Monday, August 12, 2019

" exchanging the objects of sense, for the ideas of Soul..."

"It's only words,
and words are all I have..."

This post from 2013 still rings true for me -- in fact, more so with every Soul-inspired moment of surrender.

I've always loved the Bee Gee's song, "Words." As a girl, I felt that in the absence of physical stature, authority, or resources -- that words were all I had. Words represented limitless ideas, thoughts, inspiration. There was no false measurement of an idea -- they were simply, always infinite is scope.

No matter what was going on in my life, I could always retreat to the space of consciousness, a place where these infinite thoughts and ideas waited like eager friends. I'd listen, they'd answer all my big questions, and we'd create beautiful word sculptures from the raw materials of ideas, thoughts, metaphors and symbols.

This was always enough for me. So what happened?

If you've read my recent post, "the evidence," you might sense that I am in the space of deep paradigm-shifting. It often seems as if inspirational texts -- that I once thought I "got," -- are now, so new to me. It's almost like I've joined Alice, and stepped through the looking glass. Everything feels a bit upside down, and I'm a wonder-filled child again.

Take this much-loved, and familiar passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scripture by Mary Baker Eddy:

"Desire is prayer.
And no loss can occur
from trusting God with our desires,
that they may be moulded and exalted,
before they take form
in words and in deeds."

Okay, so here's how I always interpreted this: I had desires. And those desires were articulated as prayer.  Meaning, I could trust them to be "of God," since prayer is, as Eddy states earlier on the same page, "God's gracious means..."

So, I'd continue:  I have these God-inspired desires - prayers.  I can trust them to be moulded and exalted by Him, before they take form in words and in deeds...

Isn't there something missing here? Aren't the words and deeds just a stepping stone to their final form? Actual things?  Things like stronger muscles, bigger bank accounts, a better job.  Well, not according to this statement.  It says that words and deeds are the form.

But that wasn't what I had been thinking -- or expecting -- for a very long time.  Somehow I'd gotten the impression that these word-symbolized ideas, thoughts, and deeds, would eventually lead to more tangible forms.

For example,  take my desire for home. I would pray, and would be inspired with ideas that would take "form" in prayers.  These ideas, I understood to be the spiritual substance of home. Ideas like: "the spiritual foundation of home is kindness, respect, charity, a foundation that is deep, enduring, God-based, and reliable."  

It was my privilege, as a spiritual thinker, to consciously cherish those ideas and put them into practice.  Then, when understood sufficiently, they would take form -- or have manifestation -- in a house. Thus giving "form" to a spiritual sense of home. 

But that doesn't seem to be what Eddy is saying in the above-referenced statement. And for that matter, my interpretation of that statement, was not necessarily borne out in the lives of prophets and apostles.   I respected these Biblical thought-leaders for their deep spiritual sense of home and place.  Yet, when I thought about it, I realized I didn't know all that much about their houses.  I knew about their ability to find peaceful resting places in the wilderness, deserts, "the valley of the shadow of death," and on dusty roads -- but nope, not so much about their houses.

Yet Eddy states that words and deeds are the form. And when I started thinking about the people I deeply admired -- Jesus, Gandhi, Mandela, Angelou, Lincoln -- I realized that I didn't know much about their houses, bodies, bank accounts, or neighborhoods either. It wasn't their "things" that recommended them, it was their legacy of thoughts and deeds which were timeless -- eternal.

Suddenly everything became alive with a limitless spiritual reality -- right then and there!  The very atmosphere of consciousness felt pulsing with tangible, reliable, infinitely substantive forms.  Forms that were already completely, fully realized. 

Now, everything I am reading about "thought" it has a new sense of promise. Take this stanza from Eddy's poem, "Satisfied:"

"And of these stone,
and tyrant's thrones,
God able is,
to raise up seed,
in thought and deed
to faithful His..."

Yes! Yes! Yes!  In thought and deed.  Not in the right job, houses, cars, more youthful bodies, improved stock portfolios, but in "thoughts and deeds." Thoughts and deeds that are the evidence -- the seed realized -- the fruition, the substance, the reality. 

For so many years I've expected good thoughts to resolve themselves -- when considered metaphysically -- into things.   For example:  an understanding of abundance, would resolve itself into the "demonstration of supply" -- money.  A deeper spiritual sense of motherhood unfolds as a tangible "demonstration of family" -- a loved one found, marriage, a child conceived or adopted, siblings reunited, improved relationships.

But I don't think this is what Eddy is saying.  She is encouraging us to "resolve things into thoughts," and to "exchange the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul" -- not the other way around.

So, perhaps our houses, our loved ones, financial responsibilities, our servant-bodies, the need for transportation, the demands of being part of a community -- locally or globally -- are simply the "things" that God lovingly provides as encouragement.  Encouragement to go deeper, higher --  to go back to the spiritual well, the Source of those symbols.  These divine gifts keep us invested in a deeper desire for the real substance of life -- those thoughts, words, and deeds that are indissoluble, infinite, eternal, and enduring.  Perhaps they are the things that lead us to their resolution --  into more inspired thoughts, and kinder deeds.

This is a shift for me. To stop thinking that my desires -- my prayers -- are not going to take eventual form in "things."  And to discover that these desires have already been evidenced -- so perfectly --  in words, thoughts, and deeds.  

Elsewhere in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy states: 

Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts,
and exchanges the objects of sense
for the ideas of Soul."

We are not resolving infinite thoughts, into things that are limited.  Into measurable, restricted forms. These boundless thoughts are expanding our sense of being -- not reducing them.

I am finding that to be truly "satisfied," with these expansive spiritual forms is the simplicity in Christ that I have been seeking.  In this space I feel happy, innocent, childlike, and free. Free to be completely grateful in every moment of trust, to appreciate each instance of faith, inspired thought, beautiful words, a kind deed, infinite hope.  No more waiting or wanting.

Last night I was lying in the dark and I realized that when I align myself fully with this deeper sense of being satisfied, there is nothing more to desire. I am completely present with every thought and word that comes to my heart.  There is no want.  My contentment is secure.  I know that no one can stop me from listening for God's thoughts, and watching them take form in words.  And immediately, I can bless others with those thoughts.

And really, can there be any greater deed that you, or I, or anyone else can ever do than to bless another with our God-moulded and exalted prayers of appreciation? Or a Love-inspired gift of right spiritual identification? The genuine desire for them to know God's presence and power in their lives?  Nothing can stop us from doing these good deeds all night and day. 

A friend once shared with me a concept that has been attributed to Mary Baker Eddy, but without documentation of that attribution.  Whether Mary Baker Eddy is responsible for it or not, it has been helpful to me -- so I will share it here in the way that I think about it: 

Let's say you have a quarter.  That quarter is a symbol.  We -- society, the federal treasury, the market -- have determined, and agreed, that this symbol represents twenty-five cents, or one quarter of one dollar.  We accept that measure of its symbolic worth -- based on current treasury numbers.  Supply and demand markets tell us how much, in goods and services, we can expect to get in exchange for this quarter.  

But if we step back a bit and look at things spiritually, that quarter is just a symbol.  And what it symbolizes is very different when we start -- as Eddy instructs -- with the All-in-allness of God.  If this symbol exists, it exists as a representative of good, of value, worth, appreciation for the creativity and services provided.  And since these qualities -- goodness, value, worth, appreciation are spiritual they only have one measure -- All.  You can't get just a little bit -- or even a moderate amount -- of anything spiritual.  The only measure of Spirit is infinite, all.  Therefore the only measure of its expression is infinite, all -- all the time.  

To be in the presence that quarter -- which is a symbol of value and worth -- is to experience the presence of the All-in-all of what it represents.  All value is yours, all worth is yours, all goodness is yours -- abundantly.  No process, no growth, no maturity -- and no decay.   The symbol -- a quarter, points us to the true "form" -- the presence of value, worth, appreciation, goodness.  Thus we have resolved things -- the quarter, into infinite thoughts -- again, value, worth, appreciation, goodness.  

These "forms" are enough. They are not the means to another "end." They are not the way we get good things, or even better things. They are the end itself -- the all, the everything I have ever wanted, needed -- or desired.  To know the full value of love, to appreciate the good that is in the world, to discover the immortality, strength and beauty of a relationship with the divine. 

I will stop here -- this is a topic that is still becoming fully formed for me.  And as I've often said, this is my experience -- it is what is true for me, today.

shared with Love,


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