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Speculation about trade wars dominated the morning headlines. Within hours a massive sell-off caused the Dow to tumble over 500 points. The next day fear of trade wars subsided and the economy roared back into the news, this time because of an equally fast and robust recovery. A similar roller coaster ride played itself out over the following weeks.
A financial reporter asked one of the analysts on the floor of the stock exchange to explain the dramatic swings. “We’re running on a lot of headlines,” he said. Emotion and fear were driving things.
His comment seems fitting on more fronts than just the economy. With the constant flow of headlines that exaggerate and sensationalize everyday life, it would seem from what we’re seeing that today’s world has never been in worse shape. With the ability to access news so quickly and simply, it’s a good idea to ask ourselves: are we “running on a lot of headlines”?
If we get accustomed to the conflict, the anger, the triviality, or the despair that regularly push their way into our lives, those emotions could be accepted as the way things are, and then as the way we expect them to be.
Most people would object to such thoughts being the norm. They prefer to be free of them. But to not be swept up in the daily turbulence, to maintain a positive outlook, to be at peace and to get along with others, requires a strong commitment to a different outlook. The writer of Proverbs identified that commitment as a spiritual one. “Commit thy works unto the Lord,” he said, “and thy thoughts shall be established” (Prov. 16:3).
A proper sense of the source of spiritual thoughts gives us a good place to start. That source is not the human mind which, when harboring uncertainty and emotion, is only capable of imagining what a happier, more harmonious life would be like. Spiritual thoughts do, in fact, originate in Spirit, God, the all-good and infinite divine Mind. They’re what Mind is constantly knowing of its harmonious universe of spiritual ideas, and of how these ideas are naturally and perfectly governed. The prophet Jeremiah described God’s perspective this way: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
As we strive for a greater understanding of the Mind that is constantly good and loving, we find our thoughts rising above an emotion-driven personal, mortal mind, and instead we’re drawn to Mind’s calm, spiritual perspective. This spiritual-mindedness helps us know and understand God, Truth, and shows in contrast that the so-called mortal mind is actually ignorance of God — material-mindedness — believing in many separate minds infused in matter, capable of holding and promoting opposing rigid viewpoints. Through an expanding understanding of the one true Mind, which is all-loving and perfect, we’re increasingly unfettered by material-mindedness. Christ Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The Discoverer of the Science of Christ, Mary Baker Eddy, kept a close eye on the mental atmosphere of the times and warned against allowing conflicting, cynical, emotional viewpoints to influence us and become our norm. In her signature work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures she asked readers a question that sounds as though she’d just sampled yesterday’s news: “Do you not hear from all mankind of the imperfect model? The world is holding it before your gaze continually. The result is that you are liable to follow those lower patterns, limit your life-work, and adopt into your experience the angular outline and deformity of matter models.”
The good news is that although a grossly imperfect model of life may pass itself off as the way things are, that just isn’t so. We have the capacity right now to perceive the true idea of being as the perfect and perpetual expression of Spirit, inclusive of man. Christian Science teaches that this wholly spiritual sense of being counteracts the mistaken, disheartening impression we have that there’s so much wrong with life. “Truth and Love antidote this mental miasma,” Science and Health explains, “and thus invigorate and sustain existence.”
No amount of anger, conflict or despair in the headlines can ever separate us from the true idea of being. Through our prayers and a strong commitment to the study and practice of Christian Science, our thought is inspired – spiritualized – establishing a greater sense of permanent peace and well-being.
A plan of action for taking this mental work across the finish line? The direction from Science and Health hits the mark: “We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives. Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love — the kingdom of heaven — reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.”