For tonight, the prayerful focus is on 'Not-So-Common Arguments.' This may be a compilation of my own prayers, but I am still praying on this subject, needless to say!
What are some of the (seeming) common arguments that knock at the door of thought? How does staying alert allow us to keep our thought on God, and less on the distractions?
Some context first. In the allegory found in Genesis 2, Eve is tempted by the serpent to eat from the 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil.' The serpent is very tricky and subtle. Tricking Eve into doing something that was against what God said to do.
In Genesis 1, we see a very different picture. In comparison, it's helpful to see what is true about man (Genesis 1 meaning man and woman) and what isn't (Genesis 2). In Genesis 1, man is made in God's 'image and likeness' and is spiritual. There is nothing in there about man making mistakes. The only mistake ever really made, is only a seeming mistaken view of how God made his children (seeing ourselves as Gen 2 instead of as Gen 1).
So what does the Gen 2 story have to teach us anyways if it's false? Well, we never pick and choose which parts of the Bible to take-in. And, we take the inspired word of the Bible always. The importance of Genesis 2 is that it keeps us alert, so we can more clearly see what's real (Gen 1). It helps to ask when studying, "What is this story trying to teach me, and why is it an important part of the Bible canon?"
Genesis 2 to me, points out the importance of remaining alert to these subtle suggestions. Genesis 1, shows us that in reality, God's man is spiritual, and truly above the trickery. This (Genesis 1) truth applied mentally in contemplation and prayer, benefits our whole experience.
Answering the phone and emails with patient needs, I have heard a lot of the common suggestions that patients have uncovered and removed from their thinking. These arguments are impersonal to the patient, and seem to be common arguments underlying whatever the challenge seems to be.
To those that study Christian Science, these suggestions seem subtle at first but once recognized, it becomes obvious and easier to unsee the lie. So, notice we are only tempted to accept it as reality. Suggestions are only suggestions. When the light of our true nature (Gen 1) shines in consciousness, the suggestions that feel so big, real, or scary, are actually only absurd or funny lies. How and where do we start? It's most important to consider God, to keep thought on God and what God is. But, without praying with the Gen 1 and Gen 2 lessons, without properly considering what we must be alert to... Is to me, only explained in Mrs. Eddy's words here: "It is like walking in darkness on the edge of a precipice."
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 374:22) Mrs. Eddy alludes to the idea that sometimes, we must talk something up in order to talk it down. Hence, her finishing her textbook on healing by adding the chapter on "Animal Magnetism Unmasked."
I'll make a summarized list of somethings I have noticed in my practice, and will back them up with verses to consider as the true spiritual fact. I'm sure there are more, but these sum up.
It's personal to you. (For example, "I cannot get over this bad trait because this is apart of who I am, and it's how my family is!") What's actually true, is this fact: [Underlines are my own.] "It could not have been a person that our great Master cast out of another person; therefore the devil herein referred to was an impersonal evil, or whatever worketh ill." (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 190:20–23)
That one should feel injustice, it's not fair. (For example, "I feel like a victim, the only reason I feel this way is because of someone else!") What's actually true: "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face." (Psalms 89:14)
That it is bigger, or more powerful than divine Love. "I will never be able to overcome this, it's too big and it's been going on for too long!" What's real (Gen 1): "For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All." (SH, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 17:14)
I don't or can't understand. (For example: "Okay all this might be true, but other people understand it, I struggle with it. I also cannot get passed the fear of it all!") Every time I come across the limiting, "I can't," that signals that this suggestion doesn't come from God. Staying alert to our thinking and what thoughts we let in, one begins to notice what is their thinking, and what isn't (the seeming serpent suggestions). In reality, "In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as 'a very present help in trouble.' Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.” (SH, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 12:27)
I have accumulated the problem, or something good was taken from me. (For example, I have heard before, "I was healthy before, but I now have rashes because of stress. It all stems back from when my boyfriend cheated on me...") Basically, a suggestion of a cause or effect outside of God. But with prayer, we see what is actually true... "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him." (Ecclesiastes 3:14) This is the opposite idea of what's presented in Gen 2, "Adam and the fallen man."
Daily practice in prayer is what aids us moving forward. Seeing our oneness with the divine Mind (another word for God) and starting from this point of perfection. Then, staying alert to the subtly of the "liar" as Christ Jesus called it, we watch our thinking and take stock of what belongs, and what doesn't. And of course, these 'common arguments' become not-so-common when overturned in our thinking. Just because these are constant prayers, it doesn't make the liar or serpent real. Common is not synonymous with normal or natural. This knowledge applied in prayer and thoughtful consideration, helps us see how uncommon these suggestions can be. It helps us turn down the volume on these suggestions that don't belong, seeing that they have no power, reality or source.
I invite you to take a moment to journal about some 'common' suggestions that we can reveal to be uncommon. Writing the argument on one side of the page, and listening for the spiritual truth to put on the other side of the page. There is no recipe to prayer, but it's a fun prayerful activity.
Have a lovely evening,
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