While listening to the radio I happened to catch part of an interview with an author. The interviewer was asking him about his first meeting with a potential publisher. He said it took place in the publisher’s office in a high-rise office building overlooking New York City, where he was proposing writing about the settling of the West in the United States. When the publisher heard that he stopped him and said that very few people buy books about the early days of California or Montana or Nevada.
But he had a suggestion for the author.
He called him over to the window where they could both look down on the street below, and said that if he wanted to write a book about changing one’s life, his publishing firm would be most interested. Pointing to the crowds below he said that there are thousands of people down there, and every one of them wants to change his life. The publisher said there was no end to the books he could sell about people changing their lives.
I thought about his observation. There are obvious reasons why people want to change. When living conditions become unsatisfactory or intolerable, for instance. But something else that impels change is quite independent of material conditions, and is always with us. It’s the influence of the Divine.
We can feel the divine influence – the wisdom, energy and love that emanate from Spirit, God — whether we’re penniless and downhearted, yearning for something different, or content with life yet open to seeing things in a whole new light. It was the divine influence, or Christ, that animated Jesus’ life and that promotes far-reaching change in human lives—change from believing ourselves to be messed up mortal beings, shackled by a material heritage, to seeing instead our identity, made by God, as perfect and complete, the only selfhood we’ve ever really had.
It seems natural that someone who so thoroughly understood man’s spiritual origin and showed us the boundless possibilities of man as God’s offspring, would urge others to open their hearts and minds to new possibilities. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
This fundamental change in how we see ourselves, the gradual awakening to man’s actual nature as God’s likeness, goes on as we wholeheartedly pursue spiritual growth. Such growth, and the regeneration that accompanies it, are underpinned by prayer and consistent study of the Bible and Science and Health, the textbook of the Science of Christianity by Mary Baker Eddy, coupled with a sincere desire to increase our understanding of God and man.
While it’s thinking that is transformed, the renewal that takes place as our thinking changes from a material to a spiritual basis isn’t superficial or imaginary.
Bringing an understanding of God and His ever-unfolding creation to bear on the troubles that stem from a material sense of life, we’re actually working at this transformation in a practical way.
Radically mindful of our spiritual heritage, and striving to exchange a fleshly, personal sense of ourselves for the spiritual, we can expect to see significant and practical change —in a word, healing.
When should this renewal begin? We don’t have to stare out the window, thinking that it has to be some future event. Speaking of the new birth in an article on that subject in her Miscellaneous Writings, Mrs. Eddy writes: “It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love.”
We change our thinking every moment we reject a thought that suggests to us we are less than the loved and eternal likeness of God that man really is. Perhaps we’re tempted to believe we’re not as sharp at work, not as successful in school, not as good-natured or active or healthy as we should be. Maybe, in a less obvious way, we’re feeling dragged down by the misconception that man is helplessly matter-bound and that our life is inherently restrictive.
These things need healing. Change is required. And the most important change is to yield to the divine influence that is revealing a view of ourselves—fully, only—as the perfect creation of its source, divine Mind, thinking and acting in accord with our creator.
We cannot complacently live with—and, in fact, must reject—limiting, evil thoughts about ourselves. Such thoughts are fraudulent claims of a so-called mind apart from God, good. Watching that we don’t adopt material-minded thoughts as our own, and instead opening our thought to the pure and constructive influence of the Divine, is the work that renews our lives as nothing else can. It brings to our home, our career, our educational experience, the inspired views and transforming power of the Life that is God. This life-changing thinking we can welcome each moment.