|Subject: Be careful what you’re looking at|
My grandmother loved to tell the story of a little girl who attended a Christian Science Sunday School and hurt her finger playing. When the girl’s father came home and asked to see the injury, she replied, “Oh, Daddy, please don’t see what you are going to look at.” In other words, be careful not to be taken in by the human picture or you may be fooled by what you are seeing.
How often I’ve used that illustration to make a point about spiritual perspective in my Sunday School classes. And in considering God’s place in our lives, I’ve often invited young people to imagine a puddle on the sidewalk with the sun coming down and evaporating it. Did the sun recognize the puddle or even touch it as the water evaporated? Of course not! Similarly, the manifestation of God (the Christ, or God’s revealed word) comes right to our material, human misconception of life and changes it, just as the sun evaporates the puddle.
What keeps coming to me is that when we see anything, be it a hurt finger, a puddle, or a beautiful sunset, we’re looking from either a spiritual or a material perspective. What really needs changing is not the material condition but our perception of the condition as material. We don’t really need to see more sunlight being expressed by the puddle; we simply need to see less puddle! Accordingly, we don’t see God in matter. As we focus on spiritual qualities (by listening for inspiration), we no longer see an increased manifestation of Spirit in matter, we just see less matter. Spirit is everywhere all the time. We simply get distracted by the human sense of things, as with the biblical analogy of the tares and wheat growing side by side until the harvest helps us to make the distinction (see Matt. 13:18-30).
Aspects of this parable are a major theme running through Science and Health. The allness of Spirit, God, and the nothingness of matter (and a juxtaposition of these opposites) appears in many paragraphs--mortal/immortal; human/divine; corporeal/incorporeal; material/spiritual; Truth/error; Life/death; Love/hate, sickness/health, and, yes, tares and wheat. These opposites cannot mix any more than light and darkness, or the sun and the puddle. It may at times look as though the material, human picture is manifesting more Spirit, but that’s not the case. It would be hard to imagine a tare (or weed) taking on the qualities of wheat or wheat incorporating the characteristics of tares. In the same way, the human cannot become divine in its composition, and the divine can’t take on human characteristics. Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “The divine must overcome the human at every point (Science and Health, p. 43). As we spiritualize our view and see more of our divine qualities, the material evidence informing us proportionately disappears. Elsewhere she wrote: “There are not two realities of being, two opposite states of existence. One should appear real to us, and the other unreal, or we lose the Science of being. Standing in no basic Truth, we make ‘the worse appear the better reason,’ and the unreal masquerades as the real, in our thought” (Unity of Good, p. 49).
Dematerializing our view requires humble listening for that spiritual inspiration which enables us to not “see what we are looking at” and to “judge not according to the appearance” (John 7: 24). With a conscious daily effort we can witness and give credit to the spiritual influence ever present in our experience.