March 12, 2009

As mortals awake from their dream of material sensation, this adorable, all-inclusive God, and all earth's hieroglyphics of Love, are understood; and infinite Mind is seen kindling the stars, rolling the worlds, reflecting all space and Life, -- but not life in matter.

Miscellaneous Writings, by Mary Baker Eddy

"Self-indulgence? Where'd you all come up with that?"

"We were in a Lenten mood and decided to see how such an orthodox concept works in Christian Science."

"Well, it certainly applies. It's rife throughout humanity — no one's exempt."

"Okay. Who'd like to start? Don't be shy."

"Well, I looked it up in several dictionaries and got interested in some of its synonyms. Basically it's about yielding to one's desires and impulses — or those of another. We can also humor, pamper, spoil or baby ourselves or others — none of which sounds real clear-eyed or scientific."

"I imagine Mrs. Eddy had nothing positive to say about it."

"She doesn't use ' self-indulgence' but her relatively few uses of ' indulge' or 'indulgent' are all negative."

"The basic point in Science is we must not indulge sin, sickness or death in anyone. In other words we mustn't accept such illusions in anyone and definitely we shouldn't promote them."

"Self-indulgence seems to me to involve leaning on matter — depending on it. Appearances can deceive. Wildly popular and successful people may be just self-aggrandized bubbles waiting for a pin."

"You know Bill Maher used the word 'self-indulgent' on his show the other night, referring to where we all were, world-wide, as the economic bubble got grander and we lost touch with core human values. Didn't Jesus say it all in the Sermon on the Mount — you know about the rust and the thieves ruining our dream?."

"The 'dulge' part of ' indulge' may come from a root meaning 'to go on and on'. Didn't we think it would, forever?"

"When the movie 'Titanic' came out in 1998 I knew something was brewing below the surface. An unsinkable ship built and run by masters of the universe was just too analogous to the hubris we were then feeling."

"Nirvana has been somewhat delayed by terrorism, war and financial catastrophe."

"So — what's the Science going on, instead of these appearances?"

"You tell us."

"At a minimum, I'd say the catastrophes carry within them enough suffering to wake us up."

"We could just keep spiraling down, feeding fear and blame. It's tough to rouse ourselves after hits like these."

"Sure — but the model I use is the Prodigal Son chomping away on the husks. Christian Scientists know or should know better than to continue there, but everyone really has some innate capacity to get back home."

"Suffering's only useful as long as I've got myself firmly planted in dualism.""Catholics use the word 'indulgence' in a positive sense of giving someone a boost out of Purgatory. That got me thinking of how loving or indulgent God is with us. I mean, it's not intellectually scientific, but He's a big Bear Daddy Santa, always ready to gather us up in His arms and love us. It's not a bad image to offset the kind of mathematical, computerized Deity of today."

"You'll turn a lot of Christian Scientists off with that kind of talk."

"I've already turned them off so badly over the years, it's time for some fresh meat."

"Now you've turned off the vegetarians!"

"Okay. Fresh tofu."

"If we could see all our excesses or indulgences as attempts to reach out for infinity, I think we'd get a more helpful view of it all. Mortal mind will always try to mimic divine Mind."

"Every human concept is a way of experiencing God dualistically. I'm discovering I need to see both sides of the concept — the good and the bad — before going to the one reality."

"Great — but punch through quickly or you'll get bogged down. Take a concept like church. It's a force for good and order — but there can also be meaningless dogma and unfeeling rejection of people."

"Or Mrs. Eddy's statement about an evil person having an attractive personality."

"Perfect! But go right on to the divine. Church is the structure of Truth and Love. And man is divine idea."

"What about Madoff?

"And his victims?"

"What do you want? He's a codependent, hero type. A people-pleaser who wanted to make everyone happy."

"I'm sure he and his clients all had their good and bad aspects. They were self-indulgent just like we are — but cutting through appearances, we're divine idea!"

"When I was a kid I had desires for something I couldn't ever identify. Maybe it was the beginning of sexual feelings or maybe it was a desire for wholeness or God."

"Do you still have those feelings?"

"Not consciously — maybe down deep. They got shunted off into desires for food and sex and romantic obsessions. I've gone to 12 Step recovery for them all."

"They say in AA that addiction is a search for God, right? Isn't that the basis for recovery?"

"Yes. You don't get anywhere beating yourself up for being self-indulgent."

"Mortal mind is a state of mesmerism or addiction or self-indulgence. We suck up attachments to people and things, concepts and beliefs. They become our identity and we cling to them."

"Good point but as with the 12 Steps we need to get to God if we want healing."

"Our time is getting short. Do we have some suggestions for the next topic?"

"I can't believe we've gone through this topic without referring to the Gay community. "

"Would you like to suggest something?"

"Okay — like Gay Culture?"

"How we find it? Not just addiction run riot."

"Right. The whole thing. Politics, sex, how I'm living it. The bad and the beautiful."

"It's fine with me, but let me read something before we go. It can apply to both our current and our upcoming topic. 'To take all earth's beauty into one gulp of vacuity and label beauty nothing, is ignorantly to caricature God's creation, which is unjust to human sense and to the divine realism. In our immature sense of spiritual things, let us say of the beauties of the sensuous universe: "I love your promise; and shall know, some time, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and color, of what I now through you discern dimly; and knowing this, I shall be satisfied. Matter is a frail conception of mortal mind; and mortal mind is a poorer representative of the beauty, grandeur, and glory of the immortal Mind' (Mis 87: 3-14)."

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