It wasn’t for lack of desire, just lack of room. My friend’s van was stuffed with furniture and other large items. She couldn’t carry another box. She was thankful that others could make space available in their cars, and the household move went smoothly.
The challenge was similar outside an airline terminal. It wasn’t that the taxi driver didn’t want to take another one of the half-dozen people hoping to catch a ride, myself included. He just didn’t have any room.
It often seems that the human mind gets filled, too. The student, looking ahead at the number of pages yet to be studied, wonders how he’ll remember all that he needs to for an upcoming exam. The new employee tries to learn quickly all the tasks, deadlines, and names of co-workers in the new job. Before long it seems as if there’s no room for another piece of information. We’re full!
It might also seem, as it did to me recently, that when it comes to our study of Christian Science, when we’ve studied and prayed and read and read some more we’re—well, full. That was my initial reaction when I came across this statement from the Christian Science textbook: “Let us accept Science, relinquish all theories based on sense-testimony, give up imperfect models and illusive ideals; and so let us have one God, one Mind, and that one perfect, producing His own models of excellence.” I had accepted Science, the law of God. It’s just that after all that study it seemed there was simply no room to accommodate yet another idea.
I was drawn back to that sentence later, and this time I saw it in a different way. It was urging me to accept Science all right, but it also showed me how more of this could be done. The textbook instructed me to relinquish something— to give up materialistic theories, “imperfect models and illusive ideals.” I saw that in order to make room in my thought for a deeper understanding of Science, I must eliminate, more than I had, anything unlike God, divine Mind.
That means not only resentment, lust, dishonesty, and the like; it also means outgrowing the belief that man is fundamentally a physical creature—that his intelligence and identity belong to a material form that matures, decays, and finally dies. “Material beliefs must be expelled to make room for spiritual understanding,” it says it Science and Health.
What effect does this have on us? Well, it’s a little like clearing away debris and discovering something quite precious beneath. We discover what is so truly wonderful about God’s creation—about ourselves. We see something of our loving nature, our limitless capacity, our actual spiritual heritage as His child. Our whole outlook changes as we understand that our progress, activity, health—all the aspects of our true being —express infinite Spirit.
One may wonder, though, how far he or she is willing or able to carry this out. Does expelling material beliefs to understand more of our spiritual nature mean we first give up all the material things in our life? Do we give up all our possessions?
It really doesn’t work that way. Science and Health does state, “A great sacrifice of material things must precede this advanced spiritual understanding.” Yet, it’s clearly more than getting rid of things that makes room for spiritual understanding; it’s the transformation of our thought.
Willingness to rely on Spirit alone in the details of our lives, turning away from any preoccupation with physicality in order to express more of the unconditional love of others that Christ Jesus exemplified—these are some of the ways we can expel material beliefs and bring our lives more into accord with Spirit. In modest ways at first, and sometimes in profound ones, an entirely spiritual creation gradually becomes the way we perceive existence to be.
In this spiritualization of thought the concept of existence as sensuous and earthbound, and of ourselves as mortal, starts losing its foothold as reality. It becomes clearer to us that this concept simply isn’t true. Limitation, dissatisfaction, disability, all evil, aren’t the actualities of life we may have thought they were. In fact, they’re inconceivable to the perfect, divine Mind.
As a result of this growing understanding of Truth, we find that we have different desires, thoughts, and actions, which bring healing, and which reveal more of our actual likeness to God. With higher aims and affections—a holier outlook— we’re not as mindful of material surroundings. We don’t ruminate about physique. We find we’re pursuing and understanding much more of spiritual reality.
As we grow spiritually, Christ Jesus’ instruction as to what should and should not have room in our thought takes on even greater significance: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.” The blessings of accepting more of God’s goodness and less materiality are clear, for as Jesus concludes: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”