How prayerful thought helps us feel settled in unsettling times
Updated: Feb 7
By: Elaina Simpson, C.S.
Believe it or not, it is possible to feel settled in the midst of unsettling times. During a global pandemic, people are hoping to feel calmer in the midst of challenges. I've found it helpful to ask myself, where do my thoughts lie? (Lie as in to lay or rest, not lie as in liar.)
Once, I had a personal problem come up that seemed to really jolt me. It's important to me to hold thought above conflict, but this time it felt really hard. When this challenge came up, it felt tempting to allow the challenge to consume thought. So much so, that I felt distracted from the solution-- From what God was telling me about the situation! This made me go even deeper than ever before, asking in prayer; So how do we keep thought on God, unwavering, no matter how BIG a challenge seems?
We've most likely read the commandment "Have no other gods before me." Thinking about this reminded me of something a friend said to me... That we make a 'god' out of what we think about the most. So in this instance, I did my best to stay alert. To "...stand porter at the door of thought," (Reference: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, 392:24) letting in good thoughts, and shutting out destructive, unhelpful ones. I did my best to stay mentally disciplined, to keep thought off of the alluring and distracting problem, the ins and outs of it all and to keep thought on God-- Letting natural thoughts of God (love, peace, harmony, happiness, spirituality) outweigh the other suggestions that can feel like a god. For example, suggestions or impositions of fear, temptation, rumination...etc.
In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy (discoverer and founder of Christian Science) often refers to a "scale" as helpful symbolism for our thinking, and what thoughts/suggestions we entertain. She writes:
"The human mind acts more powerfully to offset the discords of matter and the ills of flesh, in proportion as it puts less weight into the material or fleshly scale and more weight into the spiritual scale." (SH 155:21–25)
"Your influence for good depends upon the weight you throw into the right scale. The good you do and embody gives you the only power obtainable. Evil is not power." (SH 192:21–24)
She also writes something along the lines of the symbolic scale without directly mentioning it, “If we trust matter, we distrust Spirit.” (SH 234:3)
Pictured above is an example of a scale. Thinking about this scale in relation to where our thoughts lie, has been helpful. Especially in the midst of seeming challenges.
Thinking this way helped me to stay alert to where thought was. Instead of feeling weighed down by thoughts in the matter-scale (disharmony, fear, distraction, mortal problems), I could refuse to go down into the pit and choose to have my thoughts within the scale of Spirit. Working at this, helped me actually feel settled during what would be called an unsettling time. Even when it seemed like I was going through a hard time and felt weighed down by it, I could still feel free, happy, peaceful and settled. We do this in prayer, by lifting thought to God and out of the arena with the seeming problem. It was a helpful reminder to see just how powerful it is to lean on God, Spirit for everything we need. Although this passage doesn't mention a "scale," it reminds me of how Christ consciousness is always, in reality in the Spirit-scale. Eddy writes, "Jesus taught us to walk over, not into or with, the currents of matter, or mortal mind." (Unity of Good, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 11:3–4) I worked with this thought and kept my thoughts and words off of entertaining the issue, and onto God and what God is. One day the issue naturally just evaporated as if it didn't even happen. I was so grateful. I saw that it wasn't up to the solution to make me happy or feel settled. But that we can feel God's peace no matter WHAT seems to be going on.
I'd love to share a recent Christian Science Sentinel article (not by me) that I've found so helpful on this subject of unsettling times, trials...etc. THE SHEPHERD CARRIES US THROUGH TRIALS Have a lovely evening,
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