Spinning Heads and Pea Soup

(Originally published in 2013. Excerpted from The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New.)

I’ve never seen The Exorcist, but I have seen that scene with the pea soup and the spinning head – and lately I’ve seemed to encounter a lot of what I would put in the “pea soup and spinning head” category. There have been times, recently, when personalities have seemed to spin themselves out of alignment with the individuals they really are, spewing out all kinds of hell – anger, frustration, jealousy, fear, revenge, hatred, finger-pointing. And I’m embarrassed to say that on at least a couple occasions at the beginning of the week I myself was the spewer – feeling really angry and hurt that someone who had scorned me and treated me unfairly had managed to get himself promoted to a position of even greater power.

It none of it felt good.

But something became really obvious to me a couple days ago when I came across yet another spewing spinner in a conversation on a discussion board.  I found myself just stepping back and kind of observing in interested fascination as the pea soup flew and the vitriol sprayed my direction.  The pea soup and vitriol were so over-the-top and spewed so high in the air that it simply erupted above the spewer’s head and ended up landing back on her.  It didn’t touch me at all. And, standing there on the outside of the mess, it became really clear to me that the spinning, spewing personality was not at all the real individuality of my fellow poster. It was obvious that what I had just witnessed was nothing but a spinning, spewing counterfeit of the real man and woman, made in God’s likeness – made in the likeness of Love.  And it also became clear to me that I had no desire or need to spend my time engaged in conversation with a counterfeit. I was able to step back and move on and find other interesting dialogues that better served me.  I didn’t give the counterfeit the power to push me OUT of a space where I belonged, and nor did I give the counterfeit the power to pull me INTO a space where I didn’t belong. I didn’t have to react or respond to the counterfeit at all.

This encounter with the counterfeit poster, helped me come to terms with my feelings of anger and wish for vengeance towards the personality who had treated me so poorly in the past and been promoted. I had to recognize that the real man is the child of God – that God loves him no less than he loves me – and that God is instructing him, and leading him down his own path in life, with its own lessons waiting for him. And none of that is any of my business.

My business is keeping watch on my own thoughts and actions. Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Christian Science commands man to master the propensities, – to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.”

As Paul says, we all must work out our “own salvation.”  It’s rewarding work. It’s satisfying work. And it’s also enough work to fill my moments and my days for eternity. Who has time to worry about working out someone ELSE’s flaws and foibles, when I have enough of my own to worry about?

Spinning heads and pea soup, be gone!

“Evil is nothing, no thing, mind, nor power.  As manifested by mankind it stands for a lie, nothing claiming to be something, – for lust, dishonesty, selfishness, envy, hypocrisy, slander, hate, theft, adultery, murder, dementia, insanity, inanity, devil, hell, with all the etceteras that word includes.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Love has no sense of hatred.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Universal Love

 

 

I Am Bow Eyes and Rudder Pivots

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
– Aristotle

So a couple summers ago I bought an outdoor patio set – four deck chairs and a glass-topped table. All of these pieces of furniture needed assembly to actually become chairs and a table. But how hard could it be to put these things together, right? I was not ascared. I got out my trusty screwdriver and set to work. When I was finished I am proud to say that I had four dandy deck chairs and a glass-topped table that actually looked like four dandy deck chairs and a glass-topped table.  You could actually sit in the chairs. The legs actually pointed down instead of up. You could actually put stuff on top of the table without it collapsing.

The fact that I had a couple screws left over when I was all done did not concern me at all. Or only a little. 🙂

I saved the left-over screws. By themselves, of course, those left-over screws aren’t worth much – but maybe someday I’ll need them in another project – maybe someday they’ll be a part of something really cool.

I am, metaphorically-speaking, assembled patio furniture. Or… maybe a sailboat. Yeah, sailboats are awesome. I am a jaunty little  PocketShip.  I’ve got bow eyes, and rudder eyes, rudder pivots, and rudder rod keepers, anchor chocks, and CB sheaves, sails and an anchor, and a bunch of other stuff. By itself a rudder pivot or a bow eye or an anchor chock doesn’t do much – but put all the PocketShip parts together and you’ve got a vessel you can use to take you on all kinds of wonderful adventures.

I am a Christian Scientist. I am also a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a political progressive, an animal-lover, an outdoors aficionado, a photography buff, a wedding singer, and an author. Among other things. And all of those parts that make up the whole will sometimes find their way into my blog.

I’ve had Christian Scientists ask me why I post political posts on a blog titled “Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist” – and I think I can understand why other Christian Scientists might be concerned about this. There might, I suppose, be the concern that I’m trying to represent the beliefs and opinions of other Christian Scientists when I write my posts. But let me assure you, I’m not. I know there are other Christian Scientists who hold VASTLY different political views than myself. I like that about Christian Scientists. We’re not rigid monolithic automatons. The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, “The time for thinkers has come.” And that’s what those who are living Christian Science try to do: Think. And not “think” in the way of the Borg of the Star Trek shows, but as individual expressions of Love, with their own individual conscience.

Christian Science informs the lives of all who try to live it. Christian Science has given me a way of looking at the world that’s influenced and informed my writing and photography, politics, and relationships with others. If all I posted on my blog were Bible quotes and Mary Baker Eddy quotes and discussions about religion I would not be sharing all that Christian Science has given me. And so I post my posts about animals, and adventures in the outdoors, and politics, and relationships with others on my blog. Because all of those parts are a part of my life as a Christian Scientist.

The loss of man’s identity through the understanding which Science confers is impossible; and the notion of such a possibility is more absurd than to conclude that individual musical tones are lost in the origin of harmony.

This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man’s absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace.

A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity.
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

Who Am I?

Phrenology makes man knavish or honest according to the development of the cranium; but anatomy, physiology, phrenology, do not define the image of God, the real immortal man. 

– Mary Baker Eddy

Years ago a professional astrologer who found me “an interesting case” asked if she could do an astrological chart on me free of charge. When she reported back to me with her findings, she was sort of shaking her head and looking a little flummoxed. I guess I was not at all what the astrological chart indicated I should be (according to the chart I should have been like a computer – unemotional, unsentimental, incredibly brilliant – which… well, I’m sure my chart was right about the last bit there 🙂 ).  She knew I was a Christian Scientist and mused aloud, “Maybe it’s the Christian Science.”

Whenever I take personality tests, I always end up coming out of them sort of evenly spread out over everything. I’m some of this. I’m some of that. I may be one thing on one day, and another thing on the next. I’ve been INTJ and ENFP. I’ve been labeled an “explorer” and a “counselor”, been told I was serene and calm, energetic and passionate, bookish, physically active, out-going, introspective, solitary, friendly. creative, analytical, timid, and brave.

I don’t take any of that too seriously.

Like probably everyone else, I’ve sometimes found myself asking, “Who am I?” I’ve wondered about my identity and individuality and purpose. I’ve wondered what makes me unique and what makes me special – things probably most of us have thought about now and then. And, for me, the answers to those wonderings and questions have come to me through my study of Christian Science.

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy gives this response to the question “What is man?” : “Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science. Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of  God, including all right ideas; the generic term for  all that reflects God’s image and likeness; the conscious identity of being as found in Science, in which man is  the reflection of God, or Mind, and therefore is eternal; that which has no separate mind from God; that which has not a single quality underived from Deity; that which possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his  own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker.”

For a while I wondered (and worried) if being the expression of God, with all of God’s other expressions, meant that I was just like everyone else – that maybe we were like The Borg in the Star Trek series – with no individuality or uniqueness of our own. I mean, wouldn’t we all be beautiful and smart and talented in the exact same way, if we were expressions of one Mind? But at some point I realized that Mind has infinite expressions, infinite manifestations, and that all of Her creation is the reflection of that infinity. Eddy writes, “Through spiritual sense you can discern the heart of divinity, and thus begin to comprehend in Science the generic term man. Man is not absorbed in Deity, and man cannot lose his individuality, for he reflects eternal Life; nor is he an isolated, solitary idea, for he represents infinite Mind, the sum of all substance.”

Through discernment of the spiritual opposite of materiality, even the way through Christ, Truth, man will reopen with the key of divine Science the gates of Paradise which human beliefs have closed, and will find himself unfallen, upright, pure, and free, not needing to consult almanacs for the probabilities either of his life or of the weather, not needing to study brainology to learn how much of a man he is.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Absorbed in material selfhood we discern and reflect but faintly the substance of Life or Mind. The denial of material selfhood aids the discernment of man’s spiritual and eternal individuality…
– Mary Baker Eddy

Personality is not the individuality of man. A wicked man may have an attractive personality.
– Mary Baker Eddy

        Material personality is not realism; it is not the reflection or likeness of Spirit, the perfect God.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Personality chart