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Driving up Highway 1 in California, from San Luis Obispo to Big Sur and then into the San Francisco area, you see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Along the way are rolling hills dotted with oak trees, mile after mile of spectacular coastline, and acres of forest that occasionally comes right down to the water’s edge.
You don’t travel far along this stretch of highway without realizing that even as some stunning ocean panorama fades from sight behind you, just around the next corner or over the next hill lies another breathtaking view of the coastline. As your journey advances one mile to the next, it’s not at all surprising to find yourself thinking less about past views and more about the views that are yours at the moment, or just ahead.
There are similarities between what happens during this kind of journey and the journey we’re all making day to day as we live our lives. Some of the views and experiences we encounter are ones that we treasure. The development of a new friendship, perhaps, or advancement in a career. We may look forward to completing a long-term project or doing some traveling. Yet as we know, the scenes of human life aren’t always so bright. Some may darken our outlook rather severely—for example, accepting the view that advancing years inevitably bring decline and the fading out of life.
People who see their life-journey as necessarily getting worse instead of better, or as fading out, can yet discover their capacity for perceiving at this moment more of the immortality and wholeness of life. Such views are spiritual—the result of prayer. They are powerfully healing and transforming as well, because they are views of reality, the life that expresses God who is divine Life.
The inspired message of the Bible leads our thought in the direction of divine Life and its healing power. The Psalmist, for example, describes the Lord as the one who heals all diseases and “who redeemeth thy life from destruction.” King Hezekiah dreaded a sickness that was leading to death, yet his prayer to God brought recovery. Christ Jesus would later declare, “This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life.” Paul wrote that “… to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Willingness to turn our heart and mind to Life, God, helps us learn of and more fully express the revitalizing and life-giving power of Life. Advancing in this direction literally changes and shapes everything we know of ourselves. Life is Spirit, not matter; it is ageless. And because this is always so, the man whom Spirit, God, made, the actual selfhood of each of us, is forever the ageless and completely spiritual expression of Life—the image and likeness of God.
If, on the other hand, one accepts the view that an aging, material body is the expression of life, then that fleshly viewpoint, together with the limitations and fears associated with it, would take the lead in one’s experience. “To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” is Paul’s full statement. The truth is, we relate to Spirit, not to matter. Good and totally spiritual qualities that come from God are actually what constitute who we are, and they perpetuate life and peace. Being spiritually-minded means letting the spiritual qualities that are native to man govern us. And this is the basis for healing disease and renewing one’s life.
So the question should be asked often, “What am I perceiving of Life at this moment?” The real answer should, must, come from Spirit, God. And prayer is what brings the answer; it lights our thought with what’s true about ourselves. This consistent spiritualization of thought makes us conscious of all that God is always expressing in us as His image. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy brings out this important fact: “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis” (S&H p. 258). As we begin to perceive our life in terms of an infinite idea, one that truly is the forever unfolding, individual expression of God’s intelligence and love, it’s clear that to be material-minded would be to close our eyes to the ageless being God is expressing in us right now.
This ageless being is the truly spiritual nature of our existence and of our God-given individuality. The real life-journey we are all on is one of spiritual discovery and understanding. It’s a wonderful life-journey, with no breakdowns or dead ends. And on it, we’re never alone. Indeed, we’re always in the presence of divine Life itself. There is freshness and health and activity and beauty—the expression of Life—in every direction.
None of this fades from view as we go forward spiritually. In fact, every step of spiritual discovery and growth expands our outlook and brightens our journey, bringing healing and redemption where needed. Every turn, every ascent, shows us something more of the Life that is Spirit. Indeed, we are perceiving what already exists; what is already ours as the ageless work of God’s hand.
from the Christian Science Sentinel, March 17, 1997