Are we living a lifestyle in which we can’t find time for contemplation? Maybe we haven’t even had time to think about it!
Why not take some additional time after you read this message to consider the importance of regular contemplation. This kind of contemplation isn’t just about anything that catches your attention. It isn’t setting out to think through the many sides of some personal challenge or a tough situation at work. While such matters do require thoughtful attention, the contemplation I’m talking about is of a different order—contemplating spiritual things first.
The Bible indicates the significance of pondering, or meditating on, the things of God—His law, His nature, and His will. The Psalmist wrote, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Christ Jesus, we gather from the gospel accounts, spent much time pondering the wisdom and perfection of God, as well as his own spiritual origin and nature as the Son of God. And the author of Philippians, in considering spiritual qualities such as purity, justice, and love, urges his brethren to “think on these things.”
Why spend time contemplating spiritual things? Is it simply to escape the struggles and hardships of everyday life? Not at all. People who’ve regularly devoted time to deeply contemplating the things of God, good, have seen the practical, healing effect this can have. They’ve gained dominion over hardships and found a more consistent, genuine peace. But even further, they’ve come to understand better their creator and their actual relation to God—to infinite good.
Granted, pondering spiritual things—what might be called spiritual evidence—isn’t easy to do when you’re occupied with smartphones, errands, shopping, and so forth. It may take persistent effort to find a quiet time or place, and to allow the evidence of God’s presence and allness to occupy our thought. But it’s worth the effort.
When we’re still, when we open our thought and sincerely desire to apprehend more of the beauty and utility of divine Love, more of the intelligence of divine Mind, more of God’s grace and power, we’ll find we’re getting better acquainted not only with all that belongs to our Maker but with all that belongs to man as His expression.
Consider the enormous difference it can make if we firmly turn our thought away from the physical picture of man and look instead to the spiritual evidence of man seen in the light of Christian Science. Instead of reinforcing the belief that we’re the result of some haphazard molecular arrangement, Science helps us gain fresher, broader, spiritual views of man—a truer sense of you and me. It enables us to see that we’re actually the conscious, intelligent expression of Spirit, not matter.
Think of the new direction your life would take—your approach to your work, to your relationships, to every task or difficulty that comes your way—if you were seeing yourself more and more as the very evidence of what God is expressing of His perfection and love. If we wish to understand and practice more of our God-derived abilities and dominion, we need to foster this spiritual direction of thought. We miss an awful lot if we don’t.
In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy points out what happens if our thoughts are fixed on the picture of material existence and identity. She writes, “The continual contemplation of existence as material and corporeal—as beginning and ending, and with birth, decay, and dissolution as its component stages—hides the true and spiritual Life, and causes our standard to trail in the dust.”
We should understand the necessity as well as the great blessing it is to have the mind “which was also in Christ Jesus,” as St. Paul describes it. As we’re inspired, purified, and healed by understanding and obeying the laws of God, we see practical proof of the divine presence and power.
We also become keenly aware of the pitfalls of constant attention to the body, to physical exercise, to what we wear, or to how we look. We see the detrimental influence of giving prominence to materiality in general. It diverts our attention from Spirit, God, the one cause and true source of all being, all harmony, all law.
As we continue to think, really think, about what fills our consciousness, it’s instructive to consider Mrs. Eddy’s response to invitations she received from friends in Chicago who evidently hoped she would visit there when that city hosted the World’s Fair. As it says in Miscellaneous Writings, she wrote, “I have a world of wisdom and Love to contemplate, that concerns me, and you, infinitely beyond all earthly expositions or exhibitions.” She closed her letter with an important invitation for us all: “In return for your kindness, I earnestly invite you to its contemplation with me, and to preparation to behold it.”