to San Jose airport to show a plane just arrived from Hong Kong laden with SARS patients. He thought, "Well here it comes!"He was frightened, but reached out to God. Instantly the angel thought came, "We don't live in matter or any dualistic substance subject to problems. We live in God!"He thought no more of it until the next day when an announcement came through that no one on that plane had SARS. Did his prayer heal those people? Who knows, but he quoted a practitioner to the effect that when you hear of something inharmonious, it's up to you to be the practitioner on that case. Pray as though you are the only one praying about it.
5) A friend of a member is facing a taxing course of medical treatments which were described in detail to him. He prayed to see the Truth which unfolded along these lines. "Medical treatments are prayer or a desire for wellness"(see Science and Health, p. 1:11). Hospitals and their staffs are the structure of Truth and Love, resting on Principle (Ibid., p. 583:12-13). Later he saw the personal element as strictly effect, never cause. The perfection of being is pressing through to proclaim, "I am All."
6) The so-called Texas sodomy case was argued before the Supreme Court March 26th. The supremacy of the oneness of being is taking over: "Look long enough, and you see male and female one"(The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 268:29-30).
Near the end of the meeting a member was talking of a breakthrough in communication with someone at his gym. The uncertainty he felt about what had happened led another to suggest we look at True Connection for next week. This is of course important for all of us on an individual basis, but think of its national and international aspects.
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God's allness. We must resolve to take up the cross, and go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love.
As material knowledge diminishes and spiritual understanding increases, real objects will be apprehended mentally instead of materially.
During this final conflict, wicked minds will endeavor to find means by which to accomplish more evil; but those who discern Christian Science will hold crime in check. They will aid in the ejection of error. They will maintain law and order, and cheerfully await the certainty of ultimate perfection.
The sick are terrified by their sick beliefs, and sinners should be affrighted by their sinful beliefs; but the Christian Scientist will be calm in the presence of both sin and disease, knowing, as he does, that Life is God and God is All.
Simply asking that we may love God will never make us love Him; but the longing to be better and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness.
If the sense of sin is too little, mortals are in danger of not seeing their own belief in sin, but of seeing too keenly their neighbor's. Then they are beset with egotism and hypocrisy. Here Christian Scientists must be most watchful. Their habit of mental and audible protest against the reality of sin, tends to make sin less or more to them than to other people. They must either be overcoming sin in themselves, or they must not lose sight of sin; else they are self-deceived sinners of the worst sort.
When the door opened, I was waiting and watching; and, lo, the bridegroom came! The character of the Christ was illuminated by the midnight torches of Spirit. My heart knew its Redeemer.
I enjoin it upon my students to hold no controversy or enmity over doctrines and traditions, or over the misconceptions of Christian Science, but to work, watch, and pray for the amelioration of sin, sickness, and death. If one be found who is too blind for instruction, no longer cast your pearls before this state of mortal mind, lest it turn and rend you; but quietly, with benediction and hope, let the unwise pass by, while you walk on in equanimity, and with increased power, patience, and understanding, gained from your forbearance. This counsel is not new, as my Christian students can testify; and if it had been heeded in times past it would have prevented, to a great extent, the factions which have sprung up among Scientists to the hindrance of the Cause of Truth. It is true that the mistakes, prejudices, and errors of one class of thinkers must not be introduced or established among another class who are clearer and more conscientious in their convictions; but this one thing can be done, and should be: let your opponents alone, and use no influence to prevent their legitimate action from their own standpoint of experience, knowing, as you should, that God will well regenerate and separate wisely and finally; whereas you may err in effort, and lose your fruition.